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Afghan Taliban has been a sanctuary in Pakistan: former top US general

Washington: A former top US military official has told lawmakers that the Afghan Taliban has a sanctuary in Pakistan and that the terrorist group originated from madrassas in that country.
During the congressional hearing on Tuesday, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General (rtd) Joseph F. Dunford, also told lawmakers that civil war was more likely in the wake of America’s retreat from Afghanistan.
“We know that the Taliban have a sanctuary in Pakistan. We know that he has an active diplomatic effort to travel to Moscow, visit to Beijing, visit to other countries. We know that they travel in the Gulf. We know that Iran has provided some material assistance, ”he said.
Dunford said the Taliban receives financial support from the drug trade.
The Taliban said, it is a Sunni terrorist organization. “There is no question that the Taliban originate from madrassas in Pakistan,” he said in response to a question. Dunford told lawmakers that the terrorist threat due to US-trained Afghan forces has diminished and the US military presence continues.
“We believe that this threat can reorganize itself over a period of about 18 to 36 months and pose a threat to the motherland and our allies,” he said, adding that Afghan forces are dependent on US funding, as well Operational cooperation only. They will remain like this for some time.
“Civil war is more likely in the wake of America’s withdrawal,” he said, adding that Afghanistan meets the definition of a fragile state. Despite very real challenges, with support, the Afghan government can deliver minimal effective governance.
Dunford, who chairs the US Institute of Peace’s Afghan Study Group, told lawmakers that the Taliban were not meeting the terms of the February 2020 agreement. This was as a result of not seeing a widespread reduction in violence and as a result of the Taliban not demonstrating the will or ability to prevent al-Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a platform.
“We are not advocating for a unilateral declaration that we stay behind after the first of May. We are recommending that the Taliban actually hear the same message from other regional stakeholders, not the least of which is China, Russia and Pakistan, ”he said.
“We feel that negotiations are continuing with the Taliban to highlight the fact that we are committed to the February 2020 agreement. We have demonstrated that, coming down to 2,500, we are committed,” he said.
The US and the Taliban struck a deal in February 2020, calling for a permanent ceasefire, peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and the withdrawal of all foreign forces by 1 May. The country currently has about 2,500 American soldiers.
The Taliban left their power in the hands of the US-led army in 2001.
The US has long considered Pakistani cooperation important in efforts to end the war in Afghanistan. PTI LKJ AKJ
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Biden Admin mentions 2008 edition of citizenship test by Lalit K. Jha
Washington, Feb 24 (PTI) The Biden administration has announced working with stringent Trump-era citizenship tests and reversing the 2008 Easy Version, making the US naturalization process more accessible to all eligible individuals.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) said in a press release on Monday, the new process goes into effect on March 1.
On December 1 of last year, USCIS implemented a revised naturalization civics test, called the 2020 civics test, as part of a test exam review and update process.
Civics test is offered to applicants who apply for US citizenship through naturalization and is one of the statutory requirements for naturalization. Applicants must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history, principles, and fundamentals of government of the United States.
The previous Trump administration made some changes to the 2020 civics test. This raised the number of questions from 100 to 128 and the multiple choice questions had political and ideological overtones of correct answers.
Announcing the reversal of Trump policy, USCIS stated that the 2020 Civics Test development process, content, testing process and implementation schedule “could inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process”.
“This action is in line with the executive order framework restoring confidence in our legal immigration systems, which directs a comprehensive review of the naturalization process to eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals,” it said .
The federal agency claimed that the 2008 civics test was “fully developed over a multi-year period with input from more than 150 organizations, including English as second-language experts, educators and historians Was incorporated, and piloted prior to its implementation “.
USCIS has requested President Joe Biden’s request to be fully reviewed to make this process fully accessible.
USCIS stated that it reflects commitment and commitment to investment in the US, stating that it is committed to conducting a test that is a tool of civic learning and to civic integration as part of the test preparation process Promotes
Applicants who filed their application for naturalization on or after December 1, 2020 and before March 1, 2021 are likely studying for the 2020 examination; Therefore, USCIS will give these applicants the option of taking either the 2020 Civic Test or the 2008 Civic Test.
