Connect with us

Featured

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

Ariana News

Published

 on

(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.

Featured

Abdullah outlines future scenarios that are down to ‘the will of the people’

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 17, 2020)

Both sides need to come to a shared agreement on Afghanistan’s future – one where the will of the people can be exercised freely, said Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Abdullah said Afghanistan’s future would include one that can sustain itself and one that leads to durable peace and stability. 

As intra-Afghan negotiations continue, between the Afghan negotiating team and the Taliban, Abdullah said both sides need to come to a shared agreement on how to move forward. 

“Both sides should see the need and come to the realization that we must put people first,” he said and on whether the country’s future was a Republic or an Emirate system, he stated it would come “down to the will of the people”. 

However, he stated it was important that the will of the people should be exercised in a free way “one person, one vote is important.”

Asked about the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s constitution, and any possible changes to it, he said there were provisions incorporated in the guiding document which allowed for changes to be made. 

He said the provisions were designed for the interests of the country to get the people in the country together in a unified manner but a change to the constitution was not impossible. 

Should a peace deal be sealed and structural changes be needed, he stated: “The country needs national institutions, national army, national police or any other security sector.” 

Abdullah said that one aspect of the hard work that lay ahead of the peace talks teams was how to integrate the Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters.

“The blueprint has to be decided by both sides”, and there shouldn’t be preconditions attached to it, he said. 

Adding his voice to countless of other officials, both local and foreign, Abdullah said a reduction in violence was critical at this point so that the process could move towards a ceasefire. 

“When I talk about casualties, it’s not just on one side. It’s on both sides,” he said adding that this was unfortunate and a “burden on the next generation.”

He said there is no winner in a war and no loser in an inclusive, peaceful settlement. 

“While they are not recognizing us [Afghan government] or we don’t recognize them as the Islamic Emirate, but we recognize the need to get together, to sit together, to present our views which are different from one another – but to find ways how to reconcile those differences, how to find ways to live together while still maintaining some differences and fighting for it politically rather than through violence.”

He said there could be groups within the Taliban that want to continue with the talks and also to continue with the fighting but that he assumes there are others that are “thinking much more maturely” – based on experience. 

He said the fact that the United States is looking at Afghanistan reaching a peace deal “with urgency” was a “bonus. It’s a plus.” 

But for the Afghan negotiating team, the “ticking clock,” the urgency was more about stopping the suffering of the Afghan people. 

“A unified Islamic Republic will be in a much better position to negotiate … and represent the views of the people”. 

“The continuation of the war and suffering, endless, in an endless way, will not put anybody in a dignified position and it’s not a service to the people,” he said. 

 

Continue Reading

Featured

Difficult decisions had to be made to get to talks tables: Khalilzad

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 17, 2020)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation said in order for the United States, the Afghan government and the Taliban to get to this point some very difficult, even heart-wrenching decisions had to be made. 

He said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that not only did the United States have to make difficult decisions but so did Afghanistan. 

This was in reference to concerns raised over whether the US government has given the Taliban “too much weight” in the intra-Afghan negotiation process – especially in light of the release of 5,000 prisoners. 

Recently foreign countries, specifically France and Australia objected to the release of some hardcore prisoners who had been responsible for killing their nationals over the past few years. 

But Khalilzad said the US itself had not been too happy about this but that “we [the US] appreciate their expression of unhappiness and empathize with them but we think the goal of making Afghanistan to be more peaceful, for Afghans to come together to end the war, for Afghanistan not to be a threat to the international community and for the burden of Afghanistan to be reduced on the international community,” sacrifices needed to be made. 

“Nothing important is easy to achieve, unfortunately. We had to do those tough things, difficult things, heart-wrenching things to get where we are.”

He also said the US was satisfied that the objectives ahead were worth the sacrifices that have been made. 

During the interview, he said not only are the current peace talks a historic moment and an opportunity for peace but also a moment of hope and he continually emphasized the fact that Afghans are tired of war – a war that has been ongoing for 40 years. 

But questioned on whether the continued attacks by the Taliban – who attribute such information as Afghan government propaganda – “sounded like two parties willing to negotiate”, Khalilzad said he did. 

According to him, negotiations are underway in a bid to build trust, to reduce violence and for the two sides to overcome their differences which have led to the conflict. 

He stated the negotiations are underway to “find a formula for resolving those differences,” and noted that both sides had different ideologies but that the aim was for them not to change these but rather to find a way to agree on a political formula that’s workable. 

“It will be difficult, I don’t anticipate …. that it will be easy and that they will quickly come to an agreement. But the door to intra-Afghan negotiations has been opened.” 

He said the United States was very pleased with the role it had played in getting the parties to the talks table but asked whether the basis of the talks was being forced on the Afghan government and whether these talks were truly Afghan-led, Khalilzad stated that until recently it had been US-led but talks were now entirely Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. 

He also said: “They [Afghan negotiating team] are not working on a US timeline but I think they are under pressure from their people who want the war to end.”

He said the US will withdraw from the country if all conditions, in accordance with the Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban, are met. 

The framework agreed upon with the Taliban has four elements, terrorism assurances, intra-Afghan negotiations, a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of international forces, he said adding: “We have agreed that if all of these conditions are met within 14 months we will withdraw.” 

He said that if the Taliban does not adhere to the commitments it made to the US “then we are free from our obligation we have made with them.”

He emphasized the agreement was not something made on trust – but instead it was a deal. “You do this, we will do this,” and vice versa, he said without going into any further detail.

But he said he was counting on the Taliban to adhere to their commitment. 

According to him, the Taliban negotiating team is a “very empowered” team and one that takes the negotiations seriously and they came prepared for the talks. 

The Afghan delegation meanwhile was very broad-based and represented a cross-sector of the population, he said adding that both sides were taking the talks seriously “although there are spoilers inside and out”. 

Without naming the “spoilers” Khalilzad said there are people who prefer the status quo as it is – people who profit from the war politically and financially. This he said, was putting “small interests ahead of the broader national interests and that is obviously not acceptable. ” 

He also said there are groups that are against the peace process, against Afghans coming together and groups who want to keep the US entangled in the war. 

One example he gave was that of Daesh in Afghanistan, which, he said, “is trying to polarize the situation” and in some cases have “tried to pretend” the Taliban carried out some of the worst attacks in the country in a bid to undermine the peace process. 

He noted the Afghanistan conflict is quite complex in terms of the number of players but that the US has tried to be active not only with the Afghan sides but also within the region and internationally “to build a consensus for peace in Afghanistan.”

Continue Reading

Featured

Afghan Airforce takes delivery of four new A-29 Super Tucano aircraft

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 17, 2020)

The United States handed over four A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft to the Ministry of Defense on Thursday. 

Speaking at the event, acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid said the Afghan air force is capable of facing its enemies. 

He said the reason for the ongoing conflict was to defend two decades worth of achievements. 

He confirmed however that the Taliban has ramped up violence across the country. 

Designed to operate in high temperatures and in extremely rugged terrain, the A-29 is a highly maneuverable fourth-generation weapons system capable of delivering precision-guided munitions.

It can fly at low speeds and low altitudes is easy to fly and provides exceptionally accurate weapons delivery.

 

Continue Reading

Trending