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World What China, Iran, Pakistan, Other Afghanistan Neighbors Have to Say About New Taliban Government

02:32  09 september  2021
02:32  09 september  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

California school district says roughly 27 students stuck in Afghanistan after evacuation ends

  California school district says roughly 27 students stuck in Afghanistan after evacuation ends Approximately 27 students from the San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento, California are stuck in Afghanistan.The San Juan Unified School District said the students come from 19 families, though the number of students left in Afghanistan continues to fluctuate as more information comes in.

Anti- Taliban forces in Afghanistan have asked the international community not to recognise the new government announced by the Islamists on Tuesday. The all-male cabinet consisting entirely of Taliban leaders or their associates is "illegal", they said . The US has expressed concern that the interim government includes figures linked "Why should we let others pick our cabinet when other countries pick their own? "was one retort. As for women, there was never a chance they would be given a ministerial role; the ministry of women's affairs seems to have been, for now, abolished altogether.

image captionThe Taliban 's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced the new government in a press conference on Tuesday. The phrases have tripped off the tongues of Taliban for quite some time. Mullah Akhund suddenly emerged at the top, fixing in place rival political and military heavyweights including Mullah Baradar whom many predicted would take a leading role, instead of a deputy position. Taliban leaders are said to have pushed back against calls to include political leaders from the past, especially those tainted by corruption, arguing they've already had their time at the top.

While the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan and its recent establishment of a new Islamic Emirate government have grabbed the world's attention, nowhere have these developments had more impact than among the country's immediate neighbors.

graphical user interface: The foreign ministers of Pakistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan hold the first Ministerial Meeting on the Afghan Issue of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan on September 8. © Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs The foreign ministers of Pakistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan hold the first Ministerial Meeting on the Afghan Issue of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan on September 8.

All six nations are grappling with the fallout.

On Wednesday, the most senior working diplomats of China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan took part in their first-ever virtual summit to discuss a regionwide approach to their common neighbor. The meeting came days after their special representatives met via virtual link while marking an intensified focus on the situation in Afghanistan.

Fact check: Biden didn't 'gift' weapons to Taliban, hasn't proposed banning pistols

  Fact check: Biden didn't 'gift' weapons to Taliban, hasn't proposed banning pistols A widespread narrative on social media misleads on the value of military equipment left behind in Afghanistan."The current regime that just gifted the Taliban with $80+ billion worth of military grade weapons wants your 9mm pistols," reads an Aug. 17 text post on Facebook. "THINK ABOUT IT.

Taliban leaders filled all the top posts in the new government , with no place for outsiders or any women. China viewed the establishment of a new government in Afghanistan as a necessary step towards the country's reconstruction, a foreign ministry spokesperson said in Beijing. "We hope the new Afghanistan authorities will listen broadly to people of all races and factions, so as to meet the aspirations of its own peoples and the expectations of the international community," Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing.

China respects Afghanistan ’s ‘sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity’ after formation of Taliban govt – spokesman. The spokesperson said Beijing supports the Afghan people to “independently choose a development path in line with their own national conditions” without interference in the country’s internal affairs. Wang also added that the formation of an interim government was necessary to restore domestic order and post-war reconstruction after over three weeks of “anarchy” following the Taliban ’s takeover that saw the then-President Ashraf Ghani flee the

"Afghanistan today stands at a crossroads in history," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying by his ministry. "The United States and its allies hurriedly withdrew, and the power politics, military intervention and so-called 'democratic transformation' promoted by the United States and the West ended in failure."

"However," he added, "Afghanistan is still facing severe challenges, such as humanitarian issues, people's livelihoods and the COVID-19 pandemic. Some international forces may also use political, economic and financial means to create new troubles for Afghanistan."

Reacting to the Taliban's announcement Tuesday of a new interim government made up of senior group officials, Wang said the "interim" nature of the administration "shows that there are still many uncertainties in Afghanistan's future."

