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To ‘reduce violence’ is a strategy to escape peace: Danish

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(Last Updated On: January 19, 2020)

Vice President Sarwar Danish, says that amid the peace talks, the strategy to ‘reduce violence’ is an escape from peace and, it is to deceive Afghans and the International Community.

Danish, speaking at the gathering of ‘revealing the strategy for Protecting the Human Rights Defenders’, held by the Amnesty International, Sunday morning January the 19th, said that the plan to ‘reduce violence’ is in a way marginalizing the peace, and one-upping the people of Afghanistan and the International Community.

The deputy of the president said, “The Taliban and their supporters may convince the United States to sign the peace agreement, but for the people of Afghanistan, who indeed are the prime dimension in the matter, it will not solve any problem whatsoever.”

In respect to the improvements in the peace talks between the Taliban and their American counterpart, Danish said, “We, as the government and the people of Afghanistan, certainly welcome peace and stability – putting an end to the devastating war is a desire our people longed forever.”

The presidential deputy, further clarified regarding the mechanism of the peace talks saying, “Until the start of the ‘intra-Afghan peace talks chaired by the government of Afghanistan’ and the approval of a ‘full ceasefire’, there will be no trust between the laterals and no hope for the future.”

Danish added that up and till now, the Afghan government as well as the people, civil societies, political parties and tribal leaders, have been sidelined. That said, to bring peace seems impossible.”

Regarding the content of the peace agreement, he said that the people of Afghanistan will approve an agreement that involves all aspects adequately, be it putting an end to the war or being a part of the government, all through democratic and legal ways, and create a peaceful life for the people of Afghanistan.

He also spoke of the principles of a republic, civil rights, and protection of human rights as the most important values of the people of Afghanistan. “Elections, freedom of speech and media, and respect to women and minorities are the primary elements of human rights and, must not be disregarded,” he said.

Danish underscored that saying ‘yes’ to an ‘emirate’ state and/or a government of any sort that means dictatorship and violates democracy and human rights, will not only desert peace but will also intensify a new format of war in Afghanistan.

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TAPI construction to start in Herat next year

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2020)

Minister of Mines and Petroleum Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri on Thursday said that construction work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline Project will kick off next year.

Speaking at a press conference Chakhansuri said the ministry has established an effective coordination mechanism between government institutions involved in the TAPI project and also with international institutions and TAPI partners.

“Fortunately, all the administrative, technical and legal problems of the TAPI project have been resolved and the practical work of this project will start next year in Herat province,” said Chakhansuri.

The minister also said that another project the ministry is working on is the construction of a 94.5 km-long gas pipeline from Sheberghan, capital city of Jawzjan province, to Mazar-e-Sharif and construction work will start in the next three months.

“The gas that will be transferred from Sheberghan to Mazar-e-Sharif through this pipeline will be used to generate 50 megawatts of electricity,” said Chakhansuri.

The minister said that soon 67 projects that have been approved by the High Economic Council will be put out to tender in accordance with Afghanistan’s mining laws and after the completion of the process companies that meet the standards will be awarded the contracts.

“These 67 projects will add 150 to 170 million Afghanis to Afghanistan’s national income, in addition to which 5 million Afghanis will be invested in these projects for five years and will directly provide employment to 3,000 people,” Chakhansuri said.

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Afghan journalist Daryabi wins 2020 Anti-Corruption Award

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2020)

Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption announced this week that Afghan journalist Zaki Daryabi, editor in chief of Etilaat Roz Newspaper and whistleblower Botakoz Kopbayeva from Kazakhstan have been selected as the winners of the 2020 Anti-Corruption Award.

“Journalist Zaki Daryabi and newspaper Etilaatroz have been selected Anti-Corruption Award Winners 2020 for their tireless efforts in exposing major corruption scandals in Afghanistan, despite the multiple challenges, threats and limitations,” Transparency International said in a tweet.

“They serve as an admirable example to journalists and young activists across the globe through their perseverance and sustainable approach to holding power to account,” Transparency International added.

The awards were presented at a ceremony held virtually on Wednesday night at the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference.

“I am honoured to accept the Transparency International’s 2020 AntiCorruptionAward. I dream of the day that Afghanistan is no longer among the most corrupt and the deadliest places for journalists in the world,” Daryabi tweeted.

Today I recommit myself to realising that dream, Daryabi added.

Anti-Corruption Award recognises the courage and determination of the many individuals and organisations fighting corruption around the world.

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US to keep two larger military bases in Afghanistan after drawdown

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2020)

The Pentagon has approved drawdown plans in Afghanistan but will still keep two large military bases in the country, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an event hosted by Brookings Institution think tank, Milley said that in addition to the two bases, the US would also keep “several satellite bases.”

This was the first time a Pentagon or White House official has offered any details following outgoing US President Donald Trump’s sudden announcement last month of another major drawdown of troops – from around 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.

This decision also left many NATO allies questioning the future of the mission in Afghanistan without US assistance.

Milley meanwhile said on Wednesday that the US military will also continue its two core missions – assisting Afghan security forces who are locked in conflict with Taliban insurgents and carrying out counterterrorism operations against IS-K (Daesh) and al-Qaeda.

However, Milley did not say which bases in Afghanistan would be shut down nor which bases would remain.

He also declined to speculate about what President-elect Joe Biden may decide. “What comes after that, that will be up to a new administration,” he said.

Milley also said the United States had “achieved a modicum of success” in Afghanistan.

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