Connect with us

ASIA

Russia eyes to support Taliban in politics and economic affairs

Published

on

Russia has remained one of the most important supporters of the Taliban, and Moscow has repeatedly expressed its unflinching support to improve the political landscape of Afghanistan in the global arena.

The Taliban took power in August 2021 following the withdrawal of US troops and the disintegration of the Afghan army, but since then no country has recognized them. The majority of the western countries, inducing US imposed conditions to reopen schools for girls and let women go to the workplaces as the main element to recognize their government.

However, the Taliban seems reluctant to do so as they are yet to reopen schools’ girls. Meanwhile, the regional countries including China and Iran called for the formation of an inclusive government in order to recognize the Taliban government.

Anyways, Russia is currently considering taking the Taliban off its list of terrorist organizations, according to TACC.

There is no final decision yet to be taken on this, but it is widely held by the officials of Taliban and Russian to further explore on the matter during the International Economic Forum to be held in Kazan, Russia in May. The Taliban are officially invited. There is no major obstacle on the way of having a very cordial tie between the Kremlin and Kabul due to the political and economic crisis in Afghanistan and Western sanctions on Russia due to the Ukraine war, likely improving the chance that both countries gain something from a stronger relationship.

In 2003 Russia recognized Taliban as a terrorist movement

In 1999, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution in which the Taliban was found responsible for the “provision of sanctuary and training for international terrorists.”

In 2003, the Russian supreme court recognized the Taliban as a terrorist outlet, saying the Taliban has maintained links with illegal armed forces in Chechnya and tried to seize power in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

However, the Kremlin is not taking the Taliban as the past and it was Russia that hosted the Taliban for the first time before the official start of intro-Afghan peace talks in Doha of Qatar in 2018. The Taliban officials were also happy to visit Moscow and they have given several interviews to the Russian media outlets and to other media.

Russian Presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov said that the Russian Foreign and Justice Ministries have called on President Vladimir Putin to remove the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from Moscow’s terrorist list.

In 2024, Russia seeks to remove Taliban from Moscow’s terrorist list  

“This must be done. Without this, it will be premature to talk about recognition. Therefore, work on this issue continues. All considerations have been reported to the top leadership of Russia. We are waiting for a decision.”

Meanwhile, Kabulov confirmed that the Taliban will participate in the economic forum and said Taliban’s labor minister and the head of Chamber of Commerce and Industry will take part in the forum.

“I expect that they and the accompanying Afghan business people will agree with Russian and other foreign partners on establishing cooperation,” Kabulov said.

“As for the Russian side, I have already mentioned that such cooperation is already in place, but its potential has not been exhausted and wider possibilities exist,” he added.

“I expect that the Afghan delegation will make the most of this chance to strengthen and expand cooperation both with Russian business and with other friendly countries,” he said.

The call to remove Taliban name from list comes when Pakistani authorities called on the Taliban government to shun supporting and harboring Pakistani Taliban TTP. They also informed about the arrest of 11 Islamist militants who were involved in the suicide bombing that killed Chinese engineers in March.

Pakistan blames Taliban for supporting terrorist group

The attack involving suicide bombing occurred in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province forced Power China and the China Gezhouba Company to halt work on two dam projects. Five Chinese engineers and a Pakistani driver were killed in the incident.

In a press conference, Pakistan’s counter-terrorism chief Rai Tahir along with Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi said that the detained 11 militants belong to the local Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Tahir said that the arrest of the suspects was made possible by the suicide bombers use of a mobile to communicate with his local handlers.

But Tahir claimed that the investigation and evidence revealed that the militants were following orders from TTP officials in Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials have earlier also claimed that the attack was plotted in Afghanistan and that the suicide bomber was also an Afghan national.

However, the Taliban officially denied the claim and said that they will not allow the Afghan soil to be used against any other country. Taliban also said that they are not harboring TTP militants and called on Pakistan to improve its security and stop blaming its neighbor. Meanwhile, Minister Naqvi claimed that they have forensic evidence to prove that the TTP militants who were operating from Afghanistan are involved in the attack.

