14 August, 2021

The southern city of Kandahar has fallen into a fierce offensive and defensive battle

On the evening of August 12, local time, the Taliban claimed to have captured Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan. In the "blitzkrieg" in the last week, the Taliban announced that they had occupied 16 of Afghanistan's 34 capital cities and invaded and basically controlled Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan.

At noon on August 13, local time, China News Weekly contacted Garcia, director of the ICRC delegation in Kandahar. The call was interrupted several times, and the sound of warplanes passing by came from outside his office window several times.

"There is still fighting in Kandahar," Garcia said. "According to the news we have received, the government has moved to a new area, but it cannot be said that Kandahar has fallen."

The ICRC has been recognized by both the Afghan government and the Taliban for participating in the field rescue and supervision of all parties in the conflict zone to fulfill their humanitarian obligations. The agency has more than 180 staff in Kandahar City and operates the largest hospital in the region. Garcia revealed that they currently have no plans to withdraw or relocate. They have contacted the Taliban by phone, and institutions including hospitals are operating normally.

As the capital of Kandahar Province, Kandahar City is located in southern Afghanistan and has a population of approximately 500,000. It is not only regarded as its birthplace by the Taliban, but also has a large number of foreign institutions and international organizations. The number of international personnel is second only to the capital, Kabul. Therefore, the Taliban claimed to have captured Kandahar, which was called by the Associated Press as its "biggest victory so far."

"An island created by the Taliban"

After U.S. President Biden announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Taliban forces have gradually occupied rural areas in the provinces since May this year, while the government forces led by Afghan President Ghani concentrated the main forces and elite special forces in Kabul, based on the advice of U.S. military advisers. Around Kandahar and other major cities and transportation lines.

As of July, the Taliban have occupied most of the rural areas in Kandahar Province and have begun to attack the cities where government forces are key. Garcia revealed that before the evening of August 12, the two sides had been engaged in small-scale battles in the suburbs of Kandahar for several weeks. The external land traffic of Kandahar was completely cut off, and only the international airport in the southeastern suburbs was still operating. Some local parliamentarians said that Kandahar is already an "island created by the Taliban."

On August 12, Taliban armed forces approached the city from three directions in the north, south, and west, and invaded Kandahar city from west to east at night. The air strikes by government forces that night failed to stop the Taliban from advancing in the city. Within 24 hours, the ICRC institutions and hospitals in the west and in the city were already in the Taliban armed control area.

A Kabul lawyer close to the Afghan military revealed to China News Weekly that government forces are still stationed at the international airport southeast of Kandahar. "In previous battles, the Taliban have been trying to cut off the road connecting the airport with the city, but there are still parts of eastern Kandahar that are still in the hands of government forces."

Garcia also confirmed to China News Weekly that Kandahar International Airport was still open as usual until noon on August 13. He also revealed that the current water supply in Kandahar is relatively normal, but many electrical facilities have been destroyed during the battle, and they are helping to get through.

(The Taliban claim to have captured Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan. Photo/FRANCE 24 screenshot)

"The tear of crocodile"

As major cities in Afghanistan such as Kandahar and Lakht have fallen into war, the lives of nearly a million civilians have been threatened. According to data from the International Committee of the Red Cross, from August 1 to 10, 4042 people injured in military conflicts were treated in 15 medical institutions.

Fillon, director of the organization’s representative office in Afghanistan, told China News Weekly that compared with all civilian casualties in the war, the ICRC has “only a very small sample”, but even this sample is already better than last year. This has doubled over the same period.

In addition to the use of force in densely populated areas, which led to a sharp increase in casualties, Fillon also warned that the current conflict has caused difficulties for medical institutions themselves. Some staff members were unable to go to work due to the fighting, and the traffic interruption made it impossible for the organization's supplies to be guaranteed. Even if the belligerents guarantee the safety and supply of medical institutions, "the fighting in the neighborhoods around the hospital prevents patients from reaching the hospital."

