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Trump Sidesteps Afghan Troop Announcement, Warns Pakistan Over Terrorist ‘Safe Havens’

U.S. President Donald Trump has sidestepped an announcement on U.S. troops levels in Afghanistan during a major address to the nation and warned Pakistan over its alleged support for extremist groups in the region.

Trump backtracked from his campaign pledge to end the United States’ longest war as he appeared to commit the country to an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan.

Outlining his new strategy for Afghanistan and the South Asia region, Trump said he would not “talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.”

Speaking at the Fort Myer military base near Washington, D.C., on August 21, Trump vowed “to win” the war and said his strategy will not be based on “arbitrary timelines,” but conditions on the ground.

Some analysts praised Trump’s tough stance on Pakistan while others criticized what they called a strategy that was short on details and reminiscent of former President Barack Obama’s failed policies.

The president warned that Washington will no longer tolerate Pakistan offering “safe havens” to extremist groups like the Afghan Taliban, a claim Islamabad denies.

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens,” Trump said. “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor terrorists.”

“Of the three U.S. presidents who have had to grapple with Pakistan’s undeclared war on Afghanistan, Trump’s words were the clearest in pointing out Pakistan as part of the problem,” said Mohammad Taqi, a Pakistani analyst.

No ‘Arbitrary’ Timelines

Trump also said the United States was in Afghanistan not for nation building, but rather, “we are killing terrorists.”

He also said the United States needed a plan for an “honorable and enduring outcome” in Afghanistan, and added that a rapid exit would have “unacceptable” consequences.

Following Trump’s address, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis suggested the United States and other countries would send more troops to Afghanistan.

“I will be in consultation with the secretary-general of NATO and our allies — several of which have also committed to increasing their troop numbers, Mattis said.

“The Trump administration rightly believes that an enduring commitment without arbitrary withdrawal timelines will convey the right message to both friends and enemies in Afghanistan and the broader region,” said Ahmad K. Majidyar, a South Asia expert.

Majidyar said Trump’s new approach appears to comprise elements of both counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies. He said the United States will continue to train, equip, and assist the Afghan security forces while giving more authority to the Pentagon to target regional and international terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan that pose a direct threat to U.S. security.

Trump has long been skeptical of U.S. policy in the region, where the United States has been at war since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

During his address, Trump said his “original instinct was to pull out” from Afghanistan, but he reached a different conclusion after studying the issue once he was in office.

He also said U.S. support for the Afghan government was not a “blank check” and urged Kabul to implement “real reform and progress.”

“Compared with his predecessors, Trump has outlined a more comprehensive and clearer strategy in Afghanistan,” said Omar Samad, an Afghan analyst. “Most importantly, he has distinguished who is friend and who is foe.”

Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s strategy moved the United States past the Obama administration’s “failed strategy of merely postponing defeat” in Afghanistan.

During his address, Trump left the door open to an eventual peace deal with the Taliban, although he added that “nobody knows if or when that will ever happen.”

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington stood “ready to support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without preconditions.”

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid dismissed Trump’s remarks as “old” and “unclear.”

“If America doesn’t withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century,” Mujahid said in a statement.

Analyst Samad said Trump sent a clear message to the Taliban and their backers that the United States won’t settle for a stalemate. “Finally, the Taliban were told that America intends to do what it takes to win,” he said.

The Taliban has repeatedly urged the United States and its allies to leave Afghanistan, ruling out peace talks with the Kabul government as long as foreign forces remain on Afghan soil.

More U.S. Boots On The Ground?

Trump announced a strategic review soon after taking office in January, and U.S. officials have said he has privately questioned whether sending more troops was prudent.

He told top officials in July that “we aren’t winning…we are losing” the war in Afghanistan to militant groups like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Islamic State (IS).

Options that were considered by U.S. leaders reportedly ranged from pulling U.S. military troops out of Afghanistan entirely, to drawing down troop numbers in favor of outside security contractors, to sending in more troops and stepping up efforts to defeat the Taliban and other militants battling the Afghan government.

Trump’s decision came after he met with his national security team at the Camp David presidential retreat on August 18 to discuss the conflict.

Earlier this year, reports suggest the president sought to give U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, opening the door for future troop increases requested by General John Nicholson, the top U.S. Army commander in Afghanistan.

Media reports said Mattis sought greater clarity on Trump’s strategy but also recommended an increase of up to 4,000 troops to help strengthen the Afghan army.

Nicholson said in February he needed “a few thousand” more troops, with some potentially drawn from Washington’s NATO allies.

