23 February 2019

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Tuesday February 5, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Afghan Women’s Network releasing a statement says Afghan women have historically been on the right side of the history, adding they have consistently sided with democracy and social progress and have, even when restricted by war and misogyny, taken active part in self-development and the development of the country. “They have stood for elections, led ministries, provided bulk of the country’s schooling and healthcare, mothered generations well, and they are the ones that have broken taboos through their art and activism – and in doing so they have risked their lives.”
According to the statement, decades of factional wars, the Taliban rule, and the losses sustained during the insurgency and counter-insurgency have left millions of Afghan women widowed, children orphaned, and men disabled. “We, Afghan women, believe that no side in these decades of war and conflict are winner, no man should be proud of their legacy obtained through violence. Genuine success is an immediate ceasefire, and those that would make it happen would have something to be truly proud of,” the statement added.
“Most important of all, Afghan women have always been peace makers, be it at home, the community and nationally. They have rarely utilized violence to reach their aims, even when they were, in the course of civil war, raped, killed, mutilated and made to leave their homes.”
The statement went on saying that the male Afghan political actors and their international counterparts are talking about negotiating peace in the country. “We, women of Afghanistan, are very concerned about this process. Through this statement, we are calling on all Afghan men involved in the peace talks to adhere to the following:”
Do not change the political order: The political order, that the post-Taliban democracy has created, has greatly empowered Afghan women. Public institutions have provided employment to women, educated them, given them skills, lowered their mortality rates and have provided them with relative security. Peace negotiated at the cost of the democratic system, or divisions of state institutions such as ministries between different factions will not be acceptable by the women of Afghanistan. Democracy must not be up for negotiation!
Do not compromise law and order: The lawlessness that was created when the Afghan army and police were dismantled in the wake of the Soviet departure in 1989 harmed Afghan women massively. The dissolution of the Afghan armed forces only pleased our adversaries, as Nawaz Sharif famously acknowledged the dissolution of the Afghan armed forces as one of the key achievements of the Pakistani state. Afghan men involved in negotiating peace must be clear that the dissolution of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces is one of the red lines for Afghan women as citizens of Afghanistan, and this red line MUST NOT be crossed.
The ANDSF must not be politicized and it must remain a national institution that contains men and women from all ethnic groups of the country.  The present-day Afghan army and police are dedicated, and tax-payers of many nations have invested in giving them skills, their efforts and sacrifices must not be erased.
Bring Afghan women to the table: Some women are involved in the peace talks lately, which we support and see it as part of Afghan women’s achievements. However, we want women’s representation to be meaningful. There is a strong women’s movement in Afghanistan that represents all strata of the society. These women should be involved in the peace talks. Women’s involvement in the talks must not be reduced to party politics, it should be a true inclusion. 
Do not choose peace without human rights: Afghan women would not accept peace bought at the cost of their hard-gained freedoms. We believe that  any peace that threatens Afghan women’s rights, freedoms and gains will not be sustainable. Temporary restrictions on women’s rights in the name of peace and security is utterly unacceptable. Therefore, on conclusion of any peace agreement, women’s rights to life, education, healthcare, freedom of movement, right to engage in political and economic activities and so on must be guaranteed.
Be direct about women’s rights: It is important that all Afghan men on the negotiating table are vocal about the need for not negotiating away women’s rights in any peace process. Afghanistan is an Islamic country and Afghan women live their lives within an Afghan and Islamic culture. There is no need to reinterpret Afghan women’s lives. Where reinterpretation is needed is around respect for human life and dignity. You do not have to be a woman to defend women’s rights! We are your partners in the development of the country, as such you have to use your male privilege to fight for our interests too.
Do not cut off Afghanistan from the international community: Despite significant progress made in the last fifteen years, Afghanistan remains aid dependent. As a nation we have to eradicate polio, lower maternal mortality further, deal with the repercussions of having the highest population growth rates in the world and manage natural disasters such as the ongoing drought. We need the support of the international community to be able to achieve these goals. Afghanistan has made huge progress in building trade links within and beyond the region. Do not make any compromises that would make future economic sanctions against us a possibility, pushing us further into economic poverty. 
The statement further said that the women of Afghanistan, believe that “our Afghan male allies on the peace negotiation table can work with us to make sure that the peace that we so desperately need can be achieved and sustained. We are looking forward to working within the peace process actively.”

