Afghan defense minister summons Parliament to closed-door meeting

Author: Sayed SalahuddinMon, 2017-10-23 03:00ID: 1508698564040612400KABUL: The Afghan Parliament was summoned on Saturday by the country’s top security brass behind closed doors at the request of Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami.
The reason for the summoning is a surge in attacks on military and civilian targets that has killed nearly 250 people in recent days.
This is raising fresh questions over the ability of the US-backed government and its Western allies to deal with the growing security crisis.
MPs told Arab News that the meeting was behind closed doors so Bahrami could express privately that the government has exhausted all its resources and options.
Some lawmakers and analysts said the increase in attacks by the Taliban and Daesh affiliates is a response to US President Donald Trump’s war strategy announced in August.
After 16 years of the US presence in Afghanistan, and amid acknowledgement by American officials of a stalemate on the battlefield, Trump vowed to keep troops in the country indefinitely and increase attacks on the Taliban.
The news of an indefinite American presence has raised concerns in Russia, China and Iran. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently expressed concerns about his country becoming an arena for rivalry between the US on one hand, and Russia and Iran on the other.
Afghan lawmaker Raihana Azad told Arab News: “I link the rise in attacks to the new US strategy… Russia, Pakistan and Iran are coordinating and conducting attacks via the Taliban.”
Lawmaker Amanullah Paiman from Badakhshan province — which served as a bastion of support in the war against the Taliban, and embraced the US invasion — told Arab News: “Trump’s strategy has rung alarm bells in various countries and circles.”
He added: “Through such attacks, they’re showing that they have the ability to confront the US, and challenge the Afghan government and America’s presence. The US has pursued counterproductive policies.”
Retired Gen. Attiquallah Amarkhail, a long-time critic of America’s presence and policies in the region, said Russia, Iran and Pakistan are conducting attacks on urban areas via the Taliban because this creates more panic and puts more pressure on Kabul.
“In order to turn the tide, the US needs to change its tactic too and go after Taliban bases in Pakistan,” he added.
Gen. Dawlat Waziri, chief Defense Ministry spokesman, said the surge in attacks is militants’ reaction to the battlefield losses they suffered during the spring and summer. “Such attacks are just an attempt to show that they’re still around,” he added.
Main category: WorldTags: AfghanistanKabulAfghan parliamentTariq Shah Bahramirelated_nodes: Afghan army chief, defense minister resign following attackTaleban attack Afghan parliament, seize 2 districts in northAfghan parliament votes to dismiss defense, interior ministers

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