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Shiite Ulema accuses govt of neglecting security in western Kabul

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2021)

The Afghan Shiite Ulema (council) on Thursday accused government of negligence in securing the western areas of Kabul.

The Ulema said government needs to take urgent steps to improve security in the area, which is predominantly home to Hazaras.

The area has also been the epicenter of major attacks over the past few years including the recent girls school bombing that claimed the lives of over 90 people – mostly all teenage girls.

The Ulema also said that government needs to seriously investigate the Sayed ul-Shuhada High School bombing and to identify the perpetrators.

Families of victims and the injured from this attack have also raised their voices against government’s failure to arrest those responsible for the attack.

Relatives of victims and residents from the area meanwhile gathered on Thursday in the area and said they were tired of the targeted attacks as systematic killings. The Ulema in turn called it an act of “genocide”.

Although the bombing happened almost three weeks ago, details around the event are not clear and things have been complicated further with the disappearance of one of the students.

Shukria, who was a student at the school, has not been seen since the explosion and despite a desperate search by her family no trace of her has been found.

Abdullah, Shukria’s father, says that after 19 days, there is still no news about his daughter or on whether she is dead or alive.

“I went to police headquarters, Ministry of Interior and other places, but I have not received answers,” Abdullah said.

But the Ministry of Interior says that no student matching Shukria’s description was taken to any hospital – either dead or alive.

The ministry also stated that the security camera footage of all hospitals and health centers that took in the wounded and dead have been studied in the presence of Shukria’s family.

“The police continue their search and efforts to respect the request and complaint of the family in coordination with the intelligence units,” Tariq Arian, the ministry’s spokesman said.

The Shiite Ulema meanwhile says it was expected that after the deadly school bombing there would be an improvement in the security in the western areas of Kabul city. But according to them, nothing has been done.

However, the office of the second vice president says that Sarwar Danish has held consultations with the people of the area and has handed over a proposed security plan to President Ashraf Ghani.

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Public support gathers momentum in favor of Afghan security forces

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

Calls by President Ashraf Ghani and other politicians for the public to rise up against the Taliban and support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) is gathering momentum as people raise their voices against the insurgent group.

Overnight, Herat residents took to the streets and to roof tops chanting slogans, including Allahu Akbar (God is Great) in support of the Afghan security forces.

In the wake of this a wide-spread social media campaign was launched Tuesday calling on Kabul residents to do the same.

Posts on social media, including Twitter and Facebook, have called on Kabul residents to also take to their rooftops and streets and chant words of encouragement to the Afghan troops. According to posts, this will start at 9pm.

Fawad Aman, a defense ministry spokesman, also took to Twitter to announce the plan. He said: “Tonight in Kabul; Everyone will chant “God is Great” in support of the Afghan Security Forces”.

Following the encouraging show of support for security forces in Herat on Monday night, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he sees the “resounding shout of the honorable people of Herat as a clear sign of the Afghan people’s disgust with the foreign imposed war in the country”.

Karzai also called on the Taliban to take this spontaneous movement of the people as a serious warning and to stop the war, killing and destroying the houses, villages and infrastructure of the Afghan people and to ensure peace in this ancient land. “Let our oppressed begin to live in peace with dignity.”

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Herat residents chant from their roofs in support of security forces

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

As battles raged across Herat city on Monday night, amid a barrage of attacks by the Taliban, thousands of residents stood on the roofs of their houses and shouted out words of encouragement to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces who were battling the insurgent group.

After President Ashraf Ghani’s appeal to members of parliament on Monday to mobilize their people in support of the security forces, Herat residents took to the streets and climbed on their roofs chanting slogans including “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).

On Tuesday, Ghani responded in a tweet by saying that with the chanting of “Allahu Akbar” by Herat residents, this “showed in a loud voice what this phrase truly represents.”

This mobilization coincided with the launch of an operation in Herat against the Taliban – an operation that clearly has the support of the public.

Ismail Khan, a former jihadi leader and leader of the Popular Resistance Front, which is leading the fight by public uprising forces against the Taliban in Herat city, called on the people, including women, to show their support of the security forces.

“It is the duty of every woman and the people of Herat to save themselves from this army of ignorance (the Taliban). The Taliban are more ignorant than in the past, and if they enter the city of Herat with this ignorance, they will torment the people in such a way that everyone will regret not having risen up against the Taliban.”

Herat officials meanwhile announced on Monday that a large-scale operation against the Taliban had been launched in several parts of Herat city.

Herat Governor Abdul Sabour Qani said Tuesday the western part of Herat has been cleared of Taliban and security forces are continuing operations in the southern part of the city.

According to sources, clashes continue in the south of the city, about two kilometers from the city center.

