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‘Afghans Have The Right to Live in Peace’ – U.S. Envoy

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(Last Updated On: October 24, 2022)

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who is on a multi-nation trip for his efforts of facilitating intra-Afghan peace talks, says Afghans have the right to leave in peace after decades of war in their country.

Last week, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan reportedly proposed an interim setup for Afghanistan as part of the Afghan peace process. His remarks sparked a strong reaction of the Afghan government and the international community including the United States.

Later, the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, Imran Khan’s remarks were “misinterpreted” and that the comments should not be misinterpreted to imply interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan.

Khalilzad in a tweet on Friday said that he noted the government of Pakistan statement “clarifying Pakistan government’s views on avoiding interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs”.

“Appreciate Pakistan’s and other regional support for Afghan Peace Process and agree that Afghans have the right to live in peace after a long period of war,” Khalilzad said.

According to the U.S. State Department, in his latest round of trip, Khalilzad will visit the United Kingdom, Belgium, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Qatar from March 25 to April 10, as part of the efforts to facilitate a peace process to facilitate  “inclusive” intra-Afghan negotiations.

Khalilzad on Friday met with his counterparts at the European Union (EU), where he talked about the last 18 years in achievements in Afghanistan which according to him should be prioritized in the ongoing peace talks.

“Excellent meetings today with my counterparts at the EU. We talked about our countries’ shared values, and about the meaningful political & social gains in Afghanistan over the last 18 years, especially for women & children, which must be prioritized in the peace process,” Khalilzad tweeted.

Recently, Federica Maria Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, visited Kabul where he met the Afghan government leaders and vowed the European Union’s continued support to the peace process and the upcoming elections. 

“I particularly appreciated Federica Mogherini thoughts for Afghans concerned about potential overlap in timing of elections and the  Afghan Peace Process: “Enter negotiations as if there were no elections, united as a country, and do elections as if there were no negotiations.” Khalilzad tweeted.

In his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, Khalilzad also brief NATO allies on Afghan peace efforts.

“NATO & US forces serve shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan. Our shared goal is to reach a peace agreement worthy of the sacrifices made over decades of war. Together we’re committed to achieving genuine intra-Afghan dialogue on a political settlement that ends the conflict,” Khalilzad tweeted.

In Kabul, Khalilzad will consult with the Afghan government and politicians regarding the status of the U.S. talks with the Taliban and encourage efforts to form an “inclusive” negotiating team, as well as discuss next steps in intra-Afghan dialogue, according to the U.S. State Department.

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China used botched Afghanistan withdrawal to ‘erode’ confidence in US, Pentagon report

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2022)

China used the US’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan to “erode” trust in the US, the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on military and security developments pertaining to China stated.

The report released on Tuesday noted: “In 2021, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) employed multiple diplomatic tools in an attempt to erode US and partner influence, such as highlighting the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and criticizing US-backed security partnerships.”

“PRC officials and state media outlets also repeatedly condemned the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and cited the withdrawal as evidence that the US is an unreliable partner and declining power,” the report read.

However, US critics have spoken out on numerous occasions about the chaotic withdrawal. “The way it was done was such a disaster and such a disgrace to our veterans that served in Afghanistan, they deserve answers to the many questions we have,” Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said recently.

“Why wasn’t there a plan to evacuate? How did it go so wrong?” he asked.

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Pakistani FM meets with deputy prime minister, reiterates need to avoid ‘mistakes of the past’

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2022)

Visiting Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said in a meeting with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) deputy prime minister Abdul Salam Hanafi on Thursday that opportunities should be used and that the two countries should “not be involved in the mistakes of the past”.

According to a statement issued by Hanafi’s office on Tuesday night, Khar met with the deputy prime minister and with Shahabuddin Delawar, the minister of mines and petroleum, as well as a number of other IEA officials.

Hanafi pointed out at the meeting that “Afghanistan and Pakistan have long-standing historical, religious and cultural relations and we want to further expand relations between the two countries.”

He said Afghanistan is the bridge between Central and South Asia and “we are ready to cooperate for the implementation of big projects such as TAPI, TAP, CASA-1000 and the Peshawar-Kabul-Tirmaz railway line”.

He also said: “We are trying to mechanize the coal trade, and for this purpose, a competent inter-ministerial joint committee has been established. Also, the National Committee of Ports has been assigned to provide facilities in the field of trade and transit.”

Hanafi encouraged Pakistani investors to invest in Afghanistan in mining, energy and agriculture sectors and added that the Islamic Emirate wants Pakistan’s cooperation in the fields of visa facilitation for Afghans and the release of Afghan prisoners.

Meanwhile, Khar said: “We don’t know of countries that have a lot in common like Afghanistan and Pakistan,” adding that after 40 years, many opportunities have been provided in Afghanistan – opportunities beneficial to both countries.

Emphasizing that Pakistan respects the territorial integrity of Afghanistan, Khar stated “we should not be involved in the mistakes of the past. We must create a good environment for expanding business relations and people-to-people contact and turn challenges into opportunities.”

Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, also said: “We respect the territorial integrity of Afghanistan and since security has been ensured in Afghanistan, we should work and invest more for the welfare and comfort of the citizens of the two countries and focus on solving the problems.”

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24.3 million Afghans get life saving assistance in 9 months: UN agency

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2022)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid for Afghanistan (OCHA) said recently 24.3 million people in Afghanistan in need of food and non-food items received help during the first nine months of this year.

In a tweet on Monday, OCHA said: “Between Jan and Sept 2022, humanitarians reached 24.3 million people with life-saving assistance.”

On the other hand, the citizens of the country say they do not have access to proper food and shelter despite it now being winter.

They also lodged complaints about the distribution of assistance.

However, members of the public have said that for poverty alleviation, work should be provided for the people, and aid organizations can fill the economic gap by implementing projects.

“The fundamental issue is that in addition to aid, work should be done on all the former government’s incomplete and fundamental projects,” said a resident of Nangarhar.

Based on statistics of the UN, the poverty rate in Afghanistan has reached 97%, and this year, Afghanistan still has many vulnerabilities due to natural disasters.

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