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Hekmatyar claims political parties already in talks with Taliban

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: August 31, 2020)

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, says that Afghan political parties have already started negotiations with the Taliban, and that initial agreements have been made.

In an interview with Ariana News, Hekmatyar stated that government’s negotiating team is not “comprehensive” and government is consulting with Afghan political parties on issues around the process.

He said that there is no consensus between government and the political parties on the Afghan peace process.

“Government does not have a political consensus, they have not reached an agreement with the leading political parties; therefore, it made the parties start direct talks with the Taliban and the Taliban is also ready to sit with the parties around the negotiating table,” Hekmatyar said.

“An initial agreement has been reached even on the location of the negotiations. The Taliban also knows that the system is not honest and they are wasting time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hekmatyar believes that government is following a hostile policy, and urged government to change its approach to the Taliban.

The Hizb-e-Islami leader said: “I think reaching peace with the current system is impossible. If anyone wants the system and the security forces to be sustainable, and not to face Dr. Najibullah’s fate: they must enter into peace negotiations honestly.”

Najibullah was the president of Afghanistan from 1987 until his resignation in April 1992, shortly after which the mujahideen took over Kabul. After a failed attempt to flee to India, Najibullah remained in Kabul living in the United Nations headquarters until his death at the hands of the Taliban after their capture of the city.

Hekmatyar also stated that government “should not look for an alternative ally to pursue the Afghan war.”

In addition, Hekmatyar claimed that the Afghan government has no authority to make the decision in terms of the peace process, saying that the “US is a decision-maker in the process.”
The Afghan government has not yet commented on Hekmatyar’s remarks.

Opposition grows over Ghani’s decree
Hekmatyar’s statement is another hurdle in the way of intra-Afghan negotiations after a number of prominent figures baulked at President Ashraf Ghani’s decree Sunday appointing more than 40 members of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

First to reject his appointment was former president Hamid Karzai, who was then followed by former foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani and Hekmatyar.

Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation meanwhile issued a statement Monday opposing Ghani’s decree.

He said the president does not have the authority to appoint people to the body tasked with leading peace talks with the Taliban.

Abdullah said in the statement that “consultations about the formation of the council continue with political and civil society leaders and it will conclude soon.”

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Wolesi Jirga votes in favor of six ministers and head of NDS

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

The Lower House of Parliament (Wolesi Jirga) Monday voted in favor of six nominated ministers and Head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) but rejected two nominees proposed by the government.

The MPs voted for eight nominated ministers and NDS Chief during a general session of Parliament.

Ahmad Zia Saraj received 220 votes of confidence as Head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi got 189 votes as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, Mahmud Karzai got 154 votes of confidence for the position of the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Haroon Chakhansuri secured 154 votes as Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Qudratullah Zaki secured 165 votes as Minister of Transport, Noor Rahman Akhlaqi secured 176 votes as Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, and Najibullah Yamin got 149 votes of confidence for the position of Public Works Minister.

Meanwhile, two nominated ministers – Tahir Zahir for Minister of Information and Culture received 78 votes, and Hasina Safi got 144 out of 244 votes – failing to receive a vote of confidence by the MPs.

Parliament urged the government to introduce other nominees for the two ministries.

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Mastermind behind deadly ANDSF base attack in Ghazni killed

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

The Afghan Ministry of Defense said Monday that the mastermind behind Sunday’s attack on an ANDSF base in Dah-Yak in Ghazni province was killed in an airstrike in the Giro district.

“Hamza Waziristani, the mastermind behind the attack on ANDSF base in Ghazni province was killed along with seven others in an airstrike in Giro district on Sunday night,” the MoD said in a statement.

According to the statement, during the strike a large amount of weapons and ammunition were also destroyed.

No more details were provided by the ministry.

This comes after a Humvee full of explosives was detonated close to a public protection unit in PD3 of Ghazni city.

Ghazni governor’s spokesman Wahidullah Jumazadah said that at least 10 soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the bombing.

According to him, no civilians were injured in the incident.

But health officials reported that at least 21 security force members have been killed and 17 others wounded.

Meanwhile, citing public health department officials from Ghazni, CNN reported Monday that at least 40 Afghan soldiers had been killed.

Health officials also said the blast targeted a compound of the public protection force, a wing of the Afghan security forces, which damaged civilian residences around the compound. They said there could be more casualties from there.

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Sweet rewards for Nangarhar’s beekeepers

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

Nangarhar beekeepers have so far this year produced about 500 tons of honey, making it the province with the highest yield across the country.

With its favorable climate, where temperatures seldom drop below freezing, about 600 Nangarhar honey farmers have in total between 35,000 and 40,000 bee colonies collectively.

Not only does this sector produce about 500 tons of honey a year currently but it also provides job opportunities to around 2,000 people.

Nangarhar agriculture department officials say between 22 and 30 different types of bees are used to produce honey in the province.

Honey farming has become increasingly popular in the province over the past few years and beekeepers say the sweet treat helps provide them with a fairly decent wage which covers their basic needs.

One kilogram of Nangarhar honey sells on local markets for between 250 and 500 Afghanis – but it’s also sold in other provinces around the country.

In a bid to support and boost the sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAIL) has established the Association of Honey Producers, which aims to connect industry stakeholders including government, institutions, beekeepers and other supply chain entities.

The association also aims to help beekeepers increase production so as to further develop the sector.

According to officials of the Nangarhar Honey Producers Association, the province’s honey is sold in different provinces of the country, and currently there are active representatives in Helmand, Balkh, Kabul and Herat provinces.

The Association of Honey Producers of Nangarhar Province has also created five honey processing plants in the province.

Apart from Nangarhar, other honey producing provinces include Badakhshan, Takhar, Balkh, Helmand, Panjshir, Parwan, Kapisa, Ghazni and Herat provinces.

Mountainous areas, with clean air, covered with natural plants and flowers, are considered suitable places for beekeepers and honey farmers.

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