USA Decided to Extend Military Presence in Afghanistan Beyond 2016
- US President Barack Obama has decided on October 15,2015 to maintain 9800 US troops in war-torn Afghanistan till, 2016 and subsequently reduce it to 5500. Post-2016 these 5500 troops at a small number bases, including at Bagram, Jalalabad in the East, and Kandahar in the South will be maintained.
- With this, no combat mission in Afghanistan has ended because the USA will continue to undertake only two narrow missions : counter-terrorism and training, advising, and assisting our Afghan partners.
- American military commanders have called for increased assistance and support from the US to help Afghanistan in fighting with the Taliban and secure gains made over the last 14 years of a bloody war with billions of dollars in aid.
- Joint US-NATO led International Security Assistance Force combat mission in Afghanistan ended earlier in January, 2015, and it was replaced by NATO Training and Support mission.
Myanmar Inked Peace Pact with Ethnic Rebels
- The Myanmar government signed a peace accord with eight of the 15 ethnic armed groups belonging to the Kayin and the Chin groups in a ceremony in the capital Nay pyi Taw on October 15, 2015.
- The ceasefire pact with eight ethnic minority armies is seen as a step towards ending decades of civil war. But, the move has weakened by the refusal of several other rebel groups to join the agreement.
- That ceremony was attended by India along with other five ‘international witnesses’ i.e„ China, Japan, Thailand, the United Nations and the European Union. The agreement remains open for the signature from the other groups with which the government of Myanmar has been in negotiations with.
- Myanmar has been involving in armed conflict with various ethnic and other groups seeking greater autonomy since the country became an independent country from the colonial rule in the year of 1948.
China’s Largest Dam on Brahmaputra River in Tibet Switched-on
- China said on October 13, 2015 that the largest hydropower station in Tibet located on the Yarlung Zangbo river (Brahmaputra in India) had been fully operationalised. All six units of the Zam hydropower station on the middle reaches of the river began to churn.
- The Zam project was partly operationalised in November, 2014, when the first generating unit of the 9.6 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) Zangmu hydropower station positioned more than 3,300 meters above sea level on the ‘roof of the world’, started to work.
- The massive project is expected to produce 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. It is located in the Gyaca County, Shannan Prefecture. The Yarlung Zangbo is a major river in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and flows into India from the region before flowing into Bangladesh.
Iran’s Parliament gave Preliminary Approval for Nuclear Deal
- The Iranian Parliament gave preliminary backing to a bill approving Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, with supportive voices overcoming determined opposition from conservative lawmakers on October 11, 2015.
- Under the bill, the Iranian government will be authorized to withdraw from implementation of the deal if the other side fails to lift sanctions against Iran. Hardliners in Tehran often railed against two years of diplomacy that led to the deal.
- The accord will protect the country’s nuclear program while seeing international economic sanctions lifted. Meanwhile, Iran successfully test fired a new guided long range ballistic surface-to-surface missile, the first such test since Iran and world powers reach the nuclear agreement.
UN Resolution Allowed EU Military Action on Trafficking, Refugee Smuggling
- The UN Security Council authorized the European Union’s (EU) new mission Sophia on October 9, 2015 to carry out naval operations to inspect and seize vessels operated for human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants in the high seas off Libya.
- The resolution was drafted by the UK in September, 2015 and adopted by the 15-member Council with 14 votes in favor. Venezuela abstained from this, saying the migrant and refugee crisis cannot be tackled by military action.
- Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War, with thousands of asylum seekers from Middle-Eastern and African countries trying to flee war and persecution.
- The UN refugee agency says nearly 530000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean Sea since January, 2015 and about 3000 people have died or gone missing during the perilous journey to find safety in the EU.
- The majority of the refugees are Syrians fleeing a four and-a-half year civil war that has claimed more than 250000 lives and made the country the world’s single-largest source of refugees and displaced people.
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