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US military continually assessing withdrawal progress: Kirby

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(Last Updated On: June 22, 2021)

US leaders are continually assessing the progress of the retrograde from Afghanistan and the state of operations in the country and adjust accordingly, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said on Monday.

Addressing a press briefing, Kirby said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said the retrograde from Afghanistan is on pace but that “it is a dynamic situation in the nation”.

This comes amid a sharp increase of attacks by the Taliban against Afghan security forces’ installations and district centers, especially in the north of the country.

Kirby stated that Austin and military leaders in the Pentagon, at US Central Command and in Afghanistan, “are constantly looking at the pace we’re going at, and the capabilities we have, and the capabilities that we’re going to need throughout to complete the withdrawal.”

Kirby said. “So as we said, from the very beginning; while there is a schedule, we are mindful that that schedule could fluctuate and change, as conditions change.”

Kirby also said there are only two aspects of the Afghanistan retrograde that will not change: “The first is the US military will withdraw all US forces from the country, and the second is the withdrawal will be finished by the September deadline set by President Joe Biden.”

He added, however that some troops would stay behind to protect American diplomatic missions.

Other aspects of the Afghan situation are still being studied, Kirby said.

Commanders at many levels are wrestling with what over-the-horizon counterinsurgency and over-the-horizon logistics will look like, he said but added the US military can already provide the over-the-horizon support that the Afghan government will need.

“[People] tend to forget that we already do have over-the-horizon capability when it comes to the counterterrorism threat in Afghanistan,” he said. “Is it robust enough? Is it sustainable for the long term? Well, that’s what we’re looking at.”

Kirby also said that planners continue to look at ways to provide contractual support to Afghan forces once the retrograde is completed.

“There’s a range of options that we’re looking at for how to continue to provide contractual support … specifically the Afghan Air Forces,” he said.

“We’re very actively working our way through that right now. We’re looking at a range of options.”

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UN emphasizes the importance of aid for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that the distribution of cash aid to the needy is very important during this year’s extremely harsh winter.

The spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Afghanistan Caroline Gluck says that in this cold winter, it is very important to distribute cash aid to the needy in Afghanistan.

Gluck, who visited Bamyan province recently, says that Afghanistan has faced one of the worst winters in many years and the needs of the people are very high.

She said the distribution of cash will help people sort out their needs during the cold weather.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that in 2023, the number of people in need in Afghanistan will reach more than 28 million.

Weather reports have put the minimum temperatures in a number of provinces across the country over the past three weeks at between minus 16 degrees Celsius and minus 30 degrees Celsius.

This record-cold winter has left well over 150 people and an estimated 200,000 livestock dead this month.

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UN deputy chief hopeful the IEA will lift restrictions on women

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

Amina Mohammad, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, has said that after meeting with some Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials she is hopeful that authorities could ease restrictions on women and girls.

In an interview with CNN, Mohammad, who visited Afghanistan earlier this month, was asked if she had any hope about IEA lifting restrictions on women and girls.

She replied: “Yes, I do. It was tough going in. But I feel now it is doable, looking at all the players and seeing some fissures within the Taliban (IEA), I think this is possible. We also had a few exceptions since then. So, yes there is hope.”

Amina said that there are differences of opinions within IEA in terms of carrying of edicts coming from Kandahar.

“I don’t think there is any change from their consolidation around that power base, but there is, in terms of carrying out some of these edicts, differences of opinions,” she said.

“I think in our visit, the recognition mattered. It was very clear that the humanitarian response that the international community was giving was really important. So we have some leverage and I think that is what we are trying to see, what is state of play in reality on ground,” Amina said.

Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women, said that when she asked IEA officials about the “further notice” in their decrees, they replied: “We need to build infrastructure, we need to build schools, we need to train the teachers, we need to change the curriculum for it to become less Western or actually not Western at all but Islamic and according to Sharia of what they believe they should learn.

“They believe women should only learn certain things about the Sharia and how to serve their husbands, families and their little community where they live,” she said.

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IEA welcomes World Bank report, urges resumption of incomplete projects

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Saturday welcomed the World Bank’s report issued this week and in turn called on the institution to resume incomplete projects that it had been working on in the country prior to the collapse of the former government.

The Office of Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs said in a statement that it welcomes all the “positive points based on objective facts” in the report, which was a clear indication of Afghanistan’s actual economic development and mobility.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan believes that if the current restrictions on Afghanistan’s banking sector are lifted and the frozen assets are released, the economic situation of the country will take faster steps towards improvement and stability, and the burden on the international community will be lessened,” the statement read.

Earlier this week the World Bank reported that the price of food and fuel in Afghanistan has decreased, the value of the Afghan currency has remained stable against foreign currencies, there has been a significant increase in exports, and the salaries of government employees have been paid on time. In addition, the report noted that national revenues had also increased.

The IEA also called on all international organizations to raise awareness of the real situation in Afghanistan by pointing out the advancements made in Afghanistan, particularly in the economic sphere.

The statement called on international aid agencies and organizations to finance development initiatives in Afghanistan that will lower unemployment and improve the country’s economic situation.

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