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Mohib claims continued foreign financial support needed to sustain ANDSF

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(Last Updated On: March 23, 2021)

Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said Tuesday all special forces from the army, police, and NDS, have been brought together under one command in preparation for US and NATO troops withdrawal.

In a conversation with the Hudson Institute’s Director for South and Central Asia Husain Haqqani, Mohib said these troops are highly trained and have already been effective against Daesh, al-Qaeda and Taliban. 

US and NATO have built these units up and trained them and they are dedicated to defending their people against terrorism, he said.

These are forces that have been trained by the best, he said adding that they currently carry out almost 97 percent of offenses in the country. 

He also pointed out that this winter has “been the bloodiest of all”. Taliban changed tactics and continued their violence across the country and the ANDSF has been solely responsible for the country’s protection. Occasionally help was sought from the US for air support, he said

“If we are not prepared for war, we cannot make peace,” he said.

According to him, the ANDSF has kept up its momentum and can hold its own but government cannot sustain the security forces financially on their own. He says they have discussed this with the new US administration to support them and to provide technical assistance for a longer period.

Mohib explained the Republic system represents a wide range of parties and groups – something the Taliban cannot accommodate. He said if the interests of some of these groups aren’t represented they could become an insurgent group

Mohib stated that the Taliban has not changed since they were in power 20 years ago but said it appears as if the Taliban is having problems “inspiring” its fighters. Many Taliban don’t believe in this war anymore, he said adding that this comes after countries and Ulemas have said there is no legitimacy to the war. 

“We are seeing a weakening Taliban rank-and-file”, he said adding that the ANDSF continues to show its strength despite the increased level of violence by the Taliban. 

Mohib stated that the ANDSF is capable of defending its country against an insurgency and terrorism and counter narcotics “should it have continued financial support.”

On the issue of a financial commitment Mohib said combat troops in Afghanistan are involved in counter-terrorism operations and propose that if they withdraw these troops, the current support, about $5 million dollars, should be channeled through the ANDSF. 

This he said would be used to counter terrorism, counter insurgency and counter narcotics. 

According to Mohib, the Afghan Republic’s negotiating team has said they don’t see any change in the Taliban since it was in power. 

“We are yet to see the change in Taliban’s posture, in Taliban’s opinion, and in Taliban’s policies that we all hoped had come.”

“We don’t know what that changed Taliban looks like yet because we haven’t seen a change,” Mohib said. 

He also said the people “fear the Taliban” adding that the Taliban is not the only reality of the country, but just a “part of reality”. 

The Afghan negotiating team has engaged Taliban with consistency and urgency including on a ceasefire but stated the Taliban has turned out to be “underwhelming” at the talks tables and have “dragged their feet” and sometimes avoided negotiations.

But Mohib said government is pursuing all avenues for peace and will not be the first one to pull out of talks. 

The Afghan government remains open to any initiative that will bring Afghanistan closer to peace – this includes initiatives such as the Turkey summit, Mohib said

According to him, the Afghan government would also be open to a power-sharing deal with the Taliban but that the issue lies with the “differences of opinion” between the Republic and the Taliban. He said such a deal on its own would be “easy” but with different ideologies sealing a power-sharing deal alone would not solve what the people want – a stable government with a system that answers to their needs.

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Govt rolls out curfew in 31 provinces to curb Taliban activities

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(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

The Afghan government announced Saturday it has imposed a curfew in 31 provinces around the country in a bid to curb Taliban activity.

According to the Ministry of Interior’s deputy spokesman Ahmad Zia Zia, the curfew will come into effect immediately and will be enforced from 10pm to 4am. 

Kabul, Nangarhar and Panjshir provinces are the only three that have been exempt. 

“Based on the security [situation] officials announced a curfew in 31 provinces; the decision was taken to prevent Taliban activities,” said Zia.

Meanwhile, residents of Kapisa province said that a number of families have been displaced due to clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts.

“Due to the war between ANDSF and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts, many of the residents of the districts have been displaced. We want to know what government intends to do about this,” said Shamila Mashal, a civil society activist.

In addition to these districts, heavy clashes have been ongoing between ANDSF and Taliban in Ghazni, Wardak, Takhar, Kunduz, Kunar, Laghman, Herat, Helmand and Nimruz provinces.

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Commander of US, NATO forces in Afghanistan is stepping down

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(Last Updated On: July 12, 2021)

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan General Scott Miller is stepping down Monday in a move that marks the symbolic end of the U.S. military mission in the country.

Miller has commanded the military coalition in Afghanistan since August 2018, longer than any previous commanding general in that position and will turn over command of U.S. Forces Afghanistan to the commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine General Frank McKenzie.

NBC reported that as the head of CENTCOM, McKenzie already had authority over Afghanistan and many of the neighboring countries. He will continue to work from CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and his forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar.

Miller is expected to retire, three defense officials said, NBC reported.

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Biden: US military mission in Afghanistan will end Aug 31

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2021)

The United States’ military mission in Afghanistan will officially end on August 31, US President Joe Biden announced Thursday during an update on the troop withdrawal process.

Biden stated a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is “not inevitable” because the Afghan military not only outnumbers the Taliban but is much better equipped. 

He also said the US intelligence community’s recent warning that Afghanistan’s government is on the verge of collapse is “wrong”. 

Biden’s remarks during a press briefing at the White House came after he and Vice President Kamala Harris met with national security leaders for an update on the troop withdrawal process.

He also said: “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build, and it is the right and the responsibility of Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.” 

Biden announced that the US is implementing an evacuation plan to withdraw Afghans who assisted the American military.

Biden said Washington would begin flights this month to relocate Afghan interpreters and other personnel who aided the US military – as well as their families – to third-party countries while they await expedited visa processing to move to the United States.

“There is a home for you in the United States if you so choose, and we will stand with you just as you stood with us,” Biden said.

He noted that the US has already approved 2,500 special immigrant visas for Afghans who assisted the US military but said that “up until now, fewer than half have exercised their right to do that.”

There are an estimated 18,000 Afghans who qualify for the special immigrant visas.

 

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