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Afghan Peace Would Bring Its Own Risks to Reconstruction Efforts: SIGAR



(Last Updated On: March 29, 2019)

A peace agreement to end the War in Afghanistan could present its own risks to rebuilding efforts, a U.S. watchdog said on Thursday, calling on policymakers to plan for a post-peace deal environment.

“A peace agreement would be welcomed by the long-suffering Afghan people,” the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko said in Washington.

“But it could bring its own challenges to sustaining what the United States, coalition partners, and the Afghan government have achieved.”

Since 2002, the United States has spent $132 billion on training Afghan security and defense forces, strengthening institutions and other initiatives.

U.S.-led forces removed the Taliban regime in 2001 after the September 11 attacks in the United States but the insurgents regrouped and have steadily extended their influence during 17 years of conflict in Afghanistan.

The U.S. and Taliban peace talks began late last year, raising hopes for an end to the war. The latest round of negotiations ended this month with both sides citing progress.

In a report to U.S. Congress and the secretaries of state and defense, SIGAR said that even if the war with the Taliban ends, Afghanistan may remain insecure because of the presence of other militant groups.

Reintegrating the Taliban, whose Islamic views are more conservative than those of much of the population, would be a particular challenge, SIGAR said.

About 60,000 fighters are likely to find few job opportunities in a weak economy, it said.

Lasting peace could improve economic growth but in the short term, some 2 million Afghans living in Pakistan may return, adding job-seekers into a weak labor market.

While the Taliban has said in official statements they might consider more liberal policies towards women, their chief negotiator has said the constitution, which protects women’s rights, is an obstacle to peace, SIGAR wrote.

Such a stance could jeopardize the economic and political freedoms Afghan women have achieved.

More of the U.S. reconstruction effort has gone into the Afghan National Army than to its national police, and a strategy for a “competent” police force, sustained by foreign assistance, would also be required, SIGAR said in the report.

Endemic corruption has hampered reconstruction, and remains the “top strategic threat” to the government’s legitimacy, it said.

A burgeoning illicit opium trade also jeopardizes security, governance, and development.

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Muttaqi calls on international community to recognize IEA government



(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Foreign acting Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi accused the international community on Friday (October 15) of “violating the rights of Afghan people” by not recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

Speaking to Reuters on the second day of a two-day visit to Turkey’s capital of Ankara, Muttaqi said he discussed the recognition of the IEA’s government with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well.

“The fact that all of them are recognized and the new Islamic government of Afghanistan is not recognized is an injustice and oppression of the Afghan people… Afghanistan wants positive relations with the world and the world must respond positively to this message,” he said.

Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and IEA forces swept into Kabul, the IEA administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis.

But the IEA has so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he had conveyed Turkey’s recommendations regarding the inclusion of women in the workforce and education of girls.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity.

“We once again explained the importance of including people from all ethnic and religious groups, besides the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan), in the administration. Especially in these difficult times, this is important in terms of establishing unity and solidarity within the country,” Cavusoglu said.

NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Kabul after Western countries withdrew following the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and have urged those countries to increase engagement.

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Blast targets mosque in Kandahar



(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

A large explosion ripped through a mosque in the southern Kandahar province on Friday afternoon.

The blast happened at the Shi’ite Fatimiya mosque during Friday prayers, causing heavy casualties.

Sources said at least 34 people were killed and 69 others wounded in the explosion. Afghan officials have not confirmed the casualties so far.

Qari Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, has told Reuters that authorities were collecting details of the explosion.

The blast took place days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by Islamic State on a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed and wounded more than 200 people.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Islamic State has stepped up operations following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

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Turkey underlines need for inclusive Afghan government



(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

In talks with the delegation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Turkey on Thursday reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity, Reuters reported.

Turkey repeated its advice to the visiting IEA delegation on girls’ education and women’s employment in business life, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference following a meeting with Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Ankara.

Muttaqi led an IEA delegation for an official visit to Turkey to discuss bilateral issues as well as cooperation on the future of Afghanistan.

The IEA officials have pledged to provide the utmost support to Afghan refugees who want to return to the country from Turkey, added Cavusoglu.

He also underlined that the IEA delegation conveyed requests to Turkey during the meeting, especially on humanitarian aid and continued investment in Afghanistan.

Last month, Cavusoglu said Turkey has contributed to stabilization and development efforts in Afghanistan, including on the education of girls and empowerment of women since the 1920s, adding that Ankara continues providing humanitarian aid through the Turkish Red Crescent.

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