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Taliban prisoner release request sparks angry response 

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(Last Updated On: December 8, 2020)

Responding to US Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson’s comment about the Taliban wanting the release of an additional 7,000 prisoners, Afghanistan’s National Security Council (NSC) said on Tuesday that such a move, before a peace agreement and a permanent ceasefire, will not help the peace process.

Rahmatullah Andar, spokesman for the NSC, said that government had been severely criticized for having released 5,000 Taliban prisoners about three months ago – a move that had been heavily influenced by the US.

“Releasing or not releasing Taliban prisoners will not affect the peace process. Government released 5,000 Taliban prisoners in order to bring a reduction in violence, but the move sparked criticism,” said Andar.

On Sunday, the US’s envoy to Afghanistan, Wilson, told reporters that the Taliban – under the US-Taliban agreement – want their 7,000 prisoners to be released by mid-December.

“Under the terms of the US-Taliban agreement, the Taliban expect there would be progress on releasing 7,000 prisoners by roughly mid-December,” he said.

According to Wilson, all of the provisions of the US-Taliban agreement are interlocked with one another.

Meanwhile, Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament) said since the release of the 5,000 prisoners, there has been a marked increase in violence – instead of a decrease.

“Unfortunately after the release of the Taliban prisoners violence increased. People have been threatened and have made sacrifices,” said Muslimyar.

An administrative delegation of the Meshrano Jirga meanwhile urged government not to release any more Taliban prisoners until a peace agreement and lasting ceasefire is in place.

“The experience of releasing Taliban prisoners should not be repeated. Taliban [prisoners] should not be released until a peace deal has been signed,” said Mohammad Alam Ezadyar, deputy speaker.

“We do not want our president deceived by the US. No prisoners should be released until a real ceasefire [is in place],” said Faisal Sama, a secretary of the house.

The members of the Meshrano Jirga also warned that compromises being made by the US and Taliban will not be accepted by Afghans, especially compromises that lead to the increase in violence.

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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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Two political figures and one doctor return to country 

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Following the efforts of the Contact Commission with Afghan Personalities, Hasibullah Kalimzai, a former Senate member, General Habibullah Ahmadzai, an ex-advisor to President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Wardak, one of the country’s medical specialists, returned to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) leaders said Wednesday that attempts are underway to make many other political figures return home.

In the meantime, returnees have expressed their satisfaction at making this decision.  

Kalimzai said he returned to the country after the commission’s call, adding that one of his wishes is to see the reopening of girls’ schools. 

“All women and girls should have equal rights to go to school, and I will continue my political activities; this is my homeland,” he added. 

Likewise, Habibullah Ahmadzai, an ex-advisor to Ghani, said that if the leaders of the former government had listened to his advice, the situation in the country would have been different.

He said: “If they (leaders of the former regime) had listened to what we had said, there would have been no problem, and now that we have arrived, we have returned home with the intention of cooperating with the Islamic Emirate.”

Meanwhile, dozens of Afghan political figures have returned to the country after the establishment of the Commission for Contact with Personalities and have been warmly welcomed by the Islamic Emirate.

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Afghan acting FM heads to Doha for talks with US

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), on Tuesday left Kabul for Doha for talks with US officials.

Officials from the ministry of finance and Da Afghanistan Bank, the country’s central, bank is accompanying Muttaqi in the visit.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman for the Afghan foreign ministry, said that the delegation will meet with the US special envoy for Afghanistan and officials from the US Department of the Treasury.

He said that political, economic and banking issues will be discussed in the meeting.

This comes as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that US officials are working with IEA leadership on a mechanism to allow Afghanistan’s government to use its central bank reserves to deal with a server hunger crisis, aiming to avert a humanitarian disaster.

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