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Biden to speak about Afghanistan amid swift US pullout

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(Last Updated On: July 8, 2021)

President Joe Biden on Thursday will offer his most extensive comments to date about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a pullout that is raising concerns about a civil war there and drawing Republican criticism, Reuters reported.

A White House official said Biden would update the American people on the situation and that no major policy pronouncements were expected.

The Democratic president, who is due to speak on Thursday afternoon, has been under pressure from critics to give a more expansive explanation for his decision to withdraw Reuters reported.

The United States last weekend abandoned Bagram air base, the longtime staging ground for U.S. military operations in the country, effectively ending America’s longest war.

The Pentagon says the withdrawal of U.S. forces is 90% complete.

Washington agreed to withdraw in a deal negotiated last year under Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden overruled military leaders who wanted to keep a larger presence to assist Afghan security forces and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a staging ground for extremist groups.

Biden’s order in April to pull out U.S. forces by Sept. 11 after 20 years of conflict has coincided with major gains by the Islamist militant Taliban movement against overwhelmed Afghan forces after peace talks sputtered.

The commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, General Austin Miller, warned last week that the country may be headed toward a civil war.

The U.S. intelligence community believes the Afghan military is weak and that the Kabul government’s prospects for survival in the short term are not good, U.S. government sources familiar with official assessments said, Reuters reported.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden would meet his national security team on Thursday “to receive a periodic update on the progress of our military drawdown from Afghanistan.”

“Early tomorrow afternoon, the president will make comments on our continued drawdown efforts and ongoing security and humanitarian assistance to the ANDSF and the Afghan people.”

Some Republicans are criticizing Biden for the pullout, although Trump had also sought to end American involvement in the war, Reuters reported.

Biden met Afghan leaders on June 25 and said U.S. support for Afghanistan would be sustained despite the pullout.

“Afghans are going to have to decide their future, what they want,” Biden said at the time. read more

The United States plans to leave 650 troops in Afghanistan to provide security for the U.S. Embassy.

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Senior IEA official voices concern over Daesh amid ongoing economic crisis

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) designated representative to UN, Suhail Shaheen, has warned the international community that the Afghanistan affiliate of ISIS (ISIS-K) could flourish if the West continues to impose economic sanctions against Afghanistan.

In an interview with Euro News, Shaheen stated that continued economic sanctions have plunged the people of Afghanistan into poverty and that this could pave the way for ISIS-K (also known as Daesh) to recruit fighters.

“The sanctions which have led to poverty in the country, are aggravating the current situation; the humanitarian crisis is providing a recruiting ground for ISIS to benefit from,” Shaheen said.

He added: “I don’t know why they (international community) are helping ISIS by continuing the sanctions and freezing our money which is the wealth of the people of Afghanistan.”

The United States has frozen over $9 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves following the collapse of the former government in mid-August.

Since then, the US and its allies have also imposed strict economic sanctions on Afghanistan, which has exacerbated an already struggling, aid-dependent economy.

Meanwhile, an IEA delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.

Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West.

IEA officials said that the Afghan and US delegations would discuss the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, humanitarian aid, education, and the reopening of embassies in Kabul among other issues.

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

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IEA delegation meet with Qatari officials in Doha

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials said on Friday night that the Afghan delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.
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Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West

Officials in Doha, who are accompanying Muttaqi, include representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Security, and Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank).

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry, confirmed the delegation’s meetings and said: “Detailed discussions were held about political, humanitarian, economic and education issues.”

According to Balkhi the Qatari officials pledged to continue to provide aid for Afghans.

“Qatari officials stated they will continue to stand by Afghans and will continue providing aid during the upcoming period,” added Balkhi

According to Balkhi, “IEA delegation thanked Qatar for their assistance and for playing a positive role during the previous negotiations.”

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