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OIC adopts Islamabad Declaration, welcomes new Afghan trust fund

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(Last Updated On: March 24, 2022)

The two-day meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers wrapped up on Wednesday in Islamabad after delegates adopted the 70 point Islamabad Declaration, which also touched on Afghanistan.

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha, while speaking at a press conference at the end of the 48th meeting of this 57-member body, said: “We shall continue dialogue with the authorities in Afghanistan, with international partners, with the objective to achieve peace, security and development in this member country of the OIC.”

Forty-six countries participated at a ministerial level, while the other countries were represented by senior officials.

Nearly 800 delegates attended the meeting hosted by Islamabad.

The meeting agenda included deliberations on the situation in Palestine, Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and Afghanistan.

Also, issues pertaining to Africa and Muslims in Europe and developments in Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Syria were taken up at the meeting.

Islamophobia, international terrorism and cooperation in economic, cultural, social, humanitarian, and scientific domains were the other subjects that were discussed.
A wide-ranging Islamabad Declaration containing as many as 70 points was adopted at the meeting by the conference.

Islamabad Declaration underscored strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan.

“We affirm our abiding solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and express the confidence that the resilient Afghan people will continue to steer their country on the path to progress and prosperity. We recognize that sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan can only be assured through formation of a comprehensive, broad-based and inclusive government with the participation of all Afghan ethnicities,” the declaration read.

“We underline the importance of full respect for the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children and persons belonging to ethnic, religious and cultural minorities.

“We commend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for convening and Pakistan for hosting the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, on 19 December 2021, to mobilize humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan; note with apperception its decisions including the appointment of the Special Envoy of the OIC Secretary-General on Afghanistan, establishment of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund and Afghanistan Food Security Programme, and the strengthening of the OIC Mission in Kabul,” read the declaration.

“We appreciate the assistance provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the office of the OIC Special Envoy on Afghanistan.

“We welcome the operationalization of the Humanitarian Trust Fund during the 48th CFM, and in this regard appreciate the pivotal role of the Islamic Development Bank. We appreciate the first important contribution received in the Trust Fund from Nigeria.

“We reiterate our call to the OIC Member States and other international partners to contribute generously to the Trust Fund, which would help alleviate the urgent humanitarian needs of the Afghan people and to provide them opportunities for progress and development,” read the declaration.

“We underline that Afghanistan’s early access to its financial resources is critical in preventing an economic meltdown and exacerbation of the humanitarian situation; and call for the return of the frozen national assets of Afghanistan to its people to whom they rightfully belong.

“We reaffirm the importance of ensuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used as a platform or safe haven by any terrorist group, in particular Al-Qaeda, Daesh and its affiliates, ETIM, and TTP; and urge the international community to remain cautious against the possibility of incitement and the role of spoilers, both inside and outside the country, to derail efforts aimed at ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” read the declaration.

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Bayat Power ‘looking forward’ to increasing domestic electricity output

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

Bayat Power, Afghanistan’s first and currently only, natural gas to electricity generation, energy company is looking forward to expand its domestic power output.

In a speech, delivered by a company representative, Lotfullah Stanikzai, Bayat Power informed delegates attending the key energy conference in Kabul that the “team is looking forward to deploying additional state-of-the-art turbines in Afghanistan to continue to develop the domestic gas to electricity sector, contributing to the energy security and building the nation for the long term.”

Stanikzai said the company was committed to working with government to achieve energy security and develop a pathway to energy self-sufficiency in Afghanistan.

The one-day conference, which was attended by senior Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) leaders, representatives of foreign countries and members of the private sector, was convened to attract investment in the energy and water sectors.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the acting Deputy Prime Minister, said in his opening speech the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is committed to developing the country but urged the people to be patient adding “because we have to build this country ourselves”.

Baradar also pointed out that Afghanistan is potentially a wealthy country that has great investment opportunities.

Abdul Latif Mansour, the acting Minister of Energy and Water, also addressed delegates and said the IEA is committed to managing the country’s water efficiently and to producing enough energy for the people.

Mansour said the conference was being held to map out opportunities available in the water and energy sectors for investors and that the IEA had paved the way for local and international business owners to invest in the sectors.

Shahabuddin Delavar, acting head of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum also addressed delegates and said it is “now time for us to maintain our country’s independence, and utilize our natural resources”.

He singled out Bayat Power, and said at the moment the company produces 40MW electricity but that it hoped to increase this substantially.

“We welcome the company’s decision,” he said.

Stanikzai told delegates that Bayat Power was the direct result of a solid private and public partnership between the company and various Afghanistan government entities, including the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Afghanistan Gas Enterprise (AGE), and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat.

