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Taliban state they ‘are not ready’ for the Istanbul Conference

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The Taliban’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem said on Monday the group is not ready to participate at the Istanbul Conference scheduled to start on April 16.

Naeem told Ariana News that if a later date is set, the group will hold discussions on whether to attend and will then “share the details of our decisions.”

Meanwhile, the Afghan government and the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) are working to finalize the list of Turkey conference participants that will represent the Republic.

Sources said that 19 people – including politicians, government officials, and representatives of Afghan women – are expected to attend the conference.
According to the source, Chairman of the HCNR Abdullah Abdullah, Former President Hamid Karzai, Former Mujahidin leader Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Jamiat-e-Islami Leader Salahuddin Rabbani, Former Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili, Former Vice President Yunus Qanuni, Former Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, NSA Hamdullah Mohib, Sayeed Hamid Gailani, President’s Advisor for Political and Security Affairs Mohammad Mohaqiq, Chief Negotiator Masoom Stanekzai, Salam Rahimi, Deputy HCNR Hajji Din Mohammad, Habiba Sarabi, Fawzia Koofi, Fatima Gailani, and Hizb-e-Islami Leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are expected to attend the Istanbul Conference from the Islamic Republic side.

The HCNR, however, said this list is not finalized, adding “changes could be made in the list. Most of the participants are leading politicians.”

This comes as the US, UN, Turkey, and Qatar have handed over guiding principles for the Istanbul Summit to the Afghan government and the Taliban.

A document seen by Ariana News shows that there are nine guiding principles that could help the negotiating parties reach an agreement on some key points ahead of the Istanbul conference.

The principles include:

1- A permanent and comprehensive ceasefire is needed for the country
2- Conducting joint work for the restoration of peace without mutual accusation
3- Political partnership under Islamic principles
4- Formation of an inclusive and accountable participatory government
5- Future political arrangements need to reflect the diversity of Afghan society by way of providing equal rights for all citizens and without discrimination
6- Protecting and supporting human rights in Afghanistan
7- Future government will implement a balanced socio-economic development program to cope with poverty in Afghanistan
8- Afghanistan will maintain friendly relations with its neighbors, the region, and the international community
9- The two parties have to engage in peaceful negotiations in order to implement these principles

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Al-Qaeda cells operating in multiple Afghan provinces: UN

The report said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains the largest terrorist group in Afghanistan, with an estimated strength of 6,000–6,500 fighters

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Al-Qaeda cells are operating in multiple provinces of Afghanistan, mainly in south-east of the country, UN sanctions monitors said in a new report.

The report by the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team said that despite a reduced profile, Al-Qaeda disseminates propaganda to increase recruitment while working to rebuild its operational capability.

“Several Member States noted that facilities with Al-Qaida associations are mainly for training local fighters along with TTP operatives, with newly reported training base locations and safe houses in various Afghan provinces, including former camps in Jalalabad and in Kandahar Province, and in Kunar, Nuristan and Takhar Provinces,” the report said.

The report said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains the largest terrorist group in Afghanistan, with an estimated strength of 6,000–6,500 fighters

It added that the group continues to operate on a significant scale in Afghanistan and to conduct terrorist operations into Pakistan from there, often utilizing Afghans.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), however, rejects the report.

Hamdullah Fitrat, deputy spokesperson of IEA, emphasizes that no terrorist group is present in Afghanistan, and the Islamic Emirate will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan’s soil against other countries.

According to the UN report, member States credit IEA’s efforts to counter the threat from Daesh but question the IEA’s counter-terrorism capabilities and have concerns about continued Daesh recruitment and dispersal.

 

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More than 350,000 people sign petition asking IEA to respect human rights: Amnesty

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Amnesty International announced on Friday that 354,847 people worldwide have signed a petition asking the authorities of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to respect and guarantee protection of human rights.

“In a powerful show of global solidarity, 354,847 signatures have been collected calling on the Taliban de-facto authorities (IEA) to respect and protect human rights in Afghanistan,” Amnesty International South Asia said on X. “As the catastrophic human rights situation persists, we must continue our joint demand for accountability and justice in Afghanistan.”

International organizations have repeatedly expressed concern about restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan.

However, the Islamic Emirate has said that it is committed to ensuring women’s rights in accordance with the Sharia law, insisting that is an internal issue of Afghanistan.

 

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NRC chief calls for donors’ diplomatic presence in Kabul

Earlier, Hugh Bayley, a commissioner for the official UK aid watchdog, also called for a British diplomatic presence in Kabul to support Afghan women and monitor aid.

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Jan Egeland, head of Norwegian Refugee Council, said on Friday that donor countries should send diplomats back to Kabul and join in the fight for women’s rights, girls’ education and minority protection.

Earlier, Hugh Bayley, a commissioner for the official UK aid watchdog, also called for a British diplomatic presence in Kabul to support Afghan women and monitor aid.

“Yes, the UK and other donors should send diplomats back to Kabul and join us there to fight for women’s rights, girls education and minority protection,” Egeland said on X. “As humanitarian groups we are too alone, underfunded and overstretched among the 40 million civilians NATO left behind in 2021.”

With the takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamic Emirate in August 2021, Western countries pulled their diplomats out of the country.

No state recognises the Islamic Emirate as the Afghan government, although countries including Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and India have opened diplomatic missions in Kabul.

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