Afghanistan Peace Report:
19 June 2021 / 29 Khordad 1400
HCNR Chairperson Abdullah’s Interview with The Associated Press
- HCNR Chairperson Abdullah expressed fears in an interview with The AP on Friday that the Taliban would have no interest in a political settlement with the U.S.-supported administration in Kabul after the scheduled departure of American and NATO forces.
- Abdullah said the Taliban “may find themselves further emboldened and they may think — some of them at least — that with the withdrawal, they can take advantage of the situation militarily. It will be a big miscalculation ... should they think that they can win militarily. There are no winners through the continuation of the war.” Regarding the neighboring countries, he said, “I don’t think that that they would like to see instability in Afghanistan or (a) return to the old days because we have too much (of a) common interest in the neighborhood as a whole.”
- Asked about possible interference from neighbors after U.S. and NATO troops left, Abdullah said regional countries that had declared that they have an interest in a stable Afghanistan should "put those words into deeds." "There were some countries which had concerns about the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan, including” Iran, he said. “Now, NATO troops are not going to be there.”
- He was speaking on the sidelines of an international forum in Antalya, Turkey, where he held separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran, Qatar, and Pakistan. “I don't think that that they would like to see instability in Afghanistan or (a) return to the old days because we have too much (of a) common interest in the neighborhood as a whole,” Abdullah said.
- Abdullah said talks between the government and the Taliban, that were scheduled to take place in Turkey before the September troop withdrawal, were not "completely off the table." "Turkey's position is that when both sides ... are ready for serious negotiations, we are ready to host it," he said, adding that the Taliban had at times "put conditions" to participate in the talks or engaged in delaying tactics.
Afghan Peace talks in Doha
- Qatar had not yet made tangible progress with Afghan peace talks being held in its capital Doha, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman acknowledged in a statement on Friday. "Our goal is to reach a ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban and consensus on the future of the country," Rahman said.
- A six-member team from the Afghan government, including HCNR Chairperson Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai, was expected to travel to Doha in the next few days to hold talks with the Taliban, sources briefed on the matter said. Two former vice presidents, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni and presidential adviser Akram Khpulwak, were part of the team.
Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey
- HCNR Chairperson Abdullah, in an address to Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey on Friday urged the Taliban to engage in negotiations with the Afghan government. "The Afghan crisis has no military solution; hence I urge the Taliban to engage in good faith in talks and negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as soon as possible and help bring an end to the violence."
- Regarding international support for Afghanistan, Abdullah said: "We are thankful for that generous and costly global endeavor. We are now at a point where we not only need to end our internal conflict through political means, but we still need to be vigilant and assure resilience as well as containment as part of a paradigm shift that can assure peace and an acceptable and inclusive end-state for the people of Afghanistan.”
- Pakistan's FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that his country was not supporting military solution or Taliban's military victory in Afghanistan, according to a HCNR statement on Friday. He made the statement when he met with Abdullah on the sidelines of the Antalya forum.
- The statement said: "Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan's support to political reconciliation and rejected support to military solution."
- Abdullah’s Twitter account said: “Had a detailed & frank discussion with HE.@SMQureshiPTI, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan on the sidelines of @AntalyaDF. We exchanged views on the #PeaceProcess & bilateral relations. HE assured me of Pakistan's full support for the acceleration of peace talks& stability in AFG.”
Afghan Peace Envoy Fears Pullout will Embolden Taliban - The Associated Press
18 June 2021
By Suzan Fraser
The Afghan government's chief peace envoy expressed fears on Friday that the Taliban will have no interest in a political settlement with the U.S.-supported administration in Kabul after the scheduled departure of American and NATO forces.
Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan's National Reconciliation Council, said there were signs that the Taliban were seeking military advances ahead of the Sept. 11 troop withdrawal. He warned however that, if so, the extremist Islamic movement was making a "big miscalculation."
In an interview with The Associated Press, Abdullah also said Afghanistan's neighbors must refrain from interfering and instead seek cooperation with Kabul for the country's long-term stability.
"(Withdrawal) will have an impact on the negotiation with the Taliban," Abdullah said. "(They) may find themselves further emboldened and they may think — some of them at least — that with the withdrawal, they can take advantage of the situation militarily."
He added however that "it will be a big miscalculation ... should they think that they can win militarily. There are no winners through the continuation of the war."
Abdullah said there are signs that the Taliban are trying to take over provincial districts in a bid to take "advantage of that situation."
"But it's something that defies the lessons of history," he said. "Should this be the case, it will mean that (the) Taliban are opting for a military solution, which is not a solution to begin with, and it will not happen the way that they envisaged."
By Sept. 11 at the latest, around 2,300-3,500 remaining U.S. troops and roughly 7,000 allied NATO forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan, ending nearly 20 years of military engagement. There are concerns that the Afghan government and its security forces may be ill-prepared for the withdrawal and that the country may descend into chaos.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan until ousted by a U.S.-led coalition after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in America. In recent weeks Taliban fighters have overrun several districts in south and northern Afghanistan, convincing government security forces to surrender and seizing their weapons and military vehicles. The heaviest fighting has been in the northern Faryab province and in southern Helmand.
Asked about possible interference from neighbors after U.S. and NATO troops have left, Abdullah said regional countries have declared that they have an interest in a stable Afghanistan and that they should "put those words into deeds."
"There were some countries which had concerns about the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan, including the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said. "Now, NATO troops are not going to be there."
He was speaking on the sidelines of an international forum in Antalya, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, where he held separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Pakistan.
"I don't think that that they would like to see instability in Afghanistan or (a) return to the old days because we have too much (of a) common interest in the neighborhood as a whole," Abdullah said.
In a further warning to neighbors, Abdullah said millions of refugees had returned to Afghanistan as the country stabilized and added: "Should the situation reverse, the consequences of this will also be reversed."
The peace negotiator said talks between the government and the Taliban, that were scheduled to take place in Turkey before the September troop withdrawal, were not "completely off the table."
"Turkey's position is that when both sides ... are ready for serious negotiations, we are ready to host it," he said, adding that the Taliban had at times "put conditions" to participate in the talks or engaged in delaying tactics.
Qatar Foreign Minister: No Tangible Progress on Afghanistan Yet - Reuters
18 June 2021
Qatar has not yet made tangible progress with Afghan peace talks being held in its capital Doha, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman said in a statement on Friday.
He said the announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. and foreign forces from Afghanistan had added to time pressure on the talks.
"Our goal is to reach a ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban and consensus on the future of the country," Rahman said.
Confusion in Afghanistan as U.S. Cancels NATO Flag-Lowering Ceremony - NBC News
18 June 2021
By Courtney Kube and Dan De Luce
The U.S.-led military mission in Afghanistan planned to hold a flag-lowering ceremony on Friday in Kabul with NATO allies but the event was cancelled at the last moment amid questions over what the ceremony was meant to signify, according to three U.S. Defense officials.
The cancellation reflected a wider sense of confusion and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. troop withdrawal, with defense contractors appealing for more guidance from Washington, former Afghan interpreters pleading for protection from the Taliban and the U.S. embassy hit by a major Covid-19 outbreak.
President Joe Biden announced in April that all U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, but the pullout is moving faster than scheduled. Pentagon officials say the U.S. military withdrawal is on track to be wrapped up about two months earlier, by the middle of July or even by early July.
The flag-lowering ceremony at the Kabul headquarters for NATO's "Resolute Support" mission, which trains and advises Afghan security forces, was called off only hours before it was due to begin, the Defense officials said.
The ceremony was not intended to convey the end of the mission or closure of the headquarters, the officials said, but was an opportunity to gather 13 NATO partners together before coalition troops depart. Senior allied officers planned to lower their nations' flags at the headquarters building as a recognition for their countries' contributions in Afghanistan, the officials said.
"It was causing confusion among allies and partners," one Defense official said, adding that it was perceived by some as a closure of the Resolute Support headquarters.
The ceremony likely would be held at another date, two Defense officials said, and would only include officers and officials already working at the headquarters due to concerns over Covid-19. As of August last year, the Resolute Support mission included 36 NATO member states and partners and about 10,000 troops.
The exit gathers pace
A number of factors could affect the exit timeline, including weather conditions and the tenuous security situation in Kabul, as Taliban forces continue to gain ground across the country.
U.S. troops already have handed over several bases and airfields to Afghan security forces and C-17 cargo planes are continuously flying out equipment. The United States promised to remove all its troops from Afghanistan in an agreement with the Taliban signed last year during former President Donald Trump's administration.
As the U.S. troop exit gathers pace, the Biden administration has come under criticism over the fate of Afghans who worked for the U.S. government. Lawmakers from both parties have accused the White House of failing to make adequate plans to protect former Afghan partners who face threats of retaliation from the Taliban. Members of Congress and veterans groups have urged an emergency evacuation of thousands of Afghans who risked their lives working with the United States, but the administration has yet to announce any plans for such an operation.
