17 August 2019

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Friday July 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA) A weekend dialogue in Doha, Qatar, between rival factions of Afghanistan's volatile politics and the Taliban has yielded a joint statement calling for an end to war.
Why it matters: The fledgling Afghanistan peace process is gaining critical momentum. Although the conference statement represents a vague roadmap rather than a firm agreement, the consensus reached arguably marks the biggest step yet toward a long-elusive peace.
Where it stands: The 7th round of U.S.–Taliban talks, which took a 2-day pause during the intra-Afghan dialogue, is likely to resume in the coming days. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he wants a deal before Sept.
However, the Taliban refuses to lay down arms or negotiate directly with the Afghan government until it reaches a troop withdrawal deal with the U.S.
Washington, meanwhile, insists there can be no accord on troops until there is agreement on multiple issues — a troop withdrawal, counterterrorism assurances, a ceasefire and a Taliban commitment to launch formal talks with Kabul.
Yes, but: Afghanistan's Sept. 28 presidential election threatens to pull away the attention of political leaders. The campaign season may also exacerbate the country's sharp political rivalries and undercut efforts to forge a political consensus on peace.
These challenges help explain Washington's haste to secure a deal.
The bottom line: An end to the protracted conflict in Afghanistan has never appeared closer. But tough negotiations lie ahead, and reaching a quick deal to end America’s longest war remains a tall order.

Friday July 12, 2019 Kabul (BNA) Turkey has delivered military aid worth $4.5 million to Afghanistan, as part of a deal signed on Sept. 21, 2018. The aid will support logistical operations of the Afghan national army. Turkey also trained female Afghan police cadets in 2016. Since 2011, more than 2,600 Afghan policemen and women have been trained by the Turkish police academy. Although they are nearly located 3,000 kilometers apart, Afghanistan and Turkey enjoy close ties dating back to the early years of the Republic of Turkey. Turkey was the first country to open a diplomatic mission in Kabul in 1921 and both Muslim-majority countries maintain deep cultural ties, dating back to the Turkic rule of Afghanistan up to the 12th century. Dailysabah Ansari

Friday July 12, 2019 Kabul (BNA) Withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan too soon would be a “strategic mistake,” President Trump’s nominee for Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said Thursday, clearly outlining the Pentagon’s position as the White House wrestles with whether to pull military forces and end the 18-year war. “I think it is slow, it’s painful, it’s hard — I spent a lot of my life in Afghanistan — but I also think it’s necessary,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the nominee, said about the American military’s continuing mission at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. General Milley’s tough line on the war comes as the United States and the Taliban navigate their seventh round of peace negotiations. Earlier peace dialogues have focused on two main planks: the withdrawal of Western troops and the Taliban’s pledge to deny any safe haven to terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Nytimes Ansari

