13 December 2019

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Thursday, 12 December 2019 12:04

Afghan Peace is Elusive but Not Impossible

Friday December 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The need for a negotiated withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has increased in urgency after the Washington Post this week published an explosive article outlining the “Afghanistan Papers”, which documents that the US government long has concluded its efforts in Afghanistan were futile and that the war was unwinnable. The article’s revelations will provide ready arguments to those in Washington already pushing for US troop withdrawals – and will thus indirectly bolster the position of the Taliban.
Talks between the US and the Taliban had only just resumed on 8 December, three months after US President Donald Trump had put an abrupt end to earlier negotiations, following the killing of a US solider in Afghanistan. A negotiated exit of US troops from Afghanistan would pave the way for intra-Afghan peace talks to resolve Afghanistan’s longstanding conflict and US engagement.
The 19 November release of two kidnapped academics (Australian and US), held by the Taliban for three years, was a promising sign ahead of the talks. The prisoner-hostage exchange came after intense negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, assisted by Pakistan. The deal was widely interpreted as a sign that the Taliban would consider further direct negotiations with the Afghan government, which it has previously refused on the contention that the Afghan government is illegitimate.
If intra-Afghan talks were to take place, how could the prospects for a reasonably successful process be improved? A number of main points have crystallised in discussions within the “new” Afghan civil society, which has developed since 2001 to become a well-informed, influential political voice. The focus here is primarily on procedural issues, as the content of the final agreements should be decided by those who have to live with the consequences of a peace deal – Afghan citizens.
First, Afghanistan needs peace. The country is bleeding, with record record-high civilian casualties – the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan recorded 2,563 killed and 5,676 injured in the first nine month of 2019 alone. The humanitarian costs are high, with roughly one in six Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance and 237,000 displaced alone this year. With still about 2.7 million Afghan refugees, mostly in Pakistan and Iran, the second highest number of refugees after Syrians, and Afghans still lodging among the highest number of asylum claims in Europe, the costs to neighboring and other refugee destinations countries will continue to rise if the conflict is not resolved peacefully. For any serious peace negotiations to happen, the Taliban must agree to some kind of cease-fire.
Second, the idea that peace can come cheaply is a false assumption, as a recent World Bank Report has outlined. A sustainable peace means that funds saved from military engagement will have to go towards reconstruction to help the country get back on its feet and provide for health, education, employment and other services. With billions of dollars already spent in Afghanistan since 2001, this might be a hard pill to swallow for some donor countries.
Third, there is the question whether intra-Afghan peace negotiations can happen before the results of the presidential elections are finalised. Presently, the situation looks like a repeat of the 2015 election impasse, with the two main contenders, the incumbent Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah, once again struggling over who gets to rule the country. Whatever happens, the new government will have even less legitimacy than the current one, which will weaken its negotiating stance.
Given the urgency of peace talks, it is striking that the Afghan political establishment – and chiefly two political elites – cannot come to a speedy and amicable agreement when there are more pressing issues to tend to. It also does not present a promising picture of their ability to negotiate anything successfully or peacefully.
Fourth, the elites within (and outside) the Afghan government – election squabbles aside – need to agree on what they are bringing to the negotiating table. At the moment, there is no clear sense what the Afghan government wants to negotiate over. The backstabbing, undermining, and secret talks must stop, or else any peace negotiations will be imbalanced, stacking the cards further in favour of the Taliban. If the Afghan government wants to negotiate from a position of strength, it needs a minimal level of unity at home.
This means no more discussions about an interim government or constitutional changes unless they are squarely on the table. Neither should be an option until a ceasefire and a peace agreement have been signed. There needs to be clear stance on human rights, especially the rights of women and minorities, so they don’t become concessions in a poorly negotiated peace deal.
Fifth, any peace talks will need a high level of inclusiveness and allow a very active and vocal civil society to present their terms to the Taliban personally. The Taliban need to understand that Afghanistan has changed and that the population they might one day rule is not the same as in 2001. It is important that women can speak to the Taliban about their views on women’s rights from a perspective that does not allow them to be cast aside as a Western-influenced folly.
It is equally important to include youth leaders. More than two thirds of the Afghan population are estimated to be under age 24, and 42% under 14. They like their smart phones, music, and progress. They seek future prospects in education and jobs. It is the youth who will have to bear the burden of a new phase of reconstruction, and it is them the country needs for its future survival. Young Afghans are the ones increasingly fleeing to make a better life abroad, and if they feel voiceless and excluded from the peace process, this trend will only continue.
Sixth, settlements at the elite level need time to trickle down. Talks are needed at the village and district level on what peace would look like post-settlement. This means collaborating with civil society, traditional elites, religious leaders, and customary structures (e.g., jirgas, shuras) that are critical to forging and maintaining peace at a grassroots level. But grass root activities will also need direction and resources from the government.
In the end, there is a distinct danger of rushing into a peace deal that might eventually fail again. If we are to learn from the 2001 Bonn Agreement, the future of a country cannot be rushed, nor can decisions on a post-peace order. The lessons of what went wrong after Bonn need to be heeded. Principal among these is that any future peace deal needs to be much more inclusive in recognizing and responding to the diversity of the Afghan people.
Lowyinstitute
Ansari


