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Taliban delegation in Kandahar for consultations



(Last Updated On: August 18, 2021)

A nine-member Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrived in Kandahar on a special flight from Qatar on Tuesday night and are expected to hold consultations on the future system. 

After arriving in Kandahar province, a senior Taliban member, Khairullah Khairkhah, told a news conference that he was pleased to see that there was no enemy in the country.

He also called on all people, with skills, to commit to developing their country. 

Khairkhah said the reason for the delegation’s visit to Kandahar was to hold discussions on the future government structure and system. 

He said these discussions will start soon and as soon as decisions have been made, the public will be informed. 

“Now the situation is different from the past, and you see that all of us are together now, and who did what in the past is not difficult for anyone now,” Khairkhah said.

Regarding human rights, especially women’s rights and for them to work, and the issue of freedom of expression, Khairkhah said: “We hope that in the light of Islamic values and Afghan traditions, we will continue and be satisfied by the international community.”

Another Taliban member, Abdul Salam Hanafi, said the Taliban is now strengthening security in the country so that no one can cause instability or insecurity by using the Taliban’s name. 

“Strengthening security is our priority for everyone to feel safe and for everyone to live together. The issue of war and enmity is over and no one will be insulted or humiliated. Everyone has the right to serve in their homeland,” he said. 

Hanafi also said: “And in any field that has specialists, we welcome them, and the reason for the delegation to come (to Kandahar) is to consult with other elders so that we can make some arrangements that are necessary and we will share with you [media] later.”

Regarding the role and concerns of the youth, Hanafi said: “One of the decisions of the Islamic Emirate is that none of our young people will be killed on illegal routes to Europe. 

“We work together and we need the youth and they should not feel threatened, and we have announced that everything that is past is past; the Emirate has declared amnesty for everyone from today, and the Islamic Emirate does not seek revenge.”

Regarding those who are said to be out of the country, or at enmity with the Taliban, or leaders who are not in Afghanistan, Hanafi replied: “We have declared a general amnesty and no one should leave Afghanistan and those who have left should return; their homes are safe; their honor and dignity are safe; we do not need anyone’s property, house or car; we are not here for revenge.”

Hanafi also called on the people not to flee the country and to stay in Afghanistan and help with its development.

Regarding the recent remarks made by Amrullah Saleh, former first vice president, Hanafi said: “The constitution was something that was translated by Westerners, and those who came by force; [government officials who fled] today have all gone and taken the constitution with them, and we ask all Afghans that Afghanistan is no longer a place for war, the war is over and no one should declare war and no one is ready for war and all Afghanistan is under the control of the forces of the Islamic Emirate and we want all Afghans to live together as brothers. 

“Let them build their homeland and let no one disturb the security of Afghanistan,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban’s leadership, is now in Kabul and met with political figures including Abdullah Abdullah, former president Hamid Karzai and Fazl Hadi Muslimyar.

The meeting was held at Abdullah’s home. Sources close to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are said to be encouraged by the possibility that a political understanding can still be reached between the Taliban and Abdullah, Karzai and Hekmatyar. 

“There is more opportunity than ever before, all positions should work to change the situation, do not doubt that the situation will change,” said Hafiz Rahman Naqi, deputy head of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Islamic Party.

A number of political figures have meanwhile traveled to Islamabad in a bid to defend the republic system. They met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Islamabad says it is trying to form a government based on a political agreement in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Younos Qanoni, another Afghan politician, said, “I am optimistic that one of the main obstacles was the previous Afghan government which is now non-existent. The opportunity for greater understanding and a new atmosphere in Afghanistan has been created. I hope that the leaders of the republic and the Taliban will reach an understanding.”

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IEA leader meets with Chinese officials in Qatar, discusses bilateral issues



(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has again urged the US to ease sanctions against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to help the country overcome a looming humanitarian crisis.

Speaking during the first high-level meeting with the Afghan interim government in Qatar on Monday, Wang emphasized the seriousness of the problem unfolding in Afghanistan.
It was Wang’s first meeting with acting deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar since July, when the IEA leader visited Tianjin in northern China shortly before the takeover of Kabul, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

“Afghanistan is facing quadruple challenges, namely the humanitarian crisis, economic chaos, terrorist threats and governance difficulties. Overcoming these challenges requires more understanding and support from the international community,” Wang said.