ASIA

Taliban to Trump: There is no room for foreign troops in Afghanistan

Published

on

Afghanistan is no longer an occupied country and there is no room for US, or any other foreign troops inside Afghanistan, said a Taliban official in a reaction to Donald Trump’s statement who said that he would have kept Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

Trump, former US President and the candidate of 2024 presidential elections, had recently said that he would have kept Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan if he had remained the president.

Speaking at his first election campaign rally, Trump said that Bagram Airfield is one of the biggest airfields in the world, on which billions of dollars have been invested and claimed that the Chinese are now controlling this airfield.

“I was getting out. After 21 years you get the hell out, but I would have kept Bagram. It’s one hour away from where China makes its nuclear weapons. We gave it to them so stupidly,” Trump said.

Commenting on the deadly blast during the evacuation process in Kabul Airport in which 13 US troops and dozens of Afghan civilians were killed, Trump said that the US forces should have been withdrawn from Bagram Airfield, not Kabul airport where “riots” were taking place.

“If I was President, the Afghan disaster would have never happened. Ukraine would have never happened and the October 7th attack on Israel would have never happened,” he said.

No Chinese troops in Afghanistan and the Bagram Airfield is under control of Taliban

There are no Chinese troops in Afghanistan and the Bagram Airfield is under the control of the Afghan government, said a Taliban official.

“We don’t accept the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. We fought against occupation and now it is very irrational that we should give any base for foreign troops including Chinese. Trump is using Chinese cards to get votes from the people,” the official told Harici on condition of anonymity.

A view of Bagram Airfield during the presence of US force in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujhaid rejected Trump’s statements about selling US military equipment in Afghanistan.

“Any equipment that was and is in Afghanistan is all stored and stationed and is the property of Afghanistan. Additionally, it is protected and safeguarded for the preservation of our homeland, our values, and the defense of our compatriots and our soil. Not a single weapon will be wasted, sold, or transferred,” Mujahid told a local news agency.

Trump had recently said that after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, the country has become the largest seller of leftover American weaponry in the world.

“You know that right now, Afghanistan is one of the largest sellers of weapons in the world. They are selling the brand new beautiful weapons that we gave them,” Trump said in one of his rallies.

Taliban says they don’t tolerate the presence of foreign troops who committed war crimes in Afghanistan

A Taliban official at the ministry of interior said that Taliban leadership will not tolerate the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. “In the past 20 years, I mean during the occupation, the foreign troops have committed dozens of war crimes and killed tens of thousands of people in a brutal and unlawful way. Even children were not spared,” the official said, who wished anonymity.

He said that there are several cases of war crimes committed by US, UK, and Australian forces and there is no justice in those recorded cases.

The Australian government had accepted that its troops had committed war crimes during their military mission in Afghanistan and promised to compensate the families of innocent Afghans.

A spokesperson for the defense minister of Australia said that the “establishment of the Afghanistan Inquiry compensation scheme represents a significant step forward in closing out these recommendations.”

The compensation by the Australian government came after the Taliban called on countries that committed war crimes in Afghanistan to compensate the victims’ families.

Australian judge Paul Bretreton was the first who in 2020 proposed compensation for victims’ families and he exposed war crimes committed by Australian forces between 2005 and 2016 that resulted in the deaths of 39 Afghans.

Continue Reading

ASIA

China’s Third Plenum focused on various five-year reform targets

Published

on

The Chinese Communist Party concluded its critical twice-a-decade policy meeting on Thursday with a statement that sought to strike a delicate balance between growth and security in the face of growing uncertainties.

The solemnly worded statement listed a wide range of reform goals to be completed in the next five years, when the People’s Republic celebrates its 80th anniversary.

The full text of the meeting will be published next week, but in this form it gives an idea of the CPC Central Committee’s thinking and policy direction for the coming years.

The communique was issued at the end of a four-day session known as the Third Plenum, an important event for party leaders to set their long-term strategy.

This plenum, in President Xi Jinping’s third term, reflected the complex and challenging environment facing China at home and abroad, with a focus on strategies to meet these challenges in the new term.

