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Taliban warns Washington against violating Doha agreement

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(Last Updated On: February 28, 2021)

The Taliban urged Washington to uphold its part of the US-Taliban agreement signed a year ago Sunday and stated the release of remaining prisoners and end of blacklists have yet to be implemented.

In a statement issued Sunday to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the deal – which the Afghan government was not party to – the Taliban also stated that the implementation of the agreement “must be utilized to improve the situation and pushing it in the wrong direction must be avoided.”

“Practical steps must be undertaken to expedite the ongoing intra-Afghan dialogue process,” the group said.

The Taliban said it is committed to its obligations within the agreement but made it clear in the statement that the implementation of the contents of the agreement is “the sole effective tool for resolving the Afghan issue and establishing peace, that shall be realized under the shade of an Islamic system.”

“The release of remaining prisoners and end of blacklists are part of the agreement that have yet to be implemented,” the statement.

“The Doha agreement has created a practical framework for bringing peace and security to Afghanistan. If any other pathway is pursued as a replacement, then it is already doomed to failure.”

Claiming to have “significantly reduced the level of operations in line with the Doha agreement,” the Taliban stated that “the other side has not fulfilled its obligations in this regard as bombardments, drone strikes, raids and offensive operations that were all prohibit on the basis of the agreement are still continuing, which is mostly causing civilian harm and increasing the levels of violence.”

The Taliban also distanced itself for the wave of targeted attacks and assassinations that have gripped the country over the past few months.

According to the group, “some circles with their interests tied to foreign actors have recently launched a wave of targeted attacks especially against civilians with the aim of showing the situation as teetering on the brink of a crisis, and to create excuses for the continuation of occupation and war.”

The Taliban’s statement comes just three days after US Central Command chief, General Kenneth F. McKenzie said the US still continues to see levels of violence that are way too high.

“I place a large measure of the blame on the Taliban who have continued to mount offensive operations and targeted killings of Afghan officials but the excessive violence has led the government to launch their own defensive operations to protect themselves – the violence while too high on both sides,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie also stressed that there is no sign that the Taliban had severed ties with al-Qaeda, as called for in the US-Taliban agreement.

“In my clear judgment rests largely on the Taliban; we also continue to … look for signs of a Taliban break with al-Qaeda and I have not at this point seen any definitive signs that would lead to believe they’re prepared to or able to honor their obligations,” McKenzie added.

On Tuesday, the UN Assistance Mission Afghanistan (UNAMA) meanwhile stated there had been an increase in civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan since the start of peace talks in September.

In the latest report on civilian casualties, UNAMA said despite the rise in casualties since September the overall numbers for 2020 were down due to lower civilian casualty rates prior to the start of talks.

The Taliban however, reacted to the report and said: ”We reject such incomplete reports based on incorrect information.”

For a seventh consecutive year, UNAMA documented more than 3,000 civilians killed in a single year, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian.

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IEA approves committee to regulate, improve and advance Hajj affairs

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

Enamullah Samangani, Deputy Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said Saturday that cabinet has approved a plan to establish a National Hajj Committee to regulate, improve and advance Hajj-related issues.

Samangani wrote on his Twitter page: “The committee is chaired by Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, Deputy Prime Minister, and the Ministries of Guidance, Hajj and Endowments, Transport and Aviation, Justice, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Public Health and Interior ministry, the general directorate of intelligence (GDI), and the chamber of commerce are its members.”

According to Samangani, in order to regulate, improve and advance Hajj affairs in the provinces, a committee chaired by the deputy governor with the participation of delegates from the departments of Hajj and Endowments, airport, police headquarters, intelligence and public health should be established.

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UN envoy says Afghanistan’s new rulers have no clear plan for good governance

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons says the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government has an unclear strategy in terms of leading the political and economic situation.

In an interview with CNN, Lyons said the IEA does not have a clear plan for good governance and its economic plan is unclear.

She said she has met separately with the leaders of the new government, but no specific plans have been put forward so far.

“We have tried to find out what their views are on Afghanistan, how they want to develop this country, so far they do not have a clear definition in this regard, so far there is no plan to determine how they want to lead the country, if they have an economic plan, what is that?

“We are still working in separate meetings with the leaders to find out what the plans are for the future and overcoming the problems. We are currently acting as a bridge between Afghanistan and the international community,” said Lyons.

According to her, some leaders of the IEA agree that girls should go to school, but not everyone has yet reached a common decision.

“In my meeting with the leaders of the incumbent government, I found that some of them know that this issue is very important for the international community and they are in favor of reopening schools for girls, but others have the opposite view, a single position has not yet been formed.

“Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are not allowed to go to school,” said Lyons.

At the same time, former President Hamid Karzai has welcomed the IEA’s desire to have good diplomatic relations with the United States and other international countries, but said he hopes the new rulers decide as soon as possible on the reopening of girls’ schools.

“Sirajuddin Haqqani spoke of the government’s willingness to have good diplomatic relations with the United States and the international community which is in the interest of Afghanistan. He [Haqqani] also said that the girls would return to school soon, which I hope would happen as soon as possible,” said Karzai.

Speaking to CNN, Karzai said the issue of hijab was clear. “Afghanistan is an Islamic country and the issue of women’s hijab is very clear in Islam,” he said.

Afghan women already wore hijab, covering the face is not a hijab, covering the face by female media workers who appear on TV is also not a hijab; this is not Afghan culture, he said.

He called on the IEA to scrap the decision that women must cover their faces. On the issue of teenage girls not going to school, Karzai stated that girls need to return to school as soon as possible.

“I denounce it in the strongest words and want the Taliban (IEA) to allow girls to go back to school as soon as possible,” he said.

Karzai also confirmed a recent report by a US watchdog organization that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan led to the military collapse of the republic.

According to Karzai, a number of other issues also contributed to this including, the Doha Agreement, and the more than 3,000 US airstrikes a year.

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World Bank pays over $150 million to boost Afghanistan’s health sector

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

The World Bank recently provided $150 million to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health to help pay for medicine, medical equipment and salaries, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials said this week.

According to the ministry the assistance was provided by the World Bank in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on February 7 in Switzerland, by Dr. Qalandar Ebad, acting Minister of Public Health, and his accompanying delegation.

The money is to be used for primary health care in 34 provinces, including the payment of salaries and training of health workers, the provision of medicine, medical equipment, the fight against diseases, and the strengthening of oversight of health services, said the health ministry.

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