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Khalilzad warns militia groups could complicate negotiations further



(Last Updated On: July 3, 2021)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said this week that there are “alternative futures” for Afghanistan but warned that the establishment of militia groups could complicate matters even further.

He said the best outcome now would be for negotiations to restart.

Speaking to PBS News Hour this week, Khalilzad said: “The Talibs have to know, and we have said that to them, that if they take over Afghanistan by force they will forgo what they say they want, which is recognition and support and legitimacy.

“We also believe the war will not end with the Taliban advances because other Afghans will resist them,” he said adding that the recent increase in militia groups that have taken up arms against the Taliban could complicate matters.

“Rather than two organized forces negotiating peace, there could be a multiplicity of forces that could emerge as a result making negotiations that much more difficult.”

He said this could increase the prospects of a long war and for Afghanistan’s neighbors to come in on different sides and that’s repeating the situation that was the case in the 1990s (during the civil war).”

Both sides need to be realistic, they need to find a solution that works for Afghanistan,” he said adding that it would be a “tragedy” if they don’t come to an agreement and the long war becomes even longer.
Khalilzad said he is “not comfortable” with what is happening in Afghanistan at the moment and that he is “not happy” that peace negotiations have not progressed as much as they should have between the two sides.

He also said the continuation of the war is “heartbreaking” and that he feels for the Afghan people.

He told PBS that the withdrawal of US troops is based on an agreement signed last year with the Taliban and is part of a package which includes a number of commitments including, but not limited to, a ceasefire and the start of negotiations that would lead to a new government.

Asked how the US justifies the decision to withdraw forces given the high levels of violence, Khalilzad said the withdrawal could have been conditions based but ultimately the US president decided it was best to withdraw troops and “to encourage the Afghans to support the government to reach a negotiated agreement”.

Reports indicate that US troops are just days away from completing the withdrawal process yet there are still no concrete plans in place to secure the airport in Kabul, no finalized plan to maintain the Afghan Air Force, and no finalized plan on US military support from neighboring countries.

Khalilzad said however that the US government is working to address all these issues and said progress has been made with some countries including Turkey over the issue of securing the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. He said US forces were still at the airport and a final plan needs to be in place before American troops withdraw completely.
“We are also working with the Afghans to make sure they have the contracting services that they need to maintain their airforce and we are committed to achieving that too before September.”

He said the US is dealing with both those issues, “and more”.

“We are also reorganizing our counterterrorism posture to have the access and the presence needed to monitor the situation in Afghanistan and to be able to strike terrorist targets should that be necessary,” Khalilzad said.

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Hundreds of needy families receive aid packages in Paktia



(Last Updated On: March 28, 2023)

Hundreds of needy families in Gerda Seray district of Paktia province have received aid packages in the holy month of Ramadan, local officials said.

The packages have been distributed by a German foundation to residents of this district.

Khalil Rahman Haqqani, Minister of Refugees and Repatriations, said the ministry is fully prepared to meet the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees.

While distributing aid to those in need in this district, the minister asked international organizations to cooperate with Afghanistan in dealing with IDPs.

Habibullah Shahzad, head of Paktia migrant affairs department, meanwhile said that these aid packages include flour, oil, sugar, beans, tea, gas cylinders and blankets.

The recipients are happy that they have received aid in the holy month of Ramadan, but say they need more aid to meet their needs.

According to the refugees ministry, there are currently more than one million IDPs in the country who need emergency assistance in addition to shelter.

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Daesh claims responsibility for attack near Afghan foreign ministry



(Last Updated On: March 28, 2023)

Daesh has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed at least six civilians in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Monday, Reuters reported.

The group published the details of a suicide bomber, on its Telegram account, saying that the attack was carried out by “Abdul Hameed Khorasani.”

Monday’s attack was condemned by several national and international individuals and organizations, including the UN mission in Afghanistan.

“Reports of numerous casualties in today’s attack in Kabul-at least one child among them. It is unacceptable that ordinary Afghans continue to be targeted as they go about their daily lives,” UNAMA said in a tweet.

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AWCC launches 3G services in a remote area of Kunar province



(Last Updated On: March 28, 2023)

Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) has rolled out 3G services to the remote Chaghan district in the northeastern province of Kunar.

Being so remote, Chaghan residents have struggled with limited telecommunications in the past but this week they welcomed AWCC’s initiative.

Officials in the area also welcomed the move and said the new infrastructure installed in Chaghan also helps cover surrounding areas.

“An AWCC site was opened in a dominant location. This is a very good place. It is connected to the [provincial] center and covers some areas of Marawar district and Watepur district. We are grateful to AWCC,” said Sajjad, provincial director of communications.

Ejazul Haq Yousufzai, head of Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) in Kunar, said efforts are ongoing for the development of telecommunication services so as to reach all districts in the province.

Local authorities in Kunar expressed their appreciation for the provision of telecommunication and internet services by AWCC and acknowledged that the services provided by the company are of a good quality.

“First of all, we are very grateful to the employees of AWCC for providing these services to the people of Kunar. We ask all companies and institutions to provide such services to the mountainous province of Kunar,” provincial governor, Ahmad Taha, said.

Abdullah Haqqani, deputy governor of Kunar, said: “Kunar is a mountainous province. The number of [cellphone] towers is not enough. We demand that problems faced by the people get solved.”

Local residents also expressed their satisfaction with the recent move of AWCC.

“The opening of this site is a great achievement for these two valleys. With this, these two valleys were connected to the center. The problems that people were facing before have now been solved,” Hayatullah, a resident of Kunar province, said.

Meanwhile, AWCC officials in the eastern zone assured the people of Kunar that the company will provide telecommunication services to all remote areas of the province.

“This site plays a key role for these two valleys, Dangam, Ghazi Abad, Nari, Watepur and up to Nuristan. Without the site, other sites cannot provide these services,” said Attaullah Sahil, head of AWCC in the eastern zone.

With the improvement of the security situation, AWCC has not only expanded its telecommunication services in the eastern zone, but it has covered many remote areas of the zone with 3G and 4G internet services.

Kunar province lies in the northeastern section of the country and borders northern Pakistan. The vast majority of the province is mountainous and extremely rugged.

The province is dominated by the lower Hindu Kush mountains which are cut by the Kunar River to form the forested Kunar Valley. The mountains, narrow valleys with steep walls, and rivers present formidable natural obstacles and have historically constrained all movement through the province.

Even in the early 21st century, movement on foot, with pack animals, or with motorized vehicles is extremely limited and channeled due to the significant geographic restrictions.

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