China: Expert on 'deteriorating security' in Afghanistan

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His extraordinary intervention came as the Taliban continued to gain ground in their battle to take back control of the country nearly 20 years after they were toppled by US troops. Mr Bush said he believed Mr Biden’s decision to end the war now was a mistake, and warned “unbelievably bad” consequences were on the horizon. The former American leader who launched the war in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks has generally avoided weighing in on his successors, including Donald Trump.

During an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) he was pressed on whether he considered the withdrawal to be a mistake.

He replied: “You know, I think it is, because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad.”

He also forecast dire suffering from females in Afghanistan, who often bear the brunt of the Taliban’s laws.

He added: “I’m afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm.”

And he also said interpreters who had worked with American and coalition forces risk being “slaughtered” by the fast-advancing insurgents.

He said: “They’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart.”

Last night the White House said the evacuation of translators and others who had assisted troops in Afghanistan would begin at the end of this month.

Jen Psaki, Mr Biden’s press secretary, said: “The reason that we are taking these steps is because these are courageous individuals.

“We want to make sure we recognise and value the role they’ve played over the last several years.”

This week the UN refugee agency warned of a pending humanitarian crisis amid the chaotic pull-out of foreign troops.

Babar Baloch, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said: “Afghanistan is on the brink of another humanitarian crisis.

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“This can be avoided. This should be avoided.

“A failure to reach a peace agreement in Afghanistan and stem the current violence will lead to further displacement within the country, as well as to neighbouring countries and beyond.”

The UNHCR said an estimated 270,000 Afghans had been newly displaced inside the country since January.

This brought the total number of people forced from their homes to more than 3.5 million.

Mr Baloch said those forced to flee blamed the security situation, incidents of extortion by non-state armed groups and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on major roads, as well as a loss of income and interruptions to social services.

The UNHCR said the number of civilian casualties has risen by 29 percent during the first quarter compared with 2020, pointing to figures from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

In recent weeks the Taliban have made massive territorial gains and have swept into district after district.

Afghan security forces said today they have retaken control of a major southern border crossing with Pakistan that the Taliban briefly captured.

However, the Taliban dismissed the claim made by a senior Afghan government official, insisting the group still controlled the Spin Boldak-Chaman border which it captured yesterday.

It is the second most important crossing straddling Afghanistan’s 1,640-mile border with Pakistan and serves as a huge source of revenue for the Western-backed government in Kabul.

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