Connect with us

FOREIGN NEWS

U.S. making little progress in Afghanistan as Taliban, ISIS remain active: assessment – National

Published

on

[ad_1]

The situation in Afghanistan stagnated and may even have deteriorated during the second half of 2018, despite U.S. military leaders and diplomats insisting that progress is being made.

That’s the assessment not of some international critics of the U.S., but of watchdog offices from the Pentagon, State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

READ MORE: Since 9/11, the U.S. has spent $6 trillion on wars that have caused half a million deaths

In its quarterly report of the U.S.-led war against terrorism in Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s independent inspector general said few gains were made between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2018 despite the U.S. increasing strikes against the Taliban, expanding training for Afghan forces and pressuring Pakistan to act against terrorist safe havens.

“In public statements, diplomatic and military leaders emphasized that progress towards the goals of the South Asia strategy is being made,” the report stated. “However, available measures of security in Afghanistan, including total security incidents, population control, and civilian casualties, showed little change.”

Civilian casualties and casualties among Afghan security forces were higher than they were during the same time last year, the report pointed out.

Furthermore, ISIS-K — the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province branch, active in Afghanistan and Pakistan — has continued to mount deadly attacks.

WATCH: Suicide bomber kills multiple people near police checkpoint in Afghan capital







These findings contrast with assertions by some U.S. officials that President Donald Trump’s Afghan war strategy — which was announced more than a year ago — is working.

On the other hand, the findings are in line with comments made last weekend by Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said the battle against the Taliban is still in a stalemate.

The Taliban “are not losing” in Afghanistan, Gen. Dunford, the top U.S. military officer, told a security forum last week.

“We used the term stalemate a year ago and, relatively speaking, it has not changed much,” he said.

READ MORE: Donald Trump says the U.S. should have caught Osama Bin Laden quicker

On Monday, the Taliban said that a three-day meeting with the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan had ended without an agreement for a peace deal.

Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad declared a deadline of April 2019 to end the 17-year-long war, but Taliban leaders said they hadn’t accepted any deadline.

A senior member of the Taliban said Khalilzad’s move to declare a deadline showed that the U.S. was desperate to withdraw troops from the country.

WATCH: Utah community remembers mayor who died serving in Afghanistan







The Taliban have strengthened their grip over the past three years, with the government in Kabul controlling just 56 per cent of Afghanistan, down from 72 per cent in 2015, a U.S. government report showed this month.

The Pentagon inspector general’s report pointed out that only 65 per cent of the Afghan population lived in government-controlled and government-influenced areas, “a figure that has not changed in the past year.”

Indeed, the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2018 is on track to rank among the highest since 2001.

READ MORE: Canadian Jon Snyder helped save 50 Afghan recruits from the Taliban. Three days later, he died

Over 36 people were killed in various attacks last month as Afghans went to the polls for the country’s first parliamentary elections in eight years.

ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that left four people dead last week. A few days later, Taliban insurgents slaughtered at least 30 Afghan forces.

Meanwhile, the U.S., which has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, continues to seek an exit strategy.

— With files from Reuters

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Published

on

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Harris accepts VP nomination

Published

on

Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

Published

on

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

Continue Reading

Trending