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Time for both sides to stop fighting and make a deal, say foreign stakeholders



(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and UNAMA both issued a communique on Saturday calling on both sides to the conflict to stop the fighting and start making progress at the peace talks tables.

The communique comes after a meeting on Thursday in Rome between the EU, NATO, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and the US, where they discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the developments in peace negotiations after last week’s high-level talks in Doha.

The communique stated the group of countries and organizations are committed to a strong partnership with Afghanistan and will be closely monitoring ongoing developments during the new phase of transition as foreign troops withdraw.

They said they “are deeply concerned about the high levels of violence, the Taliban’s military offensive, and the number of reported serious human rights abuses and violations alleged in communities most affected by the ongoing armed conflict across the country”.

“We call on all parties to reduce violence and protect civilians, respecting their obligations under international humanitarian law.

“We call on the Taliban to end their military offensive, and on both the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to engage meaningfully in the peace process.

“We reiterate the urgency of reaching a ceasefire to ensure the success of negotiations, and we acknowledge the sacrifices of the Afghan security forces,” the communique read.

The group also stated that they reaffirm there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that it will not support any government in Afghanistan imposed through military force.

In addition they said that five elements of a final political settlement are critical to continued support. These are: 1) inclusive governance; 2) the right to elect political leaders; 3) protections for human rights, including rights of women, youth and minorities; 4) commitments on counter-terrorism, including to ensure that Afghanistan does not again serve as a safe haven for terrorists; and 5) adherence to international law, including international humanitarian law.
“We emphasize that international support to any future government will depend, at least in part, on adherence to these five elements,” the communique read.

“We also reiterate that future assistance to Afghanistan is dependent on good governance and a commitment to the rule of law and human rights, including preservation of the gains made by women and girls over the past two decades, as well as the government taking meaningful steps to tackle corruption and to meeting commitments made at the November 2020 Geneva Conference.”

The group also welcomed the talks held in Doha last week between senior leaders of the Afghan Republic and the Taliban and stated: “We further welcome the declared commitment of the two sides to accelerate negotiations toward an inclusive political settlement and to meet again in the near future. We believe future meetings should focus on core issues that will be fundamental to reaching an inclusive political settlement.”

They stated however that they are aware that reaching a final political settlement, including on the Constitution, will likely take time but urged both sides to agree to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, to foundational principles for the future Afghan State, and on details of transitional governing arrangements.

The group also called on both parties to negotiate in good faith in order to reach a just and durable political settlement.

The group also commended Qatar for bringing the parties together and for its overall contribution to the peace process.

In addition, the group said they encourage Afghanistan’s neighbors to intensify their support to the Afghan people and to contribute to a lasting peace settlement and economic development in the interests of all.

“We also call upon all parties to ensure the safety of foreign embassies and other diplomatic missions, multilateral agencies, media representatives, airports and non-governmental organizations and their Afghan and international staff.”

We particularly appreciate Turkey’s readiness and commitment to assist with airport security as needed.

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CSTO ready to ensure its security given situation at borders



(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is prepared to ensure the security of its borders amid growing insecurity in Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to a joint statement by the CSTO leaders that was adopted at the organization’s summit in Moscow on Monday and posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“The situation in Afghanistan and on other external frontiers of the CSTO member-states is alarming,” the statement said.

“In connection with this, we express readiness to maintain security at the borders within the CSTO’s zone of responsibility.”

The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon – the leaders of all six member states of the group.

The Collective Security Treaty was signed on May 15, 1992 in Tashkent.

Despite CSTO members’ concerns, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, says that security is ensured throughout Afghanistan and that no opposition group is active enough to be considered a threat to the security of other countries.

According to the Deputy Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan’s borders are more secure than ever and countries should not worry about this.

“Afghanistan’s borders are now more secure than ever, and Afghan territory will not be used against any country,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting



(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon



(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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