"At present, we have not seen any signs of degrading the conflict, we have only seen further deterioration." Fillon said.

The international community continues to call for peace. When the US government announced its withdrawal in April, it also threw a "Draft Peace Agreement" drafted by the US to the Afghan government and the Taliban, which included three stages: a complete ceasefire, the formation of a transitional government, and the transition to a democratically elected government. . However, after four months of "talking and fighting", the goal of the first phase has not only not been achieved, but has entered the abyss of all-out war.

In this regard, a senior American diplomat who had participated in negotiations with the Afghan government and the Taliban revealed to China News Weekly that the draft peace agreement that the Biden administration initially produced, “in fact, it is impossible for both parties to accept it. It is even impossible for both parties to accept it. , If both parties accept the draft, the result will be even worse."

(The Taliban claim to have captured Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan. Photo/FRANCE 24 screenshot)

The diplomat pointed out that the draft requires the transitional government to retain the 2004 constitution under the auspices of the United States, which is impossible for the Taliban to accept. "The Taliban will not agree to be included in a political system they resist in exchange for some power." On the other hand, the Afghan government refuses to share power with the Taliban and political opponents under the "coercion" of the United States. Vice President Saleh publicly stated that Afghanistan "will never accept arbitrary and imposed peace."

The aforementioned Kabul lawyer revealed that most senior officials of the Ghani government are the main combatants. After April, they believed that the government forces, which had the advantage in numbers and equipment, were capable of purging the Taliban. As the government army was retreating, a front-line commander criticized the president on social media for "wasting seven years" and failing to fully build a clean army and effective command structure. The Afghan government frequently replaced frontline commanders and provincial governors, causing further chaos in the command system.

"Even if the peace process advocated by the Biden administration is realized, a multi-factional transitional government that includes the Taliban will quickly collapse due to differences." The aforementioned diplomat pointed out, "The premature elimination of the current Afghan government structure will not alleviate it. Future risks.” Former US National Security Adviser McMaster also criticized on August 12 that the Biden administration and other calls for the peace process in Afghanistan “are all crocodile’s tears.” On the same day, the US and British governments both announced that they would send armed forces to Afghanistan to help evacuate their nationals.

15 days after Qin Gang went to the United States to take up his new post, the US finally took action. This time it was US Deputy Secretary of State Sherman.

Qin Gang, the new Chinese ambassador to the United States, went to the United States to take up his new post on July 28, which ended the one-month "two-way ambassadorial window period" between China and the United States.

In the context of Sino-US relations, outside analysis, Qin Gang's primary task after serving as ambassador to the United States will be to convey China's position and demands on the one hand, to push the United States to change its course, and to resolve existing problems in Sino-US relations; on the other hand, It is also necessary to manage the differences between the two countries to avoid further deterioration of Sino-US relations. In a speech to the Chinese and American media in Washington on July 28, Ambassador Qin Gang also said that he believes that the door to Sino-US relations has been opened and will not be closed. This is the trend of the times, the general trend, and the aspirations of the people.

It is worth noting that after China has taken a crucial step, the appointment of the new US ambassador to China has not been "made out." Earlier, there were reports that the Biden administration planned to appoint the former US representative to NATO Burns as the US ambassador to China, but this nomination has not been announced for a long time, let alone when it will be confirmed by the Senate. Although the US ambassador to China "difficult to give birth" until now, 15 days after Qin Gang went to the United States to assume his new post, the US finally took action.

According to the website of the US State Department, the public schedule shows that US Deputy Secretary of State Sherman plans to meet with Qin Gang, the new Chinese ambassador to the US, at the US State Department on Thursday (12th) afternoon local time.

