Ex-NSA slams Biden over Afghanistan, says time to act on Pak

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McMaster a retired lieutenant general in the Army said what comes next may be worse than the bloody civil war that ravaged Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996, reports Asian Lite News

Former National Security Adviser (NSA) HR McMaster has slammed Biden administration over Afghanistan withdrawal and said that time has come to take a tough stand on Pakistan.

“We stopped actively targeting the Taliban in Afghanistan during the — what I would call, again — the capitulation negotiations,” said McMaster who worked as then-President Donald Trump’s second White House national security adviser.

Speaking at Wilson Center, a DC-based think tank event Mc Master further said, “And then, once that capitulation agreement was signed, we were hands-off with the Taliban… Meanwhile, the Taliban were marshalling for this offensive.”

McMaster a retired lieutenant general in the US Army said what comes next may be worse than the bloody civil war that ravaged Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996.

Afghan security force members set on a military vehicle during a military operation in Jawzjan province, Afghanistan (XinhuaMohammad Jan AriaIANS)

“This will be that crisis on steroids,” the former head of the National Security Agency asserted. “Why? You know, in 2001, the population of Kabul was 500,000. Today, it’s over five million,” said the former NSA.

Having served the US army for 34 years, the veteran pinned down Pakistan stating that security in Pakistan is ‘inexorably connected’ to what happens in Afghanistan. “It’s time for tough stance on Pakistan is, who’ve helped perpetuate the threat from Taliban and used other terrorist groups as an arm of their foreign policy,” Mc Master added.

The former NSA Chief also blamed China for its vested interest in the region and overt support to the Taliban as well as Pakistan, through its debt diplomacy (Belt and Road Initiative projects in the region).

“China wants to just continue to keep Pakistan on life support financially and economically,” said Mc Master. “China should have an interest in Pakistan no longer supporting terror groups”, added the former NSA.

McMaster fears the US withdrawal could have repercussions not just in Afghanistan but also could result in an unstable South Asia region.

“They (terror groups) can initiate a cycle of sectarian violence in India,” the former national security adviser warned.

An Afghan special force member attends a military operation against Taliban fighters in Kandak Anayat village of Kunduz city, Afghanistan, July 23, 2021. (Photo by Ajmal Kakar/Xinhua)

Govt to send three battalions to evacuate embassy staff

The US government has announced that it will deploy thousands of troops to the Kabul airport to support the American Embassy staff drawdown as the security situation in war-torn continues to deteriorate.

“We are further reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul, in light of the evolving security situation. We expect to draw down to a core diplomatic presence in Afghanistan in the coming weeks,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price as saying during a briefing.

“In order to facilitate this reduction, the Department of Defense will temporarily deploy additional personnel to the Hamid Karzai International Airport,” he added.

Price said that the Embassy remains open, and the US plans to continue diplomatic work in the country.

Earlier in the day, the Embassy urged Americans to leave the country immediately.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin spoke on the phone with Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to coordinate the plan.

US soldiers prepare to depart from Kunduz, Afghanistan. (Photo Brian Harris_Planet Pix_ZUMA_dpa_IANS)

Also on Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that three infantry battalions, about 3,000 troops, will be deployed to Kabul airport within 24 to 48 hours.

In addition, around 1,000 personnel of a joint US Army and Air Force support team will be sent to Qatar to facilitate the processing of Afghan applicants for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV).

An infantry brigade combat team will arrive in Kuwait next week in case additional forces are needed.

“This is a temporary mission with a narrow focus,” said Kirby, calling the move “a prudent thing to do given the rapidly deteriorating security situation in and around Kabul”.

According to media reports, currently, there are about 650 US troops in the country and about 1,400 American staff at the embassy.

The announcement of embassy staff reduction and military reinforcements came as Taliban militants made rapid military advances across the country.

The insurgent group captured Ghazni city, the capital of eastern Ghazni province earlier on Thursday, bringing the number of provincial capitals captured so far to 10 in less than a week.

The situation in the war-torn country has been worsening since the withdrawal of the US-led forces starting on May 1.

Many Afghan cities and about half of the country’s 34 provinces in recent weeks have seen heavy battles and street fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban militants.

President Joe Biden ordered the US military to end its mission in Afghanistan by the end of this month.

He said on Tuesday that the US would continue to provide air support and military equipment to Afghanistan while noting Afghan forces must “fight for themselves, fight for their nation”.

“We’re going to continue to keep our commitment. But I do not regret my decision,” he said.

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