Connect with us

Latest News

Turkey should pull troops from Afghanistan under 2020 accord: Taliban spokesman

Ariana News

Published

 on

(Last Updated On: June 11, 2021)

Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan under the 2020 deal for the pullout of U.S. forces, a Taliban spokesman said on Thursday, effectively rejecting Ankara’s proposal to guard and run Kabul’s airport after U.S.-led NATO forces depart.

The development raises serious questions for the United States, other countries and international organizations with missions in Kabul about how to securely evacuate their personnel from landlocked Afghanistan should fighting threaten the capital.

It also appeared to dash Ankara’s hopes of using the securing of Kabul airport to help improve ties with Washington – strained by Turkey’s purchase of Russian defense systems – in talks set for Monday between President Joe Biden and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

Asked in a text message whether the Taliban rejected Turkey’s proposal to keep forces in Kabul to guard and run the international airport after other foreign troops leave, the Taliban spokesman in Doha responded that they should go as well.

“Turkey was part of NATO forces in the past 20 years, so as such, they should withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of the Agreement we signed with US on 29th Feb 2020,” Suhail Shaheen told Reuters.

“Otherwise, Turkey is a great Islamic country. Afghanistan has had historical relations with it. We hope to have close and good relations with them as a new Islamic government is established in the country in future,” he added.

The State Department and the Turkish Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke on Thursday with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to “discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues,” the Pentagon said in a statement, which did not specifically mention Afghanistan.

Under the February 2020 deal secured with the Islamist Taliban under former President Donald Trump, all U.S. forces were to be out of Afghanistan by May 1.

But Biden said in April that the pullout would be completed by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States that prompted the U.S.-led invasion and ouster of the Taliban government that sheltered the group.

Turkish officials say they made the Kabul airport proposal at a NATO meeting in May when the United States and its partners agreed to a plan to withdraw their forces by Sept. 11 after 20 years of backing the Afghan government in a war against the Taliban.

With violence raging, many U.S. lawmakers and current and former officials fear the departure of the foreign forces and stalled peace talks are pushing Afghanistan into an all-out civil war that could return the Taliban to power.

The Pentagon says the U.S. withdrawal is more than 50% complete. Turkey, with more than 500 soldiers still in Afghanistan training security forces, now has the largest foreign military contingent there.

Australia closed its embassy last month because of security concerns. The Taliban’s effective rejection of the Turkish plan to secure the airport could prompt other countries to shutter their missions.

The development also poses a quandary for the Biden administration, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowing as recently as this week at a congressional hearing to maintain a U.S. diplomatic presence in Kabul.

Latest News

Abdullah quashes rumors of districts being abandoned intentionally

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Following the collapse of a number of districts across Afghanistan in the past six weeks, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah stated that “the abandonment of these districts (by security forces) was unplanned”.

So far, at least 33 districts have fallen to the Taliban since May 1.

In the most recent development, Anar Dara district in Farah province; Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province; and Gosfandi and Sayyad districts of Sar-e-Pul province were captured by the militants in the last 24 hours.

Sources told Ariana News that at least 40 members of the Afghan forces have been killed in Sar-e-Pul alone in the last week.

Abdullah, however, stated that there had been no plans ahead of time by security forces to abandon the districts. This comes after rumors started circulating a few days ago that security forces have intentionally planned to hand over districts to the Taliban.

Addressing a meeting with Friedrich Ebert Foundation members on Tuesday, Abdullah said: “The consecutive abandonment of the districts by the security forces is not part of an orderly plan.”

“It is not true that the districts are being handed over to the Taliban based on a plan,” Abdullah added.

Abdullah also called on people to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) amid a surge in clashes across the country.

“We know the situation is bad, but it is the responsibility of all of us to carry the burden and to come up with [support for] the current situation,” he stated.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Taliban captures another 4 districts bringing total to 33

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Taliban militants have captured another four districts in four provinces in the last 24 hours, sources confirmed.

According to the sources, Anar Dara district in Farah province; Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province; and Gosfandi and Sayyad districts of Sar-e-Pul province were captured by the militants, bringing the number of fallen districts to 33 since May 1.

Afghan officials, however, stated that Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) have “tactically retreated” from the districts.

In Farah, the Taliban blew up the government compound after capturing the center of Anar Dara district.

Police said the compound was completely destroyed in the explosion.

In Uruzgan, the insurgents captured the government compound, police headquarters, provincial NDS headquarters, and a number of public facilities on Tuesday morning.

This comes after First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Monday called the advancement of the Taliban a “narrow line” and warned that the paths into the districts will be turned into a mass graveyard for the militants.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saleh said: “Those who know how to fight with the Taliban, know that this narrow line will become the mass graveyard of this group of terror and ignorance.”

Saleh, meanwhile, stated that the Taliban militants have not changed the way they treat the people of Afghanistan.

“Do not be deceived by [Taliban’s] propaganda. Resisting the Taliban is defending human values and dignity. Taliban has no message for the people of this country other than demanding obedience as a slave life,” Saleh said.

Continue Reading

Latest News

U.N. readies for more displaced Afghans after troop withdrawal

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

The United Nations is preparing for a likely further displacement of civilians in Afghanistan after U.S. and international troops leave the country in September, U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi told Reuters on Monday.

Violence has been rising as foreign forces begin withdrawing and efforts to broker a peace settlement between the Afghan government and insurgent Taliban have slowed.

Grandi pointed to a deadly attack last week on an international demining organization in northern Afghanistan, which killed 10 people.

“This is a tragic indicator of the type of violence that may be resurfacing in Afghanistan and with the withdrawal of the international troops this is possibly or likely going to become worse,” Grandi said.

“Therefore we are doing contingency planning inside the country for further displacement, in the neighboring countries in case people might cross borders,” he said, without offering details of those plans.

There are currently some 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan globally, while another 4.8 million have been displaced within the country, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, which Grandi heads.

After 20 years, the United States has started a withdrawal of its remaining 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and aims to be completely out of the country by Sept. 11. Around 7,000 non-U.S. forces from mainly NATO countries – along with Australia, New Zealand and Georgia – are also planning to leave by Sept. 11.

Grandi said strong international support was needed for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“It’s political action that should substitute conflict but, of course, the risk (of further displacement) is there and we need to be prepared,” he added.

U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

“What’s needed is a high level of economic support for Afghanistan humanitarian assistance to maximize the chance the Afghan authorities have to stabilize the situation,” U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told Reuters on Monday.

“There’s been very good and constructive outreach from the Biden administration, from the White House down, and we have actually had very productive discussions with them on that,” added Lowcock, who steps down from his role this month.

Earlier this month, the United States announced more than $266 million in new humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, bringing to nearly $3.9 billion the total amount of such aid it has provided since 2002.

Some 18.4 million people, almost half the country’s population, need humanitarian help, according to the United, Nations, which has appealed for $1.3 billion in funding for 2021. So far it has only received about 23% of that.

Lowcock said that until a few years ago there had been a lot of international attention in Afghanistan. That has “dissipated and weakened and that is a sort of problem when it comes to drawing attention to the needs of Afghanistan and getting support for them.”

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Ariana News. All rights reserved!