Friday July 12, 2019 Kabul (BNA) An Afghan campaigner who took part in breakthrough talks with the Taliban said Thursday that she saw subtle improvements in the attitude towards women of the insurgents, who severely curtailed their rights while in power. In a meeting earlier this week in Qatar, the Islamist militants sat down with Afghan representatives and issued a joint statement that called for assuring women's rights "within the Islamic framework of Islamic values." The conference, co-organized by Germany, came as the United States negotiates with the Taliban to pull troops from Afghanistan -- with women's rights not explicitly on the agenda. Asila Wardak, a women's rights campaigner who works for the Afghan foreign ministry, said she was surprised at the positive atmosphere in Doha as women mingled directly with the Taliban over dinner and tea breaks. "It was interesting to me as an Afghan woman as they didn't shake hands but they warmly welcomed us," she told a symposium at Georgetown University on the peace process, speaking by video from Kabul. Two Taliban delegates even showed flashes of humor, telling the Afghan women that they heard they would be coming and saying, "'Please don't give us a hard time,'" she said. "Maybe I'm wrong but their attitude has totally changed towards women, towards government employees," she said. "But I do not say that their behavior (changed) or, ideologically or strategically, they didn't change anything," she said, pointing to a massive blast in eastern Afghanistan that killed 12 and injured dozens of children just as the Qatar talks were opening. Ghizaal Haress, a constitutional scholar at the American University of Afghanistan, said it remained unclear what the Taliban were saying by signing the declaration in Doha. "The term 'Islamic regime' is very vague, it's very broad and there is a fear of what it will mean under the interpretation of the Taliban," she said. "Do we mean an Islamic regime like the one in Malaysia or Indonesia? Do we mean an Islamic regime like Saudi Arabia or Iran? Or do we mean one like Pakistan?" she said, referring to governments with varying degrees of openness toward women. The Taliban were notorious for their harsh treatment of women during their five-year rule of Afghanistan, which ended with the US-led invasion after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The insurgents forced women to cover themselves completely under burqas, banned them from working and restricted most education for girls. - US says watching women's role - President Donald Trump is impatient to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, believing the mission is not worth the cost after nearly two decades. His administration is aiming to reach an accord with the Taliban by September. Such a deal is expected to have two main pillars -- a US withdrawal from Afghanistan and a commitment by the militants not to offer sanctuary to jihadists. But Zalmay Khalilzad, the US negotiator who has held seven rounds of talks with the Taliban, told the Georgetown event in a video message that he will ensure that women "have a seat, or several seats, at the negotiating table." Alice Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said that Afghanistan's future relationship with the United States will "depend heavily" on preserving the gains made by women. "No current or future Afghan government should count on international donor support if that government restricts, represses or relegates Afghan women to second-class status," she said. Dailymail Ansari
Friday July 12, 2019 Kabul (BNA) Amid talk of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. envoy talking to the Taliban said Thursday that America is not "cutting and running" from its longest war and that women will continue to have seats in peace talks to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Zalmay Khalilzad addressed an audience in Washington on a video link from Qatar where a two-day all-Afghan conference concluded Tuesday with a statement that offered a roadmap for the country's future. The Washington event was heavily focused on raising the voices of women who fear any peace accord with the Taliban will rollback gains they've made and return them to the days of repressive Taliban rule, "We would like to leave a very positive legacy here," said the U.S. envoy, who was born in Afghanistan. "We are not cutting and running. We're not looking for a withdrawal agreement. We're looking for a peace agreement. And we're looking for a long-term relationship and partnership with Afghanistan." The Taliban refuses to meet with the current Afghan government, but there are ongoing discussions about peace. Khalilzad has held eight rounds of U.S. talks with the Taliban and there have been all-Afghan meetings, including the last one in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where Afghans from all walks of life met to discuss grievances and find common ground about the future for their nation. A statement released at the end of the conference said that a post-war Afghanistan would have an Islamic legal system, protect women's rights "within the Islamic framework of Islamic values," and ensure equality for all ethnic groups. Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asian Affairs, who attended the event at Georgetown University, said no current or future Afghan government should count on international donor support if it "restricts, represses or relegates Afghan women to second-class status." In his talks with the Taliban, Khalilzad said there has been progress on four fronts: getting assurances from the Taliban that Afghanistan will not become a staging ground again for militant groups like al-Qaida or the Islamic State; the withdrawal of U.S. troops, which currently number 14,000; having an all-Afghan dialogue to reach agreement on a peaceful future; and a permanent ceasefire to end the fighting. He wants the U.S. talks with the Taliban to reach fruition by Sept. 1, which would allow the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops. That would open the door to more difficult negotiations. That's where the many sides of Afghanistan's protracted conflict would sit down to hammer out the details of what an Islamic system will look like, what constitutional reforms would be made and what would become of the many local militias affiliated with the country's powerful warlords. Those talks also would have to tackle how women's rights fit into the definition of the "Islamic values." Roya Rahmani, Afghanistan's first female ambassador to the United States, expressed hope for peace, but said there's still no dialogue between the Taliban and the current Afghan government. She predicted tough periods of negotiation ahead and said whatever deal is made needed to be implemented by a "strong central government." The talks have created both optimism and anxiety, especially among women. Ghizaal Haress, assistant professor of law at the American University of Afghanistan who spoke via Skype from Kabul, said the Taliban must guarantee that the rights of women and minorities, which currently are protected in the Afghan constitution, are preserved. "If we leave it to broad interpretation or to the broad idea of women's 'Islamic values' then we're going to be in trouble as we have experienced it" under Taliban rule in the past, she said. Asila Wardack, a member of the Afghan peace council who attended the conference in Doha, said it appears the Taliban are embracing more modern views of women. Via Skype from Kabul, she said she still worries that they have not changed their hardline ideology and claimed a deeper trust between the parties was needed for the negotiations to be successful. Doha was the first time Wardack had met the Taliban negotiating team. "They approached us. They didn't shake hands," she said. Later, Wardack said two of the Taliban representatives walked up to the women at the conference and said they had heard that a group of "dangerous women" were going to be at the meeting. "They literally used the word 'dangerous women,'" Wardack said. She said one Taliban member then said: "Please don't give us a hard time." Modbee Ansari

