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Khalilzad heads to Doha carrying message of ‘participatory govt’ to Taliban

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(Last Updated On: March 4, 2021)

US special envoy for Afghanistan peace Zalmay Khalilzad headed to Doha on Thursday where he will share details of his Kabul trip with the Taliban.

This comes after Khalilzad held a meeting with Afghan lawmakers while in Kabul, where he suggested the Constitution be amended so as to form a new government.

Some members of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said that according to Khalilzad, there was little hope that the Doha talks will be successful and that instead a larger summit on the future of Afghanistan is being considered.

“Mr Khalilzad, brought a message that Americans want a participatory government in Afghanistan; when I asked this question, Khalilzad said yes, I brought this message and handed over to the government leaders,” said one MP Ziauddin Zia.

According to sources, other topics discussed over the past three days on the part of Khalilzad included:

• Distrust and ineffectiveness of the Doha talks that are currently underway
• A possible meeting of the country’s political leaders and the Taliban in another country, possibly Turkey
• Contributing countries and UN to monitor such a meeting
• Amending the Constitution in order to form a new government
• The US not being in a hurry to withdraw troops by May
• Advancing the Afghan peace process wisely

Sources said Khalilzad also warned the war would continue if these issues are not agreed upon.

“A few specific statements that he [Khalilzad] pointed out are that the Qatar talks have not achieved anything in the past four months; we don’t have any hope for Doha talks, the country leader must sit in a second country and foreign countries must monitor [meeting] so they reach an agreement; amendment of constitution so the grounds are prepared for a new government,” said Kha Agha Rezaei, another MP.

Khalilzad ended his trip to Kabul after discussing various options, alternatives to propel the process forward and tweeted that the Afghan government and the Taliban must find a path to a political settlement and a permanent ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that the country is trying to pave the way for a political agreement between the Afghan parties.

“We haven’t made any decisions about the May 1 deadline to withdraw the remaining roughly 2,500 troops that are in Afghanistan, as well as of course partner troops, NATO forces that are there. We are in very close consultation with our NATO allies, with all of the countries in the region. and what we’re looking at very carefully is what further progress can and must be made on the agreements that, for example, we reached with the Taliban under the previous administration and the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan are working on to see if the conditions can be in place for a durable peace.

“But right now we are reviewing the question of our troop presence and we are doing it in full consultation and coordination with our allies,” Blinken said in an interview with PBS news hour.

Khalilzad will consult with Taliban leaders in Doha and hear their views, but Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Hezb-i-Islami leader, says preliminary agreements have been reached on an alternative to the Doha talks.

“Now we have to look for an alternative to these negotiations, work is underway, preliminary agreements have been reached, we agree that a new and practical foundation for peace should be laid and not limited to both sides of the war,” said Hekmatyar.

Khalilzad’s meeting with Taliban leaders and members of the government’s peace negotiating team also focuses mainly on sharing, a participatory government plan and an alternative Doha meeting.

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Bayat Foundation steps in to help at-risk families in Maidan Wardak province

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Bayat Foundation officials said Friday they have sent in a huge consignment of food aid to Maidan Wardak province to help hundreds of needy families.

According to officials, the aid includes flour, rice and oil, which they have started distributing to deserving families in the province.

“In continuation of the Bayat Foundation aid campaign, which sees us distribute aid every winter, today we had a program in Maidan Wardak province to distribute to deserving people. The aid included flour, rice and oil. The aid will be distributed in other provinces also,” said Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of Bayat Foundation.

Recipients of the food parcels welcomed the initiative and called on other charity organizations to help families in need.

“This winter, many people are in need [of aid]; they assisted us, we are grateful. We want them to help us again [in the future],” said one Maidan Wardak recipient.

“Our people are in need. No one has helped them so far. We are grateful to Bayat Foundation that helped us during this difficult time,” said another recipient.

“We are very grateful, because they helped us. We want them to continue their aid so we can survive this difficult situation,” said another resident of Wardak.

Each year, Bayat Foundation carries out a winter campaign, providing needy people with food. This winter, however, the foundation has ramped up efforts to reach as many Afghans as possible across the country amid the ongoing economic crisis.

Already thousands of desperate families have received food parcels from Bayat Foundation in over a dozen provinces in the country.

Food parcels are given to only the most at-risk families who are identified through a comprehensive assessment carried out by the foundation once an area has been earmarked for distribution.

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IEA warns media against publishing rumors

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

The intelligence department of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government said Thursday that media outlets should not spread false news and baseless rumors.

“A number of figures want to insult Islamic values so that they can achieve western citizenship,” the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) tweeted.

According to the GDI, these individuals have made untrue statements about the IEA which some media have reported on.

The country’s media, in accordance with the principles of journalism, should strictly refrain from publishing false news and baseless rumors, GDI tweeted.

The intelligence department has pointed out that insulting religious sanctities and rituals is not acceptable to the people.

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Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit, makes ‘no apologies’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday firmly defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he makes no apologies.

Addressing a press conference, Biden said: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.

Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said.

“It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity.”

He also suggested it was not the responsibility of the U.S. to fix Afghanistan’s challenges, The Week reported.

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