World Taliban Aiming to Take Afghanistan Areas After US Troops are Withdrawn, UN Envoy Says
‘Betrayed’: The Afghan interpreters abandoned by the US
Hundreds of Afghans who assisted the US military with interpreting have found themselves abandoned.Suddenly, a car pulled over, and one of the occupants started firing at them all with an assault rifle. Ameen says he had only a split second to drag the children to the ground and then run to get a weapon. By the time he returned with a gun, the Taliban had already left and had taken his younger brother with them.
The Taliban may be aiming to claim Afghanistan's provincial capitals onceforces are withdrawn, said Deborah Lyons, U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan. Lyons stated that learning of President 's rapid plan to pull all troops by Sept. 11 this year caused "a seismic tremor through the Afghan political system and society at large."
When Biden announced the remaining troops' departure in April, he claimed that the U.S. had accomplished its goals of weakening Al-Qaida and fighting other terrorist threats. However, Lyons cited rising violence from the Taliban in the past year and recent escalating military activity from the group as cause for concern, the Associated Press reported.
Taliban close to taking Afghan province of Uruzgan where Australian troops served
The Afghan province where Australian forces served for the best part of two decades could be the first to fall back under Taliban control as foreign militaries withdraw from the war-torn country. Fierce fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents is continuing across Uruzgan Province with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties against each other.Military and Afghan analysts believe the Taliban now controls five of the six districts in Uruzgan Province, while the provisional capital of Tarin Kot is considered contested.
"More than 50 of Afghanistan's 370 districts have fallen since the beginning of May," Lyons said. "Most districts that have been taken surround provincial capitals, suggesting that the Taliban are positioning themselves to try and take these capitals once foreign forces are fully withdrawn."
Biden plans to meet Friday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who leads Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, responsible for supervising the Taliban negotiation team.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Lyons also pointed to a 29 percent increase in civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year, including a 37 percent rise in casualties among women and a 23 percent increase among children. She singled out the May 8 attack on girls leaving school in a majority-Hazara area of Kabul that killed nearly 100 young female students, and two attacks this month that killed 11 people clearing mines in Baghlan province and five people engaged in polio vaccinations in Nangarhar province.
Afghan President Ghani to meet Biden as violence surges
US president to discuss troop withdrawal with his Afghan counterpart amid a surge in fighting across Afghanistan.In their first face-to-face meeting, Biden will seek to reassure Ghani and Abdullah of US support for the Afghan people including diplomatic, economic and humanitarian assistance, the White House said in a statement on Sunday. Biden will also repeat his pledge to ensure that the country never becomes a safe haven for armed groups.
Lyons said the military campaign runs country to a recent statement by the head of the Taliban Political Commission who said: "We are committed to forging ahead with the other sides in an atmosphere of mutual respect and reach an agreement."
Thehad hoped to accelerate stalled negotiations in Doha through a conference in Istanbul in April that would have been co-hosted by Turkey, Qatar and the U.N., but the Taliban never officially responded to the invitation, Lyons said, and "the drivers of conflict seem for now to overwhelm" hopes for negotiations.
Lyons urged the U.N. Security Council and regional countries to make every effort "to avoid the country going down the path of more bloodshed and suffering."
"There is only one acceptable direction for Afghanistan...away from the battlefield and back to the negotiating table," she said. "The tragic history of conflict need not repeat itself—but left to its own and our inertia it just might."
Former president Karzai says US failed in Afghanistan
Karzai says US and NATO troops set to fully withdraw from Afghanistan after 20 years are leaving behind a disaster. “The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear objective of fighting extremism and bringing stability … but extremism is at the highest point today. So they have failed,” he said. He said their legacy is a war-ravaged nation in “total disgrace and disaster”. “We recognise as Afghans all our failures, but what about the bigger forces and powers who came here for exactly that purpose? Where are they leaving us now?” he asked and answered: “In total disgrace and disaster.
Afghanistan's foreign minister accused the Taliban on Tuesday of carrying out its worst violence in the past two decades and urged the international community to try to persuade the Taliban to honor a February 2020 agreement with the United States to reduce violence and enter peace negotiations.
Mohammad Haneef Atmar told the U.N. Security Council that with the withdrawal of U.S. andtroops "to be completed in the coming weeks," the international community should also establish a "mechanism" to monitor implementation of the agreement reached in Qatar's capital Doha and the council resolution supporting it, "and to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance."
Under the deal, the U.S. agreed to withdraw its troops in exchange for a Taliban promise to denounce terrorist groups and keep Afghanistan from again being a staging arena for attacks on America, to reduce violence and work with the government on a permanent cease-fire, and enter negotiations with the government aimed at restoring peace to the war-battered country.
Taliban capture Afghanistan’s main Tajikistan border crossing
Some security forces abandon their posts and flee across the frontier as the Taliban seizes Shir Khan Bandar.The seizure of Shir Khan Bandar, in the far north of Afghanistan about 50km (30 miles) from Kunduz city, is the most significant gain for the Taliban since it stepped up operations on May 1 when the US began the final stages of its troop withdrawal.
Atmar said in his virtual briefing to the council's ministerial meeting that the U.S. and regional partners have met almost all their obligations in the agreement, but "it's a sad reality that the Taliban has not honored any of its obligations," and has left the country and region "dangerously unstable."
He pointed to the Taliban's failure to cut ties with international terrorist groups, saying it is hosting "not only al-Qaida but also regional terrorist groups...in pursuit of their violence campaign against both Afghanistan and other countries."
He urged the Taliban to explain to the world community why they said they were fighting foreign troops in Afghanistan and are "killing their fellow Afghans, and especially civilians, where the foreign troops are leaving the country now."
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield reiterated the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan's safety and security and continuing support for its security forces and economic and humanitarian needs.
She also urged countries with influence to press for negotiations between the Taliban and the government to move forward toward a peace settlement "with the full participation of women."
"To the Taliban, we reiterate that the military path will not lead to legitimacy," Thomas-Greenfield said, noting that council members from Europe, Russia and China have also stressed that there is no military solution to the conflict.
Sen. Kennedy introduces bill to 'save' Afghan allies as US withdraws
Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy introduced legislation Tuesday that seeks to protect Afghani translators and allies who played a “crucial role” in assisting U.S. forces during the War in Afghanistan. The Save Our Afghan Allies Act would direct the State and Defense departments to work with individuals by relocating them or granting them safe haven in the United States as U.S. military forces dwindle. "America’s Afghan allies risked their lives and families to help American soldiers, and it’s unthinkable that the U.S. would leave them in the hands of the merciless Taliban," Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday.
"The world will not recognize the establishment in Afghanistan of any government-imposed by force, nor the restoration of the Islamic Emirate (under the Taliban)," Thomas-Greenfield warned. "There is only one way forward: a negotiated and inclusive political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process."
Taliban say they hold 80 per cent of Afghanistan as US announces 650 troops will remain after withdrawal .
Around 650 US troops will remain in Afghanistan to provide security for diplomats after the main military withdrawal, US officials say, as Taliban forces continue to take new territory.In addition, several hundred American forces will remain at the Kabul airport, potentially until September, to assist Turkish troops providing security, the officials said on condition of anonymity.