Sherman previously visited Tianjin from July 25 to 26 and held talks with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also met with Sherman. When answering questions at a regular press conference on July 27, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the two sides had a very deep and thorough talk, which has enhanced mutual understanding. During the meeting and talks, China clearly stated its views on the current Sino-US relations, believing that Sino-US relations are currently facing serious difficulties and challenges, and whether the next step is to confront conflicts or improve development is a huge question mark. The US needs to think carefully and make the right choice.

"If I don't rely on China, who else can I rely on?"

Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review, August 13, original title: One year after EU sanctions, Cambodia and China are getting closer. In the year since the EU imposed sanctions on Cambodia, this Southeast Asian country has turned to China to weaken The economic impact of the sanctions has deepened the country’s dependence on the country’s main sources of investment.

In August last year, Brussels partially cancelled the tax-free access that Cambodia had enjoyed since 2001 on the grounds that the Cambodian government violated human rights. This means imposing standard tariffs on about 20% of Cambodia’s exports to the EU, including travel goods, some clothing and sugar.

Although this measure did cut Cambodia's exports to the European Union, one of its largest markets, the growth in trade with China made Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen dismissive of EU sanctions.

Data map of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen

According to data from the International Monetary Fund, Cambodia's exports to the EU fell by 19% last year to US$3.17 billion. However, Hun Sen said that the impact of sanctions on Cambodia is far less than the "huge" impact of the new crown epidemic.

Last year, Cambodia's total exports fell by only 0.5% to US$14.78 billion. Exports to China rose by 12%. As the trade war between Washington and Beijing forced some companies to move production out of China, Cambodia's exports to the United States also increased .

The free trade agreement between Cambodia and China will come into effect in January next year, and a senior Cambodian official predicted that the agreement will "enhance our exports to China by approximately 25%." Prior to this, Phnom Penh also adopted other measures to open up bilateral trade, such as lifting the ban on direct exports of mangoes to China, which promoted Cambodia's agricultural exports.

As of this Wednesday, Beijing accounts for about 90% of Cambodia's foreign direct investment and supplies more than 90% of Cambodia's new crown vaccine.

"If I don't rely on China, who else can I rely on?" Hun Sen said at the "Future of Asia" international forum held by the Nikkei in May this year. He regretted the lack of investment in Europe, the United States and Japan.

"The United States can no longer resist!" The epidemic is raging and difficult to control. The Biden administration is afraid of what will come.

According to CNN, on August 11, local time, the "new crown epidemic tsunami" has swept across the United States within a month, and the US medical system is once again on the verge of collapse. It is ridiculous that American lawmakers have ignored the epidemic in the United States and are still shaking each other, and some lawmakers are even arguing about whether to wear masks. According to the latest statistics from the New York Times, as of August 12, the number of new cases in a single day in the United States has exceeded 120,000. There are 583 hospitals in the United States that have intensive care units, but 95% of them are full.

Jennifer Sartin, a nurse in the intensive care unit in Mississippi, said that the outbreak in the United States has rapidly deteriorated under the influence of the Delta strain, and the number of new crown cases has continued to increase. She has seen more deaths than ever before. Too much, she is no longer able to treat those new crown cases that have not had time to get vaccinated. Sardin said: "I have sympathized with too many cases. I am very tired now. I have resigned from the intensive care unit and can no longer stand the surge of new crown cases." "We need help from the community. We have been Do our best."

According to the British "Daily Mail" report, Mississippi in the United States is one of the states with the least number of vaccinations, and the deadly delta strain is spreading rapidly in the state. Mississippi hospitals have reached nearly full capacity. The largest hospital announced this week that there are no more beds in the ICU ward. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said at a press conference last month that 90% of the new crown patients in the state have not received the new crown vaccine. Lasheia Begnaud, a respiratory therapist in Mississippi, said that people with COVID-19 regretted not being vaccinated after they fell ill, and hospitalized patients often said to her "please don't let me die."

