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Full U.S. Pullout Could Trigger a “Total Civil War” in Afghanistan: Ex-U.S. Envoys

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(Last Updated On: September 4, 2019)

A number of former U.S. diplomats warned in a statement that Afghanistan could collapse in a “total civil war” if the U.S. pullout all of its troop from the country before a final peace agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government.

The statement was released on the Atlantic Council website, a think tank, by nine former U.S. diplomats on Tuesday.

The warning was issued after the U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad announced a draft agreement with the Taliban for an initial reduction of nearly 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“A major troop withdrawal must be contingent on a final peace. The initial US drawdown should not go so far or so fast that the Taliban believe that they can achieve military victory,” the statement said

“In that case, they will not make compromises for peace with other Afghan political forces,” the statement added.

According to the deal, the U.S. would reduce its troop from 14,000 soldiers to 8000-9000 soldiers. In exchange, the Taliban would agree to renounce al-Qaeda and bar it from activities such as fundraising, recruiting, training and operational planning in areas under Taliban control.

The ex-envoys expressed their doubt on the possibility of peace in Afghanistan saying, “It is not clear whether peace is possible.”

“The Taliban have made no clear statements about the conditions they would accept for a peaceful settlement with their fellow Afghans, nor do they have a track record of working with other political forces,” the diplomats underscored.

“An outcome far worse than the status quo, namely a return to the total civil war that consumed Afghanistan as badly as the war with the Russians and something that could follow a breakdown in negotiations if we remove too much support from the Afghan state,” the diplomats said referring to a possible civil war in Afghanistan after U.S. full withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the U.S. envoys expressed their support for “a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, a limited force drawdown as part of getting peace negotiations going, and the substantial force drawdown later that peace would allow.”

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India overtakes Russia to become world’s third hardest-hit nation in pandemic

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

India on Sunday surpassed Russia with the number of COVID-19 cases, to become the country with the third-highest number in the world.

Adding just under 24,000 new Coronavirus cases late Sunday, India’s total is now at 697,836, according to Worldometer data.

In its daily update, India’s health ministry on Sunday reported the record spike in cases and stated that 613 people had died in 24 hours.

India’s count surpassed Russia’s current caseload of 681,251. With this, only the US and Brazil have recorded higher numbers of COVID cases than India.

According to local news reports, this surge in numbers came as infections rose in the western and southern parts of the country amid heavy monsoon rains.

NDTV stated that Maharashtra, the worst-hit state and home to the densely packed financial hub Mumbai, recorded over 7,000 new cases while Tamil Nadu and Delhi recorded more than 4,200 and 2,500 fresh cases respectively.

The surge in cases in India comes despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March to control the virus spread.

Authorities have made wearing masks mandatory in public places, while large gatherings are banned and shops and other public establishments are required to implement social distancing.

But epidemiologists have told India’s media that the country’s peak could still be weeks or months away, suggesting the country’s already severely overburdened healthcare system will come under further stress.

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Militants attack security checkpoint – Kabul

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

One militant was killed and another arrested in Shakar Dara district of Kabul province, police said.

The militants stormed a security checkpoint in Mir Bacha Kut district of Kabul and faced resistance by police, Kabul police said in a statement, adding that the Afghan forces pushed back the insurgents and they fled the area following clashes.

According to the statement, one of the militants was killed in chasing in Shakar Dara district of the province and the other one was arrested.

The incident took place at around 2 a.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, the Taliban militants attacked Afghan security forces on the Balkh-Jawzjan highway on Sunday.

The Defense Ministry said that three insurgents were killed and four others wounded in a counterattack.

In Logar, the Afghan forces pushed back the Taliban in the Puze Niai area in the Barakibarak district of the province.

The Taliban yet comment about the incidents.

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Afghanistan to host regional meeting on peace process

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

Afghanistan will host a summit on Monday which will be attended by regional countries to discuss the Afghan peace process. 

Representatives from 19 countries, the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and neighboring countries are expected to attend the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Monday at the Presidential Palace via a video conference.

Reduction in violence, the start of inter-Afghan talks, the exchange of prisoners, and the establishment of a humanitarian ceasefire are points of the meeting’s agenda, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said.

“The countries of the region and Afghanistan’s strategic partners will join the regional summit which will be held as a video conference on Monday,” MFA spokesman Gran Hiwad said.

Monday’s meeting will bring together a number of countries that have conflicting interests in Afghanistan. They will be brought together to reach a consensus on peace talks, the government said. However, the government has repeatedly stated that there is a consensus on the peace process in the region.

“The Afghan government has always said that we have a regional consensus. In tomorrow’s meeting with twenty countries, they will once again emphasize the regional understanding of Afghanistan’s peace and security,” said Ahmad Saeedi, a former Afghan diplomat in Pakistan.

The regional meeting, hosted by Kabul, will begin with a speech by the President, and at the end, 19 countries and the United Nations will announce a joint declaration on peace in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Kabul will host a trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China on peace talks. But holding the meeting out of sight of India beyond New Delhi’s regional opposition to Islamabad and Beijing is seen as detrimental to the peace process.

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