 

Thursday December 12, 2019
JALALBAD CITY (BNA) Stationary have been donated to hundreds girl students in Bibi Hawa girl high school in eastern Nangarhar province.
The aids have been provided by Turkey education foundation.
Ataullah Khogyani spokesman of Nangarhar governor told BNA correspondent, in this round Turkey education foundation have been distributed pen, notebooks, boxes and other stationery to 500 girl students.
Turkey education foundation’ officials during visiting to Nangarhar province pledged that to build a big library in Bibi Hawa girl high school.
M.A.Ansari 


 

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Lashkargah (BNA) Eight Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike of Afghan Security Forces in Helmand province last night.
The insurgents were suppressed in suburb of Lashkargah city for planning attack on a police checkpoint.
Atal army corps in south of the country with releasing a statement said BNA, eight Taliban insurgents were killed and a hideout of them with all war equipment has been demolished.
It is said that no harm and casualties incurred to civilians in the raid.
Another report says, police of Helmand with discovering of ten mines from busy roads of that province, prevented from a series of blasts.
No one has been detained in the connection of the failed mine planting.
T. Yartzada

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA)  President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a meeting with the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zeljko Komsic exchanged views on some issues including cooperation with Afghanistan, especially within the NATO Resolution Support BNA reported Wednesday.
During the meeting which was held at the Delkusha Palace, the country’s president thanked him, for his country cooperation with Afghanistan, especially within the NATO led Resolute Support, the agency said.  The chairman of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina assured that his country would continue cooperating with Afghanistan and would develop cooperation with Afghanistan further than ever, alongside the international community, the agency quoted.  He also said his country was ready to share its experiences of good governance and development with Afghanistan, according to the agency.
Yarzada

 

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA)  Chaired by Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, a meeting of council of ministers’ executive committee for maintenance and protection was held yesterday at Sapidar Palace.
In the meeting, officials for the ministry of transportation delivered a plan for roads management project in which a mechanism has been measured to cut down traffic incidents and create connection between insecure areas and transportation routes.
Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah while welcoming the plan said problems in transportation sector has created lots of problems for the people, therefore, further attention should be paid to this sector.
He added that creation of a regular system would increase confidence of the people and increase of incomes in the country.
Meanwhile, the ministry of transportation delivered draft law on management of maintenance and protection and completion of properties and infrastructures to the meeting.
The draft law has been prepared in 7 chapter and 44 articles encompassing general verdicts, tasks and responsibilities of institutions, responsibilities of private sector, protection and maintenance from properties and infrastructures and their completion, funding resources of the protection and maintenance projects.
The country’s chief executive welcomed the law, saying that all activities in government institutions should be followed in accordance to the law and measured procedures with full transparency and responsiveness.
Yarzada

 

