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Russia Attempts to Be Influential Third Party in Afghanistan, Says U.S. Gen.

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(Last Updated On: March 30, 2017)

20170329 Military Assessment of the Security Challenges in the Greater Middle East (ID 105692).mp4_snapshot_00.39.14_[2017.03.30_17.48.19]Russia is trying to be an influential third party in war-torn Afghanistan, a top US commander said and expressed concern over reports of Russians supplying weapons to the Taliban.

“They (Russia) are attempting to be an influential third party here in Afghanistan,” General Joselg L Votel, Commander of US Central Command, told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing. This is not a good development, and against American interest, the general told lawmakers. Votel also expressed concern over reports of Russians supplying weapons to the Taliban.

“I think that it is fair to assume they (Russians) may be providing some kind of support to them (Taliban) in terms of weapons or other things that may be there. Again, I think that is the possibility.

“I believe what Russia is attempting to do is they are attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world. Obviously they do have some concerns because it is close to former Soviet states that they consider to be within their sphere so there is some concern about that,” Votel said. “They are reaching out to the Taliban and they have made the decision under their own determination that the government of Afghanistan and the coalition that supports them is unable to solve the concern about ISIS. They are much more concerned about ISIS and the potential that has to move into the Central Asian states and potentially have an impact on them.

“They have created a narrative that you really have to partner more with the Taliban to address this particular threat and they are trying to leverage that into a bigger role in terms of trying to pursue peace agreements and other things with the Taliban,” he said.

Votel said he does not consider it to be particularly helpful at this particular point to what the US has been doing and the process that they have been using. “In general, I do not consider their outreach and linkage to the Taliban to be helpful to what the coalition has been trying to accomplish for some time now in Afghanistan,” Votel said, responding to a question from Congresswoman Susan Davis.

“What kinds of support are the Russians sending to the Taliban? And how direct is their involvement? What does that mean about our ongoing conflict there?” she asked. “Congresswoman, I think there is a lot that we do not know about what Russia is doing,” Votel said. The White House refused to comment on Votel’s remarks. “General’s comment stands for itself,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.

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IEA wraps up first day of talks with Norwegian authorities

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Monday members of their delegation, led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, to Norway met with Norwegian officials on Sunday and discussed issues related to the current situation in the country.

According to a statement issued by the (IEA), “a one-day joint meeting was held between officials of the acting Afghan government and a number of personalities in Oslo, the capital of the Kingdom of Norway”.

“During the meeting, the participants listened patiently to each others’ opinions and exchanged views on the current situation in the country.

“They affirmed that Afghanistan is the shared home of all Afghans, and stressed that all Afghans need to work together for the political, economic and security prosperity of the country.

 “The participants of the meeting recognized that understanding and joint cooperation are the only solutions to all the problems of Afghanistan,” read the statement.

The IEA also said all participants declared such meetings to be in the interest of the country.

Speaking at the end of the first day of talks, IEA delegate Shafiullah Azam told The Associated Press that the meetings with Western officials were “a step to legitimize (the) Afghan government,” adding that “this type of invitation and communication will help (the) European community, (the) U.S. or many other countries to erase the wrong picture of the Afghan government.”

Norway’s Foreign Ministry meanwhile said in a statement last week that Afghan representatives have been invited to Oslo from  23-25 January to meet Norwegian authorities, the international community, and other Afghans.

The statement noted that the meetings do not represent a legitimization or recognition of the IEA “but the de facto authorities must be talked with so that we prevent political situation leading to a worse humanitarian disaster”.

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Pakistan’s PM renews call for humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday reiterated calls for the international community to provide urgent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Khan said in a tweet that under the UN Principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), it was obligatory to help protect people from the mass-scale humanitarian crisis left in the wake of a prolonged conflict.

“Right now millions of Afghan people are in danger of starvation,” he said adding it was the “duty of the international community to provide humanitarian assistance.”

UN agencies have warned that more than 23 million people are at risk of starvation if aid is not provided.

Earlier this month, the UN agencies launched a call for $4.5 billion in aid for 2022, its biggest-ever international appeal. The US responded with a donation of $308 million to be channeled through independent humanitarian organizations.

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IEA delegation arrives in Norway for humanitarian talks

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2022)

Representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) arrived in Norway on Saturday (January 22) for three days of talks due to start on Sunday (January 23) on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis.

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year’s IEA takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security.

The IEA representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from January 23 to January 25.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban [IEA]. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

According to the Norwegian foreign ministry, meetings will also take place between the IEA delegation and Afghan civil society members, including women leaders, journalists, and “individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues”.

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