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Taliban assures Afghans they will be free to travel after August 31

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(Last Updated On: August 28, 2021)

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, a leading member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, said Saturday that Afghans who possess legal documents, passports, and visas will be able to travel abroad after the foreign troops have left the country.

“I request my compatriots, sisters, and brothers that it is your legal right, as Afghans, to obtain passports from MoI (Ministry of Interior) and to travel to the country you want to go to; obtain visas and prepare your legal documents, and then you can travel via any border crossing in Afghanistan – both air and ground,” Stanikzai said.

“No one will prevent you from traveling,” he stated.

Stanikzai said: “We want you to travel abroad; for medical treatment, business, education, and other. We have no issues with that. But it should be in a dignified fashion that is appropriate to you as an Afghan and Muslim.”

This comes after an estimated 90 people were killed and over 150 wounded in Thursday’s twin explosions outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

The blasts took place in densely crowded areas around the airport – among the thousands of people who had been trying to get on evacuation flights.

Meanwhile, Stakenzai accused the United States of creating chaos regarding evacuation flights and said the Americans had not clarified which Afghans were entitled to leave with the last of the US troops.

He stated that Washington’s evacuation announcement had led to a misunderstanding “as a number of our people thought that anyone who can to the airport will be evacuated.”

Stanekzai noted that “general amnesty” has been announced for everyone.

“No one’s life is in danger. All Afghans are now living in peace in the country. No one’s life, property or honor is threatened.”

“Our Afghan sisters and brothers should refrain from rushing to the airport because the enemy is still waiting to ambush them. We advise you to be patient. All government ministries and institutions will formally resume their work as soon as a new government is announced and then you will be able to travel through official channels in a dignified fashion.”

He added that all border crossings will be open for travel once the international forces withdraw from the country, on August 31.

“Our people with documents, passports, and visas will be able to travel with confidence and assurance. The Islamic system will not stop anyone. I would like to tell you all – with confidence – that you can freely go abroad but with [the correct] documents.”

Stakenzai said that security forces are not letting “individuals who don’t possess documents to travel.”

“Let the foreign forces withdraw first, evacuate the country, and then following that, our compatriots – whether they have worked with the Americans or otherwise – may leave the country if they want to. All airports, particularly Kabul airport will be open for them to travel.”

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New NATO strategy being drawn up to deal with ‘changing world’

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that a new Strategic Concept was being drawn up for NATO in order to ensure the alliance is prepared for emerging threats in a changing world.

Speaking after the NATO defense minister’s meeting, Blinken said “three months after Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan ended, the alliance remains focused on the fight against terrorism, including ISIS-K (Daesh).

He said while NATO military operations in Afghanistan had ended, “our work together continues”.

“For 20 years, NATO made sure that Afghanistan could not again become a safe haven for terrorists to threaten our countries and our people. That’s why we went there in the first place. No attacks on allies or partners originated in Afghanistan during that time, and together we decimated al-Qaida’s capacity to attack any of our countries or people from Afghanistan.

“Now, NATO remains fully committed to the fight against terrorism worldwide and will use all our capabilities to aid in that fight,” he said.

He said the new Strategic Concept for NATO will be worked on from now until the summit next year and is vitally important for modernizing the alliance.

He said this concept would help make sure NATO will be able to address challenges in the future, and foster unity among the Allies “as we navigate an increasingly complex and unpredictable security environment”.

“I think as you know, the current Strategic Concept, the one that we’re operating under now, dates to 2010, when Russia was considered a partner, China was not mentioned, and the alliance did not yet account for new challenges like cyber threats and the climate crisis,” he said.

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UN defers decision to give IEA govt a seat in general assembly

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

A special UN committee has ruled that Afghanistan’s seat in the UN General Assembly should not be given to the new Afghan government for now.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is the IEA’s nominated UN ambassador, said in response to the announcement that “this decision is not based on principles and justice because it has taken away the legitimate rights of the Afghan people.

“We hope that in the near future this right will be handed over to the representative of the Government of Afghanistan at the United Nations so that the problems of the Afghan people can be solved more effectively and efficiently and we can have positive interactions with the international community.”

This comes after a UN committee on Wednesday deferred a decision on who will represent Afghanistan and Myanmar at the United Nations.

Rival claims were made for the seats of both countries with the IEA and Myanmar’s junta pitted against ambassadors appointed by the governments they ousted this year.

UN acceptance of the IEA or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both.

The nine-member UN credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States, met at UN headquarters to consider the credentials of all 193 members for the current session of the UN General Assembly.

Several diplomats had told Reuters that the committee was likely to defer its decisions on the representation of Afghanistan and Myanmar on the understanding that the current ambassadors for both countries remain in those seats.

While the committee chair, Sweden’s UN Ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, told reporters the decisions had been deferred, she declined to comment on whether the ambassador appointed by the former Ashraf Ghani government for Afghanistan would still represent their countries.

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Clash between Afghan and Iranian forces was a misunderstanding: Mujahid

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

Clashes between Iran’s border forces and Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate (IEA) forces in Nimroz province have ended and were attributed to a “border misunderstanding”, IEA officials said on Thursday.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, said that a clash broke out between Afghan and Iranian security forces in the border area of Kang district in Nimroz province on Wednesday, but has now been brought under control by both sides.

He added that in order to prevent a recurrence, IEA officials have given the necessary guidance.

The IEA also said that no casualties were reported by either side.

Although the Iranian government has had generally good relations with the IEA, there have been longstanding tensions along the border, which has active smuggling routes and thousands of refugees crossing every day, Reuters reported.

The Afghan foreign ministry meanwhile said on Thursday that the dispute along the border in Kang district, “ended with the efforts of border officials, and efforts will be made to prevent such incidents from happening again”.

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