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Afghan peace plan outlines roadmap to future political system

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(Last Updated On: April 11, 2021)

The High Council for the National Reconciliation (HCNR) has drafted a 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.

According to the plan, two-thirds of the power is earmarked for the Islamic republic and one-third for the Taliban.

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.

This comes as US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) on Saturday to discuss the peace process and the upcoming Istanbul summit.

“Khalilzad met with Ghani twice during the day and discussed the upcoming Istanbul summit, the timeframe, finalization of the list of participants, and the preparations for the conference,” the Presidential Palace said.

HCNR Chairman Abdullah stated in a tweet that he and Khalilzad discussed “the Afghan Peace Process, the Doha talks, internal consensus and preparations for the upcoming conference in Turkey.”

“We welcome the acceleration of the process & achieving a comprehensive political settlement,” Abdullah tweeted.

The Istanbul summit is expected to be held on April 16 in Turkey.

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Pakistan’s customs agent says exports to Afghanistan dwindle

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Hundreds of trucks lined the winding, mountainous road leading to Torkhum, the Pakistan-Afghan border crossing on Thursday.

Pakistani officials say that is because exports to Afghanistan have dwindled in the days after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) take over.

But some truck drivers were upbeat because they said the vegetable and fruit season in Afghanistan had helped increase exports of these items from the war-ravaged country.

Another Pakistani official at another Pakistan-Afghan border Chaman said trade had picked up because the IEA government had reduced taxes, and also put an end to bribes that traders and truck drivers had to pay to cross the border.

Afghan new government bolstered its economic team last week, naming a commerce minister and two deputies as the group tries to revive a financial system in shock from the abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Underlining the economic pressures building on Afghanistan’s new government, prices for staples like flour, fuel, and rice have risen and long queues are still forming outside banks as they strictly ration withdrawals.

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Five climbers die in snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Five climbers died after they got caught in a sudden snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, officials said.

The other 14 members of the party were rescued on the peak in the Caucasus Mountains in high winds and low visibility amid temperatures of minus -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the regional emergency ministry said.

The group of Russian climbers sent out a mayday call just after 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, the ministry added. Eleven of the survivors were taken to hospital.

One woman fell ill and died in the arms of one of the guides, Denis Alimov, who helped organise the climb, told TASS news agency.

Another climber broke his leg as he was coming down and the party decided to split into three groups depending on who could go fastest, Alimov told TASS.

“As they descended, two more people died in one of the groups. But the decision to split up was the right one, otherwise there might have been more casualties.”

Guides with the group suffered frostbite and other injuries, Alimov was quoted as saying.

Mount Elbrus, which rises to 5,642 metres (18,510 feet) just north of the border with Georgia, is infamous for sudden changes in weather and climbing conditions.

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IEA’s defence minister orders crackdown on abuses

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s acting new defence minister has issued a rebuke over misconduct by some commanders and fighters following the IEA’s victory over the Western-backed government in Afghanistan last month, saying abuses would not be tolerated, Reuters reported.

According to the report Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob said in an audio message that some “miscreants and notorious former soldiers” had been allowed to join Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses.

“We direct you keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you,” he stated. “We don’t want such people in our ranks.”

The message from one of the IEA’s most senior ministers underlines the problems Afghanistan’s new rulers have sometimes had in controlling fighting forces as they transition from an insurgency to a peacetime administration, the report said.

Some Kabul residents have complained of abusive treatment at the hands of IEA forces who have appeared on the streets of the capital, often from other regions and unused to big cities.

There have also been reports of reprisals against members of the former government and military or civil society activists, despite promises of an amnesty by the IEA.

Yaqoob said there had been isolated reports of unauthorized executions, and he repeated that such actions would not be tolerated.

“As you all are aware, under the general amnesty announced in Afghanistan, no mujahid has the right to take revenge on anyone,” he said.

Reuters said that it was not clear precisely which incidents he was referring to, nor what prompted the message, which was published on IEA Twitter accounts and widely shared on social media.

There have been reports of tensions within the IEA between hardline battlefield commanders and political leaders more willing to seek compromise with governments outside Afghanistan, report said

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