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Taliban warn all foreign troops must leave by September deadline

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(Last Updated On: July 5, 2021)

While capturing Kabul is “not Taliban policy”, any foreign troops left in Afghanistan after NATO’s September withdrawal deadline will be at risk as occupiers, the Taliban told the BBC.

This comes amid reports that as many as 1,000 US troops could stay on in Afghanistan to protect the American Embassy and Kabul’s international airport.

Speaking to the BBC, Taliban spokesman in Doha, Qatar, Suhail Shaheen said no foreign forces – including military contractors – should remain in the city after the withdrawal was complete.

“If they leave behind their forces against the Doha agreement then in that case it will be the decision of our leadership how we proceed,” Shaheen told the BBC.

“We would react and the final decision is with our leadership,” he added.

He also said diplomats, NGOs and other foreign civilians would not be targeted by the Taliban, adding no ongoing protection force for them was needed.

“We are against the foreign military forces, not diplomats, NGOs and workers and NGOs functioning and embassies functioning – that is something our people need. We will not pose any threat to them,” he said.

Shaheen also described last week’s withdrawal from Bagram Airfield – once the largest US military base in Afghanistan – as a “historic moment”, BBC reported.

Shaheen meanwhile denied that the militant group had played any part in the recent uptick in violence.

He insisted that many districts had fallen to the Taliban through mediation after Afghan soldiers refused to fight.

Shaheen also said elections had so far not been raised in negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

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Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit, makes ‘no apologies’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday firmly defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he makes no apologies.

Addressing a press conference, Biden said: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.

Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said.

“It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity.”

He also suggested it was not the responsibility of the U.S. to fix Afghanistan’s challenges, The Week reported.

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Pakistan played major role in peace, stability of Afghanistan: Arif Alvi

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan played a major role in the peace and stability in Afghanistan and that Islamabad made sure Kabul was not isolated.

Alvi said in a media interview, that during the recent Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit he told its members that Pakistan saved Afghanistan from being isolated.

He also stated that during the extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of OIC in Islamabad, Pakistan, in December, he portrayed the actual picture of the war-torn country.

He also said the world has recognized Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiatives.

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ILO estimates underscore Afghanistan employment crisis

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Job losses in Afghanistan following the change in administration in August 2021 totaled more than half a million in the third quarter and may reach 900,000 by mid-2022, according to new estimates released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to the ILO, the estimated 14% loss by mid-2022 reflects workers pushed out of employment due to the change in administration and ensuing economic crisis as well as restrictions on women’s participation in the workplace.

The total number of hours worked in the Afghan economy is estimated to have dropped by 13% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to a hypothetical scenario with no change in administration.

The ILO said key sectors have been devastated since the collapse of the former government including agriculture, the civil service and the construction industry which have all seen large-scale job losses or workers go unpaid.

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