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Govt’s Negotiating Team Members: ‘We Are Not Aware of the Selection’

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2018)

Some members of the government’s negotiating team for peace talks with the Taliban say they are not aware of their selection, insisting that the President’s Office has not consulted them in this regard yet.

It has been a week since the list of government’s 12-member negotiating team has been shared with the people.

The team includes:  Ghani’s chief of staff Abdul Salam Rahimi, Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi, Minister of Education, Hasina Safi, Minister of Information and Culture, Abdul Tawab Balakarzai, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Alema, Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, General Ebadullah Ebad, Deputy of National Directorate of Security, Shahgul Rezaee, Member of Wolesi Jirga, Attaullah Ludin, Member of Ulema Council, Shamim Katawazai, governor of Paktia province, Abdullah Attai, Member of Supreme Court, Tooryali Ghiasi, Director of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Abdul Hakim Muneeb, Deputy Minister of Haj and Religious Affairs

However, some members of the formulated team expressed “unawareness” regarding the issue.

“We have been included in the team, but we are not even aware of our selection so far,” said Abdul Munib who is also the head of Islamic Revolution Movement of Afghanistan. “We have not been consulted in this regard.” 

The negotiating team was announced by President Ashraf Ghani on the second day of the two-day Geneva Conference where he also revealed the formation of a new advisory board.

The board is comprised of nine committees including Political Leaders Committee, Political Parties Committee, Youth Affairs Committee, Women’s Affairs Committee, Ulema Committee, Provincial Leaders Committee, Civil Society and Cultural Committee and Private Sector Committee and Refugees and Diaspora Committee.

However, some political parties said that the negotiating team should have been comprised of representatives from political parties, civil society, and tribal elders.

“Over the last 17 years, they [the Taliban] refuse to negotiate with the government. The team which has been introduced should have had representatives of political parties, civil society, and tribal elders,” said Abdul Satar Murad, a member of Jamiat-e-Islami party.

This comes as the Taliban has rejected the government’s negotiating team and insisted on having direct talks with the United States.

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IEA to assess academic credentials of religious scholars

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

A meeting of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) cabinet ministers was held on Tuesday, IEA said in a statement.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund approved a plan to regulate the academic ranks of religious scholars and evaluate their academic credentials.

Akhand stressed at the ministerial meeting that the documents of religious scholars should be evaluated and their academic ranks should be determined, the statement said.

In addition to this, a delegation from the IEA has been appointed to resolve the problem of companies not being able to access their money held in banks.

The continuation of the ID card distribution process, the preparation of a population census plan, solving the problem of drug addicts, the sound management of foreign aid, and the TAPI project were also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of IEA’s ministers.

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IEA leader meets with Chinese officials in Qatar, discusses bilateral issues

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has again urged the US to ease sanctions against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to help the country overcome a looming humanitarian crisis.

Speaking during the first high-level meeting with the Afghan interim government in Qatar on Monday, Wang emphasized the seriousness of the problem unfolding in Afghanistan.
It was Wang’s first meeting with acting deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar since July, when the IEA leader visited Tianjin in northern China shortly before the takeover of Kabul, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

“Afghanistan is facing quadruple challenges, namely the humanitarian crisis, economic chaos, terrorist threats and governance difficulties. Overcoming these challenges requires more understanding and support from the international community,” Wang said.

“China urges the Western countries led by the United States as a whole to lift sanctions, and calls on all parties to engage with the Afghan Taliban (IEA) in a rational and pragmatic manner to help Afghanistan embark on a path of sound development.”

Wang also pledged that China would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Beijing announced last month that it would donate 200 million yuan (US$31.3 million) in aid, including food and coronavirus vaccines, to the war-torn nation, SCMP reported.

Meanwhile, a delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with a delegation led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday.

The two sides discussed issues including diplomatic relations, bilateral trade, China’s humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and the creation of higher education opportunities for Afghan students in China, as well as opportunities and challenges in bilateral relations.

The acting minister thanked China for its comprehensive assistance and said that the new Islamic government would ensure that Afghan soil would not be used against any country, including China.

Muttaqi said Afghanistan had a balanced foreign policy based on co-operation and understanding.

“China has an important place in our foreign policy and is an important country in the region,” he added. The whole region, including China, benefits from Afghanistan’s stability.

The Chinese Foreign Minister welcomed the recent positive developments in Afghanistan and noted that Afghanistan and China have historical ties.

He said China would work in the future based on the common interests of both countries and would never interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

Wang said his country respected Afghanistan’s security, independence and territorial integrity.

The Chinese side also stressed its support for Afghanistan to chart its own course for development.

China is playing its part in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. The Foreign Minister said that his country would continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid who is accompanying the delegation said that China provided $1 million to Afghanistan and has promised to provide $5 million more in humanitarian aid, especially medicine and food.

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John Kerry and Imran Khan discuss Afghanistan on sidelines of MGI summit

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The United States’ Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, spoke with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Riyadh yesterday on the sidelines of the “Middle East Green Initiative (MGI)” Summit.

In the regional context, the Imran Khan underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister stressed the need for the international community to work pragmatically to preserve peace and security, avert a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and prevent an economic collapse.

Imran Khan also underscored the need for positive engagement and release of Afghanistan’s economic resources and financial assets for the welfare of the Afghan people.

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