U.S. military and intelligence officials are concerned that a withdrawal or reduced presence of U.S. forces would give the Taliban the upper hand in the current standoff and allow Al-Qaeda and IS militants to use Afghanistan as a base for plotting attacks on the United States and its allies.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after invoking NATO’s Article 5 clause on collective self-defense following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The U.S.-led campaign overthrew the Islamist Taliban government, which was hosting Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his group’s training camps.

U.S. forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Obama, and now Trump.

“I took over a mess, and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” Trump said when asked earlier this year about Afghanistan.

Clearer Objectives?

“It is quite striking that after an eight-month strategic review, the end result is a policy that sounds remarkably like the policies that have been used — and in many ways failed — in the past,” said Michael Kugelman, South Asia associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

Omar Samad, an Afghanistan expert in Washington, said a combination of factors had ensured the United States’ failure so far to achieve its objectives in Afghanistan.

“The U.S. has had an on-off engagement with Afghanistan,” he said. “There have been distractions by other hot spots like Iraq, and Washington has not focused on the real source of the threat in the form of the Taliban’s external sanctuaries and support systems in Pakistan.”

“The strategy has been ineffective because it hasn’t stated clear objectives, Kugelman added. “The initial objectives — removing Al-Qaeda safe havens and removing its Taliban hosts from power — were clear and achieved very quickly. But ever since then the U.S. has struggled to articulate why it’s in Afghanistan and why Americans continue to die.”

The Taliban has repeatedly urged the United States and its allies to leave Afghanistan, ruling out peace talks with the Kabul government as long as foreign forces remain on Afghan soil.

The strategy in Afghanistan was complicated by internal differences over whether the United States should take a harder line toward Pakistan for failing to shut down alleged Afghan Taliban sanctuaries and arrest Afghan extremist leaders.

U.S. and Afghan officials have said the Afghan Taliban are supported by elements of Pakistan’s military and top intelligence agency, a charge Islamabad denies.

Before Trump’s decision, the proposals under discussion were reported to include the United States launching a review of whether to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism if it didn’t pursue senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban and the allied Haqqani network, considered the most lethal Afghan extremist group.

Such a designation would have triggered harsh U.S. sanctions, including a ban on arms sales and an end to U.S. economic assistance for Pakistan.

“Without making Pakistan face the consequences of its actions, its behavior won’t change towards Afghanistan,” Pakistani analyst Taqi said.

A U.S. report found earlier this year that the Taliban controls or contests control of about 40 percent of the country. Furthermore, Afghan security forces are facing an increasing presence of IS militants in the country.

Since peaking at about 100,000 troops in 2010-11, the U.S. force has diminished. The United States currently maintains 8,400 troops in Afghanistan — a cap set last year by then-President Obama.

However, there are at least another 2,000 U.S. troops — mostly special forces — assigned to fight militant groups such as the Taliban and IS.

About 5,000 non-U.S. NATO forces are still in the country.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Afghanistan’s Special Operations Forces Transition from Division to Corps

Afghanistan’s elite Special Operations Forces officially transitioned from a division to a corps, as part of a four-year security plan aimed at vastly improving the country’s security forces.

Today, it is a special day because the success you all have achieved for this nation is exemplified here, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said at the ceremony in Kabul on Sunday. This year you defeated the enemy on the battlefield. I can see the results of your fight from last week and I see the huge improvement from last year.

To the enemy: our Special Forces will defeat you, Ghani warned the militant groups that are fighting his government.

His country’s forces are facing a growing threat posed by the Taliban and and Islamic State’s self-styled Khorasan branch (IS-K), which emerged in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region two years ago.

U.S. Army General John Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, said the beginning of the corps would further bolster Afghan security forces’ capabilities against the militants.

The activation of special operations corps today marks the beginning of the end for the enemy of Afghanistan. As we sit here today, Afghanistan commandos are defeating the Taliban across Afghanistan, said Gen. Nicholson. When these commandos appear on the battlefield, the enemy has no choice but to run or die.

The Special Forces division, which currently consists of two special operations brigades will add two more brigades under its command and control, according to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Shifting focus

Afghanistan has announced a four-year security plan to improve its security forces in the next few years to help beat the growing threat posed by Taliban, which recently made advances in Afghanistan and the Pakistan border region.

