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Karzai calls on Taliban to embrace the ‘new Afghanistan’

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(Last Updated On: April 6, 2021)

As the May 1 deadline for the US troop withdrawal nears, and efforts to secure a peace deal are ramped up, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said the country is asking the Taliban to embrace today’s Afghanistan, a progressive modern Republic with democratic institutions.

In an interview with TRT World, on Monday, Karzai said: “We (Afghans) are asking the Taliban to become [open to progress]; we have examples of Muslim countries that are doing extremely well, that are deeply Muslim, deeply believing, yet very progressive, quite in touch with the rest of the world, quite in competition positively with the rest of the world.”

“Turkey is one such example and perhaps the best example. Look at the mosques in Turkey, it’s full of people when the prayer time comes, and look at the modernity and the industrial and cultural and economic output that Turkey gives to itself and to the rest of the world. It is a great model for Afghanistan.”

“We also have other examples in the Muslim world but the best for us is Turkey. We have Indonesia, we have Malaysia, we have others therefore yes it is possible for a Muslim individual for a Muslim society to be deeply believing, practicing Muslim and yet progressive, enlightened and futuristically oriented.”

On the issue of the withdrawal of US and foreign troops by May 1, or an extension of their stay, Karzai said this must be carried out in a responsible manner so as to make sure it is done in coordination with major powers and countries in the region in order to ensure peace in Afghanistan.

Karzai said: “The US withdrawal or staying in Afghanistan beyond May 1 must be responsible in both cases; if they want to withdraw that withdrawal must be responsible in the sense that it must make sure that Afghanistan is peaceful and that it is done in a broader understanding with major powers and the countries in the region so all together make Afghanistan a place of cooperation rather than competition.”

“Second if they want to stay beyond May 1 that too has to be responsible. The United States cannot be staying in Afghanistan that is in conflict; No!”

“If the US wants to, wishes to stay in Afghanistan, it can only be staying in Afghanistan and be in cooperation with a peaceful Afghanistan, a stable Afghanistan, not in Afghanistan in which the US presence is there, bases are there, but we are dying in a conflict and our children are suffering,” he said. .

Karzai said he is appealing for a responsible exit on the part of the Americans.

“A responsible exit and if they wish to – a very responsible stay which means in a peaceful Afghanistan not like what they did in the past 20 years; No!”

On the Taliban’s inference that there will be consequences if the US extends its stay in Afghanistan, Karzai said: “The Taliban have said that but we would ask the Taliban to think; they must also think more responsibly towards Afghanistan and towards the safety and security and well-being of the Afghan people.

“Whenever that is done by us the Afghans, by the Americans or our friends in the international community, it must be towards an end of violence in Afghanistan and the return of peace to Afghanistan,” he said.

On the US-proposed peace deal, which includes an interim government and President Ashraf Ghani stepping aside, Karzai said “the best would be that the Taliban agree to power sharing with the current government; the easiest would be that that they share power, that they come and join the current government as Afghan citizens and make peace and accept President Ghani,” until his term of office ends, in accordance with the country’s Constitution.

He said any amendments to the Constitution could then be done in order for steps to be taken forward.

“If that is not possible, if the Taliban don’t want to do that under any circumstances for whatever reason in their mind, then for the Afghan people peace is the priority; so peace must be our top priority and then for peace we must do what is necessary for it.

“That can be an arrangement … or that can be a new arrangement. But whatever the arrangement is, the future of that arrangement, the foresight of that arrangement, has to be a country in which its citizens enjoy the rights of choosing their own government with their own free will, through the will of the Afghan people and expressed through the vote of the Afghan people is the foundation of a strong Afghanistan and I hope the Taliban and everyone else will recognize and agree to that,” he said.

Karzai also stated in his interview that the Taliban are Afghans and also belong to Afghanistan. “They’re Afghan people,” he said adding that a change has to be made by all sides.

“Yes the Taliban must change, yes the Taliban must accept the new realities in Afghanistan, they must accept that the Afghan people want progress, they must accept that Afghan people want a better life, they must accept without a question that the role of women in Afghan society is one in which there cannot be a compromise and that people need to be educated, in that we need to have good relations with the rest of the world and a good economy,,” he said.

However he added that there has to be some give-and-take on both sides and that all Afghan saids must be adaptable to change in order to secure peace.

