Tag Archives: United States

Afghanistan, Taliban and the capitulation by the US

Lalit Shastri

The United States has buried the past and seems to have forgotten its war against terror that started in the wake of the 9/11 attack on America. For the purpose of counterterrorism, the US wants to engage with the Taliban that unleashed terror and violence against the people to capture power and formed a government in Afghanistan along with other terrorist outfits like the Haqqani network using weapons of mass destruction left behind so insanely by the US and its allies.

Look at the travesty – the Taliban Government will be inaugurated on 9/11.

With the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, the US has changed track. Now the US will not be engaged in any war against terror. The war has ended and there are no enemies. Now the buzzword is counterterrorism. The spirit – when it comes to confronting terror and fighting terrorists and those harboring the terrorists – has mellowed down and the (US) approach now is outright sheepish.

Of course, one would be totally off the mark if one were to give the US any credit for acting against the harbourers of terrorists all these years because it remained in the forefront when it came to funding and arming Pakistan to the hilt and using it as a US colony to train, arm and build an army of jihadis and terrorists to fight the Russians when they were in Afghanistan before 9/11. The trend continued even long after the Russians left Afghanistan.

Look at the language of diplomacy they – the Americans – are using after The Taliban have created a new interim government that includes Sirajuddin Haqqani as Afghanistan’s interior minister. As leader of the Haqqani network, known for its al-Qaeda links, he is on the FBI’s most wanted list and is a designated global terrorist. On the surface, the Taliban is opposed to the Islamic State of Khorasan but the knowledgeable are talking of the links between the Haqqani network and ISIS-K. The link between the Haqqani group and Al-Qaeda is also too well known and thats where lies the convergence among terror groups that are now in power in Afghanistan.

The much hyped Doha talks that culminated in the sudden capitulation by the US

The US is neither naive nor ignorant not to understand the Jihadi ideology and goals. The way the Americans and partners left Afghanistan after a series of Doha talks can be summed up as nothing else but as capitulation. The Americans chose to leave the hapless citizens of Afghanistan at their own mercy after promising them the moon and this is one of the darkest chapters in human history. The world has watched the horror unfold – we have seen how people wanting to flee from the Taliban were clinging to a US Boeing C-17 on the Kabul runway. We have seen women being lashed, beaten and even killed by the Talibani fighters only because they were women. But all this has failed to stir the sensibilities of those in power in the US.

On 8 September, coinciding with the announcement of an interim government in Afghanistan, and following the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken’s talks with allies and partners on Afghanistan, the readout by the US State Department spokesperson said that the US will continue to press for an orderly transition of power to an inclusive government with broad support, especially women and minorities.

Blinken has gone on record seeking unity among nations to hold the Taliban accountable on counterterrorism while stating that every diplomatic, economic, political, and assistance and tool will be used to uphold the basic rights of all Afghans; support continued humanitarian access (obviously with the support of Pakistan, which has all along been and still remains a safe haven and breeding ground for terrorists) to the country (Afghanistan); and ensure the Taliban honors its commitments (what about the commitments at Doha that were blown to bits when the Taliban unleashed terror and violence against the people of Afghanistan).

On leaving Afghanistan, the way it did, the US in an effort to salvage its image, now at the rock bottom, tells the world that its a mission brought Osama bin Laden to a just end along with many of his Al-Qaida co-conspirators. The US also reminds all about the cost in terms of 2,461 U.S. service members and civilians killed and more than 20,000 who were injured, including 13 U.S. service members who were killed in the second fortnight of August by an ISIS-K suicide bomber.

Is it only failure of the US intelligence to forwarn about the collapse of the Afghan military and the opening up of Kabul to the Taliban within a matter of 24-hours or there is more to it …? The world expects the knowledgeable to throw light on this…. At this stage one cannot help but throw up this question.

The US President and others in the US administration have gone on record saying that they have succeded in insulating their country from terrorist threat like necver before. Well thats too self-centred a position to be taken by a nation that shouts from rooftops about its might, both military and ecomomic, and pretends to be the saviour of democracy and protector of human rights across the world. The terrorists in Pakistan and their operatives and sleeper cells in India are bound to be emboldened with the Taliban now in power in Afghanistan.

The US has left a gaping gap by abandoning the war against terror. For a country like India which is busy restoring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, a new war begins. If India joins the chorus with the US, it would only end up turning a blind eye to the new dangers and threats the country now faces due to the abdication of the role, the US undertook 20 years ago. In this abdication the US media too has chosen to become a partner: For the New York Times, those who have usurped power in Afghanistan are “Stalwarts” (Taliban Appoint Stalwarts to Top Government Posts). As per the Cambridge dictionary, “stalwart” means “loyal, faithful and dependable”.

COVID-19: Trump declares national Emergency

Newsroom24x7 Network

Washington DC: Donald Trump, President of the United States, by the authority vested in him by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) and consistent with section 1135 of the Social Security Act (SSA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5), on Friday night, 13 March 2020, proclaimed that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency, beginning March 1, 2020. 

Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak

In December 2019, a novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 (“the virus”) was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China, causing outbreaks of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 that has now spread globally.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2020, under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d), in response to COVID-19.  I have taken sweeping action to control the spread of the virus in the United States, including by suspending entry of foreign nationals seeking entry who had been physically present within the prior 14 days in certain jurisdictions where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, including the People’s Republic of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Schengen Area of Europe.  The Federal Government, along with State and local governments, has taken preventive and proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus and treat those affected, including by instituting Federal quarantines for individuals evacuated from foreign nations, issuing a declaration pursuant to section 319F‑3 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d‑6d), and releasing policies to accelerate the acquisition of personal protective equipment and streamline bringing new diagnostic capabilities to laboratories.  On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 outbreak can be characterized as a pandemic, as the rates of infection continue to rise in many locations around the world and across the United States.

