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Pentagon says US, Turkey working out details of Kabul airport mission

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2021)

Some American troops will stay on in Afghanistan to protect the U.S. diplomatic presence after the troop withdrawal process ends, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby confirmed Tuesday.

Addressing a press briefing, Kirby also said that the US is still working on details of how to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once troops have left the country.

Turkey has however indicated that it will help run and secure the airport but has attached conditions to this.

Asked about whether reports were true that 650 American troops would stay behind to protect the embassy and hundreds more to protect the airport, Kirby said he was not able to confirm specific numbers but that “it’s important to keep in mind that some U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan. We have to do this to protect our diplomatic presence.”

He also stated: “So there will be some number of — of U.S. troops there, and as we’ve said before, security at the airport is critical to being able to protect and have a diplomatic presence on the ground.
“We are still working out some of the details of what the security situation is going to look like at the airport and how that’s going to be facilitated.”

AP meanwhile reported that last week, a U.S. delegation visited Turkey to discuss the details of the airport mission following the NATO troops’ withdrawal.

On the sharp increase in violence in the country, Kirby was asked whether the Biden administration was “OK with the Taliban” having made such gains across territory in Afghanistan in the past two months.

In turn, Kirby stated that the U.S. continues to say the violence remains too high. “And we’re all aware of — of the security situation in Afghanistan. I think you saw General [Scott] Miller speak to that earlier today, concerns over the — the security situation there.”

He went on to state that the U.S.government would like to see the Taliban return to the peace process in “a credible way”.

“And as we see events on the ground unfold, it certainly calls into question the sincerity of their efforts to be a legitimate, credible participant in the peace process.

“That’s really the right future for Afghanistan is a political process that leads to a negotiated settlement and a peaceful end to the fighting in Afghanistan,” he said adding that that’s what the U.S. administration’s policy continues to try to pursue.

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UN’s special rapporteur in Afghanistan to assess human rights situation

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2022)

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan is currently in the country and has already met with the IEA’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Bennett who is in Afghanistan on a 10-day visit, is expected to engage with Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials, international and national representatives of NGOs and other organizations, members of civil society and other stakeholders to discuss the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

The IEA meanwhile said Bennett provided information on the purpose of his visit to Muttaqi at their meeting and outlined his mission.

Muttaqi briefed Bennett on the religious and cultural values and cultural characteristics of the Afghan people so that he could take this into consideration while assessing the situation.

In a recent statement, ahead of his arrival in Afghanistan, Bennett said he would engage with the authorities and a broad range of stakeholders to assess the situation of human rights, including with regard to the implementation of obligations under international human rights instruments ratified by Afghanistan, and to offer assistance to address and prevent violations and abuses.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council. Bennett, who was appointed on April 1, official resumed duties on May 1.

Bennett will also conduct field visits while in Afghanistan and will deliver his findings in a report to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly later in the year.

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IEA approves working process to bring exiled Afghan politicians home

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

Organization procedures for the commission tasked with getting Afghan politicians and former government officials living abroad to return home have been approved by the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the commission is expected to start work soon.

It was decided at a recent meeting that the commission’s operational procedures will be announced at a special ceremony in the near future.

“In this commission, all faces, whether women or men, will be contacted, and everyone’s return plan is ready for the patriotic figures to be returned,” said Hassan Haqyar, a close allie of the IEA.

But some political activists have raised questions about the future of any returning exiled Afghans.

The have asked if the politicians for instance will be allowed to carry on with work as previously or whether they will have to give up politics and find another occupation.

The same goes for former government employees.

“We call on the Emirate, in order to implement the plan of this commission, to facilitate the work and activity of these figures again, and there must be a guarantee for everyone who returns, because everyone must see themselves in the mirror of the government,” said Sayed Jawad Hussaine, political analyst.

However, Iran, which hosts a number of former politicians has once again called for the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Recently, Anas Haqqani, a member of the commission, said that about 50 former government officials have so far returned to Afghanistan and that efforts are underway to bring back other political figures.

The meeting of the Commission for the Return of Politicians and Former Government Officials was meanwhile convened shortly after former President Hamid Karzai was ordered to not leave the country.

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India mulls reopening embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

India is exploring the possibility of reopening its embassy in Afghanistan, but without high-level diplomatic representation, an Indian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

A team of Indian security officials visited Kabul in February to assess the situation, the Indian Express reported.

The paper said that the embassy will likely function only with personnel for liaison purposes that may extend to consular services.

India, like many other countries, closed its embassy in Kabul after the Islamic Emirate took over Afghanistan on August 15 last year.

Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran were the only countries that did not close their embassies in Kabul during the takeover.

Some 16 countries have now reopened their embassies in Kabul.

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