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Karzai says despite the onset of ‘peace’, Afghanistan is facing immense hardships

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2022)

Former president Hamid Karzai said this week that despite the tumultuous past year, Afghans are “happier” that there is no longer a large-scale war being waged in their country.

He said the conflict, which caused loss of Afghan lives on both sides, was “fortunately over” but that Afghanistan is facing “immense difficulties”.

In an interview with India Today, to coincide with the one year anniversary of the take over by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Karzai said “Afghanistan is facing immense difficulties” economically. He said this was compounded by the loss of skilled Afghans who migrated.

Karzai said however, that the ruling IEA was still a way off from winning the trust of the international community in terms of being recognized as the new government.

He said that many of the IEA leaders agree “with an Afghanistan that’s inclusive, with an Afghanistan that has girls going to school, and an Afghanistan that is working hard towards well-being and a better economy.”

“With regard to recognition by the international community it is based on two fundamental conditions to be fulfilled. One is the fulfilling of the needs of the Afghan people, the education of girls is one such issue, and then inclusivity is another such issue,” he said.

“Once this is fulfilled and the Afghan people see that the country is moving in the direction that’s in the interests of the people, and the country of course, automatically the question of international recognition will be resolved.”

Karzai also emphasized that “the people of Afghanistan have been victims of terrorism for a long long time,” adding that he feels with certainty that the people of Afghanistan “are the greatest victims of terrorism and extremism.”

“Unfortunately at the same time, the Afghan people are also victims of the fight against terrorism; so we have suffered both from terrorism and from the consequences of the fight against terrorism,” he said.

He also stated that Afghans do not want terrorists in their country, whether it be groups or individuals, but at the same time Afghans do not want their sovereignty violated in the name of the fight against terrorism.

Regarding the US’s claims that it killed the al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Kabul last month, Karzai pointed out that the IEA said at the time that it was not aware of his presence in the country but that they would carry out an investigation into the claims and incident.

Emphasizing the dire economic situation, exacerbated by the mass migration of skilled workers, Karzai said: “One of the greatest losses of our country in the past one year has been the leaving of our educated and capable people from our own country; the loss of this educated part of the Afghan population is an immense irreparable loss and our effort is exactly this to have an Afghanistan where all the Afghan people can come back, where all the Afghan people can be working in and participating in, where all the Afghan people find their country to be belonging to all of us; this is our effort and this has to succeed for the well- being of all including for the current government.”

He said it is up to the current government, the IEA, to make sure that those Afghans return and that they find place in their own country and respect in their own country
and an environment where they can work and grow and prosper together with all the Afghan people.

“The Taliban (IEA) and all other Afghans belong to this country and we need to work together for a better Afghanistan; that is imperative for us to be independent, strong and growing,” he said.

On Afghan-Indian relations, he called on New Delhi to reopen its embassy in Kabul “in full strength” and to allow Afghan students to return to India for study purposes.

Karzai said he was confident the IEA would do its best to provide security to the Indian embassy should it reopen in Kabul.

He also stated that he wants Afghanistan “to be a place of cooperation between our neighbors and big powers,” adding that Afghanistan’s relations with India are historic and go back centuries”.

In conclusion he said: “I have hopes for Afghanistan; very very good hopes for Afghanistan. This country will be fine, this country will do well; I’m also hopeful that things will change for the better in Afghanistan.

“Definitely there is a need for certain changes in the policies of the current government, the issue of girls going to school is extremely important; that must change, and those schools must reopen immediately; and inclusivity and so many other issues that have to be addressed, that we are working on.

But on the whole, he said Afghanistan is a very old country and that temporary setbacks and difficulties “will not stop it from the long march towards a better future.”

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Saudi calls on Kabul not to allow the country to become a terrorist haven

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

Saudi Arabia has asked the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to not let the country become a sanctuary for terrorist activities.

Speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has called for the joint cooperation of all countries to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a center for the growth of terrorism.

“Afghanistan should not become a center for terrorist activities for the growth of terrorists; we should cooperate with this country to achieve lasting peace and stability and have a prosperous economy,” he said.

Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, said that Afghanistan is moving from chaos to order, principles and legality, adding that the creation of an inclusive political framework and moderate policies can lead Afghanistan in the right direction.

“Afghanistan is in a critical transition from chaos to order, the right way forward is to put in place an inclusive political framework and adopt moderate policies,” Wang Yi added.

“The goal should be to resume economic growth and improve people’s lives with the fighting terrorism.”

In the meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country is under severe international sanctions due to the military invasion of Ukraine, said that America has failed to bring peace and tranquility to the countries it has invaded.

“Washington erected itself into an almost envoy of god on earth without any obligation but only the sacred right to intervene wherever it wants and this can be done anywhere against any state,” said Lavrov.

The Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar meanwhile stated:
“There is no attention for terrorist activities, the United Nations must respond to terrorism by sanctioning its perpetrators, we support a collaborative, inclusive and consultative approach in international relations.”

“We consider dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out of problems.”

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has repeatedly stated that terrorist groups are not gaining a foothold in Afghanisitan and that in many instances it is third parties trying to give the impression that Afghanistan is the center of terrorism in the world.

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CIA unveils model of al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri’s hideout

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

The CIA on Saturday revealed the model of a safe house used to brief President Joe Biden about the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri before it killed him in a drone strike in Afghanistan.

Shortly after al-Zawahiri’s death, White House officials released a photo showing Biden talking to CIA Director William Burns with a closed wooden box on the table in front of them, AP reported.

Now, the contents of the box — a model depicting a white-walled home with at least five stories and three partially obscured balconies — are on display at the CIA Museum inside the agency’s Virginia headquarters.

The museum is closed to the public and access is generally limited to the agency’s employees and guests. The CIA allowed journalists to tour the museum, newly refurbished in time for the agency’s 75th anniversary, as part of a broader effort to showcase its history and achievements, AP reported.

Most of the exhibits took years or decades to declassify. The al-Zawahiri model home is the rare artifact that had been used by intelligence officers just weeks beforehand.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in late July, nearly a year after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan ending a two-decade war in which the CIA had a central role.

The Biden administration has said the strike shows it retains what it calls an “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism capacity in Afghanistan, AP reported.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) have however said the US’s claims of having killed al-Zawahiri are simply allegations as they were not aware of his presence in Kabul.

Following the drone strike, the IEA launched an investigation into the incident. They also called on the US to provide them with evidence of his death.

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UNDP Afghanistan agrees to support 17 drug treatment centers

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan signed an agreement to provide essential medicines and medical supplies for drug treatment with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan signed an agreement to provide essential medicines and medical supplies for drug treatment with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Through the 2 M USD partnership, UNDP and UNODC will jointly support the provision of essential medicine, equipment, and hygiene kits to 17 drug treatment centers across the country with a 930-bed capacity across the north, west, east, and central highland regions.

“Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer and cultivator of opium, which erodes families and societies from its core. UNDP Afghanistan is committed to safeguarding the Afghans’ health security and treatment when it is most urgent.” said Abdallah Aldardari, Resident Representative of UNDP Afghanistan.

“This is an important milestone for UNODC and UNDP’s strategic collaboration in Afghanistan and beyond,” said Anubha Sood, Representative of UNODC Afghanistan. “After August 2021, most drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in the country are struggling to remain operational. This agreement will rekindle joint UN efforts to tackle one of the most deep-seated issues affecting the men, women, and youth of Afghanistan.”

Since August 2021, UNDP Afghanistan has supported 6 M people with improved access to primary care through anti-malarial, HIV, and TB treatment and care under its flagship programme ABADEI. ABADEI is a UNDP-led socio-economic initiative to combat poverty and create sustainable, dignified livelihoods in Afghanistan, with women enterprises at one of its forefronts. It complements the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in Afghanistan.

UNODC is operating to identify and address aspects of the drug and crime situation in Afghanistan, through advocacy in the policy arena; providing reliable information on opium poppy cultivation, production and prices; and through implementation in the field, delivery of effective alternative livelihoods, drug demand, and harm reduction support to people affected by drug dependence.

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