However, he stated that Bayat Power calls on the IEA to support the continuation of operations with current investors and attraction of further investment.

He urged the authorities to ensure timely payment of outstanding invoices by DABS was made to various private entities including Bayat Power; to facilitate a favorable investment environment; promote investment through favorable taxation policies and lower operational costs; and promote transparency with government entities to expedite new and the renewal of existing agreements.

He also urged the IEA to ensure that AGE continues to receive full government support so that they can remain operational and provide clean gas.

Stanikzai said it was important for DABS and the ministry of energy and water “to continue the excellent work in keeping the grid stable to take the domestic electricity produced by private sector companies.”

In conclusion, he said: “Bayat Power team is looking forward to deploying additional state-of-the-art turbines in Afghanistan to continue to develop the domestic gas to electricity sector, contributing to the energy security and building the nation for the long term.”

About Bayat Power

Bayat Power supplies electricity to schools, homes, mosques, hospitals, factories, business enterprises and other essential services. Currently the company supplies electricity to over 200,000 end users.

Bayat Group established the Bayat Power Electricity Services Distributor Company in 2013. Using the nation’s abundant natural gas reserves, the goal was to provide the people with a reliable supply of affordable and sustainable electricity.
Site work on Bayat Power-1’s 40MW gas-fired turbine started in 2019 and achieved commercial operation in November of that year. This landmark milestone made Bayat Power the first company in Afghanistan to operate a new gas-fired generation facility in more than 40 years.

Bayat Power-1 uses the most advanced, powerful, and efficient technology to extract the gas without adverse environmental impact.

Using Siemens Mobile Gas Unit “SGT-A45”, with up to 44 MW of electrical output, offers significantly more power and higher efficiency than any other mobile gas turbine worldwide.

The SGT-A45 turbine generates more than 300 million kWh per year of electricity, increasing revenue for the Afghanistan Gas Company through the purchase of gas for the project, as well as significant tax revenue for the Afghan government in the form of BRT, salaries and customs taxes, Bayat Power has been – and continues to be – a considerable PPP (private, public partnership) achievement.

This project has created more than 1,000 direct and indirect job opportunities for Afghans, which has contributed to improving the nation’s economic condition and fostered new technical skill sets amongst the country’s talented citizens.

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‘I am still president of Afghanistan’, Ghani says in TV interview

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(Last Updated On: August 11, 2022)

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the former president of Afghanistan, said in the first television interview since he fled the country on August 15 last year that according to the country’s constitution, he is still technically the country’s president.

In an interview with the newly established ABN channel, Ghani said: “I am the president according to the constitution and until the people of Afghanistan legally elect someone else, I am the president.”

He also stated that he fled the country because he was afraid of being killed and did not want to face the same fate as Dr. Mohammad Najibullah, ex-president of Afghanistan who was assassinated in 1996.

However, many Afghans call him shameless, adding that Ghani’s escape caused serious misery among the people in the country.

In response to the question on why he fled Afghanistan, Ghani said that he was the last person to leave Afghanistan and most of the cabinet members, including the Minister of Defense, had already fled by the time he flew out.

“I was the last person to leave the country, and this was also so that the bitter experience of Dr. Najib regarding an Afghan president would not be repeated,” he said.

In addition, Ghani stated that all politicians had a part in the downfall of the previous regime and he accuses Abdullah Abdullah, the former head of the National Reconciliation Council, for destabilizing the republic system. He also criticized Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistans who led peace talks with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and secured the Doha agreement in February 2020.

“Dr. Abdullah is responsible for not consolidating the republic, especially in the last seven years and secondly, he was in charge of the Afghanistan Peace Council, which step did he take on paper, which plan did he come up with, or in practice, when he went to Doha on a special plane and then came back on the day of Eid and said that the Taliban is not ready to make any kind of move,” Ghani added.

But Afghans at home lashed out at Ghani and said his words meant nothing and that he failed to even apologize for his actions.

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IEA commits to implementing Sharia law

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(Last Updated On: August 11, 2022)

Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, acting Minister of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said Thursday that he will not give into any international pressure on the hijab issue and will implement this Islamic rule.

Hanafi said that along with the members of the vice and virtue ministry, all religious scholars, imams at mosques and elders in communities should implement Islamic rules in society.

Hanafi said in the last 20 years, the mindset of young Afghans had changed considerably.

Currently, there are 8,000 people employed by the ministry who are mostly employed to ensure individual and social reforms are carried out.

A number of religious scholars, however, said that facilities should be provided for those who are busy at this ministry.

In relation to women’s rights, he stated that once again women’s rights will be ensured according to Sharia law.

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