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US to reduce its troops to 2,500 by mid-January: Miller

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(Last Updated On: December 14, 2020)

The US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller said in an interview with Ariana News on Sunday that Washington will reduce its troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by January 15.

According to Miller the remaining troops will continue to support Afghan forces in the country.

This comes after critics have blasted the Taliban for not sticking to their agreement signed in February with the US on reducing the levels of violence in the country.

“I have been ordered to reduce the US military presence to 2,500, a part of this is in line with the US-Taliban agreement; we downsize our troops in accordance with the conditions,” said Miller.

“Important for the Afghan people to understand is that we have discussed this with the Afghan security forces.”

Miller, however, said that he has discussed the high levels of violence with the Taliban in Doha and said it’s hoped the group will ease back on violence.

He also warned that the historic opportunity for peace will be missed if the violence continues.

“I have talked to Taliban about this, violence is too high; Taliban’s violence needs to come down. We have had many discussions about this; we have reaffirmed to a historic opportunity in the ongoing peace process,” said Miller.

According to him the troops that stay behind will fight al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Afghanistan and will support the Afghan forces.

Currently the US has 4,500 troops in Afghanistan under the Resolute Support Mission.

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His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.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