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Taliban ‘Agrees’ to Talk with Afghan Political Parties

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(Last Updated On: January 29, 2019)

The Taliban have asked the Afghan political parties to come up with a team of negotiators amid escalated peace efforts to reach into a political settlement in Afghanistan, sources told Ariana News Tuesday.  

Though, the Taliban repeatedly refuse to engage in direct talks with the Afghan government – including in their recent six days of talks with U.S. officials in Qatar –  sources told Ariana News that the armed group has asked the Afghan political parties to introduce a negotiating team to begin face-to-face talks with their representatives.

“We respect the Taliban’s call. There should be a comprehensive intra-Afghan dialogue. No sides should be sidelined including the government,” said Hamayoun Jareer, a senior member of Hezb-e-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

The Taliban did not comment in this regard yet.

Many Afghan politicians believe that without initiating intra-Afghan dialogue, lasting peace cannot be ensured in the country.

“If the Taliban and the Afghan government don’t reach on a peace agreement, any kind of deal in this regard will lead into deepening the ongoing crisis in the country,” said Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, the head of Hezb-e-Islami.

It comes as the U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad who has recently engaged in six days of talks with the Taliban in Qatar said that his meeting with the Taliban in Doha was much better than previous meetings. 

He said there is a moment of opportunity and he hopes Afghans seize this opportunity to put political differences aside and deal with “this moment positively and urgently.” 

“We have the opportunity to avoid future tragedies, to bring the 40 years of war to an end, to a good end, and I urge everyone to rise to the occasion.  I am hopeful that they will,” Khalilzad said. 

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Survivors call for Kabul school bombing to be seen as act of genocide

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2021)

The survivors and families of victims of the girls’ school bombing in Dasht-e-Barchi in Kabul last Sunday have called on the Afghan government and the international community to recognize the attack as an act of “genocide”.

Addressing a press conference Sunday, they stated that a specific ethnicity was targeted in the attack.

According to the families, at least 95 people – mostly schoolgirls – were killed and more than 200 others wounded in last week’s deadly bombing.
The families stated that the attack was a violation of human values and human rights.

Rajab Ali, who lost two of his relatives stated: “This brutality must be stopped. Such attacks must be prevented so that people can pursue education peacefully.”

Mina is another Afghan who lost a sister in the bombing, she stated: “I don’t want to witness such a terrible attack again.”

Meanwhile, students of Sayeed-ul-Shuhada – who are still dealing with severe mental anguish following the attack – stated that they will not give up and they “will firmly pursue their education.”

“I promise to continue this path (education) stronger than ever and I will definitely make Afghanistan one day,” Shirin Rezae, a student at the school said.

“I hope that the day will come when we will be capable of being candidates for the Presidency,” she added.

Masooma Yaqubi, another student stated: “We call on the international community, the United Nationals, and human rights organizations to investigate this brutal attack and to identify the perpetrators through a fact-finding commission.”

This comes after the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) last week urged the government to grant special protection to Hazaras and the community in Dasht-e-Barchi.

The AIHRC said in a statement that it was the government’s duty to protect the Hazara community against crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, or genocide.

The AIHRC stated that government has an obligation to “protect the population at risk of war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing or genocide.”

“The Afghan government has an obligation under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law to protect the population at risk of war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing or genocide and international law obliges the government to take measures to end and prevent genocide and war crimes, crimes against humanity and persecution on the basis of ethnicity and gender,” the statement read.

“In October 2020, just over six months ago, more than 40 students died in an attack on Kawsar Danish tutoring center. In May 2020, almost a year ago 11 mothers were murdered with their unborn babies, two boys were, and an Afghan midwife was killed, with 5 mothers injured; this is femicide and infanticide,” the statement highlighted.

The AIHRC stressed that the Afghan government should fulfill its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “which includes acknowledging massacres targeting Hazaras.”

“The Afghan government should communicate immediately a human rights-based protection plan for Dasht-e-Barchi and West Kabul. This should include plans for collective reparations,” the organization said.

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Laghman district police chief killed in accidental fire

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2021)

Abdul Zahir, Police Chief of Laghman’s Dawlat Shah District, was killed accidentally by Afghan forces artillery fire, Laghman Governor said.

The incident took place on Sunday afternoon.

Laghman Governor Rahmatullah Yarmal told Ariana News that the Afghan forces were targeting Taliban strongholds but due to a “technical issue a mortar shell hit the position of the police commander in the area.”

Yarmal stated that one of Zahir’s bodyguards was also killed in the incident.

Yarmal did not provide further details.

Dawlat Shah is one of Laghman’s volatile districts.

The Afghan forces have launched an operation to clear the district of Taliban presence.

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ISIS claims responsibility for Kabul mosque bombing

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2021)

ISIS (Daesh) has claimed responsibility for Friday’s bombing at a mosque in Kabul that left at least 14 worshippers, including the mosque’s Imam, dead, SITE Intelligence Group reported.

The explosion happened inside a mosque in Shakardarah district of Kabul province during Friday prayers.

The explosion took place during a three-day Eid ceasefire between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

According to SITE, ISIS said its fighters had placed an explosive device inside the mosque and detonated it once worshippers were inside offering prayers on the second day of the Eid-ul-Fitr.

The ceasefire ended at midnight on Saturday.

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