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SIGAR reports spike in insider attacks against ANDSF members

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(Last Updated On: May 1, 2021)

A new quarterly report by Washington’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has documented a staggering 82 percent increase in insider attacks on Afghan government security forces in the first quarter of this year, resulting in 115 personnel killed and 39 wounded.

SIGAR reported this week that the overall Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) casualties were also substantially higher than during the same period last year.

SIGAR is not allowed to include full ANDSF casualty data because U.S. forces in Afghanistan keep it classified at the request of the Afghan government.

The report stated that the ANDSF suffered a total of 31 insider attacks between January 1 and April 1, and the number of casualties they caused were more than double compared to the same period in 2020.

SIGAR’s report comes as the US and NATO forces started to withdraw from Afghanistan as decided by US President Joe Biden last month.

In addition to the estimated 2,500 U.S. troops and the 7,000 NATO and allied forces, over 12,500 US Defense Department contractors will also withdraw. The are U.S citizens and third-country nationals.

SIGAR stated it is unclear who, if anyone, will replace contractor personnel or perform their work after their withdrawal.

“Without continued contractor support, none of the Afghan Air Force’s (AFF) airframes can be sustained as combat effective for more than a few months, depending on the stock of equipment parts in-country, the maintenance capability on each airframe, and when contractor support is withdrawn,” SIGAR said, citing U.S. military assessments.

According to SIGAR, DOD contractors provide for and maintain ANDSF ground vehicles and train local technicians. Although the ANDSF has “dramatically improved its share of the work, it is still falling well below benchmarks for its share of the maintenance work orders they — rather than contractors — are supposed to perform,” SIGAR reported.

Special Inspector General John F Sopko meanwhile stated that under the new posture that will follow the troops’ withdrawal, SIGAR and its oversight mission will “assume even more important for the United States”.

He said as the largest oversight presence in Afghanistan and the only one with statutory whole-of-government authority, SIGAR will be the only government agency capable of overseeing the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars already appropriated that will continue to flow into the country despite the absence of U.S. military – including U.S. defense contractor – boots on the ground.

Sopko said SIGAR is well-prepared for this enhanced role and stands ready to assume any new responsibilities assigned to it by Congress and the Administration.

He pointed out that while the Biden Administration conducted its review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the Office of Management and Budget requested the data that underpins the reporting in SIGAR’s quarterly reports concerning U.S. funds appropriated for Afghanistan since 2002.

“This recognition of the quarterly report’s function as the most authoritative source for information about U.S. spending in Afghanistan came as the report continues to expand its coverage of U.S. appropriations,” he said.

He also stated that U.S. officials have indicated that they intend to condition U.S. assistance to Afghanistan on the actions of the Afghan government and possibly the Taliban.

“As U.S. policy on Afghanistan continues to evolve, my colleagues and I will work with Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders to guard against the waste, fraud,
and abuse of U.S. funds devoted to that country’s reconstruction,” he said.

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IEA defense minister leaves Kabul for UAE

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Ministry of Defense says Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob left Kabul for United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, MoD said the defense minister left Kabul as head of delegation for the United Arab Emirates.

The defense ministry stated that the purpose of the trip is to meet with the leaders of the UAE and Afghans based in the country and to strengthen the relations of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with the Gulf countries.

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IEA lays foundation stone for complex marking Khost prisoner-swap site

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is set to build a complex in the area where US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released in 2014 in exchange for five IEA members held in Guantanamo prison.

Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who laid the foundation stone of the complex in Khost province, said that the complex will include a religious seminary, a school, a clinic and a freedom monument.

“Today is a very happy day for us. God has liberated our country… it is very fortunate that we are laying the foundation for a freedom monument here… release of the five prisoners was a source of happiness for Afghanistan,” Haqqani said.

Abdulhaq Wasiq, current head of intelligence, Mohammad Fazil Mazloom, deputy defense minister, Noorullah Noori, minister of frontiers and tribal affairs, Khairullah Khairkhwa, minister of information and culture, and Mohammad Nabi Omari, deputy minister of interior were released in a 2014 deal between the Obama administration and the IEA to free US soldier Bergdahl.

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US envoy stresses importance of Japan’s contributions to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has held talks with Japanese officials on humanitarian needs, human rights and political dialogue during his two-day visit to the country.

“Japan has been a friend of the Afghan people and our partner there for over 20 yrs, and we deeply appreciate Japan’s active diplomacy and continued generosity today,” West said on Twitter on Saturday.

“We are always stronger, on every challenge, when we act together with allies. True in Afghanistan – we’ll continue to need Japan’s expertise and diverse contributions,” West said.

The envoy also said that he got “sage advice” from Tadamichi Yamamoto, a Japanese who served as UN envoy for Afghanistan during 2016-2020.

He also discussed the economic strategy with Japan International Cooperation Agency.

West’s Japan visit was part of his tour to the region that includes India and the United Arab Emirates.

West is expected to consult with partners and Afghans regarding the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, protection of Afghans’ rights, and shared security concerns, according to a statement from the US State Department.

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