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US no longer prioritizing Afghanistan: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: November 23, 2022)

Former US special representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said he thinks it’s unlikely that the country will ever return to Washington’s foreign policy priority list due to changes in the world, and the “great power competition”, as well as the lack of a roadmap for success.

Khalilzad told TRT World this week that while the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) was in his opinion making some serious mistakes, the only way to solve the issues was for all people in Afghanistan to broadly reach an agreement on a formula.

He said the IEAs need to start a consultative process and that IEA policies also need to respect the views of society, including views related to education.

Khalilzad warned that failure on the part of the IEA to enter into intra-Afghan dialogue could lead to violence and even conflict over time.

He said the economy “was in poor shape”, which he said was in part due to international sanctions. He implied this could be resolved if the IEA goes back to the Doha agreement which he said provided the best framework to work in.

He said the US government had supported the “fundamental parts” of this agreement at the time of signing.

“So they need to start the process of conversing with each other and agreeing to a process for a government that has a broad mandate from the people,” he said.

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Top former US general claims Daesh-Khorasan is ‘on the upswing’

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

Retired General Joseph Votel, former chief of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), has claimed that Daesh-Khorasan is on the upswing, and that the US doesn’t have much on the ground to help reduce the risk.

“ISIS-K is on the upswing right now,” Votel said, Business Insider reported. “And we don’t have much on the ground to help reduce that risk that this organization poses.”

Before withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington had significant intelligence capabilities on the ground and the ability to conduct kinetic strikes against the group. But this “mowing-the-grass” approach to counterterrorism, Votel said, has since paved way for a stronger and more resilient Daesh-K that’s focused on projecting its influence elsewhere.

The US still has the ability to gather meaningful intelligence in the region, although Votel said these capabilities are likely diminished from what they previously were. But it’s very important, he stressed, that the US continues to dedicate resources toward the threat and make it a priority.

One way for the US to do this is to work with regional partners around Afghanistan, such as Pakistan or states in Central Asia, to increase collaboration and the exchange of information with regard to violent extremism, Votel said. Another method would be for lawmakers to reauthorize a powerful surveillance tool known as Section 702, which is set to expire later this month.

“It doesn’t take very long for these organizations to rise up and become more capable,” retired Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversaw military operations in the Middle East in the 2010s, said.

This comes as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) says that Daesh has been suppressed and does not have the ability to launch attacks from Afghanistan against any country.

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Lightning strikes in Helmand kill one, injure three

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

One person has died and three others have been injured by lightning strikes in southern Helmand province, officials said.

Abdul Bari Rashid, director of information and culture in Helmand, told Ariana News that lightning occurred in the provincial capital Lashkargah, and Gereshk and Babaji districts.

According to him, one person died in the lightning and three others including a woman and two children were injured.

Meanwhile, floods triggered by heavy rains have caused financial losses in Sangin district of Helmand.

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India welcomes IEA’s move to restore Hindus and Sikhs’ properties as ‘positive development’

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(Last Updated On: April 12, 2024)

India considers reports of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) restoring properties to the country’s minority Hindu and Sikh community as “a positive development”, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal on Friday.

“If the Taliban administration (IEA) has decided to restore properties to Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan who are their nations, of course, it is something which is a positive development. This is how we look at it,” Jaiswal said at a press briefing.

About a month ago, the Ministry of Justice announced that the Land-Grabbing Prevention and Restitution Commission started investigating cases of usurped land belonging to Hindu and Sikh communities across the country.

Sohail Shaheen, head of the political office of the Islamic Emirate in Doha, also recently told the The Hindu newspaper that a commission chaired by the Minister of Justice has been established to return to their owners all properties which had been usurped by warlords during the former regime.

He also drew attention to the recent return of Narender Singh Khalsa, a member of the parliament of Afghanistan that was dissolved with the takeover of the country by the IEA in August 2021.

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