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NATO position ‘unchanged’ despite drawdown of US troops

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2021)
Following Washington’s announcement that American troop levels were down to 2,500 in Afghanistan, NATO stated on Saturday its position in the country has not changed. 
 
In a statement, NATO noted: “The US had already stated that they would reduce their presence in Afghanistan to 2,500 troops. They also made clear that they would continue to provide their enablers to our Resolute Support Mission. NATO’s position has not changed. We are carrying out our Train/Advise/Assist mission in its current configuration, with a Headquarters in Kabul and four regional commands.
 
“We are helping the Afghan security forces in their efforts towards lasting peace, and ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorism,” the statement read. 
 
The organization stated it continues to support the Afghan peace process, and as part of the peace process, NATO stands ready to further adjust its presence, in line with its conditions-based approach. 
 
“In the months ahead, we will continue to assess our presence based on conditions on the ground. 
 
“NATO Defence Ministers will discuss our presence in Afghanistan at their meeting in February. Whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a coordinated and deliberate way,” read the statement. 

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Putin says Afghanistan’s financial assets should be unfrozen

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2021)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Afghanistan should receive economic support and get its financial assets unfrozen as its stability was in the interest of all its neighbours, Reuters reported.

Washington meanwhile said earlier this week it has no plans to release billions in Afghan gold, investments and foreign currency reserves parked in the United States that it froze after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) seized power in August, despite pressure from humanitarian groups and others who say the cost may be the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy.

Afghanistan’s new IEA rulers won backing from 10 regional powers at talks in Moscow on Wednesday for the idea of a United Nations donor conference to help the country stave off economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe.

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IEA’s Prime Minister and Pakistani FM discuss economic cooperation

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(Last Updated On: October 21, 2021)

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund on Thursday met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the increase of economic cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the resumption of civilian flights between Kabul and Islamabad, the increase of economic cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and keeping Spin Boldak, Torkham and Ghulam Khan border crossings open 24 hours a day.

They also discussed the reduction of high customs tariffs on Afghan exports, the provision of facilities for Afghan travelers and the completion of the country’s semi-completed development projects.

The Afghan side stressed that work on the CASA – 1000 project and the Mazar-e-Sharif to Peshawar railway line should be accelerated and Pakistan should find a solution to the transit problems.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that his country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had set a limited time for their accompanying delegation to fully resolve the issues based on bilateral agreements.

Qureshi also said that the presence of officials from all sectors in their delegation showed that Pakistan wants to solve the problems in the economic and political sectors with Afghanistan.

Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund in turn called the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan historic and said that he hoped that Pakistan would prove its commitments in practice.

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Allies have the capabilities to strike from afar against terrorist threats: NATO

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(Last Updated On: October 21, 2021)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday allies will discuss Afghanistan during Friday’s defence ministers meeting, which will be “the first opportunity for the ministers to engage in the lessons learnt process” launched by the organization.

NATO defense ministers are meeting Thursday and Friday in Brussels to chart the course for the alliance as it modernizes and adapts to a world dominated by strategic competition.

However, the discussions will also include Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said during a press conference Thursday. According to him “we are in the midst of the lessons learned process, I think it’s a bit early to draw final conclusions.”

He said the decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan had been “a very difficult dilemma” but after extensive rounds of consultations among all allies, “we agreed together to end our military presence in Afghanistan”.

Stoltenberg said the lesson learned process has to focus on both what did not work, but also what worked, and he said “we should recognize that we actually made significant achievements”.

“Our mission was not in vain. We prevented Afghanistan from being a safe haven for international terrorists, and prevented any attack against any NATO ally over 20 years.

“Now we will stay vigilant and preserve those gains. Not least by holding, using the leverage we have on the new Taliban (Islamic Emirate) regime to make sure that they live up to their commitments on terrorism, on human rights, and safe passage.”

“The international community has economic and diplomatic leverage over the Taliban (Islamic Emirate),” he said.

“Looking ahead, we must continue to stand together in the fight against international terrorism,” he said. “And in the margins of this ministerial, we will hold a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh [or the Islamic State group],” he said.

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