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Biden defends US withdrawal amid bipartisan criticism

Washington: United States President Joe Biden stated that he stands “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan despite the bipartisan criticism over the collapse of afghan government and the ensuing chaos — speaking from the White House.

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Biden defends US withdrawal amid bipartisan criticism
Biden defends US withdrawal amid bipartisan criticism

Biden said that Taliban took control of the country more quickly than he expected, although he took little responsibility for that.

He termed the images of Afghans at Kabul’s international airport trying to flee their country ‘gut-wrenching’.

 “If anything, the developments in the past week reinforced that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision,” he said.

“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war, and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he added.

The president’s remarks and the chaotic US exit from Afghanistan will become the closing chapters in America’s longest war that began 20 years ago after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, as a hunt to bring justice to those who committed those acts.

The Taliban has declared the war in Afghanistan over, after its fighters swept into the capital, Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

Taliban fighters patrolled the streets of Kabul on Monday as thousands of Afghans mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of rule.

In addition, scores of Afghans ran alongside a US military plane and several clung to the side as the jet took off.

As per senior US military officials, the chaos left seven dead, including several who fell from the flight.

Later on Monday, US Major General Hank Taylor told reporters at the Pentagon that Kabul Airport is open again after flights were suspended earlier.

Biden's speech came after he briefly interrupted his summer holiday, returning from Camp David, in the state of Maryland.

Immediately after the address, taking no questions from reporters, he returned to the wooded presidential retreat.   

CREDIT: AL JAZEERA

Pakistan

President calls for stronger commitment to address challenge of drug abuse

"The day was celebrated across the globe to prevent drug abuse and raise awareness about the alarming threats it poses to society, especially the youth."

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President calls for stronger commitment to address challenge of drug abuse

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi said the government must strengthen its commitment to address the challenges stemming from drug abuse and illicit trafficking and protect youth from the threat of illicit drugs.

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed annually on June 26 to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of illicit drugs.

In a message on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, he said the day was celebrated across the globe to prevent drug abuse and raise awareness about the alarming threats it poses to society, especially the youth.

The World Drug Report 2021, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), indicated that deaths attributed to drug-related disorders had almost doubled over the past decade. The youth, which makes up nearly 60% of Pakistan’s total population, remained especially vulnerable to drug abuse, he said adding students and parents must be sensitized through workshops and seminars with the help of the media, civil society, and educational institutions.

“To this end, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) can play an important role and it has been directed to implement a strict policy to counter drug abuse in higher educational institutions.”

He said, “Today, we also celebrate the tremendous efforts Pakistan has made in collaboration with international organizations to address drug-related challenges.”

International cooperation had helped limit the proliferation of new psychoactive substances used by younger generations, he added.

He commended the Ministry of Narcotics Control for the measures it had taken to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs in our society and mitigate the detrimental impacts of drug abuse. Pakistan had also achieved the status of a poppy-free state which was a reflection of the proactive approach taken by the Ministry of Narcotics Control/Anti-Narcotics Force, he mentioned.

“Only with cooperation and collective commitment will we achieve our vision of a world free of this menace. We are committed to making Pakistan a model country, in the region and beyond, in this fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking,” he concluded.

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Business

AJK govt presents Rs 163.7 billion budget

The development budget has been increased by Rs. 2 billion as compared to the previous financial year.

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AJK govt presents Rs 163.7 billion budget

Mirpur: The government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Saturday presented its maiden budget with an estimated outlay of Rs.163.7 billion for the next financial year 2022-23.

In the budget, an amount of Rs.135.2 billion has been allocated for recurring expenditure whereas a chunk of Rs. 28.5 billion has been allocated for development expenditure.

The development budget has been increased by Rs. 2 billion as compared to the previous financial year.

The budget proposes a 15 percent Disparity Reduction Allowance, an increase in the revised pay scale, and a 15 percent increase for pensioners.

The development budget includes Rs1.8 billion for public health, Rs 2.17 billion for education, and 12 billion for communication.

Presenting the budget for the financial year 2022-23 in the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly which met in the State metropolis on Saturday, the AJK Finance Minister Abdul Majid Khan said that the total expenditure for the next financial year has been estimated at Rs 135.20 billion.

He said that total development expenditure was estimated at Rs 28.50 billion.

Moreover, the minister said that an amount of 500 million has been proposed in terms of foreign aid.

Revised budget for the financial year 2021-22, amounting to 135.7 billion was also presented in the legislative assembly.

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Regional

Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Four major candidates compete for the KP assembly seat

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Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Swat: The polling process is underway for the byelection in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituency of PK-7 in Swat.

The seat, which fell vacant after the demise of ANP MPA Waqar Khan, is being contested by four major candidates: Hussain Ahmed from ANP, Fazal Mullah from PTI, and two independent candidates.

A total of 183,308 registered voters in the constituency are expected to exercise their electoral rights, including 102,088 male and 91,220 female voters.

The ECP completed its arrangements Saturday evening, setting up 124 polling stations with 308 booths.

The polling started without any delays Sunday morning and will continue until 5 pm.

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