In addition to doubling the special operation forces from 17,000 and upgrading the division of special forces to a new military corps within the Afghan National Army structure, the four-year plan also includes increasing aviation capabilities of Afghan Air Force and reforms inside the structure of Afghan security forces, Ahmad Shah Katawazai, defense liaison at the Afghan embassy in Washington, told VOA.

Given the nature of the fight, Afghanistan has shifted its focus from conventional warfare to special operations.

Most of the army offensive have been conducted by our special forces, Afghan diplomat Katawazai told VOA.

Currently, Special Forces conduct 70 percent of the country’s military operations. These elite forces are trained as quick reaction forces and conduct regular night raids against militants in various regions of the country.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday his administration has decided how to deal with the 16-year war in Afghanistan.

One day after meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat with his national security team, Trump tweeted, Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan, without providing details.

Roughly 13,000 NATO troops, including 8,400 Americans, are deployed in Afghanistan, carrying out anti-terrorism operations and training Afghanistan’s 300,000 security forces.

Kabul has said that the U.S. policy should include supporting the Afghan security plan as it needs more U.S. and NATO trainers as well as additional military hardware.

Source: Voice of America

Afghanistan’s Special Operations Forces Transition from Division to Corps

Afghanistan’s elite Special Operations Forces officially transitioned from a division to a corps, as part of a four-year security plan aimed at vastly improving the country’s security forces.

Today, it is a special day because the success you all have achieved for this nation is exemplified here, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said at the ceremony in Kabul on Sunday. This year you defeated the enemy on the battlefield. I can see the results of your fight from last week and I see the huge improvement from last year.

To the enemy: our Special Forces will defeat you, Ghani warned the militant groups that are fighting his government.

His country’s forces are facing a growing threat posed by the Taliban and and Islamic State’s self-styled Khorasan branch (IS-K), which emerged in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region two years ago.

U.S. Army General John Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, said the beginning of the corps would further bolster Afghan security forces’ capabilities against the militants.

The activation of special operations corps today marks the beginning of the end for the enemy of Afghanistan. As we sit here today, Afghanistan commandos are defeating the Taliban across Afghanistan, said Gen. Nicholson. When these commandos appear on the battlefield, the enemy has no choice but to run or die.

The Special Forces division, which currently consists of two special operations brigades will add two more brigades under its command and control, according to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Shifting focus

Afghanistan has announced a four-year security plan to improve its security forces in the next few years to help beat the growing threat posed by Taliban, which recently made advances in Afghanistan and the Pakistan border region.

In addition to doubling the special operation forces from 17,000 and upgrading the division of special forces to a new military corps within the Afghan National Army structure, the four-year plan also includes increasing aviation capabilities of Afghan Air Force and reforms inside the structure of Afghan security forces, Ahmad Shah Katawazai, defense liaison at the Afghan embassy in Washington, told VOA.

Given the nature of the fight, Afghanistan has shifted its focus from conventional warfare to special operations.

Most of the army offensive have been conducted by our special forces, Afghan diplomat Katawazai told VOA.

Currently, Special Forces conduct 70 percent of the country’s military operations. These elite forces are trained as quick reaction forces and conduct regular night raids against militants in various regions of the country.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday his administration has decided how to deal with the 16-year war in Afghanistan.

One day after meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat with his national security team, Trump tweeted, Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan, without providing details.

Roughly 13,000 NATO troops, including 8,400 Americans, are deployed in Afghanistan, carrying out anti-terrorism operations and training Afghanistan’s 300,000 security forces.

Kabul has said that the U.S. policy should include supporting the Afghan security plan as it needs more U.S. and NATO trainers as well as additional military hardware.

Source: Voice of America

Top US General Visits Pakistan’s Waziristan Region

ISLAMABAD U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel has concluded two days of talks with civilian and military leaders in Pakistan, underscoring the need for the two countries to work together to ensure greater regional security ad stability.

Military cooperation, and even stronger cooperation with Pakistan, is very important, and we deeply appreciate the hospitality and willingness to continue an honest and open relationship, a U.S. Embassy statement issued Saturday quoted the general as saying.

We are extraordinarily pleased to continue these enduring relationships, Votel said.

Pakistan’s army also flew Votel’s delegation to North Waziristan, a remote mountainous tribal district near the Afghan border that until recently had been condemned as an epicenter of international terrorism.

The Pakistan military says sustained counterterrorism operations have cleared most of the tribal district, however, and authorities are currently in the process of resettling civilians uprooted by the conflict.

General Votel arrived in Pakistan on Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump was meeting with his top national security officials to discuss proposals about how to win the protracted war in Afghanistan.

