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Pentagon announces troop reduction in Afghanistan and Iraq

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(Last Updated On: November 18, 2020)

The US troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq will be reduced to 2,500 in each country by mid-January, US acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced on Tuesday.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who Trump installed last week after firing Mark Esper, confirmed.

“By Jan. 15, 2021, our forces, their size in Afghanistan, will be 2,500 troops. Our force size in Iraq will also be 2,500 by that same date,” Miller told reporters.

US Acting Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller also phoned President Ghani and discussed the decision and the Afghan peace process.

“Both sides talked about the peace process, strengthening mutual relations, and continued meaningful U.S. military support to the Afghan Security and Defense Forces.” Presidential palace said.

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also present in this telephone call, palace said.

Yesterday Afghan Acting defense minister Assadullah Khalid told parliament that although he does not believe a full withdrawal of foreign forces will happen, the ANDSF are fully prepared to defend their country.

This comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday warned against a hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and said the price for leaving too soon could “be very high”.

NATO currently has less than 12,000 troops from dozens of countries in Afghanistan, while the US is now down to around 4,500.

Stoltenberg said that “even with further US reductions, NATO will continue its mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. We are also committed to funding them through 2024.”

Meanwhile, according to a Pentagon watchdog report published in “The Hill” reported that the Taliban has conducted a “small number” of attacks against US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan despite its agreement with the Trump administration banning such attacks, a Pentagon watchdog said in a report released Tuesday.

The Taliban did not comment yet.

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IEA eager for dialogue with the world: China’s Wang Yi

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials are eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

In an address delivered by video link to a conference in Iran on Afghanistan, Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban (IEA) are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang said in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

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Iran says IEA must ensure security to all Afghans and borders

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday at the opening of a conference on Afghanistan in Tehran that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) are responsible for the security of all Afghans and the country’s borders.

Addressing delegates from Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, and Russia, Amir-Abdollahian said: “We must emphasize that the responsibility of security for Afghan citizens, as well as security at the borders of this country with its neighbors, first of all lies with the ruling council temporarily in charge of Afghanistan.”

Iran also called on the IEA to ensure the Shiite community in Afghanistan is provided security. This comes after recent attacks, claimed by Daesh, targeted this minority group in the country.

The Iranian foreign minister also called on the international community “to pay special attention” to political and humanitarian problems, as well as to terrorism, narcotics trafficking and women’s rights in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the Iranian foreign ministry called on the IEA, which was not invited to the meeting, to form an inclusive government and prevent violence.

“The people of Afghanistan are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including food, medicine and vaccines to combat Covid,” Amir- Abdollahian told the second meeting of Afghanistan’s foreign ministers.

He said: “Considering the fact that aid should be distributed in such a way that people can benefit from it in a fair way.”

“Given the ubiquity of the UN umbrella, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s proposal is to request the Secretary-General of the Organization to make a concerted effort and, if necessary, mediate between the Afghan parties to reach an agreement on the future political structure of the country,” he said.

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Nato was a political failure in Afghanistan: UK’s defence secretary

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Nato’s political campaign in Afghanistan was a failure, the UK’s defence secretary said on Tuesday but insisted the western alliance had not suffered a military defeat at the hands of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

Speaking to the Commons defence committee on Tuesday afternoon, Wallace said Nato forces could have stayed on in the country, but a “rotten deal” struck by Donald Trump’s US government led to the IEA’s triumphant return, the Guardian reported.

It was “highly likely” that there would now be a renewed threat from al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, Wallace said. But, he added: “For 20 years we were safer, so we can bank that.

“I don’t think that we were defeated. Our resolve was found wanting, I would say, rather than defeated,” he said.

“Nato were there to enable a political campaign and I think that is what failed. The military were there to put in place the security environment in order to try and deliver that.

“When that is withdrawn, that is when you find out whether your political campaign has worked. What we discovered is it didn’t work. It was the western resolve and the western narrative or political foundations they had laid failed. There are a lot of searching questions there for all of us.”

He added: “I think it is highly likely that we will see a return to al-Qaeda and an increasing threat coming from Afghanistan.”

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