On the issue of the upcoming US-proposed peace summit in Turkey, Karzai said he has “tremendous hopes. I’m sure Turkey will do all to make certain and certain that the Afghan talks in Turkey, the intra-Afghan talks in Turkey are successful in bringing peace to Afghanistan. That trust we have in Turkey.”

“Holding peace talks in Turkey is a great opportunity for a long term solution,” Karzai said.

In conclusion Karzai said he was confident in the current process and that peace would come to Afghanistan – especially as it was the “will of the Afghan people” to live in peace.

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Our Afghan policy has failed: Pakistani senator

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Tuesday said “our Afghan Policy has failed”, local media outlet ARY News reported.

Addressing the Senate earlier this week, Mushaid Hussain said that “failing to formulate the counter-terrorism policy is our incapacity”.

“We are in the state of war since last 43 years,” he said. “Five-billion-dollar Afghan Jihad fought, the consequences are before us,” he said.

“The battle for power will devastate Pakistan. People want a solution of the problems, an incompetence will not be allowed”, he said.

Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani had earlier said that a joint session of Parliament scheduled for February 8 should include a discussion on the country’s national anti-terrorism policy.

“Terrorism has been on the rise, while the political parties are busy in the political tug of war,” he lamented. “All political parties should sit in the parliament to hold a national dialogue,” he advised.

Islamabad has increasingly been pointing fingers at Afghanistan accusing the Islamic Emirate of providing sanctuary to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group which has carried out number attacks against Pakistan in the past few months.

The IEA has however continued to deny reports that TTP is being given a safe haven in the country, and has repeatedly told its neighor that militant groups will not be allowed to pose a threat to any country from within Afghanistan.

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US imposes new visa restrictions on some IEA members

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday Washington has imposed additional additional visa restrictions on some Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) members in response to bans on women’s rights.

“I am taking action today to impose additional visa restrictions on certain current or former Taliban (IEA) members, members of non-state security groups, and other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, repressing women and girls in Afghanistan through restrictive policies and violence, including the Taliban’s decision to ban women from universities and from working with NGOs,” Blinken said in a statement.

 “The immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these visa restrictions,” he said.

Blinken said the IEA has again shown disregard for the welfare of Afghan people through their decisions.

“So far, the Taliban’s actions have forced over one million school-aged Afghan girls and young women out of the classroom, with more women out of universities and countless Afghan women out of the workforce,” he said.

“These numbers will only grow as time goes on, worsening the country’s already dire economic and humanitarian crises.”

Blinken stated the IEA cannot expect the respect and support of the international community until they respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, including women and girls.

“We condemn in the strongest of terms the Taliban’s actions. The United States stands with the Afghan people and remains committed to doing all we can to promote and advance respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, including women and girls,” he added.

Responding to the new visa restrictions, the IEA said increasing travel restrictions on Islamic Emirate officials is not “a correct policy and will not help to solve the problems because Afghanistan will become more isolated with the restrictions”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned Washington’s decision to impose additional visa restrictions on Islamic Emirate officials, and said controversial issues should be resolved diplomatically and by positive steps.

The MoF stated that bilateral relations have shown that pressure cannot help resolve issues.

Meanwhile some experts say that the Islamic Emirate should adopt a policy that solves internal problems and one whereby the international community can interact positively with them.

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IEA defense minister meets with former generals

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Defense Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Mawluvi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid has met with former senior military officers and assured them that their problems will be resolved and their security will be ensured.

According to a statement issued by the defense ministry on Wednesday, the defense minister and Chief of Army Staff, Qari Fasihuddin Fitrat, met with generals of the former government and several other ex-military officials.

“The whole goal now is peace, security and defense of territorial integrity, and we have to preserve this Islamic system at any cost,” Mujahid told the generals.

The former military personnel included lieutenant general Afzal Aman, lieutenant general Mohammad Zaman Ahmadzai, major general Shaor Gul, major general Nabiullah, brigadier general Farid, colonel Afandi and several other generals and former corps commanders, read the statement.

At the meeting Mujahid said that their only aim is to restore peace in the country and heal the past wounds. He said that bringing an end to prejudice needed sincerity and love.

The minister listened to the problems and recommendations of the former military officers and promised them their issues would be resolved. He also assured them of their security.

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