The country’s economic growth has slowed significantly and the collapse of the financial and property markets has severely shaken public confidence.

Externally, China’s rivalry with the United States continues to intensify and relations with major trading partners such as Europe and Japan continue to fray.

On the other hand, the communiqué emphasised the completion of economic restructuring rather than drastic and abrupt changes. Nevertheless, the statement recognised the current challenges.

In addition to long-term goals, the statement stressed that China should “make unremitting efforts to achieve this year’s growth targets”.

Beijing had previously set a growth target of ‘around 5 per cent’ for 2024, but weaker-than-expected data in the first half of the year led investment banks such as Goldman Sachs to question this target.

The statement urged Party members to ‘faithfully follow the economic decisions of the Party leadership, take active measures to stimulate domestic consumption, and create new momentum to boost exports and imports’.

Lian Ping, director general of the China Chief Economist Forum, said the reference to this year’s growth targets was deliberately included in the statement as a call for recovery.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Lian said: ‘I believe this part will not be included in the full statement to be released later.

The leadership wants to use this opportunity to address the disappointing performance in the second quarter [of this year],’ Lian told the South China Morning Post.

On the other hand, most of the statement focused on the long term.

The committee pledged that China would continue to deepen reforms in all areas, including the economy, rural land, taxation, environmental protection, national security, anti-corruption and cultural development.

The word ‘reform’ appeared 53 times in the statement. Experts say the emphasis is also related to the goal of improving governance and increasing efficiency.

Mr Lian said he was pleased to see that the declaration addressed some long overdue issues such as tax reform.

“And it is very important that it sets a clear deadline for the completion of all these reforms by 2029. Compared to previous third plenaries, this is a refreshing development,” he said: “In the past, some reform measures were mentioned and then quietly shelved when they could not be implemented. This time there seems to be more determination to implement them.

China’s efforts to accelerate the development of science and technology are at the heart of the reforms, and this area is seen as critical to the country’s economic transformation.

It also called for the country to deepen supply-side reform, better integrate the digital economy into the real economy, upgrade modern infrastructure and build flexibility in the industrial supply chain.

To achieve these goals, the development of human capital and skills was emphasised: “We must fully and faithfully implement the strategy of rejuvenating the nation and strengthening our talent pools through science and education. Education and innovation must go hand in hand”.

Emphasis on maintaining market order

On the economic front, Beijing promised to “better play the role of the market”, but the oft-used phrase that the market is the decisive force in the economy was not included this time. Instead, the communique stressed the need to maintain market order and correct market failures, reflecting Beijing’s concerns about risks in its financial system.

It pledged ‘unwavering support and guidance’ for the development of the ‘non-state sector’ and said the government should ensure that ‘all forms of ownership’ in the economy can compete on a ‘level playing field’ in a fair and lawful manner, referring to China’s beleaguered private sector.

The need to control risk comes at a time when China faces “complex and rapidly changing internal and external challenges”.

“We must take the right measures to prevent and resolve risks in critical areas such as the property sector and domestic debt. We must ensure that financial institutions strictly comply with safety regulations,” it said.

“The government should improve monitoring and prevention of natural disasters, especially floods. We need to establish a social safety net to effectively safeguard social stability”.

Preventing ideological risks

The report also stated that China should ‘strengthen public opinion management and prevent and neutralise ideological risks’.

It pledged to continue the fight against corruption, especially in the military. The plenum received and approved reports on the corruption cases of former Defence Minister Li Shangfu and two other generals.

It was stated that the Party should exercise absolute leadership over the army and carry out the necessary reforms to achieve the goals of the 100th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army.

Xie Maosong, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ China Institute of Innovation and Development Strategy, described the statement as ‘resolute but patient’.

Xi has said many times that ‘the easy part of reform is over’ and that we are now in ‘uncharted waters’.

Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Capital, said the statement contained no surprises for financial markets.

Rather than a concrete goal, ‘modernising China’ is an expectation to successfully address the economic, social, environmental and geopolitical challenges that China will face in the coming years,” Hu said in a research note, but indicated it would not have an impact on the market.