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in a meeting with Senior officials of the country’s media organizations held yesterday at Sapidar Palace said that there was no priority superior than peace in the country as Afghans have suffered continued catastrophe and pain for the past 40 years and lost numerous opportunities, therefore, all wanted lasting and fair peace in the country.
Regarding peace efforts, chief executive said that the main obstacle to reach peace was Taliban’s position, adding that no change has been made in vision and position of the Taliban, a group that wanted to strengthen its position by wasting the time.
He further said that a large number of Afghans had common vision regarding peace in the country, but unfortunately the government has not been able to create consensus among the big class of the people.
Abdullah said that one of regional countries is seeking a puppet or weak government in Afghanistan, but other countries do not want return of Taliban to power in the country.
Referring to dispersion among Afghan politicians, Abdullah warned that the Taliban would benefit from the situation.
He warned that countries with evil intention would succeed if there is no national consensus in Afghanistan on how to deal with the Taliban.
Pointing to reports of US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, the country’s chief executive said that part of the forces would possibly leave, but it would not mean “doomsday”, adding that the burden of most of fighting and maintaining of security was on shoulders of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
However, chief executive said there was a possibility that the number of foreign forces would decline but no such instructions have been given so far.  He added that the foreign forces would one day leave Afghanistan and it was up to the Afghans to prepare themselves for such a scenario and the government should stand on its own feet with the support of the Afghan people.  Chief executive also by pointing to suggestion of interim government said those who are advancing the idea believe that the possible interim government’s leadership would be the same as it was in post 2001.

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Kabul (BNA) President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has clearly said that no one would be allowed to pretext peace process aiming to harm the country’s security forces, BNA reported.
The President made the remark during a ceremony to inaugurate the distribution of food coupon among the martyrs’ families. The coupon distribution process, which the President quoted the ministry of finance to have been extended from nine months to one year more, is for the first time initiated after 18 years of delay in Kabul, with the authorities pledging to expand it all over the country in the future. The country’s President said: “This was a great day for me that with the inauguration of the coupon among the martyrs’ families of the country’s security forces, we could fulfil another one of our commitments for them.” While giving coupon to four of the martyrs’ families during the ceremony, the President assured that ‘those heroes given sacrifices to defend the country, would never be forgotten.’ “Nobody can harm the country’s security forces under peace process pretext,” warned the President. “They shouldn’t remove the mind that they would once again sell tanks, planes and other equipment in the price of worthless metals to the neighbors,” the President reiterated. Distribution of coupon was only for nine months, but fortunately the ministry of finance said the process had extended for one year more,” said the agency quoting the President.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Dr. Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, acting Minister of Finance and Chief Advisor to President chaired the first meeting for implementation of Geneva Conference indicators. 
The event held at Khybar Hall of the Ministry of Finance, a statement said.
In the meeting, ministers and representatives of Rural Rehabilitation, Telecommunication & Information Technology, labors, Social Affairs, Martyred & Disabled, Public Works, Foreign Affairs, Urban Development & Housing, Mine & Petroleum, Afghanistan Land Authority, Election Commission, Election Complaint Commission, Independent Administration Reform Commission, Administrative Office of the resident and Oversight Access to Information Commission participated, the ministry’s statement added.
“The aim of this meeting is to reaffirm joint commitments among government institutions and international development partners in accordance with the Geneva Intergovernmental Accountability Framework for 2019-2020.  The meeting aimed to ensure and strengthen better coordination to implement the commitments effectively and finalize adaptive plans of uncharged administrations,” said minister Qayoumi in the opening remarks while expressing his gratitude to participants.
Acting Minister of Finance asked all line departments to cooperate fulfilling the commitments.
The line departments presented their adaptive reports.
The participants called the adaptive plans for Geneva Conference indicators positive that is why most of the offices completed their adoptive plans before the determined time, the statement added.
At the end, minister Qayoumi, thanked the participants for timely completion of adoptive plans for Geneva Conference indicators, the statement said.

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