Connect with us

Latest News

Foreign partners pledge ‘conditions-based’ support to Afghanistan

Ariana News

Published

 on

(Last Updated On: November 24, 2020)

Addressing delegates at the key donor pledging conference in Geneva on Tuesday, the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for an immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan and said that any move to set up an Islamic Emirate would affect the bloc’s support.

Borrell told delegates at the pledging conference: “A ceasefire should not be an outcome of the (peace) process, it should accompany the process from today…Any attempt to restore an Islamic Emirate would have an impact on our political and financial engagement.”

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, who announced the EU’s pledge at the conference, said: “A pledge of €1.2 billion (US$1.4 billion) for the next four years illustrates our commitment to the Afghan people. Our assistance will support the Afghan authorities’ agenda for democratic, sustainable development and modernisation, helping to lift people out of poverty, improve governance, reduce corruption and enhance the daily lives of the Afghan people.”

In a statement issued by the EU after the announcement, the bloc said: “The EU’s support to Afghanistan is conditional upon an inclusive, Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace process that builds on the political and social achievements of the last 19 years.”

The EU was not however alone in its conditions-based approach as many other countries echoed these words.

Top of the list among a number of conditions was that of women’s rights and most donors pledged support on condition that women’s voices continued to be heard, that women form a key component to the peace process and that their rights are preserved.

Reuters meanwhile reported that uncertainty over whether compromises needed for peace might lead to backsliding on human and women’s rights, has made some countries wary about making long-term commitments to an Afghan administration – which needs foreign money to cover about three-quarters of its spending.

Some diplomats said that keeping a tight rein on funding could provide foreign governments with some leverage to inject a greater sense of urgency into the peace process.

Also, most governments are under intense pressure to make savings as they ramp up spending to help their own economies recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, diplomats told Reuters.

Countries pledged billions of dollars on Tuesday in addition to the EU’s 1.2 billion euros ($1.43 billion).

According to Shamroz Khan Masjidi, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, Afghanistan’s foreign partners pledged a total of US$6 billion for development over the next four years.

Latest News

MPs call for ‘national treasure’ to be sent abroad for safekeeping

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: January 27, 2021)

The Presidential Palace (ARG) on Wednesday called for calm and for MPs in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) to act and speak responsibly about national issues after they called for the country’s treasure, the Bactrian Hoard, to be sent abroad for safekeeping.

ARG tweeted that the “Wolesi Jirga Speaker’s remarks about the safety of the Bactrian Treasure and its transfer abroad were unfortunate.”

The collection of pieces, including gold items, numbers about 20,000 in total, and date back to the period covering the third century BC to the first century AD.

Unearthed in northern Afghanistan in 1978 from four archaeological sites, the treasure has been preserved for hundreds of years and hidden during times of war.

In line with this, ARG tweeted the Bactrian Hoard “is one of the greatests assets of the Afghan people, which has been preserved in the maze of history in which the country’s assets were looted.”

ARG also stated that government has protected this historical treasure in a responsible manner and has allowed it to be exhibited several times in countries around the world.

The exhibitions have been done in a way for the treasure to represent “the history and identity of Afghanistan, and significant revenues to the state treasury have been obtained through this,” said ARG.

The Presidential Palace’s reaction came on the heels of comments made by Rahman Rahmani, the Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, who called for the treasure to be sent out of the country and stored abroad for safekeeping.

Rahmani said the Central Bank, where the gold is currently housed, was unreliable, and he insisted on transferring the “hoard” to a more trustworthy country on loan.

In addition to this, some lawyers also called on government to examine the state of the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

The issue was raised after SIGAR released a report recently stating that vast amounts of money is still being smuggled out of the country, especially out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul – and specifically through the VIP area.

“If money is smuggled, the Bactrian treasure will not be safe, and this treasure is to support Afghanistan’s money and must be transferred to another country because the Central Bank lacks credit, and this is a very serious matter,” Rahmani said.

