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McMaster warns an ‘end to the war could be catastropic’

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(Last Updated On: March 25, 2021)

Former US National Security Advisor HR McMaster said on Wednesday night he is very concerned about the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and felt it could result in a “catastrophe” for the Afghan people and for the region.

Speaking at a Hoover Institute debate, McMaster said this “so-called responsible end of the war in Afghanistan, which I think could be catastrophic not only for the Afghan people but for the people of the region, for Europe; and also result in increased risk from Jihadist terrorist organizations”.

McMaster said he would like to ask President Joe Biden about the “resurrection of the language of responsible end of the war”. He said this term was last used in 2011 regarding the Iraq withdrawal.

“Of course we know what happened a couple of years later with the rise of ISIS there,” he said adding whether Biden was, as such, concerned “about replicating that experience in Afghanistan in a way that creates a humanitarian catastrophe.”

McMaster has been a vehement critic of former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban and said six months ago in an interview with CNN that the Trump administration had been “absolutely wrong” in its negotiations with the Taliban.

“I think that the Trump administration policy has been absolutely wrong since the negotiations began with the Taliban,” McMaster said.

“What I think is paradoxical about this, regrettable about it, is the Trump administration has replicated almost precisely the fundamental flaws in the Obama administration approach to Afghanistan,” he said, “and that is this flawed assumption, this belief, that there’s this bold line between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.”

There is a tendency, he said, toward “strategic narcissism — defining the world as we would like it to be and then assuming what we do is decisive to the outcome, and in this case, creating the enemy we would prefer.”

McMaster said what worries him is what “power-sharing with the Taliban” looks like?

“Is that mass executions in the soccer stadium every other Saturday? Is that every other girls’ school bulldozed?” he said. “So I’m very concerned that this negotiation process made too many concessions.”

“Forcing the Afghan government to release 5,000 of the most heinous people on earth who could form the backbone of a rejuvenated terrorist infrastructure as well as cutting a deal,” saying simply “just don’t plot against the United States,” he said.

During the CNN interview he said there are brave Afghans fighting daily to preserve the freedoms that they have achieved since the end of the Taliban regime in 2001, implying Trump’s policy was going against everything the Afghan nation has been fighting for.

“About 30 Afghan soldiers and police give their lives every day” to protect the Afghan population against “these terrorists who commit mass murder of innocent people as their principle tactic in a war against all humanity.”

He said the Trump administration’s policy towards the Taliban “is a disaster” and “it’s something I hope can be reversed.”

Six months down the line, the May 1 deadline for troop withdrawal looms but the deal, while under review, is still in place.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed this during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

Blinken said he was at the Foreign Ministers meeting, held this week, to listen, learn and consult on what the next step would be in terms of withdrawing troops or extending their stay.

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Russia’s Putin won’t attend G20 summit in person

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 summit in Rome in person this month, but will take part via video link, the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Kremlin said Putin informed Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi about his plans in a telephone call during which they also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and bilateral issues.

This comes after the United Sates announced that will not join international talks on Afghanistan organized by Russia this week due to logistical reasons, but is open to participating in the future, the State Department said on Monday.

Moscow is hosting talks on Wednesday with officials from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), China and Pakistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative was quoted as saying last week.

“We will not participate in the Moscow talks. The Troika-plus has been an effective, a constructive forum. We look forward to engaging in that forum going forward, but we’re not in a position to take part this week,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

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IEA Council of Ministers meet to discuss numerous issues

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

A meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) was held on Monday at the Presidential Palace in Kabul under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, Zabiullah Mujahid, the deputy minister of information and culture said in a statement.

The meeting was followed by a report back on the economic activities carried out by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi, read the statement.

According to the IEA the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amir Khan Mottaqi also provided information on important issues related to foreign trips and meetings with foreign representatives.

During the meeting necessary decisions were also taken on some important issues, Mujahid said.

A delegation was also formed from the agencies of Nadir Pakhtun Markets, in Kabul, and for mining. These were tasked to discuss in principle the modalities of starting construction work as soon as possible and submit plans in order for the implementation of the plans, the statement said.

Also higher education officials were instructed to take serious steps to standardize the affairs of universities and urged the officials of private universities to attract students to the relevant faculties after obtaining the necessary legal licenses.

Meanwhile, in order to control and organize the affairs of NGOs, the relevant commissions were tasked to evaluate the course of affairs, the activities of which should be tailored to the interests of the country in all respects and in accordance with the policies of the Islamic Emirate.

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India plans to send food to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2021)

India plans to send food and medical aid to Afghanistan amid warnings that the nation could face a catastrophic famine this winter.

India is considering options to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and medical aid to Afghanistan. This, however, will be subject to Pakistan’s approval.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for “urgent and unhindered” humanitarian assistance to Afghan citizens.

Speaking at the G20 summit on Afghanistan, Modi had noted that the Afghan people have a great feeling of friendship for India and that every Indian feels the pain of Afghan people facing hunger and malnutrition.

Meanwhile, UN World Food Programme (WFP) had earlier said it is in touch with India to donate wheat to Afghanistan.

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