Roughly 18,000 U.S.-funded contractors who maintain the Afghan government's fleet of military aircraft and ground vehicles also have been ordered to withdraw from the country. But the contractors say they had no advance warning about Biden's decision and that it's unclear how their companies will continue to support the Afghan security forces once American troops leave.
Three associations representing federal contractors wrote a letter on May 13 to the Pentagon, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, asking for more clarity and citing several "as-yet-unanswered questions."
"What is the role for continued contractor support for Afghan government missions and capabilities, either in-country or over-the-horizon?" the letter said.
The Biden administration has yet to answer the letter more than a month since it was sent, according to a spokesperson for one of the associations, the Professional Services Council, and an administration spokesperson.
"It's hard for companies to plan, and it's hard for the Afghans to figure out where things are heading," Stephanie Kostro, executive vice president for policy at the Professional Services Council, told NBC News.
She said it is "a complex and confusing situation" with contractors trying to plan without clear information about what arrangements could be in place that would allow them to carry on their work effectively and safely after US troops leave.
"My sense is that DoD (Department of Defense) and State (Department) are going through each of these things on a contract-by-contract basis versus having a policy across the board about how to treat contractors," Kostro said.
The Pentagon is aware of the letter, appreciated the feedback from the contractor associations and recognized the important role played by contractors in sustaining Afghan government forces' equipment, including aircraft, said spokesperson Maj. Rob Lodewick.
"Moving forward, numerous options exist capable of facilitating the continuation of contracted maintenance and logistical support without requiring U.S. contractors to be on-ground in Afghanistan," Lodewick said, without elaborating.
The Defense Department "continues to pursue, analyze and refine the best options available and will announce corresponding decisions and implementation plans as they become available and appropriate," Lodewick said.
Pentagon officials have communicated changes in requirements to contractors working with the Afghan air force and those contracts have been modified, '' he added.
The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development did not respond to a request for comment.
Critics say Afghan security forces cannot keep their planes, helicopters and drones in the air without U.S. contractor support, and that the lack of detailed plans for contractors has sent a damaging message to Kabul.
"As Afghans look for visible signs that Biden's promised support will continue, what they see is a rush to the door — and silence about the details that would make the promises real," Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, wrote in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post.
"Morale is as much a part of combat power as equipment and technology. The current uncertainty undercuts morale and could gravely weaken the Afghan army just as major Taliban attacks begin." he wrote.
When Biden unveiled his decision to pull out U.S. troops, it was not clear how the country's main airport in Kabul would be secured. The uncertainty prompted fears that foreign embassies might be forced to close without a safe way to travel in and out of the country.
Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, said on Thursday that Turkey had agreed to take the leading role in providing security for the Kabul airport. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan made the pledge in talks with President Biden earlier this week, according to Sullivan.
"The clear commitment from the leaders was established that Turkey would play a lead role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport and we are now working through how to execute to get to that," Sullivan said.
At a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday, Biden, Erdogan, and the other NATO leaders promised to "provide transitional funding to ensure continued functioning" of the Kabul airport and "training and financial support" for Afghan government forces.
At a time when the administration has promised to expedite visa applications from Afghans who worked with U.S. troops or diplomats, the American embassy in Kabul is facing a surge in Covid-19 infections. One embassy employee has died, 114 have been infected and several have had to be evacuated for medical treatment, according to a notice issued to staff at the embassy.
The U.S. embassy has ordered a lockdown and confined staff members to their quarters except to obtain food or to exercise alone.
The American Foreign Service Association, which represents diplomats working at the State Department, expressed alarm at the outbreak and urged the administration to make vaccination a condition for any employee physically present at the Kabul mission or other U.S. embassies around the world.
"At a time when the U.S. military withdrawal is accelerating, attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces are intensifying and the U.S. is seeking to establish a stable and positive presence in Afghanistan after the withdrawal, the damage to our national security and national interests is potentially grave," the association said in a statement Thursday.
The embassy, located on a sprawling compound, had hundreds of staff until recently when officials began scaling back its workforce as U.S. forces withdrew. The State Department recently ordered the departure of U.S. government employees from Kabul "whose functions can be performed elsewhere."
Mohib Off to Kazakhstan, as Abdullah, Atmar Leave for Turkey - Pajhwok Afghan News
17 June 2021
By Javed Hamim Kakar
National Security Advisor Dr. Hamdullah Mohib has left for Kazakhstan, his office said on Thursday.
Separately, High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar are heading to Turkey.
A statement from the National Security Council said Mohib left for Kazakhstan at the head of a high-level delegation on Thursday.
The NSA is scheduled to meet senior political and security officials of Kazakhstan during his trip.
Meanwhile, Abdullah and Atmar are due to travel to Turkey on Thursday to attend an international conference there. .
A source told Pajhwok Afghan News Abdullah was accompanied by a number of senior other government officials.
Gran Hewad, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry confirmed to Pajhwok that Atmar was leaving for Turkey to attend the conference.
The international conference, scheduled to take place in Antalya, will be attended by representatives from 40 countries on Friday.
Stanikzai, Niklasson Stress Prompt Resumption of Peace Talks - Pajhwok Afghan News
18 June 2021
KABUL (Pajhwok): European Union Special Envoy to Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson has called on Afghan Chief Negotiator Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai and discussed intra-Afghan talks and the role of regional countries in Afghan peace process.
On its twitter handler the Afghan negotiating team said: "Nicholson emphasized on the starting a meaningful negotiation of both sides. Mr. Nicholson is also called the role of neighbouring countries and the region in the Afghanistan peace process Important and impactful."
"The EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan reaffirmed the EU's continued support for the Afghanistan peace process."
Progress in Doha Talks - Ariana News [Dari]
17 June 2021
Program: Sola (peace) (14:45 to 14:45)
Guests: Gulam Faroq Majrooh (Qatar-based member of Afghan government negotiation team), Mohammad Essa Eshaqzai, (Belgium-based chairman of Afghan National Congress), Sayed Mustafa Murtazawi, (university professor)
In Thursday's episode of Ariana News' Sola (Peace) talk show, panelists discussed Progress in Doha talks.
Qatar-based member of Afghan government negotiation team Gulam Farooq Majrooh said that negotiators of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban held a meeting in Doha last night, Wednesday, 16 June. They discussed the arrangement of upcoming meetings, the resumption of the negotiations, and the details of continuing the talks. He noted that the Afghan government negotiation team was present in Doha and was ready to resume peace talks as soon as the Taliban showed preparedness. Majrooh noted that both peace negotiation teams held several unofficial meetings, but the official meeting began last night. He noted that the Afghan negotiation team insisted on practical peace talks to obtain a positive outcome. The Taliban also expressed interest in speeding-up the peace negotiation. Hopefully, in the upcoming days, we would witness several positive results.
Belgium-based chairperson of the Afghan National Congress Mohammad Essa Eshaqzai said that the Afghan government and the Taliban did not feel the pain and suffering of the Afghan people. He noted that hundreds of innocent people were being killed every day, and there was no organization to prosecute and bring the perpetrators to justice. He stated that the authorities of the Afghan government were putting all their efforts into staying in power, and the Taliban continued their brutality to reach power. Eshaqzai noted that the Afghan government could neither provide security for Afghan people nor able to decide on a peace process. He also said that the Afghan government had disagreements with Afghan political leaders and could not gather a national consensus on Afghan peace.
University professor Sayed Mustafa murtazawi said that the Afghan government and the Taliban could not create a trusting environment. That was why the peace talks were stalled or ongoing very slowly. He noted that both negotiation teams should put efforts to stop bloodshed and fratricide in the country. He noted that the Taliban leaders were reluctant to the peace talks because they knew that the Afghan negotiation could not make the final decision. Murtazawi stated that the lack of national consensus on Afghan peace among the Afghan government, political leaders, and influential figures created skepticism among people. He noted that numerous military personnel were killed over the past few weeks that showed the government could not manage the fighting without the support of foreign forces.
Peace and Reconciliation:
Compromise on the Supremacy of Afghan Constitution and Creation of the National Unity Government in Afghanistan in 2014 - Khaama Press
18 June 2021
By Mohammad Tahir Khan Nasiri
This academic research paper conducted by Mohammad Tahir Khan Nasiri, a P.h.D student of International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) has reviewed the Afghanistan constitution and the political compromise between the two political Afghan leaders with the brokerage of the United States in the 2014 election in Afghanistan.
From the time unmemorable until the creation of the first constitution in 1923 Afghanistan was governed without the prime minister. The post for prime minister has been created for the first time by the first constitution in 1923 by King Amanullah Khan, and then followed by many others with the on and off position until the enactment of the current (2004) constitution.
