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Khalili labels attacks on Hazaras an act of genocide

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(Last Updated On: June 13, 2021)

Mohammad Karim Khalili, leader of Hezb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami Afghanistan party, on Sunday warned insurgents against continuing attacks targeting western parts of Kabul and “systematic massacres of Hazaras” and said that the perpetrators of these “tragedies” would force the Hazara people to rise up and defend themselves.

Khalili, who was also second vice president under former president Hamid Karzai, said that if Hazaras are forced to defend themselves, they would be able to defend themselves in other ways.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Khalili said that in recent months, the Hazara people have been killed in “catastrophic” ways, in the name of “ethnic and tribal” targeted killings or by “suicide bombings.”

He said based on the interpretation of jurists and scientific discussions, any type of ethnic-specific killings is a clear example of genocide.

Khalili said the Hazara people have been consistently targeted over the past 20 years.

“When these people stand against this kind of movement and shout the voice of justice, it does not mean confronting other ethnic groups,” Khalili said.

Khalili also pointed out that over the past few years, all the people of Afghanistan have been victims of violence and war and all the people have shared in these sacrifices. However, he added that there is no justification for this and the goal is to annihilate a nation.

Khalili explained that during this period, the Hazara people were however specifically targeted because of their ethnicity, on roads, at mosques, schools, training centers, wedding halls and sports clubs, “and were covered in dust and blood”.

Khalili asked what the interpretation of this act was – if not genocide?

“We have two types of casualties, one on the battlefield, in which we have casualties from all the tribes, and the people take their martyrs and bury them in honor, and we stand by the rest of the people; but once again in another way – they kill and want to de-identify the people, and according to their lawyers, de-identification is a type of genocide,” Khalili added.

He pointed out that other Hazara people had raised their voices just because of the recent incident and called on all the people of the country to unite with this nation.

“The boredom of the people of Hazara is over and it is not against any people or side, but against criminal gangs.

We wish all the tribes to comply with the sufferings of the Hazara people and we ask the people to help the people in this indictment,” Khalili said.

“We demand the Pashtun brothers, Uzbeks, Tajiks and other ethnic group’s lawyers support the Hazara people in this matter,” he said.

“Criminals are trying to strip this nation (Hazara) of their identity by any means.”

Khalili also called on the Independent Human Rights Commission and international organizations to examine recent incidents and attacks that happened in the Hazara and Shiite communities.

On the other hand, the leader of Hezb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami Afghanistan criticized the government for failing to provide security to Hazaras. He said that the leaders of the government have a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the people in accordance with the constitution.

Khalili added that the government cannot distance itself by accusing criminals.

“According to the constitution, the leadership of the government is responsible for ensuring the security of the people, the government cannot shower itself lightly here, and the government must clarify who is the perpetrator and who is behind these incidents,” Khalili said.

Khalili also said that the president must help the people.

On the other hand, the Khalili stated that if the goal of massacring Hazara people was to destroy this group – it would not be possible.

“If the aim of this action is to eliminate the Hazara people, it is not possible at all.The restlessness of a Hazara people does not mean fear,” Khalili said.

His comments come after at least six bombings took place in western Kabul in the past two weeks, which is home to mostly Hazaras. The blasts mainly targeted passenger cars and killed at least 28 people and injured nearly 30 others.

Talking about peace in Afghanistan Khalili called for an “agreed peace” settlement.

“We will achieve lasting peace when all the people, parties and stakeholders are partners and you find yourself in the peace process. Imported peace is not effective at all,” Khalili said.

Khalili also called on all parties including the Taliban to grab the opportunity for peace and urged parties to “not let this opportunity be wasted.”

“I also say to the Taliban that we want such a peace that all parties see themselves in.”

“The roots of the conflict are resolved when compromise is reached, not through political compromise, and the peace process will succeed when it becomes a process of reconciliation,” he said.

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Afghanistan on ‘countdown to catastrophe’ as winter looms

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The combined shocks of drought, conflict, COVID-19 and an economic crisis in Afghanistan, have left more than half the population facing a record level of acute hunger, according to a new UN assessment published on Monday.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), revealed that the lives, livelihoods and access to food for 22.8 million people will be severely impacted.

“It is urgent that we act efficiently and effectively to speed up and scale up our delivery in Afghanistan before winter cuts off a large part of the country, with millions of people – including farmers, women, young children and the elderly – going hungry in the freezing winter”, said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “It is a matter of life or death”.

According to the report, more than one-in-two Afghans will face Phase 3 crisis or Phase 4 emergency levels of acute food insecurity from November through to March (winter) and will require an urgent international response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

“We cannot wait and see humanitarian disasters unfolding in front of us – it is unacceptable”, he added.

This is the highest number of acutely food insecure people ever recorded by the UN, during 10 years of conducting IPC analyses in Afghanistan.

And globally, the country is home to one of the largest number of people facing acute hunger.

“Hunger is rising and children are dying”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

“We can’t feed people on promises – funding commitments must turn into hard cash, and the international community must come together to address this crisis, which is fast spinning out of control”.

Among those at risk are 3.2 million children under five, who are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year.

Last month, WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that without immediate life-saving treatment, one million children risked dying from severe acute malnutrition.