Another MP, Nilofar Ibrahimi said: “Action must be taken to prevent the transfer of Bakhtar treasures, because the Central Bank’s cameras have been turned off for two months and we are concerned about the distrust of the current government and this treasure is in danger of being smuggled and should be transferred to a trustworthy country.”

The total collection is estimated to be worth around $13 billion. Over the past 13 years, the treasure has been exhibited in foreign countries, earning Afghanistan about 314 million Afghanis.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Commitment to peace is all that’s keeping Republic’s team in Doha

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: January 27, 2021)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said Wednesday the level of violence meted out by the Taliban is so intense that government should have walked away from negotiations but instead a steadfast belief in peace on Afghanistan’s part has kept the negotiations on track in Doha, Qatar.

Speaking at an Afghan Women’s Network meeting, Abdullah said government’s determination at securing peace is the only reason the talks are still underway.

He also said the Taliban must stop calling for the release of more prisoners until they have changed their ways.

“As long as the violence continues at the same level, the negotiations should have been stopped, because the violence escalated and it escalated from the other side, unfortunately. Our commitment to peace is decisive and we will continue the process,” Abdullah said.

“There is hope for the people of Afghanistan; when we are close to peace, then the issue of prisoners won’t be a problem; it is certainly part of the agreements that are being reached,” Abdullah added.

Members of the peace negotiating team meanwhile said the Taliban is not ready for a ceasefire and everytime the topic turns to their request for an Islamic Emirate, the group’s members walk away from the negotiating table.

The Republic’s talks team members also said the Taliban team has not been interested in discussing the agenda for the last ten days.

“Whenever there is a discussion about the issues they raise, they shrug their shoulders and they have repeatedly run away from the negotiating table,” said Farooq Majrooh, a member of the Afghan Republic’s team.

“They want to be superior, to use war and terror as a means, and to have the upper hand in this matter,” said Habiba Surabi, another member of the negotiating team.

However, Afghan women have called for an immediate ceasefire and said that peace talks and violence cannot go hand-in-hand.

“Violence parallel with peace talks is illogical and we want a ceasefire,” said Roshan Sirran, head of Afghan Women’s Network (AWN).

“The more bloodshed there is, the greater the distance, the greater the animosity, and the greater the distance between the parties,” said Sima Samar, former Minister of Government for Human Rights.

The Taliban have in the past stated they will only discuss a ceasefire once a ruling system for Afghanistan has been determined.

Continue Reading

Latest News

AIHRC reports sharp increase in assassinations last year

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: January 27, 2021)

Over 2,000 civilians were killed or wounded in targeted assassinations and attempted assassinations last year, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said.

According to a report released on Wednesday, this attack method mainly targets civilian government employees, journalists, members of civil society, religious scholars, influential and prominent figures, members of the National Assembly and human rights defenders.

The AIHRC said in the report that a total of 2,250 people were killed or injured in targeted assassination attacks and attempts – including 1,078 killed and 1,172 injured – last year.

“Unfortunately, civilian casualties from assassinations and targeted killings in 2020 have almost tripled to 169 percent compared to 2019,” the report stated.

In 2019, a total of 834 civilians were killed and injured as a result of the use of assassination methods and targeted attacks.

AIHRC stated that 65 women and 74 children were among the victims of this tactic who were killed, and 95 women and 290 children were among the wounded.

The watchdog noted in its report that suicide attacks had decreased by 23 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. Despite this, the number of civilian casualties from suicide attacks remained very high, AIHRC said.

In 2020, civilian casualties from Taliban suicide attacks decreased by 44 percent compared to 2019.

In 2019, 1,195 civilians were killed in Taliban suicide attacks, killing 301 and wounding 894 while in 2020, that number dropped to 528 victims, including 65 killed and 463 injured.

In the civilian casualties caused by ISIS (Daesh Afghanistan) suicide attacks, in 2020, compared to 2019, there was a 33 percent increase.

In 2019, the total number of civilian casualties resulting from ISIL (Daesh Afghanistan) suicide attacks was 194 killed and wounded. In 2020, that number rose to 258 killed and injured.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Ariana News. All rights reserved!