The current constitution is unique in the sense that it keeps Islam superior and orders that no law can be enacted against it; by the same time keeps its democratic feature too. The current constitution has opted purposely for a strong presidential system and has skipped from having the post of either chief executive or prime minister. Presently Afghanistan has a President who is both the head of the state and head of the government and is able to exercise his executive powers in all branches of government.
The superiority and integrity of this constitution were attacked many times, specifically as the result of the two political compromises between the two top runner candidates of the 2014 and 2019 Presidential elections. The first compromise happened with the mediation of John Kerry, the former foreign minister of the USA. As a result of this compromise, they created a Unity Government (UG) with a temporary post of chief executive.
The second compromise on the integrity of the constitution happened during the presidential elections of 28th Sep 2019 again between the same (previous) two top runners of the presidential elections. However, this time with the mediation of some Afghans like the previous President Hamid Karzai; professor Sayaf and some others. As both of the top runners of the presidential elections Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah have taken a presidential oath of allegiance on 9 Mar 2020, everyone was claiming to be the proper president. As the result of this compromise they created the unconstitutional post of the chairman of the peace negotiator and agreed for Ashraf Ghani to be the President of the country and Abdullah Abdullah to have half of the power of the government, and to be the head of the peace negotiation with Taliban.
Although, under both compromises, the integrity of the constitution was attacked this article discusses only the first compromise because the post of chief executive was created under that compromise. Moreover, as the violation of the constitution during the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections happened between the two top runners of the presidential elections, therefore it attracted serious national and international attention.
Using both doctrinal and non-doctrinal legal research methodology, the study under this article covers the prime minister and his historical role in the constitutions and governing systems of Afghanistan; the period where Afghanistan was ruled without a prime minister; the creation of the post of the chief executive; national and international reaction to the creation of this post.
The study found that the majority of Afghans are in favor of the presidential system. However, there was a minority group that relied on the French semi-presidential system, the Turkish previous parliamentary system, and Lebanon's confessional system. The author of this article also, therefore, included the study of the systems of these countries too. The article finally ends with a suggested solution.
2. HOW AFGHANISTAN WAS GOVERNED WITHOUT PRIME MINISTER
Regarding the legal history of Afghanistan, some writers believe that Afghanistan's legal history stretches back across millennia. Afghanistan is the owner of rich cultural history, and Kamali defines Afghans as "people are known for valor, hospitality, and pride in their own identity", he further says that "Afghans have never been colonized, nor totally subjugated even by their own governments". Therefore, there will be a question as to how Afghanistan could maintain its existence and identity, and how the country was governed.
In answering the aforementioned questions I would like to resort amongst other reputable literature, to my first-hand knowledge and experience, and that is to say: generally, from the time unmemorable until embracing Islam, Afghans were governed by their culture; after embracing Islam, by both culture and Islam; and finally after the enactment of the constitution by all three, culture, Islam and the constitution when it was first created by King Amanullah Khan in 1923.
In pre-Islamic Afghanistan, the Afghans governed their affairs by traditional codes of conduct. Most notable of those codes are Pashtunwali codes which to date are widely practiced by the majority of Pashtun tribes. The minority tribes practiced their own codes similar to that of the Pashtunwali codes.
The principles of rules of law are relatively new. Afghan codes of conduct have progressed over centuries. With the acceptance of Islam, Afghans in particular Pashtuns became unwilling to proceed with or substitute tribal codes for Shariah law. Mullahs (religious leaders) were subjugated to allow for the parallel application of both Shariah law and tribal codes. In case of conflict, Shariah's role was rendered symbolic to allow for the codes to take superiority. The ruler or the sovereign was unwilling and unable to replace the codes for a constitutional law as the sovereign's legitimacy depended on the loyalty of tribes.
The head of government had all three powers at his disposal. The doctrine of separation of powers (SOPs), according to Rainer for the first time found its way in the Afghan Constitution during King Zahir Shah in 1964. Rainer says that although the first written constitution was accepted in 1923, a significant separation between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government was chosen during the era of King Zahir Shah in 1964. Olesen does not agree with Rainer and argues that the doctrine of SOP for the first time took shape during Amir Abdur Rahman Khan (between 1880 to 1901). He was against the traditional practices of Jirgas and the powers that the tribal chiefs were holding. Neither had he (Abdul Rahman Khan) parliament nor proper executive committee. Instead, he had Council of Nobles. A reformed system of SOPs of Abdur Rahman Khan was adopted by his grandson Amir Amanullah Khan in 1923 and then by the succeeding constitutions of King Nadir Khan and King Zaher Shah in 1931 and 1964 respectively. Prior to the enactment of the constitution, the only source from which laws and orders were derived were the decrees of the kings and Amirs.
On August 09, 1919, in the third and final Anglo-Afghan war, the English forces were defeated. Amir Amanullah Khan declared the independence of Afghanistan on 18 August 1919. After the end of war and declaration of independence, Amanullah Khan tried to limit his dependence on tribes; and dared for the first time to reduce the traditionally held power of the tribal leaders, and bring all affairs of the state under one written constitution. Thus, on April 9, 1923, the first constitution of Afghanistan came into existence. Although Islam was recognized under Article 2 of this constitution as the official religion of Afghanistan, the constitution was still rejected by the people of Afghanistan and revolted against Amanullah Khan, and finally, compelled him to his self-exile.
Amanullah Khan was the first one, who laid down the foundation stone of the constitution in Afghanistan. He had a prime minister, however with no power or only with limited power; and that is the answer to a question, how Afghanistan was ruled without a prime minister or chief executive.
From 1923 until today, there is the on and off the existence of prime minister in the constitution and governing system of Afghanistan, which is discussed as follows.
3. LEGAL POSITION OF PRIME MINISTER IN THE CONSTITUTIONS AND GOVERNING SYSTEMS OF AFGHANISTAN
The post for prime minister has been created for the first time by King Amanullah Khan in his constitution of 1923, and then followed by many others who came after him, although, the role of prime minister and his powers have largely been symbolic under King Amanullah Khan.
Generally, the prime minister equates the traditional and historical position of Grand Wazir (big minister) in the sultanates of the medieval age to the turn of the 19th century in the middle-east. The role of Grand Wazir was to provide counsel to the King, Caliph, or Sultan. He was the most senior minister and was usually selected by the Ruler. The appointment of Grand Wazir was therefore undemocratic. All executive powers rested with the ruler. The advice of Grand Wazir was not binding on the ruler. The trend of having a Grand Wazir continued for quite a long time.
The post of Grand Wazir was restyled as prime minister to correspond to contemporary politics. In Afghanistan, the prime minister was not elected and was generally selected and appointed by the executive (king) to head the council of ministers. In the 1964 Royal Constitutions of Afghanistan, the King reserved himself the most important powers including the power to appoint a prime minister.
The post of prime minister first appeared in the 1923 Constitution during King Amanullah Khan. Articles 28 and 7 of the constitution confer powers of selection and appointment of prime minister and other ministers on his majesty the king. The role of the prime minister was to guide and supervise the council of ministers in the absence of the King. Article 25 states: in Afghanistan, the affairs of government are given to the council of ministers, the king will preside over the council of ministers if the king was not present then the prime minister will preside over the council. As the ministry was administered by the minister individually, and the council of ministers collectively, each of them was considered responsible for the affairs of his ministry individually, and to the affairs of council collectively; and therefore the King was not responsible. The policies became effective on receipt of royal assent. The post of prime minister was undemocratic and its role was merely advisory and symbolic.
By contrast, the Afghan constitution of 1931, introduced the strongest prime minister in the history of Afghanistan; a number of the king's traditional powers were given to the prime minister, as Article 74 described the prime minister as the President of the Council of Ministers. The executive role was carried on by ministers who were suggested by the Prime Minister and appointed by the king. Article 76 made all ministers, collectively responsible for the performance of the general politics of the country and personally responsible for the work of their own ministry to the National Assembly and therefore the king was not responsible. Article 7 gave power of appointment and removal of prime minister and ministers to the king. Article 51 says that if the enactment of a new law is needed, it has to be proposed by the ministry, and through ministers with the prime minister has to be proposed to the National Assembly and after approval has to be approved by the king. Article 78 says that the ministers can work within their limitation and more than that have to send to the prime minister, and the prime minister can only work within his limitation, and more than that have to be sent to the king for his instruction. Article 110 says that if the king or prime minister order orally one of the ministers or any other officers, they should get written order from the king or the prime minister, and the king or prime minister have to mention that 'I have ordered that.
