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Karzai says it’s time the US corrects its mistakes in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2022)

Former president Hamid Karzai said this week that while Afghanistan was more secure today than a year ago, the economy was a “disaster” and that it was time for the US to “correct it’s mistakes”. 

In an interview with NPR this week, Karzai discussed the current situation in the country and the events of August 15 last year.

He said at the time of the collapse of the former government and the takeover by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), he had feared for his safety, but not because of the IEA but because of external forces. 

“The Taliban (IEA) are Afghans. They belong to this country. We know them, they know us. I felt external forces, and feared that more,” Karzai said, mentioning foreign countries and elements within Pakistan, in particular, NPR reported.

According to Karzai, he stayed and met with IEA leaders, and said that they all seemed to want the same thing: a peaceful and progressing Afghanistan. 

“In terms of [an] end to widespread fighting and conflict, we are happy — there’s more stability, there’s more security,” Karzai said. 

“But in terms of Afghanistan having a government that all Afghan people find themselves [in], we still have a way to go. In terms of the economy of the country, it’s a disaster. In terms of Afghans leaving their own country, it’s a huge disaster and a shame upon us. And this is something that the Taliban IIEA) have to address.”

Karzai told NPR the IEA acknowledges that there are problems, and that the US made “immense mistakes” in Afghanistan.

NPR reported that he is still angry about civilian casualties during the war, saying the US bombed the wrong people so often that he refuses to believe it was a mistake. 

Karzai also spoke out about the chaotic withdrawal of troops and said it had been “very dishonorable.” Families were separated amidst the chaos, and some Afghans desperate to evacuate clung to a military plane as it took off. At least two people fell to their deaths, which Karzai called a “disgrace to both of us.”

He told NPR there were things the US could do to help the Afghan people now, including unfreezing the country’s financial reserves.

“I need for the United States government to correct its mistakes in Afghanistan, to help the Afghan people stand back on their feet,” he said.

Karzai also told NPR he had met IEA leaders, all of whom had expressed a desire for better relations with the US.

But he said there were things the IEA must do first to gain trust and make progress within their own country.

“We must make sure that all the Afghan people see themselves belonging to this country and represented by the government, and that we take all the necessary steps to prove to the rest of the world that we mean well for Afghanistan,” he said.

He also said girls’ education was an issue and said he was worried the ban sets the whole country back. He warned that “a decade from now we’ll be worse than what we are now.”

NPR reported that Karzai feels there are many reasons why the IEA should take steps to prove to the world that they are trying to better the country.

“That will also make it easier for someone like me to go into the international community and say, ‘Well, we’re now on the right path towards a better future and deserve support,'” he said.

But Karzai can’t go out into the international community, even if he wanted to. He said he had asked the IEA for permission to travel abroad for several functions and events, but had always been denied, NPR reported.

As they explained it to Karzai the first time, they are honored that he is in Afghanistan and fear that things will fall apart if he doesn’t come back. He said they all knew that he would come back.

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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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