Obama urges unity on eve of 9/11 anniversary

US President Barack Obama. (AP)
Updated 10 September 2016
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Obama urges unity on eve of 9/11 anniversary

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to remain united in the face of terrorist attacks, in a barely-veiled jab at Republican White House nominee Donald Trump 15 years after 9/11.
“In the face of terrorism, how we respond matters,” Obama said in his weekly radio and online address, delivered on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.
“We cannot give in to those who would divide us. We cannot react in ways that erode the fabric of our society,” he added.
“Because it’s our diversity, our welcoming of all talent, our treating of everybody fairly-no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, or faith-that’s part of what makes our country great. It’s what makes us resilient,” Obama said.
“And if we stay true to those values, we’ll uphold the legacy of those we’ve lost, and keep our nation strong and free.”
On several occasions Obama has denounced Trump’s bombastic rhetoric toward Muslims.
Following the December shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California for example, Trump called for a temporary ban on the entry to the United States of all Muslims.
Obama was speaking two months before the presidential election in which real estate magnate Trump will face Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The Al-Qaeda hijackings of September 11, 2001 — the first foreign attack on the US mainland in nearly two centuries — ruptured a sense of safety and plunged the West into wars still being fought today.
More than 2,750 people were killed when two passenger jets destroyed the Twin Towers, the symbol of New York’s financial wealth and confidence. Another jet slammed into the Pentagon, and a fourth jet crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after those on board tried to overpower the hijackers.
Evoking “one of the darkest (days) in our nation’s history,” Obama noted that much had changed over the past 15 years since the attacks.
“We delivered justice to (Al-Qaeda leader) Osama Bin Laden. We’ve strengthened our homeland security. We’ve prevented attacks. We’ve saved lives,” Obama said.
But at the same time, he said, referring to attacks in Boston, San Bernardino, and Orlando, Florida, “the terrorist threat has evolved.”
“So in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and beyond, we’ll stay relentless against terrorists like Al-Qaeda and [the Daesh group] ISIL.
“We will destroy them. And we’ll keep doing everything in our power to protect our homeland,” Obama said.


India and Afghanistan review their strategic partnership

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, with Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
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India and Afghanistan review their strategic partnership

  • Afghan, Indian leaders “reviewed and positively assessed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership”
  • The two countries also decided “to strengthen connectivity, including through Chabahar port and the air-freight corridor.”

NEW DELHI: India and Afghanistan reviewed bilateral civil and military cooperation during a one day of meetings in  New Delhi on Wednesday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which the two sides “reviewed and positively assessed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership.”

A press release from the Indian Prime Minister’s office announced after the meeting: “It was agreed to deepen the New Development Partnership in the areas of high impact projects in this field of infrastructure, human resources development and other capacity-building projects in Afghanistan.” 

 The two countries also decided “to strengthen connectivity, including through Chabahar port and the air-freight corridor.”

 “I would like to thank the Indian people for their commitment to Afghanistan's future,” Ghani said in a speech in New Delhi before leaving for Kabul.

“What India-Afghanistan share is deep and binding trust in democratic institutions,” he added.

Modi supported an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process” and pledged “India's unwavering commitment to support the efforts of the government of Afghanistan to this end, as also for the security and sovereignty of Afghanistan.”

 “Peace with the Taliban is important so that we can concentrate on counter-terrorism. The Taliban is part of Afghan society, ISIS (using another term for the terror group Daesh) is not. We must make that distinction,” Ghani said in his address at the New Delhi-based think tank, India Foundation.

 Commenting on Ghani’s visit, Vishal Chandra of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), a New Delhi-based think tank, said: “The timing of the visit is significant; he has come at a time when the Afghan forces are under great pressure from the Taliban and Daesh.” He added that Ghani was looking for wider regional support in initiatives to stem the rising tide of terrorism.

Talking to Arab News, Chandra underlined that “there is no question of India involving itself militarily in Afghanistan, but it might step up its efforts to ensure that they have better air capability and they don’t have shortage of ammunition. I don’t expect India to supply heavy weaponry.”

Harsh V. Pant, director of the think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) said: “Despite India scaling up its presence in the defence sector, New Delhi’s military presence in Afghanistan is limited.

“The appetite in India for military involvement is very small; there is no consensus about the military footprints New Delhi should have in Afghanistan. But there is a consensus that New Delhi’s security cooperation with Kabul should be extended and should be robust and that is what India is doing.” 

In his book “India’s Afghanistan Muddle” Pant argued that “India cannot evolve its equity in Afghanistan unless some form of military involvement happens.”

Pant told Arab News: “The visit of Ghani at this time is a sign of a certain maturity in the relationship where Afghanistan feels that India should be kept in a loop. The relationship has grown to an extent that two sides are comfortable with each other in sharing assessment about where the political trajectory is going.”