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Abdullah calls for dialogue and decisions, not speeches, at Istanbul summit



(Last Updated On: March 25, 2021)

Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), said this week he hopes “tangible progress” will be made towards a peace settlement at the Istanbul meeting scheduled for April.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview, Abdullah said the presence of decision-makers expected to attend the meeting needs to be utilized to push accelerate the settlement of issues in Afghanistan.

“There have been a lot of discussions between both sides in the past few months in Doha. The Doha process will continue and then we have the Istanbul meeting. The Istanbul meeting will be held at a high level.

“There will be top leaders of Afghanistan and Taliban — that’s how it is anticipated,” Abdullah said.

He also urged that the Istanbul opportunity should not be used to give speeches; instead, it should focus on working for “tangible progress.”

“The final, final, final agreement, of course, it takes time, but we should at least agree on few principles. And an agreement on a cease-fire will be very, very important,” Abdullah added.

Anadolu reported that Abdullah emphasized that it was time to go beyond the US – Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February last year that stipulates the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan by May 1. He sought to cut a deal directly between the Afghan government and the Taliban, reported Anadolu.

He said the Taliban’s readiness to move ahead would be tested in the coming days, underlining that Afghan government is ready to have direct agreements.

“Eventually, it has to be a comprehensive agreement between us, there is something between the US and the Taliban, but eventually, we need to agree. The readiness of the Taliban remains to be seen. It will be tested before the meeting in Turkey,” said Abdullah.

Asked about a possible offensive the Taliban might launch if the US fails to fulfill its obligations, Abdullah said the Afghan sides should not be dependent on the US and should work together to end the presence of foreign troops in the country.

“That [Taliban’s threat to resume hostilities] is unfortunate because eventually, we should sort out this among ourselves. We should find a solution, which will work for both sides. And if there is peace, then there is no need for the presence of the international troops,” he told Andadolu.

“In a peaceful Afghanistan, why do we need international troops? If this is the aim of the Taliban, that there shouldn’t be foreign troops in Afghanistan, the way to achieve it is to work together as Afghans and prepare the ground for that. That is my message,” Abdullah said.

He said that the US would maintain its course regarding Afghanistan’s peace process under the new Biden administration.

“On the support of the peace process, the US policy is the same. They support the peace process. And also, they want to see military arrangements, if not tomorrow, then someday in the near future. They also need to respond to the urgency of the need for peace. It’s more urgent for the people of Afghanistan to achieve peace because of the suffering of the people. Should this be the case, they will continue their efforts, enhance their activities with the countries in the region. They want the UN to be involved in it, and we will continue to work together with them,” said Abdullah.

He admitted that the Afghan government has a different view on some points, including the idea of an interim government, which has been made clear to Washington.

He told Andadolu that the Afghan government favors the signing of an agreement with the Taliban ahead of conducting elections. He described this as a “principled position.”

“It is very premature to talk about it [interim government]. These issues have been raised and are also part of that paper that was shared with us by the Americans. We responded to that,” he said.

Abdullah said the Taliban has not yet responded to the US State Department’s letter on the issue of an interim government but said Afghanistan had pointed out weaknesses and raised concerns about various aspects of the letter.

“We said it helps if we could agree on some arrangements before going to the election with the Taliban. If the Taliban wants to go directly to election, get to an agreement and then have elections, that is also not impossible. As long as we can get an agreement,” he said.

About the meeting conducted in Moscow on March 18 and 19, Abdullah said the parties used the opportunity to exchange views on different points informally to better understand each other’s positions and concerns, Anadolu reported.

He stated the Taliban entered Russia using the Afghan passports issued by the Afghan embassy in Qatar for the members of the negotiating team.

“The Taliban talked about their own views, and we talked about ours. And we had an opportunity to get together. It was not a negotiation but, in a sense, that both sides are at the same place, so why not get together, to express a few things in the sort of informal way,” he said.

Abdullah said the statement adopted at the end of the meeting could be assessed as “good”, saying it meets the Afghan people’s expectations.

“The parties should have used the opportunity, which was there. Especially when the whole world, the people of Afghanistan are demanding us to get to a cease-fire and a comprehensive peace settlement,” he told Anadolu.

