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Pakistan urges look into ‘meltdown’ of Afghan forces as Taliban advances

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2021)

Pakistan on Monday said the international community needed to look into the “meltdown” of Afghan security forces in the face of Taliban offensives across Afghanistan, instead of blaming Pakistan for the fast-deteriorating situation, Reuters reported.

Taliban fighters have swiftly gained territory across Afghanistan since May, including six provincial capitals in the last three days, as international forces near a complete withdrawal from the country after 20 years of fighting.

“The capacity-building, the training, the equipment … where is it?” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked at a news conference, referring to resources spent by other countries, particularly the United States, on bolstering Afghan national forces.

“Issues of governance and the meltdown of Afghan national defence forces need to be looked into,” he said.

Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the failure of others, he said.

Kabul and several western governments say Pakistan’s support for the Taliban allowed it to weather 20 years of war after being pushed from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. The group today controls more territory that at any point since 2001, Reuters reported.

Pakistan denies supporting the Taliban. Qureshi said Islamabad was not taking sides in Afghanistan.

“The lack of will to fight, the capitulation that we are seeing in Afghanistan … can we be held responsible for that? No we cannot,” Qureshi said, adding that Pakistan supported a political solution to bring peace to Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

He said Pakistan had been instrumental in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table with the United States and facilitated the resultant agreement between the two in Doha last year.

Pakistan, Qureshi said, had also helped convene peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in September last year, which have since stalled.

Qureshi said Islamabad was concerned at the violence and the lack of progress in the talks, saying that Pakistan had most to lose from an unstable Afghanistan as a direct neighbour.

Questioning the pullout of U.S. forces, Qureshi said Pakistan thought the withdrawal would be tied to the progress in the peace talks.

Other regional countries, including Afghanistan, have also blamed what they termed a hasty and unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops for the success of the Taliban, Reuters reported.

Qureshi said there would be a meeting in Doha on Wednesday of the “Troika”, a platform to discuss Afghanistan led by the United States, China, Russia.

The meeting is three weeks before the Aug. 31 date that Washington set for the official withdrawal of its military forces in Afghanistan.

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IEA wraps up first day of talks with Norwegian authorities

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Monday members of their delegation, led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, to Norway met with Norwegian officials on Sunday and discussed issues related to the current situation in the country.

According to a statement issued by the (IEA), “a one-day joint meeting was held between officials of the acting Afghan government and a number of personalities in Oslo, the capital of the Kingdom of Norway”.

“During the meeting, the participants listened patiently to each others’ opinions and exchanged views on the current situation in the country.

“They affirmed that Afghanistan is the shared home of all Afghans, and stressed that all Afghans need to work together for the political, economic and security prosperity of the country.

 “The participants of the meeting recognized that understanding and joint cooperation are the only solutions to all the problems of Afghanistan,” read the statement.

The IEA also said all participants declared such meetings to be in the interest of the country.

Speaking at the end of the first day of talks, IEA delegate Shafiullah Azam told The Associated Press that the meetings with Western officials were “a step to legitimize (the) Afghan government,” adding that “this type of invitation and communication will help (the) European community, (the) U.S. or many other countries to erase the wrong picture of the Afghan government.”

Norway’s Foreign Ministry meanwhile said in a statement last week that Afghan representatives have been invited to Oslo from  23-25 January to meet Norwegian authorities, the international community, and other Afghans.

The statement noted that the meetings do not represent a legitimization or recognition of the IEA “but the de facto authorities must be talked with so that we prevent political situation leading to a worse humanitarian disaster”.

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Pakistan’s PM renews call for humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday reiterated calls for the international community to provide urgent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Khan said in a tweet that under the UN Principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), it was obligatory to help protect people from the mass-scale humanitarian crisis left in the wake of a prolonged conflict.

“Right now millions of Afghan people are in danger of starvation,” he said adding it was the “duty of the international community to provide humanitarian assistance.”

UN agencies have warned that more than 23 million people are at risk of starvation if aid is not provided.

Earlier this month, the UN agencies launched a call for $4.5 billion in aid for 2022, its biggest-ever international appeal. The US responded with a donation of $308 million to be channeled through independent humanitarian organizations.

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IEA delegation arrives in Norway for humanitarian talks

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2022)

Representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) arrived in Norway on Saturday (January 22) for three days of talks due to start on Sunday (January 23) on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis.

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year’s IEA takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security.

The IEA representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from January 23 to January 25.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban [IEA]. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

According to the Norwegian foreign ministry, meetings will also take place between the IEA delegation and Afghan civil society members, including women leaders, journalists, and “individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues”.

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