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Survey finds majority of Americans support Trump’s deal to end war

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(Last Updated On: September 15, 2020)

A survey by New York-based Eurasia Group Foundation has found that two-thirds of US President Donald Trump’s supporters are in favor of his deal with the Taliban to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. 

The results of the survey, released Monday, found “two-thirds of Trump supporters either strongly support or somewhat support the details of the negotiations.” 

The deal, signed in February in Doha, commits all US troops to leave Afghanistan within 14 months, ending what has become America’s longest war.

In return, the Taliban agreed to cut ties with and prevent terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda from operating in the country and to begin peace talks with Afghanistan government negotiators.  

Nearly 60 percent of supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also favor the US deal. 

“Ending the war in Afghanistan is extremely popular, and Americans of all political persuasions want to honor the recent agreement,” the foundation noted in its findings.

Fewer than 10 percent of those surveyed opposed the agreement, while one-third remained neutral.

“Since last year, the portion of respondents who believe the US should stay in Afghanistan until all enemies are defeated has dropped by half — from 30 percent to 15 percent,” the survey noted. 

The US-Taliban agreement led to the start of much-awaited peace talks on Saturday between Taliban leaders and Afghan government negotiators. 

The dialogue, officially known as intra-Afghan negotiations, is being hosted by Doha, Qatar – where US and Taliban negotiators sealed their deal.

Talks were supposed to have started in March but delays over the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners and continued attacks by the insurgent group stalled the start of talks. 

However, after the release of all but seven Taliban prisoners, the first round of talks got underway this past weekend. 

In keeping with their agreement, the United States has drawn its troops level down to 8,600 from 13,000 and has stated a further drawdown to 4,500 will be done by November. 

In addition, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the US was on a path to zero troops in Afghanistan by March or April next year. 

According to VOA news, former US Vice President Biden supports the withdrawal plan but wants the Pentagon to keep a small military footprint in Afghanistan to counter any threat of terrorism.

In an interview with VOA, the co-author of the Eurasia Group Foundation, Mark Hannah said Americans seem to have lost patience with the war. 

“As we enter the 20th year of the conflict in Afghanistan, the American people appear to have lost patience with an interminable war which has drifted from its original mission, and which appears all but unwinnable,” he said. 

“I think they wisely understand that all the military might in the world can’t easily vanquish amorphous, non-state adversaries and that America’s continued presence in Afghanistan is neither making Americans safe nor serving some vital national interest,” said Hannah.

The report also stated that respondents of all political parties generally agree the US should negotiate directly with hostile nations if doing so might help avoid conflict, essentially rejecting the logic that doing so would unacceptably legitimize unsavory regimes. 

“Republican and Democratic respondents both think peace is best achieved by prioritizing the domestic needs of the US, and neither opts for the unilateral use force to stop human rights abuses abroad,” the report stated.

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Kazakhs told to leave streets to avoid ‘anti-terrorist actions’

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2022)

A statement broadcast on Kazakh TV on Friday told Almaty residents to stay inside during the security operation in the city.

Video obtained by Reuters showed the broadcast statement, which said: “Respectable Inhabitants of Almaty! A counter-terrorist operation to destroy bandit groups is going on in Almaty. The main goal is to stop terrorists and safeguard the security of the city. If anti-terrorist activity takes place where you live, it is recommended you do not go near by windows or get out in the street. Hide in a safe place, do not leave children or the elderly without supervision.”

Almaty, Kazakhstan’s main city, has seen days of violence, with demonstrations that began as a response to a fuel price hike swelling into a broad movement against the government and ex-leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, the longest-serving ruler of any former Soviet state.

Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan’s main city on Friday after days of violence, and the Russian-backed president said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising.

A day after Moscow sent paratroopers to help crush the insurrection, police were patrolling the debris-strewn streets of Almaty, although some gunfire could still be heard, Reuters reported.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said foreign-trained terrorists were responsible for the unrest, and the interior ministry said 26 “armed criminals” had been “liquidated”, while 18 police and members of the national guard had been killed, figures that appeared not to have been updated since Thursday. State television reported more than 3,700 arrests.

 

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Japan pledges $109 million to Afghanistan and its neighbors to ‘address crisis’

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(Last Updated On: December 21, 2021)

The Japanese government has pledged to donate a total of approximately $109 million to Afghanistan and its neighboring countries “to address the humanitarian crisis” in the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that Japan will provide assistance to directly address humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries including Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

“The Government of Japan will provide assistance to directly address humanitarian needs in areas such as healthcare, food, and nutrition, protection, water, and sanitation, as well as livelihood improvement to Afghanistan and its neighboring countries,” the statement read.

According to the statement the assistance would be provided through 16 international organizations to improve the humanitarian crisis.

“The Government of Japan will continue to provide support and stand with the people of Afghanistan, and play an active role to realize stability in the region,” the statement added.

According to the statement, $100 million will be allocated for Afghanistan; $4.01 million to Iran; $3.72 million to Pakistan; $0.99 million to Tajikistan; and $0.43 million to Uzbekistan.

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Unvaccinated COVID patients flood French ICUs as cases surge

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(Last Updated On: December 18, 2021)

Pressure on French hospitals has been steadily mounting over the past few weeks as France battles a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, which has been filling up ICUs with unvaccinated patients.

Of the 20 COVID patients of the Mulhouse hospital ICU, only three are vaccinated while the youngest is aged 19 years old, head of the Emile Muller hospital ICU, doctor Khaldoun Kuteifan, told Reuters on Thursday.

“The Mulhouse hospital ICU is currently at full capacity as patients have been coming in for the past 20 days. Seventy percent of the ICU patients are positive COVID cases.”

France had recorded 60,866 new cases over the past 24 hours on Thursday night, while 78.1% of French people have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the French Health Ministry website.

“The waves keep coming and hitting us, and the more it goes on, the more tired we get,” nurse Aurelie Multhaupt told Reuters.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that the government expects to see around 4,000 patients in intensive care with COVID-19 by the Christmas holidays, Reuters reported.

Attal said new decisions on the reinforcement of border rules, the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and travel recommendations for the holidays could be announced in the coming days.

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