Tag Archives: Kabul

Taliban assures free departures

Brussels 29.08.201 The following statement was released initially by the Governments of the United States of America, Albania, Australia, Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Eswatini, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Korea, Republic of Kosovo, Romania, Rwanda, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland , The Bahamas, The Gambia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Union of the Comoros, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Yemen, and Zambia.

“We are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk, can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan”.

“We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country”.

“We will continue issuing travel documentation to designated Afghans, and we have the clear expectation of and commitment from the Taliban that they can travel to our respective countries. We note the public statements of the Taliban confirming this understanding”.

Afghanistan: NATO continues evacuations

Brussels 20.08.2021 NATO Foreign Ministers met via teleconference on Friday (20 August 2021) to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. “What we have witnessed in recent days is a tragedy for the people of Afghanistan,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He stressed that NATO’s top priority is the continuing evacuation of people from Allied and partner countries, and Afghans who have worked with NATO.
Statement by NATO Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan:
“We, the Foreign Ministers of NATO, met today to discuss the difficult situation in Afghanistan:

“We are united in our deep concern about the grave events in Afghanistan and call for an immediate end to the violence. We also express deep concerns about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses across Afghanistan. We affirm our commitment to the statement by the UN Security Council on 16 August, and we call for adherence to international norms and standards on human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances.

“Our immediate task now is to meet our commitments to continue the safe evacuation of our citizens, partner country nationals, and at-risk Afghans, in particular those who have assisted our efforts. We call on those in positions of authority in Afghanistan to respect and facilitate their safe and orderly departure, including through Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. As long as evacuation operations continue, we will maintain our close operational coordination through Allied military means at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

“The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity, and to build on the important political, economic and social achievements they have made over the last twenty years. We stand by civil society actors who must be able to continue to safely play their meaningful role in Afghan society. We call on all parties in Afghanistan to work in good faith to establish an inclusive and representative government, including with the meaningful participation of women and minority groups. Under the current circumstances, NATO has suspended all support to the Afghan authorities. Any future Afghan government must adhere to Afghanistan’s international obligations; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered humanitarian access; and ensure that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.

“For the last twenty years, we have successfully denied terrorists a safe haven in Afghanistan from which to instigate attacks. We will not allow any terrorists to threaten us. We remain committed to fighting terrorism with determination, resolve, and in solidarity.

“We honour the service and sacrifice of all who have worked tirelessly over the last twenty years to realise a better future for Afghanistan. Together, we will fully reflect on our engagement in Afghanistan and draw the necessary lessons.

“We will continue to promote the stable, prosperous Afghanistan that the Afghan people deserve and address the critical questions facing Afghanistan and the region, in the immediate future and beyond, including through our cooperation with regional and international partners, such as the European Union and United Nations”.

EU: Afghanistan Borrell Declaration

Brussels 17.08.2021 European Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs gathered today for an extraordinary meeting to consider the latest momentous developments in Afghanistan. The country finds itself at a crossroads after decades of conflict. The wellbeing and security of its citizens, political and human rights achievements, as well as regional and international security are at stake.

The negotiation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban offered the best chance to reach a solution that would guarantee security and peaceful coexistence within Afghanistan and in the region. The EU calls on all parties in Afghanistan to respect all commitments made and to pursue further an inclusive, comprehensive and enduring political solution. The protection and promotion of all human rights, in particular those of women and girls, must be an integral part of these efforts and women should be supported and able to contribute fully to this process.

The EU stresses the utmost importance of the safety and security of all EU citizens in Afghanistan, as well as local staff working for the EU or member states. Through strong coordination among member states, every possible effort is being made to ensure their security, including through the ongoing evacuation of staff and their families in need. The European Union will also pay special attention to those Afghans whose security might now be in jeopardy due to their principled engagement for our common values.

The EU calls for an immediate cessation of all violence, the restoration of security and civil order and the protection and respect for civilian life, dignity and property throughout Afghanistan. In this regard, the EU expresses deep concern about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses in areas across Afghanistan.

A comprehensive and inclusive political settlement and an enduring solution to the conflict should not be established by force, but through meaningful negotiations based on democracy, the rule of law and constitutional rule.

The EU recalls the importance of preserving and building on the political, economic and social achievements of the Afghan people since 2001, such as the rights of women, children and persons belonging to minorities, including access to education and health. Afghanistan as a signatory of the UN Charter must uphold and promote the values, rights and principles enshrined therein and honour its international obligations.

The EU aims to continue its support to the Afghan people and to democracy, good governance, human rights and social and economic development in the country, including efforts to prevent and manage the risks associated with an unstable Afghanistan in continued conflict, resulting in regional instability, drugs trafficking and uncontrolled irregular migration. In this context, EU engagement with its partners in Central Asia will be increasingly important. Combatting terrorism and preventing the use of Afghan territory by international terrorist groups remains at the core of the EU’s collective engagement in the country.

