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Acting Interior Minister Haqqani shows face for first time



(Last Updated On: March 5, 2022)

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the acting interior minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and a longtime leader of the so-called Haqqani network with a US bounty on his head, has appeared in front of the media for the first time.

Haqqani, nicknamed Khalifa, made the rare public appearance during a ceremony that saw the graduation of hundreds of police officers in Kabul on Saturday.

“Since we had not appeared in front of the media, we have now openly appeared in front of the media in order to build trust. Allah Almighty bestowed on us this honor and happiness,” Haqqani said.

In his speech, Haqqani gave serious orders to the security forces over the ongoing house search operation, telling them not to harass people and reach out to the local religious scholars if they encounter any problems during the operation.

“Please be patient and do not harass people during house to house searches and seek help from local clerics in case of any problems,” Haqqani said.

He also said that the IEA was committed to the Doha agreement signed with the United States in 2020 that paved the way to a pullout of US-led international troops that culminated in late August.

Haqqani told the graduating police cadets that the world faces no threat from Afghanistan; and countries that used to spend large sums of money on war in the past can now spend it on the development of Afghanistan.

“We also assure the world that no country will be threatened from Afghanistan’s soil. We protect the lives and property of the people, and it is our responsibility,” Haqqani added.

Haqqani had never allowed himself to be filmed, and an FBI notice of a $10 million bounty on his head for alleged activities featured only a blurry image of a bearded man mostly shrouded by a blanket.

The ceremony was also addressed by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi who said IEA was planning to have 350,000 security personnel to ensure security and defend Islamic values and Afghanistan’s territorial integrity.

“The leaders of the Islamic Emirate are committed to building a national and professional police, national and professional army and national and professional security force; we wholeheartedly support all our national facilities,” said Hanafi.

A total of 470 cadets including women graduated from Kabul Police Academy on Saturday.

The force has been trained at the center for four years in the criminal, logistical and border fields, and will be deployed in government departments according to their profession.

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Muttaqi leaves for China to attend Trans-Himalaya Forum



(Last Updated On: October 3, 2023)

Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi left Kabul for China to participate in the third Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation, it was announced Tuesday.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman for Foreign Ministry, said on X that Muttaqi had received an official invitation from China.

Deputy Minister of Economy Abdul Latif Nazari and a number of other officials of the Islamic Emirate are accompanying Muttaqi in the visit.

Ahmad said that in the meeting, the countries surrounding the Himalayas will discuss economic cooperation, regional connectivity and ecological changes.

He added that the Islamic Emirate delegation will also have a bilateral meetings with the Foreign Minister of China and representatives of other countries on the sidelines of the forum.

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Pakistan tightens entry rules for Afghan travelers



(Last Updated On: October 3, 2023)

Pakistan has decided that all citizens of neighboring Afghanistan will be required to enter the country with a valid passport and visa starting next month, similar to travelers from other countries, VOA reported on Monday.

The “one document regime” policy will replace the decades-old practice of granting special travel permits to individuals with divided tribes straddling the Durand Line.

The “passport as the only traveling document is going to be implemented from November 1, 2023,” according to an official federal directive sent to immigration authorities at all Afghan border crossings.

“No other document shall be accepted to travel from Afghanistan to Pakistan,” the document said. 

The Pakistani government has yet to make a formal announcement about the new policy. 

VOA cited a senior Pakistani official as saying that Islamabad hopes the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) would cooperate in implementing the “one document regime” decision to help deter illegal crossers, including militants and smugglers.

The IEA did not immediately comment on the new travel requirements.

The new policy comes amid a nationwide crackdown on Afghans living illegally in Pakistan or not renewing their visas.

Last Thursday, Pakistani caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani announced that his government would deport illegal Afghan and other foreign immigrants.

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Foreign tourists flock to Helmand to visit its historical sites



(Last Updated On: October 3, 2023)

With the emergence of security in Afghanistan, foreign tourists are starting to visit Afghanistan to see its historical sites that have been out of reach for travelers for decades.

A group of tourists visiting Lashkargah in Helmand province were awestruck by the 3,000 year old Qala-e-Bost, which is famous for its 11th century arch. The arch is part of the remains of a mosque.

The group of 11 people from Germany, America, New Zealand and South Africa, included five women, who all welcomed the opportunity to visit the fort and other historical sites in the country.

The tourists said it was a good time for people to visit Afghanistan given that peace has been established.

“Afghanistan is a rich country in terms of minerals, they should work for their people and country, in order to save themselves” from being dependent on other countries, said a tourist from South Africa.

“I am happy that I visited Bost Fort and some other historical areas of this historical province with my friends,” said an American tourist.

At the same time, the head of culture and tourism of the Department of Information and Culture, Mawlavi Sultan Muhammad Hanif, said that since the takeover of the Islamic Emirate, many tourists from different countries have come to this province.

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