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Afghan govt and Taliban get copy of ‘guiding principles’ for Istanbul Summit

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(Last Updated On: April 11, 2021)

The US, UN, Turkey, and Qatar have handed over guiding principles for the Istanbul Summit to the Afghan government and the Taliban.

A document seen by Ariana News shows that there are nine guiding principles that could help the negotiating parties reach an agreement on some key points ahead of the Istanbul conference which is due to be held from April 16, in Turkey.

The principles include:

1- A permanent and comprehensive ceasefire is needed for the country
2- Conducting joint work for the restoration of peace without mutual accusation
3- Political partnership under Islamic principles
4- Formation of an inclusive and accountable participatory government
5- Future political arrangements need to reflect the diversity of Afghan society by way of providing equal rights for all citizens, and without discrimination
6- Protecting and supporting human rights in Afghanistan
7- Future government will implement a balanced socio-economic development program to cope with poverty in Afghanistan
8- Afghanistan will maintain friendly relations with its neighbors, the region and the international community
9- The two parties have to engage in peaceful negotiations in order to implement these principles

This plan coincides with the High Council for the National Reconciliation’s (HCNR) unified peace plan for the upcoming Istanbul Summit.

A copy of the draft seen by Ariana News shows that the plan has four parts including a principle for the future of Afghanistan, a Peace roadmap/President Ashraf Ghani’s plan, a future political system, and an end to the ongoing conflict in the country.

The first part of the plan calls for a number of stipulations including Islam to be the official religion of Afghanistan; civil rights to be preserved based on the Afghan Constitution; an amendment brought to parts of the Constitution, for International support to be preserved, and for a neutral foreign policy, elections, and an accountable government.

The second part includes Ghani’s three-phase roadmap to the restoration of peace in the country.

Ghani’s roadmap – from an unending war towards a just and lasting peace includes three phases, a political agreement; a peace government; and peacebuilding, state-building, and market-building.

In the first phase, Ghani proposed a political settlement, an internationally monitored ceasefire, a regional and international guarantee of peace as well as continued counter-terrorism efforts, and the convening of a Loya Jirga to approve the agreement.

The second phase will be to hold a presidential election and establish a “government of peace” and implement arrangements to move towards a new political system.

The third phase will involve building a “constitutional framework, security, reintegration of refugees and considering government priorities” for Afghanistan’s development.

In the third part of the draft, two political systems – a Presidential Structure with four Vice Presidents including a woman or a parliamentary system that could be implemented after a referendum for amending the Constitution – have been proposed for the future of Afghanistan.

The fourth part is focused on ending the war in the country. In this part, a regular framework for the end of the conflict, and the implementation and monitoring of a ceasefire are highlighted.

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Religious groups can observe their ceremonies freely in Afghanistan: Stanikzai

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

All religious groups including non-Muslims can observe their ceremonies freely in Afghanistan, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said on Monday.

Stanikzai said this while speaking at a ceremony in Kabul to celebrate Ashura which falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram and commemorates the martyrdom in 680 AD of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali, one of the grandsons of the Prophet Mohammad.

“Based on the policy of the Islamic Emirate, all religious groups in Afghanistan are free to celebrate religious days and observe their ceremonies. There is no problem. Even non-Muslim minorities are free in this regard,” Stanikzai said.

He said that some countries see their interest in Afghanistan to be unstable and people should support the current government against such conspiracies.

“They don’t want to build Afghanistan and they see their interest in how Afghanistan has been. It is our duty to build our country,” Stanikza said.

Referring to civil war in Afghanistan post-Soviet withdrawal, Stanikzai said that some Afghans destroyed the country only to ensure their own interests.

“Our country couldn’t enjoy the pleasure of Soviet defeat. Some Afghans fought each other for power or out of personal grudge and destroyed our country,” Stanikzai said.

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Hekmatyar rejects claims that al-Qaeda leader was killed in Kabul drone strike

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, on Monday blasted the United States for violating Afghanistan’s national sovereignty and territory by conducting a drone strike in Kabul and said Washington’s claims of having killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri were false. 

Hekmatyar said the strike was a “terrorist act” and that there was no evidence of al-Zawahiri having been killed in the Sherpur house in Kabul. 

He also said despite the US having withdrawn from Afghanistan, Washington still wanted to continue the war and carried with it a “sense of revenge”. He said this was clear in statements and words expressed by American political and military officials. 

Hekmatyar also said that the US operation against the leader of al-Qaeda shows that the US still has intelligence activities in Afghanistan. 

US President Joe Biden claimed last week that the US had killed al-Zawahiri in a drone strike while he was standing on a balcony at his house in Kabul. 

However, until now, no evidence of al-Zawahiri’s death has yet been provided. 

Radio Azadi meanwhile quoted the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as having said no body was found at the scene of the strike. 

He said an investigation was launched into the strike and that “everything was destroyed, but we did not find a body there.” he said.

The IEA also said last week that they had no knowledge of al-Zawahiri having been in the country as claimed by the US.

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IEA leaders meet with Shia Ulema, ‘share grief’ after bombings

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s acting third deputy prime minister Mawlavi Mohammad Abdul Kabir met with members of the Shia Ulema on Sunday to discuss the recent spate of bombings in Kabul against the community during Muharram. 

Kabir “shared his grief with the families of the victims due to the martyrdom and wounding” of members of the community, a statement issued by ARG read. 

Javad Salehi, the deputy head of the Shia Ulema Council, and Ustad Akbari, one of the Shia elders, attended the meeting and thanked the security forces for their attempts to maintain security leading up to Ashura.

The meeting came after at least two explosions, over consecutive days, that targeted the Shia community in Kabul. 

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), at least 120 people were killed or wounded in the blasts. 

ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings in the western part of Kabul city on Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday, there were unconfirmed reports of an attack for the third consecutive day in Kabul city.

The attacks came as Shia Muslims, a religious minority in the country, prepare for Ashura, which commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.

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