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Stoltenberg says Afghan forces can cope alone

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(Last Updated On: May 28, 2021)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the government and the Afghan security forces are strong enough to stand on their own without the help of foreign troops.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Stoltenberg said: “I think that the Afghans, they also realize that we have been there now for 20 years and we have invested heavily in blood and treasure in Afghanistan.”

“Afghanistan has come a long way, both when it comes to building strong, capable security forces, but also when it comes to social and economic progress. At some stage, it has to be the Afghans that take full responsibility for peace and stability in their own country,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg said that NATO countries would continue to support Afghanistan through civilian experts who will help to advise government ministries, by funding the security forces and with support for slow-moving peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

He said that NATO is also “looking into the possibility of providing some training out of country for the Afghan security forces, but no final decision has been taken.”

U.S. military leaders are still grappling with how best to carry out President Joe Biden’s order to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by September while helping Afghan forces and monitoring the threat that prompted the U.S. invasion of the country 20 years ago, AP reported.

Biden and Stoltenberg will meet with the other leaders of the 30-nation military alliance on June 14 to usher in a new era in trans-Atlantic ties after four tumultuous years of the former Trump administration. The other big issue will be Afghanistan, although no Afghan leaders are due to attend the Brussels summit, AP reported.

Asked about the impact of leaving Afghanistan without the security guarantee that has helped keep the Taliban at bay, Stoltenberg said that “there are risks entailed to the decision of ending NATO’s military mission in Afghanistan. We have been very transparent and clear-eyed about that.”

“At the same time, to continue to stay means that we will also have to take some risks; the risk of more fighting, the risk of being forced to increase the number of troops there, and the risk of remaining with a (military) mission,” he said.

Many officials have expressed concern that once the U.S. leaves, the government and its armed forces will be quickly overrun by the Taliban. Violence has steadily mounted in recent months as the drawdown gathered pace, AP reported.

It remains unclear what level of security might be needed, and who would provide it, to protect international embassies spread around the capital Kabul. The city’s airport, the main international gateway to Afghanistan, and the route to it must also be protected.

Stoltenberg said that NATO plans to provide financial support to keep Kabul airport up and running, but — just a few months before the alliance ends its biggest, costliest and most ambitious mission ever — the details of how all this might play out remained unclear.

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Senior IEA official voices concern over Daesh amid ongoing economic crisis

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) designated representative to UN, Suhail Shaheen, has warned the international community that the Afghanistan affiliate of ISIS (ISIS-K) could flourish if the West continues to impose economic sanctions against Afghanistan.

In an interview with Euro News, Shaheen stated that continued economic sanctions have plunged the people of Afghanistan into poverty and that this could pave the way for ISIS-K (also known as Daesh) to recruit fighters.

“The sanctions which have led to poverty in the country, are aggravating the current situation; the humanitarian crisis is providing a recruiting ground for ISIS to benefit from,” Shaheen said.

He added: “I don’t know why they (international community) are helping ISIS by continuing the sanctions and freezing our money which is the wealth of the people of Afghanistan.”

The United States has frozen over $9 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves following the collapse of the former government in mid-August.

Since then, the US and its allies have also imposed strict economic sanctions on Afghanistan, which has exacerbated an already struggling, aid-dependent economy.

Meanwhile, an IEA delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.

Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West.

IEA officials said that the Afghan and US delegations would discuss the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, humanitarian aid, education, and the reopening of embassies in Kabul among other issues.

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

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IEA delegation meet with Qatari officials in Doha

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials said on Friday night that the Afghan delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.
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Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West

Officials in Doha, who are accompanying Muttaqi, include representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Security, and Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank).

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry, confirmed the delegation’s meetings and said: “Detailed discussions were held about political, humanitarian, economic and education issues.”

According to Balkhi the Qatari officials pledged to continue to provide aid for Afghans.

“Qatari officials stated they will continue to stand by Afghans and will continue providing aid during the upcoming period,” added Balkhi

According to Balkhi, “IEA delegation thanked Qatar for their assistance and for playing a positive role during the previous negotiations.”

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