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Three suspects in assassination of FEFA head confess to being Taliban

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(Last Updated On: January 11, 2021)

Three suspects arrested for the targeted assassination of Yousuf Rashid, CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), have confessed to being Taliban members, the ministry of interior said Monday.

According to the MoI, the suspects confessed they are members of a 50-member Taliban group called Muslimyar which operates in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province.

The MoI said the group had planned the assassination of Yousuf Rashin in Logar province.

Speaking after Saturday’s announcement of the arrests, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh stated “One of the assassins had pretended to be a classmate of Yousuf Khan’s son in order to [collect information] and implement their plan,”

Rashid was gunned down in December last year in PD7 of Kabul city.

The MoI told reporters Monday that “one of the masterminds of Rashid’s assassination, Zakaria, also known as Sulaiman, stated: ‘I am from Baraki Barak of Logar province. I joined the Taliban through Rahmatullah, a group’s leader, and then I came to Kabul. During four months I succeeded to find Yousuf Rashid’s house and reported it to the Muslimyar group. Days after, he was assassinated by the group’s members.”

According to the MoI, the Muslimyar group is involved in the assassinations of journalists and civil society activists.

“The Taliban are the main culprits in the recent attacks on journalists and civil society activists, and although the group denies its involvement in the assassinations, which is their new tactic, these men (the detainees) admitted that they are members of the Taliban,” said Tariq Arian, a spokesperson for the MoI.

The Taliban, however, told Ariana News that the group has nothing to do with Rashid’s assassinations and “the suspects are not members of the Taliban.”

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Govt refusing to fall victim to Taliban’s extortion tactics

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(Last Updated On: March 1, 2021)

The Presidential Palace (ARG) stated Monday that neither the Afghan government nor independent sources that fund development projects or provide aid will fall victim to Taliban extortion tactics.

According to ARG, the decision not to pay bribes to Taliban in insecure areas across the country was discussed at a national procurement session on Sunday.

ARG said some villages are being deprived of aid because of the Taliban’s habit of demanding bribes.

ARG also stated that it is not prepared to give Taliban money that is meant to alleviate the plight of the people.

According to ARG out of 11,000 villages across the country that were identified to benefit from government-assisted projects, only 10,000 villages benefitted.

ARG’s statement came on the heels of a Facebook post by First Vice President Amrullah Saleh early Monday who raised the issue after his daily 6.30am security meeting.

He stated that sources of funding for these villages will not be held to ransom by the Taliban in order to gain access to insecure areas.

“This anti-human performance by the Taliban has left a number of villages in the country deprived of aid,” said Saleh.

He said 1,000 villages have not received the necessary aid as government has “faced a security problem and we are not ready to share the bread of the people with blackmail terrorists.”

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Women playing key role in peace talks: Fatima Gailani

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(Last Updated On: March 1, 2021)

Fatima Gailani, a member of the Afghan Republic’s peace negotiating team said on Sunday women play a key role in achieving and sustaining peace and have through history helped with conflict resolution.

Addressing an online panel discussion on ‘Inclusivity and Diversity in the Afghanistan Peace Process’, organized by the Afghan Women’s Educational Center (AWEC) and the UN Women, Gailani said studies conducted in the field of peacebuilding would open a clear window for everyone to better understand the situation and capacities in the country.

The discussion started with the introduction of a study on the active role of women, especially local women, in the Afghanistan peace process and peacebuilding efforts.

Referring to the activities of female members of the negotiating team on working committees, Gailani said the role of these women has been influential and important.

Gailani praised women’s resilience in the face of problems they face and said that through history, Afghan women have played a role in conflict resolution.

According to the State Ministry for Peace, Gailani stressed the important role of women in Islamic countries in the Afghanistan peace process and the importance of their support of Afghan women.

“Peace makes sense with the active presence of women, as human rights and women’s rights, war victims’ and minorities’ rights must be acceptable to all parties and should be preserved in the process.”

She also said the support of the international community was extremely important and valuable for Afghan women.

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Afghanistan marks 100 years of diplomatic ties with Turkey

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(Last Updated On: March 1, 2021)

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Afghanistan and Turkey on Monday, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar said that Turkey has had a key role in the country’s reconstruction and joint counter-terrorism efforts post-2001.

Addressing an event to mark the occasion Atmar said he hopes Turkey will maintain its sincere cooperation with the peace efforts in Afghanistan.

“As we celebrate the centennial of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, we wish to further develop our cooperation in every aspect in this special year; hope that the ongoing violence in Afghanistan comes to an end and lasting peace and calm will prevail in the country,” Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Afghanistan’s foreign ministry said that so far, Turkey has made comprehensive contributions to Afghanistan both on a bilateral level and through the efforts of the UN and NATO.

“Turkey’s development assistance program for Afghanistan is currently one of the largest assistance programs towards a country,” read the ministry’s statement.

The diplomatic and political relations of Turkey and Afghanistan commenced on March 1, 1921 through the signing of Turkey-Afghanistan Alliance Agreement.

Afghanistan at the time became the second country to recognize the Turkish Grand National Assembly of the time, which had been struggling to counter aggressive invasions of the Allied Powers.

Meanwhile the Turkish Embassy in Kabul was the first diplomatic mission in Kabul. This distinguished friendship, extracted from kinship, brotherhood and sisterhood, promoted the relations through the following decades.

This comes after Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan submitted a motion to parliament at the end of last year to extend the deployment of Turkish troops in Afghanistan for 18 months as part of NATO’s support mission, according to sources.

Turkey has about 1,200 soldiers in Afghanistan under the NATO mission.

“Turkey, which has deep friendship and brotherhood ties with Afghanistan, has always backed the unity, integrity and independence of Afghanistan,” the statement read.

The motion will be debated in parliament after December 18, as local media Anadolu Agency reported.

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