At least three babies have been born during US evacuation efforts from Afghanistan

  At least three babies have been born during US evacuation efforts from Afghanistan Three babies have been born amid evacuation efforts from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country, U.S. officials confirmed.Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Tuesday one of the babies was born on a C-17 military aircraft, and the other two were born in a hospital at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Iran on Wednesday criticized the formation of the Taliban government in Afghanistan , saying it ignored the need for an inclusive government . Taliban on Tuesday named a 33-member caretaker cabinet led by the group's longtime leaders, the majority of them belong to the Pashtun ethnic group and Tehran had earlier called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan , with the participation of all political and ethnic groups in the country. Shamkhani also expressed concern over "foreign interference” and the "use of military means instead of dialogue" in addressing the demands

border and in Afghans ' rights being ensured under the new authorities, according to MP Seyyed Nizamuddin Mousavi.As for Afghanistan , about 90% of the predominantly Muslim population there, including Taliban militants, practice Sunni Islam, while around 10% of Afghan residents are Shias.The Quds commander's "inclusive government " The Biden administration, in turn, signalled a readiness to revive the Iran deal, with Tehran urging Washington to scrap all its sanctions against Iran as the main condition.*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.

In the meantime, he called on the Taliban "to unite all ethnic groups and factions, build a broad and inclusive political structure, pursue a moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policy, draw a clear line with terrorist forces, and establish and develop friendly relations with countries, especially neighboring countries."

And while he felt that Washington and its allies had a responsibility to support stability in Afghanistan after their two-decade war effort there, Wang felt the neighboring countries "should play a unique role in addressing their own legitimate concerns and providing a good external environment for Afghanistan's stability and reconstruction."

He pointed out six areas of potential coordination, including anti-COVID-19 assistance, maintaining trade via land corridors, management of refugee flow of immigration, humanitarian assistance, counterterrorism and counter-narcotics operations. China has especially emphasized the need to crack down on any militant or separatist activities, particularly those involving the Uighur organization known as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, or Turkistan Islamic Party.

Latest on Afghanistan: Biden says US 'on a pace' for Aug. 31 pullout; Taliban block Afghans from airport

  Latest on Afghanistan: Biden says US 'on a pace' for Aug. 31 pullout; Taliban block Afghans from airport Biden added the deadline depends on Taliban cooperation, and added that he has asked the Depts. of State and Defense to prepare contingency plans.His remarks from the White House came the same day the Taliban said it would stop Afghans from trying to go to the Kabul airport and told women to stay home to stay for a time to stay safe, fueling worries about how the Taliban will treat women.

Blinken said the new Afghan government “certainly does not meet the test of inclusivity and it includes people who have very challenging track records.” “The Taliban seek international legitimacy and support,” Blinken told reporters. “Any legitimacy, any support will have to be earned, and we heard that across the board, from everyone participating in today's session.” U.S. engagement with the Taliban and a new government “will be for purposes of advancing the national interest” and those of partners, and “in ways that are fully consistent with our laws,” he added.

The former Afghan women’s minister Habiba Sarābi expressed surprise that the west had initially held out hope regarding the new government , saying it was obvious from the talks in Doha that the Taliban had not changed. Blinken said there was no sign of the Taliban reneging on their commitment to allow foreign nationals with travel documents to leave. Asked on Tuesday if he was worried about China funding the Taliban , the US president, Joe Biden, said : “ China has a real problem with the Taliban . So I’m sure it will try to reach an agreement with the Taliban . The same goes for Pakistan , for Russia.

Wang hailed the "very timely and necessary" virtual summit, saying that it "will express the common voice and clear political signals of Afghanistan's neighboring countries."

He made particular note of his nation's approval of the process.

"China supports the continuation of this unique mechanism, through this platform to share policy ideas, coordinate each other's positions, and jointly respond to challenges," Wang said.

Iran also sought a collective strategy toward Afghanistan among the involved countries. As did China, it placed the principal blame on the U.S. for the situation there.

Speaking with the official Islamic Republic News Agency on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian took the opportunity to express "Iran's principled positions in this meeting, the most important of which was emphasizing that the main cause and responsibility of the current situation in Afghanistan lies with the U.S. occupation and more than two decades of illegitimate presence in this country."

The Latest: Pakistan hosts meeting of Afghanistan neighbors

  The Latest: Pakistan hosts meeting of Afghanistan neighbors ISLAMABAD — Pakistan is hosting a virtual meeting of foreign ministers from countries neighboring Afghanistan to discuss the situation there. A foreign ministry statement said Wednesday’s meeting will be attended by China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will preside over the meeting, which aims “to work together for the shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which is essential to forge strong economic links.

Citing Amir-Abdollahian, Khatibzadeh said that "the use of military means and foreign intervention is a repetition of a mistake that has occurred several times in the contemporary history of Afghanistan, and everyone must adhere to dialogue as a fundamental principle, and neighboring countries must help prevent foreign intervention."

