Newsfeed; Thursday, April 15 2021

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…


  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Decision to Withdraw Troops Right: Pompeo

    Kabul: US President Joe Biden is doing the “right thing” by withdrawing all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, said former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but stressed that it matters how the Biden administration executes the plans.

    The Biden administration’s tactics, decisions, timing, and execution regarding the drawdown of combat troops in the region beginning May 1 will be key, said Pompeo.

    Pompeo was a member of the team negotiating the nation’s exit strategy with the Taliban under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump. Last year, Trump outlined an agreement with the Taliban, saying troops would withdraw from Afghanistan by May 1 in exchange for a promise from the Taliban for a reduction in violence, counterterrorism guarantees, and a pledge to kickstart intra Afghan talks.

    “We reduced [troops] from 10,000 plus to around 2,500 on our watch, and … [we did] everything we could to make sure we were never attacked from Afghanistan again,” Pompeo said.

    In a formal announcement, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday, that he will withdraw all the remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 to mark the end of a “forever war”, rejecting calls for the US forces to stay to ensure a peaceful resolution to that nation’s grinding internal conflict.

    The announcement comes even as a conference is scheduled on the Afghanistan peace roadmap starting on April 24 in Istanbul that would include the United Nations and Qatar. The Afghan government is ready with a unified plan, however, the Taliban has rejected coming to the negotiating table till all foreign troops have not been withdrawn from the country.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Taliban Warns of Violence, Says US Has Violated Doha Agreement

    Kabul: In a response to the US and NATO forces announcing withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan by September 1 this year, the Taliban has stated that the timeline of withdrawal is a clear violation of the Doha agreement, signed between the group and the US.

    The Doha agreement required the US to pullout all its troops from the war-ravaged country by May 1 and the Taliban sees the new announcement as a failure of US to meet obligations under the agreement.

    The Taliban added that the group will resort to countermeasures, and the consequences will be the responsibility of the Americans. The Taliban have called on all parties to the Doha Agreement to pressurize the United States to live up to its obligations under the agreement and withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the deadline (May 1).

    The group said that the United States has shown the world that the American direction could not be trusted as it failed to live up to its commitments to release all Taliban prisoners from government prisons, abolish blacklisting and withdraw troops by a certain date.

    The statement said that the Taliban had so far implemented the agreement well and that it was the only solution to the Afghan conflict. “Now, if the United States violates the agreement, the Islamic Emirate will basically open the way for any necessary action to the Mojahedin, so the responsibility for the future consequences will fall on the Americans, not the Islamic Emirate,” the group said.

    US President Joe Biden announced that the country is ending its long war in Afghanistan. The US president added that the US troops will start the withdrawal beginning May 1 and will complete it by September 11.

    Meanwhile, the US, UN and Qatar are planning a peace summit in Istanbul with the Afghan government and the Taliban to chalk out a future roadmap for the country. Taliban has refused to participate in any peace talks till the troops have been withdrawn, while the Afghan government is ready with a unified peace plan for the April 24 summit.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Troop Withdrawal May Weaken Ability to Track Terrorists, Extremists Threats: CIA Chief

    Kabul: With the US and NATO announcing troop withdrawal from the war-ravaged Afghanistan by September 11 this year, CIA chief William Burns has warned the administration that the decision to pull troops from Afghanistan will weaken the US ability to track terrorists and act on extremist threats.

    Collection of intelligence in Afghanistan will weaken after the troop withdrawal, said CIA Director William Burns. Burns’ testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee highlighted a key risk inherent in President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all remaining US forces out despite the enduring presence of al Qaeda and Islamic State militants.

    Burns added, however, that the US government would retain capabilities after the withdrawal to “help us to anticipate and contest any rebuilding effort” by al Qaeda.

    A United Nations report in January said there were as many as 500 al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan and that the Taliban maintained a close relationship with the Islamist extremist group. The Taliban deny there are any al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Long War Journal’s analysis of 16 issues of Thabat, Al Qaeda’s media platform, has shown that the Al Qaeda and its allies had been responsible for many attacks in 18 provinces of the country since November 2020 till now.

