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Taliban remain vague and non-committal about peace talks: Abdullah

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(Last Updated On: May 3, 2021)

Afghanistan’s chief peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah says there is currently no contact between the Afghan Republic’s talks teams and the Taliban’s representative and that the group continues to remain “vague” on the future of negotiations.

In an interview with VOA, Abdullah, who is chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, was asked whether there was any contact between the two teams. His answer was a definitive “No!”

“They leave their positions vague. They say, ‘We want the establishment of an Islamic system,’ but don’t explain what that means. How will the leaders be elected or selected? They want an Islamic Council. Is it elected? If elected, on what basis? They don’t share,” he said.

Abdullah also stated that different groups of Taliban make contact from time to time. “Sometimes they send notes. The messages are mainly the same. Even in the letter (sent to politicians recently), the position is very vague, and you cannot tell whether it is the position of one group or all.”

He also said that with the announcement of the withdrawal of foreign troops, the Taliban’s “position has changed.”

“Their chief negotiator has gone to Pakistan to consult with their leaders, to take directions, to shape up their position. Earlier their position was that they are going to attack the international forces.

“So, as far as the Doha process is concerned, it is still important. So are other opportunities like the conference in Turkey [the Istanbul conference]. It has to be a meaningful event, and both sides have to come to an understanding to make it effective,” he said.

The Taliban has however until now refused to attend the Istanbul Conference, saying they will only participate once all foreign troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan.

“If they don’t come to a meeting, which is supposed to be between both sides, then the conference will not take place. They haven’t said that they are not coming. They haven’t said that they are coming. That has been the problem negotiating with the Taliban all along. They always keep their position vague,” Abdullah said.

On the withdrawal of troops, Abdullah said there is concern that the “Taliban position might get further emboldened” after foreign forces leave.

“Well, as far as their excuses, or the reasons that they were giving, that it is because of the presence of the international forces, it’s ‘jihad’ against foreigners and so on and so forth, so, in three months time, perhaps in less than three months time, there will be no foreign troops on our [Afghanistan’s] soil.”

He also said he “hopes” and “wishes” the Taliban want peace adding “otherwise, the war will continue.”

Abdullah stated that a civil war cannot be ruled out but said: “Let’s not lose hope because it will be a worst-case scenario. So, at this stage, the whole focus should be on how to make it (peace) work.”

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Otunbayeva meets acting head of TVET in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) emphasized the need for the inclusion of women and girls in vocational education on Monday in a meeting with Ghulam Haider Shahamat, acting head of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

In this meeting, Roza Otunbayeva said that vocational training is necessary for the economic development of Afghanistan and women and girls should be included.

Shahamat also expressed that technical and vocational education is effective for poverty alleviation and the growth of the country’s economy.

“The Technical Vocational Education and Training has 383 institutes and high schools all over Afghanistan, which operate in 250 districts and have 6850 staff,” said Shahamat.

Meanwhile, some experts say that Afghanistan needs to develop and create job opportunities for everyone, especially women and girls, and all international institutions play a constructive role for Afghanistan’s progress.

“All organizations which work under the framework of the United Nations can have positive roles in Afghanistan,” said Sarah Rahmani, women rights activist.

In this meeting, the head of the United Nations Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) was also present and emphasized on signing an agreement and creating a joint working group between both institutions.

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Afghanistan’s central bank to auction $17 million this week

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has announced that it will auction $17 million on Wednesday as part of the efforts to stabilize the value of the Afghan currency against foreign currencies.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the Central Bank of Afghanistan asked qualified private banks and exchange companies to participate in the auction.

The winners of the auction are obliged to settle their accounts by the end of the day. As per the announcement, partial settlement of transactions is not allowed and the winners of the auction are obliged to transfer the payable amount to the central bank in cash within a certain time.

This is the second time in a week the central bank is auctioning US dollars to keep the value of Afghani stable.

The exchange rate was 90 AFN to the US dollar on Monday, February 6, 2023. The central bank sold $16 million on Sunday.

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Russia has no plans to close its embassy in Afghanistan, says envoy

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

Russia has no plans to close its diplomatic mission in Kabul, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov told TASS on Monday.

Earlier, the Al-Arabiya TV channel reported that the authorities of several Arab and Western countries decided to close their diplomatic missions in Kabul because of security threats.

“Such thoughts have not even occurred,” Kabulov said, when asked whether Russia had such plans.

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