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US Mission in Afghanistan Has Not Changed: Esper

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(Last Updated On: October 21, 2019)

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says Washington will continue to pursue an aggressive military campaign against Taliban and other terrorist groups until Afghanistan reaches to a political settlement.

In a surprise visit, the Pentagon chief arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday.

On Monday, Esper appeared at a joint press conference with Afghan Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid, Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi and U.S. top commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller.

Speaking at the conference with his Afghan counterparts, Esper said the United States is supporting peace efforts led by the Afghan government.

“The United States remains fully committed to helping Afghans create a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” he added.

Esper said he had a good meeting with President Ashraf Ghani upon his arrival and the two sides have spoken about the importance of relationship between Afghanistan and the United States.

He reiterated that his country remains committed to the success of Afghan security forces who have taken the lead of security in the war-torn country.

The U.S. official also praised Afghan forces for their success to provide security of the Afghan presidential election that took place on September 28 despite of Taliban’s repeated threats.

“Regardless of the outcome of the election, our security partnership with Afghanistan will remain strong. Our mission in Afghanistan has not changed,” Esper emphasized.

During his one and half day stay in the capital of Afghanistan, Pentagon chief also visited U.S. soldiers based in camp Moorhead in southeast of Kabul.

“Just finished lunch with Afghan Security Ministers including @MoDAfghanistan Defense Minister Khalid and Interior Minister Andrabi. We all agree that a political settlement is the only long-term solution for peace and security in Afghanistan,” Esper wrote on Twitter as he departed from Afghanistan.

By Hesamuddin Hesam

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Former commander of Faryab’s uprising forces returns to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

A well-known commander of former uprising forces in Faryab province, Nizamuddin Qaisari, returned to Afghanistan on Sunday after fleeing the country.

Qaisari’s returns comes after efforts were made by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Contact Commission with Afghan Personalities.

Speaking at a meeting after his arrival, Qaisari said the reason for his return is so he can serve his country. He also called on the IEA to form an inclusive government that represents all ethnic groups in the country

“I came for my people; now we have Islamic government; I want to help and work for the government if they want [me] to; I am ready to serve,” Qaisari said. “I am here to unify people, Pashtun, Hazara, Tajik and others.”

The IEA meanwhile welcomes the return of political figures, even those who were once opposed to the Islamic Emirate, the IEA has said.

Experts believe that Afghanistan is the shared home of all Afghans, and the return of political figures and experts in various fields can provide the basis for lasting stability as well as growth and prosperity of Afghanistan.

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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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China pledges over $7 million in aid for quake victims

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

China’s ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu met with Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and said his country would provide emergency aid worth 50 million Yuan ($7.5 million) for victims of last week’s earthquake. 

At a meeting on Saturday in Kabul, Wang also said that MCC Mes Aynak copper mining contractor would provide $200,000 in aid. 

Wang said on Twitter: “Chinese enterprises will definitely fulfill their social responsibilities. The friendship between 2 countries and peoples will be further strengthened.”

Muttaqi thanked the Chinese government and people for the timely assistance and assured Wang that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities would distribute the aid promptly, fairly and transparently, state-run Bakhtar news agency reported. 

Aid provided by China will include tents, sheets, fold up beds, and other items urgently needed by the Afghan people. The first batch of aid is scheduled to arrive by charter flight on Monday, Bakhtar reported.

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