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Afghan literary expert finds rare book on Pashtun history

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(Last Updated On: December 29, 2020)
Habibullah Rafi, a well-known Afghan writer and member of the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan, said he has discovered a 400-year-old book on the history of Pashtuns. 
 
He said the 600-page book was found in Germany with the cooperation of Afghans in that country. 
 
According to Rafi the book is about the lives of Pashtuns, covering a 900-year span. 
 
“The book has been published in 600 pages. The book has some stories which are rare in other books,” said Rafi.
 
The book Rafi discovered was published 400 year ago and is about the first mystical and literary movement of the Pashtuns.
 
It was written by Sheikh Mati Baba between the 7th and 10th centuries, he said.
 
Rafi said this is now the second known copy dating back so many years, with the first having been found in Karachi and the work of Sheikh Mati Baba is followed by people in Saudi Arabia, Peshawar, India and Afghanistan.
 
“Two copies of the book have been found – in Karachi and now in Germany. I have evaluated both of them,” said Rafi.
 
Meanwhile, Ehsanullah Aryanzai, another Afghan writer, says his book of 6,000 pages, which is on the history and geography of the world’s continents – in Pashto – has now been translated into Dari. 
 
He said the original version is in its fourth print run. 
 
“I urge the young generation to read the book once to know about our lives and the lives of others,” said Aryanzai.
 
He pointed out that the continuation of war in Afghanistan has had a negative impact on the culture of reading and studying among the people. 

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Ghani fires finance minister, appoints caretaker to the position

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday dismissed finance minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal from his post and approved a new acting minister, said the Administrative Office of the President (AOP) in a statement.

The AOP cited a number of reasons for this move including the delay in the collection of taxes, weak management, lack of commitment to good governance, not obeying Article 77 of the Constitution, violating Presidential decrees and directions, the lack of cooperation in an assessment of illegal appointments at the ministry and for trying to prevent the assessments, the statement read.

The AOP added that Ghani approved Mohammad Khalid Payenda as acting finance minister.

Arghandiwal was a close ally of Ghani during his election campaigns and was appointed as acting minister of finance in March last year. 

He received a vote of confidence from the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) in November last year.

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Biden to keep Khalilzad as peace envoy for now

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

Former president Donald Trump’s peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad will retain his position, for now, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN. 

This move is not typical as traditionally an incoming administration replaces all politically appointed officials – especially those dealing with foreign policy issues. 

Khalilzad, a diplomatic veteran, has worked on the peace process for more than two years and has been the key official from Washington to meet with both the Afghan government and the Taliban as well as all other stakeholders and regional leaders. 

No further details were released and according to CNN the State Department did not comment when asked about Khalilzad staying on board. 

However, in a statement issued late Friday, the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib that the United States intends to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement.”

He also said Washington would assess whether the Taliban was living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders.

Sullivan also expressed America’s desire that all Afghan leaders embrace this “historic opportunity for peace and stability.”

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Washington to review US-Taliban deal, Sullivan tells Mohib 

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib on Friday evening and said Washington intends to review the US-Taliban deal signed in February last year and to assess whether the Taliban is adhering to its commitments. 

In a statement issued by the White House following the discussion between the two NSAs, Sullivan said the US will support the peace process with “a robust and regional diplomatic effort, which will aim to help the two sides achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent ceasefire”. 

Sullivan also made clear “the United States’ intention to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement, including to assess whether the Taliban was living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders.”

According to the statement, Sullivan also expressed America’s desire that all Afghan leaders embrace this “historic opportunity for peace and stability.”

In addition, Sullivan and Mohib discussed the US’s support for protecting the gains made by Afghan women, girls, and minority groups as part of the peace process. 

Sullivan also “committed to consulting closely with the Afghan government, NATO allies, and regional partners regarding a collective strategy to support a stable, sovereign, and secure future for Afghanistan,” the statement read.

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