“China urges the Western countries led by the United States as a whole to lift sanctions, and calls on all parties to engage with the Afghan Taliban (IEA) in a rational and pragmatic manner to help Afghanistan embark on a path of sound development.”

Wang also pledged that China would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Beijing announced last month that it would donate 200 million yuan (US$31.3 million) in aid, including food and coronavirus vaccines, to the war-torn nation, SCMP reported.

Meanwhile, a delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with a delegation led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday.

The two sides discussed issues including diplomatic relations, bilateral trade, China’s humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and the creation of higher education opportunities for Afghan students in China, as well as opportunities and challenges in bilateral relations.

The acting minister thanked China for its comprehensive assistance and said that the new Islamic government would ensure that Afghan soil would not be used against any country, including China.

Muttaqi said Afghanistan had a balanced foreign policy based on co-operation and understanding.

“China has an important place in our foreign policy and is an important country in the region,” he added. The whole region, including China, benefits from Afghanistan’s stability.

The Chinese Foreign Minister welcomed the recent positive developments in Afghanistan and noted that Afghanistan and China have historical ties.

He said China would work in the future based on the common interests of both countries and would never interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

Wang said his country respected Afghanistan’s security, independence and territorial integrity.

The Chinese side also stressed its support for Afghanistan to chart its own course for development.

China is playing its part in Afghanistan’s reconstruction. The Foreign Minister said that his country would continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid who is accompanying the delegation said that China provided $1 million to Afghanistan and has promised to provide $5 million more in humanitarian aid, especially medicine and food.

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John Kerry and Imran Khan discuss Afghanistan on sidelines of MGI summit



(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The United States’ Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, spoke with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Riyadh yesterday on the sidelines of the “Middle East Green Initiative (MGI)” Summit.

In the regional context, the Imran Khan underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister stressed the need for the international community to work pragmatically to preserve peace and security, avert a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and prevent an economic collapse.

Imran Khan also underscored the need for positive engagement and release of Afghanistan’s economic resources and financial assets for the welfare of the Afghan people.

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Afghanistan on ‘countdown to catastrophe’ as winter looms



(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

The combined shocks of drought, conflict, COVID-19 and an economic crisis in Afghanistan, have left more than half the population facing a record level of acute hunger, according to a new UN assessment published on Monday.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), revealed that the lives, livelihoods and access to food for 22.8 million people will be severely impacted.

“It is urgent that we act efficiently and effectively to speed up and scale up our delivery in Afghanistan before winter cuts off a large part of the country, with millions of people – including farmers, women, young children and the elderly – going hungry in the freezing winter”, said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “It is a matter of life or death”.

According to the report, more than one-in-two Afghans will face Phase 3 crisis or Phase 4 emergency levels of acute food insecurity from November through to March (winter) and will require an urgent international response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

“We cannot wait and see humanitarian disasters unfolding in front of us – it is unacceptable”, he added.

This is the highest number of acutely food insecure people ever recorded by the UN, during 10 years of conducting IPC analyses in Afghanistan.

And globally, the country is home to one of the largest number of people facing acute hunger.

“Hunger is rising and children are dying”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

“We can’t feed people on promises – funding commitments must turn into hard cash, and the international community must come together to address this crisis, which is fast spinning out of control”.

Among those at risk are 3.2 million children under five, who are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of the year.

Last month, WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that without immediate life-saving treatment, one million children risked dying from severe acute malnutrition.

And for the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities.

“Afghanistan is now among the world’s worst humanitarian crises – if not the worst – and food security has all but collapsed”, said the WFP chief.

“This winter, millions of Afghans will be forced to choose between migration and starvation unless we can step up our life-saving assistance, and unless the economy can be resuscitated”.

To meet rising needs, the UN will need to mobilize resources at unprecedented levels, yet the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan remains only a third funded.

“We are on a countdown to catastrophe and if we don’t act now, we will have a total disaster on our hands”, Beasley said.

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