Except for Mississippi, the entire United States is in a critical state. According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on August 9, there are 2361 counties in the United States that are in high-risk areas. In July, only 457 counties in the United States were in high-risk areas. The sharp increase in this data is due to the rampant delta strain and the low vaccination rate among Americans. Hospitals across the United States have been "overwhelmed" by COVID-19 patients. Brevard County, Florida, also called on the public, "If it is not a particularly urgent situation, do not call 911."

According to the British "Daily Mail" report, although the epidemic in the United States is already in a state of emergency, most Americans still feel that vaccination is not good. According to a new study from Harvard University, one in five Americans believes in at least one false vaccine information. More than one-third of the respondents believe that vaccination with the new crown vaccine will cause infertility. About 10% of people believe that vaccination of the new crown vaccine will change the human DNA or that the vaccine contains microchips. Especially on social media, although US health officials urge people to get vaccinated, they still cannot stop the spread of these rumors.

At present, some social media platforms in the United States have been stepping up efforts to combat these rumors, and Facebook has deleted hundreds of accounts that spread false information about the new crown vaccine. As of August 12 local time in the United States, the cumulative number of confirmed cases has exceeded 36 million, and the cumulative number of deaths has exceeded 600,000.

After Wang Yi drew the red line, Qin Gang met with Sherman in Washington on the 12th. His words inspired the people.

According to the Chinese Embassy in the United States, on August 12, 2021, Ambassador Qin Gang to the United States met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Sherman. Sherman welcomed Ambassador Qin Gang to the U.S. to assume his new post, and said that the U.S. State Department would provide convenience and support for him to perform his duties. Ambassador Qin Gang thanked the US for its support and assistance in performing its duties, and said: The current China-US relations stand at a new crossroads. In accordance with the spirit of the call between the two heads of state on New Year's Eve this year, I will strengthen timely communication and dialogue with the US, and strive to promote a rational, stable, controllable, and constructive Sino-US relationship. The two sides also exchanged views on issues of common concern and agreed to continue to maintain close dialogue and communication.

According to the People’s Daily, Qin Gang told reporters after the meeting that the two sides had in-depth and candid talks and fully exchanged views. Both sides agreed that bilateral relations between China and the United States are very important, and it is necessary to resolve problems through dialogue and communication, manage differences and contradictions, and improve bilateral relations. Qin Gang emphasized that the Taiwan issue is the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-US relations, and he clearly stated China's position to Sherman. It is reported that after meeting with Sherman that day, Qin Gang tweeted that she thanked Sherman for meeting him on the first day after he ended his self-isolation, and looked forward to continuing dialogue and communication with the United States, and promoting China-US relations toward rationality and stability. Development in a controllable and constructive direction.

On July 28th, Qin Gang formally arrived in the United States to take up his new post. Qin Gang is the eleventh Chinese ambassador to the United States, and was formerly China's deputy foreign minister in the United States. After arriving in the United States, Qin Gang said in a speech that: 50 years ago, Dr. Kissinger visited China secretly and knocked on the door of China. At the time of the Cold War, China and the United States were isolated from each other, and the far-sighted Dr. Kissinger had to go to China in a concealed way. Today, 50 years later, as the 11th Chinese ambassador to the United States, I can openly embark on the right path to the United States. Times have changed, which makes people sigh. I believe that the door of Sino-US relations has been opened, and it will not be closed. This is the trend of the times, the general trend, and the aspirations of the people.

It is worth noting that just last month, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Sherman. During the talks, Wang Yi clearly drew a red line: The United States must not violate China's national sovereignty, let alone undermine China's territorial integrity. As for the Taiwan issue, it is even more important. Although the two sides of the strait have not yet been reunified, the basic fact that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China and that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory has never changed and will not change. If "Taiwan independence" dares to provoke, China has the right to take any necessary measures to stop it. We advise the US to abide by its promises on the Taiwan issue and act cautiously.

The White House intervenes, and the United States can't handle it?

