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China’s Foreign Minister calls for regional unity to stamp out terrorism

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(Last Updated On: March 30, 2021)

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday called on all parties attending the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Tajikistan to join forces and increase the fight against “terrorist organizations like Al-Qaida, ISIS and the ETIM until they are completely eliminated”.

He also stated that “foreign troops should withdraw from Afghanistan in a responsible and orderly way, so as to prevent the various terrorist forces from ramping up and creating trouble”.

He noted that he believes all parties attending share a strong desire and firm resolve to advance peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Wang said with the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan standing at a crucial juncture, there is a rare, historic opportunity for a political settlement of the Afghan issue.

“In this sense, the theme of this Conference, ‘Strengthening Consensus for Peace and Development’, is most fitting and meaningful. Peace is an urgent priority and a prerequisite for development; development is a perpetual pursuit and a guarantee for peace.”

He said the Istanbul Process involves all of Afghanistan’s neighbors and major countries in the region, as well as many international players supportive of the Process an in line with this “China expects all parties to deepen cooperation in the following three areas:

“First, sustaining the momentum of peace talks and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“The Afghan issue can only be resolved by political means, and the future of Afghanistan should be kept in the hands of the Afghan people.”

Wang said the Afghan people must stay confident and patient, and strive for broad-based, inclusive and durable peace through sincere dialogue and negotiations.

International supporting parties should abide by the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” principle, put aside self-interests, uphold fairness and justice, and contribute more positive energy to the peace and reconciliation process, he said.

Second, he said while Afghanistan has made big strides in economic and social development in recent years, “it lacks internal drivers of growth”.

“Currently, the implementation of the China-Afghanistan MOU on Belt and Road cooperation is well underway, and China has provided several billion yuan in grant to Afghanistan.”

He also noted that China had helped during the COVID-19 pandemic,and that it will soon provide free vaccines to Afghanistan.

His third point was on terrorism which he said was a serious challenge for countries in the region and a common enemy of humanity.

“It will be ill-advised to follow double standards in counter-terrorism, as they will backfire at the end of the day. All parties need to join forces and double down on fighting terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the ETIM until they are completely eliminated.

“Foreign troops should withdraw from Afghanistan in a responsible and orderly way, so as to prevent the various terrorist forces from ramping up and creating trouble. In this context, China will continue to strengthen coordination and deepen cooperation with all other parties concerned,” he said.

In conclusion he noted that China will continue to do its best to support, mediate and facilitate Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process.

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PACF hands over 25 tons of food items to support Afghans

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Pak Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF) on Thursday handed over 25 tons of food items to Afghan authorities as part of its ongoing support to the people of war-hit Afghanistan.

The truckload of the food items, arranged by the PACF, were handed over to the Afghan authorities at the Chaman crossing, app reported.

The handing-over ceremony was attended by Deputy Commissioner of Chaman Hameed Zahri and senior officers of the Afghan Foreign Office including Maulwi Waheedullah and Mullah Hikmatullah.

According to the report since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), takeover in Afghanistan last year, Pakistan had sent over a total of 15,390 tons worth Rs2, 650 million of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The humanitarian assistance had been sent to Afghanistan via 83 convoys, including 743 trucks and four C-130 flights, till August 5, read the report.

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A group of 9/11 victims call for frozen funds to be given back to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

Families of 9/11 victims have called on US President Joe Biden to release billions of dollars belonging to Afghanistan.

In a letter sent to Biden this week, 77 family members of 9/11 victims called on the president to modify an executive order from February which froze the Afghan central bank’s $7 billion of assets being held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“Any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is legally suspect and morally wrong,” the family members wrote in a letter first reported by Politico.

The letter came amid a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US had ruled out releasing the funds following the US killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul earlier this month.

The US froze the money after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) swept to power following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The IEA and US had been engaged in talks about releasing the funds.

Biden planned to give $3.5 billion to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes and the balance to families of 9/11 victims.

But the revelation that the al-Qaeda leader was living in Kabul derailed talks between the US and the IEA on a compromise over the funds.

The 9/11 victims’ families said that, while they had filed lawsuits seeking justice for their loss, they didn’t intend for the compensation “to take money away from starving Afghans”.

“This money is theirs, not ours,” the letter said. “Simply put, this money belongs to the Afghan people, not 9/11 family members – and they need it more.”

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3,000 religious scholars, elders and officials attend IEA’s Kandahar meeting

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(Last Updated On: August 18, 2022)

About 3,000 religious scholars, government officials, ethnic elders and members of civil society attended a meeting in Kandahar on Thursday.

Among the key speakers was the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

The media was however prevented from recording or filming Akhundzada’s speech.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the meeting that the IEA wants good relations with the world, but that the foreign community should not expect relations to normalize immediately – not after 20 years of war.

Muttaqi said that while the IEA wants good relations with the international community, they expect the world to allow Afghans to live according to their beliefs and traditions.

He also said that they have made many achievements in building trade relations with countries in the region and currently the borders are open to Afghan traders who are now exporting their goods.

On the other hand, acting Minister of Vice and Virtue has said that the IEA has made countless sacrifices to end the occupation and establish an Islamic system in Afghanistan.

However, Afghans across the country are hoping that one of the outcomes of this meeting will be the decision to reopen schools for girls above Grade 6.

But it is not clear as to whether the subject was discussed at the meeting.

This is the second such meeting in as many months. The first one, two months ago, took place at the Loya Jirga Hall in Kabul.

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