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IEA in two-day talks with EU, highlight need for humanitarian aid



(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

European Union officials held two days of talks with representatives of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in Doha this weekend to discuss a number of issues including the worsening humanitarian situation in the country.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, Afghanistan’s foreign affairs spokesman, said on Monday that both delegations exchanged views about the humanitarian, health, security, safe passage of travellers and the need for humanitarian assistance.

“The EU delegation expressed willingness to continue assisting Afghan people and informed about continued presence of an EU humanitarian office in Kabul providing humanitarian assistance,” Balkhi said in a tweet.

According to him, the Afghan delegation reassured the EU about security, and said the IEA stressed the need to move “forward through cooperation rather than pressure”.

According to a statement issued by the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS), their delegation, led by EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson, the EU intends to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Afghans.

“Both sides underlined the necessity of humanitarian access and of men and women participating in assessing the needs for, and the delivery of, humanitarian assistance to ensure equal access for women, men and children,” the statement read.

While EU development assistance to Afghanistan remains suspended, the EU delegation expressed its willingness to consider providing substantial financial assistance for the direct benefit of the Afghan people, in addition to humanitarian assistance.

Such assistance, now known as humanitarian+, would be channelled exclusively through international organizations and NGOs, which would help to ensure essential services such as health and education and sustain the livelihoods of the population.

The EU delegation also noted the possibility of establishing a minimal presence on the ground in Kabul, but that it would directly depend on the security situation so as to ensure adequate protection of its staff and premises.

The Afghan delegation was led by acting Foreign Minister Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi and also included Sheikh Noorullah Munir, acting Minister of Education; Dr Qalandar Ibaad, acting Minister of Public Health; Mawlavi Mohammad Idris, the acting Governor of the Central Bank; as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior, and the General Directorate of Intelligence.

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IEA hoping to increase the number of soldiers to as many as 200,000 by end of this solar year



(Last Updated On: March 30, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate’s ministry of defense says it plans to increase the number of the country’s national army soldiers from 150,000 to between 170,000 and 200,000 in the current solar year.

Qari Fasihuddin Fetrat, the army chief of staff, said in an interview that the IEA has all the military equipment from the previous government and that the army is ready to fight any potential threat.

“Inshallah, with this number, we can protect the entire territory of Afghanistan, but there is a need for other forces, and we have decided to increase the number of soldiers,” he said.

“In the current [solar] year, we have decided to increase the number of soldiers from 150,000 to 170,000 and slowly it will reach 200,000.”

Fetrat has also stated that reports about the formation of opposition groups outside the country, to stand against the IEA government, are a “dream”.

He emphasized that foreign countries exaggerate the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan and that the group does not have a strong presence in the country.

“Some of the acts of destruction that are carried out in Afghanistan are also carried out in many advanced countries, but despite that, the Islamic Emirate neutralized their efforts and plans,” he said.

“You can see that the security which is in Afghanistan today may not be in Washington,” he added.

In addition, the IEA’s army chief of staff also criticized the US for violating Afghanistan’s air space.

“We are trying to reach a level where the occupation of Afghanistan’s air sovereignty will end and it will be given to the Islamic Emirate,” said Fetrat.

According to him, in addition to the two military units in Bagram and Badakhshan, there are eight military corps including the Central Army Corps in the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Paktia, Laghman, Kunduz and Balkh.

He also said soldiers, who worked under the former government, are “perform duties within the framework of the defense ministry.”

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IEA downplays SCO concerns about threats emanating from Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: March 30, 2023)

Responding to concerns voiced by the national security advisors of some regional countries at this week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in India, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Thursday reiterated promises that Afghanistan’s soil would not be used against any country.

The spokesman for the Islamic Emirate Bilal Karimi said all of Afghanistan was secure and well managed by security forces and that the IEA will not allow “anyone to interfere with security”.

This comes after Russia’s National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev said at Wednesday’s SCO meeting in India that the situation in Afghanistan is not only tense, but has created dangers for the security of SCO member countries.

“It is important to closely monitor the situation in Afghanistan, because the situation in this country is unstable and despite the continued rule of the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) over this country, this situation has continued. Illegal arms and drug trafficking has created illegal immigration,” said Nikolai Patrushev.

The IEA has repeatedly rejected concerns about security threats from Afghanistan, including the threat of Daesh.

Patrushev also said at the meeting that the US and its allies had a responsibility towards Afghanistan and rebuilding its economy. However he warned that any US or NATO military presence in the region would not be tolerated.

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US Defense Secretary has ‘no regrets’ over chaotic US withdrawal



(Last Updated On: March 30, 2023)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has testified before the House Armed Services Committee and told lawmakers that he has “no regrets” about how the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan was carried out.

On Wednesday, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee grilled the defense secretary during a hearing to review the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2024 budget.

“I support [President Biden’s] decision. I don’t have any regrets,” Austin said.

GOP lawmakers also criticized what they said was a lack of accountability among civilian or military leaders for how the Afghanistan withdrawal played out.

Asked if anyone in the Pentagon’s chain of command was ever held accountable for the collapse of the 20-year war effort in Afghanistan, Austin replied, “To my knowledge, no.”

Austin, appearing with Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Mark Milley, told the panel he was proud of the “tremendous work and sacrifices” that the US troops made throughout the war.

Wednesday’s testimony came amid an ongoing investigation into the chaotic withdrawal of US troops by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.

McCaul has repeatedly requested documents from the State Department on issues relating to the lead up to the withdrawal in August 2021. However, the State Department has failed to supply the documents, leading to McCaul issuing a subpoena to this effect on Monday.

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