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Trump’s NSA says thousands of US forces will remain in Afghanistan beyond Christmas

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2020)

US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said Friday that 2,500 American soldiers will remain in Afghanistan beyond Christmas, dismissing US President Donald Trump’s tweet stating that all American troops in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas.

O’Brien also took a swipe at US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, who in an interview with NPR on Sunday suggested that US National Security Advisor’s announcement about the withdrawal plan from Afghanistan was ‘speculation.’

Milley said anyone “can speculate as they see fit. I am not going to engage in speculation. I’m going to engage in the rigorous analysis of the situation based on the conditions and the plans that I am aware of and my conversations with the president. And then when we get to the point where we have further discussions and further decisions, those will be appropriately made public.”

About Milley’s remarks, O’Brien said: “It has been suggested by some that that’s speculation. I can guarantee you that’s the plan of the president of the United States.” 

“That’s the order of the commander-in-chief, that’s not speculation,” he noted.

O’Brien stated that It is not his practice to speculate, “Other people can interpret what I say as speculation, but…When I’m speaking, I’m speaking for the president and I think that’s what the Pentagon is moving out and doing.”

Referring to Trump’s tweet saying that US troops should be home by Christmas, the US NSA said that Trump was “expressing the same desire” of every wartime president—to get troops home by Christmas.

In February, the US-brokered a deal with the Taliban in Doha that was conditions based and included the full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Since then troop levels have reduced from 13,000 to 8,600 with a further reduction to 4,500 expected by November.

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IEA eager for dialogue with the world: China’s Wang Yi

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials are eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

In an address delivered by video link to a conference in Iran on Afghanistan, Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban (IEA) are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang said in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

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Iran says IEA must ensure security to all Afghans and borders

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday at the opening of a conference on Afghanistan in Tehran that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) are responsible for the security of all Afghans and the country’s borders.

Addressing delegates from Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, and Russia, Amir-Abdollahian said: “We must emphasize that the responsibility of security for Afghan citizens, as well as security at the borders of this country with its neighbors, first of all lies with the ruling council temporarily in charge of Afghanistan.”

Iran also called on the IEA to ensure the Shiite community in Afghanistan is provided security. This comes after recent attacks, claimed by Daesh, targeted this minority group in the country.

The Iranian foreign minister also called on the international community “to pay special attention” to political and humanitarian problems, as well as to terrorism, narcotics trafficking and women’s rights in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the Iranian foreign ministry called on the IEA, which was not invited to the meeting, to form an inclusive government and prevent violence.

“The people of Afghanistan are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including food, medicine and vaccines to combat Covid,” Amir- Abdollahian told the second meeting of Afghanistan’s foreign ministers.

He said: “Considering the fact that aid should be distributed in such a way that people can benefit from it in a fair way.”

“Given the ubiquity of the UN umbrella, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s proposal is to request the Secretary-General of the Organization to make a concerted effort and, if necessary, mediate between the Afghan parties to reach an agreement on the future political structure of the country,” he said.

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Nato was a political failure in Afghanistan: UK’s defence secretary

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Nato’s political campaign in Afghanistan was a failure, the UK’s defence secretary said on Tuesday but insisted the western alliance had not suffered a military defeat at the hands of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

Speaking to the Commons defence committee on Tuesday afternoon, Wallace said Nato forces could have stayed on in the country, but a “rotten deal” struck by Donald Trump’s US government led to the IEA’s triumphant return, the Guardian reported.

It was “highly likely” that there would now be a renewed threat from al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, Wallace said. But, he added: “For 20 years we were safer, so we can bank that.

“I don’t think that we were defeated. Our resolve was found wanting, I would say, rather than defeated,” he said.

“Nato were there to enable a political campaign and I think that is what failed. The military were there to put in place the security environment in order to try and deliver that.

“When that is withdrawn, that is when you find out whether your political campaign has worked. What we discovered is it didn’t work. It was the western resolve and the western narrative or political foundations they had laid failed. There are a lot of searching questions there for all of us.”

He added: “I think it is highly likely that we will see a return to al-Qaeda and an increasing threat coming from Afghanistan.”

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