However, the prime minister was appointed by the King. It should be noted that the 1931 constitution was enacted during or immediately after the civil war. The new King Nadir Khan was considered by rival tribes as the usurper of the throne while the overthrown King Amanullah was still alive and could come back to the country if Nadir Khan wanted. The powerful post of prime minister was intended to be kept within the male linage of the royal family. The first prime minister under the 1931 constitution was King's own brother Prince Mohammad Hashim Khan who ruled the country as Prime Minister together with King from 1 November 1929 until Nadir Khan's assassination on 08 November 1933 and from 08 November 1933 as de facto ruler of Afghanistan, due to immaturity of his young nephew King Zahir Khan ascending the throne at age 19, until May 1946. Prince Hashim Khan was against civil liberties which he thought would threaten the establishment and the powers of the Royal family.
After some time, King Zahir Shah disagreed with his uncle Hashim Khan and replaced him with his other uncle prince Shah Mahmud Khan who was considered a moderate person and believed in freedom of speech up to somewhat. Shah Mahmud Khan performed this duty as prime minister from May 1946 until 7 September 1953, with the powers given to the prime minister under the constitution of 1931.
As the restrictions on assembly and freedom of speech were a big issue for the newly educated people in Kabul. The freedom of press and speech became a golden chance for these people and this freedom also influenced some members of the National Assembly who became outspoken and critical of the powers of the King and royal family. This led the King to change back his policy and revert to the limitation on free speech and press. To reach this objective, the King appointed his cousin prince Daud Khan as prime minister from 7 September 1953 until 10 March 1963. Daud Khan was known to be a competent person, serious and tough, but he failed to stop critics because he had his own agenda. Daud's agenda and freedom of press and speech disturbed the harmonious relationship with King and caused rifts within the Royal family. The King had to preserve his superiority and therefore, called constitutional lawyers who drafted a new constitution of 1964.
Under this constitution, the members of the royal family and the king's close relatives could not take the post of prime minister, ministers, and some other high-ranking posts in the country. The power and role of the prime minister were significantly undermined. The post of the prime minister which previously, was supposed to be for the royal family only, and had absolute power did not have so much power under the new constitution for non-royal prime ministers.
For the first time, the commoner (none royal) found access to the post of prime minister. Again, like the previous constitutions of 1923 and 1931, the King reserved for himself the most important power to appoint prime minister, accept his resignation, and with the proposal of Prime Minister King was supposed to appoint other ministers. Based on Article 89 prime minister seeks a vote of confidence from the democratically elected Wolesi Jirga, before receiving Royal assent. The appointment of prime minister, therefore, became conditional upon the receipt of the vote of confidence from the elected people of Wulesi Jirga.
Article 96 made the prime minister and his ministers collectively responsible to the Wolesi Jirga for government policy in general and for their duties individually. Prime ministers and ministers were also responsible for all those affairs of government for which they take King's decrees and consent, therefore the king was not responsible.
The role and responsibilities of ministers and the prime minister were described in Article 95 which included the prime minister was presiding over the Council of Ministers, guiding and directing the activities of the government and securing coordination in its work. Additionally, the prime minister was responsible for maintaining liaison between the government on one hand and the King and Wolesi Jirga on the other. It also said that ministers were bosses of their own ministries and were working under the order and guidance of the prime minister and the laws approved by this constitution.
The constitution also prescribed that the prime minister cannot substitute king or become a regent in the absence of the King.
First commoner (none royal) Prime Minister Mohammed Yusuf was appointed on 10 March 1963. The trend continued until 17 July 1973 whereby Daud Khan toppled the government of Prime Minister Musa Shafiq, abolished the monarchy and the constitution of 1964 in a military coup. He declared Afghanistan as a republic and abolished the post of prime minister in a new republican constitution of 1976.
President Daud's government was toppled in a bloody military coup on 28 April 1978 by the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. They were socialists and called themselves revolutionaries. Article 36 of socialist Babarak Karmal constitution, claimed that until the normal situation is coming for the proper general election the Revolutionary Council is the highest organization of the country [self-appointed revolutionary organ]. By issuing decree number 45 President Babrak Karmal reserved the post of prime minister for himself as the chairman of the revolutionary council and gave himself many powers. Theoretically, this unendorsed constitution had the post of prime minister under chapter five Article 46, but the practically revolutionary council was everything and no proper time came to have an election or a proper prime minister, or approve the constitution through Loya Jirga. The post of chairman of the council of ministers was unconstitutionally functioning until the enactment of the 1987 constitution which re-styled Chairman as Prime Minister in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
Article 75 (3) of the 1987 Constitution, gave President the power to appoint a prime minister. Prime Minister's appointment was conditional upon securing the vote of confidence from Wolesi Jirga. As Article 75 of both the 1987 & 1990 constitutions of Dr. Najib reserves important powers of the country for the President, therefore, the role of the prime minister remains only symbolic.
From1992 until 2001, the creation and functioning of the post of the prime minister were unconstitutional, because there was no constitution, if there was any it was not ratified by the Loya Jirga or proper representatives of the country. For example, in 1996, as a result of compromise, Rabbani was compelled to appoint Engineer Gulbudeen Hikmatyar the head of the Hizb-e-Islami Party, as a prime minister. Hikmatyar became prime minister from 26 June 1996 until 11 August 1997. Hikmatyar was the only prime minister by name, had no authority, and could not work together. They never trusted each other, no co-operation existed, and there was always struggle for power by each side. No clear border of separation of power existed, and could not draw a strict line to mark the borders of their powers. As a result of this disunity, unconstitutionality, no separation of power, they could not work together. As there was constant clashing between the President and the Prime Minister, and there was not an effective central government, finally Taliban got a chance to oust them both and grab power.
The title and post of the prime minister were officially abolished when the Taliban Islamic Emirate took over control of a large part of Afghanistan including Kabul in 1996. Mohammad Rabbani, the Deputy Leader of the Taliban was often known as the Prime Minister throughout his rule. With the death of Mohammad Rabbani the deputy leader of the Taliban, around 2000, the Taliban decided not to revive the office of prime minister.
After the Taliban period, Afghanistan once again became like the republic of 1976 with the post of premiership abolished. However, after the Presidential elections of 2014, practically it appeared in the shape of chief executive, whereas constitutionally it was illegal. It is discussed in detail as follows.
4. CREATION OF THE POST OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE AFTER 2014 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
The current (2004) constitution does not have any place for the chief executive. The drafters of the current constitution; the reviewing commission; constitutional Loya Jirga; and general Loya Jirga, all of, purposely opted for a strong Presidential System. However, after the Presidential election of 2014, practically, the post of chief executive came into existence, in the result of John Kerry's suggestion for solving the problem that occurred in the result of 2014 election between the two top runners of the election, whereas, still the constitution does not have any instruction about the post of chief executive.
Being absolute republican, the current constitution does not provide for the post of prime minister. The ministers are nominated by the President of Afghanistan, referred to Wolesi Jirga for a vote of confidence following which they are appointed by the President. The President is exercising his executive powers in all branches of government. It is the President's constitutional power to guide, direct and advise his ministers in running the businesses of their ministries.
The Presidential election of 2014 was rigged by all candidates, but no one was the winner. Article 61 of the current constitution mentions that: if no one wins the votes above 50%, in that case, there should be another election between the two top runners.
In the election of 2014, after the second round of the election, every one of the two top runners was claiming to be the winner. No one from the people of Afghanistan knew which one of the two candidates got the majority votes. The Independent Election Commission was not ready to announce the winner. It was only guessed Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai the then and current President got the absolute majority. The country was in chaos, Abdullah Abdullah the second top runner, was threatening the people of Afghanistan, if not accept him as President, will fight with the government and announce equal government. Afghanistan's existence and unity were threatened by Abdullah Abdullah and his faction's fellow from the North who were already controlling the Afghan military and police forces since the collapse of the Taliban, for the last 14 years or more and had employed their men and women in the military and police forces. Both contestants Abdullah Abdullah and Ghani refused to agree on anything else, except appointed as President. The end result was a UG suggested by John Kerry the former Foreign Minister of the USA, in which both parties would have equal share and representation. Under this solution, the question of how to exercise these powers was unsolved or even not referred to. The alternative opened to Abdullah was to exercise powers from an opposition block in the National Assembly from where he could administer his powers. Abdullah opted for the option of the UG. They created a new post of the chief executive, with a condition that the President exercising his constitutional powers, has to convene Loya Jirga within two and half years for a vote on amending the constitution to elevate the post of chief executive to the prime minister. If approved by the Loya Jirga within two and a half years, the constitution has to be amended and the title and post of chief executive will change to the prime minister; If not approved by the Loya Jirga, or based on any reason the Loya Jirga is not convened at all, then within 30 months the chief executive has to be dismissed and his office created in the result of political compromise is null and void.
