Exclusive: US has left Afghanistan with no hope of fighting Taliban, says 'Butcher of Kabul'
He gained the nickname 'the Butcher of Kabul' by raining down rockets on the Afghan capital in the early 1990s. But Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a notorious warlord who has twice served as prime minister, is now warning that the 'irresponsible' American withdrawal is leaving behind a government unable to fight off the Taliban. In an interview with the Telegraph at his office near the Afghan parliament, he said: “The Americans are withdrawing with an urgency, and I might add irresponsibly, and they are lnews.yahoo.com
EXPLAINER: Stakes high as Moscow opens 1st of 3 Afghan meets
Key players are attending, including U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, Afghan national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who will lead a 10-member delegation. America's main goal is an Afghanistan peace deal that guarantees its national security and that of its allies. The Afghan government is corrupt and morale is low among Afghan troops. The National Afghan Security Forces are rife with so-called ghost soldiers, who exist only on paper, while enlisted men often don't get paid. At least one member of the Senate subcommittee pointed out that all sides in the Afghan imbroglio are vulnerable.
As anger rises, Muslims protest French cartoons
Supporters of religious group burn a representation of a French flag during a rally against French President Emmanuel Macron and republishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Muslims have been calling for both protests and a boycott of French goods in response to France's stance on caricatures of Islam's most revered prophet. Crowds of Islamist activists hanged an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron from a highway overpass after pounding it furiously with their shoes. Turkey has led regional condemnation of the French president, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s verbal attacks on Macron prompting France to recall its ambassador to Turkey last weekend. Demonstrators trampled on portraits of Macron and called on Afghan leaders to shut down the French embassy, halt French imports and ban French citizens from visiting the country.
US Embassy in Kabul warns of extremist attacks against women
(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)KABUL – The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan warned that extremists groups are planning attacks against a “variety of targets” but are taking particular aim at women. The "Taliban don't have any plans to carry out any such attacks," the group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told The Associated Press on Friday. The IS affiliate has declared war on minority Shiite Muslims and has claimed credit for horrific attacks targeting them. Women are now members of parliament, girls have the right to education, women are in the workforce and their rights are enshrined in the constitution. The 2018 Women, Peace and Security Index rated Afghanistan as the second worst place in the world to be a woman, after Syria.
Efforts ramping up to get intra-Afghan peace talks started
Officials on both sides of Afghanistan's protracted conflict say efforts are ramping up for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, a critical next step to a U.S. negotiated peace deal with the Taliban. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)KABUL Officials on both sides of Afghanistans protracted conflict say efforts are ramping up for a start to intra-Afghan negotiations, a critical next step to a U.S.-negotiated peace deal with the Taliban. The peace deal, which calls for the intra-Afghan negotiations, was signed by the U.S. and the Taliban in February and was seen at the time as Afghanistans best hope at peace after four decades of war. President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the High Council for National Reconciliation, the umbrella organization overseeing the government talks, says a reduction of violence or cease-fire will top their agenda. The group has reportedly completed its agenda and its 20-member negotiation team reports directly to Taliban chief Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.
Afghan president names council for peace deal with Taliban
The negotiations were envisaged under a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement signed in February as intra-Afghan talks to decide the war-torn countrys future. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree late Saturday establishing the 46-member council, led by his former rival in last years presidential election, Abdullah Abdullah, who is now in the government. The council will have the final say and will ultimately decide on the points that the negotiating team takes up with the Taliban. Among them is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who signed a peace deal with Ghani in 2016 but previously was declared a terrorist by the U.S. The Taliban team answers only to the insurgents' leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhunzada.
Kabul begins release of final 400 Taliban, talks to follow
Afghanistan has released the first 86 of a final 400 Taliban prisoners, paving the way for negotiations between the warring sides in Afghanistans protracted conflict, the government said Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/ Rahmat Gul, File)KABUL Afghanistan has released the first 80 of a final 400 Taliban prisoners, paving the way for negotiations between the warring sides in Afghanistans protracted conflict, the government said Friday. Washington's peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad spent a year and a half negotiating the peace deal aimed at allowing American troops to return home and end America's longest military engagement. The withdrawal is not tied to successful talks between the warring sides. In 2016, Ghani negotiated a peace deal with Hekmatyar, whose Hezb-e-Islami group took responsibility for several bombings in Kabul, including one at a grocery story in the capital that killed a young family.