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House Republicans demand declassification of info on chaotic US withdrawal

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(Last Updated On: July 27, 2022)

House Republicans are calling on the Biden administration to release information related to the chaotic withdrawal of US troops almost a year ago that preceded the collapse of the former Afghan government.

According to the Washington Examiner, GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to the secretaries of defense and state, urging them to comply with previous requests to release preliminary findings regarding the “rapid fall” of Afghanistan after 20 years of war. 

Lawmakers initially requested the information in December as they put together their own investigation to determine the “root causes” of the collapse.

“There must be a full accounting of US government’s investments in the [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] and Afghan government and an understanding of why those efforts failed in such rapid and dramatic fashion,” the group of lawmakers, led by Republican Mike Turner, wrote. 

“It is unclear why the [Department of Defense] needs this information to remain classified and withheld from the public.”

The United States withdrew its troops from Afghanistan nearly one year ago, and the government collapsed on August 15. 

Shortly after, the Biden administration was tasked with providing the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) information so officials could investigate the cause of the collapse of the Afghan government.

“Most of the information contained in these supplemental annexes was classified by the DoD in 2017 at the request of the former Afghan president and in agreement with the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Commanding General,” the letter states. 

“Those organizations no longer exist, and there appears to be no compelling reason for this information to be withheld from public release.”

Republicans have long planned investigations into the Afghanistan debacle, with lawmakers calling for open congressional hearings on how the Biden administration handled the withdrawal of troops as well as the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies. That could come to fruition next year if the GOP wins one or both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections, the Washington Examiner reported.

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Afghan national arrested over death of three women in Austria

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Austrian police have arrested a 27-year-old Afghan national suspected of killing three women in a brothel in the capital, Vienna, on Friday.

BBC News reported that the victims were stabbed to death, and the suspect was found hiding near the brothel with a knife in his hand.

The motive for the killings is currently unclear but the man has been questioned.

Another woman and her daughter were killed in an unrelated incident in Vienna in a 24-hour period. Investigators believe the girl’s father was responsible.

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Acting FM Muttaqi leaves for Turkmenistan

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi has left for Turkmenistan for talks with officials of the neighboring country, it was announced Sunday.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on his X that Muttaqi, leading a delegation, traveled to Turkmenistan at the invitation of Rashid Murdov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, to discuss bilateral issues.

The delegation includes also officials of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Railway Authority and Da Afghanistan Brehshna Sherkat.

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China regrets UN Doha meeting’s failure to have dialogue with IEA

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, on Saturday regretted that the United Nations’ meeting in Doha on Afghanistan earlier this week failed to have dialogue with the Islamic Emirate.

Yue said on X that the meeting was useful for exchange of views and it made a call for more pragmatic engagement and dialogue with Afghanistan.

“Pity is Doha Afghanistan meeting again failed to have dialogu with Afghan interim government or DFA (IEA) as China and regional countries have been calling,” Yue said.

The envoy said that China called more humanitarian assistance, moderate governance, and women and girls’ education.

China also called on US take major responsibility for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, unfreeze Afghanistan’s overseas assets and lift unilateral sanctions.

China also stressed that it is ready to work harder with UN and regional partners especially through Afghanistan’s nonboring countries foreign ministerial meeting and other platforms to enhance engagement with Afghanistan to help for its peace, stability, reconstruction and common prosperity.

The UN had extended an invitation for IEA officials to participate, following their exclusion from the first meeting in May.

However, the Kabul government said they would not participate in the talks unless they could be the sole representative of Afghanistan at the meetings — to the exclusion of civil society groups.

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