Washington, March 28, 2017: Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents the 17th Congressional District of California, known as the Silicon Valley, called US President Donald Trump a “devil” and his budget proposal “dumb”.
“You talk to members of Congress and they don’t agree with everything he says. Even Republicans. They are as embarrassed,” Khanna — a teacher, lawyer and a politician — said in a video interview to news channel TYT Politics, published on Monday.
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“Why aren’t they speaking out? It’s because he is helping achieve their vision which is the dismantling of the administrative state. The dismantling of the new deal, in a way that Ronald Reagan even didn’t,” he said.
“… So they are saying, OK, we are gonna make the bargain with the devil. He is giving us what we want. Let’s ignore everything else.”
Responding to a question on what bothers him the most about the Trump administration’s budget proposal, which might get passed, too, Khanna said “foreign aid”.
“I mean, I can’t think of a more dumb proposal than, frankly, than cutting that [foreign aid].”
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Khanna said that he is worried that the Republicans would not push back on cutting the US foreign aid. He said, on humanitarian grounds, the US should continue to extend help to other countries, reported the American Bazaar Online.
Questioning Trump’s proposal to cut foreign aid, Khanna said that it is un-American. He said that America’s foreign aid budget is less than one percent and it should be defended as it goes for “humanitarian causes”.
The 40-year-old Khanna said that he felt “annoyed” after Trump commented that it is in “America’s national interest” and advised other nations to follow their self-interest.
Citing former President George W. Bush, Khanna said that even Bush helped resuscitate people from the HIV in Africa.
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“And here, you know, George Bush, I disagreed with him about everything Bush-Cheney did. The one thing he did, what we should all give him credit for is he helped save people in Africa with HIV,” Khanna said.
“We put billions of dollars in foreign aid to help people with the anti-viral drugs.”
Khanna said, “The whole idea about American exceptionalism is that we are not all nations… We care about morality. We care about humanity. That’s what makes America exceptional. So, we should care about the moral case of what we are gonna do for other countries.”
USA, September 4, 2017: US President Donald Trump has decided to end DACA programme- a programme that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children with a six-month delay, the media reported.
Trump has wrestled for months with whether to do away with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama in June 2012 to shield hundreds of thousands of undocumented youths from deportation.
But conversations with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who argued that Congress was responsible for writing immigration law, helped persuade the President to terminate the programme, the informed sources told Politico news on Sunday.
In a nod to reservations held by many lawmakers, the White House has planned to delay the enforcement of the President’s decision for six months, giving Congress a window to act, the sources said.
Trump is expected to formally make an announcement on the programme’s termination on Tuesday, and the White House informed House Speaker Paul Ryan of the President’s decision on Sunday
Paul Ryan thinks that ending DACA programme is not a good idea
On Friday, Paul Ryan said that he did not think the President should terminate DACA programme and that Congress should act on the issue.
According to official documents, approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants are currently benefiting from the DACA programme.
Permits under DACA programme are granted for two years before needing to be renewed.
The latest study by groups that support DACA programme estimated that 1,400 people a day could lose their protections if renewals ended.
Bernie Sanders criticised Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA programme
Former Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has condemned the move, reports CNN.
“If Trump decides to end DACA programme, it will be one of the ugliest and cruellest decisions ever made by a president in our modern history,” the Vermont Senator tweeted on Sunday night. (IANS)
We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America
The new policy by Trump will allow the military to observe the conditions on the ground before they take a decision on if they want to attack or withdraw
We have been paying Pakistan billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting
Virginia, USA, August 23, 2017: US President Donald Trump in his speech at Arlington, Virginia on August 21, 2017, divulged details on his new policy for Afghanistan and South Asia. He made it clear in his speech that American troops will continue to fight the war between US and Afghanistan, the longest war in US history which has been continuing for 17 years.
Trump made it a point to announce that he’s not just rearranging the Afghanistan policy. He also spoke against Pakistan and criticized them for harboring the terrorists and said that the US would want India’s help and contribution to restore the stability of Afghanistan.
Trump said, “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear. We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter.”
Trump listed out the factors that would lead to a change in Afghanistan and South Asia policy in the coming years:
Donald Trump criticized Barack Obama
Trump, many times during his presidential campaign has criticized former US President Barack Obama “for announcing a date by which American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan.” He said that it allowed Taliban and others like them to reassemble and lay waiting for them to do so.
The new policy by Trump will allow the military to observe the conditions on the ground before they take a decision on if they want to attack or withdraw. Though it seems like a wise decision, it also means that the US troops are likely to be in Afghanistan for few more years, by taking into consideration how long this war has continued. The US President stressed upon, “A shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.”
America will focus on their interests first, Donald Trump said, “The integration of all instruments of American power – diplomatic, economic, and military – toward a successful outcome.” Trump said that America has spent a lot of time, money and soldier’s lives to try and rebuild countries in its own image. He expressed that a future political solution in Afghanistan might even include the Taliban, but it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take that decision. “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists,” he said.
Trump said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat.” Trump made some strong remarks about Pakistan, a country that has apparently been an American ally for decades, but was also often accused of taking funds from USA and using them to “take part in an arms race with India”, instead of using that money to fight the terror organizations which were often nurtured by them. Trump said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”
On wanting cooperation from India
Donald Trump then talked about India and said: “Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India – the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.”
Trump called for India’s helping hand- He wants India to play a much larger role in the rebuilding of Afghanistan, particularly in the areas like development and economic assistance. This came as positive news to New Delhi, and the Ministry of External Affairs was ready to welcome the statement with open arms. The spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs said “We welcome President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives.”
But Donald Trump’s framing of the issue has a problem in it – this seems transactional (like a business deal) and the narrative put forward by the US President saying that Afghan reconstruction is mainly an American effort only. Trump said, “But India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States,” he said this as if he wants to say that this should be the reason due to which New Delhi should do what Washington asks from it. Though India’s trade relations with the US shouldn’t be the reason for which India would take a bigger role in Afghanistan reconstruction. Instead, it is because of India’s personal interests in wanting to see Afghanistan as a stable, peaceful and terror-free region which leads it to move in the direction of forming a partnership with Kabul. Journalist Bobby Ghosh said, “One of the strengths of India’s involvement in Afghanistan is that it is seen unambiguously as Indian involvement.”
The real hindrance to a much larger involvement of India in Afghanistan is the danger of Pakistan taking revenge and they have been more than willing to use their weapons of terror against India in the past. This is where Trump’s strict stand on Pakistan is welcome and much needed.hat we don’t know is how much of Trump’s words will turn into action in the coming years. In the past also, American leaders have vowed to be strict with Pakistan, but they caved into demands of the country’s military. Now, Trump has talked about a “dramatically changed” approach, and these have been the most direct remarks coming from a US president regarding Pakistan till now. Now, only time will tell how much change can this bring.
What we don’t know is how much of Trump’s words will turn into action in the coming years. In the past also, American leaders have vowed to be strict with Pakistan, but they caved into demands of the country’s military. Now, Trump has talked about a “dramatically changed” approach, and these have been the most direct remarks coming from a US president regarding Pakistan till now. Now, only time will tell how much change can this bring.
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Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS
June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.
Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.
Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.
Confusion leads to mistakes
All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.
“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”
Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.
Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.
“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.
IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.
IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.
Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.
“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.
IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.
Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.
IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.
Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.
Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.
IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.
Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.
“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.
IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.
Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.
“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)