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Afghan envoy’s daughter ‘not abducted’, Pakistan’s interior minister claims

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(Last Updated On: July 19, 2021)

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Sunday denied claims that the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad had been abducted, saying it was an “international racket” led by Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to defame Pakistan.

Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil’s daughter, Silsila Alikhil, was allegedly kidnapped on Friday from the capital’s commercial hub by unidentified persons, who also allegedly subjected her to torture, Dawn News reported.

Speaking to Geo News, Rashid said the investigation carried out so far had not shown that the woman was abducted.

“There has been no kidnapping,” he said. “I want to tell the entire nation, this is an international racket, an international conspiracy, this is the agenda of RAW,” he added, saying the Indian intelligence agency had propagated the impression of her abduction across the world.

Rashid said the woman hired a taxi at Khadda Market, “then she heads to Daman-i-Koh in a second cab, and subsequently hires a third taxi from F-9 park, but she is refusing to accept that she visited Rawalpindi”.

He said that Silsila also used the internet after reaching Daman-i-Koh.

“There is just one patch left in our investigation. We have found three taxis involved in the incident. The woman reached Daman-i-Koh from Rawalpindi but skipped stopping midway at her residence. We are just trying to find another footage of her movement from Rawalpindi,” he added.

The minister told Geo News this was the first incident of its kind in Pakistan. “Everything will be clear the moment we discover the fourth footage,” he added.

Rashid said the ambassador’s daughter had handed over her mobile phone to authorities after erasing all records.
“But some people are doing propaganda on directions of Indian agency RAW,” he added.

Rashid said earlier in the day that the taxi drivers who drove the envoy’s daughter before her alleged brief abduction have been interrogated.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said: “I want to inform the international media that the police is investigating the report of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter issue … and we have registered a case on her request.”

Rashid said the first driver had driven the envoy’s daughter to Khadda Market, a second had then driven her to Rawalpindi, and a third had driven her from Daman-i-Koh.

The interior minister said that footage of her trip from Rawalpindi to Daman-i-Koh was missing and the matter was under investigation.

Rashid said the Afghan embassy was also cooperating in the investigation, which he said would be completed “maybe tomorrow or the day after “.

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NATO foreign ministers to discuss lessons learned in Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that foreign ministers will next week discuss the organization’s engagement in Afghanistan and “identify the right lessons for future crisis management operations”.

Outlining the priorities to be discussed at the upcoming NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Riga, Latvia, from Tuesday, Stoltenberg said: “Following the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and armed forces in Afghanistan in August, I launched a comprehensive assessment of our engagement.”

He said NATO went into Afghanistan “to prevent terrorists from using the country again to attack us.

“And since 9/11, there has been no terrorist attack against our countries from Afghanistan.

“But we must recognize that over the years, the international community set a level of ambition that went well beyond the original aim of fighting terrorism.

“And on that, we were not able to deliver. Despite our sacrifice and considerable investment,” he said adding that he expects ministers to discuss this and to “identify the right lessons for our future crisis management operations”.

Stoltenberg also noted that the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan “is dire, dire, and very difficult and this is of course of great concern for all of us. And winter is coming. And we know that many people are at risk of suffering and having a very difficult time throughout the winter.”

He said he welcomed moves by NATO Allies to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, which he said was “extremely important and something which demonstrates the will, and the commitment, of NATO Allies to continue to support the people of Afghanistan.”

He also touched on Pakistan and said: “NATO has had regular contacts with Pakistan for many, many years. Of course, not least discussing the situation in Afghanistan. We have political contacts, we have regular military contacts and dialogue and I think this is important that this continues because there are still many challenges in the region, especially related to the future of Afghanistan.”

Stoltenberg also said the ministers will address the continuing build-up of Russian forces in and around Ukraine, saying: “It raises tensions and it risks miscalculation. Russia must show transparency, reduce tensions and de-escalate. NATO’s approach to Russia remains unchanged. We keep our defense and deterrence strong while remaining open for dialogue.”

NATO Foreign Ministers will also address the migrant “situation on the border with Belarus and the Lukashenko regime’s exploitation of vulnerable people”.

Other issues that will be discussed include NATO’s next Strategic Concept. He said: “It needs to take account of new realities, including Russia’s aggressive actions, a more assertive China, emerging and disruptive technologies, and the security impact of climate change. It will drive our continued adaptation in a more competitive world.”

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EU calls for support of Afghans to prevent economic and social collapse

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday the EU must support the people of Afghanistan “to prevent imminent economic and social collapse that the country faces.”

Speaking during the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the European Union’s chief executive said it was crucial for the EU to avoid “imminent economic and social collapse” in Afghanistan, despite not recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leadership.

Last month, the European Union announced a humanitarian package worth 1 billion Euro for the Afghan people and neighboring countries, including a 300 million Euro in humanitarian aid.

Speaking from Phnom Penh during the summit’s closing ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called on ASEM and its partners to strengthen the partnership between Asia and Europe.

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Thousands take exams for Turkish-run schools in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

Thousands of Afghan students, including girls under grade 7, took entrance exams on Friday for a Turkish foundation in Kabul that runs some of Afghanistan’s most highly regarded schools.

As many as 3,600 students sat the highly competitive exams for the Afghan-Turk school system, Afghan-Turk School’s officials said.

“We want all girls to be educated. This is our president’s and our government’s wish and that of Afghans,” the Educational Councillor at Kabul’s Turkish Embassy, Changez Idmir, said at a news conference to mark the holding of the entrance tests.

Facing mounting global pressure, the IEA has said they will allow older girls to resume classes once arrangements are made to ensure they can do so in conformity with what the movement considers proper Islamic standards.

Afghan-Turk schools are regarded among the top schools in Afghanistan and admission is highly competitive.

Unofficially, many parts of the country have seen older girls restart classes, while officially the IEA says they are still working on a national system.

Ehsan Khateb, Head of Kabul Education Department, also attended the ceremony and thanked the Turkish government.

Afghan-Turk schools have had to make changes to their curriculum, shutting music, theatre, and dance departments at the request of IEA officials, the head of the Turkish educational foundation, Salleh Saghar, told Reuters.

The foundation respected the rules and culture of the host country, he said.

“Like the music, theatre, and dancing department … based on Taliban (IEA) requests we closed the departments,” he said, and it was for the IEA government to decide if they would reopen.

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