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Ghani claims 10,000 militants entered from Pakistan in past month

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(Last Updated On: July 17, 2021)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani singled out Pakistan during Friday’s session of the C5+1 meeting in Uzbekistan and said over 10,000 militant fighters had entered Afghanistan from Pakistan and other “places” in the past month.

He also said the consensus among international observers is that the Taliban has not taken any steps to sever its ties to terrorist organizations.

“Contrary to the repeated assurances by [Pakistan’s] Prime Minister [Imran] Khan, and his generals, that Pakistan does not find a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan [to be] in Pakistan’s interest, short of use of force will use its power to influence to make the Taliban negotiate seriously, networks and organizations are openly celebrating the destruction of the assets and capabilities of the Afghan people and state.”

Responding to the charges, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “disappointed” by the allegation that Pakistan had a “negative role” in the conflict.

“President Ghani, the country that is going to be most affected by turmoil in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years. The last thing Pakistan wants is more conflict,” Khan said.

“I can assure you that no country has tried harder to get Taliban on the dialogue table than Pakistan.”

“We have taken all action short of taking military action, and every effort to bring them to the dialogue table and have a peaceful settlement there, and to blame Pakistan for what is going on in Afghanistan is extremely unfair,” he added.

The exchange of words came as another spat broke out between Kabul and Islamabad over allegations by Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh that the Pakistan military had warned Afghan forces against dislodging Taliban from Spin Boldak area.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry denied the claim, saying it acknowledged Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the conference that America’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan has destabilized the region and worsened the terrorist threat.

“Regrettably, we have witnessed a quick degradation of the situation in Afghanistan in the last few days,” Lavrov told the gathering, pointing to the “hasty withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO contingents.”
“The crisis in Afghanistan has led to the exacerbation of the terrorist threat and the problem of illegal drug trafficking that has reached an unprecedented scale,” he said.

“There are real risks of instability spilling into neighboring countries.”

Lavrov also dashed any hopes the U.S. may have of using bases in Central Asia to monitor terror threats in Afghanistan. While Pakistan and Uzbekistan have already given Washington a flat no, Lavrov said there are no Central Asian states ready to take that risk.

Meanwhile, in an interview with The Associated Press, U.S. peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said he would press for at least a temporary cease-fire during next week’s Eid al-Adha.
Khalilzad, who expressed surprise at the Taliban’s rapid sweep through swaths of Afghanistan, said a long-term “comprehensive” cease-fire may have to wait for the two sides to reach a political deal. Still, he said he will press for a reduction in violence.

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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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