    Even a US report on global threats issued on Tuesday said that US intelligent agencies are not keen about the chances of a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government for the coming year. The intelligence agencies have warned that the Taliban believes it can successfully use force to shape the political reality on the ground.

    The announcement comes even as a conference is scheduled on the Afghanistan peace roadmap starting on April 24 in Istanbul that would include the United Nations and Qatar. The Afghan government is ready with a unified plan, however, the Taliban has rejected coming to the negotiating table till all foreign troops have not been withdrawn from the country.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Civilians Continue To Be Affected By IED Detonations in Afghanistan: OCHA

    Kabul: Clashes between the Afghan national Security Forces (ANSF) and a non-state armed group (NSAG) continued in southern parts of Afghanistan with reported air strikes and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonations, said United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its weekly report on Thursday.

    The report stated that in Kandahar province, fighting continued in Arghandab, Panjwaiy and Maywand districts. On April 7, a woman and her child were reportedly wounded by a rocket that landed next to the provincial governor’s compound in Kandahar city.

    “The presence of IEDs in contested districts continued to hinder civilian movement and access to agriculture-related livelihood activities. On April 6, four civilians were killed and 13 were injured by a roadside IED which hit a bus along the highway connecting Kandahar and Hirat provinces,” the report stated.

    The report stated that according to the provincial authorities, the clearance of hundreds of IEDs in some areas in Arghandab and Panjwaiy districts is ongoing so that people can return to their places of origins.

    On April 1, 299 internally displaced persons (IDPs) received humanitarian assistance in Zaranj, Nimroz province and 601 IDPs were identified by interagency assessment teams to receive humanitarian assistance in the coming days in Kandahar and Hilmand provinces.

    In the North-east region of the country at least 1,400 people have been displaced due to fighting. Fighting between ANSF and an NSAG continued across in Badakshan, Baghlan and Kunduz provinces, said the report. A total of 98 people affected by conflict received winter support in Takhar province. Assessment teams identified 2,226 people displaced by conflict in Baghlan, Badakhshan, Takhar and Kunduz provinces to receive humanitarian assistance in the coming days. In addition, 140 people affected by flash floods received humanitarian assistance in Takhar and Kunduz provinces.

    In the East of the country, 47,068 people received humanitarian assistance even as armed clashes with IED detonations were reported in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces. On April 7, two civilians were reportedly killed and 27 other were injured by IED detonations in Jalalabad city, Nanagarhar province. This week, 6,531 people were recommended for immediate humanitarian assistance.

    During the reporting period, 47,068 people received humanitarian assistance — among them are 7,301 newly displaced people, 1,736 people affected by rainfall, 37,933 vulnerable people in host communities and 98 undocumented returnees.

    A total of 6,781 returnees, IDPs, and people from host communities were reached with emergency outpatient health services; and 384 children were vaccinated to protect them against polio and measles. Six mobile health teams provided nutrition support to people affected by conflict and natural disasters in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces. Among 3,757 children under five screened, 154 children suffered from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 424 children suffered from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).

    At least 1,783 civilian casualties were recorded in the first three months of the year, as per the first-quarter report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts 2021. UNAMA in a recent report found that the number of civilians killed and injured in the initial three months of 2021 was higher than the previous year. Peace negotiations were initiated in September of last year, gave hopes for stable security and improvement in the situation for civilians but during the six months between October 2020 and March 2021 UNAMA a 38 percent increase in civilian casualties compared with the same period of the previous year.

    There is increase in violence as the Afghan government and the Taliban are involved in clashes and counter-clashes ahead of the Istanbul Summit. There are increasing concerns from human rights group about civilian casualties in the country.

    The US, UN and Qatar are planning a peace summit in Istanbul with the Afghan government and the Taliban to chalk out a future roadmap for the country. Taliban has refused to participate in any peace talks till the troops have been withdrawn, while the Afghan government is ready with a unified peace plan for the April 24 summit.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    US State Secy Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

    Kabul: In a surprise visit on Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken landed in Kabul with a high-level delegation.

