KABUL (Pajhwok): Thirty-four people were killed and wounded across the country last week, when the US said it was working on unblocking Afghanistan’s reserves.
On Wednesday and Thursday, US and Afghan delegations held comprehensive talks in the capital of Qatar. However, tangible steps to release the frozen assets are yet to be taken.
Last week’s major events
- A grand ulema gathering held in Kabul
- Hekmatyar questions absence of women, political parties
- Women, others to attend future meetings: Mujahid
- Work on strategy to unfreez Afghanistan’s assets underway
- Muttaqi discusses unfreezing of reserves with US special representative
- Russia trying to forge strong ties with acting Afghan government: Putin
- Some countries are expected to reopen embassies in Kabul: FM
- World should protect human rights in Afghanistan: UNHRC
- Human rights better protected in Afghanistan today: Mujahid
Twenty-six people were killed and eight others injured in Afghanistan last week. Five Daesh militants were killed during a raid by security forces on a house in eastern Nangarhar province.
Security forces also conducted an operation in Ghor province, where five miltiatnts, including their commander, were killed and one injured.
Gunfire and a grenade blast were heard on June 30 in limits of fifth police district and close to the Loya Jirga Tent, where a grand ulema gathering was underway. Some sources claimed two attackers were killed, but another official said: “Five Taliban and four Daesh insurgents were killed. An electrican was also killed in the attack.” Government sources, however, did not comment on casualties in the incident.
One child was killed and four others were injured in explosive remnant of war (ERW) blasts in Uruzgan and Maidan Wardak provicnes.
Two people were injured in a bomb attack on he Badakhshan Enviormental Protection Authroity head. The body of a child was recovered in Panjsher province while two corpses were fished out of a river in Takhar.
Unknown gunmen shot dead a man in Kandahar province while a child was injured in Iranian security forces’ firing.
According to Pajhwok weekly reports, 23 people were killed and 34 others injured in the previous week in Afghanistan.
Before the fall of the previous government in August 2021, hundreds of people were killed and injured every week in Afghanistan.
Around 3,500 uelma from all over the country gathered in the Loya Jirga tent in Kabul. The government said the meeting of religious scholars discussed national unity, economic and social issues.
Officials told the participants to consult on and discuss issues of nationalimportance candidly besides supporting the current system. They assured the scholars that their suggestions would be considered obkectively.
Islamic Emirate’s Supreme Leader Mawlavi Habatullah Akhundzada, addressing the meeting, stressed the need for unity, justice, security, an effective Islamic order, a sustainable and independent system and resprect for ulema. He said ethnic and tribal bias was unacceptable.
“The Islamic Emirate has forgiven former tyrants, who will not be held accountable. But the individuals harassing or punishing them for their past criems would be brought to justice. Pardon, however, does not mean they will be made part of the government,” he explained.
Absence of women, political parties
Some civil society members, men and women schoarls in the capital termed the ulema gathering a positive step. They demanded women and civil society and women representatives should be allowed to attend the gathering.
Some women activists n Kabul raised similar demands and said the meeting should resolve the problem of reopening of girls’ intermediate and high schools.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hizb-e-Isami Afghanistan, said during his Friday sermon: “The Islamic Emirate should respond to the question why women’s representation was not allowed at the meeting. Why were political parties and opponents not invited? They should provide their viewpoint to satisfy their own people, the nation and the international community. Things could not be controlled by force or y hiding realities.”
Syed Ishaq Gilani, head of the Melli Paiwastoon Party, said: “The participation of influencial peole could have been in the intrest of people and could help the Islamic Emirate gain international recognition.”
But Islamic Emirate spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid women representatives and all other stakhoders would participate in future gatherings. He said the ulema meeting was organised in response to a request from the scholars. Islamic Emirate officials had no role in inviting women to the meeting.
Afghanistan’s frozen assets
After US forces left Afghanistan in August 2021, the farmer administration collapsed and the Biden afministration then froze about seven billion dollars of Afghanistan in international banks.
The Washington Post reported the US was working on a plan to release Afghan assets but the caretaker government in Kabul would have no control on the funds.
Pakistani officials have also called for the easing of western sanctions on Afghanistan, saying that marginalising it was “pushing the country into economic collapse”.
According to reports, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi along with officials from the Ministry of Finance and the central bank on Wednesday traveled to Qatar.
A government delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, and a US team, led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West, held an in-depth discussion on key issues of mutual interest in Doha.
Muttaqi talked frozen assets, economic, political and humanitarian issues with West and stressed instead of putting pressure on the new Afghan government, choose the path of cooperation and positive interaction.
West said they preferred engagement and sought a stable Afghanistan.
The US highlighted its discussions with the Taliban government about Afghanistan’s frozen assets and said it did not support the armed opposition in Afghanistan.
Amir Khan Muttaqi also met representatives of the European Union and a British Embassy official in Qatar to discuss the humanitarian situation and issues related to health, education and sanctions on Afghanistan’s banking sector.
According to reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon that his country was trying to strengthen ties with Afghanistan’s caretaker government.
Meanwhile, Muttaqi also claimed Kabul’s ties with the world were getting stronger with each passing day and some contries were set to reactivate their embassies in Afghanistan.
Concerns over human rights
Last week, participants in an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council called on the international fraternity to take urgent action to protect the rights of women, girls and minorities in Afghanistan.
UNAMA and UN Special Raporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan Richard Bunt expressed concerns over reports of civilian casualties and human rights abuses in the Balkhab district of Sar-i-Pul province.
But the caretaker government dismissed the reports as baseless, saying there was no fighting in Balkhab and no human rights violations had occurred there.
Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the government, said: “People’s rights have been ensured over the last 10 months. Before the caretaker government came into being, people faced issues like murder, misery and misfortunes.”