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Khalilzad claims IEA was in breach of Doha deal by harboring al-Zawahiri

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2022)

The United States’ former special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said Thursday that by allowing the head of al-Qaeda to be in Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) was in violation of the Doha agreement.

This comes just days after a US drone strike reportedly killed al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on Sunday morning in Kabul. 

Speaking to NPR, Khalilzad said the IEA had signed the Doha agreement, a text in two parts. 

He said: “Part one specifically in general terms says that the Taliban (IEA) would not allow the territory of Afghanistan to be used by groups or individuals, especially al-Qaeda – and that was our demand because of 9/11 – to threaten the security of the United States and our allies. 

“And then the annex, great details of how we would evaluate Taliban (IEA) performance or compliance. So the (US) secretary of state is quite right to say that allowing the head of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, in Kabul was a gross violation of that agreement.”

“We hold them accountable to the agreement that they made. But at the same time, we wanted to maintain and have maintained that capability to respond to the presence of al-Qaeda or other terrorists that would threaten the United States. 

“Our commitment, the bipartisan commitment, has been that we would not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists who would threaten the United States. And we demonstrated a few days ago that even though we don’t have a large number of troops or any troops in Afghanistan, we have the capability and the will to execute and deliver on the commitment that we have made,” he said.

The IEA however condemned the airstrike and in turn said it was against international principles and against the Doha agreement. 

Mujahid also said that such action will severely damage relations between the two sides and have bad consequences.

Khalilzad meanwhile told NPR that “allowing someone to plot and plan, attack – someone who plotted and planned the 9/11 attack, was – carried out other attacks on the United States to stay in Kabul and issue a statement threatening the security of the United States is a clear beyond any doubt violation of the Doha agreement.”

Khalilzad also said that “it’s very likely that some Taliban knew (al-Zawahiri was in Afghanistan), but that their leadership as a whole knew it, I’m not sure. But certainly, it looks like the Haqqani network, which is an important element of the Taliban, did know.”

He did however say that it was possible the IEA did not know of al-Zawahiri’s presence. “It is possible. I will not rule it out. And maybe there was a disagreement or anger even, and that the – some elements were violating the agreement that was negotiated between the United States and the Taliban, and that this action by the Haqqanis would have put that the rest of the gains that they had made and lessons that they had learned that by supporting al-Qaida the last time cost them a lot.”

He also said he “would not be surprised that some elements of the Taliban may have helped us, that tipped us off in terms of the location.”

US President Joe Biden confirmed on Monday that al-Zawahiri had been killed in a drone strike. 

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. 

“No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” Biden said Monday. 

US intelligence determined with “high confidence” through multiple intelligence streams that the man killed was Zawahiri, one senior administration official told reporters. He was killed on the balcony of a “safe house” in Kabul, Sherpur neighborhood. He reportedly shared the house with other members of his family. 

The drone attack is the first known US strike inside Afghanistan since US troops and diplomats left the country in August 2021. 

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Improved security boosts tourism in Shulgarh district in Balkh

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Local officials in Balkh province said this week that domestic tourism has improved substantially and that in the past month, about 30,000 visitors have visited the popular Khwaja Sekandar Springs in Shulgarh district.

Officials said that Balkh tourist attractions are drawing in large numbers of visitors amid improved security, especially visitors to the springs.

Balkh residents have welcomed the growing number of visitors to their province and said this was largely due to improved security.

“The difference is big, in the past there was insecurity, now because of the security of this place, people come a lot,” said Ghulam Yahya, a tourist.

Since the IEA took control of the country, provinces around the country are reporting an increase in domestic tourism due to the improved security situation.

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More than 1,000 infected with severe diarrhea outbreak in Takhar

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

The Takhar Department of Public Health says that in the past three days, more than 1,000 people have been infected with severe diarrhea in Takhar province.

The public health officials said that most of the people infected live in the remote areas of Bangi and Ishkamish districts.

According to these officials, mobile health teams have been sent to the area to prevent casualties and to curb the spread of this disease.

A number of non-governmental health institutions have also started working to prevent casualties caused by this disease.

However, residents of the province have stated that there are no health centers in many remote areas in the province and asked government to establish mobile health centers in these areas.

Poor hygiene habits, hot weather and also the use of unsafe water are said to be the reasons for the spread of this disease.

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Work starts on new road to ease traffic in Kabul city

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Kabul municipality officials said Saturday construction work on the new Wazir Akbar Khan to Sherpur road has started in order to reduce traffic congestion in the city center. 

Water culverts will also be included in the project that is being undertaken by the municipality’s Department of Work Maintenance and Monitoring of Kabul Municipality, Bakhtar reported.

The project, once completed, will cost 15 million Afghanis.

The new road will link Street 15 in Wazir Akbar Khan with Street 2 in Sherpur. Six properties along this section will be demolished to make way for the road.

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