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Afghan govt and Taliban get copy of ‘guiding principles’ for Istanbul Summit

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(Last Updated On: April 11, 2021)

The US, UN, Turkey, and Qatar have handed over guiding principles for the Istanbul Summit to the Afghan government and the Taliban.

A document seen by Ariana News shows that there are nine guiding principles that could help the negotiating parties reach an agreement on some key points ahead of the Istanbul conference which is due to be held from April 16, in Turkey.

The principles include:

1- A permanent and comprehensive ceasefire is needed for the country
2- Conducting joint work for the restoration of peace without mutual accusation
3- Political partnership under Islamic principles
4- Formation of an inclusive and accountable participatory government
5- Future political arrangements need to reflect the diversity of Afghan society by way of providing equal rights for all citizens, and without discrimination
6- Protecting and supporting human rights in Afghanistan
7- Future government will implement a balanced socio-economic development program to cope with poverty in Afghanistan
8- Afghanistan will maintain friendly relations with its neighbors, the region and the international community
9- The two parties have to engage in peaceful negotiations in order to implement these principles

This plan coincides with the High Council for the National Reconciliation’s (HCNR) unified peace plan for the upcoming Istanbul Summit.

A copy of the draft seen by Ariana News shows that the plan has four parts including a principle for the future of Afghanistan, a Peace roadmap/President Ashraf Ghani’s plan, a future political system, and an end to the ongoing conflict in the country.

The first part of the plan calls for a number of stipulations including Islam to be the official religion of Afghanistan; civil rights to be preserved based on the Afghan Constitution; an amendment brought to parts of the Constitution, for International support to be preserved, and for a neutral foreign policy, elections, and an accountable government.

The second part includes Ghani’s three-phase roadmap to the restoration of peace in the country.

Ghani’s roadmap – from an unending war towards a just and lasting peace includes three phases, a political agreement; a peace government; and peacebuilding, state-building, and market-building.

In the first phase, Ghani proposed a political settlement, an internationally monitored ceasefire, a regional and international guarantee of peace as well as continued counter-terrorism efforts, and the convening of a Loya Jirga to approve the agreement.

The second phase will be to hold a presidential election and establish a “government of peace” and implement arrangements to move towards a new political system.

The third phase will involve building a “constitutional framework, security, reintegration of refugees and considering government priorities” for Afghanistan’s development.

In the third part of the draft, two political systems – a Presidential Structure with four Vice Presidents including a woman or a parliamentary system that could be implemented after a referendum for amending the Constitution – have been proposed for the future of Afghanistan.

The fourth part is focused on ending the war in the country. In this part, a regular framework for the end of the conflict, and the implementation and monitoring of a ceasefire are highlighted.

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Blinken discusses situation with Abdullah, reiterates US’s support

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State spoke on the phone Thursday with Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), and reiterated Washington’s commitment to seek a just and durable political settlement that ends the war in Afghanistan.

“They discussed ways to accelerate peace negotiations and achieve a political settlement that is inclusive, respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities, allows the Afghan people to have a say in choosing their leaders, and prevents Afghan soil from being used to threaten the United States and its allies and partners,” the US State Department said in a statement.

“Both leaders deplored continuing Taliban attacks, loss of innocent Afghan lives and displacement of the civilian population, and underscored the widespread international condemnation of these attacks,” read the statement.

State Department spokesperson, Ned Price said later that Blinken and Abdullah pledged to remain in close contact going forward.

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Taliban looking to seize control of at least one province: Dostum

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

Former first vice president, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum said on Thursday that Taliban have accelerated their efforts to seize control of at least one province in the country.

According to Dostum, Herat, Takhar, Jawzjan, Kandahar, and Helmand are the provinces of choice that the Taliban is hoping to have control over.

However, security forces and uprising forces have repelled attacks on these provinces, he said adding however, that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating.

“Enemy is attempting to seize [total control] of one of the five provinces, Jawzjan, Herat, Helmand, Takhar, or Kandahar,” said Dostum.

He said he has held consultations with politicians in Kabul and will soon launch an operation against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan.

“The current situation calls for a meeting and measures need to be taken. It is not a small plot, but needs a plan [that’s agreed to] with other politicians,” said Dostum.

Dostum welcomed the establishment and actions around the uprising forces who are supporting the security forces against the Taliban, and said these civilian fighters are voluntarily making huge sacrifices in the north of Afghanistan.

“The uprising forces resisted[attacks]; I have said many times that it is not the time to seek privileges. We should trust each other,” said Dostum.

Dostum is a controversial figure in Afghanistan but is seen by many as a capable and fierce military leader who regularly leads troops into battle.

Aged 67, Dostum is from Jawzjan province and is regarded in some circles to be both one of the most powerful and most notorious warlords in the country.

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Ghani meets with Iran’s president-elect ahead of inauguration

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani met with Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President-elect of Iran, in Tehran early Thursday, the Presidential Palace (ARG) said in a statement.

The meeting was also attended by Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar and a number of other high-ranking Afghan government officials.

During the meeting, both sides discussed the expansion of cooperation and relations between the two countries.

The President-elect of Iran stressed the continued support for the Government of Afghanistan and the efforts for a regional consensus for peace.

He also expressed his support for the people of Afghanistan to preserve the republic and its past achievements.

“We support a system in which the rights of all Afghan citizens, including minorities, are protected, and our neighbors, especially Afghanistan, have a high position in our foreign policy,” Raisi said.

In turn, Ghani thanked Iran for its assistance and cooperation in various fields and stressed the need for joint economic cooperation and the expansion of relations between the two countries.

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