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US mulls possibility of airstrikes if Afghan forces face crisis

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(Last Updated On: June 10, 2021)

The Pentagon is reportedly considering seeking authorization to carry out airstrikes to support Afghan security forces if Kabul or any other major Afghan city is in danger of falling to the Taliban, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

According to senior officials, this could potentially introduce flexibility into President Joe Biden’s plan to end the United States military presence in the conflict.

Initially, Biden and his top national security aides suggested that once U.S. troops left Afghanistan, air support would end as well, with the exception of strikes aimed at terrorist groups that could harm American interests.

But, according to the Times, military officials are actively discussing how they might respond if the rapid withdrawal produces consequences with substantial national security implications.

No decisions have been made yet, officials said. But they added that one option under consideration would be to recommend that U.S. warplanes or armed drones intervene in an extraordinary crisis, such as the potential fall of Kabul or a siege that puts American and allied embassies and citizens at risk, the Times reported.

A potential fall of Kabul is the crisis most likely to lead to military intervention after U.S. troops leave, officials said.

Intervening to protect Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, would be far less certain, one official told the Times.

According to the Times, the discussion suggests the degree of concern in Washington about the ability of Afghanistan’s military to hold off the Taliban and maintain control of Kabul and other population centers.

And it is the latest indication of the scramble by the United States to address the ramifications of Biden’s decision in April to order a full withdrawal.

Whether to provide air support to Afghan security forces after U.S. troops pull out is one of several major questions about Afghanistan policy that the administration is grappling with as Biden prepares to meet NATO allies in Europe next week, the Times reported.

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Biden extends US national emergency over humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2023)

US President Joe Biden has extended for one more year the national emergency declared in his executive order with respect to the widespread humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the “potential for deepening economic collapse” in the country.

On February 11, 2022, Biden by an executive order declared a national emergency to deal with the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” constituted by the widespread humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the potential for a deepening economic collapse in the country, the White House said.

“The widespread humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan — including the urgent needs of the people of Afghanistan for food security, livelihoods support, water, sanitation, health, hygiene, shelter and settlement assistance, and COVID-19-related assistance, among other basic human needs — and the potential for a deepening economic collapse in Afghanistan continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” White House said in a notice released on February 3.

“In addition, the preservation of certain property of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) held in the United States by United States financial institutions is of the utmost importance to addressing this national emergency and the welfare of the people of Afghanistan,” the notice said.

“Various parties, including representatives of victims of terrorism, have asserted legal claims against certain property of DAB or indicated in public court filings an intent to make such claims. This property is blocked under Executive Order 14064.”

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Kandahar-Dubai flights resume

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2023)

Local officials in Kandahar province say flights between Kandahar and Dubai have resumed for the first time since the IEA took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

The head of Ahmad Shah Baba International Airport in Kandahar has said that the flights have been resumed by Kam Air, the largest private airline in Afghanistan.

Kam Air officials meanwhile said that the west and south zones have more traders and industrialists; therefore, they have resumed the flights.

It is said that round-trip flights will also soon start between Kandahar and New Delhi and Kandahar and China.

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At least 8,000 Afghan refugees return from Iran in past week

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2023)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities at the Refugee and Repatriation Department of Nimruz province announced that 7,612 Afghan refugees have returned to the country from Iran over the past week.

Sediqullah Nasrat, the director of the department said on Saturday that 519 refugees who were facing serious financial problems, received cash aid from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Nasrat added that IOM – the United Nations agency for migration – distributed food and other necessary items to the remaining families.

He said the 7,612 Afghan migrants returned to the country from Iran through the Abrishum border crossing.

This comes as the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a private organization called ‘Osta’ to create employment opportunities for more than a thousand needy families.

Although many immigrants are forcibly returned to the country, the deterioration of the economic situation in Iran has also caused migrants to return to the country.

A number of immigration experts say that the new Afghan government should try to solve the problems of Afghan immigrants in host countries through diplomatic means, especially on the issue of accommodation, especially as many migrants do not have legal documents.

Although Iran and Pakistan have been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for years, recent developments in the country have increased the number of these migrants. Now, the Islamic Emirate says that they are trying to gradually provide job opportunities to the returning migrants.

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