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Karzai ‘invited’ IEA into Kabul to stop the chaos in August

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(Last Updated On: December 15, 2021)

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai offered insights into the secret and sudden departure of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on August 15 and said he “invited” the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to enter Kabul.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Karzai said he issued the invitation in order “to protect the population so that the country, the city doesn’t fall into chaos and the unwanted elements who would probably loot the country, loot shops.”

Karzai said that when Ghani left, his security officials also left. The then defense minister Bismillah Khan even asked Karzai if he wanted to leave Kabul when Karzai contacted him to know what remnants of the government still remained. It turned out there were none. Not even the Kabul police chief had remained, AP reported.

Karzai, who was the country’s president for 13 years after the IEA was first ousted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, refused to leave.

Karzai said Ghani’s flight scuttled a last-minute push by himself, the government’s chief negotiator Abdullah Abdullah and the IEA leadership in Doha that would have seen the IEA enter the capital as part of a negotiated agreement.

The countdown to a possible deal began August 14, the day before the IEA came to power, AP reported.

Karzai and Abdullah met Ghani, and they agreed that they would leave for Doha the next day with a list of 15 others to negotiate a power-sharing agreement. The IEA were already on the outskirts of Kabul, but Karzai said the leadership in Qatar promised IE forces would remain outside the city until the deal was struck.

Early on the morning of August 15, Karzai said, he waited to draw up the list. The capital was fidgety, on edge. Rumors were swirling about an IEA takeover. Karzai called Doha. He was told the IEA would not enter the city.

At noon, the IEA called to say that “the government should stay in its positions and should not move that they have no intention to (go) into the city,” Karzai said. “I and others spoke to various officials and assurances were given to us that, yes, that was the case, that the Americans and the government forces were holding firm to the places (and) that Kabul would not fall.”

However, by about 2:45 pm it became apparent Ghani had fled the city. Karzai called the defense minister, called the interior minister, searched for the Kabul police chief. Everyone was gone. “There was no official present at all in the capital, no police chief, no corps commander, no other units. They had all left.”

Ghani’s own protection unit’s deputy chief called Karzai to come to the palace and take over the presidency. He declined, saying legally he had no right to the job, AP reported. Instead, the former president decided to make a public, televised message, with his children at his side “so that the Afghan people know that we are all here.”

Karzai was adamant that there would have been an agreement for a peaceful transition had Ghani remained in Kabul.

“Absolutely. Absolutely. That is what we were preparing for, what we were hoping (along) with the chairman of the peace council to go to Doha that evening, or the next morning, and to finalize the agreement,” he said. “And I believe the Taliban (IEA) leaders were also waiting for us in Doha for the same … objective, for the same purpose.”

Today, Karzai meets regularly with the IEA leadership and says the world must engage with them. Equally important, he said, is that Afghans have to come together. War has dominated Afghanistan for more than 40 years, and in the last 20 years “Afghans have suffered on all sides,” he said.

The former president has a plan. In his talks with the IEA, he is advocating the temporary resurrection of the constitution that governed when Afghanistan was a monarchy. The idea was also floated during earlier Doha talks, AP reported.

At the same time, a traditional Loya Jirga — a grand council of all Afghans, including women — would be convened. It would decide the country’s future, including a representative government, a constitution, a national flag, he told AP.

There’s no indication the IEA will accept his formula, though he says they have not rejected it in discussions.

Karzai said the world has to engage with the IEA. Afghanistan needs to operate. Government servants have to be paid. Health care facilities need to function, he told AP.

“Right now, they need to cooperate with the government in any form they can,” said Karzai who also bemoaned the unchallenged and sometimes wrong international perceptions of the IEA.

He cited claims that women and girls are not allowed outside their homes or require a male companion. “That’s not true. There are girls on the streets — women by themselves.” The situation on the ground in Kabul bears this out.

Asked to describe the IEA, Karzai said: “I would describe them as Afghans, but Afghans who have gone through a very difficult period in their lives as all other Afghans have done for the past 40 years.”

We “have been through an extremely difficult period of our history in which we, the Afghans, have made mistakes on all sides, in which the international community and those who interacted with us have made tremendous mistakes,” Karzai said. “It’s time for all of us to realize that, and to look back at the mistakes that we have all made and to make it better.”