Abdullah Abdullah enjoyed his status as chief executive and also as leader of a strong opposition! similar to the prime minister by the leading council of ministers, possession, and control of most influential ministries, and being second in command.
As, no Loya Jirga was called to accept the mentioned post of chief executive or reject it; so, the condition of political compromise for the creation of the post of the chief executive was not fulfilled, therefore the already non-constitutional post of the chief executive was null and void. However, that non-constitutional government continued and ended only after the 28 Sep 2019 Presidential elections. The first politician and leader of a political party were Anwarulhaq Ahadi, who said that "by completion of two years (21 August 2016) the post of chief executive has no legal status, and there should be a fresh election for a proper government.
Analyzing the discussion above makes it clear that firstly, from the very beginning the post of chief executive was illegal or non-constitutional; secondly, when created by Jon Kerry, the condition was that the Loya Jirga has to be convened, and has either to approve the post of chief executive or reject it. Based on these reasons, the creation of the post of chief executive on the first instance, and second its continuation until the new presidential elections of September 28, 2019, as mentioned by Anwarulhaq Ahadi, was null and void.
4.1. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO JOHN KERRY'S SUGGESTED SOLUTION OF THE POST OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE
On the national level, Afghans were divided into different categories. Some of them welcome the creation of the post of chief executive for their personal benefits. Another group was optimistic for national benefits and believed that having the post of chief executive will help Afghans to control internal fighting and other disasters like tribal, regional, and sectarian prejudices. They sincerely believed the creation of the post of chief executive will help at least to move the country towards unity, stability, and development. An example of this group can be the former foreign minister Rangeen Dadfer Spanta who said the National UG is the necessity of Afghanistan. In reply to a question, how the power between the two will be divided? He said the one who gets more votes will be the President and the second person or his representative will be installed on the second post [chief executive].
The third category was against the creation of such a post. This category was more experienced and had the study and information of the previous prime ministers. Based on their experience and study of the previous prime ministers, they believed that the chief executive or the prime minister is not a solution for the Afghan problem. They knew that previously, the prime minister could not coup with parliament, could not complete the period prescribed for them, and they were only executing the command of the kings or presidents unless the prime minister was coming from the royal family like Hashim Khan, Shahmahmood Khan and Daud Khan. In that case, the prime minister was not coming from the general public, and instead, he was like the ruler or the king himself.
Apart from the mentioned three groups, Ashraf Ghani Ahamdzai himself, after signing the compromise, had remarked on the UG and said: if I become a president, will take control of the whole power, as it is impossible to have two centers for executing one job. One day later, the presidential next candidate Abdullah Abdullah said that the president has to transfer some of his powers to the chief executive, who will be a prime minister after two years.
On the international level, the creation of the post of chief executive was appreciated. For example, William Hague the former Foreign Minister of the UK expressed his happiness and congratulated John Kerry for the best work he did.
Afghan media also expressed its concern in this regard. For example, Mr. Abdul Bari 'Aridh resembled the National UG in his essay with a shares market. He went further and said this compromise, is just for the personal benefit of the nominated chief executive Abdullah and it will never solve the Afghan problem and even will add to the problems. Abdul Manan Argand, the editor of Khabarial Web Page, besides other reasons, mentioned that this compromise is against the constitution because there is no post of chief executive in the constitution. He added if some of the powers of the President as decided transfer to the chief executive that is another violation of the law because the powers given to the President in the constitution cannot be transferred to anyone else, as for example, the powers of the Judiciary cannot transfer to anyone else.
International media also could not keep quiet, and the Azady Radio (Independent Radio) with reference to the essay on Foreign Policy about the current compromise in Afghanistan, called it "two kings for one country". It added that Afghanistan has always been the victim of fast ways of solution. Instead of helping them, increase their problems. The creation of the post of the chief executive is not the permanent solution. Afghans and the international community, for bringing permanent peace and stability into the country made a constitution ten years ago, but now for the purpose of a short time solution, even the constitution is violated. In short, two authorities of equal powers cannot work in Afghanistan.
John Kerry's suggestion for making the National UG, and creation of the post of the chief executive had too many ambiguities. It was not clear how it will work. Some Afghans even though this compromise was the change of the current Presidential System to the Parliamentary System. When these concerns were brought to the attention of John Kerry, he reacted to it on different occasions and said that: the documents [compromise] were not for making the Parliamentary System. He added that based on the compromise for the National UG, only the Post of the Chief Executive was created and he has to work under the President, and later on the President will call Loya Jirga to decide about the creation of this post and see if the permanent changes are for the benefit of the country or not? John Kerry also mentions that: it is not the job of foreigners to explain the political situation and the details of compromise between the candidates of Afghanistan. By no means has this compromise violated the constitutional law, and it respects and recognizes the President of Afghanistan as Head of the Government and all other bases of the State. He also added that democracy cannot be gained within one night… In a separate gathering on 09 August 2014 where both Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah were present, to announce the National UG, John Kerry said that: this compromise (the establishment of the National UG) is a good step for solving the election problem. He added that there is complete respect in the compromise to the constitution of Afghanistan that the USA is supporting; this compromise does not bring into existence Parliamentary System, does not change the President of the system of the government; according to this compromise, only the post of the chief executive is created which will help the President for the effectiveness of the government.
There are too many writing, opinions, and conferences that express their concern about making the National UG. Everyone gives different reasons but the same conclusion and says that the National UG is a new kind of arrangement, the post of chief executive does not exist in the constitution, and it is therefore unconstitutional.
The concern of many writers especially Mr. Abdul Bari 'Aridh came into reality. Besides others, it is the confession of Abdullah Abdullah the chief executive too, who said: the reasons for poor security, not the good economy, and fighting against terrorism is disunity in decisions making between the heads of government if something is done that is still not enough.
As confessed by Abdullah, the majority of the problems are coming from the National UG itself. Looking to the nature, history, and revolutionary situation of the country, the author of the current research, therefore, recommends a constitutionally strong President to rule the country, and strong elected opposition to harness the strong President. Based on this reality, the drafters of the current constitution, constitutional review commission, constitutional Loya Jirga, and the general Loya Jirga, all opted for a strong Presidential System. Creating the post of chief executive either permanently or temporarily will never work, and as confessed by Abdullah, will cause only problems for the country, and badly affect the separation of power.
However, using both doctrinal and non-doctrinal legal research methodology, the author interviewed many Afghans and found also a small group of Afghans, who preferred either the French semi-presidential System; or the Turkish Parliamentary System [prior to the 2018 constitutional amendment]; or the Lebanon Confessional system. Reasoning that historically Afghan constitution was molded based on French and Turkish constitutions. About Lebanon, they argue that the Lebanese political situation and cultural structure are the same as that of Afghanistan. Therefore, they believe any system of these three countries which have prime minister will work in Afghanistan; but anyway, the study of the constitutions and governing systems of these three countries, shows that none of these systems can work in Afghanistan, because they have been designed for a different culture, religious structure, and historical background. For example:
France is a secular democratic state. Its sovereignty is coming from the people, and under the current constitution follows the semi-presidential system of government. The executive power is shared between the President and the prime minister. President is directly elected by the French people for five years. The French Constitution declares his head of state and gives him control over foreign policy and defense policy.
The prime minister is appointed by the President; and the prime minister does not need to be from the leading party or coalition in parliament—these are generally called (the presidential prerogatives), but the appointment of a prime minister requires the approval of parliament, so the prime minister almost always comes from the party that has a majority in parliament.
The prime minister serves as head of government and is in charge of domestic policy, economic policy, and other day-to-day governing (In this case, the division of responsibilities between the prime minister and the president is not explicitly stated in the constitution, but has evolved as a political convention).
Unlike many other European presidents; the French President is quite powerful, holds the nation's most senior office, and outranks all other politicians. The President's greatest power is his/her ability to choose the prime minister, but he may not de jure dismiss him once elected. Instead, the President can dissolve the National Assembly in a result the prime minister is obliged to step down. However, the power of dissolution is limited to the consultation of the prime minister and the presidents of both houses of parliament. The government, including the prime minister, can be revoked by the national assembly (the lower house of parliament).
French constitution also likes the Afghan constitution of 2004 gives too much power to the President, but sometimes more than what is given by the Afghan constitution. For example Articles 5, 8-16 and 49 of the French constitution grants the President beside other the Powers, the power to dissolve the French National Assembly; can nominate the prime minister; can grant pardon but not amnesty to convicted criminals [the Afghan constitution gives President only the right of pardon], and he can also lessen or suppress criminal sentence.
Analyzing the French semi-Presidential system makes it clear that this system cannot work in Afghanistan because it is secular, the power comes from the people, and most importantly the President is more powerful than the Afghan President which is the main concern of some minority groups. Moreover, when the parliament is either completely controlled by the opposite parties or equally controlled by both President's and the opposites' parties the power-sharing arrangement is known as cohabitation. Many times, it has been proven that in Afghanistan the power-sharing is a failed experience.
