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Day five of Taliban rule in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2021)

Residents of Kabul on Thursday called on the Taliban to ensure security is maintained in the city and to provide the people with work.

Kabulians mostly said they were satisfied with the security situation at the moment but said employment opportunities were desperately needed and that people need to return to their existing jobs.

The Taliban meanwhile reaffirmed their pledge to the people that they can continue to live and work with confidence.

By day five, after the Taliban took control, Kabul appears to slowly be returning to normal – although everything was mostly closed on Thursday due to Muharram and Independence Day.

“The market has returned to normal, there is no problem. Now people do not see thefts and assassinations. Everything is going well,” said Najibullah Afghan, a Kabul resident.

“We call on the international community and the elders in Afghanistan to pay more attention. People are concerned about the situation and want peace,” Mohammad Jan, another resident said.

A number of people are however optimistic and say that there are no security concerns and that public activities and services need to be resumed.

Mustafa is a bookseller in the city, he has urged the people to return to work and normal life.

“Although no one is buying books, we hope the situation will improve,” said Mustafa.

Omar is a traffic policeman in Kabul, he says he continues to work as usual.

“We continued our work, there are no restrictions and I am happy,” said Omar.

The Taliban have set up checkpoints to inspect all vehicles, and the commander of the checkpoints said that people should not worry about their safety and should return to work.

“There are no obstacles for the people of Kabul. Women and men can return to work although the people are not well informed about the Taliban, but we are at the service of our people and there is no concern,” said Mohammad Shoaib, a Taliban member.

A Taliban spokesman also said that people could work normally and that government employees, including women, should return to their duties.

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IEA, US meet in Doha to discuss freeing of Afghanistan’s frozen assets

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

A senior Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) delegation, led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, headed to Qatar on Wednesday to hold talks with US officials to release some of the $9 billion of frozen reserves. 

According to a Washington Post report, US officials have tried to set up a system for assets to be managed, while simultaneously erecting safeguards to ensure the funds are not siphoned off for misuse by the IEA.

One option discussed by those close to the talks involves having a third party trust fund administer the money, according to the report.

Bloomberg also reported that the discussion will center around “creating a mechanism for releasing the frozen Afghan reserves.” 

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s finance ministry told Bloomberg: “We’re expecting this would be a serious round of talks.”

US officials have expressed optimism about the progress on talks but cautioned that several obstacles to the deal remain.

“It would be accurate to say negotiations are underway,” said Shah Mehrabi, an economics professor at Montgomery College in Maryland and a senior member of  Afghanistan’s central bank board since 2002. 

“We are in the process of trying to come up with a mechanism that will allow the transfer of reserves to the central bank of Afghanistan,” he said.

Mehrabi said food costs have skyrocketed by 18 percent in the past several months. Basic household goods rose in cost by 35 percent during the first few months of the year; in May, inflation for household goods hit 42 percent, Mehrabi said.

“These reserves belong to the Afghan people; they are needed to stabilize prices,” he said. “The faster it is delivered to the central bank of Afghanistan, the sooner we will see the impact of the reduction in prices that are critical to enable ordinary Afghans to afford food, cooking oil, and sugar and fuel. Now, they can’t do that.”

The delegation includes central bank Governor Mohammad Idris and Deputy Finance Minister Nazir Kabiri. They will meet with the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West and officials from the treasury department, Haqmal said.

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‘If Putin was a woman’ he would not have invaded Ukraine: UK PM

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

“If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would’ve embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has,” Johnson said in an interview to German broadcaster ZDF.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is “a perfect example of toxic masculinity”, he said, calling for better education for girls around the world and for “more women in positions of power”.

The British prime minister acknowledged that “of course people want the war to end”, but for the moment “there’s no deal available. Putin isn’t making an offer of peace”.

Johnson’s comments come ahead of a NATO meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats.

Western allies must support Ukraine to enable it to be in the best possible strategic position in the event that peace negotiations with Moscow do become possible, Johnson said.

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Grand assembly to discuss ways to improve economic, social conditions: Hanafi

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

The grand assembly of religious scholars, scheduled to begin Thursday, is expected to discuss ways to improve economic and social conditions, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Wednesday.

Hanafi said people from various ethnic groups and with different views will sit for discussion, which is a positive step in maintaining stability and strengthening national unity in the country.

 “After years, Afghans from various sections and ethnic groups and with different views sit with each other for discussion without foreign interference,” Hanafi said in an interview to RTA. “It is in itself a positive and valuable step for maintaining stability and strengthening national unity.”

He said that more than 3,000 people will participate in the gathering under the mega Loya Jirga tent in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the IEA, also said that the gathering will be held under tight security measures.

He said that all technical preparations have been finalized and there will be several committees discussing key issues.

It will be the largest gathering in Kabul after the IEA took over in August last year. 

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