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Chinese FM makes four-point proposal to tackle Afghan issues

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(Last Updated On: October 13, 2021)

The Group of 20 (G20) should leverage its characteristics and strengths to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special representative Wang Yi, also Chinese state councilor and foreign minister, said on Tuesday.

Wang made a four-point proposal on tackling issues including the humanitarian crisis and terrorism in Afghanistan while attending a special G20 leaders’ meeting on Afghanistan via video link in Beijing.

According to Wang, Afghanistan is at the crossroads with both opportunities and challenges, difficulties and hopes. The experience from the past 20-years shows that a country should choose its development path based on its condition, and imposing ideology and military intervention to intervene in other’s internal affairs will only lead to constant turbulence and severe humanitarian disasters.

Wang called on the G20 to respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and let the Afghan people decide their destiny to contribute to the Afghanistan and the region’s peace, stability, prosperity, and development.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, Wang made four proposals.

First, he called on the international community to focus on people’s livelihood with humanitarian support to help the Afghans overcome difficulties such as food shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of medical supplies.

China has announced to urgently provide Afghanistan with 200 million yuan (about 31 million U.S. dollars) worth of assistance for mostly food, materials for winter, medicines and COVID-19 vaccines. The first batch of supplies has been delivered to the Afghan side, Wang said, urging countries that created the crisis to take on responsibilities to avoid new humanitarian crises in the country.

Second, Afghanistan should stay committed to an open, inclusive path of development, Wang said, suggesting the international community engage with the Afghan side in a rational and pragmatic manner and support the country to establish an inclusive political structure and sound domestic and foreign policies.

Stressing that the fundamental way to settle the Afghan issue is to help the country realize a peaceful reconstruction and a sound economic and social development, Wang appealed countries to lift their unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan.

International financial institutions should also enhance financial support to facilitate Afghanistan’s poverty alleviation and infrastructure constructions, Wang added.

Third, the Chinese foreign minister reiterated its zero-tolerance attitude towards terrorism. He called for concrete actions to ensure Afghanistan stay away from terrorism and proposed a united front for the international community to counter-terrorism.

Fourth, the international community should reach consensuses and work jointly to push forward the establishment of relevant mechanisms of Afghanistan, Wang pointed out, adding that he recognized the UN’s central role in providing humanitarian assistance and maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan.

China supports the Afghans to realize a peaceful and prosperous future in their country and is ready to work with all parties to help Afghans open up a new chapter in their country’s history, Wang stated.

The meeting is being convened by Italy, the current seat of the rotating G20 presidency.

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Karzai says Pakistan must not interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs

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(Last Updated On: October 18, 2021)

Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said the current Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) government in needs internal legitimacy in order for it to gain international recognition and that Pakistan should not interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs.

In an interview with VOA, Karzai said that internal legitimacy could only be achieved through the expression of the will of the Afghan people, either in the form of elections or holding the Loya Jirga, a traditional grand council.

He said that Afghanistan is at a critical juncture in its history and Afghans have a responsibility to “unite” and create a government premised on “the expression of the will of the Afghan people.”

“Legitimacy within our own country for this government (IEA) or for any other government is the foundation of recognition by countries and the international community,” Karzai said.

Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quresh, have advocated for the IEA and have urged the international community to work with the new government in Kabul.

“If we neglect Afghanistan right now, there’s a huge humanitarian crisis looming ahead, and this will have serious repercussions not just for the neighbors of Afghanistan, but it will have repercussions everywhere,” Imran Khan told the U.N. General Assembly in September.

“We must strengthen this current government, stabilize it, for the sake of the people of Afghanistan. What have the Taliban (IEA) promised? They will respect human rights, they will have an inclusive government, they will not allow this soil to be used by terrorists,” Khan added.

Karzai told VOA that Pakistan is not the representative of the Afghan people.

“My message to Pakistan, our brotherly country, is that they should not try to represent Afghanistan. On the contrary, the country should try to establish a civil relationship with our country,” he said.

“We have deep people-to-people relations with Pakistan. … Our hope from Pakistan is that the country should not try to maintain its relations with us through interference, the encouragement of extremism and terrorism or by force, but rather establish relations with Afghanistan through civil principles and principles of international relations, and we will happily maintain that relationship with them,” he added.

Karzai also voiced concerns about the Islamic State (Daesh) terror group’s uptick in violence in Afghanistan and deemed it a threat to both Afghanistan and the region.

The militant group’s local branch, known as the Islamic State Khorasan, has claimed responsibility for several vicious attacks in recent weeks in Kabul, Kunduz and Kandahar provinces, where more than 100 civilians have been killed and many others wounded.

“As proven by the unfortunate bomb blasts — rather, suicide attacks in the mosque in Kabul two weeks ago, then in Kunduz last week, and then in Kandahar yesterday (October 15) — this has proven that Daesh is a threat to Afghanistan and to the life and livelihood of the Afghan people,” Karzai said.

Karzai showed optimism that the region will support Afghanistan in its fight against Daesh because it could pose a threat to their security. In addition, he said he hopes that regional powers would seek common ground in Afghanistan,.

He said it is Afghanistan’s responsibility to work with other countries in the region in a way that results in peace and stability.

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U.S. Secretary of State Blinken discusses Afghanistan with Qatar

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(Last Updated On: October 18, 2021)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed the situation in Afghanistan with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, thanking Qatar for helping with evacuations from Kabul, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price says.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani about Afghanistan. Secretary Blinken thanked Qatar for its strong partnership on regional security issues and assistance to safely transit U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent

The readout of the call released by the State Department did not given any details, except that Blinken acknowledged Qatar’s assistance to transit U.S. citizens and Afghans at risk.

On Wednesday, Qatar’s foreign minister proposed creating a unified platform for international cooperation on Afghanistan.

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Russia-led bloc holds large-scale drills near Tajik-Afghan border

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(Last Updated On: October 18, 2021)

A Russia-led post-Soviet security bloc started its largest military drills near the Tajik-Afghan border in years on Monday amid cross-border tensions ahead of talks between Afghanistan’s new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leaders and major regional powers, Reuters reported.

Unlike Afghanistan’s other northern neighbours who have de facto acknowledged the IEA leadership and started building working relationships with Kabul, Tajikistan has refused to recognise the IEA and there are reports of troop build-ups on both sides of the border.

According to the report the exercise carried out by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) will involve over 5,000 servicemen, more than half of them Russian soldiers, Russia and Tajikistan’s defence ministries said.

The six-day drills follow a series of smaller-scale exercises held in the vicinity of the Afghan border by Russia and its Central Asian allies in August and September.

Russia is worried about the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which Moscow views as its southern defensive buffer, Reuters reported.

Moscow operates a military base in the former Soviet republic and has reassured Dushanbe it would assist it in the event of any cross-border intrusion.

A high-level IEA delegation is set to visit Moscow this week for talks that will also involve China, Pakistan, India and Iran, although a senior Russian official has been reported as saying he did not expect any breakthrough.

Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin’s special representative on Afghanistan, also said officials from Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan would meet separately in Moscow on Tuesday to come up with a united position on the changing situation in Afghanistan.

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