Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Officials from EU commissions and Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyz Republic held the 16th EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting Tuesday and agreed an immediate ceasefire was needed to advance the Afghan peace process, saying a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan free of terrorism is necessary for the development of the entire region.
EU officials and ministers from central Asian countries got together on Tuesday for the 16th EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting and discussed the situation in Afghanistan.
Among those present at the virtual meeting were the Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for International Partnerships.
Delegates reaffirmed their joint commitment to forging a strong, ambitious and forward-looking partnership that builds upon the strong mutual interests between the two regions and reaffirmed their commitment to working together for peace, security, universal human rights, democracy and sustainable development in full respect for international law.
The participants agreed that a complete and immediate ceasefire was needed to advance the intra-Afghan reconciliation process, and a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan free of terrorism is necessary for the development of the entire region.
“In this context, participants reaffirmed their joint commitment to enhance cooperation to promote an inclusive peace process, the universal human rights of all Afghans and sustainable development in Afghanistan,” an EU statement read.
The Humanitarian Office of the United Nations has released $ 100 million in aid to 7 countries in Africa and the Middle East given the potential threat of Femine between the Conflict and Covid 19 epidemics. On this occasion, the Humanitarian Chief said that it would be a lot of obsession to return in such situations where Femine is common.
According to a statement released last night, $ 80 million is to be given to Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Yemen, South Sudan, Nayajiriya, and Congo. Also, 20 million will be invested to fight starvation amidst the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia. The above statement states that Femine will become the truth of Yemen, South Sudan, northern Nigeria, and Bucarina Faso if immediate action is not taken. The possibility of Femine has been expressed in the area of South Sudan for the first time since 2017.
The United Nations says that the above funds will be spent on the most affected sections such as girls, women, and the disabled. According to the details, the maximum $ 30 million is to be given to Yemen, $ 15 million to Northeast Nigeria, $ 7-7 million to Congo and South Sudan, Burkina Faso to 6 million, and Afghanistan to $ 15 million. One thing common in all the above places is that these are conflict zones or terrorism affected areas.
President’s nominee for US ambassador to Afghanistan, Will Ruger in conversation with a news channel stated that Trump should withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan.
He added that Trump would be the first president since Ronald Wilson Reagan to not start a major new war and the first president to get America out of the “longest war”.
Speaking to Breitbart News, Ruger said, “It’s not just because it’s about his legacy or about politics, but it’s good policy”.
Trump nominated Ruger as US ambassador for Afghanistan in September, though the senate is yet to vote on his nomination.
The nation heads of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan will make joint requests to the US Financial Corporation for International Development to bring US investment into Afghanistan. In addition, similar requests to be made to other international organizations. This effect has been claimed in several recently published media reports.
This has come after the order of the Uzbekistan government, which was said to increase economic cooperation with Afghanistan. As per the above orders, Transport Ministers of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan will meet next month to discuss the most beneficial directions of Trans Afghan Railways. The paper formalities related to the project concerned are expected to be completed by June 2021. Apart from this, if everything goes well, then this railway project is also expected to start by September 2021.
Through this rail route, people will be able to reach Uzbekistan as well as the seaports of Pakistan. Earlier in September this year, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan agreed to jointly attract international finance for transportation projects in Central Asia.
Russia’s special presidential representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov on Wednesday said talks over US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan would have little effect on the ground situation in the country.
He added that it was not possible to withdraw all the forces from Afghanistan and that US President Donald Trump’s statement over troops’ reduction was presented in a lop-sided manner.
Kabulov said it is also expected that President-elect Joe Biden will be retracting Trump’s decision after taking office.
Questioning NATO over its claims that US actions will hamper security situation in Afghanistan, Kabulov asked its Secretary General Jens StoltenBerg if the presence of alliance forces in Afghanistan has been of any aid.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday reported 243 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 201 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 7 deaths and 135 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 43,924 the number of total reported deaths is 1,645 and the total number of recoveries is 35,295.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Parwan, Nimroz, Logar, Helmand and Jawzjan provinces.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will reach Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan tomorrow, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan confirmed.
Imran Khan is coming to Afghanistan at the invitation of President Ghani.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan will discuss strengthening bilateral agreements during his visit to Afghanistan,” Ambassador Khan added.
A spokesperson for the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry announced last week that political, security, trade, and economic issues would also be discussed apart from peace talk during Imran Khan’s visit.
The Pakistani Prime Minister’s visit comes after President Ashraf Ghani’s telephone talks with him last month.
This is Imran Khan’s first Afghan visit since becoming Prime Minister of Pakistan in the year 2018.
US Senator Lindsey Graham on Wednesday stated that the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan should be conditions-based. In a tweet, he wrote that it was imperative for US’s national security also to let the counter-terrorism forces deployed in Afghanistan.
