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Lavrov says U.S. wants to establish military presence around Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2021)

The U.S. authorities want to dispose their military resources around Afghanistan to have an option to launch strikes at Afghanistan if needed, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday (July 12).

Foreign forces, including the United States, are withdrawing after almost 20 years of fighting, a move that has emboldened the Taliban to try to gain fresh territory in Afghanistan.

That has prompted hundreds of Afghan security personnel and refugees to flee across the border into neighboring Tajikistan and raised fears in Moscow and other capitals that Islamist extremists could infiltrate Central Asia, a region Russia views as its backyard.

The CSTO, the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) dominated by Russia, said on Thursday it was ready to use all its resources if necessary to contain a crisis on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the Interfax news agency reported.

The U.S. exit from Afghanistan is a headache for Moscow which fears spiraling fighting may push refugees into Central Asia, create a jihadist threat and even stir civil war in one ex-Soviet state, a former Russian diplomat and two analysts have told Reuters.

Russia operates its biggest foreign military base in Tajikistan close to the Afghan border and Moscow has already pledged to help Dushanbe if needed. Interfax cited the CSTO as saying that military contingents from other member countries were not yet needed in the area however.

The CSTO’s statement came as a Taliban delegation in Moscow held talks with Russian officials and sought to reassure their hosts that the group would not attack the Tajik border or use Afghanistan as a platform in future to launch attacks against Russia itself.

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Grand assembly to discuss ways to improve economic, social conditions: Hanafi

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

The grand assembly of religious scholars, scheduled to begin Thursday, is expected to discuss ways to improve economic and social conditions, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Wednesday.

Hanafi said people from various ethnic groups and with different views will sit for discussion, which is a positive step in maintaining stability and strengthening national unity in the country.

 “After years, Afghans from various sections and ethnic groups and with different views sit with each other for discussion without foreign interference,” Hanafi said in an interview to RTA. “It is in itself a positive and valuable step for maintaining stability and strengthening national unity.”

He said that more than 3,000 people will participate in the gathering under the mega Loya Jirga tent in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the IEA, also said that the gathering will be held under tight security measures.

He said that all technical preparations have been finalized and there will be several committees discussing key issues.

It will be the largest gathering in Kabul after the IEA took over in August last year. 

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Two political figures and one doctor return to country 

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Following the efforts of the Contact Commission with Afghan Personalities, Hasibullah Kalimzai, a former Senate member, General Habibullah Ahmadzai, an ex-advisor to President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Wardak, one of the country’s medical specialists, returned to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) leaders said Wednesday that attempts are underway to make many other political figures return home.

In the meantime, returnees have expressed their satisfaction at making this decision.  

Kalimzai said he returned to the country after the commission’s call, adding that one of his wishes is to see the reopening of girls’ schools. 

“All women and girls should have equal rights to go to school, and I will continue my political activities; this is my homeland,” he added. 

Likewise, Habibullah Ahmadzai, an ex-advisor to Ghani, said that if the leaders of the former government had listened to his advice, the situation in the country would have been different.

He said: “If they (leaders of the former regime) had listened to what we had said, there would have been no problem, and now that we have arrived, we have returned home with the intention of cooperating with the Islamic Emirate.”

Meanwhile, dozens of Afghan political figures have returned to the country after the establishment of the Commission for Contact with Personalities and have been warmly welcomed by the Islamic Emirate.

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Afghan acting FM heads to Doha for talks with US

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), on Tuesday left Kabul for Doha for talks with US officials.

Officials from the ministry of finance and Da Afghanistan Bank, the country’s central, bank is accompanying Muttaqi in the visit.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman for the Afghan foreign ministry, said that the delegation will meet with the US special envoy for Afghanistan and officials from the US Department of the Treasury.

He said that political, economic and banking issues will be discussed in the meeting.

This comes as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that US officials are working with IEA leadership on a mechanism to allow Afghanistan’s government to use its central bank reserves to deal with a server hunger crisis, aiming to avert a humanitarian disaster.

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