“There will be a transition period where both tests are being offered. The 2020 examination for the preliminary examinations will be conducted in a phased manner on April 19, 2021. USCIS stated that applicants applying on or after March 1, 2021 will take the 2008 Civic Test. PTI LKJ
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US senators asked China to draft legislative package to ‘outcompete’, invest in coalitions like India Lalit K. Jha
Washington, Feb 24 (PTI) US Senate Chief Leader Chuck Schumer has asked his Democratic colleagues to draft a legislative package to “outcompete” China, create new US jobs and provide strategic partners and NATO and Invest in alliances like India.
On a caucus call on Tuesday, Schumer discussed his push to Senate committees to draft a law to protect American jobs and beat China.
He said he intended to legislate on the Senate floor for a vote this spring.
“Today I directed the presidents and members of our respective committees to start a legislative package to beat China and create new American jobs,” said Shumer.
The new legislation, he said, should achieve three goals. They should increase American competition with China by investing in American innovation, American workers, and American manufacturing; Investment in strategic partners and alliances: NATO, South East Asia and India; Schumer said that all of China’s hunter practices once again cease, curb, and end, which has hurt many American jobs.
The legislation will have a bicameral, bipartisan bill, the Endless Frontiers Act, introduced in the House last year by Senator Todd Young, Indian-American Congressman RO Khanna and Senator Mike Gallag.
“It will cut key industries and invest American so that we will leave China behind in all of them. In addition, we will make serious investments in strengthening the US semiconductor industry to encircle China and prevent it from relying on foreign sources, ”said Shuma.
He said that currently semiconductor manufacturing is a dangerous weak spot in the US economy and national security and needs to be replaced.
“You all have noticed that auto plants across America are closed because they are not getting chips. We cannot rely on foreign processors for chips. In chip production, we cannot allow China to come ahead of us. This will be part of the proposal that we will present, ”said Schumer.
“We will also talk about the creation of 5G and how America can be number one there. And they all have bipartisan support. The bill we would like to introduce… would be bipartisan. We intend to put this legislation on the Senate floor for a vote this spring.
This month alone, about 20 anti-China legislations have been included in both houses of the US Congress.
During a US Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator Todd Young pushed the Treasury Department to assure Americans that they were not unknowingly investing in US-sanctioned and other suspected Chinese corporations that are involved with human rights abuses .
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Young wrote that if the Biden administration was undoing the policies of the last four years, the Americans might inadvertently support Chinese companies and others linked to the Chinese military that would be the Uygar population. Are massacred against. China, building advanced weapon systems, and building a repressive surveillance state.
“One of China’s most glaring weaknesses is the access to large-scale financing that only the US capital market can adequately provide,” Young wrote.
“It is one of the greatest strengths of our country, we should take every step necessary to protect it. When we speak of the financing of the Chinese Communist Party and its associated enterprises and activities, we must put American investor security and our national security interests ahead of any fleeting investment gains.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, four Republican senators Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Chuck Grassley and Rob Portman have urged them to disclose their relationship with Confucian institutions to US educational institutions to implement the proposed rule. Necessities, which are funded by the Chinese Communist Party.
“We have expressed significant concerns about the nefarious antics of the CCP and urge you to follow your commitments to advance the interests of the American people as we collectively respond to the challenge that the CCP has . ”
“We believe it is important to better understand and mitigate the impact of the CCP on the American people, including through Hanban, its publicity arm that runs the Confucian Institute through the PRC Ministry of Education. Proposed rules in that effort Is a necessary step and will bring necessary transparency to Confucian institutions, ”the senators said.
He alleged that Confucian Institute funding comes with strings that could compromise academic freedom.
Chinese teachers sign contracts with the Chinese government, saying they will not harm China’s national interests. Senators said such borders attempt to censor China’s political debate and prevent discussion on potentially politically sensitive topics.
“Confucian institutions exist as a part of China’s comprehensive, long-term strategy. Through Confucian institutions, the Chinese government is attempting to change the perception that China is an economic and security threat in the US and around the world.
“The soft power of Confucian institutions encourages complacency against China’s broader, long-term initiative against government critics, both at home and in businesses and educational institutions,” he said. PTI LKJ SCY
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