According to a report on the website of the British Financial Times on August 12, the White House called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase oil production to curb high oil prices. Biden administration officials said that high oil prices "may damage the recovery that the global economy is experiencing."

Biden’s national security adviser Jack Sullivan said in a statement on Wednesday that although OPEC and its allies “recently agreed to increase production”, the increase in production “cannot completely offset the implementation of OPEC+ during the epidemic and will continue until The rate of production reduction in 2022".

Sullivan also said: "At the critical moment of the global recovery, the increase in production is not enough." He said that the United States is "contacting relevant'OPEC+' members to emphasize the importance of competitive markets for crude oil pricing."

According to reports, as the U.S. economy reopened after the anti-epidemic blockade measures were lifted, the price of gasoline in the U.S. has soared along with soaring demand. According to data from the American Automobile Association, the average selling price of gasoline in the United States is US$3.19 per gallon (1 gallon is approximately 3.8 liters), an increase of nearly 50% over the same period last year.

After the announcement of the above news, international oil prices fell by about 1%. The price of Brent crude oil is currently slightly below US$70 per barrel, and the price of West Texas Intermediate Base crude oil is about US$67.5 per barrel.

According to reports, the White House’s intervention marked the sudden rejection of the policies implemented by former US President Trump during the collapse of the oil market last year. At that time, he pressured OPEC to raise oil prices to help US shale oil companies survive one of the most severe market downturns in decades.

The United States is facing "internal and external troubles", but Biden is on vacation, netizens gaffes on the spot

According to news from the Russian Satellite News Agency on August 13, although the number of immigrants on the southern border of the United States is currently at a record high, the new crown epidemic has raged again and has become an imminent "internal worry" of the United States; and with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban are conquering cities and the U.S. Embassy. It may also be affected by war. This is a "foreign trouble". However, U.S. President Joe Biden set off on Friday to "run away" to Camp David for a vacation.

Russian media pointed out that although the president of the United States should continue to work every week, it is understandable to relax on weekends. However, in sensitive times, a president who tends to take vacations too frequently may face a lot of criticism. Just like former President Donald Trump, he likes to play golf during the COVID pandemic, leaving the world with a lot of trouble. Responsible stain impression.

Many people also strongly criticized Biden for this, thinking that this may not be the best time to go on vacation. Some pointed out that Biden usually leaves Washington, DC for Delaware on weekends, where he spent the last few days before heading to Camp David. Among the critics are many Republican officials. One thing that Russian media found particularly surprising is that the mainstream American media collectively lost their voices on the matter. Former US President Donald Trump was often criticized for going to golf courses during his tenure, but bye Deng did not seem to be criticized to the same degree.

The Russian media pointed out that if Trump takes a vacation during the border crisis, the inflation crisis and the Afghanistan crisis, the angry reaction of the US media to this is "unimaginable".

Republicans in the House of Representatives Department of Justice tweeted criticism that Afghanistan is falling and inflation is soaring. The border is out of control, and the new crown is still raging in the United States, but Joe Biden has gone to Delaware for the 18th time since he took office.

Republican representative Andy Biggs gave Biden a satirical nickname, calling him the "absentee commander."

Other US netizens also joined the ranks of criticizing Biden. Someone said: "Biden only stayed in the White House for two days before going back on vacation, but no one in the mainstream media talked about it."

Someone left a message saying: "The world is on fire, Afghanistan is on fire, the inflation rate is soaring, our southern border is flooded, and Biden is on vacation."

Other netizens vehemently stated that the first seven months of Biden's presidency was a total disaster for the United States.

Some people even did calculations. In the 203 days before Biden became President of the United States, he traveled to Delaware 18 times and took a total of 48 days of leave. This means that 23.6% of his time as president was on vacation.

Although the White House press secretary Psaki tweeted that "the president is always working wherever he is," such remarks did not appease American netizens, who continued to criticize Biden's vacation under Psaki's related tweets. behavior.

Published under Blog on 14 August, 2021.