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Regional ministers discuss need for peace at Dushanbe summit

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(Last Updated On: March 30, 2021)

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed delegates at the 9th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference in Dushanbe on Tuesday and pointed out that a “double peace” was need – peace within the country and peace around the country.

Focusing in on three key points, Jaishankar said: “For a durable peace in Afghanistan, what we need is a genuine ‘double peace’, that is, peace within Afghanistan and peace around Afghanistan. It requires harmonizing the interests of all, both within and around that country.”

He also stated that if the peace process is to be successful, “then it is necessary to ensure that the negotiating parties continue to engage in good faith, with a serious commitment towards reaching a political solution”.

According to him all parties to the conference “are striving for a more inclusive Afghanistan that can overcome decades of conflict. But that will happen only if we stay true to principles that Heart of Asia has long embodied. Collective success may not be easy but the alternative is only collective failure.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also addressed delegates and said Tehran supports a peace process that is Afghan-led but called on the UN to not allow foreign countries’ policies to jeopardize Afghanistan’s future.

He also said there was a need for a responsible withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and emphasized that “the region must be vigilant to fight against Daesh.”

“All countries should be alert about Daesh’s attempt to use religious extremist elements in religious and ethnic conflicts in Afghanistan,” he said.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meanwhile said his country is working with all parties to accelerate the Afghan peace process.

On the planned US-backed peace summit in Istanbul, scheduled to take place early next month, Cavusoglu said he hopes the meeting will produces tangible results.

“We have invited many countries, we expect the Istanbul Summit to pave the way for an end to the war in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is also attending the Dushanbe conference, told delegates “we have consistently cautioned against the role of spoilers both within and outside Afghanistan.”

He said Pakistan was also concerned about the continuation of violence across Afghanistan.

UNAMA chief Deborah Lyons in turn told delegates at the conference the “collective support of regional countries will be critical in the success of the Afghan Peace Process”.

Tuesday is day two of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process summit which was founded in 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey. The initiative was established to address the shared challenges and interests of Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners.

The Heart of Asia is comprised of 15 participating countries are Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russian, Pakistan, China, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

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PACF hands over 25 tons of food items to support Afghans

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Pak Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF) on Thursday handed over 25 tons of food items to Afghan authorities as part of its ongoing support to the people of war-hit Afghanistan.

The truckload of the food items, arranged by the PACF, were handed over to the Afghan authorities at the Chaman crossing, app reported.

The handing-over ceremony was attended by Deputy Commissioner of Chaman Hameed Zahri and senior officers of the Afghan Foreign Office including Maulwi Waheedullah and Mullah Hikmatullah.

According to the report since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), takeover in Afghanistan last year, Pakistan had sent over a total of 15,390 tons worth Rs2, 650 million of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The humanitarian assistance had been sent to Afghanistan via 83 convoys, including 743 trucks and four C-130 flights, till August 5, read the report.

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A group of 9/11 victims call for frozen funds to be given back to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

Families of 9/11 victims have called on US President Joe Biden to release billions of dollars belonging to Afghanistan.

In a letter sent to Biden this week, 77 family members of 9/11 victims called on the president to modify an executive order from February which froze the Afghan central bank’s $7 billion of assets being held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“Any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is legally suspect and morally wrong,” the family members wrote in a letter first reported by Politico.

The letter came amid a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US had ruled out releasing the funds following the US killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul earlier this month.

The US froze the money after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) swept to power following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The IEA and US had been engaged in talks about releasing the funds.

Biden planned to give $3.5 billion to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes and the balance to families of 9/11 victims.

But the revelation that the al-Qaeda leader was living in Kabul derailed talks between the US and the IEA on a compromise over the funds.

The 9/11 victims’ families said that, while they had filed lawsuits seeking justice for their loss, they didn’t intend for the compensation “to take money away from starving Afghans”.

“This money is theirs, not ours,” the letter said. “Simply put, this money belongs to the Afghan people, not 9/11 family members – and they need it more.”

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3,000 religious scholars, elders and officials attend IEA’s Kandahar meeting

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(Last Updated On: August 18, 2022)

About 3,000 religious scholars, government officials, ethnic elders and members of civil society attended a meeting in Kandahar on Thursday.

Among the key speakers was the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

The media was however prevented from recording or filming Akhundzada’s speech.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the meeting that the IEA wants good relations with the world, but that the foreign community should not expect relations to normalize immediately – not after 20 years of war.

Muttaqi said that while the IEA wants good relations with the international community, they expect the world to allow Afghans to live according to their beliefs and traditions.

He also said that they have made many achievements in building trade relations with countries in the region and currently the borders are open to Afghan traders who are now exporting their goods.

On the other hand, acting Minister of Vice and Virtue has said that the IEA has made countless sacrifices to end the occupation and establish an Islamic system in Afghanistan.

However, Afghans across the country are hoping that one of the outcomes of this meeting will be the decision to reopen schools for girls above Grade 6.

But it is not clear as to whether the subject was discussed at the meeting.

This is the second such meeting in as many months. The first one, two months ago, took place at the Loya Jirga Hall in Kabul.

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