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Ex-Nato head says Putin wanted to join alliance early on in his rule

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(Last Updated On: November 5, 2021)

Vladimir Putin wanted Russia to join NATO but did not want his country to have to go through the usual application process and stand in line “with a lot of countries that don’t matter”, the former NATO chief, George Robertson said this week.

Robertson, a former Labour defence secretary who led Nato between 1999 and 2004, said Putin made it clear at their first meeting that he wanted Russia to be part of western Europe, the UK’s Guardian reported.

“They wanted to be part of that secure, stable, prosperous west that Russia was out of at the time,” he said.

Robertson recalled an early meeting with Putin, who became Russian president in 2000. “Putin said: ‘When are you going to invite us to join NATO?’ And [Robertson] said: ‘Well, we don’t invite people to join NATO, they apply to join NATO.’ And he said: ‘Well, we’re not standing in line with a lot of countries that don’t matter’.”

Robertson’s comments underscore how Putin’s worldview has evolved during his 21 years of unbroken rule of Russia, the Guardian reported.

Robertson also recalled how he became the first and only NATO secretary general to invoke NATO’s collective defence clause, known as article five, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

After the 9/11 attacks, many NATO allies joined the US in invading Afghanistan, with NATO taking over the mission command in 2003.

Robertson was however critical of the US’s chaotic withdrawal two months ago, but contended that the 20-year long mission of western military forces made a difference, despite the return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

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Bayat Foundation steps in to help at-risk families in Maidan Wardak province

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Bayat Foundation officials said Friday they have sent in a huge consignment of food aid to Maidan Wardak province to help hundreds of needy families.

According to officials, the aid includes flour, rice and oil, which they have started distributing to deserving families in the province.

“In continuation of the Bayat Foundation aid campaign, which sees us distribute aid every winter, today we had a program in Maidan Wardak province to distribute to deserving people. The aid included flour, rice and oil. The aid will be distributed in other provinces also,” said Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of Bayat Foundation.

Recipients of the food parcels welcomed the initiative and called on other charity organizations to help families in need.

“This winter, many people are in need [of aid]; they assisted us, we are grateful. We want them to help us again [in the future],” said one Maidan Wardak recipient.

“Our people are in need. No one has helped them so far. We are grateful to Bayat Foundation that helped us during this difficult time,” said another recipient.

“We are very grateful, because they helped us. We want them to continue their aid so we can survive this difficult situation,” said another resident of Wardak.

Each year, Bayat Foundation carries out a winter campaign, providing needy people with food. This winter, however, the foundation has ramped up efforts to reach as many Afghans as possible across the country amid the ongoing economic crisis.

Already thousands of desperate families have received food parcels from Bayat Foundation in over a dozen provinces in the country.

Food parcels are given to only the most at-risk families who are identified through a comprehensive assessment carried out by the foundation once an area has been earmarked for distribution.

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IEA warns media against publishing rumors

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

The intelligence department of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government said Thursday that media outlets should not spread false news and baseless rumors.

“A number of figures want to insult Islamic values so that they can achieve western citizenship,” the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) tweeted.

According to the GDI, these individuals have made untrue statements about the IEA which some media have reported on.

The country’s media, in accordance with the principles of journalism, should strictly refrain from publishing false news and baseless rumors, GDI tweeted.

The intelligence department has pointed out that insulting religious sanctities and rituals is not acceptable to the people.

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Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit, makes ‘no apologies’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday firmly defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he makes no apologies.

Addressing a press conference, Biden said: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.

Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said.

“It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity.”

He also suggested it was not the responsibility of the U.S. to fix Afghanistan’s challenges, The Week reported.

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