Taliban urges Britain to not send more troops to Afghanistan

The British presence is now just in the hundreds, but the UK had one of the highest military presence during the height of the war (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2018

Taliban urges Britain to not send more troops to Afghanistan

  • Britain’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson recommended sending up to 400 reinforcements to Afghanistan, joining the 600 already there
  • Taliban said in the past 17 years British troops had failed to defeat the Taliban, just as the British Empire failed to conquer Afghanistan in the 19th century

KABUL: Taliban guerrillas urged Britain on Sunday to stop sending troops to the protracted conflict in Afghanistan and avoid further involvement in the “futile and failed” US war.

Last week, Britain’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson recommended sending up to 400 more army personnel to Afghanistan to join the 600 already there. The reinforcements will be deployed in training Afghan soldiers, who have faced the brunt of Taliban’s deadly attacks in recent years, following a drastic reduction in foreign forces.

The move follows calls by US President Donald Trump and NATO for allies to send more troops as the resurgent Taliban have made some in-roads despite offensives announced under Trump’s new Afghan war strategy in the middle of last year.

“The British government is once again sending troops to Afghanistan, even though the results of the current and former invasion of our homeland by Britain are such admonitory chapters in our history that contain a lot of lessons for the heedful,” the Taliban said in a statement emailed to the media.

It added that the experience of the past 17 years of US-led war, which began with the overthrow of the Taliban from power, demonstrated there was no military solution to the conflict, nor can a regime be enforced in the country through the bombardment, it said.

The statement said that over the past 17 years British troops had failed to defeat the Taliban, just as it had failed to conquer Afghanistan in the 19th century during the various bloody incursions of the British Empire.

A Taliban spokesman contacted by Arab News said the group has no contact with Britain, either direct or indirect, but said Britain could speak to the Taliban’s political office if it had concern.

The British Embassy could not be reached for comment at the time of writing of this article.

The Taliban has repeatedly turned down requests for negotiations with Britain although it has shown readiness to talk with the US. The group has demanded the withdrawal of all of foreign troops.

Malaysians celebrate government decision to shun UN treaty

Updated 25 min 3 sec ago

Malaysians celebrate government decision to shun UN treaty

  • Among members of the anti-ICERD rally crowd were former Prime Minister Najib Razak and United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) President Zahid Hamidi
  • Mahathir Muhamad-led administration abandoned the ratification of ICERD amid pressure from former ruling party UMNO and its ally, Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS)

KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of people, mostly clad in white, took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to thank the Malaysian government for not ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Last month, the former ruling party, United Malays National Organization (UMNO), and its alliance, Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), put pressure on the newly-minted Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, led by Mahathir Mohamad, to abandon the United Nations treaty.
“It has been a relatively peaceful event and no incidents have been reported,” Oh Ei Sun, principal adviser of the Pacific Research Center, told Arab News, adding that he was in Kuala Lumpur observing the rally, which was attended by mostly ethnic Malays.
He also said that many showed up at the rally out of fear, while “many Malays fear the ICERD ratification will erode their special rights and privileges.”
While Malaysian police estimates about 55,000 attended the rally, other media sources said as many as 100,000 people showed up. Former Prime Minister Najib Razak and UMNO President Zahid Hamidi also showed up for the event.
Despite winning the general elections in May, the PH government only secured 25 to 30 percent of the ethnic Malay votes.
The rise of globalization and the cost of living had impacted ethnic Malays who relied heavily on government subsidies and welfare, such as the cash-out scheme, instated by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
“Few policy decisions taken by the PH government thus far have instilled Malaysians with a sense of hope for the future,” Ahmed Kamal Nava, founder of social media data analytics company Politweet, told Arab News.
Many of the rally observers had even brought their families. The PAS had used volunteers to keep track of security and logistics and demonstrators were seen picking up their own rubbish.
Nava told Arab News that Twitter discussions on the issue were predominantly against the UN treaty.
“The pro-ICERD crowd within Pakatan was doing almost nothing to promote it,” he said. He criticized the PH government for not reaching out and promoting ICERD at the grass roots level.
“I think this is indicative of the demographic segment that the PAS appeals to since clearly, PAS supporters don’t have a strong presence on social media,” he said.
“Malays are going to be talking about ICERD again after this rally and they are going to come across more anti-ICERD propaganda because the government did not do a good job promoting the treaty and addressing the core issues that led to the anti-convention sentiment in the first place.”