The spread of COVID-19 within our Nation’s communities threatens to strain our Nation’s healthcare systems.  As of March 12, 2020, 1,645 people from 47 States have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.  It is incumbent on hospitals and medical facilities throughout the country to assess their preparedness posture and be prepared to surge capacity and capability.  Additional measures, however, are needed to successfully contain and combat the virus in the United States.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) and consistent with section 1135 of the Social Security Act (SSA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5), do hereby find and proclaim that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency, beginning March 1, 2020.  Pursuant to this declaration, I direct as follows:

Section 1.  Emergency Authority.  The Secretary of HHS may exercise the authority under section 1135 of the SSA to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the COVID‑19 outbreak.

Sec. 2.  Certification and Notice.  In exercising this authority, the Secretary of HHS shall provide certification and advance written notice to the Congress as required by section 1135(d) of the SSA (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5(d)).

Sec. 3.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

DONALD J. TRUMP

US and Taliban sign historic peace deal

Newsroom24x7 Network

Doha (Qatar): After decades of hostility and mistrust, the United States and Taliban on Saturday signed a historic agreement here to pave the way for return of the US forces from Afghanistan.

The Indian Foreign Secretary attended the signing ceremony at Sheraton Hotel here.

Michael R Pompeo

On this occasion, US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo said: “We will closely watch the Taliban’s compliance with their commitments and calibrate the pace of our withdrawal to their actions. This is how we will ensure that Afghanistan never again serves as a base for international terrorists.”

Pompeo further said:”The Afghan people have rejoiced. They are moving freely about the country to visit family and friends. They’re trading. They’re even dancing in the streets. But we’re just at the beginning. Furthering the cause of peace will require serious work and sacrifice by all sides – the United States, the coalition, the Taliban, the Afghan Government, other Afghan leaders, and the Afghan people themselves – to maintain the momentum needed to reach a comprehensive, inclusive, and durable peace.

This agreement will mean nothing, and today’s good feelings will not last, if we don’t take concrete actions on commitments and promises that have been made. When it comes down to it, the future of Afghanistan is for Afghans to determine. The U.S.-Taliban deal creates the conditions for Afghans to do just that.”

According to the US Secretary of State the agreement with Talibal became a reality when the Taliban signaled interest in pursuing peace and ending their relationship with al-Qaida and other foreign terrorist groups. They also recognized that military victory was impossible.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Pompeo went on to add the Afghan people have rejoiced. They are moving freely about the country to visit family and friends. They’re trading. They’re even dancing in the streets. But we’re just at the beginning. Furthering the cause of peace will require serious work and sacrifice by all sides – the United States, the coalition, the Taliban, the Afghan Government, other Afghan leaders, and the Afghan people themselves – to maintain the momentum needed to reach a comprehensive, inclusive, and durable peace.

Pompeo spelt out steps by the Taliban that would make the agreement a success.

Pompeo stated:

“First, keep your promises to cut ties with al-Qaida and other terrorists. Keep up the fight to defeat ISIS. Welcome the profound relief of all Afghan citizens – men and women, urban and rural – as a result of this past week’s massive reduction in violence and dedicate yourselves to continued reductions. It is this significant de-escalation of violence that will create the conditions for peace, and the absence of it, the conditions and cause for failure. All Afghans deserve to live and prosper without fear.

Sit down with the Afghan Government, other Afghan political leaders, and civil society, and start the difficult conversations on a political roadmap for your country. Exercise patience, even when there is frustration. Honor the rich diversity of your country and make room for all views. Afghan governments have failed because they weren’t sufficiently inclusive. The Afghan Government of 2020, and indeed the Afghanistan of 2020, is not the same as in 2001. Embrace the historic progress obtained for women and girls and build on it for the benefit of all Afghans. The future of Afghanistan ought to draw on the God-given potential of every single person.

If you take these steps, if you stay the course and remain committed to negotiations with the Afghan Government and other Afghan partners, we and the rest of the international community assembled here today stand ready to reciprocate.

I know there will be a temptation to declare victory. But victory – victory for Afghans – will only be achieved when they can live in peace and prosper. Victory for the United States will only be achieved when Americans and our allies no longer have to fear a terrorist threat from Afghanistan, and we will do whatever it takes to protect our people. The United States will press all sides to stay focused on the goal of a peaceful, prosperous, and sovereign Afghanistan and an Afghanistan free of malign foreign interference where all voices and communities are heard and are represented. This is the only way – this is the only way – a sustainable peace can be achieved. And for all of us here, and most importantly for the security of the American and Afghan people, this must happen.”

United States condemns recent Taliban attacks

Newsroom24x7 Network

Washington DC: The Taliban today, 18 September 2019, claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack carried out by a suicide bomber in Kabul that killed more than 22 Afghans. 

Taliban also has claimed responsibility for a blast in the Parwan province capital of Charikar that killed more than two dozen people at a campaign rally of President Ashraf Ghani. 

For days, Afghanistan has gone through blackouts and other challenges as a result of Taliban attacks against transmission lines carrying electricity to hospitals, schools, and homes in many parts of the country.

The US in a statement today has condemned these attacks and said through these acts violence the Taliban has demonstrated blatant disregard for the people and institutions of Afghanistan.  For Afghans to truly reconcile, the Taliban must begin to demonstrate a genuine commitment to peace rather than continue the violence and destruction that causes such inordinate harm to the Afghan people and the future of their country, the US has said.