He noted that the countries that participated in the extended “Troika” comprising Russia, China, the US, and Pakistan asked what the people of Afghanistan are demanding.

“The message for both sides was very clear. I think it will help. But that depends again on both sides,” Abdullah said.

Turkey Summit

In a separate report by Anadolu, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this week that the Istabul summit next month is not meant to replace the Doha talks..

This comes after he met with Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, in Brussels on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting this week.

Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that he and his US counterpart will discuss the date for the summit with all parties concerned.

Earlier this week, President Ashraf Ghani said he would attend the summit if the Taliban’s leader Hibatullah Akhundzada also attends the event.

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IEA has fulfilled all the conditions and it should be recognized: deputy PM



(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

In a meeting with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, the political deputy of the Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate said that the government has fulfilled all the conditions and it should be recognized.

Mawlawi Abdul Kabir also said that the Islamic Emirate wants active engagement with the international community, but the United Nations should lift sanctions on the Islamic Emirate and its officials.

According to him, Daesh is a global threat, but the Islamic Emirate has rooted out the group in Afghanistan.

The political deputy of the Prime Minister also emphasized that the Islamic Emirate believes in dialogue and also believes in an inclusive system and wants appointments to be made based on expertise.

On the other hand, the special representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Afghanistan said in the meeting that the UN will continue to deliver aid to the country, according to a statement released by IEA.

Roza Otunbayeva emphasized on solving Afghanistan’s problems through dialogue, and said that the United Nations will work in this field.

Khairullah Khairkhah, Minister of Information and Culture, Anas Haqqani, senior member of the Islamic Emirate, and Markus Potzel, UNAMA’s political deputy, were also present in the meeting.

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Iran hands over 20 Afghan detainees to IEA officials



(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate’s foreign ministry officials in Nimruz province said that 20 Afghan prisoners, including students, scholars and ordinary citizens were released from Iran’s Zahedan province.

The Directorate of Information and Culture in western Nimruz province in an announcement said that after being released, the detainees were handed over to the IEA officials in Zaranj the provincial capital of Nimruz province. 

According to local officials, these individuals were incarcerated due to failing to provide legal stay documents and visas and were released following the efforts of the Afghan consulate in Zahedan.

Mawlavi Sediqullah Nasrat, the head of the refugee and repatriation center in Nimruz province stated that returnees have been referred to International Organization for Migration (IOM) to receive the necessary help.

In addition, it is reported that hundreds of Afghan inmates have been released from prisons in Pakistan and Iran and returned to Afghanistan over the past month.

On Thursday (March 30) a delegation from the Ministry of Refugee and Repatriation of Afghanistan met with the representatives of Afghan refugees in Sistan and Baluchistan and Qom provinces and vowed to address refugees’ problems and find solutions respectively.

Over the past nine months, more than 2045 Afghan refugees returned to the country through the Islam Qala crossing point, according to Afghan border officials.

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UN supports 24 addiction treatment centers in Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

The United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, (UNODC) say it will support the rehabilitation program of drug addicts in Afghanistan, by covering 24 addicts’ treatment centers, state-run Bakhtar agency reported.

The UNODC will provide food, heating equipment, health materials, and medicine for these centers.

Currently, 3.5 million, which is about 10% of the total population of Afghanistan, are drug addicts, according to UNODC.

The UNODC will support these centers for at least six months.

The UNODC Office in Afghanistan, sharing reports says that the amount of land under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in 2001 was about 8 thousand hectares, but after the US attack on Afghanistan, the upward trend of drug production in this country not only did not stop, but it gained speed and in 2017, the land under poppy cultivation increased to 224 thousand hectares.

With the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation has been banned in this country, and those who disobey this order will be punished.

The Islamic Emirate put an end to the gathering of thousands of addicts from around Kabul mainly Pul-Sokhta, which for many years was the solitary life of addicts and the hot market for buying and dealing drugs in the capital, thousands of addicts were gathered from Kabul and other cities and sent to clinics.

In recent days, the security forces have stabilized poppy cultivation fields in different parts of the country, and thousands of acres of land where poppy was cultivated have been destroyed so far.

The Islamic Emirate is committed to eradicating addiction in the country and ending poppy cultivation, and it follows this commitment seriously.

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