    His visit comes after the US and NATO announced withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan by September 11, ending the longest war for America after 20 years.

    The office of the President of Afghanistan in a statement on Thursday evening said that emphasizing the common struggle of all countries against terrorism, President Ghani said that we respect the decision of the United States of America to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and the Government of Afghanistan will try to cooperate in the transition process.

    US Secretary of State Blinken said, “The United States will continue its diplomatic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and its security and defense forces, and will continue its efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process.”

    Biden’s top aide added, “I wanted to demonstrate with my visit the ongoing commitment of the United States to the Islamic Republic and the people of Afghanistan. The partnership is changing, but the partnership is enduring.”

    Besides Ghani, Blinken also met Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) and the Afghan government’s chief peace envoy.

    For the US, the visit is a chance to show the Afghan people that American diplomats and institutions will continue to support the country’s development, even as soldiers from the US and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries begin to depart, starting this May 1.

    There is growing concern that a hasty exit from Afghanistan could leave the country in disarray and that a civil war could take place. There is increase in violence as the Afghan government and the Taliban are involved in clashes and counter-clashes ahead of the Istanbul Summit. There are increasing concerns from human rights group about civilian casualties in the country.

    The US, UN and Qatar are planning a peace summit in Istanbul with the Afghan government and the Taliban to chalk out a future roadmap for the country. Taliban has refused to participate in any peace talks till the troops have been withdrawn, while the Afghan government is ready with a unified peace plan for the April 24 summit.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    India’s CDS Worried About Vacuum In Afghanistan After Military Pullout

    Kabul: The Chief of the Defence Staff in India General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said that he is concerned about a vacuum developing in Afghanistan after the planned US and NATO troop withdrawal from the war-ravaged country.

    General Bipin Rawat told a security conference that the worry was that “disruptors” can step into the space created by the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. He declined to name the countries that could act as disruptors.

    There is growing concern that a hasty exit from Afghanistan could leave the country in disarray and that a civil war could take place. Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan should be conditions-based, otherwise, it will once again face the bitter experience of the past. Hasty withdrawal would worsen the situation and lead to civil war, said Afghan parliament speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani on Tuesday.

    Even a US report on global threats said that US intelligent agencies are not keen about the chances of a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government for the coming year. The intelligence agencies have warned that the Taliban believes it can successfully use force to shape the political reality on the ground. “Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military victory,” according to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

    US President Joe Biden has said that troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan starting May 1 to end America’s longest war by September 11, rejecting calls for them to stay to ensure a peaceful resolution to that nation’s grinding internal conflict. According to Biden, the United States will not leave Afghanistan in a hurry, but responsibly and in coordination with its allies. The US president said that Washington will continue to assist Afghan security forces after the withdrawal. He, at the same time, called on Pakistan, Russia, China, India and Turkey to “support” Afghanistan, adding that these countries “have a significant stake in the stable future” of the war-torn country.

    In the aftermath of the foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, India will have tremendous concern on the resurgence of the Taliban and its territory being used as a safe haven for terrorist, experts said.

    “Regional countries, especially India, will have tremendous concerns about the US pullout from Afghanistan and the likelihood of a Taliban resurgence in the country,” Lisa Curtis, who was Deputy Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for South and Central Asia from 2017-2021 under the previous Donald Trump administration told PTI. “When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, they welcomed militants and terrorists of all stripes to train, recruit, and fundraise from Afghanistan. Many of those militants, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, trained for operations in India, such as the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament,” Curtis said.

    Meanwhile, there is increase in violence comes as the Afghan government and the Taliban are involved in clashes and counter-clashes ahead of the Istanbul Summit. There are increasing concerns from human rights group about civilian casualties in the country.