Turkey's government is secular, and until 24th June 2018, it was a Parliamentary representative democratic republic where the President was the head of state; and was elected by the legislature (the Grand National Assembly of Turkey). If the President elected was a member of a party, his/her relationship with his party had to be detached and his/her membership of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey had to end. The prime minister was the head of government; and he was supervising the implementation of government policy, and managing different divisions of government.
The Assembly had the power to amend the constitution and could also impeach the President on the grounds of treason.
However the referendum of 16 April 2017 decided that besides other changes to the constitution, the existing Parliamentary System of government has to be abolished and be replaced with an Executive Presidency and a Presidential System.
During the referendum, those in favor of a 'YES' vote argued that the changes were necessary for a strong and stable Turkey, reasoning that an Executive Presidency would bring about an end to unstable coalition governments that had dominated Turkish politics since the 1960s. The 'NO' campaign has argued that the proposals would concentrate too much power in the hands of the President, effectively demolish the separation of powers and taking legislative authority away from Parliament.
The 'YES' vote received majority and brought amongst others the following constitutional changes.
1. President will be elected directly by the people having all executive powers.
2. The post of prime minister to be abolished and instead new post of vice president, possibly two or three, will be created.
3. President becomes the head of the executive, as well as the head of state, and maintains a connection with his political party.
4. The President will have the power to appoint ministers, prepare the budget, choose the majority of senior judges and enact certain laws by presidential decree.
5. The President alone will be able to announce a state of emergency and dismiss parliament.
6. Parliament will lose its right to examine and check ministers or propose an inquiry. However, it will be able to begin impeachment proceedings or investigate the President with a majority vote by MPs. Putting the President on trial would require a two-thirds majority.
7. Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on the same day every five years.
8. The president will be limited to two terms of five years each [this condition was the same even before the referendum of 16th April 2017—Articles 102 & 109 Turkish constitutions ].
The obvious changes to the constitution are the president's power to dismiss parliament and the prevention of parliament from investigating and enquiring ministers. These powers may be regarded as undermining the right to check and balance one organ over another. Erdogan's (President of Turkey) reason for preventing parliament from having the power of checking and investigation was that both President and parliament will be directly elected by the people, and unlike before the President does not need to satisfy elected leaders (parliament) to enact laws.
Thus the referendum of 16 April 2017, replaced the previous Parliamentary System with the Executive Presidential System, significantly increased the President's powers, and the President became Head of the Executive as well as Head of State.
Analyzing the Turkish system makes it clear that the previous Turkish Parliamentary system which was favored by some minority groups cannot work in Afghanistan because it is firstly secular, secondly, it was not properly working even in Turkey, and from 2007 until 2017 the government was trying to change it to a better system. Finally, they chose the Afghan style of Presidency. Even their President has more constitutional powers than that of the Afghan.
Lebanon is considered by some writers to be a multicultural, multiethnic (pluralistic) country in the Arab world. Currently, Lebanon is a semi-presidential unicameral parliamentary democracy in which the prime minister leads the executive branch of the government. The government of Lebanon is based on a confessional framework. It means the highest offices are proportionately reserved for representatives of certain religious groups. The confessional system came into existence in 1943 in the result of a National Pact, and that was an unwritten agreement which established the political foundations of modern Lebanon. Seats in parliament were divided on a 6 to 5 ratio of Christian to Muslim, based on the 1932 census. This proportion continued until 1990 when the ratio changed to half, half. Positions in the government bureaucracy are allocated on a similar basis. Since the Pact of 1943 until today, the top three positions are distributed as follows:
a. The President to be a Maronite Christian;
b. The Prime Minister has to be a Sunni Muslim; and
c. The Speaker of the Parliament (also referred to as President of the National Assembly or President of the Chamber of Deputies) has to be a Shi'a Muslim.
This division of power gave a strong sectarian appearance to Lebanese politics and caused the continuation of civil conflicts and ethnic differences in the country, even sometimes to arm clashes.
The constitution gives the President vast authority. He is commander in chief of the army and security forces; he promulgates laws passed by the Chamber of Deputies and may also propose laws, enact "urgent" legislation by decree, and veto bills; and he exercises considerable influence throughout the government.
The power of the prime minister varies according to his personality, his base of support, and the desire and wishes of the president he serves. A distinguished prime minister can enhance the prestige of the president.
However, for decades, the Lebanese politicians are divided about their confessional system. Those who are politically strong, but see themselves at a disadvantage, are struggling either to revise the system or abolish it entirely. While those politically weak but depending on foreign support (especially shia') and have been benefitted from the 1943 formula, are struggling to preserve this system.
Summarizing and analyzing the Lebanese confessional system, the study found the Lebanese system a strange module of governance. The politic is frequently treated like a family business. For example, almost one-fourth of the members of the 1960 parliament were the descendants of men who had been appointed to the legislative assemblies. Furthermore, it was not uncommon for more than one member of the same family to hold the high offices in the same or different governments.
Electing of the President is one of the most important responsibilities of the parliament beside many other responsibilities. However, despite the legislative role of parliament, it has been rarely involved in law making or policy preparation and the parliament generally has been ineffective, and plays an unimportant part in Lebanese politics. It has simply been an extension of the executive, rather than a separate, co-equal branch of government.
The political parties are allowed to be established; but are generally based on sectarian benefits. It has to be noted that party politics have played almost no part in Lebanon. In other words most members of parliament do not represent political parties as they are known in the West. Candidate campaign for Parliament is sponsored by a local zaim (clan leader), meaning that competition within districts is intra-sectarian.
The system was designed to minimize inter-sectarian competition and maximize cross-confessional cooperation; but in reality it divided the country more even among the co-religionists and cultures what about other religions and cultures. There is no security and stability in the country, which is the mother of all other disasters.
Analyzing the finding of this study shows that none of the systems of these three countries can work in Afghanistan; because each of the mentioned systems is designed for them as the possessors of different cultures, historical backgrounds, and even of different religious compositions. More importantly Turkey recently (in 2017) changed their long practicing parliamentary system to a presidential system like that of Afghanistan. The French system was already proven as a failed system during communists Taraki, Amin and Babrak. Lebanon is in the process of finding a better system because under the current system they cannot even agree on the contract of rubbish to which ethnic group it has to be given.
5. PROBLEMS IN RELATION TO THE POST OF PRIME MINISTER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE: SUGGESTED SOLUTION
Our comprehensive study of the prime ministers, starting from the first one in 1923 up to Mujahideen time (1996), reveals that during all this time the prime ministers had limited power, and were more and less just symbolic. The compromise of 2014 gave a bit higher position to the chief executive, but the chief executive claimed equal power like that of the President and instead of serving the nation, he challenged the President and government. During five years (2014-2019) they were not able to make even only a proper cabinet of ministers.
Regrettably, in recent history, particularly since 1992 the reason and motivation behind the power struggle have been primarily ethnicity. One of the major parties, Jamiat-i-Islami which is dominated by ethnic Tajiks, the second majority ethnic group, has been in de facto power since 1992. Although the Taliban, the majority ethnic Pashtun, brought about 90% of Afghanistan under their control from 1996 to October 2001, the internationally recognized government remained in the hands of the Tajiks later known as Northern Alliance. Since the collapse of the Taliban nearly, all influential and powerful Ministries have been occupied by members of the Northern Alliance. The high-ranking police force, elite forces, and high-ranking army officers were appointed on the basis of their merit as resistance fighters against the Taliban. The end result is that Afghanistan is left with partisan security forces on the back of which Abdullah and his allies dared not only disputing 2014 election results but also threatened to declare a parallel government if their demands were not met. Their powerful presence was also felt in the National Assembly through a comfortable win of a confidence vote for their nominated ministers. It is also worth mentioning that neither Abdullah nor Ghani are heading political parties in parliament. They run for the presidency as independent and enjoyed alliances from other parties most formed along ethnic lines. In the status quo, creating the post of prime minister may equate to institutionalizing ethnic rifts. A further dangerous insight is the constitution's inclination towards Lebanon, whereas Lebanese themselves are trying to change the system to a better one.
No doubt, in the context of Afghanistan if proceed with the amendment of the constitution in favor of the prime minister, it will force the President to transfer some of his powers to the prime minister in a result the executive branch will be immediate, more or less thrown into the French style of Semi Presidential government, and that style of government as discussed above was a failed system in Afghanistan during communist time. During communists time the power struggle between Amin and Tarakai is a vivid example of the failure of a French-style government in Afghanistan. Taraki was the strongest possible president that the French constitution could afoot. Afghanistan cannot be compared with France. Only strong armies can guarantee the legitimacy of government and rule of law. Afghanistan, unlike France, suffers from the lack of a professional and non-partisan army loyal to national interests.