Graham said a drawdown to 2,500 counter-terrorism forces may be sufficient, but with a conditioned approach in order to protect America’s interests. Praising President Donald Trump for handling the conflict- ravaged state well and creating new opportunities between US and Pakistan, Graham hoped to see return of all American forces to home one day.
The US Senator reiterated that for America’s own national security, a counter-terrorism force should remain in Afghanistan until conditions warrant their removal. A counter-terrorism force in Afghanistan is an insurance policy against another 9/11 , Graham added.
Hoping to see some efforts by the Taliban to eliminate Al-Qaeda, Graham underlined that it was not in America’s interests for Afghanistan to sink back into civil war as that is a ripe opportunity for ISIS and al-Qaeda to re-emerge in force.
Afghanistan first Vice-President Amrullah Saleh on Wednesday said the case of terrorist attack on Kabul University has progressed and the number of detainees has increased.
“This time, an individual named Rahmatullah, one of the members of the network who planned the terrorist attack on Kabul University has been arrested,” Saleh wrote on his Facebook page.
The Vice-President called on the leadership of Kabul University to file a lawsuit against the detainees as a victim of scientific institution.
At least 22 people were killed and 27 others were wounded in a terrorist attack on Kabul University this month. Most of the victims of this incident were students. IS-K has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the attack.
Former US President Barack Obama in his latest book, “A Promised Land”, has revealed that he did not want to engage Pakistan for its mission to raid Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden. He wrote that it was an “open secret” that some people in Pakistan army, intelligence services had ties with the Taliban and perhaps Al-Qaeda, to use them as strategic assets against Afghanistan and India.
Obama, however, added that there was extensive support from the Pakistan government in terms of path supply for US forces in Afghanistan.
Detailing the much-talked US operation of killing the most wanted terrorist in the world, Obama mentioned in his book that the then US defence secretary Robert Gates and Vice- President Joe Biden has opposed the secret operation.
He wrote that it was quite challenging to keep the mission a secret as the slightest leak of information would have caused the damage and ruined chances of executing Laden.
The United Nations on Tuesday stated that the failure of Afghan peace talks will be a humanitarian disaster as it will cause loss of lives, displacement in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and harsh winters.
Speaking to The Associated Press, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said there will be internal displacement if the conflict between Afghanistan government and Taliban does not end. He added that it was essential for everyone to be prepared beforehand to address an expected humanitarian crisis in the country.
Grandi urged the international community to continue extending financial as well as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. His comments come days ahead of donors’ conference in Geneva where international community would be setting parameters to ensure protection of human rights in Afghanistan.
Violence induced casualties have been on the surge in Afghanistan in the recent months after both sides locked horns over the peace settlement clauses. The two sides have seemingly not been on the same page with little progress in their relations. The government negotiatiors and the Taliban are expected to meet in Qataer to discuss next course of action to end the decade-old war.
The International Rescue Committee earlier this year had cautioned against the possibility of health disaster in the backdrop of government failure to test 80 percent people suspected of contracting coronavirus.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the withdrawal of US and Allied forces from Afghanistan could prove to be a costly deal.
Stoltenberg’s response comes after a US official statement in which he stated that President Trump, who is going to complete his term in January 2021, may issue orders to withdraw a significant number of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan before then.
Stoltenberg said in a statement that we (NATO) have been there for 20 years and no fellow members of NATO want to stay there unnecessarily. But at the same time, leaving Afghanistan without coordination and in rapidity can also be costly.
Stoltenberg further added that by doing so, international terrorists can once again use Afghanistan to attack our lands, and organizations like ISIS can once again establish their roots there.
There are currently 12,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, of which around 4500 are American soldiers. According to the current agreement, if the points of peace talks are implemented, and the Taliban commits the ceasefire, the US troops will start returning from Afghanistan, but their full withdrawal will not be possible before April 2021.
Christopher C. Miller, Acting Secretary of the US Department of Defense, has made an official announcement yesterday of a plan for the withdrawal of troops placed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. He has said that it has long been a responsible end to the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a press release issued by the US Department of Defense, Miller said that served military personnel of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard stationed from Kabul to Kandahar and from Mosul to Fallujah.
Appreciating that it is difficult to find examples of such bravery and valor anywhere else in the world, he said that he has also spoken to US Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff General Milley in this regard, in which he has also talked about the honorable repatriation of the bodies of 5 American soldiers recently killed in the Middle East.
Miller said – “That these war started in the year 2001 and it will be 2021 when we will be calling them back.” So far, 6900 American soldiers have been killed on the soil of Iraq and Afghanistan and over 52000 have suffered grief and suffering on different occasions. We have also talked to the top leaders of Congress, all the top military commanders in this regard, and our allies who have helped in the creation of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Miller further added that we and our allies had gone there together, contributed together there, and would return from there together.