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Afghan president seeks ‘clarification’ after Trump war comments

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday the US should clarify remarks President Donald Trump made about Afghanistan, including a claim he could easily win the war but didn’t “want to kill 10 million people”.

The US leader made several surprising statements Monday alongside Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, including that he had plans for a quick end to the Afghan conflict, but which would wipe the country “off the face of the Earth”.

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Afghanistan “would be gone. It would be over literally, in 10 days,” Trump said, adding, “I don’t want to go that route” and that he didn’t want to kill millions.

His comments sparked upset and outrage in Afghanistan, where the war-weary and traumatized population is already worried about a precipitous pull-out of US forces and whether that means a return to Taliban rule and a spiralling civil war.

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for clarification on the US president’s statements expressed at a meeting with the Pakistan prime minister, via diplomatic means and channels,” Ghani’s office said in a statement.

Trump also said Pakistan would help the US “extricate” itself from Afghanistan, adding there was “tremendous potential” in the relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

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Afghanistan has long blamed Pakistan for fueling the Afghan conflict and for supporting the Taliban, and Ghani is furious about being continually sidelined by the US in ongoing peace talks with the Taliban.

Pakistan was the Taliban’s chief sponsor when it took power in neighboring Afghanistan during the 1990s.

Its influence over the group, which has waged an insurgency since it was ousted from power by US-led forces in 2001, is seen as key in facilitating a political settlement with Ghani’s government.

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“While the Afghan government supports the US efforts for ensuring peace in Afghanistan, the government underscores that foreign heads of state cannot determine Afghanistan’s fate in absence of the Afghan leadership,” Ghani’s office said.

Everyday Afghans took to social media to vent after Trump’s comments.

“I feel shocked, threatened and humiliated. We trusted Americans to help us in the war against terror, and now President Trump is threatening us with genocide,” Facebook user Mohd Farhad wrote.

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Trump’s peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, meanwhile arrived in Kabul on Tuesday ahead of what will be the eighth round of direct talks he’s held with the Taliban.

Those discussions are expected to get underway in Doha in the coming days, with Ghani and his administration once again locked out.


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Trump’s utterly clueless sons rail against Hunter Biden’s nepotism

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Former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, and when asked if he thought foreign companies and investment banks would have hired him if his name wasn't Biden he said, "Probably not." He is correct. The younger Biden had little to no experience in the businesses for which he was paid big salaries. He was hired because he is the son of a powerful person, clearly in hopes that they would have some influence with the father and impress their customers with the fact that they were so close to someone with influence.

That reeks of class privilege and it is incredibly common in American business and politics. I don't think I have ever worked anywhere in my life where cronyism, nepotism and influence-peddling weren't present in some form or another. Hiring some ne'er-do-well relative is one of the ways rich and powerful people scratch each other's backs — and, not incidentally, ensure that the quasi-aristocracy of the one percent is perpetuated. If anything, what's uncommon is for some scion of the powerful to openly admit he only got the job was because of his name. Usually, they fatuously insist their "success" is due to their own unique brilliance and talent.

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Trump waves off deaths in Syria: The Kurds are ‘no angels’

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to leave Syria by saying the Kurds are "no angels."

Trump made the remarks during a White House meeting.

"They are no angels, by the way," he was quoted as saying about the Kurds.

Republicans have accused Trump of betraying a U.S. ally by abandoning the Kurds to be crushed by Turkish forces in Syria.

Read some of the reports below.

Per pool, Trump described the Kurds as "no angels." Your regular reminder that the Kurds were our allies in the fight against ISIS -- which Trump has taken full credit for eradicating.

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Trump’s tax inconsistencies look like ‘bank fraud’: Ex-prosecutor

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On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance argued that the inconsistencies in Trump's tax information resemble outright "bank fraud," and must be subject to further investigation:

No surprise that Trump’s NY state tax filings are inconsistent with bank loan applications. Perhaps there’s an explanation but it looks like either bank fraud or tax fraud & at a minimum, merits further investigation. https://t.co/czxdpNjrvA

— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) October 16, 2019

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