However, cooperation with any future Afghan government will be conditioned on a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, commitment to the fight against corruption and preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorist organisations.

To address the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the European Union will continue to provide needs-based assistance to the Afghan people and calls on all actors to allow safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to Afghan women, men and children in need, including to the large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The EU calls on the Taliban to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances. The EU will also support Afghanistan’s neighbours in coping with negative spill overs, which are to be expected from an increasing flow of refugees and migrants.

TALIBAN: UNICEF cautious optimism

Brussels 17.08.2021 The chief of field operations of the U.N. children’s agency expressed cautious optimism about working with Taliban officials following their seizure of power in Kabul on Sunday August 15, citing their early expressions of support for girls’ education.

The U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) is still delivering aid to most parts of the country and has held initial meetings with new Taliban representatives in recently seized cities like Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad.

“We have ongoing discussions, we are quite optimistic based on those discussions,” UNICEF’s chief of field operations in Afghanistan, Mustapha Ben Messaoud, told a U.N. briefing, adding that 11 out of 13 field offices were currently operational.

“We have not a single issue with the Taliban in those field offices.”

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 following strict Islamic law, forbidding women from working. Girls were not allowed to attend school and women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes.

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres warned on Monday of “chilling” curbs on human rights under the Taliban and mounting violations against women and girls and a U.N. official warned on Tuesday that thousands of Afghan rights workers were at risk. read more

UNICEF cited some Taliban local representatives as saying they were waiting for guidance from their leaders on the issue of educating girls, while others have said they want schools “up and running”.

One Taliban health director in Heratwhere UNICEF is the only U.N. agency present had also asked female employees to report to duty, Ben Messaoud said. UNICEF had not yet established a direct communication with the Taliban in the capital Kabul, he added.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the worries of many Afghans about the Taliban were “thoroughly understandable”.

“We call on the Taliban to demonstrate through their actions, not just their words, that the fears for the safety of so many people from so many different walks of life are addressed,” he said.

Unlike many countries which are scrambling to evacuate their diplomats from the country, the United Nations does not plan staff evacuations and is appealing for additional aid for its operations amid warnings of growing humanitarian needs.

Taliban announces “general amnesty”

Brussels 17.08.2021 The Taliban announced a “general amnesty” for all government officials on Tuesday, August 17, and urged them to return to work, trying to calm the mood in the capital city after Sunday chaos at Kabul airport as people tried to flee all directions. Women would also be allowed to play a role in government that corresponds with Sharia law, the group said.

The comments by Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, represent the first comments on governance in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of the country on Sunday, August 15.

“You should restart your routine life with full confidence,” Samangani said in announcing the amnesty. Some appeared to take the advice to heart, with white-capped traffic police reappearing on the streets for the first time in days.

Women would also be allowed to join the government in accordance with sharia law, he said.
“The Islamic Emirate doesn’t want women to be victims,” Samangani said, using the militants’ new name for Afghanistan. “They should be in the government structure according to Shariah law.”

“The structure of government is not fully clear, but based on experience, there should be a fully Islamic leadership and all sides should join,” he added.

Borrell convenes urgent Council

Brussels 16.08.2021 “Following latest developments in Afghanistan, and after intense contacts with partners in the past days and hours, I decided to convene an extraordinary VTC (video-tele- conference) of EU Foreign Ministers FAC (Foreign Ministers Council) tomorrow afternoon for a first assessment” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

The EU’s relationship with Afghanistan is guided by the 2017 EU Strategy for Afghanistan, aimed at strengthening the country’s institutions and economy. The 2017 Cooperation Agreement provides the basis for developing a mutually beneficial relationship in several areas such as: human rights, the rule of law, health, rural development, education, science and technology, the fight against terrorism, organised crime and narcotics. Most recently, EU27 have given further steer in the May 2020 Conclusions of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

On 26 April 2021, the European Union and Afghanistan signed a Joint Declaration on Migration Cooperation. The Joint Declaration will help to address irregular migration and promote joint efforts in the fight against migrant smuggling and human trafficking and will facilitate the sustainable reintegration of people returning to Afghanistan by focusing on their individual needs and the needs of host and return communities, including opportunities for both skills development and employment.

The Joint Declaration continues the positive EU-Afghan cooperation achieved under the previous Joint Way Forward on Migration Issues, which expired earlier in April.

In line with the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, which places particular emphasis on strengthening partnerships between the EU and countries of origin and transit, the Joint Declaration brings significant improvements based on lessons learned from the implementation of the Joint Way Forward, including: a preference for the voluntary return of Afghan nationals, better protection of children, clearer definition of certain vulnerable groups, and a clarification that all EU Member States may participate in joint return operations by non-scheduled flights.

