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Ghani pledged to fight till death but fled: Blinken

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(Last Updated On: November 1, 2021)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS on Sunday that former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani promised to fight till death but instead fled Kabul when the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) arrived at the gates of the city.

This comes a week after former US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on the same show that the Biden administration could have done more to prevent the collapse of the government in Kabul.

On Sunday’s show, the interviewer asked Blinken if he had personally tried to persuade Ghani to stay in Kabul.

Blinken said he had been on the phone with Ghani on the Saturday night, “pressing him to make sure he was ready to agree with the plan we were trying to put into effect — to do a transfer of power to- to a new government that would have been led by the Taliban (IEA), but then inclusive and included all aspects of Afghan society.

“And he told me on the phone he was prepared to do that, but if the Taliban (IEA) wouldn’t go along, he was ready to fight to the death,” said Blinken.

However, the next day, August 15, Ghani fled Afghanistan.

Blinken stated that neither the US intelligence agencies nor any politicians expected “the rapid implosion of the government and the security forces. No one anticipated that would happen over the course of 11 days.”

Asked if he did everything he could, Blinken said the State Department was reviewing everything that the US had done, starting from 2020 when the Trump administration made an agreement with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, as well as all actions taken over the years.

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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His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.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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Pakistan played major role in peace, stability of Afghanistan: Arif Alvi

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan played a major role in the peace and stability in Afghanistan and that Islamabad made sure Kabul was not isolated.

Alvi said in a media interview, that during the recent Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit he told its members that Pakistan saved Afghanistan from being isolated.

He also stated that during the extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of OIC in Islamabad, Pakistan, in December, he portrayed the actual picture of the war-torn country.

He also said the world has recognized Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiatives.

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ILO estimates underscore Afghanistan employment crisis

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Job losses in Afghanistan following the change in administration in August 2021 totaled more than half a million in the third quarter and may reach 900,000 by mid-2022, according to new estimates released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to the ILO, the estimated 14% loss by mid-2022 reflects workers pushed out of employment due to the change in administration and ensuing economic crisis as well as restrictions on women’s participation in the workplace.

The total number of hours worked in the Afghan economy is estimated to have dropped by 13% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to a hypothetical scenario with no change in administration.

The ILO said key sectors have been devastated since the collapse of the former government including agriculture, the civil service and the construction industry which have all seen large-scale job losses or workers go unpaid.

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