“Pakistan’s strategic interest in Afghanistan is to counter Indian influence, mitigate spillover”: Big Challenge says NATO

A US government report has said, citing inputs from the Defence Intelligence Agency that Pakistan’s strategic security objectives in Afghanistan almost certainly continue to be countering Indian influence and mitigating spillover of the Afghan civil war into Pakistani territory,

“Pakistan continues to support peace talks while maintaining ties with the Afghan Taliban,” the US Department of State Office of the Inspector General noted in its latest quarterly report on Afghanistan.

“According to the DIA, Pakistan’s strategic security objectives in Afghanistan almost certainly continue to be countering Indian influence and mitigating spillover into the Pakistani territory,” the report said.

The report for the quarter from April 1 to June 30 said the Pakistani government is concerned that a civil war in Afghanistan would have destabilizing effects on Pakistan, including an influx of refugees and providing a potential haven for anti-Pakistan militants.

During the quarter, financial contributions to the Afghan Taliban increased in the Pakistan border regions, according to media reports, citing eyewitness sources.

It further said that solicitation efforts traditionally targeted mosques, but Afghan Taliban militants now openly visit the bazaar areas in nearby Pakistani towns.

“The militants typically solicit contributions of USD 50 or more from shopkeepers.

Residents told reporters that solicitation efforts were now commonplace in the towns and cities of Quetta, Kuchlak Bypass, Pashtun Abad, Ishaq Abad, and Farooqia,” it said.

Iran welcomes withdrawal of US from Afghanistan

According to the report, the DIA, citing media reports, said that Iran welcomes the withdrawal of US

and coalition forces from Afghanistan but “almost certainly” remain concerned about the resulting instability in Afghanistan.

According to the DIA, Iran will continue to pursue influence in any future Afghan government through relations with the Afghan government, the Taliban, and power brokers, but Iran opposes the reestablishment of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate, it said.

US President Joe Biden warns lives could be lost in the air

operations at Kabul

U.S. President Joe Biden has said that the mass evacuation from Kabul, one of the largest and most difficult airlifts in history, is not without risk of loss of lives, but ensured to bring all Americans and partners home from Afghanistan, as his administration grappled with the fallout from the chaotic exit.

Mr. Biden’s remarks on August 20 come as the U.S rushed to airlift as many people as possible out of the Afghan capital ahead of a self-imposed deadline to depart Afghanistan by August 31.

In a speech delivered from the White House, Mr. Biden said the United States has evacuated more than 18,000 people since July and approximately 13,000 since the airlifts began on Saturday.

NATO Secretary called the evacuation drive in Afghanistan is the “big, big, big challenge”

On August 20 NATO foreign ministers committed to focus on ensuring the safe evacuation from Afghanistan of their citizens and of Afghans deemed at risk after the Taliban takeover, centering on improving operations at Kabul airport first.

The capital of Afghanistan was faced with continuing chaos as many of the 30 allied nations raised “the need to work harder on how we can get more people … into the airport, then processed and then onto the planes,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. He called that “the big, big, big challenge.”

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