A system, close to the French system was prescribed by Kerry to Asharaf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah after the election of 2014. The president, as head of state, will become feeble, weak, and ineffective in a country like today's Afghanistan which needs a strong president. Also, if the trend continues, the opposition or runner-up in the future elections will reserve the right to claim the post of prime minister hereditarily, regardless of democratic elections results. The constitutional change will provide unwanted consequences.
The author is aware that dispensing suggestions, he is obliged to accommodate the theory of those advocating for the post of prime minister. The bedrock of their point is the 'Kerry deal' in which the formation of the post was promised. If the objective of creating the office for the prime minister is to separate the leadership of the state from the leadership of government as a sensible way of appropriating the 50% of power, this objective is ill-thought of and misconceived. It will accelerate the power struggle between the offices of the prime minister and president. Such struggle will undermine the state, create a deadlock in resolution procedures, protract public services with the implementation of domestic policy in the heart of it, create an awful and incredible foreign policy and administratively governing will become problematic.
The tensions between the two heads of government will be counterproductive. The sense of accountability, transparency, and rule of law will be seriously undermined. The ministers due to their party loyalties will enjoy immunity from accountability. The conflicting objectives of the two executives will put national interest in jeopardy and empower the insurgency.
In addition to the above academic search, many Afghan politicians and academic figures also do not welcome the creation of the post of prime minister or chief executive.
The discussion above proves that creating the post of prime minister or chief executive, will bring more miseries and disturbances to the country instead of unity, stability and prosperity. During the five years of UG, there was no unity in the government. The Chief Executive who was claiming to be the head of government was also dealing as the head of the opposition. Once, the chief executive said that he has not spoken to the President for a long time because they are in a clash with each other. Until the end of their government, many ministers and governors of the provinces worked on an interim basis it was because the President wants one person and the chief executive another. There were too many allegations of corruption and nepotism against the governor of Mazari Sharif ('Ata Noor). President Ashraf Ghani wanted to remove him, but could not remove and it took more than four years for the President to remove him, with a new governor still to be the choice of the 'Ata Noor. International Treaties, Contracts and Projects although, signed by the President, could not be easily implemented as the chief executive and his supporters did not agree to them. Security was worsened; hundreds of innocent Afghan people were killed every week in terrorist attacks. President could not implement his plans as they were opposed by the chief executive.
The deep and detailed study of the prime minister and the then-created post the chief executive revealed that neither of these posts could work in Afghanistan because the majority of the problems were coming from the prime minister or the chief executive themselves. The author, therefore, suggests that the creation of the post of chief executive or prime minister is not for the national interest in Afghanistan, and would like to suggest further that a constitutionally strong president, elected directly in a general election by the people, directly responsible to the people is the only choice for Afghans. On one side he will have a direct mandate from the people and direct representative of the people, on the other, it is closer to the Islamic system. The people of Afghanistan will be ruled directly by their own choice. Most importantly, based on the author's firsthand information and historical knowledge, two people of either equal power or sharing power cannot work in Afghanistan. It is very clear from the long history of Afghanistan that the struggle was and still is for power. There can be no better example than the current, more than forty-three years of civil war.
The author knows and believes that having the only solo strong head of state and head of government will 99.99% end with tyranny, dictatorship, cruelty, and corruption. To avoid this unpleasant prediction, the author would therefore like to suggest democratically elected strong opposition check every step of the executive for balancing the power.
The current (2004) constitution of Afghanistan is unique, but still many times its supremacy and integrity were attacked by parliament, judiciary, executive, warlords and many others. The violation of the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections, attracted serious national and international attention, because it happened by the two top runners of the presidential elections, and both times they compromised on the integrity of the constitution. However, under this article, we discuss only the unconstitutional compromise of 2014, because as the result of that compromise, the post of the chief executive was created; which seriously damaged the country, its people, their national, international, and historical prestige.
To understand if the post of chief executive as suggested by John Kerry was really important for the stability of the country, or its ignorance was better as purposely eliminated by the constitution drafting committee. The author, therefore, studied in detail the creation of the post of chief executive and position of prime minister from different angles in the legal and governing system of Afghanistan and found that the 2004 constitution of Afghanistan has opted purposely for a strong presidential system and has skipped from creating the post of chief executive or prime minister. This skip was intentional, because from one side the drafters of the constitution had interviewed many Afghans, and the majority of them were in favor of a strong presidential system without a prime minister. On another side, all members of the drafting commission, review commission, constitutional Loya Jirga, and normal Loya Jirga, had a good experience and deep study of the previous prime ministers in Afghanistan. Based on their expertise they chose the presidential system without any prime minister or chief executive. Additionally, it was found that even after the adoption of the first constitution in 1923 with the post of prime minister until 2004, the prime minister had an 'on' and 'off' position. The prime ministers were strong when they were coming from the royal family like Hashim Khan, Shahmahmood Khan and Daud Khan. When the post moved to commoners (general public) they became weak and only the bearer of the executive orders of the kings or the presidents. Daud Khan officially finished the post of prime minister. He was followed by the Taliban who also officially abolished the title of the prime minister; and. The current (2004) constitution skipped this position even from its drafting session.
Moreover, the study and analyses of the French, Turkish, and Lebanese systems of government, shoes that none of these systems can work in Afghanistan because they have been designed for different historical backgrounds, cultural and religious structures. A vivid example of the failure of the French semi-presidential system was tested during the communist period; Turkey itself, recently changed its parliamentary system to the Afghan style of the 2004 presidential system; and Lebanese are struggling to find a better way than the current confessional system.
Based on the finding and discussion above, the author of this article can never recommend the creation of the post of prime minister or chief executive; but instead will recommend only a constitutionally strong president, elected directly in a general election by the people, directly responsible to the people. However to avoid the occurrence of tyranny, dictatorship and cruelty of the executive; the study strongly suggests a democratically, elected strong opposition.
 Stephanie Ahamad, Alexander Benard, An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan, (Stanford Law School: Afghanistan Legal Education Project, 2011), 1.
 Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Law in Afghanistan, (The Netherland: Leiden E. J. Brill, 1985), 1-2.
 For detail in this regard, refer to: M. Tahir Nasiri, "Application of the Doctrine of SOPs in the current constitution of Afghanistan," (Ph.D. thesis, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 2021). Chapter 3.
 Rainer Grote, "Separation of Powers in the New Afghan Constitution", vol. 64, no. 4 (2004): 897-915, 897.
 Asta Olesen, Islam and Politics in Afghanistan, (Richmond: Curzon Press Ltd, 1995), p 63-64.
 Ibid., 64-68.
 Hafizullah Rahimi, da Afghanistan Siasi Tarikh [Political History of Afghanistan], (Kabul: Kabul Press, 1976), 20.
 Afghan Constitution of 1923, Articles 7, 25 and 28.
 Afghan Constitution of 1964, Article 89.
 Afghan Constitution of 1923, Articles 28 & 7.
 Afghan Constitution of 1923, Article 25.
 Afghan Constitution of 1923, Article 6.
 Afghan Constitution of 1923, Article 29.
 Afghan Constitution of 1931, Article 74.
 Afghan Constitution of 1931, Article 73.
 Afghan Constitution of 1931, Article 76.
 Afghan Constitution of 1931, Article 7.
 Afghan Constitution of 1931, Article 51.
 Afghan Constitution of 1931, Article 78.
 Afghan Constitution of 1931, Article 110.
 Afghan Constitution of 1964, Article 24.
 Afghan Constitution of 1964, Article 9 (11).
 Afghan Constitution of 1964, Article 20.
 It was just a draft constitution, not approved by Loya Jirga or any other legal and necessary procedures, (author).
 Afghan Constitution of 1980, Article 36.
 Afghan Constitution of 1980, Article 45.
 First Constitutions of Dr Najib, 1987, Article 100.
Note: Dr Najib's first constitution (1987) was also not ratified by the Wolesi Jirga, (author).
 Both Constitutions of Dr Najib, 1987 &1990, Article 75 (3).
 Both Constitutions of Dr Najib, 1987 & 1990, Article 75 (4).
 Both, Burhanuddin Rabbani and Engineer Hikmatyar went to Northern Afghanistan for a short time as Taliban captured Kabul in 1996, and then, they crossed the borders to other countries. Burhanuddin was still claiming from Tajikistan to be the proper President of Afghanistan, but Hikmatyar rid himself of the name of the prime minister and thought to carry on, only the name with him without having a country or office is just a joke.
 Dugger, Celia W, "Muhammad Rabbani, Advocate of Some moderation in Taliban," The New York Times, (accessed on 20 March, 2017).