Thursday, 12 December 2019 11:45

Chinese Ambassador Calls on VP Danesh

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Chinese newly-appointed ambassador to Kabul called on second Vice President Sarwar Danesh yesterday.
In the meeting, peace process, expansion of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, presidential elections and other issues were discussed.
Second Vice President by pointing to historic relations between Afghanistan and China stressed on expansion of relations between the two countries in political, security, economic and cultural fields, adding that the Chinese government has helped Afghanistan in the respective fields during the past 19 years.
He said currently good relations between the two countries were expanding as mutual cooperation between the two countries has been followed by positive consequences in economic, trade, cultural, education and higher education fields in recent years.
Danesh considered implementation a part of development projects by Chinese companies as an example of mutual cooperation between the two countries, saying that there was also constructive cooperation between the two countries in security section for counter terrorism in border areas.
Second Vice-President also considered role of the Chinese government in Afghanistan peace process as significant, adding that Afghanistan peace was crucial for regional countries and international partners of Afghanistan and reaching this goal could not be possible without honestly cooperation of all countries involved in Afghanistan issue.
In the meeting, the Chinese newly-appointed ambassador to Kabul considered both China and Afghanistan as two close friends and good neighbors and said during his mission to Afghanistan, he would make effort towards further expansion of relations between the two countries.
Pointing to cooperation of his government with Afghanistan in the field of health, higher education and education, the Chinese newly-appointed ambassador to Kabul stressed on expansion of cooperation in economic and trade between the two countries through air corridors and railways.
Yarzada

 

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Cancer is a curable disease, but no basic treatment center has been still established in the country, BNA quoted chairwoman of Counter-cancer Foundation of Afghanistan and Chairwoman of Afghanistan Medical Council, Dr. Nasreen Oryakhil the other day.
She asked the private sector to invest in completion of cancer hospital, which has been established in 2016 within the Aliabad Hospital.
A cancer treatment section has also been activated within the Jamhoriat Hospital, according to the agency.
In a video speech, Bibi Gul Rula Ghani, the country’s First Lady also expressed her grave concern over the fatal cancer disease and via a video massage said:  “Cancer is fatal and there was a need for building a wide treatment center.”
She added that in Afghanistan there is no a cancer treatment center, this is why the ailing Afghans are spending much money for their treatment outside the country, the agency quoted.
Calling the cancer treatment center activities non-governmental and non-prolific and said that completion of the center was a piece of hope for the people affected suffering cancer disease, the agency said.
T. Yarzada

 

Thursday December 12, 2019
FIROZ KOH CITY (BNA) Four narcotic drug smugglers member of Taliban group were killed and three others were wounded during clashes with Afghan national police personnel in western Ghor province the other day.
Spokesman of ministry of interior told BNA reporter, the narcotic drug smugglers were killed during a special operation conducted by counter-narcotic drug police personnel in relevant areas of Firoz Koh city the provincial capital of the province.
The smugglers wanted to transfer 1000 kg narcotic drug type of heroin from Firoz Koh city to unknown area.
Also, Afghan police personnel succeeded to detain three narcotic drug personnel during the military operation.
A vehicle belonged to the smugglers have been destroyed and another vehicle along with 1000 kg narcotic drug have been seized by police personnel following the military operation.
M.A.Ansari

Thursday, 12 December 2019 11:44

Martyrs’ Families Received Aids in Ghazni

Thursday December 12, 2019
GHAZNI CITY (BNA) Cash have been donated to dozens martyrs and injuries families in central Ghazni province.
Ahmad Khan Sirat spokesperson of Ghazni police chief told BNA correspondent, ordered by Mohammad Ashraf Ghani president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 9,750 million Afghanis have been distributed to 50 martyrs and 87 injuries families in Ghazni province.
During the distribution of the aids while Ghazni police chief and head of provincial council of Ghazni were prevent, governor of Ghazni said, the cash donated aiming to president Ghani condolence with martyrs and injuries families.
Each martyrs family have received 100,000 Afghanis and each injure family have received 50,000 Afghanis.
M.A.Ansari

Thursday, 12 December 2019 11:44

Taliban Key Associate Detained in Farah

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Farah (BNA) The security officials of Farah detained a key associate of Taliban terrorist group yesterday.
Mohibullah Mohib police spokesman of Farah told BNA correspondent, Mullah Mosa an active member of Taliban terrorist group who has been instrumental in many destructive and terrorist activities in Poshtrod District, and suburban villages of Farah province, has been detained from outskirt of Karji village center of that province.
In his initial investigation, the man confessed to staging several terrorist attacks on security posts.
T. Yarzada

 

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