U.S. and Afghan officials contend that Taliban insurgents and their Haqqani network ally are using Pakistani soil to plan insurgent activities.

In his discussions with Pakistani leaders, he [Gen. Joseph Votel] emphasized that all parties must work to ensure that Pakistani soil is not used to plan or conduct terrorist attacks against its neighbors, the statement from U.S. Central Command reads.

Votel met with Pakistan Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other senior members of Abbasi’s cabinet before concluding his tour.

On Friday, the U.S. general held crucial talks with Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa that focused on the security situation in Afghanistan.

More than financial or material assistance, we seek acknowledgement of our decades-long contributions towards regional peace and stability, understanding of our challenges, and most importantly, the sacrifices Pakistani nation and its security forces have rendered in the fight against terrorism and militancy, Bajwa told the visiting American commander.

Cutting U.S. military aid to Pakistan to punish it for sheltering Taliban and Haqqani militants is among options the Trump administration reportedly is considering while preparing a new Afghan war strategy to break the stalemate with the Taliban.

Islamabad denies charges it is allowing insurgents to use Pakistani soil for attacks in Afghanistan, saying it is working for the stability and peace in the neighboring country in its own national interest.

“Pakistan had an important stake in peace and stability in Afghanistan as Pakistan has suffered the most due to conflict in that country,” an official statement quoted Abbasi as telling the U.S. delegation.

Source: Voice of America

لیاگو نے 2017ء سے 2022ء تک کے لیے ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز فٹ بال کلب کے ساتھ باضابطہ شراکت داری کا اعلان کردیا

لیاگو نے 2017ء سے 2022ء تک کے لیے ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز فٹ بال کلب کے ساتھ باضابطہ شراکت داری کا اعلان کردیا

لندن، 18 اگست 2017ء/پی آرنیوزوائر/– لیاگو نے لندن میں 2017ء سے 2022ء تک کے لیے ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز فٹ بال کلب کے ساتھ پنج سالہ باضابطہ شراکت داری  کے معاہدے پر دستخط کردیے۔ یوں لیاگو پہلا اور خصوصی موبائل فون برانڈ بن گیا ہے جو ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز فٹ بال کلب کو اسپانسر کرتا ہے۔

https://photos.prnasia.com/prnvar/20170818/1923161-1

فٹ بال طاقت، صلاحیت اور مل کر کام کرنے میں زبردست چیلنج دینے والا کھیل ہے، اور ہمیشہ تماشائیوں کو ہیجان اور حیرت عطا کرتا ہے۔ ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز فٹ بال کلب ایک ابھرتا ہوا اسٹار کلب ہے جس نے 2016/2017ء ای پی ایل میچز میں دوسرا مقام حاصل کیا۔ footballdatabase.com کے مطابق تمام اسکورز، درجہ بندیوں اور اعداد و شمار پر غور کریں تو 17 اگست کو ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز فٹ بال کلب دنیا میں نمبر 6درجے پر آتا ہے۔

ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز کے خصوصی عالمی موبائل فون شراکت دار  کی حیثیت سے لیاگو مسلسل پانچ سال تک کلب کو اسپانسر کرے گا۔ ان کئی ملین پاؤنڈز کے معاہدے سے لیاگو جن حقوق کا لطف اٹھاتا ہے ان میں کلب کے اپنے میدان پر کھیلے گئے مقابلوں میں اشتہاری بورڈز شامل ہیں۔ لیاگو تقریباً ہر اس جگہ پر جائے گا جہاں ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز ہوگا۔ لیاگو پہلے ہی اسپرز کی باضابطہ ویب سائٹ اور فیس بک پر ہے۔

دو ٹیموں کے تعاون کے ذریعے لیاگو عالمی فٹ بال شائقین کی زبردست نظروں میں ہوگا۔ اور اسپرز پوری موبائل صنعت کے ساتھ ساتھ دنیا بھر میں کروڑوں موبائل فون صارفین کی توجہ بھی حاصل کرے گا۔

اعلان کی تقریب میں لیاگو نے اپنے نئے پرچم بردار موبائل فون کا خصوصی ایڈیشن ٹی5 برائے اسپرز متعارف کروایا ۔ ٹی5 مکمل دھاتی وجود پر اسپرز لوگوں کا گہرا نیلا رنگ اور پشت پر دوہرا کیمرا رکھتا ہے تاکہ لمحے کو قید کیا جائے، سافٹ ویئر بھی اسپرز سے میل کھانے رکھنے کےلیے خاص طور پر ڈیزائن کیا گیا ہے۔ ایک ماہ بعد اسپرز کے پرستار اس ڈیوائس کا یہ ورژن حاصل کریں گے۔

