Connect with us


Denying Taliban an ‘honorable option’ earlier was a failure, says Atmar

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: August 6, 2020)

Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Haneef Atmar said this week that over the past 19 years, one of Afghanistan’s biggest failures had been to not think about reconciliation earlier and not give the Taliban an “honorable option”. 

Speaking to the US’s former National Security Advisor in a Hoover Institution video interview, Atmar said the “number one issue was not to think about reconciliation early on and to give an option to the Taliban,” he said adding they “wanted to have an honorable option”. 

“Collectively we failed to give them an option of an honorable reconciliation and sometimes we drove them away from Afghanistan. That was a bad policy,” he said adding “it wasn’t a good choice”.

The discussion, on America’s longest war, centered around the situation over the past 19 years and the end result of peace that both the US and Afghanistan have been working towards. 

Atmar in his discussion was adamant about ridding Afghanistan of terrorists and said if the country allowed space for terrorists to take root, the likes of 9/11 could happen again. 

He said anyone who thinks terrorism can be ignored, needs to think again. 

He pointed out that after the fall of the old Soviet Union, the United States felt there was no longer a threat in Afghanistan – but they were wrong, he said. 

“That mistake, that error, should not be repeated again,” he stated.

 Atmar pointed out that Afghanistan was not just fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan but it was also fighting other terror organizations.

There are four groups of transnational terror networks, he said adding there are those that are Afghans, regional terrorists, Pakistan terrorists and international terrorists such as al-Qaeda and Daesh. 

“They all have symbiotic relationships. Not only among themselves but also with transnational organized criminal networks and they benefit from narcotics, and they benefit from organized crime,” he said. 

“They collectively pose a national security threat – collectively to the region and to the world community.”

He said it is a shared responsibility to not get “tired” of fighting terrorism adding that with continued assistance from the international community Afghanistan believes it will succeed. 

“To sum it up, I strongly believe we have a noble reason to continue to stay engaged and continue to protect our people.” 

According to him, disengagement from fighting terrorism would not work but instead “benefit the enemy”. 

He said from his side he could point towards five things that went wrong over the past 19 years. 

He said these failures were related to politics and not to the hard work “of our brave men and women in uniform.”

Atmar stated that the “number one issue was not to think about reconciliation early on and to give an option to the Taliban.” 

The second failure was attributed to Afghanistan’s policies and to not “address the problem of sanctuaries outside Afghanistan, so while the Taliban were driven away from Afghanistan they were also given sanctuary outside Afghanistan and we were never able to this day to address that sanctuary problem outside Afghanistan.”

The third failure was on the Afghan side, he said – “we failed to build the kind of state and governance that the Afghan people deserved”. 

He said corruption and state failure on many fronts were significant and that these were failures that reduced the effectiveness of the combined efforts of the Afghans and the international community. 

Security forces could also meanwhile have been grown to the full extent of their capabilities especially with regards to the type of counter-terrorism Afghanistan is faced with, he stated. 

“We could have done more to develop the Afghan army’s capabilities,” including the development of close air support – which he highlighted. 

The final flaw in Afghanistan’s strategy was losing regional consensus in counter-terrorism efforts, Atmar told McMaster. 

He said until 2006 there had been a great deal of regional and international support but slowly that consensus weakened. This was affected by international issues outside of Afghanistan’s control, including relations between other countries. 

But learning from this, the best way forward is “number one, peace between the Afghan people and the Taliban, the Afghan government and the Taliban,” he said. 

Also “preserving what we have built over the past 19 years and further developing it. Essentially it’s about the preservation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan that is defined by our commitment to human rights, women’s rights, good governance, political inclusion of our people, rule of law, and all those critical values that modern humanity requires for its functioning.”

Atmar emphasized that “we should not lose them as a result of the peace process. 

“No peace will be lasting if it’s not built on that foundation. 

He said the partnership between the United States and Afghanistan was critical in terms of achieving the end state of peace.

But given ongoing issues regarding Pakistan’s antics towards Afghanistan and rumored claims of bounties by the Russian’s, McMaster asked Atmar what would it take to get regional countries to actually support the country’s peace efforts and recognize that defeating terrorism was also in their interests.

Atmar stated that regional countries along with Afghanistan need to build consensus on their common interests. 

National and security interests have to be the foundation within the region and neighboring countries’ inclusion in the peace process is also needed, he said. 

Asked about intra-Afghan talks, Atmar told McMaster that one key objective with peace is to achieve an end state of Afghanistan not becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.

He also said that agreements made have to be acceptable to the Afghan people and to the region as a whole. 

