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War report one-sided, ignores data on insurgent attacks: US Forces

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(Last Updated On: December 8, 2020)

US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett said on Tuesday afternoon the US military disagrees with Brown University’s “Costs of War” report and said it is one-sided and ignores casualties caused by Taliban and ISIS, including ongoing car bombs, IEDs, rockets and targeted killings.

The report, published early Tuesday, stated that outgoing President Donald Trump’s decision in 2017 to loosen military rules of engagement in Afghanistan that were meant to protect civilians was followed by a sharp increase in civilian deaths.

The report stated they found a 330 percent increase in the number of Afghan civilians killed by US-led airstrikes from 2016, the final year of the Barack Obama administration, to 2019.

However, US Forces-Afghanistan said the report had relied on “disputed data and ignores civilian casualties caused by Taliban and ISIS attacks. This includes ongoing Taliban use of car bombs, IEDs, rockets and targeted killings to intimidate, harass and instill fear across Afghanistan.”

Leggett said: “As cited by UNAMA in their most recent quarterly report, civilian casualties caused by US airstrikes ‘all but ceased’ since Feb. 29. That same report attributed more than 3,400 civilian casualties to ‘anti-government elements,’ including ISIS and the Taliban.”

He also said US Forces-Afghanistan takes their duty to train Afghan counterparts on civilian casualty prevention measures seriously “and we have observed an extraordinary amount of effort and care in their operations.

“As we have said many times, violence by all sides must reduce substantially to allow the peace process to take hold,” he said.

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Blinken discusses situation with Abdullah, reiterates US’s support

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State spoke on the phone Thursday with Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), and reiterated Washington’s commitment to seek a just and durable political settlement that ends the war in Afghanistan.

“They discussed ways to accelerate peace negotiations and achieve a political settlement that is inclusive, respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities, allows the Afghan people to have a say in choosing their leaders, and prevents Afghan soil from being used to threaten the United States and its allies and partners,” the US State Department said in a statement.

“Both leaders deplored continuing Taliban attacks, loss of innocent Afghan lives and displacement of the civilian population, and underscored the widespread international condemnation of these attacks,” read the statement.

State Department spokesperson, Ned Price said later that Blinken and Abdullah pledged to remain in close contact going forward.

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Taliban looking to seize control of at least one province: Dostum

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

Former first vice president, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum said on Thursday that Taliban have accelerated their efforts to seize control of at least one province in the country.

According to Dostum, Herat, Takhar, Jawzjan, Kandahar, and Helmand are the provinces of choice that the Taliban is hoping to have control over.

However, security forces and uprising forces have repelled attacks on these provinces, he said adding however, that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating.

“Enemy is attempting to seize [total control] of one of the five provinces, Jawzjan, Herat, Helmand, Takhar, or Kandahar,” said Dostum.

He said he has held consultations with politicians in Kabul and will soon launch an operation against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan.

“The current situation calls for a meeting and measures need to be taken. It is not a small plot, but needs a plan [that’s agreed to] with other politicians,” said Dostum.

Dostum welcomed the establishment and actions around the uprising forces who are supporting the security forces against the Taliban, and said these civilian fighters are voluntarily making huge sacrifices in the north of Afghanistan.

“The uprising forces resisted[attacks]; I have said many times that it is not the time to seek privileges. We should trust each other,” said Dostum.

Dostum is a controversial figure in Afghanistan but is seen by many as a capable and fierce military leader who regularly leads troops into battle.

Aged 67, Dostum is from Jawzjan province and is regarded in some circles to be both one of the most powerful and most notorious warlords in the country.

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Ghani meets with Iran’s president-elect ahead of inauguration

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani met with Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President-elect of Iran, in Tehran early Thursday, the Presidential Palace (ARG) said in a statement.

The meeting was also attended by Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar and a number of other high-ranking Afghan government officials.

During the meeting, both sides discussed the expansion of cooperation and relations between the two countries.

The President-elect of Iran stressed the continued support for the Government of Afghanistan and the efforts for a regional consensus for peace.

He also expressed his support for the people of Afghanistan to preserve the republic and its past achievements.

“We support a system in which the rights of all Afghan citizens, including minorities, are protected, and our neighbors, especially Afghanistan, have a high position in our foreign policy,” Raisi said.

In turn, Ghani thanked Iran for its assistance and cooperation in various fields and stressed the need for joint economic cooperation and the expansion of relations between the two countries.

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