Thursday July 11, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani participated at the 5th Annual European Anti-Corruption Conference on counter corruption titled ‘A Journey to Peace, A Movement of Accountability’ and delivered speech yesterday. According to BNA report, in the conference held at Chahar Chinar Palace and attended by the country’s First Lady, a number of members of cabinet and foreign ambassadors to Kabul, first EU ambassador Pierre Mayaudon spoke and said: “Today we would like to focus our attention on the role anti-corruption should play before, during and after the conclusion of a peace agreement.” Afterwards, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke and by praising the EU for its assistance to Afghanistan and its emphasis on democratic values in particular the elections said the upcoming elections should be held without any doubts. “Today are taking preparation for peace and our country should not lose the opportunity for maintaining peace,” President Ghani said, adding that peace should be inclusive and national.
The country’s President asserted that their decision towards maintain peace were showing that we knew the price of war and it was the people of Afghanistan who were paying the price. Pointing to recent terrorist attack in Ghazni, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said that attack on children was attack on humanity, praising the people of Afghanistan in particular ANDSF for their commitment to their government and constitution. “It is time for maintaining peace in the country as conditions have been provided and should be used extensively,” the country’s President said, stressing that going back is not acceptable to the nation and we will only go forward.
President Ghani said for the first time they have proved that ceasefire was not a dream and imagination, but it was a fact, adding that organized talks should be held between the government and Taliban and problems should be resolved wisely and determination is key in this regard. Stressing that clear base has been put against corruption in the country, President Ghani said that counter corruption was not only the duty of a single person, but it was the duty of the government and all the people in the society.


Thursday July 11, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Intra-Afghan peace conference held by participation of 60 representatives from political parties, civil society activists, women right activists and Taliban representatives’ office on 7 and 8 July 2019 in Doha Qatar.
BNA political analysts commenting on the issue writes, the session has ended by approval of a resolution, the contents of the resolution explained that the ideas and stance of both sides completely has changed. Before the intra-Afghan peace conference no one can’t think that the sides sitting on table and discuss various significant issues after years’ wars and agreed on different issues, but the participants did so and hope peace alive. Despite of contradictions in the content of resolution the agreement of intra-Afghan peace conference is a step toward establishing understanding environment among Afghans the matter that our society seriously need it.
Resolution of intra-Afghan peace conference proves that Afghans able to stop war and disputes and reach to a durable peace in Afghanistan. The resolution shown that Afghans can to reach an agreement based on reconciliation and national interests. Should be noted that the result of intra-Afghan conference actually was the consequences of already session held between representatives of U.S., government and political parties and Taliban group. Political analysts called intra-Afghan peace conference wasting time and without result, it is not like that, each conference hold between opposite groups have role and pave the way for next round of peace dialogue.
The main point of intra-Afghan peace conference is that the trust has been established among the participants and opposite groups must be avoid from disputes and also strengthen confidence among each other.
It is the obligation of parties involved in war to prepare the mind of people for accepting peace resolution approved in Doha. Peace can only be sustainable and durable that all people accept and support it, this is possible when people launching massive advertisements for achieving peace, reconciliation and unity.
Government organizations, media, religious scholars, tribal elders, civil society activists and also armed oppositions that support current peace process and believe on lasting peace should work together for ensuring peace and stopping bloodshed in Afghanistan.
Najib Shinwari


