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Taliban leader says in Eid message there ‘will be an Islamic Emirate’

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(Last Updated On: May 9, 2021)

In his annual message ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, Taliban leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada on Sunday called on Afghans to “contribute to the redevelopment of our homeland” in order for there to be a prosperous and progressive country “in the shade of an Islamic system.”

“Let us attain this end by moving away from self-interests and pursuit of power, by making Islamic values and national interests our guiding principles, and by rebuilding as a strong and unified nation through forgiveness, reconciliation and compassion towards one another,” he said.

He also stated that once foreign troops have withdrawn – what he called “the end of occupation” – there shall be an “Afghan-inclusive Islamic system.”

Emphasizing that there would be an Islamic Emirate, he said: “This land is the shared home of all Afghans. We must unite upon Islamic injunctions and protect ourselves from all discord and prejudice.

This comes after the Afghan government, international stakeholders and regional countries have all come out in strong support of maintaining a Republic system.

The Taliban leader however went on to state: “The arms of the Islamic Emirate are wide open for all Afghans that have previously stood in opposition to us.

“We are extending our hand of amnesty and affection, and inviting them to join the path of truth. Stubbornness, vindictiveness and enmity will not amount to anything, but conversely, nations attain honor and glory through tolerance, self-restraint and embracing the truth,” he said.

He also said the group considers the withdrawal of US and NATO forces “a good step and strongly urge that all parts of the Doha agreement be implemented.”

He called for the Doha agreement, signed in February last year between the Taliban and the US, to be fully implemented stating that the deal had been violated by the US.

“Contrary to commitments, the remaining prisoners that were set to be released three months after the launch of negotiations have yet to be freed and the names of officials of the Islamic Emirate yet to be removed from sanctions and rewards lists.”

He said the Taliban “stands ready to protect the independence and sovereignty of its homeland at any cost as it has proven over the past two decades.”

He also said the Taliban has “prioritize negotiations” and has “dispatched a powerful negotiation team for these negotiations to move intra-Afghan negotiations forward.

“However, the Kabul administration has repeatedly tried to sabotage the ongoing political process through various means and continues to engage in such activity,” he said.

He acknowledged there was territory under the control of the Taliban and also said the “Islamic Emirate safeguards and supports all public projects, facilities and infrastructure, and strives to strengthen, grow and advance them.”

Akhundzada said the Taliban supports educational processes and has “assigned a special commission for this purpose”.

According to him, harm to civilians and loss of life in war “is upsetting and regrettable”.

It is distressing that civilians are still being killed and harmed in the raids, blind bombardments, artillery strikes and other attacks of the opposing side, which remains utterly unacceptable by any means.

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NATO to provide provisional funding to help run Kabul airport

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

NATO has not yet decided on who would run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once foreign troops have withdrawn, the organization’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Monday night. 

Stoltenberg said however that Turkey would play a “key role” in running the airport and that NATO is committed to providing transitional funding for the key facility. 

This comes after Turkey offered to run and guard the airport after the withdrawal of troops. 

However, the Taliban issued a warning and said such a move would be a “mistake” and that any country doing so would be considered invaders. 

“The presence of foreign forces under whatever name or by whichever country in our homeland is unacceptable for the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate (Taliban),” the group cautioned in a statement.

The Taliban insisted that the security of airports, foreign embassies, and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of Afghans, saying that “no one should hold out hope of keeping military or security presence” in Afghanistan.   

In a communique issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the NATO Summit, it was stated that NATO will retain a Senior Civilian Representative’s Office in Kabul to continue diplomatic engagement and enhance its partnership with Afghanistan.

“Recognising its importance to an enduring diplomatic and international presence, as well as to Afghanistan’s connectivity with the world, NATO will provide transitional funding to ensure the continued functioning of Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the communique read.  

“We will also step up dialogue on Afghanistan with relevant international and regional partners. We continue to support the ongoing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, and call on all stakeholders to help Afghanistan foster a lasting inclusive political settlement that puts an end to violence; safeguards the human rights of Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; upholds the rule of law; and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.”

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Khalilzad in Kazakhstan to discuss Afghanistan peace process

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan on Sunday to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan media reports stated the two discussed prospects for the development of the Kazakh-US relations in the context of ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan especially once foreign troops have withdrawn.

Reports stated Khalilzad and Tokayev also discussed the coordination of bilateral and multilateral efforts for the stabilization and socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Tokayev said: “This year we are marking the 30th anniversary of our Independence. During this period, we managed to build relations of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

“The United States is a strong partner of Kazakhstan. We are good partners in so many areas, including trade and economic cooperation,” he said.

Tokayev also said the Afghan issue was always a focal point in his talks with the leaders of Afghanistan, Russia, China, Central Asian states and international organizations.

Kazakh media reported that during the meeting, Khalilzad shared his assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan, and the vision of American diplomacy regarding the further development of the intra-Afghan peace process.

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Taliban ‘paths’ into districts will become mass graveyards: Saleh

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said Monday the Taliban have advanced in a number of areas but warned that the narrow paths into the districts will be turned into a mass graveyard for the militants.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saleh said: “Those who know how to fight with the Taliban, know that this narrow line will become the mass graveyard of this group of terror and ignorance.”

The statement comes as the Taliban militants have captured at least 30 districts since May 1.

In the most recent incidents, the Sayad district in Sar-e-Pul province; the Awba district in Herat province; and the Khanabad district in Kunduz province fell to the insurgents in the past 24 hours.

Provincial sources have told Ariana News that through government’s neglect, at least 18 more districts are on the verge of collapse.

Saleh, meanwhile, stated that the Taliban militants have not changed the way they treat the people of Afghanistan.

“Do not be deceived by [Taliban’s] propaganda. Resisting the Taliban is defending human values and dignity. Taliban has no message for the people of this country other than demanding obedience as a slave life,” Saleh said.

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