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Pakistan won’t support any attempt by Taliban to recapture power: ISPR general

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2021)

Pakistan’s Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar said Wednesday that Pakistan has done what it can to promote peace efforts in Afghanistan and that Islamabad will not support the Taliban in any attempt to “recapture Kabul”.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Iftikhar said: “Even Afghan leaders are admitting that Pakistan has done utmost for peace in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan’s The News International quoted him as saying that it is for the citizens and the government of Afghanistan to determine the future of their country, and how the negotiating process would progress.

“We only aim for a long-lasting peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

On a question on NATO forces’ likely drawdown and a possible return of the Taliban, he said: “Afghanistan now is not what it was in ’90s and the state infrastructure cannot be trounced easily, and Pakistan also has changed.

“It’s impossible for the Taliban to recapture Kabul and that Pakistan would support them. It isn’t going to happen,” he said.

The News reported that he maintained the policy of the Pakistan government to extend a hand of peace to the neighbours was very clear.

This comes just days after Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov visited Islamabad to encourage Pakistan’s support for a meeting in Moscow to help facilitate the stalled Afghan peace process.

Kabulov told Russian news agency Sputnik that his “leadership has set the task of finding ways that will facilitate the start of inter-Afghan negotiations through consultations within the framework of the enlarged troika. We agreed on such a meeting with the American special envoy [Zalmay] Khalilzad. It can happen in Moscow.”

The “enlarged troika” was in reference to what Kabulov said was a group that evolved over the last two years, including countries with the most influence on the Afghan peace processes – the United States, China, Iran, Pakistan and Russia.

VOA reported that the Moscow format was a Russian initiative to organize regional stakeholders involved in the Afghan peace process. Its second meeting in 2018 brought the Taliban to an international forum for the first time. The U.S. sent representatives to observe.

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IEA’s reclusive supreme leader addresses Ulema gathering in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

The reclusive supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Haibatullah Akhundzada, hailed the IEA’s takeover of Afghanistan during a meeting in Kabul on Friday. 

The meeting of religious leaders from around the country was called to forge national unity. 

IEA spokesmen confirmed that Akhundzada, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, had come to Kabul for the gathering of some 3,000 participants.

After receiving pledges of allegiance from participants raising their hands, Akhundzada praised the IEA’s victory last August. 

“The success of the Afghan jihad is not only a source of pride for Afghans but also for Muslims all over the world,” he said. 

In his speech he said justice needs to prevail, that oppression needs to be prevented and corruption in government must be stamped out. 

He also discussed the need for the implementation of divine law, especially in respect of retribution. He said this decree of Allah has not yet been implemented and once it is, it will spark reaction. 

He also told participants that the people should not wait for foreign aid to rebuild the country. He called on Afghans living abroad to return home and invest in the future of their country. 

Akhundzada did not mention the reopening of girls’ schools. 

On Afghanistan’s foreign policy, he said it was an independent country and that he did not want to negotiate with any country on Islamic issues. 

He called on the world not to interfere in Afghanistan’s domestic issues and said Afghanistan is no longer in the hands of foreigners. 

Akhundzada stated that while the enemy was defeated on the battlefield, the IEA must not allow discord within its ranks especially as the enemy is trying to conduct propaganda campaigns. 

“Thank God, we are now an independent country. (Foreigners) should not give us their orders, it is our system and we have our own decisions,” he said. 

“We have a relationship of devotion to one God, we cannot accept the orders of others who God does not like,” he said.

He reassured neighboring countries that the IEA harbors no ill will towards them. 

In conclusion he called on political figures abroad to return home and to stop waging an anti-IEA campaign. 

The Kabul gathering began on Thursday under tight security.

Deputy Taliban chief and acting interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani also addressed the meeting on Friday, saying the world was demanding inclusive government and education, and the issues needed time.

“This gathering is about trust, interaction, we are here to make our future according to Islam and to national interests,” he said.

IEA spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that they would respect the decisions of those at the meeting but the final say on girls’ education was up to the supreme leader.

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Turkey awaits IEA response to Kabul airport offer: Erdogan

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey had offered to operate Kabul airport in Afghanistan with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and was awaiting the response of the Islamic Emirate to the proposal.

He was speaking at a news conference at the end of a NATO summit in Madrid.

Turkey and Qatar have been negotiating with Islamic Emirate officials for months to manage Afghanistan’s international airfields.

In May, IEA signed an agreement with a UAE company on ground operations at the Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat airports and the deal had a contract period of one-and-a-half years.

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India delivers six tons of medical aid to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

The Indian government delivered a consignment of six tons of essential medicines to Afghanistan on Thursday, as part of its ongoing humanitarian assistance, New Delhi said.

The consignment was handed over to the Indira Gandhi Hospital in Kabul, Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The assistance follows urgent appeals made by the United Nations to assist the Afghan people.

India has, so far, supplied 20 tons of medical assistance in seven batches, which includes essential life-saving medicines, anti-TB medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID vaccine, etc. These medical consignments have been handed over to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Indira Gandhi Children Hospital, Kabul, Indian foreign ministry said.

In order to ensure food security in Afghanistan, India has provided food assistance of 35,000 metric tons of wheat. Moreover, in the wake of recent tragic earthquake, India supplied almost 28 tons of earthquake relief assistance in two relief flights.

Furthermore, India is in the process to ship more medical and wheat assistance to Afghanistan in coordination with the UN agencies on ground.

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