And for the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities.

“Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed”, said the WFP chief.

“This winter, millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation unless we can step up our life-saving assistance, and unless the economy can be resuscitated”.

To meet rising needs, the UN will need to mobilize resources at unprecedented levels, yet the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan remains only a third funded.

“We are on a countdown to catastrophe and if we don’t act now, we will have a total disaster on our hands”, Beasley said.

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IEA excluded from Tehran meeting on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, plus Russia, is scheduled to start Wednesday in Tehran without the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), which has not been invited.

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign minister has said that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will give an opening address and that foreign ministers of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan will attend the meeting in person, and the foreign ministers of China and Russia will attend the meeting virtually.

On Monday an IEA official said they had asked Iran for details on the meeting but had so far not received anything.

According to IRNA news agency, the UN Secretary General António Guterres will also issue a message to this meeting.

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a press conference on Tuesday: “The meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries will be held tomorrow with the participation of six neighboring countries, plus Russia.”

He also said that the ambassadors of the participating countries will be present.

Khatibzadeh said a statement would be made once consensus among neighboring countries has been reached.

“Tomorrow, the focus will be on fulfilling the will of the Afghan people and the future of this country,” Khatibzadeh added.

Bahadar Aminian, Iranian ambassador in Kabul said Monday that economic and security problems and establishing an inclusive government will be discussed at the Tehran meeting.

“Countries in the region in Tehran meeting will emphasize responsibility about security, economic stability and an inclusive government,” said Aminian.

The Iranian envoy added that participants will also discuss sending humanitarian aid for Afghans and talk about development projects in Afghanistan.

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US was losing war to IEA so it turned to negotiations: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The United States was losing the war to the Taliban (IEA) so it chose negotiations as an alternative, said the former US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in an interview with CBS News.

According to him, Washington tried many times to strengthen its position on the battleground but it failed.

“We did not defeat them. In fact, they were making progress on the battlefield even as we were negotiating with them. And the reason we negotiated with them was because militarily things were not going as well as we would have liked. We were losing ground each year,” he said.

Khalilzad blamed former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani for the disintegration of Afghanistan’s security sector, saying his escape triggered the chaos i seen in Kabul as the US withdrew its troops.

“But I believe the biggest difficulty was that President Ghani and a few other Afghan leaders did not believe that we were serious about withdrawal for a long time, and they liked the status quo compared to a political settlement in which they might not have the jobs that they had and- and the resources that the US was providing would not be there.

“They preferred the status quo to a political settlement. And then when it became clear that the U.S. was leaving, then they- they miscalculated the effects of-of the continuing war. They were not serious about the political settlement,” he said.

and did not take into account the real situation in the country.

Khalilzad believes that the US counterterrorism mission in the country succeeded as “the terrorist threat from Afghanistan is not what it used to be” and al-Qaeda has been “devastated.”

He said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is living up to its agreement regarding al-Qaeda stating “we are convinced that they are not allowing- they are not allowing plotting and planning operations by al-Qaeda against the United States.

“We always would like to see more from the Taliban (IEA), from almost any country that we deal with on this issue. We would like them to do more. We would like to expel- to- to get them to expel any al-Qaeda member who was there.”

“We should press them to do more on the issue of terrorism,” he added.

Asked if he knew where the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri was, Khalilzad said: “Well, the [UN] report that I have seen indicates he could be in Afghanistan or adjacent territories.”

However, he said the IEA members he negotiated with in Doha said they did not know where al-Zawahiri was.

He went on to say he did not necessarily believe this and said: “That’s why it’s very important not to take their word for it, in terms of what they say or what they commit to. That’s why we are saying there has to be over the horizon monitoring of the commitments on terrorism and the ability to strike if we see plotting and planning going on.”

On October 18, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Khalilzad had stepped down as a special envoy for Afghanistan.

Khalilzad said that he made the decision to resign at a time when Washington is beginning a new phase of policy toward Kabul following the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.

“I was representing the United States to carry out the president’s direction. But I believe the biggest difficulty was that President Ghani and a few other Afghan leaders did not believe that we were serious about withdrawal for a long time, and they like the status quo compared to a political settlement in which they might not have the jobs that they had and- and the resources that the US was providing would not be there.

“They preferred the status quo to a political settlement, he said.

Khalilzad also stated that he would have liked to have seen a negotiated settlement but implied that Ghani did not give this a chance.

He said Afghanistan was close to his heart, especially as he had been born in the country.

“I was born there, and I have spent a lot of my life on behalf of the United States focused on Afghanistan. I helped them with their constitution. I helped them with their first election. I established an American university in-in Afghanistan.

“I was very encouraged by the first years, the enthusiasm, the hopefulness that I observed there,” he said adding that the “political elite of the country made terrible mistakes”.

He said they “allowed corruption, misused elections, democracy, and didn’t treat their security forces perhaps the way they should have been treated.

“And we faced the- the circumstances we did.”

In conclusion he said: “Now it’s time for the Afghans to take ownership with non-military assistance, unless we are threatened, then our military should be in play. But we should not abandon Afghanistan, turn our back on it — use our influence as a country with enormous capability and influence to encourage the emergence of an Afghanistan that the Afghans aspire for.”

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