The new Iranian foreign minister, who was appointed last month by recently inaugurated President Ebrahim Raisi, was also said to have rallied those at the meeting to support Afghanistan in its efforts to "achieve a lasting peace." He said that to do so would require forming "an inclusive government that reflects the ethnic and demographic composition of Afghanistan."

Khatibzadeh also cited Amir-Abdollahian as saying humanitarian assistance would be key, and urging the new Taliban leadership to "distance itself from terrorism and not allow the scourge to re-emerge in the country."

map: A map shows Afghanistan, neighbored by China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Central Intelligence Agency © Central Intelligence Agency A map shows Afghanistan, neighbored by China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Central Intelligence Agency

Amir-Abdollahian later tweeted that he "Emphasized on security, stability & development by formation of an inclusive gov reflecting diversity & will of Afghan ppl; dialogue instead of violence; rejection of foreign intervention."

As world marks 9/11, Taliban flag raised over seat of power

  As world marks 9/11, Taliban flag raised over seat of power KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban raised their iconic white flag over the Afghan presidential palace Saturday, a spokesman said, as the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The banner, emblazoned with a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, in a low-key ceremony, said Ahmadullah Muttaqi, multimedia branch chief of the Taliban’s cultural commission. © Provided by Associated Press A man walks down the stairs at dusk in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

"We support intra-Afghan talks & agreements," he added.

Pakistan chaired Wednesday's gathering. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted four "key principles and priorities" during his remarks, according to his ministry.

He said that Afghanistan's six neighbors must "affirm our full support and solidarity with the Afghan people"; "reaffirm our full commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan"; "stress that Afghan issues have Afghan solutions"; and "make clear that Afghan soil should not be allowed to be used against any country."

He also emphasized the need to focus on the economic revitalization of a nation that has suffered from decades of conflict and unrest.

"At the center of our endeavors must remain well-being of Afghan people, who have suffered enormously due to conflict for over 40 years," Qureshi tweeted after the ministerial. "In the wake of recent developments, the key priorities are to prevent a humanitarian crisis & to take steps to prevent economic meltdown."

Pakistan is the only country among Afghanistan's neighbors to have supported the Taliban, and was one of three nations along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to have recognized the Islamic Emirate when it was previously established a quarter of a century ago.

That government collapsed after a U.S.-led intervention weeks after 9/11, which was orchestrated by Al-Qaeda, then headquartered in Taliban-led Afghanistan.

And while the Taliban has vowed not to allow transnational militant groups to use Afghanistan to attack other nations, the group's return to power has yet to receive any international recognition.

What's Next for Afghanistan? Peace Talks in Qatar, Resistance in the Valley

  What's Next for Afghanistan? Peace Talks in Qatar, Resistance in the Valley A Qatar official told Newsweek that Doha would be "laying the groundwork for a comprehensive political settlement," while two Afghan leaders prepare to rally resistance against the Taliban.At the same time, two staunchly anti-Taliban Afghan leaders have joined forces in a remote northern valley in hopes of continuing the conflict against the group now effectively running a country teetering on the edge between war and peace.

Among the countries most opposed to the new Taliban rule is Tajikistan, which has especially raised the alarm of ethnic minority rights. Tajiks make up the second-largest ethnic group in Afghanistan after Pashtuns, of which the Taliban largely consists, and ahead of Hazara, a largely Shiite Muslim community, and Uzbeks.

At Wednesday's talk, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin "noted that an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic groups and national minorities should work in Afghanistan to urgently resolve the political problems and security of the country," according to his ministry.

"He added that we do not recognize any government formed without a referendum and representatives of all ethnic groups," the ministry said.

For fellow Central Asian state Turkmenistan, Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Hajiyev stood in for Rashid Meredov amid speculation that the top diplomat has fallen ill. Turkmenistan is one of only five countries in the world, along with Nauru, North Korea, Tonga and Tuvalu, to have not reported a single case of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Afghan and Pakistani nationals walk through a security barrier to cross the border as a national flag of Pakistan and a Taliban flag is masted in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 24, following the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. Afghanistan's neighbors, especially Iran and Pakistan, have raised the alarm on the outflow of refugees due to turmoil in the country. AFP/Getty Images © AFP/Getty Images Afghan and Pakistani nationals walk through a security barrier to cross the border as a national flag of Pakistan and a Taliban flag is masted in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 24, following the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. Afghanistan's neighbors, especially Iran and Pakistan, have raised the alarm on the outflow of refugees due to turmoil in the country. AFP/Getty Images

Hajiyev said his country, known for its strict neutrality in international affairs, found the gathering useful to establishing a mutual strategy for supporting Afghanistan's stability.

