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
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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.


Brazilian police arrest fugitive US has linked to Hezbollah

Updated 32 min 22 sec ago
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Brazilian police arrest fugitive US has linked to Hezbollah

SAO PAULO: Brazilian police on Friday arrested a fugitive sought in Paraguay who is accused by US officials of belonging to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and of being a key financier of terrorism.
Police took Assad Ahmad Barakat into custody in the border city of Foz do Iguacu, which is home to the famous Iguazu Falls and sits where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet.
Authorities in Paraguay are seeking Barakat on allegations of false representation, police said, and Brazil's Supreme Court authorized his arrest earlier this month. The Brazilian federal prosecutor's office said in a statement that Barakat's case meets the requirements for an arrest with a view to extradition.
In Paraguay, Barakat is accused of presenting a declaration of incorrect nationality and omitting information about the loss of nationality, the prosecutors' statement said. Barakat was born in Lebanon but has lived in South America for years.
Prosecutors said they had information that Barakat applied for refugee status in Brazil when he learned of Paraguay's arrest warrant, but that only the recognition of refugee status would prevent his extradition, which was not the case here.
In 2004, the US Treasury Department accused Barakat of serving as a treasurer for Hezbollah, which it considers a terrorist organization, and ordered American banks to freeze any of his assets found in the United States. At the time, Barakat was serving time in a Paraguayan prison for tax evasion. Two years later it added several of his associates to its watchlist, on which Barakat remains.
Brazilian police said Argentine authorities have accused associates of Barakat of laundering $10 million in a scheme in casinos, and they have frozen the group's assets.
Barakat was extradited from Brazil to Paraguay in 2003 and was convicted of tax evasion. He returned to live in Brazil in 2008 after he was released from prison, police said.