The governor of Herat said that with the arrival of reinforcements from Kabul, the Taliban’s advance on the city of Herat has been stopped and ground and air operations against the group’s fighters are continuing.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense reports that more than 40 Taliban insurgents have been killed in recent clashes in the city of Herat and that several parts of the city have been cleared of Taliban.

The ministry did not comment on whether security forces had sustained any casualties.

The Taliban have not yet commented on the group’s casualties in clashes with government forces.

Meanwhile, a widespread social media campaign has been launched in Afghanistan calling on Kabul residents in the capital to also climb onto their roofs and chant words of encouragement to the security forces. Social media posts indicate the start of this is scheduled for 9pm Tuesday.

Fawad Aman, a defense ministry spokesman, even took to Twitter to announce the plan. He said: “Tonight in Kabul; Everyone will chant “God is Great” in support of the Afghan Security Forces”

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Khalilzad says a Taliban ruled Afghanistan will become a pariah state

Ariana News



(Last Updated On: August 3, 2021)

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Monday that if the Taliban take over the country by force, they will not win international recognition and “they will become a pariah state.”

Speaking to VOA, Khalilzad said the United States remains committed to promoting a political settlement between warring Afghans, stressing that neither side to the conflict can win militarily.

Asked whether the US has a moral and political responsibility to ensure that Afghanistan does not slide into another civil war, after U.S. military departure, as happened following the Soviet exit in 1989, Khalilzad said “it is a point that we have kept in mind that what happened in the 90s should not be repeated and that working with the Afghans we did something big, a huge sacrifice on the part of the Afghans with our support to get the Soviets out, and then we abandon Afghanistan, and a terrible war took place and it produced challenges particularly in 9/11.

“So, we do not want to repeat that mistake,” he said adding “we have an agreement with the Taliban in principle to depart. But we engaged the Taliban as part of a strategy, a plan to have safe withdrawal of U.S. forces.”

He also said the start of the peace process was part of this strategy.

According to him, the US-Taliban agreement, signed in Doha in February last year, provided the opportunity for Afghans to sit across the table from each other, “a historic development”, to reach an agreement to agree on a formula that would have broad support in Afghanistan and international support as well.

“Unfortunately, the two sides have not taken advantage of that opportunity as quickly as we would have liked, as the Afghan people would have liked,” he said.

He reiterated that there is no military solution to the war and that there must be a “political solution, a political agreement for a lasting peace.”

Khalilzad meanwhile stated that the Afghan government “also has had challenges or difficulties in terms of agreeing to or embracing the idea of a new Islamic government and the Taliban have used force to see if it could coerce the government into agreeing to a formula for a new Islamic government, a new constitution as they see it as well.”

He said in the US’s opinion, the Afghan government cannot get rid of the Taliban, “and the Taliban cannot conquer Afghanistan and have a government that has the support of the overwhelming majority of the Afghans and international support.”

He said while the Taliban tells the US they know there is no military solution, “maybe some Taliban think there is a military solution to the conflict.”

Khalilzad said “the wise thing is for both sides to engage seriously and quickly, urgently to respond to the wishes of the people of Afghanistan for a political agreement.”

He pointed out that history has shown, over the past 45 to 50 years, that attempts by one party to impose its will on the people only leads to war.

“I hope that the leaders of Afghanistan have learned that lesson and that they need to agree to a formula that has broad support, accepts that all Afghans have legitimate rights, that those rights have to be respected and the people have to have a say ultimately in how they are governed.”

ON the gains the Taliban has made in the country in terms of seizing territory, Khalilzad said the Afghan security forces “are numerically far superior than the Taliban. They have over three hundred thousand troops, it has an Air Force and it has special forces. It has heavy equipment and both proper leadership, political and military and proper military strategy and plan and execution.”

However he added “the government forces should have done a lot better than they are doing.”

Khalilzad, who has worked tirelessly to bring the two warring sides together over the past three years, told VOA that he is “concerned very much by the lack of progress. I know that the gap has been large, continues to be a big gap between the two sides, but they need to put the leader or the interests of the Country first, rather than their own interest or their factional interest.”

“There cannot be peace without a compromise, without give and take, without respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans men and women and the Afghans having a say, ultimately the people and in terms of what happens to them.”

He said the question now is “will these leaders rise to the occasion and put country first or will they go down in history as people who put their own interests or the interests of their faction first”.

In conclusion, Khalilzad touched on Pakistan and its relations with the Taliban.

He said: “Pakistan has a special role and responsibility, given also that many Taliban leaders are in Pakistan, located there, to do what it can to encourage peace and a political settlement as soon as possible, for it will be judged internationally also as to whether it has done all that it can or it could to promote a political settlement.

He said peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interests and that many Pakistan leaders have acknowledged this.

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