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Afghan delegation leaves Kabul for talks with Taliban in Doha

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(Last Updated On: July 16, 2021)

A delegation led by Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Friday afternoon left Kabul for Doha, the capital of Qatar, to hold talks with the Taliban as the militants’ offensives dramatically increased across Afghanistan.

The delegation includes Former Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili; Head of the splinter faction of the Jamiat-e-Islami Party Ata Mohammad Noor; Islamic Republic Chief Negotiator Masoom Stanekzai; President Ghani’s Adviser Salam Rahimi; State Minister for Peace Affairs Sadat Mansoor Naderi; Bator Dostum and Fatima Gailani members of peace negotiating team.

However, the agenda of the talks is not clear so far. Abdullah noted that the Afghan team has fully authoritative and that a ceasefire is a priority in the talks with the Taliban delegation.

“On behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, an inclusive delegation is leaving for Qatar, a number of esteemed members of the delegation are currently in Qatar and some are going with us. I thank the support that resulted from a political consensus on the deployment of this delegation. This delegation represents the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” Abdullah said.

“The people of Afghanistan in different parts of the country are suffering from the tragedy of continuing the war. Today, war is raging in several provinces of Afghanistan. But your question will be, ‘when the war is going on, why are you talking about peace’, yes, because the war is going on intensively, and this war has been going on for 42 years in our country and hundreds of thousands of our people sacrificed their lives, so then we must work for providing peace.”

He added: “God willing, we hope that the Taliban side will see this as an opportunity and know that there will be no peace with continues or capturing of a district or areas. The result of peace can only be achieved from the negotiating table, despite all the pain that our people are suffering today, and there is pressure to focus on war, we still believe that there is still a chance for a peace that should be acceptable to all.”

Former president Hamid Karzai, who accompanied the delegation until the Kabul airport, stated that he fully supports the Afghan team.

Sources, meanwhile, told Ariana News that Karzai is expected to visit Islamabad to meet with Pakistani officials on Saturday.

Taliban stated that a delegation, led by the head of Taliban’s political wing Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, will negotiate with the Afghan team in Doha.

The development comes a day after US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Washington continues to believe the only solution to Afghanistan’s problem is a political settlement and in line with this the Afghan government is sending a senior delegation to Doha.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Price stated: “We have been very clear about this, that we continue to believe the Islamic Republic – that is to say, the Afghan Government continues to believe that diplomacy is the only durable and just way to reach a political settlement here.

“I won’t speak for the Taliban, but they continue to engage in that diplomacy in Doha. The Islamic Republic, the Afghan Government is sending a senior delegation to Doha. The special envoy (Zalmay Khalilzad) and his team are engaged, supporting these intra-Afghan discussions in Doha,” Price said.

“We continue to believe – and the international community continues to believe, including if you look at recent statements from some of our closest allies, but also from countries with whom we share little else – that this diplomatic path is the most effective, and certainly the best path to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.”

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IEA’s reclusive supreme leader addresses Ulema gathering in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

The reclusive supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Haibatullah Akhundzada, hailed the IEA’s takeover of Afghanistan during a meeting in Kabul on Friday. 

The meeting of religious leaders from around the country was called to forge national unity. 

IEA spokesmen confirmed that Akhundzada, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, had come to Kabul for the gathering of some 3,000 participants.

After receiving pledges of allegiance from participants raising their hands, Akhundzada praised the IEA’s victory last August. 

“The success of the Afghan jihad is not only a source of pride for Afghans but also for Muslims all over the world,” he said. 

In his speech he said justice needs to prevail, that oppression needs to be prevented and corruption in government must be stamped out. 

He also discussed the need for the implementation of divine law, especially in respect of retribution. He said this decree of Allah has not yet been implemented and once it is, it will spark reaction. 

He also told participants that the people should not wait for foreign aid to rebuild the country. He called on Afghans living abroad to return home and invest in the future of their country. 

Akhundzada did not mention the reopening of girls’ schools. 

On Afghanistan’s foreign policy, he said it was an independent country and that he did not want to negotiate with any country on Islamic issues. 

He called on the world not to interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic issues and said Afghanistan is no longer in the hands of foreigners. 

Akhundzada stated that while the enemy was defeated on the battlefield, the IEA must not allow discord within its ranks especially as the enemy is trying to conduct propaganda campaigns. 

“Thank God, we are now an independent country. (Foreigners) should not give us their orders, it is our system and we have our own decisions,” he said. 

“We have a relationship of devotion to one God, we cannot accept the orders of others who God does not like,” he said.

He reassured neighboring countries that the IEA harbors no ill will towards them. 

In conclusion he called on political figures abroad to return home and to stop waging an anti-IEA campaign. 

The Kabul gathering began on Thursday under tight security.

Deputy Taliban chief and acting interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani also addressed the meeting on Friday, saying the world was demanding inclusive government and education, and the issues needed time.

“This gathering is about trust, interaction, we are here to make our future according to Islam and to national interests,” he said.

IEA spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that they would respect the decisions of those at the meeting but the final say on girls’ education was up to the supreme leader.

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Turkey awaits IEA response to Kabul airport offer: Erdogan

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey had offered to operate Kabul airport in Afghanistan with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and was awaiting the response of the Islamic Emirate to the proposal.

He was speaking at a news conference at the end of a NATO summit in Madrid.

Turkey and Qatar have been negotiating with Islamic Emirate officials for months to manage Afghanistan’s international airfields.

In May, IEA signed an agreement with a UAE company on ground operations at the Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat airports and the deal had a contract period of one-and-a-half years.

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India delivers six tons of medical aid to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

The Indian government delivered a consignment of six tons of essential medicines to Afghanistan on Thursday, as part of its ongoing humanitarian assistance, New Delhi said.

The consignment was handed over to the Indira Gandhi Hospital in Kabul, Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The assistance follows urgent appeals made by the United Nations to assist the Afghan people.

India has, so far, supplied 20 tons of medical assistance in seven batches, which includes essential life-saving medicines, anti-TB medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID vaccine, etc. These medical consignments have been handed over to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Indira Gandhi Children Hospital, Kabul, Indian foreign ministry said.

In order to ensure food security in Afghanistan, India has provided food assistance of 35,000 metric tons of wheat. Moreover, in the wake of recent tragic earthquake, India supplied almost 28 tons of earthquake relief assistance in two relief flights.

Furthermore, India is in the process to ship more medical and wheat assistance to Afghanistan in coordination with the UN agencies on ground.

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