لیاگو انٹرنیشنل کو عالمی موبائل فون مارکیٹ میں برانڈ کو بنانے میں تین سال لگے، اے پی اے سی سے ای ایم ای اے سے، اور سی آئی ایس سے ای یو تک۔ اب سے، آئندہ 5 سالوں میں، لیاگو جدید ٹیکنالوجی کے ساتھ شائقین کے لیے مزید جادو پیدا کرکے فٹ بال کی روح کے ساتھ صارفین کے ذہن میں جڑیں پکڑ لے گا۔

یہ اعلان عالمی موبائل فون مارکیٹ میں ایک موثر کمیونی کیشنز برانڈ بننے کے لیے لیاگو کی آرزو اور وابستگی کو صاف ظاہر کرتا ہے۔

لیاگو کے بارے میں

ایک نوعمر عالمی موبائل فون برانڈ جس کی توجہ اپنے صارفین کو بہترین جدید ٹیکنالوجی فراہم کرنے پر ہے، لیاگو پرجوش نوجوانوں کے لیے سستے اور اسٹائلش مصنوعات بناتا ہے۔ ٹاکنگ ڈیٹا 2016ء دوسری سہ ماہی رپورٹ کے مطابق ادارہ ملائیشیا میں ٹاپ 10 اسمارٹ فون برانڈز میں شمار ہوتا ہے۔ یہ اگلے 5 سال میں موثر بین الاقوامی کمیونی کیشن برانڈ بننے کا ہدف رکھتا ہے۔

ٹوٹن ہیم ہاٹ اسپرز ایف سی کے بارے میں

1882ء میں قائم ہونے والے ٹوٹن ہیم نے 1901ء میں پہلی بار ایف اے کپ جیتا، جس نے اسے واحد نان-لیگ کلب بنایا جس نے 1888ء میں فٹ بال لیگ کے قیام کے بعد یہ کارنامہ انجام دیا۔ 2016/1720ء سیزن کے ای پی ایل کے گیمز میں انہوں نے دوسرا مقام حاصل کیا اور اس وقت footballdatabase.com کے مطابق سرفہرست 10 عالمی فٹ بال کلب میں شامل ہیں بمطابق 20170817۔

تقسیم کے لیے رابطہ کیجیے Sofya@leagoo.com۔

تصویر – https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20170818/1923161-1

Trump To Discuss Afghanistan Strategy With His National Security Team

U.S. President Donald Trump is due to meet with his national security team at the Camp David presidential retreat north of Washington on August 18 to discuss U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on August 17 that, after months of debate, the Trump administration has almost reached a decision on a new approach for fighting the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, which is the longest in American history.

In remarks at the State Department, Mattis told reporters the talks “will move this toward a decision.” He gave no hint of what the strategy would look like, but said it would take shape “in the very near future.”

In June, Trump gave Mattis the authority to set U.S. troop levels.

Media reports say Mattis has recommended an increase of up to 4,000 troops to help strengthen the Afghan Army, but nothing has as yet been approved by Trump.

Mattis is reportedly urging Trump to address the Afghan war as part of a broader strategy for the region, particularly including Pakistan, where some Afghan militant groups have established bases near the border.

Western media outlets have reported that in July, Trump expressed frustration with progress in the war against Taliban militants and told Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford that they should consider firing General John Nicholson, the top U.S. Army commander in Afghanistan.

Citing officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, media reports also said Trump argued that the United States should demand a share of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in mineral wealth in exchange for U.S. assistance to the Afghan government.

Reports said that Trump complained that the Chinese are profiting from mining operations in Afghanistan while the United States bears the cost of the war.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, a U.S.-led invasion drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. But since the exit of most NATO troops in 2014, Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government has lost ground to the Taliban insurgency.

A U.S. report found earlier this year that the Taliban controls or contests control of about 40 percent of the country. Furthermore, Afghan security forces are facing the increasing presence of the extremist group Islamic State in the country.

Since peaking at about 100,000 troops in 2010-2011, the U.S. force has diminished. The United States currently maintains 8,400 troops in Afghanistan — a cap set last year by then-President Barack Obama.

However, there are at least another 2,000 U.S. troops — mostly special forces — assigned to fight militant groups such as the Taliban and Islamic State.

About 5,000 non-U.S. NATO forces are still in the country.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.