"The current meeting is regarded as an opportunity to work out a consolidated regional approach to peace and security in Afghanistan and the further comprehensive development of this country," Hajiyev was said to have emphasized during his remarks, according to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry.

Once inmates, Taliban now in charge in a Kabul prison

  Once inmates, Taliban now in charge in a Kabul prison KABUL (AP) — Once, Kabul’s main prison was crowded with thousands of Taliban captured and arrested by the government. On Monday, a Taliban commander strolled through its empty halls and cell blocks, showing his friends where he had once been imprisoned. It was a sign of the sudden and startling new order in Afghanistan after the militant group swept into the capital nearly a month ago and threw out the crumbling, U.S.-backed government it had fought for 20 years. The Taliban now run Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, a sprawling complex on Kabul’s eastern outskirts.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry, represented at Wednesday's talks by Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, shared in its own readout regarding what it said was the consensus reached among the six parties.

"The participants in the meeting, expressing support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan," the ministry said, "as well as their commitment to ensuring peace, security, national reconciliation, the principles of non-interference and sustainable development of Afghanistan, stressed that the future of the country should be determined by its people."

"It was noted that a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan meets the interests of the entire multinational Afghan people and the world community," it added. "The importance of sustainable international engagement with Afghanistan, in particular supporting its humanitarian development needs, was pointed out."

Finally, the Uzbek side said all six nations agreed to continue to work together to tackle the problem of Afghanistan and other regional issues.

"The need for joint work to solve common problems and strive to further strengthen cooperation and good-neighborly relations between neighboring states in the name of promoting peace, security, stability, regional interconnection and economic integration was emphasized," the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said.

a person standing in front of a curtain: Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference announcing the reestablishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Kabul on September 7. The new government remains unrecognized by the international community, but Afghanistan's neighbors have set out to coordinate a common approach on engaging with their fellow neighbor and its new rulers. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images © AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid addresses a press conference announcing the reestablishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Kabul on September 7. The new government remains unrecognized by the international community, but Afghanistan's neighbors have set out to coordinate a common approach on engaging with their fellow neighbor and its new rulers. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

Afghanistan's unrest has elevated regional security issues to the forefront of the agenda among an array of nearby countries, including major powers China and Russia.

A buffer zone of Central Asian nations separates Afghanistan from Russia, which has a Soviet-era history of waging war in Afghanistan and is now concerned about the potential fallout of contemporary turmoil next door. Moscow has set out to shore up its commitments to these countries, especially Collective Security Treaty Organization members Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Later this month Tajikistan will host a highly anticipated heads of state meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as members. Iran, an observer state, is set to become a full-time member as well.

But as the East coalesces, the West has also sought a stake in Afghanistan's outcomes, and the United States is looking to follow up the end of its 20-year military mission with a robust diplomatic approach.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. led a ministerial of its own on Afghanistan involving diplomats from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom as well as the representatives of the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking from Germany, outlined three core objectives for engagement on Afghanistan, including holding the Taliban to its commitment to allow the safe passage of foreigners and locals who seek to leave the country, its commitment to combat militant groups and its responsibility to allow the flow of aid among the population.

Blinken stated that "all three of these core objectives will require engagement with the Taliban," which he said had an opportunity to establish formal with the international community.

"The Taliban can earn that legitimacy gradually, over time," Blinken said, "through a sustained pattern of action that demonstrates a genuine commitment to core expectations that are enshrined in the Security Council resolution adopted on August 30th, which include freedom of travel, not allowing Afghanistan to harbor terrorists, humanitarian access, respecting the basic rights of the Afghan people — particularly women and minorities — not carrying out reprisals, and forming an inclusive government that can meet the needs and reflect the aspirations of the Afghan people."

"Needless to say, the names in the caretaker government do not inspire confidence in that last regard," he added. "We'll have to see what emerges in a more permanent government."

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Once inmates, Taliban now in charge in a Kabul prison .
KABUL (AP) — Once, Kabul’s main prison was crowded with thousands of Taliban captured and arrested by the government. On Monday, a Taliban commander strolled through its empty halls and cell blocks, showing his friends where he had once been imprisoned. It was a sign of the sudden and startling new order in Afghanistan after the militant group swept into the capital nearly a month ago and threw out the crumbling, U.S.-backed government it had fought for 20 years. The Taliban now run Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, a sprawling complex on Kabul’s eastern outskirts.

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