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HPC Awaits Taliban’s ‘Formal’ Response to Government’s Peace Proposal

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(Last Updated On: March 3, 2018)

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) on Saturday said that the Taliban has indirectly rejected the government ‘unconditional’ peace offer, but the group’s faction led by Mullah Rasool has welcomed the proposal.

 The Taliban has not publicly responded to President Ghani’s offer delivered at Kabul Process II meeting last week, which included a cease-fire and prisoner swap, passports for Taliban representatives and their families, Taliban’s participation in elections and a review of the constitution and recognizing the group has legitimate political force.

On Thursday, in reply to an “Open Letter” – published last week in the New Yorker magazine in which the Taliban was urged to accept talks with the Kabul government – the Taliban issued a cool response to proposal that they should begin peace talks with the Afghan government.

“Our country has been occupied, which has led to an American-style supposed Afghan government being imposed upon us,” the Taliban response said.

“And your view that we talk to them and accept their legitimacy is the same formula adopted by America to win the war,” it said, adding that the Kabul Process II meeting was simply aimed at seeking the “surrender” of the Taliban.

Until now, the Taliban has refused to negotiate with Kabul and said it will not join talks until all foreign forces have left the country.

However, the High Peace Council said that there are still some positive signs which might open the door for peace talks as the Taliban reasoning lack of foreign troops’ issue in the offered proposal as an indication for the denial.

“There is disagreement and will be. They [the Taliban] have proposed an agenda that needs to be discussed, but if the Taliban respond [to the proposal] negatively, the world’s position towards them will get worse,” said Din Mohammad, Deputy Head of HPC.

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Afghan peace negotiator says they hope to finalize agenda soon

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Afghan Peace Negotiator, Mawlawi Attaullah Lodin said Sunday that the Afghan team and the Taliban peace talks team have not yet reached a consensus on the agenda and framework for negotiations going forward. 

Lodin, whose video message was posted to the official Afghan negotiating team’s Twitter page said the team is fully aware of Afghanistan’s calls for an immediate ceasefire but that the talks are complicated and will need time for agreements to be reached. 

He said: “We hope to finalize the agenda and that both sides agree to it. Thereafter a ceasefire should be called.”

Lodin also raised the issue of the US-Doha agreement signed in February, which has become a point of contention between the two teams. 

The agreement led to the Afghan negotiating team meeting the Taliban team around the talks tables, which started two weeks ago. 

However, the Afghan government was not a party to the deal between the US and the Taliban, which does not recognize the Afghan government as legitimate. 

“We were not present in the deal, we have not signed the deal,” said Lodin. 

This comes after a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, Khairullah Khairkhwa, said on Saturday that the main point of contention in the ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha was that the Afghanistan Republic was refusing to deal with the current talks within the framework of the US-Taliban agreement.

He also stated that the second point of contention is that Shiite members say that decisions should not be based solely on Hanafi jurisprudence. The Afghan negotiating team want Hanafi, Shiite and human rights included.

Lodin said, however, that according to the Afghan constitution, the Shiites Jaʿfari jurisprudence, or Ja’fari Fiqh, can not be ignored. 

“We don’t want to experience what is going on in Yemen and Syria as there is conflict between majorities and minorities in those countries,” he said. 

Another Afghan talks team member Nader Nadery meanwhile said late Sunday night that the two teams had met earlier and discussions had lasted several hours. The discussions focused on the contentious issues and would continue, he said.

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Abdullah’s official visit to Pakistan as head of HCNR confirmed

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), will pay an official three-day visit to Pakistan from Monday, Islamabad confirmed Sunday. 

During his visit, Abdullah will meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the foreign minister and other high-ranking government officials, Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement issued Sunday. 

Abdullah will also deliver a key-note address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

This will be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as head of the HCNR and the first since 2008. 

“The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry stated. 

“Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. 

“Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people. The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries,” read the statement.

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Bayat Foundation steps in to help vulnerable Surobi residents

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Afghan charity organization, the Bayat Foundation, stepped in to help needy Afghans again this week when they distributed food packages to victims of recent floods and conflict in the Surobi district of Kabul province.

According to Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of the organization, “the Bayat Foundation continues its assistance to flood victims – the same as we did with aid to other flood-affected people in Parwan and Maidan Wardak [provinces].”

“Today we are distributing food supplies including flour, rice, cooking oil, and pasta to vulnerable [families] who have been affected by the recent flash floods in Surobi district of Kabul province,” he said.

In the past few months, dozens of families have been displaced in the Surobi district due to conflict and floods. As such, Surobi District Governor Shah Mahmood Ibrahimkhail welcomed the assistance and thanked the organization for its help. 

He also asked that the foundation, along with other organizations, continue to help vulnerable families in affected communities. 

Recipients of the foundation’s food packages also voiced their appreciation stating many people had lost everything in the recent floods and many have no shelter and some have no food. 

In late August close to 200 people died in flash floods that devastated large parts of 13 provinces in the country. 

Thousands of homes were either damaged or destroyed and scores of farmers lost crops following days of torrential rain. 

In addition to this, many communities in the same areas and in other parts of the country continue to be affected by the ongoing conflict. 

In a statement issued last week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that as of September 20, more than 172,000 people had been displaced by conflict this year. 

An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced since 2012, with many of them living in informal settlements with few, if any, basic social services.

OCHA also stated that the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan requires US$1.1 billion, targeting more than 11 million people. To date, only $339 million has been received.

 

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