Thursday, July 11, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Idrees Zaman, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan on Tuesday said the Doha intra-Afghan meeting was a positive step toward the launches of the direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgent group.
Speaking at the National Peace Symposium in Kabul, the Afghan official welcomed the final declaration of the Doha meeting, saying the time is short and there is a need for the launch of intra-Afghan dialogue to reach a peace deal.
Mr. Zaman further said that if the war in Afghanistan is not ended through direct negotiation between the Afghan government and the Taliban, achievements of the last 18 years will be faced with serious problems.
At the same time, Mohammad Ehsan Zia, the Head of the US Institute of Peace in Afghanistan said that the two sides should not step back from the negotiation in order to reach to peace deal.
Meanwhile, Russia supports the results of the intra-Afghan meeting in Doha and hopes that it would lay the foundation for the future reconciliation agreement in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement.
“Russia supports the results of the Second Inter-Afghan Dialogue Conference held in Doha on July 7-8,” she said.
“it was basically a cont9inuation of the conversation between representatives of a broad range of Afghanistan’s socio-political forces, including the armed opposition, which was started last February, and is aimed at launching a peace process in that country as soon as possible,” she added.
“We are satisfied that the participants at the Doha meeting adopted a final statement reflecting their intention to steadily move towards on inter-Afghanistan peace,” Zakharova said the statement.
Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the inter-Afghan dialogue “reflects the principle of an Afghan led and Afghan –owned peace process that was broadly approved by the international community.”
“in Afghanistan’s current reality, such meetings are the only viable channel of communication not only for the confronting sides of the conflict but also for the key political forces of the IRA, without which it will hardly be possible to achieve durable peace,” she said in the statement.
She said that they hope communication will lay the foundation for a future peace agreement and will more clearly outline the contours of the post-conflict arrangement in Afghanistan.

Thursday, 11 July 2019 07:09

President Ghani Chairs Cabinet Meeting

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, cabinet meeting was held yesterday.
In the meeting, President Ghani first condemned in the strongest term the recent deadly and brutal attacks of enemies in Kabul and Ghazni, where a number of our innocent countrymen in particular children have been martyred and wounded, saying that attack on children was against Islamic and national values and the act would not result in concession in peace process.
Meanwhile, the country’s President by praising Abdul Salam Rahimi as former chief of staff of the office of President for his services, welcomed participation of newly appointed chief of staff of the office of President Dr. Faizullah Kaker, acting minister of telecommunication and information technology Faheem Hashimi, acting minister of higher education Abdul Tawab Bala Karzai, senior advisor to President on cultural affairs, Shah Hussain Murtazavi and deputy of governance and programs for general directorate of the office of President in the cabinet meeting and wished them further successes in their careers.
Afterwards, acting minister of higher education delivered draft procedure of universities’ entry test to the meeting.  The cabinet approved the procedure in Principe and tasked the ministry of higher education to bring corrections in the procedure in accordance to the meeting’s notifications and provide and execute an awareness plan with close cooperation of the ministry of justice.
Later on, deputy minister of policy for the ministry of finance delivered the ministry’s suggestion in connection with implementation of delivering online tax declarations to the meeting, adding that implementation and execution of the program would provide further facilitations to tax-payers.  The draft was approved by the cabinet meeting.
Afterwards, acting minister of urban development and land delivered demand for renting 7 acre government land in locality of Bagrami district of Kabul to a non-government organization (ECI)  for construction of orphanage to the meeting.
The cabinet approved in Principe the respective ministry’s demand.
T. Yarzada

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Chaired by acting minister of information and culture Hasina Safi, the meeting of high council for hotels enterprise was held yesterday.
In the meeting attended by representatives of ministries of finance and economy, first general director of hotels enterprise Zabiullah Ihsan briefed related to fiscal plan of the enterprise for 1398.
The plan was approved after it was assessed and reviewed by the council and it was decided that technical issues of the plan should be finalized and completed in close coordination with the ministry of finance within a week.
In the meeting, reconstruction of Spinghar Hotel’s surrounded wall and construction of Bahari restaurant and awnings for families in the hotel and its development budget were discussed and necessary decisions were made in this regard.  Hasina Safi stressed on acceleration of the council’s working affairs and coordination between relevant institutions.

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