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EU reaffirms commitment to support Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2020)

The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) has adopted conclusions reaffirming the EU’s political commitment to support the people of Afghanistan on their path towards peace, security, stability, democracy, prosperity, and self-reliance.

The council said in a statement that the EU will condition its future political and financial support to ensure that the republican, democratic, and values-based principles are protected and further promoted. 

“The conclusions also reiterate the EU’s support for a negotiated political settlement leading to lasting peace and reconciliation, which must build on the democratic and human rights achievements of the past 19 years,” the statement said.

In its conclusions, the Council calls on the Taliban to build trust and confidence allowing the prompt start of intra-Afghan negotiations based on the sufficient numbers of prisoners already released. 

“The Taliban should respect both the spirit and letter of their bilateral agreement with the government of the United States signed in Doha on 29 February 2020. In this regard, the EU strongly condemns attacks on humanitarian and medical personnel and facilities, including the horrific attack at the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Kabul of 12 May,” the statement noted.

The conclusions stress that the EU stands ready to provide political and financial support for the people of Afghanistan by:

  1. Supporting the Geneva Ministerial Pledging Conference
  2. Strengthening EU assistance for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. Using all instruments available in full cooperation and complementarity with the UN, NATO and regional partners, to contribute to the stabilization of the country
  4. Supporting institutional reform and capacity-building, including in the sectors of security and defense, based on the principles of democratic governance and human rights
  5. Assisting with the reintegration of former fighters as well as their families, the victims of conflict and the most vulnerable, including through specialized child protection programs
  6. Promoting regional cooperation, stability, peace, trade and sustainable connectivity in line with “Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy” as adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council in October 2018

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Ghani promotes Dostum to marshal

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani in a decree promoted former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum to the rank of marshal.

Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, a spokesman for former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, confirmed to Ariana News.

The presidential decree – dated June 10 – shows Dostum’s promotion to marshal, the highest official rank within the Afghan Army Forces.

According to the decree, president Ghani has approved Dostum’s promotion in accordance with Article 64 and Item 19 of the Afghanistan Constitution.

The promotion was a part of the political agreement inked between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the Head of High Council for National Reconciliation.

According to the agreement, Dostum will receive membership in the High Council of State and the National Security Council of Afghanistan.

Dostum is the third person in the history of Afghanistan to receive the title of Marshall after Shah Wali Khan and Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

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Jamiat-e-Islami party picks new chairman, remove Salahuddin Rabbani

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

At least 47 members of the Jamiat-e-Islami leadership council on Wednesday voted and removed Salahuddin Rabbani as the executive chairman of the party.

The party elected Enayatullah Shadab as interim chairman of the party to convene the party’s general assembly.

Afghanistan’s Jamiat-e Islami party is apparently divided into two groups. 47 members of the party’s leadership council voted to remove Salahuddin Rabbani from the presidency of the Jamiat-e-Islami and removed him, including Atta Mohammad Noor, Younus Qanuni, Bismillah Mohammadi, Hafiz Mansour, Ismail Khan, and Sattar Murad.

Of the 62 members of the Leadership Council, 47 members appointed Enayatullah Shadab, one of the party’s founders, as interim chairman of the Leadership Council, to prepare for the party’s general assembly after years.

“We have a 50 percent share of the government, and we can’t ignore it because one person decides individually,” said Basir Salangi, a member of the leadership council of the Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan. “Out of 62, 47 were with us. 35 and the rest via video said that we were with you.”

Salahuddin Rabbani did not want to be a partner in a participatory government, but 47 members of the Leadership Council see themselves as partners in the government from Abdullah Abdullah’s team and have the prospect of playing a prominent role alongside Mr. Abdullah in the peace process.

“There is no reason for us to be in opposition. It is wise to strengthen the government that is in the political campaign with the Taliban to prevent the Taliban from entering politically and militarily,” said Hafiz Mansour, a member of Afghanistan’s Jamiat-e-Islami leadership.

A section other than the Supreme Leader’s Council is with Salahuddin Rabbani. Mr. Rabbani accused some members of the Islamic Jamiat of compromising two weeks ago.

Salahuddin Rabbani said on June 18: “A number of senior members of the Islamic Jamiat have acted against their own decisions and the leadership’s decision and their fundamental values. The result is that today we are begging the legitimate demands of our people.”

In response to the act of 47 members of the leadership council, the Jamiat-e-Islami led by Salahuddin Rabbani suspended the membership of Atta Mohammad Noor, Younus Qanuni, Kaleemullah Naqibi, Abdul Hafiz Mansour, Waqif Hakimi, Sayed Enayatullah Shadab and Abdul Sattar Murad.

Ahmad Zia Massoud, deputy head of the Islamic Jamiat, said Salahuddin Rabbani is still the head of the Jamiat-e-Islami, and the government, in collusion with some members of the party’s leadership, had paved the way for the Jamiat-e-Islami split after intensive negotiations.

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Taliban still has ties with Al-Qaeda affiliate: Pentagon

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

Pentagon says in a new report that Al-Qaeda-linked regional groups have close ties to the Taliban and have sustained interests in attacking the US forces and other countries.

While the Taliban has pledged to no longer allow Al-Qaeda to operate from Afghan soil, Pentagon says that the group colluding with al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent.

A report by the US Department of Defense to Congress on the security situation in Afghanistan shows that al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent regularly cooperates with bottom level members of the Taliban to weaken the Afghan government.

“We believe the Taliban still have ties to a network like Haqqani and dozens of other networks operating in Afghanistan. What the Pentagon findings are, our security agencies have the same report,” said Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan president.

The Pentagon has also reported that Russia is actively working with the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan to speed up the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, as the US Secretary of State has spoken to his Russian counterpart about the matter.

“They have an objective there too. To reduce the risk of terrorism there. So yes, maybe not every time. But with great frequency, when I speak to my Russian counterparts, we talk about Afghanistan. We talk about the fact that we don’t want them engage in this,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Pentagon says that despite recent progress in the peace process, al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent maintains close ties with the Taliban in Afghanistan, possibly for protection and training.

“The enemy of al-Qaeda is the United States, and it is very clear that the relationship with the Taliban will not be cut, and that it will continue to lead to war,” said Zahir Azimi, a retired militant.

Politician Rahmatullah Bizhanpour said: “The United States wants to repeat the game in Afghanistan or start a new round of games, as the US is taking different stances against the Taliban and then directly another force called ISIS will appear in the region.”

The report regarding Iran said that Iran pursues its goals in Afghanistan by providing calculated support to the Taliban and by engaging in efforts to strengthen relations with the Afghan government.

The Taliban, however, in a statement rejected the report, calling it “propaganda and unsubstantiated.”

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