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US army chief says military ready to exit when ordered

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

While no decision has yet been announced on whether US President Joe Biden will extend troop presence in the country, the US Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said Monday that the military are ready to execute any orders to exit Afghanistan.

He said “the administration is leading with policy. They’re going to shape it with diplomacy, and then the military will execute those orders. They’re in the process right now.

“There’s multiple contingencies. And once those decisions are made at the highest level, we’ll be ready to execute,” he said.

In an interview with the Washington Post, he said moving the troops and equipment out of the country was all about “physics”.

“Well, it’s all about physics. It comes down to how many people you need to move, how much equipment you need to move. And the commanders in the field have those type of contingency plans, and they’ll be able to advise the senior leaders in administration how long that takes. And those plans were available right now.”

McConville meanwhile implied that Resolute Support Commander General Scott Miller has mechanisms in place to deal with a possible backlash from the Taliban should the US presence remain in Afghanistan after the May 1 deadline.

“I don’t think there’s any finer combat leader [than Miller] in the United States Army. He’s got a very distinguished career. He cares about his troops. And you know, we’re all going to make sure that our troops are taken care of and have the proper defense mechanisms in place to take care of that troop. So that’s certainly on the top of his mind,” McConville said.

He also said that the war in Afghanistan was going to end – “and it’s going to end with some type of political agreement.”

McConville also said that by having gone into Afghanistan in 2001, after the 9/11 attack, the US was able to hold those responsible accountable and were “able to prevent al-Qaida from being operational from that sanctuary over the last 20 years”.

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New NATO strategy being drawn up to deal with ‘changing world’

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that a new Strategic Concept was being drawn up for NATO in order to ensure the alliance is prepared for emerging threats in a changing world.

Speaking after the NATO defense minister’s meeting, Blinken said “three months after Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan ended, the alliance remains focused on the fight against terrorism, including ISIS-K (Daesh).

He said while NATO military operations in Afghanistan had ended, “our work together continues”.

“For 20 years, NATO made sure that Afghanistan could not again become a safe haven for terrorists to threaten our countries and our people. That’s why we went there in the first place. No attacks on allies or partners originated in Afghanistan during that time, and together we decimated al-Qaida’s capacity to attack any of our countries or people from Afghanistan.

“Now, NATO remains fully committed to the fight against terrorism worldwide and will use all our capabilities to aid in that fight,” he said.

He said the new Strategic Concept for NATO will be worked on from now until the summit next year and is vitally important for modernizing the alliance.

He said this concept would help make sure NATO will be able to address challenges in the future, and foster unity among the Allies “as we navigate an increasingly complex and unpredictable security environment”.

“I think as you know, the current Strategic Concept, the one that we’re operating under now, dates to 2010, when Russia was considered a partner, China was not mentioned, and the alliance did not yet account for new challenges like cyber threats and the climate crisis,” he said.

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UN defers decision to give IEA govt a seat in general assembly

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

A special UN committee has ruled that Afghanistan’s seat in the UN General Assembly should not be given to the new Afghan government for now.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is the IEA’s nominated UN ambassador, said in response to the announcement that “this decision is not based on principles and justice because it has taken away the legitimate rights of the Afghan people.

“We hope that in the near future this right will be handed over to the representative of the Government of Afghanistan at the United Nations so that the problems of the Afghan people can be solved more effectively and efficiently and we can have positive interactions with the international community.”

This comes after a UN committee on Wednesday deferred a decision on who will represent Afghanistan and Myanmar at the United Nations.

Rival claims were made for the seats of both countries with the IEA and Myanmar’s junta pitted against ambassadors appointed by the governments they ousted this year.

UN acceptance of the IEA or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both.

The nine-member UN credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States, met at UN headquarters to consider the credentials of all 193 members for the current session of the UN General Assembly.

Several diplomats had told Reuters that the committee was likely to defer its decisions on the representation of Afghanistan and Myanmar on the understanding that the current ambassadors for both countries remain in those seats.

While the committee chair, Sweden’s UN Ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, told reporters the decisions had been deferred, she declined to comment on whether the ambassador appointed by the former Ashraf Ghani government for Afghanistan would still represent their countries.

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Clash between Afghan and Iranian forces was a misunderstanding: Mujahid

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

Clashes between Iran’s border forces and Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate (IEA) forces in Nimroz province have ended and were attributed to a “border misunderstanding”, IEA officials said on Thursday.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, said that a clash broke out between Afghan and Iranian security forces in the border area of Kang district in Nimroz province on Wednesday, but has now been brought under control by both sides.

He added that in order to prevent a recurrence, IEA officials have given the necessary guidance.

The IEA also said that no casualties were reported by either side.

Although the Iranian government has had generally good relations with the IEA, there have been longstanding tensions along the border, which has active smuggling routes and thousands of refugees crossing every day, Reuters reported.

The Afghan foreign ministry meanwhile said on Thursday that the dispute along the border in Kang district, “ended with the efforts of border officials, and efforts will be made to prevent such incidents from happening again”.

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