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Taliban says it controls 85% territory of Afghanistan

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Reuters
(Last Updated On: July 9, 2021)

A Taliban delegation in Moscow said on Friday that the group controlled over 85% of territory in Afghanistan and reassured Russia it would not allow the country to be used as a platform to attack others.

Taliban negotiator Shahabuddin Dilawar says they have “85% of Afghan soil under their control.”

Dilawar also said that the Taliban have controlled all 28 districts of Badakhshan province and only the provincial capital is not in their control. 

Foreign forces, including the United States, are withdrawing after almost 20 years of fighting, a move that has emboldened Taliban insurgents to try to gain fresh territory in Afghanistan.

That has prompted hundreds of Afghan security personnel and refugees to flee across the border into neighbouring Tajikistan and raised fears in Moscow and other capitals that Islamist extremists could infiltrate Central Asia, a region Russia views as its backyard.

At a news conference in Moscow on Friday, three Taliban members sought to signal that they did not pose a threat to the wider region however.

The members said the Taliban would do all it could to prevent Islamic State operating on Afghan territory and that it would also seek to wipe out drug production.

“We will take all measures so that Islamic State will not operate on Afghan territory… and our territory will never be used against our neighbours,” a Taliban negotiator Shahabuddin Delawar said through a translator.

The same members said a day earlier that the group would not attack the Tajik-Afghan border, the fate of which is in focus in Russia and Central Asia.

All Afghan border towns taken over by the Taliban will remain active, says Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban negotiator, at a press conference in Moscow. He vowed to address traders’ problems.

Moscow has noted a sharp increase in tensions on the same border, two thirds of which the Taliban currently controls, the Interfax news agency cited Russia’s foreign ministry as saying on Friday.

Russia’s foreign ministry called on all sides of the Afghanistan conflict to show restraint and said that Russia and the Moscow-led CSTO military bloc would act decisively to prevent aggression on the border if necessary, RIA reported.

The Taliban delegation told the same news conference that the group would respect the rights of ethnic minorities and all Afghan citizens should have the right to a decent education in the framework of Islamic law and Afghan traditions.

“We want all representatives of Afghan society … to take part in creating an Afghan state,” said Delawar.

Dilawar says they are in talks with other Afghans to discuss a new system “that should be Islamic, Afghan-inclusive and united.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban negotiator Shaheen says that attacking provincial capitals was not part of an agreement with the US, adding that: “but we still did not attack, also we did not launch our spring offensive and it shows our commitment to the agreement.”

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UN emphasizes the importance of aid for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that the distribution of cash aid to the needy is very important during this year’s extremely harsh winter.

The spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Afghanistan Caroline Gluck says that in this cold winter, it is very important to distribute cash aid to the needy in Afghanistan.

Gluck, who visited Bamyan province recently, says that Afghanistan has faced one of the worst winters in many years and the needs of the people are very high.

She said the distribution of cash will help people sort out their needs during the cold weather.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that in 2023, the number of people in need in Afghanistan will reach more than 28 million.

Weather reports have put the minimum temperatures in a number of provinces across the country over the past three weeks at between minus 16 degrees Celsius and minus 30 degrees Celsius.

This record-cold winter has left well over 150 people and an estimated 200,000 livestock dead this month.

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UN deputy chief hopeful the IEA will lift restrictions on women

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

Amina Mohammad, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, has said that after meeting with some Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials she is hopeful that authorities could ease restrictions on women and girls.

In an interview with CNN, Mohammad, who visited Afghanistan earlier this month, was asked if she had any hope about IEA lifting restrictions on women and girls.

She replied: “Yes, I do. It was tough going in. But I feel now it is doable, looking at all the players and seeing some fissures within the Taliban (IEA), I think this is possible. We also had a few exceptions since then. So, yes there is hope.”

Amina said that there are differences of opinions within IEA in terms of carrying of edicts coming from Kandahar.

“I don’t think there is any change from their consolidation around that power base, but there is, in terms of carrying out some of these edicts, differences of opinions,” she said.

“I think in our visit, the recognition mattered. It was very clear that the humanitarian response that the international community was giving was really important. So we have some leverage and I think that is what we are trying to see, what is state of play in reality on ground,” Amina said.

Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women, said that when she asked IEA officials about the “further notice” in their decrees, they replied: “We need to build infrastructure, we need to build schools, we need to train the teachers, we need to change the curriculum for it to become less Western or actually not Western at all but Islamic and according to Sharia of what they believe they should learn.

“They believe women should only learn certain things about the Sharia and how to serve their husbands, families and their little community where they live,” she said.

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IEA welcomes World Bank report, urges resumption of incomplete projects

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Saturday welcomed the World Bank’s report issued this week and in turn called on the institution to resume incomplete projects that it had been working on in the country prior to the collapse of the former government.

The Office of Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs said in a statement that it welcomes all the “positive points based on objective facts” in the report, which was a clear indication of Afghanistan’s actual economic development and mobility.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan believes that if the current restrictions on Afghanistan’s banking sector are lifted and the frozen assets are released, the economic situation of the country will take faster steps towards improvement and stability, and the burden on the international community will be lessened,” the statement read.

Earlier this week the World Bank reported that the price of food and fuel in Afghanistan has decreased, the value of the Afghan currency has remained stable against foreign currencies, there has been a significant increase in exports, and the salaries of government employees have been paid on time. In addition, the report noted that national revenues had also increased.

The IEA also called on all international organizations to raise awareness of the real situation in Afghanistan by pointing out the advancements made in Afghanistan, particularly in the economic sphere.

The statement called on international aid agencies and organizations to finance development initiatives in Afghanistan that will lower unemployment and improve the country’s economic situation.

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