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SIGAR reports spike in insider attacks against ANDSF members

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(Last Updated On: May 1, 2021)

A new quarterly report by Washington’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has documented a staggering 82 percent increase in insider attacks on Afghan government security forces in the first quarter of this year, resulting in 115 personnel killed and 39 wounded.

SIGAR reported this week that the overall Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) casualties were also substantially higher than during the same period last year.

SIGAR is not allowed to include full ANDSF casualty data because U.S. forces in Afghanistan keep it classified at the request of the Afghan government.

The report stated that the ANDSF suffered a total of 31 insider attacks between January 1 and April 1, and the number of casualties they caused were more than double compared to the same period in 2020.

SIGAR’s report comes as the US and NATO forces started to withdraw from Afghanistan as decided by US President Joe Biden last month.

In addition to the estimated 2,500 U.S. troops and the 7,000 NATO and allied forces, over 12,500 US Defense Department contractors will also withdraw. The are U.S citizens and third-country nationals.

SIGAR stated it is unclear who, if anyone, will replace contractor personnel or perform their work after their withdrawal.

“Without continued contractor support, none of the Afghan Air Force’s (AFF) airframes can be sustained as combat effective for more than a few months, depending on the stock of equipment parts in-country, the maintenance capability on each airframe, and when contractor support is withdrawn,” SIGAR said, citing U.S. military assessments.

According to SIGAR, DOD contractors provide for and maintain ANDSF ground vehicles and train local technicians. Although the ANDSF has “dramatically improved its share of the work, it is still falling well below benchmarks for its share of the maintenance work orders they — rather than contractors — are supposed to perform,” SIGAR reported.

Special Inspector General John F Sopko meanwhile stated that under the new posture that will follow the troops’ withdrawal, SIGAR and its oversight mission will “assume even more important for the United States”.

He said as the largest oversight presence in Afghanistan and the only one with statutory whole-of-government authority, SIGAR will be the only government agency capable of overseeing the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars already appropriated that will continue to flow into the country despite the absence of U.S. military – including U.S. defense contractor – boots on the ground.

Sopko said SIGAR is well-prepared for this enhanced role and stands ready to assume any new responsibilities assigned to it by Congress and the Administration.

He pointed out that while the Biden Administration conducted its review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the Office of Management and Budget requested the data that underpins the reporting in SIGAR’s quarterly reports concerning U.S. funds appropriated for Afghanistan since 2002.

“This recognition of the quarterly report’s function as the most authoritative source for information about U.S. spending in Afghanistan came as the report continues to expand its coverage of U.S. appropriations,” he said.

He also stated that U.S. officials have indicated that they intend to condition U.S. assistance to Afghanistan on the actions of the Afghan government and possibly the Taliban.

“As U.S. policy on Afghanistan continues to evolve, my colleagues and I will work with Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders to guard against the waste, fraud,
and abuse of U.S. funds devoted to that country’s reconstruction,” he said.

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CSTO ready to ensure its security given situation at borders

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is prepared to ensure the security of its borders amid growing insecurity in Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to a joint statement by the CSTO leaders that was adopted at the organization’s summit in Moscow on Monday and posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“The situation in Afghanistan and on other external frontiers of the CSTO member-states is alarming,” the statement said.

“In connection with this, we express readiness to maintain security at the borders within the CSTO’s zone of responsibility.”

The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon – the leaders of all six member states of the group.

The Collective Security Treaty was signed on May 15, 1992 in Tashkent.

Despite CSTO members’ concerns, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, says that security is ensured throughout Afghanistan and that no opposition group is active enough to be considered a threat to the security of other countries.

According to the Deputy Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan’s borders are more secure than ever and countries should not worry about this.

“Afghanistan’s borders are now more secure than ever, and Afghan territory will not be used against any country,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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