President Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, U.S. officials said, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that drew the United States into its longest war. The decision, which Biden is expected to announce Wednesday, will keep thousands of U.S. forces in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters Tuesday under rules of anonymity set by the White House.

While the Taliban has promised to renew attacks on U.S. and NATO personnel if foreign troops are not out by the deadline — and said in a statement it would not continue to participate in “any conference” about Afghanistan’s future until all “foreign forces” have departed — it is not clear whether the militants will follow through with the earlier threats given Biden’s plan for a phased withdrawal between now and September. The Taliban has conducted sputtering talks with the Afghan government, begun under the Trump deal, since last fall. It was also invited to
an additional high-level inter-Afghan discussion in Turkey later this month.

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Norway raised concern over exploitation of dual use technology by Pakistan to aid its nuclear programme.

  • According to a threat assessment report by the Norwegian security agencies, Pakistan’s practice of bypassing all international safeguards in gaining the latest nuclear technology on the pretext of using it for education and health is posing the greatest threat to them.
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In a setback for Islamabad, the United Kingdom in its new amended regulations on money laundering, terror financing has listed Pakistan under high-risk states. Pakistan is listed under 21 ‘high-risk third countries’, which includes North Korea, Syria, Zimbabwe, Syria, Yemen. 

The ‘Amendment of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017’ has the amendment listing out the new list which includes Pakistan. The regulation came into effect on March 26. 

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Iran blames its regional arch-foe Israel for Sunday’s incident at the Natanz nuclear facility and will take its revenge, state TV quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on Monday. Tehran has said the site was hit by “nuclear terrorism”. “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions … they have publicly said that they will not allow this. But we will take our revenge from the Zionists,” Zarif said.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, suspicion fell immediately on Israel, where its media nearly uniformly reported a devastating cyberattack orchestrated by the country caused the blackout. If Israel was responsible, it further heightens tensions between the two nations, already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Sunday with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, has vowed to do everything in his power to stop the nuclear deal.

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Late last month the EU, acting in concert with the US, UK and Canada, imposed sanctions on four obscure Chinese officials for alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been systematically detained over recent years. China retaliated immediately, imposing counter-sanctions on 10 European individuals, including five EU parliamentarians from five different political parties. In doing so President Xi Jinping’s administration threatened a contentious trade deal provisionally agreed on last year between the EU and China, despite US opposition.

The sanctioned parliamentarians’ parties are now reluctant to start reviewing the deal unless Xi’s counter-sanctions are lifted. Before Beijing imposed sanctions on the EU MPs, it was expected that the European parliament would eventually ratify Xi’s geopolitical coup, which had strong backing from France’s Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. But when Merkel and Xi spoke on Wednesday, China’s official account of the call did not mention the trade deal or Xinjiang. “We had seven years of negotiations for the deal,” said Joerg Wuttke, head of the European Chamber of Commerce in China. “Now it looks like it will take another seven years.”

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SOURCE: The Korea Times

The FA-50, the nation’s first domestically developed light attack aircraft, is competing against the Pakistani-Chinese jointly manufactured JF-17 fighter for the Malaysian Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program, under which Kuala Lumpur seeks to purchase 18 jets to replace its aging MiG-29 fleet, according to sources, Sunday.

“Despite interest from a diverse group of manufacturers, the FA-50 and JF-17 are the finalists,” the source said.
The FA-50 is a variant of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet, manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
Since its first deployment in October 2013, 60 FA-50s are operated by the Korean Air Force. In addition, the FA-50 has been exported to Iraq, the Philippines and Thailand.

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In a major development, Pakistan’s Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), General Nadeem Raza, visited Turkey from 27th March to 2nd April. Turkey’s Chief of General Staff, General Ya?ar Güler, hosted Raza at the Turkish General Staff Headquarters on 30th March, where both the sides discussed collaborations on several military projects and existing geopolitical issues.

During the get-together, Güler conferred Turkey’s top military award ‘Legion of Merit’ to  Raza for his “services for promotion of Pakistan-Turkey defence ties.” Though the award ceremony and enhancement of military ties were quoted as the official reasons for the visit, many believe that actual reason might be entirely different.

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SOURCE: The Associated Press

 A military plane crashed into the sea during a training flight, Turkey’s defence ministry said Friday, adding that its two pilots were rescued. The KT-1 type plane crashed off the Aegean coastal town of Foca, in the western Izmir province, the ministry said. HaberTurk television and other media reported that the pilots, who ejected safely, were taken to a hospital but were not in serious condition.