Continue Reading

ASIA

From climate change to “foreign conspiracy”; Recent floods left 60 dead in Afghanistan

Published

on

The devastating floods in the past few days have taken the lives of many people and affected huge financial losses in a number of provinces across Afghanistan.

The destruction of public roads, demolishing of agricultural crops and the loss of thousands of citizens of the country are other consequences of the storm and heavy rains in the provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar, Panjshir, Kapisa and Maidan Wardak.

The Taliban have confirmed that 47 people were killed and more than 350 others were injured as a result of floods and severe storms in Nangarhar province. Around 10 people were also killed in Kapisa and Kunar provinces.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that a large number of displaced people and migrants were living in the flooded areas of Nangarhar.

However, the Washington Post has reported that Afghanistan is dealing with climate change on its own, while the Taliban see natural disasters as the work of God or foreign conspiracies.

Afghanistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

It has been reported that Afghanistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change with very little global attention and local capacity to deal with it.

Indeed, the recent storm with heavy rains were unprecedented in the history of Afghanistan.This disaster is the latest in a series of extreme weather events that have plagued the country in recent years, including severe droughts, extreme temperatures, and flash floods.

Unfortunately, these recurring catastrophes underscore the harsh reality of climate change, with Afghanistan standing on the front line, bearing the brunt of its impacts.

Head of natural disaster management authority, Saifullah Khalid said that over 400 houses, 60 electricity poles, and many agricultural lands were destroyed in the recent storms and heavy rains.

Strong winds, storms and heavy rains have also killed 11 members of a family in Sarkhrood district of Nangarhar province. The incident took place on Thursday. The relatives of this family said they were  gathered to celebrate the birth of a baby when suddenly a storm hit the district and as a result 11 people died.

The victims have described the storm and heavy rain in this province as unprecedented and asked the government to help them as they lost almost everything.

The areas affected by the floods hosted a large number of displaced people and returnees.

On the other hand, the pictures and videos circulating in the media show some areas of Panjshir province which were badly hit with storms and heavy rains that resulted in destruction of people’s gardens and agricultural lands. Roads were also damaged causing the blockage of traffic.

On the other hand, Taliban local officials in Kapisa said that three people lost their lives to the floods and many other villagers received financial losses.

The flood in Maidan Wardak province has also destroyed hundreds of acres of agricultural land and dozens of gardens and caused huge financial losses to the residents of the province.

At the same time, the UNHCR said that the areas affected by the recent floods in Nangarhar hosted a large number of displaced people and returnees. This organization said that their staff reached the area and are currently helping the affected families.

However, Najibullah Sadid, an environmental expert has posted a satellite image and said that it shows the extent of flooding in Sarkhrood and Sultanpur districts which was severe.

As predicted, a strong monsoon prevails in the Indian subcontinent this year, and due to its effect, it is possible that the region and eastern Afghanistan will witness destructive floods, according to Najiubllah.

Long drought in Afghanistan has hardened the soil so that flash floods are more severe and its damage is much greater.

The new climatic conditions require a continuous and effective struggle, otherwise the living conditions of the people will become more difficult day by day.

Meanwhile, the United Nations World Food Program said that Afghanistan is the sixth most vulnerable country due to climate change and natural events.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has reported that Afghanistan is dealing with climate change alone. According to the report, Afghanistan due to its policy to stop girls from schools and other education facilities is deprived of foreign financial aid for necessary measures such as adapting to climate change.

It also reported that the Taliban are arguing that natural disasters in Afghanistan are “the work of God or a foreign conspiracy”. The report states that Afghanistan is currently dealing with the effects of global warming alone, and the Taliban blame the floods and poor government management on foreigners.

In his speech at the conference in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, which was held on the occasion of climate change, Taliban Deputy Minister of Higher Education Lutfullah Khairkhah said: “Just as they attacked our country, they also attacked our climate. We must defend our climate, our water and our soil in the same way as we defend ourselves against invasion.”

UN Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Kanni Wignaraja, said that the long drought in Afghanistan has hardened the soil so that flash floods are more severe and its damage is much greater.

Continue Reading

MOST READ

Turkey