Access Situation Before Withdrawal: MPs

Kabul: Members of the Lower House of Parliament in unison asked US and NATO troops to critically review the security situation of the country before the withdrawal process is complete.

US and NATO forces plan to completely withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11 and as of now at least 12 percent of the withdrawal process has been completed with the handover of major bases.

Mir Haidar Afzali, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Defense and Territorial Integrity, at a plenary session of the House of Representatives read out a joint statement, “We respect and demand the unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops. Until this is achieved, the security situation in the country will be clarified in accordance with the security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States and NATO member states.”

Afzali added that while there is no doubt about the ability, courage and sacrifice of the country’s security and defense forces to defend the threats, the unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops is concerning given the existing capacity of the Afghan military.

According to him, given the current sensitive situation in Afghanistan, the international community should cooperate fully with the country’s defense and security forces to combat the threat of terrorism. Afzali said the threat of terrorism in the country is still a challenge for Afghanistan and the international community.

He emphasized that the international community’s assistance to the Afghan defense and security forces should include equipment and training in various areas, including reconnaissance, intelligence, air strike capabilities, and the maintenance of combat equipment.

The statement from the House of Representatives also said that the aid should be provided to the Afghan defense and security forces on an ongoing basis.

“While emphasizing the preservation of the country’s achievements and values over the past 20 years and women’s rights, we believe that the Armed Forces, with the support of US and international assistance, is capable of defending independence, territorial integrity and They have the national honor and in this area they need comprehensive military and technical assistance and the serious support of international partners.”

The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Defense and Territorial Integrity also stressed that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan should be responsible.

Referring to the release of more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners under an agreement signed between the group and the United States, he said that although there was no guarantee that the Taliban would return to the battlefields and reduce violence against the Afghan people, citizens expected the United States to commit to reducing violence in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Mir Haidar Afzali called on the parties to the war in the country to come together in the national interest and away from any prejudices to reach a nationwide peace agreement and reach an agreement based on the will of the people and the supreme interests of the country.

Following the start of the withdrawal process, US forces handed over control of Kandahar airport to Afghan forces last week. Earlier, two US military bases and a German military base in Helmand, Balkh and Kabul provinces were handed over to Afghan forces.

US Forces Commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller has also said they are closely watching what the Taliban will do following the three-day Eid ceasefire that ended at midnight on Saturday, but said he expects violence to increase.

In an interview with BBC, Miller said, “Ideally they would continue with the reduced violence because it is something that the Afghan people want. But the expectation is that they will pick up violence in the nearer term.”

He also said he expects the Taliban will increase pressure on different provincial capitals but stated it is now the time for the Afghan security forces to stand on their own. However, coalition forces are still helping the Afghan security forces – even during their withdrawal.

He said the Afghan forces have the capability to keep the Taliban at bay, adding that “they have to hold”.
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He said there is an “emotional aspect” attached to withdrawing from Afghanistan but that the US military has to stay focused on the withdrawal process, which must be done “in accordance with our orders”.

“Our obligations are wanting to make sure our force is protected and that we are able to withdraw coalition forces as safely and as orderly as possible. And at the same time ensure that we leave our Afghan security partners in a position that they are able to pick this up and carry it on.”

He said this was “an obligation that we feel, not just (to) the security forces, but also to the people of Afghanistan.”

On the overall situation after 20 years in the country, and asked if the US had failed, Miller said, “Certainly there were some victories along the way, but I think history will judge this and the future will tell the rest of the story.”

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