The cause of the crash was being investigated, the ministry said. The crash comes just two days after a jet belonging to the Turkish Air Force’s “Turkish Stars” aerobatic team crashed in the central province of Konya during training. The pilot died in the crash.

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A Pakistani parliamentary panel has endorsed a controversial law to criminalise any criticism or ridicule of the powerful armed forces with a two-year imprisonment or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.

The legislation was adopted by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior on Wednesday despite sharp criticism by the Opposition parties which called it ultra vires of the fundamental rights. The law, which aims to amend the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), was introduced for discussion by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Amjad Ali Khan.

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South Korea on Friday unveiled a prototype of the country’s first indigenous fighter jet, a highly symbolic moment in the country’s decadeslong quest for a combat plane of its own. The gray-colored jet, named KF-21 Boramae, was showcased at a rollout ceremony held at the Korea Aerospace Industries headquarters in the southern city of Sacheon more than five years after South Korea began the 8.8 trillion-won (US$7.9 billion) program to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 jets in late 2015.

President Moon Jae-in said the new aircraft will become the backbone of the South Korean Air Force, calling the rollout an “opening of a new era” in independent national defense and a “landmark” moment in the history of the aerospace industry.

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Pakistan is very much keen on acquiring the Russian Air Defense System after repeated poor performance of the Chinese medium-range LY-80/HQ-16 air defense systems. In response to India procuring an S-400 air defense system from Russia, In the past, Pakistan has approached Russia and has requested the sale of S-300 Air Defense System, when it was denied it requested for sale of Buk-M2, what interesting is that LY-80/HQ-16 is a Chinese copy of the same missile system.

Pakistan has been seen testing the Chinese FD-2000 which is an export variant of the HQ-9 long-range surface-to-air missile to consolidate its LY-80/HQ-16 air defense system but is not impressed by the range that the missile offers which has been cut down to just 125km for an aircraft sized target from 200km for the Chinese variant. HQ-9 is often called a Chinese copy of the Russian S-300 that Pakistan always desired but has to settle for a Chinese missile that offers less than 50% of the range what the original offered.

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According to a Senior ranked Pakistani air force (PAF) official, who in a recent interview to the local media has claimed that PAF will move to all 5th Gen and beyond fighter jet types by 2047 and plans to retire all the older 4th generation fighter jets with a locally developed 5th generation fighter jet under its next-generation fighter aircraft (NGFA) program under Project AZM.

It’s still not clear what is the status of the NGFA under Project AZM but according to the Pakistani defense portal,” Quwa Defence News and Analysis Group” preliminary designs are ongoing still, and PAF is yet to finalize the design. PAF claims that the 5th generation aircraft will be locally designed and manufactured but it is still not clear if it will involve Chinese technologies.

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Chinese troops are reportedly assembling at the Myanmar border to guard China’s highly prized natural gas pipelines as violence grows in Myanmar in the aftermath of a military coup. The Irrawaddy reported Thursday the troops were gathering in the Chinese border town of Jiegao, facing the town of Muse in Shan State. The mobilization includes soldiers and military trucks, the report said.

Taiwan’s TVBS News reported the Chinese troops were assembling at the border to protect oil and gas pipelines. Chinese authorities have expressed concerns about the assets since Chinese-owned factories were set on fire in Yangon and anti-Chinese sentiment rises in Myanmar, according to the Irrawaddy.

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Development of Russia’s new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Kedr, will begin at the turn of 2023-2024, a defense industry source has told TASS. “Research work on Kedr has been financed under the current state arms procurement program, which is in effect until 2027. Technological development will begin in 2023-2024,” he said.

According to the source, solid-fuel Kedr ICBMs are to replace Yars systems at the turn of 2030. Just like their predecessor, the new system will have mobile and silo-based modifications, he added.

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In March 2021, Unit 2 of the Karachi nuclear power plant, the 1014 MW Kanupp-2, was synchronised with Pakistan’s electricity grid. Under construction since 2015 as part of an agreement signed in 2013 between China National Nuclear Corporation and Pakistan Atomic Energy Agency, the reactor took the national share of nuclear electricity from 5% to 9%. This sixth nuclear reactor is also Pakistan’s largest. The other five operational reactors range from a capacity of 100 to 340 MW, together producing a mere 1,430 MWe.

While this reactor has added to Pakistan’s electricity generation, the development is of no less significance for China. It is the first fully designed Chinese reactor, Hualong One, to be built outside the country. Beijing plans to export this as HPR1000 and the extensive help rendered by China to Pakistan’s nuclear power programme over last three decades helps China to showcase its nuclear prowess.

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