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Russian envoy visits Pakistan to discuss Afghan peace process

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(Last Updated On: February 19, 2021)

Russian special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, is visiting Islamabad for a one-day visit, on Friday, Pakistan foreign ministry said in a statement.

During the visit, Kabulov will call on the Foreign Minister and meet with Special Representative for Afghanistan and other dignitaries for an exchange of views on the latest developments in the Afghan peace process, read the statement.

The visit is part of Pakistan’s diplomatic outreach in support of the Afghan peace process, the statement.

The statement also said that during Kabulov visits besides the exchange of views on the Afghan peace process, the visit will contribute to further strengthening Pakistan-Russia bilateral cooperation.

Kabulov visits to Pakistan come at a time while Pakistan is hosting Ahmad Wali Massoud, head of Massoud Foundation Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister extended a warm welcome to Ahmad Wali Massoud and stated that Pakistan and Afghanistan were bound by a fraternal relationship, rooted deep in shared history and commonalities of faith, culture, and traditions.

During the meeting, they also discussed the Afghan peace process and the fraternal relations between the two countries.

Imran Khan stressed that the Intra-Afghan Negotiations provided a historic opportunity that must be seized by the Afghan leadership to achieve an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement.

The visit of Wali Massoud and his delegation is in continuation of Pakistan’s policy to reach out to Afghan leaders to further strengthen bilateral ties and enhance mutual convergence on the Afghan peace process, Khan said.

 

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Well known cleric shot dead in Kabul while on his way to mosque

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(Last Updated On: March 3, 2021)

Faiz Mohammad Fayez, former head of the Ulema Council in Kunduz province, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in PD17 of Kabul city early Wednesday morning, Kabul police confirmed.

Police said an investigation is underway.

Meanwhile, a number of residents of Kabul’s Sarkutal Golden Township area said Faiz Mohammad Fayez, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen as he walked to a mosque this morning.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz confirmed the killing but said early reports indicate it was not a “terrorist act” but a case of murder.

This comes after a prominent Afghan cleric Mohammad Atif was killed about a month ago in an explosion, along with two others, in Kabu.

Mohammad Atif, a well-known cleric from a Kabul-based charity group, was killed when an IED on the vehicle he was traveling in exploded.

No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

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Red Cross and Red Crescent reach 35-year milestone of serving communities in need

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(Last Updated On: March 3, 2021)

After 35 years of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Tuesday reconfirmed their commitment to continue jointly providing lifesaving assistance to communities affected by war and violence.

In the 35 years of joint cooperation, the movement has reconnected thousands of families separated by disasters or violence; provided vital health care particularly for communities living in remote parts of the country; clarified the fate of the dead and worked to return the remains of the deceased to their families; and restored water and shelter among other vital humanitarian activities.

ARCS has also mobilized all teams and facilities in the COVID response effort over the past year and continues its engagement, including for the COVID vaccine rollout.

In a statement issued by the movement on Wednesday, they said that ARCS is present and active in all 34 provinces in Afghanistan through a wide network of local branches, volunteers and health facilities.

Every year, ARCS reaches more than 10 percent of the Afghan population through principled humanitarian action, the statement read.

“It has built trust and acceptance across the lines of conflict and with Afghan communities they belong to. ARCS has also the privilege to belong to the Red Cross and Crescent Movement which has been standing on its side always to support its development, meet the needs of people affected by disasters and crises and contribute to build more resilient Afghan communities,” said Nilab Mobarez, the Secretary General of Afghanistan Red Crescent Society, at a news conference.

“Although the shape of conflict and violence may have changed over the last decades, our commitment to protect civilians and promote respect for international humanitarian law has been constant. We’re proud of this and honoured to continue to work with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provide humanitarian assistance,” said Juan Pedro Head of Delegation for ICRC in Afghanistan.

“In the face of protracted vulnerabilities, including to climate change, the magnitude and intensity of the needs across the country call for enhanced cooperation of Red Cross Red Crescent partners to deepen our support to ARCS’ principled and nation-wide footprint, and to maximise our collective contribution and impact,” said Pierre Kremer, Head of Delegation for IFRC.

Against the backdrop of this milestone, the movement has signed an MoU and a Movement Coordination Agreement setting out their agreement to jointly deliver humanitarian assistance.

“This event aims to ensure a partnership of quality and mutual responsibility that seeks to achieve the highest humanitarian impact. The agreement sets a standard framework for administration, reporting and accountability, within which individual projects and initiatives can take place,” the statement read.

The ICRC and ARCS have worked in partnership since 1986 in addressing the conflict related needs of the Afghan population. The ICRC and ARCS’s commitment to neutral, independent, impartial humanitarian action (NIIHA), enable both partners to respond to emergencies and provide services where others cannot.

ARCS has worked to reduce suffering for people affected by disasters, conflict and violence since its creation in 1934.

The cooperation between ARCS and the ICRC stretches back further to the recognition of ARCS as a national society by movement in 1954 continuing to the present day with adaptations based on evolving humanitarian landscape, needs of the victims and other vulnerable persons as well as the institutional development of the ARCS and the operational ambitions of the ICRC in Afghanistan.

The Federation has had a constant presence in Afghanistan since 1990, to support ARCS and its humanitarian activities.

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Khalilzad meets with key Afghans, explains US position

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(Last Updated On: March 2, 2021)

Zalmay Khalilzad met with a number of influential figures in Kabul on Monday including Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, members of the Jamiat Party, and others.

Some political figures in Kabul said that during the meetings, Khalilzad explained the position of the new US administration on peace in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, US House of Foreign Affairs Committee Member Michael McCaul says that the purpose of Khalilzad’s visit to Doha, Afghanistan and other countries in the region is to amend clauses of the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban.

“Khalilzad has come to announce the new US administration’s approach to Afghanistan and the Taliban,” said Abdul Sattar Murad, a member of the Jamiat-e-Islami leadership council.

Khalilzad may also bring new proposals to Kabul and Doha, the two main centers of decision-making on Afghanistan’s future, sources said.

The US House of Foreign Affairs Committee Member Michael McCaul said that the revision of the Doha agreement, of clauses such as the release of 7,000 Taliban prisoners, the reduction of violence and the extension of the mission of foreign forces after May, is Khalilzad’s responsibility.

The US special envoy has also reportedly noted the views of Afghan government officials and the Taliban on the outcome of the Doha Agreement and negotiations between Afghans.

Some politicians said that Khalilzad did not come to Afghanistan and Qatar to announce the decision of the Biden administration but is rather initiating amendments to the US’s plans for Afghanistan.

“The United States wants to establish a partnership in Afghanistan, and this is not far off, and it wants to convince the Taliban to continue their presence,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.

Khalilzad who started his trip in Germany will continue on to Doha and other countries in the region.

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