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
0

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.


Italy’s Salvini lays down law for migrant rescue ships

Italian Deputy Prime Minister and League leader Matteo Salvini takes a picture with a supporter, as he leaves the Senate upper house parliament building after a news conference in Rome, Italy March 8, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 min 26 sec ago
0

Italy’s Salvini lays down law for migrant rescue ships

  • Salvini, whose anti-migrant rhetoric has boosted him in the polls, has repeatedly vowed to find a way to ban all ships with rescued migrants from entering Italian waters

ROME: Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Monday launched a fresh crackdown on charity ships which rescue migrants off Libya and bring them to Italy.
“The ports have been, and remain, CLOSED,” Salvini said on Twitter, as his office released an eight-page directive on the laws regarding rescue operations — laws it said some aid vessels had been breaking.
The minister, who also heads up the anti-immigrant League party, has repeatedly declared Italian waters closed to NGO rescue vessels, leaving several of them stranded at sea in the past in a bid to force Europe to take its share of asylum seekers.
While he acknowledged in his directive that helping those who lives are in danger was a “priority,” he warned that there must be “sanctions” for those who “explicitly violate international, European and national rescue regulations.”
“Nor must the real risks that the group of migrants may conceal individuals involved in terrorist activities... be overlooked.”
The “passage of rescue ships in Italian territorial waters” was “detrimental to the order and security of the Italian State,” he said.
The directive was issued just hours after an Italian charity ship rescued 49 people off the coast of Libya, under the nose of the Libyan coast guard, before requesting permission to disembark the migrants in Italy.
NGO ships have drawn fire from Rome by attempting on occasion to stop migrants being taken back to crisis-hit Libya, which human rights organizations insist cannot be considered safe for repatriations.

“It has happened that ships... have come to the aid of migrants in non-Italian SRRs (Search and Rescue Regions) and have disregarded the orders of the competent SAR (Search and Rescue) authorities,” Salvini said in the directive.
Ships rescuing migrants in areas of the Mediterranean that fall under Libyan responsibility, during operations not coordinated by the command center in Rome, have no right to seek Italy as a port of safety, he said.
He accused the ships in question of “carrying out the rescue on their own initiative and then heading toward European maritime borders... in violation of international maritime law.”
Salvini also took issue with charity ships that set sail for Italy rather than other ports.
“Nor are the Italian coasts the only possible landing places in the event of rescue events, given that the Libyan, Tunisian and Maltese ports can offer adequate logistical and health assistance... (and) are closer in terms of nautical miles.”
Salvini, whose anti-migrant rhetoric has boosted him in the polls, has repeatedly vowed to find a way to ban all ships with rescued migrants from entering Italian waters.
He also insists Europe must do much more to help house asylum seekers.
Europe has been wrestling with divisions over how to handle the problem since the migration crisis of 2015 when more than one million people arrived on its shores, many of them fleeing conflict in the Middle East.