    The US, UN and Qatar are planning a peace summit in Istanbul with the Afghan government and the Taliban to chalk out a future roadmap for the country. Taliban has refused to participate in any peace talks till the troops have been withdrawn, while the Afghan government is ready with a unified peace plan for the April 24 summit.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Restrictions On Women Lifted At Kahmard Health Centers

    Kabul: The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said on Thursday that the restrictions on women who were not accompanied by male kin during Kahmard health center visits, have been lifted.

    The lift comes after an order which had been passed by the Kahmard district administration in Bamyan province stating that health services would not be provided to women who came to pharmacies and health centers in the district without a male guardian, was brought to light by the rights’ body.

    The Human Rights Commission added that its field office, aware of this issue, sent an official letter to the governor of Bamyan province to petition the lifting of restrictions on women in hospitals and called for the issue to be addressed. In the letter, the commission asked the governor of Bamyan to take action.

    “The [Human Rights] Commission’s findings show that the district administration has received the notices, and as a result, restrictions on women visiting health centers have been lifted,” the statement said.

    The Commission emphasized that access to the right to health is a fundamental human right of every citizen and that any restriction on their access to health services is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, the global Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

    According to the commission, whose employees saw the notice in the last month of the previous solar year, the local government’s diktat created many problems for women in Kahmard and limited their access to health services and the right to health.

    In a statement issued three days ago, the Bamyan governor’s press office called the Kahmard district administration’s order to restrict women’s access to health services “contrary to the principles and rules of human and human rights”.

    The statement had said that the leadership of the Bamyan local government, aware of this issue, has directed the relevant departments to address this issue urgently and legally.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    1 Afghan Soldier Killed, 3 Wounded in Ghor

    Kabul: The Taliban attacked a local checkpoint in the Vajgun area, west of Firuzkuh city, the provincial capital of Ghor province, on Wednesday night, security officials said.

    Amir Dad Parsa, spokesperson for the Ghor Police, said that a local soldier was killed and two others were injured in the clash.

    Parsa did not comment on the number of Taliban insurgents killed in the attack.

    Also, a 12-year-old child was killed when a roadside bomb exploded in the Tighe Timur area west of Firuzkuh city, said officials from the Ghor province.

    They linked the roadside bombing to the Taliban, but the group has not yet commented on the issue.

    Ghor province has recently witnessed heavy clashes between government forces and the Taliban, with casualties on both sides.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    78 New COVID19 Cases in Afghanistan: Health Ministry

    Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday reported 78 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.

    The ministry also reported two deaths and 61 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

    The total number of cases now stand at 57,612 while the number of reported deaths is 2,535 and the total number of recoveries is 52,083.

    The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Takhar, Kunduz, Nimruz, Helmand, Bamiyan, Badakhshan, Logar, Kunar, and Laghman provinces.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Action In Accordance With Allied Decisions on Withdrawal: Romania

    Kabul: After a joint meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign meetings and defence ministers, Romania’s Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca said it will act in accordance with allied decisions on the timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    The joint meeting was organized after US announced its decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan by September 11 this year.

    “Following the allied talks, the allied foreign affairs and defence ministers adopted a Joint Declaration of the North Atlantic Council deciding to start the process of withdrawing allied forces from Afghanistan from May 1, 2021. As one of the most important troops-contributing states at the Resolute Support Mission, with over 600 troops currently deployed, Romania will act in accordance with allied decisions regarding the timetable of the withdrawal,” the defence minister wrote on his social media page.

    He also stressed on Romania’s long-term commitment to the stability and security of Afghanistan and pointed out the need to take into account the security interests of the Allies and Afghanistan, as well as the importance of maintaining solidarity and NATO unity.

    Ciuca also said that it is pertinent to protect the NATO forces in Afghanistan during this transition period.

    Meanwhile, the US, UN and Qatar are planning a peace summit in Istanbul with the Afghan government and the Taliban to chalk out a future roadmap for the country. Taliban has refused to participate in any peace talks till the troops have been withdrawn, while the Afghan government is ready with a unified peace plan for the April 24 summit.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    IS-K Member Killed in Nangarhar province

    Kabul: In a statement released on Thursday, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) 02 unit announced that security sources have reportedly killed a IS-K member in Nangarhar province.

