People Will Defend Country If War Imposed: Abdullah

Kabul: Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), on Monday at a press conference said that the Afghan people will defend the country if war is imposed on them.

“Peace was always the demand of the people of Afghanistan, but if the war has been imposed on them, they have no choice but to defend themselves,” Abdullah said, “however, peace efforts are ongoing.”

“My message in the last meeting with Taliban representatives in Moscow was that both sides will not reach a result by force- by war. This will not be possible if the Taliban try to reach their target militarily,” Abdullah said.

In a meeting with US President Biden in Washington, Abdullah said that Biden pledged that the US “will be with the people of Afghanistan in the peace process and will also continue to support the Afghan security forces.” “The US president also emphasized the need for political consensus,” he said.

Abdullah said that the US will end its military presence in the country but will continue its assistance to Afghanistan. On Friday, President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah met with Biden at the White House and the US president promised a “sustained” partnership, said the Afghan leaders. President Ghani and Chairman Abdullah also met at the Pentagon with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. While Biden vowed that the US was committed to assisting Afghanistan, he also insisted that it was time for the American military to step back, according to the Associated Press.

On Friday, President Ghani said that Afghans will not be compelled by force and that the Taliban should agree to a ceasefire and enter a political process. Ghani spoke at a press conference following meetings with President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other American officials and lawmakers, and said that the Afghan forces are prepared to ensure the country’s security and that he respects the decision by the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

“Force is not a way to compel an Afghan to submission. We still call on them to have a ceasefire and to engage in a political process because a political settlement is the ultimate mechanism of ending a war. As Lincoln said, the best way of treating an enemy is to turn him into a friend,” he said. Violence remains high in the country amid stalled peace negotiations. Several districts are contested between the Afghan forces and the Taliban.

In fact, the Afghan delegation in Washington was told that the US will provide 37 Black Hawk helicopters and two A-29 Super Tucano fixed-wing attack aircraft to Afghanistan, sources told TOLOnews on Monday.

The US officials also assured the Afghan delegation that 200 US contractors, mostly working with the military aircraft, will remain in Afghanistan until the end of September. Currently, Afghan forces have more than 160 helicopters and aircraft. Abdullah also said that the US will end its military presence in the country but will continue its assistance to Afghanistan and the Afghan air forces.

This comes even as Iran’s Director General of Foreign Ministry’s West Asia Department said that the Americans are withdrawing from Afghanistan ‘irresponsibly’ and that they put the country of Afghanistan on the brink of civil war.

In a tweet on Monday, Seyyed Rasoul Mousavi pointed to the irresponsible withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and said that it is essential that the Afghan government, Taliban, Mujahideen and all Afghan National Forces save the country by taking a responsible approach to the future of Afghanistan and adopting courageous decisions in this regard. Earlier, assistant to Iranian Foreign Minister and Director General of West Asia at Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in another tweet wrote, “The reason for Iran’s concern about the developments in Afghanistan is not the transfer of power, because it (Iran) is sure that Afghanistan has no military solution and the transfer of power through the military is impossible and will not maintain peace and stability in this country.”

Several US officials have previously told the Associated Press that about 650 US troops will remain in Afghanistan after withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in July (next month) to ensure the safety of US diplomats. According to the Associated Press, the main US forces in Afghanistan will complete the process of withdrawing from Afghanistan in the next two weeks, but several hundred US troops will remain as part of a security program, especially at the US Embassy and Kabul Airport.

In other news, Georgia has completed withdrawing its troops stationed in Afghanistan after the last remaining unit of the 32nd Battalion returned home, Georgian Defense Ministry reported on June 28. The 32nd Battalion, of Georgia’s Western Command’s 3rd Infantry Brigade, served in Afghanistan under US command as part of the Resolute Support Mission.

Georgia began the drawdown on May 21, after the NATO Allies decided in April to begin withdrawing the Resolute Support Mission forces starting May. Georgia had been part of NATO-led missions to Afghanistan since 2004, first participating in the International Security Assistance Force and then the RSM. Prior to the withdrawal, Georgia was contributing some 860 servicemen in Afghanistan. Overall, more than 20,000 Georgian troops have participated in multiple rotations since 2004.

Also, Romania brought back its last military detachment from Afghanistan on Saturday night, June 26. Between February and June 2021, Romania had 600 troops stationed in Afghanistan for the last rotation of the allied forces. The repatriation activities were synchronized with NATO allies and the US strategic partner within the SAFE RETURN operation. Since 2002, over 32,000 Romanian soldiers, coming from all combat structures of the Land, Air, Naval Forces, Special Operations Forces and Military Intelligence structures, have participated in international missions and operations in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Ministry.

28 / June 2021
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