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Govt says US forces spared from attacks, but Afghans paying the price

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: January 3, 2021)

The deputy spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday that the reason why the US has not suffered casualties among its forces in the past 10 months is because the foreign forces are no longer fighting in Afghanistan.

Reacting to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s earlier statement about the Taliban not targeting American soldiers in Afghanistan in the past year, Meenapal said this was not because of the US-Taliban deal as Pompeo stated but because the US was no longer actively involved in the war on the ground.

Meenapal said the casualties are being sustained by the Afghan security forces and that the Taliban is now at war with the Afghan people and with the country’s own security forces.

On Sunday morning Pompeo put the lack of casualties among US troops down to the Taliban adhering to the Doha deal signed in February.

In a series of tweets Pompeo said: “Our mission in Afghanistan is to eliminate Al-Qaeda and threats to the American homeland. Don’t need 10s of 1,000s of U.S. troops on the ground to do that. We have partners: brave Afghans, NATO forces. We also have the ability to project power from afar”.

He said no US servicemen had been killed in Afghanistan in almost a year, and Afghans are finally discussing peace and reconciliation among themselves.

“Logged a lot of air miles to Qatar and Afghanistan and back for talks,” he said.

Meshrano Jirga head Fazl Hadi Muslimyar meanwhile noted his dismay at the high levels of violence being meted out by insurgents against the Afghan people.

Sarcastically he said: “I want to congratulate the Taliban that no Americans have been killed in the past year, but dozens of Afghan soldiers have been killed.”

The Taliban has not commented on government’s reaction to Pompeo’s remarks.

This comes just two days ahead of the resumption of intra-Afghan peace talks in the Qatari capital, Doha.

It also comes amid a serious spike in targeted attacks and attempted assassinations of public figures including journalists, civil society activists and government employees.

However, no group has yet to take responsibility for all these attacks.

Meanwhile, in response to Pompeo’s comments, the Taliban said in a series of tweets Sunday that no attacks against US forces since the Doha deal shows that the Islamic Emirate is fulfilling its obligations as a committed entity.

The Islamic Emirate wants the hoped for peace agreement to be implemented in the same way, the group tweeted.

“We will fulfill the same obligations when we reach an agreement with the internal” actors, the group stated.

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EU-Afghan working group tackles human rights issues

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: February 24, 2021)

The third meeting of the EU-Afghanistan Special Working Group on Human Rights, Good Governance and Migration was held on Wednesday virtually in which parties involved expressed grave concern about the continuing high level of violence, and condemned the increasing number of targeted killings of media workers, civil society activists and law enforcement officials.

In a statement issued late Wednesday night, the European Union stated the parties discussed human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of the ongoing Afghan peace process.

The parties “expressed grave concern about the continuing high level of violence, and condemned the increasing number of targeted killings of media workers, civil society activists and law enforcement officials, who are essential bastions of a democratic and open society.”

The EU called on the Afghan government to “provide for the security of these important actors in society, as well as conduct thorough investigations, bring the culprits to justice and keep the Afghan public fully informed about the measures taken.”

The EU also emphasized the importance of respecting and promoting International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians in conflict by all parties to the conflict.

“The protection of civilians, medical and education facilities as well as humanitarian workers, cannot wait for peace. The parties stressed that only an immediate cessation of violence would restore confidence in the sincerity of the Taliban for a political settlement to end the war,” the statement read.

The EU and Afghanistan meanwhile agreed on the importance of an enhanced promotion of inclusivity in the peace talks, notably the involvement of women, youth, minorities, internally displaced persons, refugees and victims of war, to ensure an ownership of the process by all Afghans.

They also underlined that the preservation and further strengthening of the democratic and human rights gains of the last 20 years is indispensable during and after the peace process, and referred to the broad-based consensus on this, as expressed at the Geneva Conference for Afghanistan in November 2020.

“In the areas of women and children’s rights, the necessity to enforce legislation against widespread violence and harmful practices was highlighted, as well as the need to address discrimination against religious minorities.

“In the field of governance, the EU and Afghanistan emphasised the importance of free, fair, credible, transparent and inclusive electoral processes that would facilitate legitimate transfer of power, and discussed the experiences of their electoral cooperation and the prospects of continuing electoral reform.

“Anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) issues were also addressed, in view of the EU’s ongoing assessment of Afghanistan’s AML/CFT regime,” read the statement.

Afghanistan’s anti-corruption efforts were also discussed along with the regional dimension of migration.

The parties discussed the measures taken by the Afghan Government and commended their joint coordination in the area of anti-corruption policy and institutional reforms, and committed to keep the matter high on their bilateral agenda.

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200 corruption cases tackled by AGO in past two months

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2021)

The Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday during a state accountability program briefing that 200 corruption cases, mostly involving government officials and government employees, have been investigated in the past two months.

“In the past two solar months the Attorney General has handed over 224 corruption cases to the High Court and 500 people have been charged,” said Jamshid Rasouly, spokesman for the AGO.

“The defendants include high-ranking officials such as deputies, governors, heads of departments, members of the provincial council and parliament, who have been charged with embezzlement, bribery, abuse of authority, money laundering, forgery of documents, also among these, there are 76 military cases and 178 defendants are included,” Rasouly added.

Rasouly said more than 1,700 corruption cases have been investigated this (solar) year. He said government officials, a number of members of the National Assembly and Provincial Councils are among those charged.

“In one year, the tireless efforts of the Attorney General’s Office to establish a modern anti-corruption mechanism have led to far-reaching changes. Today, the results of this national struggle in 1399 solar year are 1,791 cases, which shows that this promise has been increasingly fulfilled,” Rasouly said.

But Integrity Watch Afghanistan says that there has been no reforms at the Attorney General’s Office in the fight against corruption.

This comes after President Ashraf Ghani said about a month ago the leadership of the Attorney General’s Office needed to ramp up efforts to fight corruption and questioned the body’s performance.

A number of MPs in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) and civil society members have claimed the Attorney General’s Office and the Afghan judiciary deal with cases of corruption politically.

In addition to this, it has been three months since the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission and according to Afghan oversight bodies and civil society, the commission has so far provided no results in the fight against corruption.

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Ghani claims Afghanistan in best position yet to achieve peace

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: February 24, 2021)

In a meeting with a number of Wolesi Jirga MPs, President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that now more than ever, the grounds for a free and just peace have been laid.

“Afghanistan is in a better position than ever to achieve a free and just peace, and there will be extensive consultations with the National Assembly in the coming months,” Ghani said.

Ghani also stated that NATO’s decision not to stay or leave Afghanistan is a big message to the Taliban, who expected the people to surrender.

“The fact that NATO has not yet decided is a big message, and the claims of those to whom the people will surrender will end; now the serious negotiations to reach a solution will pave the way for it (peace),” Ghani added.

On the other hand, the Afghan government’s peace negotiating team says that the Taliban have promised to resume talks after members of their delegation and their leadership return to Qatar.

“The Taliban themselves stated we should be at the negotiating tables to start talks when their leaders have returned,” said Harifa Zurmati, a member of the Republic’s negotiating team.

The State Ministry for Peace also said its contact groups have started work and are holding meetings in Doha.

“Meetings between the contact groups were not held for about a month, but now they have been held for the past two days and fortunately the meetings have started and are continuing,” said Najia Anwari, Strategic Communication General Director and spokesperson for the State Ministry for Peace.

The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan says that the first issue on their agenda is a nationwide ceasefire, while the Taliban has their first issue as that regarding the ruling system.

NATO, the European Union and other foreign partners have backed the call for a ceasefire so as to end violence and civilian casualties.

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