Afghanistan replaces military chief as UN warns of humanitarian catastrophe

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Afghanistan updates

The Afghan authorities has changed its military chief for the third time in simply over a yr, highlighting the disarray within the nation because the Taliban sweeps apart the federal government’s safety forces.

Normal Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, who was solely appointed military chief in June, was changed on Wednesday by Normal Hibatullah Alizai because the Taliban pushed nearer to encircling Kabul and forcing the give up of President Ashraf Ghani’s authorities

Because the US prepares to withdraw the final of its troops, the Islamist rebels have captured nine provincial capitals and seized management of Kunduz airport.

Preventing is raging across the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, as soon as a bastion of anti-Taliban resistance, and town of Ghazni, which is strategically positioned on the freeway from western Afghanistan to Kabul.

Many analysts had been sceptical that management adjustments within the armed forces would do a lot to bolster Afghan troops, a lot of whom seem to have melted away within the face of the insurgents’ onslaught.

“It’s actually late within the day for one thing like this to make a distinction,” a senior Pakistani official informed the Monetary Occasions.

Afghans fleeing the heavy combating in addition to punishments meted out by the Taliban have sparked warnings from the UN of an imminent humanitarian disaster. The UN estimated in late July that 270,000 individuals had been displaced this yr by the battle.

Afghanistan Taliban status map

Michelle Bachelet, UN excessive commissioner for human rights, warned that “the already atrocious state of affairs for thus many Afghans will grow to be a lot worse” if hostilities don’t stop.

Critics have blamed the US determination to withdraw from Bagram air base and pull out its troops for the Taliban’s fast good points.

However diplomats mentioned the rebel group had been gaining floor slowly on Afghan safety forces even when the nationwide military loved the total logistic assist of US troops and air cowl.

“Are we stunned {that a} pressure that was nearly maintaining with the Taliban begins to crumble? Clearly not,” mentioned a western diplomat.

The US has been urgent Pakistan to make use of its affect on the Taliban to dealer a peace deal. However Washington’s relationship with Islamabad has deteriorated.

Final week, Imran Khan’s security adviser complained that Joe Biden had not bothered to telephone Pakistan’s prime minister.

On Wednesday, Khan mentioned the US thought of his nation helpful solely “within the context of in some way settling this mess which has been left behind after 20 years of looking for a army resolution when there was not one”.

Pakistan has lengthy performed an ambiguous position in Afghanistan. Washington and the Afghan authorities imagine Islamabad has covertly supported the Taliban, even whereas publicly claiming its assist for a US-backed peace course of.

Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s info minister, informed reporters: “The individuals of Afghanistan and the US should ask their governments precisely what use got here from over $1tn that the US spent on the Afghan battle. Why is the Afghan military coming aside like leaves?”

Biden mentioned this week he did not regret his determination to withdraw US troops and that Afghans ought to unite to battle the Taliban, who’re transferring to reinstate strict Islamic regulation in areas they’ve captured.

Further reporting by Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad