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We need to stand up against terror in Afghanistan: NATO chief

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(Last Updated On: November 4, 2021)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that while the alliance’s military presence in Afghanistan for 20 years had not been in vain, there are lessons they need to learn from this time.

He also said “wrongful conclusions” should not be drawn from their military presence in Afghanistan as experience garnered might come in useful in the future.

He said NATO is facing the threat of terrorist attacks and that the alliance needs to be at the forefront of this to combat any such incidents.

“Our presence in Afghanistan was not in vain; we defeated al-Qaeda; for 20 years we have prevented new terrorist attacks against our countries, organized from Afghanistan, but our presence in Afghanistan is also something that reminds us of what it means to go in with a military presence.

“We need to learn the lessons, but we should not draw wrongful conclusions from our military presence in Afghanistan. There may be future situations where we need to stand up against terror as we did among other things in Iraq and Syria when we defeated ISIS and liberated the areas under their control,” said Stoltenberg.

He went on to say that the alliance’s main goal in Afghanistan had been to defeat al-Qaeda and that over the past two decades, there have been no terrorist attacks against foreign countries that had been organized in Afghanistan.

“Now after having pulled out we must still try to safeguard that situation; that will not be easy; but it is not as if that means that it was wrong to prevent more terrorist attacks,” added Stoltenberg.

Afghans meanwhile voiced their concerns about Afghanistan’s future after the country’s largest military medical facility, in the center of Kabul, came under attack by Deash (ISIS-K) on Tuesday.

“The situation is not under our control completely, other countries interfere in our internal affairs, and they (other coutries) are responsible for all the explosions and suicide attacks,” said Mohammad Rahim, a Kabul resident.

“If Taliban (IEA) does not stop Daesh they will become stronger and will be a big threat to Afghanistan in the future,” said Shamsuddin, another Kabul resident.

This comes as India plans to meet with Afghan officials in the next week.

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PACF hands over 25 tons of food items to support Afghans

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Pak Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF) on Thursday handed over 25 tons of food items to Afghan authorities as part of its ongoing support to the people of war-hit Afghanistan.

The truckload of the food items, arranged by the PACF, were handed over to the Afghan authorities at the Chaman crossing, app reported.

The handing-over ceremony was attended by Deputy Commissioner of Chaman Hameed Zahri and senior officers of the Afghan Foreign Office including Maulwi Waheedullah and Mullah Hikmatullah.

According to the report since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), takeover in Afghanistan last year, Pakistan had sent over a total of 15,390 tons worth Rs2, 650 million of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The humanitarian assistance had been sent to Afghanistan via 83 convoys, including 743 trucks and four C-130 flights, till August 5, read the report.

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A group of 9/11 victims call for frozen funds to be given back to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

Families of 9/11 victims have called on US President Joe Biden to release billions of dollars belonging to Afghanistan.

In a letter sent to Biden this week, 77 family members of 9/11 victims called on the president to modify an executive order from February which froze the Afghan central bank’s $7 billion of assets being held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“Any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is legally suspect and morally wrong,” the family members wrote in a letter first reported by Politico.

The letter came amid a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US had ruled out releasing the funds following the US killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul earlier this month.

The US froze the money after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) swept to power following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The IEA and US had been engaged in talks about releasing the funds.

Biden planned to give $3.5 billion to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes and the balance to families of 9/11 victims.

But the revelation that the al-Qaeda leader was living in Kabul derailed talks between the US and the IEA on a compromise over the funds.

The 9/11 victims’ families said that, while they had filed lawsuits seeking justice for their loss, they didn’t intend for the compensation “to take money away from starving Afghans”.

“This money is theirs, not ours,” the letter said. “Simply put, this money belongs to the Afghan people, not 9/11 family members – and they need it more.”

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3,000 religious scholars, elders and officials attend IEA’s Kandahar meeting

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(Last Updated On: August 18, 2022)

About 3,000 religious scholars, government officials, ethnic elders and members of civil society attended a meeting in Kandahar on Thursday.

Among the key speakers was the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

The media was however prevented from recording or filming Akhundzada’s speech.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the meeting that the IEA wants good relations with the world, but that the foreign community should not expect relations to normalize immediately – not after 20 years of war.

Muttaqi said that while the IEA wants good relations with the international community, they expect the world to allow Afghans to live according to their beliefs and traditions.

He also said that they have made many achievements in building trade relations with countries in the region and currently the borders are open to Afghan traders who are now exporting their goods.

On the other hand, acting Minister of Vice and Virtue has said that the IEA has made countless sacrifices to end the occupation and establish an Islamic system in Afghanistan.

However, Afghans across the country are hoping that one of the outcomes of this meeting will be the decision to reopen schools for girls above Grade 6.

But it is not clear as to whether the subject was discussed at the meeting.

This is the second such meeting in as many months. The first one, two months ago, took place at the Loya Jirga Hall in Kabul.

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