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Russia expects prisoner swap between gov’t, Taliban to be completed soon



(Last Updated On: August 21, 2020)

Russia expects that obstacles related to the prisoner swap between the Afghan government and the Taliban militants will not hinder the start of intra-Afghan talks.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday that an early launch of intra-Afghan negotiations is in the interest of both the people of Afghanistan and the country’s foreign partners.

“We welcome the release of all 1,000 prisoners, which are Afghan army and police, by the Taliban in accordance with the agreement reached between the United States and the Taliban on February 29, 2020,” Maria Zakharova said.

“We also look forward to the early implementation of President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani’s decision to release the remaining imprisoned militants, which was adopted following the Consultative Loya Jirga.”

This comes a day after, the Afghan government announced that it has suspended the controversial release process of 320 “hard-core” Taliban prisoners.

Sediq Sediqqi, the Presidential spokesman, told Ariana News that the government will not release the remaining Taliban prisoners unless the group frees 22 Afghan security force members they are holding captive.

Last Monday’s decree, signed by President Ashraf Ghani, was the result of a Loya Jirga, or grand council, which voted in favor of the insurgents’ release following two days of consultations.

The process has however raised concerns and Australia and France have also publicly called on the government to not release six prisoners who are guilty of having killed their nationals.

Meanwhile, Russia said it hoped that “these issues will not become new obstacles to the launch of peaceful dialogue and will be resolved in the near future.”

“We are confident that the early start of intra-Afghan talks should benefit the interests of both the people of Afghanistan and that country’s international partners,” Maria Zakharova added.

Moreover, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said Friday that there is no legitimate reason to delay the intra-Afghan talks.

He called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to immediately start intra-Afghan negotiations.

Some reliable sources from the Afghan government, however, told Ariana News that the process would be suspended until the United States has reached an agreement over six of the Taliban prisoners involved in insider attacks, the so-called green-on-blue attacks, with Australia and France.

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Thousands of Afghans protest against desecration of Quran in Sweden, Netherlands



(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Thousands of people took to the streets in different cities of Afghanistan on Friday to protest against the recent desecration of the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Chanting slogans against both the European countries, protesters called for the perpetrators of the acts to be punished.

“The Holy Quran is the book of brotherhood. This book never insults the sacred things of others. We want that such offensive acts should be prevented in the future,” said Ahmad Khan, a protester in Kabul.

Ismail, another protester in Kabul, said: “We ask Islamic countries to cut off their diplomatic relations with Sweden and the Netherlands until the perpetrators of insulting the Holy Quran are publicly punished.”

Some of the protesters said that they are ready to give their lives to defend their sacred things.

“We are ready to sacrifice our heads, property and children to the Quran,” Qutbuddin said.

In the northern province of Balkh, people protested by chanting slogans against acts of insult to the Quran. The protesters asked the international community and the Muslim world to prevent such acts.

“This crime is a repeated crime. Since countries are obliged to obey to the international laws, such crimes must be stopped,” said Mohammad Naeem, a protester in Balkh.

“Muslims have taught the enemies of Quran and Islam a lesson throughout history, and they will not allow anyone to insult their religion and Quran,” said Maulvi Qahir, a protester in Balkh.

In the province of Herat, protester changed “Death to Sweden and long live Islam.”

“These countries present themselves as friends, but these acts show that they are our enemies and are real terrorists. In international laws, insulting the sacred things is considered a crime. No one has the right to insult the sacred things of a country or a religion,” said Qasim, a protester in Herat.

“We ask the international community, the United Nations and human rights organizations to bring the perpetrators of insults to the Quran to justice as soon as possible. We respect the whole world and we expect that our religion will always be respected,” said Emal, a protester in Herat.

In the east of the country, the people of Nangarhar also took to the streets after Friday prayers to condemn the desecration of Quran.

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Turkmenistan and Afghanistan renew power supply contract



(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water Affairs, Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor, and the Executive Chairman of Afghanistan’s power utility company (DABS), Alhaji Maulawi Muhammad Hanif Hamza, visited Turkmenistan this week where they signed agreements for the supply of electricity and other joint initiatives.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Energy and Water Affairs, the extension of the electricity contract with Turkmenistan, the completion of the 500KV line project, the construction of Noor ul Jihad substation, and the establishment of necessary coordination for the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan project were the focus of their trip.

Mansoor said that the electricity export agreement with Turkmenistan was extended for the year 2023 and also assurances were given by Turkmenistan regarding the implementation of the projects.

The ministry underlined that with the completion of the 500 KV line and the construction of Noor ul Jihad substation, the amount of electricity imported from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan will increase by 110 megawatts.

“With the implementation of the TAP project and the 500 kV line that passes through Afghanistan to Pakistan, the residents of many provinces of Afghanistan will benefit from electricity”, the ministry said.

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FM Muttaqi meets Norwegian Charge d’Affaires for Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Norwegian Chargé d’Affaires for Afghanistan Paul Koloman Bkar called on Amir Khan Muttaqi, the foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), in Kabul and discussed humanitarian aid, security, development cooperation and political issues, said Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal, the deputy spokesman of the foreign ministry.

Mr. Bkar first expressed his regret over the explosion in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and expressed that his country is determined to work together with international partners through political interaction with Afghanistan considering the current authorities and governance of Afghanistan is a reality and the world should deal with it realistically.

FM Muttaqi said efforts should be made to bring the world and Afghanistan closer to each other, Norway has good experience in this work and can play a role. He added that positive measures of the new Afghan government should be appreciated and given a positive response.

“After decades, we have ensured global security, we have effectively fought against Daesh and drugs and we are committed so that all-round stability prevails in the country and no threat is perceived from Afghanistan,” said Muttaqi.

Minister Muttaqi said, as history has shown, using pressure options in Afghanistan is not useful and now we should move forward on the path of cooperation with each other.

Meanwhile, both sides discussed incomplete projects, education and training and a number of other issues that are suspended due to some obstacles.

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