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Taliban issue veiled threat in wake of US airstrikes in Helmand

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(Last Updated On: October 18, 2020)

The Taliban on Sunday issued a veiled threat to the US Forces in Afghanistan after accusing the United States of having violated the Doha agreement by carrying out airstrikes in Helmand last week. 

In a statement issued by the group’s spokesman on Twitter, the Taliban said: “American forces have violated the Doha agreement in various forms by carrying out excessive airstrikes following the new developments in Helmand province.”

The Doha agreement was signed in February between the Taliban and the US and was conditions-based. 

In their statement Sunday, the Taliban said, according to the agreement, the “American forces are prohibited from carrying out airstrikes or targeting anyone in areas other than combat zones or during active fighting”. 

The group stated that over the past few days, drone and other fighter aircraft have carried out strikes in a number of areas in Helmand and in Farah and other provinces “which are all a direct and clear violation of the Doha agreement.”

The Taliban stated that “all contents of the US-Islamic Emeriate agreement are unambiguous, but the opposite side violated its commitment on numerous occasions, are engaging in provocative actions and bombing non-combat zones.”

 

In conclusion, the group stated, “all responsibility and consequences from continuation of such actions shall fall squarely on the shoulders of the American side.”

On Monday last week, US-Forces Afghanistan spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett confirmed American forces had conducted several targeted strikes in Helmand over the previous two days to defend Afghan National Defense and Security Forces who had come under attack by the Taliban.

 Leggett said this move had been in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement and that USFOR-A had and will continue to provide support in defense of the ANDSF under attack by the Taliban.

This announcement was immediately followed by US-Forces Afghanistan Commander, General Scott Miller saying that “the Taliban need to immediately stop their offensive actions in Helmand Province and reduce their violence around the country. It is not consistent with the US-Taliban agreement and undermines the ongoing Afghan Peace Talks.”

Last Sunday the Taliban launched coordinated attacks in various parts of the province, including Lashkargah, the provincial capital.

Fighting waged for days and thousands of Afghans were forced to flee their homes. 

The Taliban’s attack meanwhile came amid peace talks in Doha between the Afghan negotiating team and the Taliban. No actual progress has yet been made, despite talks having started more than a month ago. 

 

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Govt rolls out curfew in 31 provinces to curb Taliban activities

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(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

The Afghan government announced Saturday it has imposed a curfew in 31 provinces around the country in a bid to curb Taliban activity.

According to the Ministry of Interior’s deputy spokesman Ahmad Zia Zia, the curfew will come into effect immediately and will be enforced from 10pm to 4am. 

Kabul, Nangarhar and Panjshir provinces are the only three that have been exempt. 

“Based on the security [situation] officials announced a curfew in 31 provinces; the decision was taken to prevent Taliban activities,” said Zia.

Meanwhile, residents of Kapisa province said that a number of families have been displaced due to clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts.

“Due to the war between ANDSF and Taliban in Nijrab, Alasay and Tagab districts, many of the residents of the districts have been displaced. We want to know what government intends to do about this,” said Shamila Mashal, a civil society activist.

In addition to these districts, heavy clashes have been ongoing between ANDSF and Taliban in Ghazni, Wardak, Takhar, Kunduz, Kunar, Laghman, Herat, Helmand and Nimruz provinces.

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Commander of US, NATO forces in Afghanistan is stepping down

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(Last Updated On: July 12, 2021)

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan General Scott Miller is stepping down Monday in a move that marks the symbolic end of the U.S. military mission in the country.

Miller has commanded the military coalition in Afghanistan since August 2018, longer than any previous commanding general in that position and will turn over command of U.S. Forces Afghanistan to the commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine General Frank McKenzie.

NBC reported that as the head of CENTCOM, McKenzie already had authority over Afghanistan and many of the neighboring countries. He will continue to work from CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and his forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar.

Miller is expected to retire, three defense officials said, NBC reported.

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Biden: US military mission in Afghanistan will end Aug 31

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2021)

The United States’ military mission in Afghanistan will officially end on August 31, US President Joe Biden announced Thursday during an update on the troop withdrawal process.

Biden stated a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is “not inevitable” because the Afghan military not only outnumbers the Taliban but is much better equipped. 

He also said the US intelligence community’s recent warning that Afghanistan’s government is on the verge of collapse is “wrong”. 

Biden’s remarks during a press briefing at the White House came after he and Vice President Kamala Harris met with national security leaders for an update on the troop withdrawal process.

He also said: “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build, and it is the right and the responsibility of Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.” 

Biden announced that the US is implementing an evacuation plan to withdraw Afghans who assisted the American military.

Biden said Washington would begin flights this month to relocate Afghan interpreters and other personnel who aided the US military – as well as their families – to third-party countries while they await expedited visa processing to move to the United States.

“There is a home for you in the United States if you so choose, and we will stand with you just as you stood with us,” Biden said.

He noted that the US has already approved 2,500 special immigrant visas for Afghans who assisted the US military but said that “up until now, fewer than half have exercised their right to do that.”

There are an estimated 18,000 Afghans who qualify for the special immigrant visas.

 

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