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Russian envoy claims Moscow wants an interim government

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(Last Updated On: February 17, 2021)

Russian Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said on Wednesday that Moscow would like all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to agree to an inclusive and transitional coalition government.

Answering a question about the Taliban’s alleged agenda to take complete control of Afghanistan, the Russian envoy told Sputnik in an interview that it would be a bad scenario if the Taliban insisted on such an approach; however, he said, Russia believes that it would be good if there was a transitional coalition government in place in which the Taliban had political status.

“In the first phase – there is a need for the establishment of a transitional coalition government which could be able to lead and control both parties – later, there is a need to form a new government to help resolve the problems,” said Kabulov.

Kabulov also said that the peace talks in Doha have failed, and he called for the peace process to be held according to the Moscow format which would include the participation of  the US, Russia, China and Afghanistan’s neighboring countries.

But Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said in response to Kabulov’s remarks that an interim government in Afghanistan is not a solution and the decision depends on the people of Afghanistan.

“The people of Afghanistan sit at the negotiating table and set the path for themselves, the establishment of just an interim government cannot be the solution,” said Abdullah. 

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Human Rights Commission of the HCNR, Abdullah also raised concern over the spike in targeted killings, adding that the Taliban wants to take power in this way.

“If one side wants to show that they are more capable by killing innocent people by targeting human rights activists or civilians, I do not think this is a peaceful solution,” Abdullah added.

However, the State Ministry of Peace Affairs says it is working to set up a national committee of war victims to address the victims of the war in the peace process.

The remarks come as the Taliban have left the negotiating table and there is no sign of talks resuming anytime soon. 

Sediq Sediqqi, Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs for Strategy and Policies, also reacted to Kabulov’s remarks.

“No one should just close their eyes and say that the Taliban adhered to the terms. If that was the case, Afghans would be living through a ceasefire and peace; the talks would be ongoing and there would be a solution. Taliban are the main violators and they are at war with Afghans,” Sediqqi tweeted.

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IEA, US meet in Doha to discuss freeing of Afghanistan’s frozen assets

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

A senior Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) delegation, led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, headed to Qatar on Wednesday to hold talks with US officials to release some of the $9 billion of frozen reserves. 

According to a Washington Post report, US officials have tried to set up a system for assets to be managed, while simultaneously erecting safeguards to ensure the funds are not siphoned off for misuse by the IEA.

One option discussed by those close to the talks involves having a third party trust fund administer the money, according to the report.

Bloomberg also reported that the discussion will center around “creating a mechanism for releasing the frozen Afghan reserves.” 

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s finance ministry told Bloomberg: “We’re expecting this would be a serious round of talks.”

US officials have expressed optimism about the progress on talks but cautioned that several obstacles to the deal remain.

“It would be accurate to say negotiations are underway,” said Shah Mehrabi, an economics professor at Montgomery College in Maryland and a senior member of  Afghanistan’s central bank board since 2002. 

“We are in the process of trying to come up with a mechanism that will allow the transfer of reserves to the central bank of Afghanistan,” he said.

Mehrabi said food costs have skyrocketed by 18 percent in the past several months. Basic household goods rose in cost by 35 percent during the first few months of the year; in May, inflation for household goods hit 42 percent, Mehrabi said.

“These reserves belong to the Afghan people; they are needed to stabilize prices,” he said. “The faster it is delivered to the central bank of Afghanistan, the sooner we will see the impact of the reduction in prices that are critical to enable ordinary Afghans to afford food, cooking oil, and sugar and fuel. Now, they can’t do that.”

The delegation includes central bank Governor Mohammad Idris and Deputy Finance Minister Nazir Kabiri. They will meet with the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West and officials from the treasury department, Haqmal said.

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‘If Putin was a woman’ he would not have invaded Ukraine: UK PM

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

“If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would’ve embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has,” Johnson said in an interview to German broadcaster ZDF.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is “a perfect example of toxic masculinity”, he said, calling for better education for girls around the world and for “more women in positions of power”.

The British prime minister acknowledged that “of course people want the war to end”, but for the moment “there’s no deal available. Putin isn’t making an offer of peace”.

Johnson’s comments come ahead of a NATO meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats.

Western allies must support Ukraine to enable it to be in the best possible strategic position in the event that peace negotiations with Moscow do become possible, Johnson said.

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Grand assembly to discuss ways to improve economic, social conditions: Hanafi

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

The grand assembly of religious scholars, scheduled to begin Thursday, is expected to discuss ways to improve economic and social conditions, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Wednesday.

Hanafi said people from various ethnic groups and with different views will sit for discussion, which is a positive step in maintaining stability and strengthening national unity in the country.

 “After years, Afghans from various sections and ethnic groups and with different views sit with each other for discussion without foreign interference,” Hanafi said in an interview to RTA. “It is in itself a positive and valuable step for maintaining stability and strengthening national unity.”

He said that more than 3,000 people will participate in the gathering under the mega Loya Jirga tent in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the IEA, also said that the gathering will be held under tight security measures.

He said that all technical preparations have been finalized and there will be several committees discussing key issues.

It will be the largest gathering in Kabul after the IEA took over in August last year. 

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