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Ghani adamant about handing over power to elected successor

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(Last Updated On: January 9, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday his basic goal is to be able to hand over power to an elected successor so as to honor all Afghans for the sacrifices they have made.

In an interview with CNN, Ghani said he hopes to do this “through the will of the people.”

“This is crucial to enable us to both honor the sacrifice of our civilians, our activists, and others.”

He also stated that if the goal of a sovereign, democratic, united Afghanistan is maintained then the current peace process will be able to move forward.

“But if the objective of the Taliban is to dominate and give us the peace of the grave, then that will have very negative consequences.

“Our society is united in seeking peace but we want to have a positive peace,” Ghani said.

Also in the interview was First Lady Rula Ghani who said the constructive participation of women at the Doha peace talks was a positive development.

She said the female peace negotiators for the Afghan Republic’s team were actively involved in the talks and had progressed from representing only women, to representing all of Afghanistan.

She said: “The Taliban are our brothers and our sisters and as Afghans, they have the right to come and live in Afghanistan,” adding that the question that needed to be asked was whether the Taliban had the right to bring their own way of thinking and impose it on the rest of the population.

She also said if the Taliban have political ambition “they can do it through the electoral process”.

The president meanwhile said: “We are in an open moment; the incoming [Joe] Biden administration is an immense opportunity – to work with us a) to define what the US security interests in Afghanistan and the region are – no one wants a return to a heavy footprint.”

He said the second point was that it was essential to end 40 years of conflict and thirdly, the peace process needs to be truly owned and led by the Afghan people.

Ghani also said the scale and scope of US presence in Afghanistan needs to be defined. “Here the most critical issue is how to marry a conditions-based approach with a time-based approach,” he said.

“My basic goal is to be able to hand power through the will of the people to my elected successor. This is crucial to enable us to both honor the sacrifice of our civilivilans, our activists, and others,” Ghani stated.

He also stated, “one thing needs to be clear Afghan society is not willing to go back and we are not the type of society that the Taliban type approach of the past can be imposed on us.”

“That was the peace of the graveyard, he said.

Ghani stated the country wants “a positive peace where all of us can overcome our past and embrace each other and rebuild an Afghanistan where all peace and countries can interact.”

On the issue of troops withdrawal, Ghani said: “We are on the frontline of your (US) security,” and stated the key issue is not about charity but about responsibility.

He asked the question of what is the threat of terrorism? Also is it a system or is it individuals?

He also said that since 2015, US lives lost in Afghanistan totals 98, “while we the Afghan people have lost over 40,000 civilians and military”.

But if “US would like to withdraw [troops], all we ask for is a process that is predictable,” and one that is mutually agreed upon, he stated.

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Muttaqi says non-recognition of IEA govt is benefitting Daesh

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Turkey can play “an active role in investing, realizing some projects, renovating and restoring Afghanistan,” with the resources it possesses, according to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s new acting foreign minister.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency during his visit to the country this week, Amir Khan Muttaqi said the official recognition of his government and international aid held great importance to the recovery of the country’s economy.

While in Turkey, Muttaqi met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed issues related to the official recognition of the IEA and the unfreezing by the US of Afghanistan’s assets.

Muttaqi said the freezing of reserves by the US after the IEA’s takeover, violated international law and human rights.

He stressed money blocked by the US was sent from other states for the development of Afghanistan.

“The real question is, why was this money blocked? What did the citizens of Afghanistan do?,” he asked.

“On the other hand, the US and other countries say that humanitarian aid should be given to Afghanistan and human rights should be respected. But, they leave the Afghan people with a population of about 40 million without basic necessities.”

However, he told Anadolu Agency that not recognizing the new government in Afghanistan benefits Daesh (ISIS-K) but dismissed concerns that the group was a threat to Afghanistan.

“They are carrying out attacks on mosques and streets. You will agree that it is not an easy task to ensure the safety of all mosques and streets. They do not own any place in Afghanistan,” he said adding that “the fact that the new state in Afghanistan is not officially recognized is beneficial to Daesh/ISIS.

“The countries of the world, on the one hand, say control the Afghan people so they do not emigrate. On the other hand, they do not officially recognize the government and give morale to Daesh/ISIS. This is in the interest of neither Afghanistan nor the world,” he said.

Turkey and the new administration in Afghanistan held their first high-level contact after the IEA took power on August 15.

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Merkel hopes Germany continues to work with Turkey

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

In a farewell visit to Turkey, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will continue to maintain a working relationship with Turkey, and stressed the need for continued cooperation on migration and other issues.

“The relationship between Turkey and Germany, with its positive and negative sides, will go on,” Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the steps of Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace.

“Everybody knows the security and independence of both our countries depends on each other.”

“We want to prevent human trafficking. It is essential … for the EU to support Turkey in this regard,” she said.

Merkel stressed that Turkey and Germany always have common interests, and added that this would be how the next federal government will see it.

Erdogan said Turkey would “always remember the good faith and the contribution” Merkel made towards maintaining ties with Turkey.

“From prevention of irregular migration from Syria, to dispatching humanitarian aid to northern Syria, on many topics Merkel did not abstain from taking the initiative and taking responsibility,” Erdogan said.

Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years, and Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 19 years, are perhaps the most seasoned political leaders in the region. At times, Merkel has pushed for maintaining ties with Turkey despite pressure at home over contentious issues such as migration and human rights.

Merkel is preparing to leave active politics later this year, but she will remain in her post until a new coalition government is formed.

Her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) narrowly lost the general elections late last month.

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Afghan delegation returns to Kabul after successful visit to Uzbekistan

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

The Afghan delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Mawlavi Abdul Hanafi wrapped up a one-day visit to Uzbekistan on Friday after discussing a number of key issues including trade relations.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that talks with Uzbek officials centered around trade expansion, transit facilitation, cooperation in the health sector, the 500 KW electricity lines between Sarkhan and Puli-Khumri, and a railway line through Kabul from Mazar-e-Sharif to Peshawar in Pakistan.

Mujahid said delegates discussed expanding the trade of basic essentials and fuel to Afghanistan in the coming winter.

Meanwhile the Uzbekistan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that both sides discussed border security, strengthening trade relations, cooperation in the health sector, energy, and transit.

Mujahid stated that Uzbekistan and Afghanistan also established joint working groups to discuss the related topics in-depth and to come up with a viable plan that can be presented to leaders of both countries within two weeks in order to take the projects forward.

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