On what an end state actually meant, Atmar said it was for a sovereign, democratic Afghanistan committed to human and women’s rights along with other important values. 

He said killing people under any pretext is not acceptable and to date, the Taliban has argued that it’s continued violence is based on the US’s presence in the country. 

He said the Taliban need to stop the violence and although they are no longer fighting the US, they are fighting the Afghan security forces. He said there was no justification for this. 

On how intra-Afghan talks would proceed, he said they would be led by a team of 21 people, including women and key would be to discuss a humanitarian ceasefire. 

Atmar stated that currently, the people of Afghanistan are dealing with a double-edged sword – COVID-19 and the Taliban. 

Included in intra-Afghan talks would be the topic of an end state in terms of what Afghanistan wants to achieve as well as the reintegration of refugees and Taliban fighters. 

He also said that other terrorist groups need to leave Afghanistan and that peace talks only relate to the Taliban.


Afghanistan’s ‘cricket is proof that dreams come true’: ACB director

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

The Director of Cricket at Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), Raees Ahmadzai said on Tuesday that with hard work and determination “dreams do come true” and that Afghanistan’s cricket is proof of this. 

Representing the ACB at a virtual meeting of the Asian Cricket Council, attended by both full-members and some associate members, Ahmadzai provided details on the country’s achievements and on its challenges. 

According to the ACB, Ahmadzai also discussed the enormous potential of talent in the country – especially with spin bowlers. 

He said: “Without doubt with hard work and determination, dreams do come true and Afghanistan Cricket is a living example of it. Afghan cricketers have been through various hurdles and struggles to enjoy its results today.”

The participants, which also included officials from the International Cricket Council (ICC), recognized Afghanistan Cricket Board’s efforts to promote the game in the war-torn country. 

The meeting came just a day after ACB’s acting CEO Nazeem Abdul Rahimzai met with the governor of Nangarhar Ziaulhaq Amarkheil to discuss progress around the construction of the new Behsud cricket grounds in Jalalabad. 

Construction started about six weeks ago and phase one, which involves the leveling of the ground, is expected to be completed in the next month. 

Rahimzai asked for the governor’s assistance on some issues relating to the project and “was fully assured of full support by the local government,” an ACB statement read. 

Amarkheil meanwhile said cricket in the province should be a priority and said the project would be completed on time. 

Continue Reading


Three suspects identified in public beating of two women in Kabul

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

The Ministry of Interior said it has identified three security officials involved in last week’s incident involving two young women who were beaten in public in Kabul. 

In a statement issued by the MoI, the ministry said: “After investigating the case, the Crime Investigation Directorate (CID) identified one member of the security forces who was the main culprit in the case and two police officers who were negligent and irresponsible by not stopping the incident.”

The MoI stated that the case is being investigated by the CID but has also been handed over to the Attorney General’s Office. 

The incident, which took place in Kabul city, was caught on video and went viral on social media – which sparked an outcry among rights activists and members of the public. 

The two women were publicly hit by one man, while two officials in uniform stood by and watched. 

A number of other people also stood around and watched the incident unfold.

This comes amid increasing concerns relating to the preservation and strengthening of women’s rights and overall human rights in Afghanistan as the Aghan negotiating team continues discussions with the Taliban in Doha. 

Human rights activists and global leaders have all called for the achievements of the past 19 years to be preserved if any peace deal is made between the warring sides. 


Continue Reading


TikTok removes over 100 million videos from its app

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

TikTok has had to remove over 104 million videos in the first six months of this year for violating its guidelines. 

About 37 million of these were from India followed by nearly 10 million in the United States.

TikTok says this is still less than one percent of the total number of videos uploaded on its app.

In the report, it adds that it took action on 96.4 percent of the removed clips before a user reported them and 90.3 percent of them didn’t have any views. 

The service’s algorithms automatically took care of and discarded 10 million of these clips.

“As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we relied more heavily on technology to detect and automatically remove violating content in markets such as India, Brazil, and Pakistan,” TikTok wrote on its website. 

TikTok’s content moderation practices haven’t always been effective, however. Earlier this month, the company was scrambling to suppress the spread of a viral, gruesome video that showed a man taking his own life with a gun, Digital Trends reported. 

With over 100 million users in the US alone, TikTok is now also a significant potential link for law enforcement agencies looking for personal data in investigations. In the US, TikTok received 226 legal requests, substantially up from 100 from the six months before 2020, from law enforcement or government entities for user information and content restrictions, 85 percent of which it agreed to comply with. 

Continue Reading