    An operation had been launched in Rud and Mubarak districts of the province on Wednesday night and Saida Jan, an IS-K affiliate responsible for targeted assassinations was killed, while another IS-K member was detained.

    During the security operations, NDS members also seized two weapons from them.

    This comes even as there is increasing violence in Afghanistan as Afghan forces and the Taliban are involved in clashes and counter clashed. The Taliban has linked ceasefire and violence reduction on condition of foreign troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    4 Security Forces Killed in Attack by Taliban in Badghis

    Kabul: At least four security personnel have been killed after Taliban insurgents attacked a police checkpoint in Muqur district of Badghis province, local officials said.

    Abdul Aziz Beg, head of the Badghis provincial council, said that the Taliban launched the attack on Wednesday night, 500 meters from the district center.

    Beg added that five other security forces had also been wounded during the clashes in the Taliban attack. Five security personnel had also been taken hostage by Taliban insurgents.

    According to him, the insurgents also took the equipment present at the police checkpoint with them.

    However, the Taliban claimed in a statement that nine policemen had been killed in the attack.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    1st Round of Evaluation for IMF’s Credit Facilitation Program Completed

    Kabul: The Bank of Afghanistan (Da Afghanistan Bank) is likely to receive $147 million in help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), following the IMF’s Executive Board assessment in June this year.

    The development comes as the IMF successfully announced the completion of the first round of evaluation of the new Evaluation of Credit Facilitation (ECF) program for Afghanistan as per a report released on Thursday by the central bank states.

    A report on these assessments will be submitted to the IMF Executive Board in June this year. According to the statement, the IMF assessment team discussed the fulfillment of Afghanistan’s commitment to structural reforms in the country’s economy with Afghan officials.

    The assessment team welcomed Afghanistan’s performance in managing economic programs in the “current challenging” context, as well as advances in strengthening Afghanistan’s financial system.

    “Afghanistan is committed to macroeconomic stability, financial and banking sector reform, the effective management and increase of foreign exchange reserves, the fight against financial crime, money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” the central bank said in a statement, quoting Ajmal Ahmadi, the Acting head of the bank.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Merkel Discusses Next Plan Of Action With Biden

    Kabul: With all foreign forces now announcing their withdrawal plans from Afghanistan by September 11 this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also discussed NATO’s military presence in Afghanistan and agreed to closely coordinate future steps with US President Joe Biden, a German government spokesman said.

    “The two leaders spoke about the current situation Afghanistan and how to go ahead with the NATO troop presence there,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said. The close coordination and cooperation as well as continued political commitment for the country had also been discussed, Seibert added.

    The two leaders also agreed to call on Russia to reduce its troops on the border with Ukraine, Merkel’s office said.

    Russia’s growing number of troops along Ukraine, as a counter to NATO troops, has turned many heads in the political world.

    On Tuesday, Biden proposed a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin said on Wednesday it was premature to talk in tangible terms about a possible meeting between Putin and Biden.

    Meanwhile, Biden said the United States will not leave Afghanistan in a hurry, but responsibly and in coordination with its allies. The US president said that Washington will continue to assist Afghan security forces after the withdrawal. He, at the same time, called on Pakistan, Russia, China, India and Turkey to “support” Afghanistan, adding that these countries “have a significant stake in the stable future” of the war-torn country.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Need To Avoid Military Escalation in Afghanistan: Moscow

    Kabul: Russian Foreign Ministry has called for avoiding a new wave of military escalation in Afghanistan amid the US decision to withdrawal troops by September 11 this year, Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Sputnik.

    “We would not like to see the further military developments in Afghanistan,” Kabulov said, commenting on the US decision.

    This criticism comes even as there is growing concern that a hasty exit from Afghanistan could leave the country in disarray and that a civil war could take place. Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan should be conditions-based, otherwise, it will once again face the bitter experience of the past. Hasty withdrawal would worsen the situation and lead to civil war, said Afghan parliament speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani on Tuesday.

