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Abdullah says HCNR working only for peace

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(Last Updated On: February 21, 2021)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation on Monday said that High Council for National Reconciliation is not carrying out any work that is parallel to that done by the government. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the commission on development programs and attracting global assistance for the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah said that a lot of the commission’s work covers a post-peace period, by establishing coordination mechanisms to advance the peace process during the negotiations and after a hoped-for peace accord.

The commission was set up at Abdullah’s request and by presidential decree to coordinate global assistance regarding the Afghan peace process.

“There is no parallel work being done by the commission against government. All coordination programs are for the progress of the peace process,” Abdullah said.

The deputy head of the HCNR, who is in charge of leading the development program commission, said that the commission has started its work, to generate funding, so as to list donor institutions, appoint leadership members and make draft plans.

“We have started practical work. This is not premature and we have a lot of achievements in this regard, such as creating a list of donor institutions,” said Attaullah Salim, the commission deputy.

The Ministry of State for Peace Affairs, which is a member of the commission, says that there is a need for foundation work in this commission to facilitate the peace process.

“All work should be done to create shortcuts and ways to achieve peace and use the funding to support the process,” said Abdullah Khenjani, deputy minister for the Ministry of State for Peace Affairs.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance says that Afghanistan needs international assistance if the peace process is successful by 2030, because the country has a financial deficit of $8 billion a year.

“Figures from the Ministry of Finance show that public spending is 75 percent dependent on global aid, which covers Afghanistan’s $8 billion a year financial gap,” said Nazir Kabiri, deputy minister of finance.

The High Council for National Reconciliation has inaugurated the commission for development programs and assistance, while the council has not yet benefited from an independent government budget.

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Well known cleric shot dead in Kabul while on his way to mosque

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(Last Updated On: March 3, 2021)

Faiz Mohammad Fayez, former head of the Ulema Council in Kunduz province, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in PD17 of Kabul city early Wednesday morning, Kabul police confirmed.

Police said an investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, a number of residents of Kabul’s Sarkutal Golden Township area said Faiz Mohammad Fayez, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen as he walked to a mosque this morning.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz confirmed the killing but said early reports indicate it was not a “terrorist act” but a case of murder.

This comes after a prominent Afghan cleric Mohammad Atif was killed about a month ago in an explosion, along with two others, in Kabu.

Mohammad Atif, a well-known cleric from a Kabul-based charity group, was killed when an IED on the vehicle he was traveling in exploded.

No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

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Red Cross resumes work in Afghanistan after suspending operations

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(Last Updated On: March 2, 2021)

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it has resumed work in Afghanistan and is committed to delivering assistance and emergency aid even to areas under the control of warring factions.

The Afghan Red Crescent Society meanwhile said that in 2020 alone, it recovered nearly 2,000 bodies from the warring parties adding that it is concerned about rising casualties from the fighting in Afghanistan.

“In 2020, we were able to collect 1,693 bodies from war-torn parts of Afghanistan,” said Nilab Mobarez, Secretary General of ARCS.

“Considering the ongoing vulnerabilities, including climate change, the quantity and severity of needs in Afghanistan, the Red Cross and Red Crescent colleagues call on us to support our principled activities across Afghanistan and maximize collective aid and its impact,” said Pierre Kremer, Head of Afghanistan Country Office at International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The committee also extended its cooperation with the Afghan Red Crescent for another three years.

The International Committee of the Red Cross suspended its operations in Afghanistan a few months ago due to threats from the Taliban, but resumed its activities in the country after receiving assurances from the group that they could continue with their work.

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Khalilzad meets with key Afghans, explains US position

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(Last Updated On: March 2, 2021)

Zalmay Khalilzad met with a number of influential figures in Kabul on Monday including Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, members of the Jamiat Party, and others.

Some political figures in Kabul said that during the meetings, Khalilzad explained the position of the new US administration on peace in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, US House of Foreign Affairs Committee Member Michael McCaul says that the purpose of Khalilzad’s visit to Doha, Afghanistan and other countries in the region is to amend clauses of the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban.

“Khalilzad has come to announce the new US administration’s approach to Afghanistan and the Taliban,” said Abdul Sattar Murad, a member of the Jamiat-e-Islami leadership council.

Khalilzad may also bring new proposals to Kabul and Doha, the two main centers of decision-making on Afghanistan’s future, sources said.

The US House of Foreign Affairs Committee Member Michael McCaul said that the revision of the Doha agreement, of clauses such as the release of 7,000 Taliban prisoners, the reduction of violence and the extension of the mission of foreign forces after May, is Khalilzad’s responsibility.

The US special envoy has also reportedly noted the views of Afghan government officials and the Taliban on the outcome of the Doha Agreement and negotiations between Afghans.

Some politicians said that Khalilzad did not come to Afghanistan and Qatar to announce the decision of the Biden administration but is rather initiating amendments to the US’s plans for Afghanistan.

“The United States wants to establish a partnership in Afghanistan, and this is not far off, and it wants to convince the Taliban to continue their presence,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.

Khalilzad who started his trip in Germany will continue on to Doha and other countries in the region.

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