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Senior Officials Say U.S. Should Confront Russia for Arming Taliban

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(Last Updated On: April 25, 2017)

Afghanistan_Mattis_21481The U.S. senior officials have declared that the United States should confront Russia for providing weapons to the armed Taliban group for use against American troops in Afghanistan.

US Defense Secretary Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis who made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, during a press conference with Gen. John Nicholson, American commander in Afghanistan said he would “not refute” that Moscow’s involvement includes giving weapons to the Taliban.

“We’ll engage with Russia diplomatically,” Mattis said. “We’ll do so where we can, but we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries.”

“For example,” Mattis told reporters in the Afghan capital, “any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law.”

Afghan officials have previously said that Russia was giving machine guns and other medium-weight weapons. But Russia denied that it provides any such support to the Taliban.

Regarding the recent base attack in Blakh province, Mattis called the attack on unarmed soldiers at a mosque and dining facility proof that the insurgent group was a “barbaric enemy,” saying of the Taliban, “These people have no religious foundation, they are not devout anything, and it shows why we stand with the people of this country against such heinous acts.”

He did say, “We are under no illusions about the challenges associated with this mission,” adding that “2017 is going to be another tough year for the valiant Afghan security forces and the international troops who have stood and who will continue to stand should to shoulder with Afghanistan against terrorism.”

Gen. Nicholson also said about the base attack in Balkh province, “it’s quite possible” that the Pakistan-based Haqqani network was responsible. The Taliban claimed it carried out the attack.”

Mattis who is the first member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to visit Afghanistan emphasized that his visit at the headquarters of Operation Resolute Support, the NATO-led mission to train and advise Afghan security forces.

By: Zack Arya

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Ghani tells UN the country is dealing will multiple drivers of turmoil

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the international community to help his country achieve peace as Afghanistan is facing “multiple drivers of turmoil all at once.”

He said however that peace remains Afghanistan’s “most urgent and important priority”.

In a pre-recorded address to the UN General Assembly late Wednesday, Ghani said his country is at the center of a region both full of opportunity and afflicted by global problems. 

Asia cannot integrate without Afghanistan, he said, pointing to South Asia’s need for energy and Central Asia’s abundance of resources as a clear example of the country’s relevance. 

“We are right at the heart of untapped potential that could bring prosperity and peace to our region,” he said, adding that to reach that potential it is imperative to clearly identify and address existing challenges.

He said the COVID‑19 pandemic had exposed the international community’s vulnerabilities, and much like the Second World War has forced all countries to take unprecedented action. 

The pandemic exacerbates drivers of inequality, such as unemployment, which is upending our world, he said adding that the fourth industrial revolution, the digital age, is also challenging Afghanistan to adapt in the “ways we work and the ways we govern”. 

He said Afghanistan was looking at how the digital age could be used as an opportunity for the country’s “overwhelmingly young population” and ways it can be used to strengthen governance and rule of law. 

Violence and warfare have also evolved, he said adding that the Afghan people are suffering at the hands of global terrorist networks.  He said Afghans have experienced this evolution and suffer “in real-time and are living and dying inside the 5th wave of global terrorism.”

He also stated that “global terrorist networks are closely linked with global criminal networks making warfare totally unconventional and making peace-building more of a challenge.” 

He said Afghanistan has taken hard decisions to start peace talks with the Taliban but is committed to the process. “This won’t be enough for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. We must get to the roots of the terrorism problem blighting our region and address it as a global phenomenon and threat that it is.”

Further destabilizing the country is the issue of climate-related disasters in relation to climate change. 

He said Afghans grapple with “urgent and real problems daily” and that the country needs a framework and pragmatic solutions to tackle all drivers of turmoil.

Intersecting all these destabilizing factors is an explosion of inequality, he noted.

To face all these challenges, the international community must uphold the founding principles of the United Nations, he said. 

The values enshrined in human rights texts must not be seen as unachievable ideals and aspirations, rather, they must be actualized, Ghani said adding that achieving the promises of peace, dignity, justice, and freedom calls for unprecedented cooperation, frameworks that present pragmatic solutions, and a United Nations capable of fulfilling its goals. 

He said Afghanistan is poised to strengthen State governance structures and create an environment conducive to growth by combating corruption.  The role of the United Nations as the government proceeds with peace talks is important, he said, adding that an urgent end to violence will allow Afghanistan to progress.

 

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Taliban kill 28 policemen after calling for them to surrender

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(Last Updated On: September 23, 2020)

Uruzgan officials have confirmed 28 Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) members have been killed in a raid by the Taliban. 

Zargoi Ebadi, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the security situation has deteriorated rapidly recently resulting in ANDSF troops withdrawing from some checkposts while other checkposts were besieged by the Taliban. 

He said in one siege, in Gizab district, the Taliban urged Afghan National Police (ANP) and local police members to surrender – saying they would then release them. 

However, after surrendering to the insurgent group, 28 ANP and local police members were killed. 

Ebadi said on Wednesday night, the security situation has been brought under control. 

The Taliban has rejected the claims and said the security force members were killed in a skirmish. 

This latest incident comes as concerns rise on the serious increase in violence that is gripping the country. 

Countless attacks are being carried out on a daily basis while dozens of ANDSF members are losing their lives in Taliban attacks. 

This serious uptick in violence comes amid ongoing peace talks between the Afghan peace negotiating team and the Taliban, in Doha. 

However, despite repeated calls from global leaders for a reduction in violence, the conflict continues to escalate. 

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Uzbek president urges UN to establish permanent committee on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 23, 2020)

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, on Wednesday called on the United Nations General Assembly to establish a permanent UN Committee on Afghanistan to coordinate peace efforts and to facilitate a lasting political settlement in the country.

Mirziyoyev outlined steps his country has taken to try to promote peace in Afghanistan, starting with a major international forum held in Tashkent in March 2018. 

Since then, Uzbekistan has invested heavily in rail and transport infrastructure in Afghanistan, as well as in the energy sector and in education.

In his address to the UN, Mirziyoyev said his government has held extensive talks with all political parties and movements within Afghanistan, including the Taliban.

Mirziyoyev said: “We consider Afghanistan as unalienable part of Central Asia. The high-level Tashkent conference on Afghanistan in March 2018 became a new stage to consolidate international efforts to solve the Afghan problem.

“We fully support the intra-Afghan peace talks which started this September in Doha. We hope these negotiations will help in establishing peace and stability in the much suffering land of Afghanistan.

“In order to facilitate the involvement of Afghanistan in regional economic integration we have started the implementation of large infrastructure projects such as building the ‘Surkhan-Puli-Khumri’ power transmission line, and the railway network from Mazar-e-Sharif to the ports of the Indian Ocean.

“We believe that ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan will always remain at the center of the UN’s attention.

“The hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people can only be realized if we work together and in close cooperation. We need to work based on the principle, from instability and destruction to peace and creation,” he said.

“Therefore, we need to establish at the UN a Permanent Committee that will listen to the hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people. The main aim of the committee should be to assist in the economic and social development of Afghanistan.”

He noted that there is still no clear international strategy for dealing with the aftermath of four decades of strife within the country and that he was proposing a “new format” through which a consensus in support of the peace process could be achieved.

He said diplomats in the region fear that once NATO troops leave, international interest in Afghanistan will fade. “An authoritative international structure is needed to ensure Afghanistan is not now overlooked.”

 

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