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Survey finds majority of Americans support Trump’s deal to end war

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(Last Updated On: September 15, 2020)

A survey by New York-based Eurasia Group Foundation has found that two-thirds of US President Donald Trump’s supporters are in favor of his deal with the Taliban to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. 

The results of the survey, released Monday, found “two-thirds of Trump supporters either strongly support or somewhat support the details of the negotiations.” 

The deal, signed in February in Doha, commits all US troops to leave Afghanistan within 14 months, ending what has become America’s longest war.

In return, the Taliban agreed to cut ties with and prevent terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda from operating in the country and to begin peace talks with Afghanistan government negotiators.  

Nearly 60 percent of supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also favor the US deal. 

“Ending the war in Afghanistan is extremely popular, and Americans of all political persuasions want to honor the recent agreement,” the foundation noted in its findings.

Fewer than 10 percent of those surveyed opposed the agreement, while one-third remained neutral.

“Since last year, the portion of respondents who believe the US should stay in Afghanistan until all enemies are defeated has dropped by half — from 30 percent to 15 percent,” the survey noted. 

The US-Taliban agreement led to the start of much-awaited peace talks on Saturday between Taliban leaders and Afghan government negotiators. 

The dialogue, officially known as intra-Afghan negotiations, is being hosted by Doha, Qatar – where US and Taliban negotiators sealed their deal.

Talks were supposed to have started in March but delays over the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners and continued attacks by the insurgent group stalled the start of talks. 

However, after the release of all but seven Taliban prisoners, the first round of talks got underway this past weekend. 

In keeping with their agreement, the United States has drawn its troops level down to 8,600 from 13,000 and has stated a further drawdown to 4,500 will be done by November. 

In addition, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the US was on a path to zero troops in Afghanistan by March or April next year. 

According to VOA news, former US Vice President Biden supports the withdrawal plan but wants the Pentagon to keep a small military footprint in Afghanistan to counter any threat of terrorism.

In an interview with VOA, the co-author of the Eurasia Group Foundation, Mark Hannah said Americans seem to have lost patience with the war. 

“As we enter the 20th year of the conflict in Afghanistan, the American people appear to have lost patience with an interminable war which has drifted from its original mission, and which appears all but unwinnable,” he said. 

“I think they wisely understand that all the military might in the world can’t easily vanquish amorphous, non-state adversaries and that America’s continued presence in Afghanistan is neither making Americans safe nor serving some vital national interest,” said Hannah.

The report also stated that respondents of all political parties generally agree the US should negotiate directly with hostile nations if doing so might help avoid conflict, essentially rejecting the logic that doing so would unacceptably legitimize unsavory regimes. 

“Republican and Democratic respondents both think peace is best achieved by prioritizing the domestic needs of the US, and neither opts for the unilateral use force to stop human rights abuses abroad,” the report stated.

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Cholera cases rising in Takhar

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

Cholera and diarrhea cases are rising among children and adults in Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province, local officials said.

Abdul Qahar Ahadi, provincial health director, said that more than 20,000 patients suffering from various diseases visited public health facilities during the past two months, which is unprecedented.

Takhar’s main hospital meanwhile said that most of the visitors were treated for cholera and diarrhea.

Hayatullah Imami, an official at Takhar hospital, said that 30 percent of patients visiting the facility daily were suffering from diarrhea.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae bacteria.

People can get sick when they swallow food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.

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India records spike in daily COVID cases and 21 deaths in 24 hours

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

India logged 17,073 new COVID-19 cases early Monday morning, raising its tally to 43,407,046, and 21 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported.

The death toll now stands at 525,020.

The national COVID-19 recovery rate was 98.57 percent, the ministry said.

Pakistan’s ministry of health meanwhile reported Monday that it had recorded 382 new cases in the last 24 hours.

This took Pakistan’s COVID-19 total case count to over 1.53 million. Two deaths were also reported in the past 24 hours.

However, experts say Pakistan may potentially witness another COVID-19 wave as the country continues to see an uptick in new cases.

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Polio vaccination campaign rolls out in western Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

More than one million Afghan children are expected to be vaccinated over the next few days in the latest polio vaccination campaign that was launched in western Afghanistan on Sunday.

Officials said the campaign will run for four days and be conducted across four provinces in the western region.

Waheed Rahmani, head of the vaccination campaign, said that 1.1 million children under the age of five are expected to receive the polio drops, including 720,000 in Herat province.

He said that so far there are no obstacles in the way of rolling out the campaign.

Volunteers said that they hope to reach all the children who need to be vaccinated.

“I along with my team will work honestly to make Afghanistan free from polio virus,” said Fina Nezami, a volunteer.

“I hope that Afghanistan becomes polio-free and we are happy to go door to door for vaccinations,” said Yagana Nabizada, another volunteer.

Local health officials have assured the public that all areas will be covered by the campaign.

“We have not forgotten areas, and while planning vaccination programs, all the areas are reviewed and if any area is left out, it will be immediately covered,” said Mohammad Asif Kabir, provincial deputy health director.

Around 728,000 children received polio drops in the previous campaign in Herat. Around 5,000 volunteers are involved in the current campaign in Herat.

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