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India calls for enhancing Afghanistan’s counter-terrorism capability

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2022)

A top Indian official on Friday called for enhancing the capability of Afghanistan to counter terrorism and terrorist groups which pose a threat to regional peace and security.

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval made the remarks while addressing the 4th Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe.

The two-day meeting was attended by the national security advisers and secretaries of security councils of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.

The officials highlighted the need to find constructive ways to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan and combating risks from terrorism emanating from the region.

“There is a need for all present at the Dialogue to enhance capability of Afghanistan to counter terrorism and terrorist groups which pose a threat to regional peace and security,” Doval said.

He said the foremost priority should be the right to life and a dignified living as well as protection of human rights of all the people in Afghanistan.

“Assistance should be accessible to all, respect for all obligations under international humanitarian law should be ensured,” he added.

In a meeting with his Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the event, Doval expressed concern over the massive volume of American weapons left in Afghanistan, saying part of it has fallen into the hands of terrorist groups and it poses threats to Afghanistan’s neighbors.

He said that the terrorists are operating freely in Afghanistan, stressing the need for the formation of an inclusive government in the country.

For his part, Shamkhani said that the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of different ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan is a prerequisite for the creation of lasting stability in Afghanistan.

The Security Dialogue on Afghanistan is aimed at firming up a common approach for practical cooperation in confronting increasing threats of terrorism, radicalization and drug trafficking.

Enamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said that overall security prevails in Afghanistan. He called on the neighboring and regional countries to cooperate with the Afghan government to further improve security situation, saying it would benefit the region as well.

“IEA is committed to not allow any evil circle to disrupt security of neighboring and regional countries by using Afghanistan soil,” Samangani said.

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IEA reacts to UNSC remarks, says concerns about women’s rights ‘unfounded’

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2022)

The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), has reacted to remarks by the UN Security Council that women’s rights are being violated and said in a statement the comments were “unfounded”.

The statement, issued on Friday also welcomed the UNSC’s decision to revive banking and financial systems and humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. The IEA once again called on the US to unconditionally release Afghanistan’s assets and lift all economic sanctions.

“Since the people of Afghanistan are predominantly Muslim, the Afghan government considers the observance of Islamic Hijab to be in line with the religious and cultural practices of society and aspirations of majority of Afghan women, and stresses that nothing has been imposed on the Afghan people that runs counter to the religious and cultural beliefs of the Islamic society,” the statement read.

“Whilst the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan respects freedom of religion of people and believes in resolving problems through dialogue, it also expects world countries to discern objective realities of Afghan society, show respect towards the religious and cultural values of the Afghan people and not pass verdicts based on malicious and antagonist reporting of some media outlets or propaganda by opposition to the Islamic Emirate.”

The statement comes after Tuesday’s request by the UNSC for the IEA to “swiftly reverse” policies and practices that are restricting the human rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls.

The 15-member council expressed “deep concern regarding the increasing erosion of respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan by the Taliban (IEA).”

This came after the IEA ordered women to cover their faces in public. They also asked television broadcasters to ensure that female presenters on local stations cover their faces when on air.

“The members of the Security Council called on the Taliban (IEA) to swiftly reverse the policies and practices which are currently restricting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghan women and girls,” read a Security Council statement.

The Security Council also “reiterated their call on the Taliban (IEA) to adhere to their commitments to reopen schools for all female students without further delay.”

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United Nations Chief condemns recent attacks in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2022)

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned this week’s attacks in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif, in Balkh province, that left at least 16 people dead and dozens wounded.

In a statement issued on Friday, Guterres expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery. He also reiterated that civilians are not targets.

“I condemn the recent attacks in Afghanistan, which claimed many civilian lives, including members of the Hazara Shia community,” Guterres tweeted.

He also said: “I repeat; Attacks against civilians are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law. Civilians are not a target.”

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General says attacks on civilians and public places, including mosques, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law.

Guterres also reiterated his call on all parties to consider the protection of civilians and to ensure the protection of ethnic and religious minorities, as well as their right to freedom of religion and expression.

This comes after Wednesday’s explosions in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif in which 16 people were killed and 37 others wounded.

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