Afghanistan: international community statement

Brussels 16.08.2021 The following is the text of a joint statement on Afghanistan initially released by the following: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta , Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Togo, Tonga, Uganda, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Yemen.

“Given the deteriorating security situation, we support, are working to secure, and call on all parties to respect and facilitate, the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country. Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility – and accountability – for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order.

Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained.

The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”

The Taliban are in control of Afghanistan and British and NATO forces will not be returning to fight the insurgents, Britain’s defence minister said on Monday, August 16, according to Reuters News Agency.

“I acknowledge that the Taliban are in control of the country,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News. “I mean, you don’t have to be a political scientist to spot that’s where we’re at.”

Asked if Britain and NATO would return to Afghanistan, Wallace said: “That’s not on the cards that we’re going to go back”

“Following latest developments in Afghanistan, and after intense contacts with partners in the past days and hours, I decided to convene an extraordinary VTC (video-tele- conference) of EU Foreign Ministers FAC (Foreign Ministers Council) tomorrow afternoon for a first assessment” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

Kabul: Mullah Ghani Baradar assumes control

Brussels 15.08.2021 Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Qatar’s Al-Jazeera English satellite news channel that they are “awaiting a peaceful transfer of Kabul.” He declined to offer specifics on any possible negotiations between his forces and the government.

Shaheen acknowledged that they were seeking an “unconditional surrender” by the central government.

Taliban negotiators headed to the presidential palace Sunday,August 15, to discuss the transfer, said an Afghan official who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. It remains unclear when that transfer would take place, however it is generally presumed that it it question of hours.

The negotiators on the government side included former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, an official said. Abdullah long has been a vocal critic of President Ashraf Ghani, who long refused giving up power to get a deal with the Taliban.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the closed-doors negotiations, described them as “tense.”

Acting Defense Minister Bismillah Khan sought to reassure the public in a video message.

“I assure you about the security of Kabul,” he said. Earlier, the Taliban also tried to calm residents of the capital. “No one’s life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk,” reads their statement.

However, a voice message circulating social media purportedly from a Taliban commander also warned “no one is allowed to enter into Kabul province.”

Despite the pledges, panic set in as many rushed to leave the country through the Kabul airport, the last route out of the country as the Taliban now hold every border crossing.

Rapid shuttle flights of Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters near the U.S. embassy began a few hours later after the insurgents seized the nearby city of Jalalabad. Diplomatic armored SUVs could be seen leaving the area around the post, the AP sources reported.

Kabul: EU condemns girl school attack

Brussels 08.05.2021 “The European Union mourns with those who have lost loved ones in the latest horrendous terrorist attack in Afghanistan. The targeting of civilians, including school children attending the Syed Al-Shahda school for girls in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood of Kabul, in a bomb attack is a blatant and despicable violation of international humanitarian law”, reads the statement by the EEAS spokesperson on the terrorist attack in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. Those responsible must be held to account, and those that support their actions should feel total shame. The attack is an attack not only on the Afghan population, but on all those worldwide that respect the equal rights of women and girls, and on all those that value education and the right of children to forge their futures”.

“The European Union has consistently called for an immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan, in which a lasting peace can be achieved through an inclusive, negotiated political settlement among Afghans. Our priority remains to support a prosperous, stable and secure Afghanistan, where the human rights of all – including women, children and minorities – are protected and respected”.

An explosion outside a girls’ school in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday left at least 30 dead and 52 injured, including students, as Ramadan draws to a close and foreign forces accelerate their withdrawal, leaving behind a country torn apart by 20 years of conflict.

Kabul explosion killed imam

Kabul bomb explosion inside a mosque killed two people, including the imam, and wounding two others an official of Afghanistan government said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State (Daesh) has been active in Kabul in recent weeks and has in the past carried out attacks inside mosques in Afghanistan.

Taliban insurgents insist they have never carried out an attack inside of a mosque.

Mullah Mohammad Ayaz Niazi was one of the two people killed in June 2 attack, Arian said. He was seriously wounded in the explosion and died later at a hospital.

Niazi was a well known cleric who was active as Friday prayer leader at the mosque. Next to his religious convictions he carried out duties as Kabul University professor in the Islamic Law department.

Tariq Arian, spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, said the bomb targeted the Wazir Akber Khan Mosque at around 7:25 p.m., when worshippers had gathered for evening prayers. The mosque is located in a high-security diplomatic area near the offices of several international organizations and embassies.

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, tweeted that the government strongly condemned the attack, saying it “reveals the brutality and inhumanity of those who purposefully perpetrate violence against our Ulema and innocent people.”

Attacks against worshippers have increased in Afghanistan: Last month, an unknown number of attackers stormed a mosque in northern Parwan province, killing 11 and wounding several others.

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