    Even a US report on global threats issued on Tuesday said that US intelligent agencies are not keen about the chances of a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government for the coming year. The intelligence agencies have warned that the Taliban believes it can successfully use force to shape the political reality on the ground. “Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military victory,” according to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

    “The US colleagues should now settle this issue with the Taliban movement, with whom Washington signed the agreement. The agreements must be fulfilled,” Kabulov added.

    According to Biden, the United States will not leave Afghanistan in a hurry, but responsibly and in coordination with its allies. The US president said that Washington will continue to assist Afghan security forces after the withdrawal. He, at the same time, called on Pakistan, Russia, China, India and Turkey to “support” Afghanistan, adding that these countries “have a significant stake in the stable future” of the war-torn country.

    Meanwhile, there is increase in violence comes as the Afghan government and the Taliban are involved in clashes and counter-clashes ahead of the Istanbul Summit. There are increasing concerns from human rights group about civilian casualties in the country.

    The US, UN and Qatar are planning a peace summit in Istanbul with the Afghan government and the Taliban to chalk out a future roadmap for the country. Taliban has refused to participate in any peace talks till the troops have been withdrawn, while the Afghan government is ready with a unified peace plan for the April 26 summit.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Support to Afghan Forces to Continue: Austin

    Kabul: In a press briefing at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said that he wholeheartedly supports President Joe Biden’s decision to end US’ longest war by September 11.

    NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty in 2001 after al-Qaida — operating from bases in Afghanistan — launched an attack that killed more than 3,000 Americans. It was the first time the North Atlantic Alliance invoked the article which says an attack on one nation is an attack on all.

    Austin thanked NATO service members for their sacrifices in this common defense. There are currently around 10,000 NATO forces in Afghanistan, with 2,500 of them being American. This is down from over 100,000 in 2011.

     

    “Our troops have accomplished the mission they were sent to Afghanistan to accomplish,” Austin said.

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the NATO effort in Afghanistan “prevented Afghanistan from serving as a safe haven for terrorist attacks.” He said pulling the troops out of the country will not mean the end of NATO nation’s efforts in Afghanistan. He cited diplomatic and economic efforts that will continue, and he called on the Taliban to seriously negotiate with the Afghan government.

    The sacrifices made by NATO, partner nations and Afghan forces have enabled economic, civil and political progress in Afghanistan.

    “There is still too much violence, to be sure. And we know the Taliban still seek to reverse some of this progress. That is why we support wholeheartedly the diplomatic efforts ongoing to achieve a negotiated and political settlement that the Afghan people themselves endorse,” he said.

    The announcement comes even as a conference is scheduled on the Afghanistan peace roadmap starting on April 24 in Istanbul that would include the United Nations and Qatar. The Afghan government is ready with a unified plan, however, the Taliban has rejected coming to the negotiating table till all foreign troops have not been withdrawn from the country.

  • 15 Apr 2021 Share this post

    Australia To Withdraw Troops Out of Afghanistan in Line With US Deadline

    Kabul: After US President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the US will end the “forever war” in Afghanistan by withdrawing all its troops by September 11 this year, Australia, too, said that it will pull out its last remaining 80 troops out of Afghanistan by September..

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison was visibly emotional when he announced the news at a media conference in Perth and read out the names of the 41 soldiers who had lost their lives in the war-ravaged middle-eastern nation.

    “This day, we dedicate to their memories. We think of their families, their friends, the life they would have lived. But they gave that for others they did not know,” he said. Asked if the war was worth it, Morrison said: “Freedom is always worth it”.

    Australia joined the war in Afghanistan in November 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.

    At the peak of the war, Australia had 1,500 troops in Afghanistan and in total 39,000 Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed on Operations SLIPPER and HIGHROAD.

    “Australia continues to support the peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” he added.

    The announcement comes even as a conference is scheduled on the Afghanistan peace roadmap starting on April 24 in Istanbul that would include the United Nations and Qatar. The Afghan government is ready with a unified plan, however, the Taliban has rejected coming to the negotiating table till all foreign troops have not been withdrawn from the country.