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NATO to Decide About Sending More Troops to Afghanistan Next Month: Secretary General

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(Last Updated On: May 25, 2017)

NATO is expecting to take its final decision about increasing a few thousand more troops to Afghanistan to end the current “stalemate” and to further strengthen Afghan special forces and Air force in the month of June, NATO top official said on Wednesday.

“We have recently completed our regular review of our training mission. And our military commanders have asked for a few thousand more troops. We are currently in the process of force generation and I expect final decisions to be taken next month,” speaking ahead of NATO meeting, the allies Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

Further accepting the “challenging” security situation in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General said that in Afghanistan the aim is to find a “negotiated political settlement”. He urged Russia to be “part of an Afghan-led peace process”.

He also praised Afghan forces for being able to hold their ground against insurgents attacks.

“We have also transformed our approach to fighting terrorism. In Afghanistan, we have moved from a combat role to a training role. This has shown us the value of supporting local forces in their fight against terrorism.”

Currently, NATO has about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, of whom about 8,400 are American troops.

Recently, the U.S.-led NATO commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, asked for a “few thousand” troops to break the current – what he called “stalemate” in the country.

The U.S. and its allies are expected to deploy 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops to assist, train and support the Afghan forces, but already a number of countries including Germany have announced that it is not looking to increase its presence in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, heads of State and Government in NATO will meet in Brussels where the U.S. President Donald will participate as well to discuss NATO’s contribution to fight against terrorism and burden-sharing.

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Abdullah says crisis will deepen if peace opportunity is not seized

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said on Monday that the crisis in Afghanistan will only intensify if the current, historic, opportunity is not used wisely. 

Speaking at a meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi in Islamabad, Abdullah said the majority of Afghans want the ongoing war in the country to end and for there to be peace and stability. 

He told the Pakistani officials that Afghanistan today is very different to the Afghanistan of 2001 – after the ousting of the Taliban regime. 

He emphasized that government was “committed to supporting national achievements.”

Abdullah thanked Pakistan for its help to get the Taliban to sit around the negotiating tables but said the level of violence, by the Taliban, in the country was way too high. 

He also said terrorism was a mutual threat for regional countries, and that “lasting and dignified peace in Afghanistan is in the interests of all regional and neighboring countries.”

Qureshi meanwhile said after the meeting that Abdullah’s visit will greatly help to strengthen relations with Afghanistan and forge a common understanding on the Afghan peace process.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s steadfast support to the peace process, Qureshi emphasized that Pakistan had always maintained there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and encouraged all parties to reach a political agreement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. 

He said it was now up to the Afghan leadership to seize this historic opportunity to bring an end to the decades-long conflict and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

He also said there was a need to guard against the detrimental role of ‘spoilers’, both within and outside Afghanistan, who do not wish to see the return of peace in the region.

“The Afghan Peace Process is of paramount importance for both Pakistan and Afghanistan and  its success ensures socio-economic prosperity for all. Abdullah’s visit further strengthens the amity and fraternity between our countries,” said Qureshi.

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TikTok gets temporary reprieve in US after judge blocks Trump order

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

TikTok continues to remain available for download on iPhone and Android in the United States after a judge on Sunday blocked the Trump administration’s executive order to force Apple and Google to remove the app from their app stores. 

Had the White House order gone ahead, new users in the US would have been blocked from downloading the popular app. 

TikTok became another point of contention between the US and China recently when the US administration raised concerns about the user data storage system and stated they were concerned the Chinese government might use the information.

For weeks, the US government has called for the American side of the TikTok business to be sold. At one point Microsoft had looked into taking it over. 

Now, however, Oracle and Walmart appear to be interested in the takeover.

On Sunday however, a judge granted TikTok owners ByteDance a temporary injunction against Trump’s ban order but it is only a slight reprieve for the company. 

The judge did not block a much broader ban that will come into effect on November 12th, rendering TikTok unusable in the US.

“We’re pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban,” TikTok said in a statement.

“We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees.”

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Gov’t expresses concern over Armenia, Azerbaijan clashes

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday expressed its concerns over the ongoing clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. 

The ministry said in a statement that the Nagorno-Karabakh region has been recognized internationally as a part of Azerbaijan and as such Afghanistan calls for the end to clashes and “supports the efforts by the people and government of Azerbaijan and other nations of the world in this regard”. 

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for re-establishing the ceasefire and resolving the region’s long-standing crisis peacefully,” the statement read. 

At least 21 people were killed on Monday in a second day of heavy clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan that reportedly involved airpower, missiles and heavy armor.

The confrontation between the two former Soviet republics has rekindled concern over stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.

Any move to all-out conflict could drag in major regional powers Russia and Turkey, Reuters reported. 

Moscow has a defense alliance with Armenia, while Ankara backs its ethnic Turkic kin in Azerbaijan.

Majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan have come to blows periodically in their decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians.

Armenia’s parliament condemned what it said was a “full-scale military attack” by Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh that was receiving Turkey’s help, adding that Ankara’s involvement could risk destabilizing the region. Azerbaijan denied its ally Turkey was taking part in the fighting.

 

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