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Ghani says Afghanistan is ‘not at risk of collapse’

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(Last Updated On: April 16, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday that US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s decision to withdraw foreign forces set the context for a “reset” of assumptions, alignments, and actions and that the Afghan government is “not at risk of collapse”.

Addressing a virtual event organized by Azerbaijan’s Nizami Ganjavi International Center, Ghani said: “We are not at risk of collapse. The narrative of the Afghan government falling apart is a false narrative.”

According to him, Afghan commandos, special forces, and air force alone are 40,000 strong, and “they have trained among the best, they are among the best in the region.”

“As long as this force stays, there is no risk of state collapse,” Ghani said adding he is proud to be their commander-in-chief.

He also said all these forces have been brought into one command of the Afghanistan National Authority for Special Operations and that they carry out 30 to 40 operations every day “with precision and determination”.

Ghani added that the people of Afghanistan are also armed “and ready to defend their villages and districts”.

He said the nature of the war has become a challenge as there are no rules to it, pointing out that never since the Mongol invasion have women and Ulema been targeted and assassinated.

“It’s this unrestricted war that needs to end,” he said.

Ghani said he had a “very constructive” conversation with Biden on Wednesday night and a good one-and-a-half-hour meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.

He said: “I respect President Biden’s decision,” and that in the 24 hours that followed the phone conversation he spent worked to “help frame the next chapter of our relationship with the United States, NATO, non-NATO allies” including Azerbaijan that has close to 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

He said the fundamental issue was that as the context changes, Afghanistan must change accordingly.

Ghani pointed out that Biden’s decision was a game-changer as “it forces all actors and stakeholders in the region, in Eurasia, in the Islamic world and globally to rethink their assumptions.”

He said Biden’s decision now removes the uncertainty over whether US troops would be withdrawn adding that this uncertainty has hovered over Afghanistan for the past two years.

“Now the ambiguity has been removed, we have clarity.”

Ghani also stated it brings an end to the narrative of US/NATO being “part of a larger regional competition and Afghanistan as a site of the competition with other big powers”.

“Also, I hope this puts an end to conspiracy theories,” he said adding that for Afghanistan, it is now a narrative of responsibility, of partnership, of nation-building, peacebuilding and market building among others.

Regional countries will also have to rethink the parameters of their own security and their partnerships with Afghanistan he said adding that the UN will get a “renewed importance” in its function as a peacemaker.

Ghani said Biden’s move heralds a new chapter in the strategic partnership with the US and according to Blinken the Strategic Partnership Agreement and the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) will “remain intact” while assistance for the defense and security forces and humanitarian assistance will continue.

He said this was, however “a moment of choice for the Taliban. Will they opt for peace that is on the table? Or will they opt for conquest?”

Ghani stated that Biden and Stoltenberg’s announcement on the withdrawal of troops also provided “a moment of choice for Pakistan.”

He said for Pakistan it is a decision of destiny. “Will it opt for regional cooperation, international partnership, and regional prosperity through joint efforts, or will it give way to the forces that have tendered to support and sustain the Taliban and the wave of extremism for which Pakistan next to Afghanistan has probably paid the highest price? So, it is a moment of decision.”

Ghani also reiterated earlier commitments that for the sake of peace he was willing to hold elections within the next six to 12 months so the people “can choose their leader”.

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IEA eager for dialogue with the world: China’s Wang Yi

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials are eager to have dialogue with the rest of the world, and the international community should help Afghanistan with its development, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

In an address delivered by video link to a conference in Iran on Afghanistan, Wang said Beijing was ready to host further talks between Afghanistan and its neighbours on the country’s future.

“The Taliban (IEA) are eager to have dialogue with the world … China will host the third Neighbours of Afghanistan meeting at the appropriate time,” Wang said in comments broadcast live by Iranian state TV.

The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.

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Iran says IEA must ensure security to all Afghans and borders

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday at the opening of a conference on Afghanistan in Tehran that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) are responsible for the security of all Afghans and the country’s borders.

Addressing delegates from Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, and Russia, Amir-Abdollahian said: “We must emphasize that the responsibility of security for Afghan citizens, as well as security at the borders of this country with its neighbors, first of all lies with the ruling council temporarily in charge of Afghanistan.”

Iran also called on the IEA to ensure the Shiite community in Afghanistan is provided security. This comes after recent attacks, claimed by Daesh, targeted this minority group in the country.

The Iranian foreign minister also called on the international community “to pay special attention” to political and humanitarian problems, as well as to terrorism, narcotics trafficking and women’s rights in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the Iranian foreign ministry called on the IEA, which was not invited to the meeting, to form an inclusive government and prevent violence.

“The people of Afghanistan are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including food, medicine and vaccines to combat Covid,” Amir- Abdollahian told the second meeting of Afghanistan’s foreign ministers.

He said: “Considering the fact that aid should be distributed in such a way that people can benefit from it in a fair way.”

“Given the ubiquity of the UN umbrella, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s proposal is to request the Secretary-General of the Organization to make a concerted effort and, if necessary, mediate between the Afghan parties to reach an agreement on the future political structure of the country,” he said.

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Nato was a political failure in Afghanistan: UK’s defence secretary

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(Last Updated On: October 27, 2021)

Nato’s political campaign in Afghanistan was a failure, the UK’s defence secretary said on Tuesday but insisted the western alliance had not suffered a military defeat at the hands of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

Speaking to the Commons defence committee on Tuesday afternoon, Wallace said Nato forces could have stayed on in the country, but a “rotten deal” struck by Donald Trump’s US government led to the IEA’s triumphant return, the Guardian reported.

It was “highly likely” that there would now be a renewed threat from al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, Wallace said. But, he added: “For 20 years we were safer, so we can bank that.

“I don’t think that we were defeated. Our resolve was found wanting, I would say, rather than defeated,” he said.

“Nato were there to enable a political campaign and I think that is what failed. The military were there to put in place the security environment in order to try and deliver that.

“When that is withdrawn, that is when you find out whether your political campaign has worked. What we discovered is it didn’t work. It was the western resolve and the western narrative or political foundations they had laid failed. There are a lot of searching questions there for all of us.”

He added: “I think it is highly likely that we will see a return to al-Qaeda and an increasing threat coming from Afghanistan.”

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