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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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Stanikzai meets with Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Kabul

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the political deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met Sunday with Ilham Mohammadov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Afghanistan and said the Islamic Emirate wants good relations with the world, foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said in a statement.

Balkhi quoted the ambassador of Azerbaijan as saying he appreciates the efforts of the Islamic Emirate in the field of security, economic development, and the fight against drugs and added that Azerbaijan is ready to cooperate in the cultural, economic and commercial sectors with Afghanistan.

Stanikzai said in this meeting that the IEA, having a balanced and economic-based foreign policy, wants good relations with all countries and is also trying to improve the country’s economic situation.

This comes after Mohammadov submitted his ambassadorial credentials to acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi late last month.

According to Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry’s website, their parliament approved the opening of their embassy on December 30, 2020.

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Over 92,000 metric tons of goods transported via rail in past week: ARA

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) announced in a statement on Sunday that 92,233 metric tons of goods was transported via railway lines in the country in the past week.

ARA said 75,698 tons was transported through Hairatan port, 5,054 tons via Aqina port, and 11,481 tons through Turghandi. This included oil and other goods and raw materials – that were imported and exported.

Of this, 2,247 tons of commercial goods were exported, most of which were oranges, potatoes, dried fruits and pomegranate juice, the statement read.

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Stanikzai laments poor reading habits among Afghans

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the political deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Sunday that the development of a country depends on reading, but reading habits in Afghanistan are very low.

Stanikzai made the remarks at a ceremony in Kabul to unveil books printed during the past 11 months.

“In Afghanistan, compared to other countries, people read very little. Maybe some people believe that there were many problems here, there was a war, the economy was weak and people are looking for bread and don’t have time to read, but these problems exist in other countries as well. If there is no war in other countries, there is poverty,” Stanikzai said.

He stated now that security is ensured in the country and there is no feudalism, youths should read under the shadow of the Islamic system, because without reading, success cannot be achieved.

“If youths become interested in reading and books, Allah willing, society will get rid of problems very soon. We Afghans have no equal on the battlefield. We have a lot of progress in this regard, and no one else has this honor. We should try to tell the world that with the takeover of the Islamic Emirate, there is peace and security in Afghanistan. There is no more war; there is no more feudalism; there is no more looting. There is an Islamic and Sharia system,” Stanikzai said.

He has also said that currently many books are imported from other countries, adding that scientific and research institutions and authors of the country should try to write books themselves.

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