 Current Afghan Constitution (2004), Article 64 (11).
 Current Afghan Constitution (2004), Article 60 paragraph 1.
 Current Afghan Constitution (2004), Article 71.
 Abdul Satar S'adat the Chairman of Independent Election Commission for Compliant, "Da Ijra yawi Riyasat Da Soki Najar Za Na Wam, John Kerry Wo", (Satar confesses that there was rigging in the election, but it was not done by Election Commission, in fact it was done by the candidates themselves, using different tricks) . (accessed 25 September, 2016).
 Abdul Satar S'adat the Chairman of Independent Election Commission for Compliant says: When we wanted to announce the final result of the election, the strongest people of the world told us, do not announce the result, before a political compromise. I said no to them, and told them the political compromise was illegal, and I want to obey the law, not the strong people. They told me: your honour and life is only guaranteed by us; I still didn't accept their demand… but unfortunately the Election Commission could not dare to announce the final result.
 from 2014-2019 and from 2019-prsent (today is 31 May 2021 and is supposed to complete his five years term, 'author')
 May Jeong, "John Kerry tries to salvage deal in Afghan election dispute", The Guardian UK, 8 August 2014, vai .
 No example of such a system can be found in the world, (author).
 For detail in this regard, refer to: M. Tahir Nasiri, n. 1. Chapter 5.2.B. P 254.
 Anwarulhaq Ahadi, "La 11 Sanbuli la 1395, wrosta da mili yaw wali hakomt mashroiat nalary (after 21 August 2016 the UG does not have any legal status)," Tand.com, (accessed 03 May 2018).
 Spant, "La Spanta sara da mili yaw wali hakomat pa ara' maraka (interview with Spanta about National UG)," BBC Pashto, , (accessed 1 January, 2016).
 Ashraf Ghani, "Ka Barialy Sham, Wak Na Wesham (I don't Share Power, if I am succeeded)," BBC Pashto, , (accessed 20 February 2018).
 William Hague, "Bartanya ao Pakistan da Mili Yaw wali da Hakomat Harkaly wakr (Britain and Pakistan welcomed the National UG)," BBC Pashto, , (accessed 25 January 2016).
 Abdul Bari 'Aridh, "Itilafi, Mushrakati, Sahami aw Da Mili Yaw wali Hokmat (Coalition, Participatory, Dividend and the National UG)," Taand.com, , (accessed 2 February, 2017).
 Abdul Manan Arghand, "Da Nomandano Tar Manz Sawya Mawafiqa Da Asasi Qanoon Khilaf Da (The Agreement between the Candidate is Against Constitutional Law)," Khabarial.com, (accessed 02 February, 2016).
 "Na'ry Wali Rasany: Pa Yawa Watan Ki Dwa Pachahan (World Wide Media: Two Kings in one Country)," Khabarial.com, (accessed 02 February, 2017).
 "John Kerry, Da Nomandano da hok'ry pa a'ra malomat wark'ral (John Kerry Gave Information about the Agreement of Two Candidates)," BBC Pashto, (accessed 23 March, 2016).
 "John Kerry, in a meeting of announcement of compromise on the UG," (accessed on 23 March, 2016).
 "Abdullah Wa e Chi Pa Hokmat Ki Ikhtilafat Da Di Sabab Shawy Chi Khalq Na Hili Shi (Abullah says the disunity in government is the reason for people to be disappointed)," Khabarial.com, (accessed 10 February, 2016).
 French Constitution of 1958, Article 1.
 Semi-Presidential System is also called dual executive system. Or in other words, it is a system of government in which both popularly elected fixed-term president and prime minister exist, and both of them are collectively responsible to the legislature.
 French Constitution of 1958, Article 6 (1).
 French Constitution of 1958, Article 12.
 The difference between an amnesty and a presidential pardon is that the amnesty clears all subsequent effects of the sentencing, as though the crime had not been committed, while pardon simply relieves the sentenced individual from part or all of the remainder of the sentence.
 For detail about cohabitation, refer to the French Constitution and Governing System.
 Turkish Constitution of 1982, Article 104 (paragraph 1).
 Turkish Constitution of 1982, Article 101 (paragraph 1), (As amended on October 21, 2007; Act No. 5678).
 Turkish Constitution of 1982, Article 101 (paragraph 4).
 Turkish Constitution of 1982, Article 112.
 Turkish Constitution of 1982, Article 112.
 Turkish Referendum of 16 April 2017.
 The referendum of 3rd October 2007 has already amended Article 101 of the 1982 Constitution, and empowered the public to directly elect their President. The 2014 Presidential election was held according to the referendum of 2007; but that referendum did not change the system of government from Parliamentary to the Presidential, therefore the President was still a nominal, and had no executive power. The executive power was with prime minister only. The system changed during the referendum of 2017.
 This change is in line with the Afghan constitution of 2004, (author).
 It is Similar to the model of the USA, and current (2004) Afghan Constitution. The Afghan constitution does not prevent the President to be member of any political party. Article 66 paragraph 2 of the Afghan constitution only says that, "…during the term of office, the Presidential position shall not be used for linguistic, sectarian, tribal, and religious as well as party consideration", and Article 153 mentions all those official who cannot become members of political parties during the term of office, but does not say [does not prevent] anything about the President and ministers, (author).
 This change also resembles to the constitution of USA and Afghanistan, (author).
 It is not like the Afghan constitution. In Afghanistan the election for parliament and President are held on two different occasions, (author).
 This proviso echoes only the USA constitutions. In Afghanistan the President can re-contest for any number, only with a pause of a term after two terms, (for detail, refer M. Tahir Nasiri, n. 3.
 Turkish Constitution of 1982, Article 101 paragraph 2 and Article 109 paragraph 2.
 According to Collins dictionary 'confessionalism' is generally a religious belief, especially in Christianity that every religion should have a set of essential doctrines, and the followers of that religion should strictly follow them. However, in Lebanon confessionalism is a system of government which proportionally distributes political power between religious and ethnic groups-Christian and Muslims (Muslims further divided to Shi'a and Sunni).
 Under the national reconciliation agreement reached in Taif, Saudi Arabia, in October 1989, members of parliament agreed to alter the National Pact and create a fifty-fifty Christian-Muslim balance in the parliament and reorder the powers of the different branches of government.
Tristan Dunning, "Lebanese-style power-sharing isn't the solution to the Syrian impasse," The Conversation, (1st June, 2018).
 The adoption of confessional system changed Lebanese to a paralyses politics state. The parliament has extended its term without elections few times. For a long period of time it was unable to agree on the appointment of a president. The parliament could not even agree on a contract for garbage collection. As a result, rubbish and waste were piled up and rotted on the streets of Beirut. The confessional system caused of civil unrest, (author).
 Ayman Ghazi, "Politics in Lebanon," (accessed 30 May, 2018)
Note: In the 1970s and 1980s, Amin Jumayyil (the Phalange Party), Dani Shamun (the National Liberal Party), and Walid Jumblatt (the Progressive Socialist Party) inherited their fathers' political cloaks.
 For detail in this regard, refer to: M. Tahir Nasiri, n. 3. Chapter 5.2.B.4. P 270.
Mohamad Tahir Khan Nasiri is a P.h.D student at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Nasiri has a masters degree in comparative laws and a bachelor degree in Shariah from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
NSA Hamdullah Mohib Leaves for Kazakhstan - DID Press
17 June 2021
The office of the National Security Council (NSC) said in a statement that NSA Hamdullah Mohib left Kabul for Nur-Sultan, capital of Kazakhstan, on Thursday morning.
Leading a high-level delegation, Mr. Mohib will discuss issues of mutual interest with Kazakh security and political leadership.
It is worth mentioning that NSA has already traveled to regional countries to build regional consensus on the Afghan peace process.
As Biden Pulls Out of Afghanistan, What's His Plan for Pakistan? It Harbors Terrorists, too | Opinion - Miami Herald
17 June 2021
By Robert Weiner and Ben Lasky
According to the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General, the Taliban has increased its violence against Afghan citizens since the beginning of the year. Peace talks with the Afghan government have led to a U.S. vow to pull troops from the country by Sept. 11. While Afghanistan gets most of the attention in the region, we, at least, are proposing a "plan" to neutralize anti-West terror development there. We'll support intelligence, counter narcotics aid and freezing funds and assets going to terrorism. It may be idealistic, but at least it's an attempt to get us out while stabilizing the region.
But the administration has no such plan for Afghanistan's neighbor, Pakistan. Even though it hosted Osama bin Laden, a WorldPublicOpinion.org poll conducted 10 years after the 9/11 attacks found that 72 percent of Pakistani citizens said they didn't know who was responsible for the attacks.
Like Afghanistan, Pakistan is a world-leading narcotics supplier, where terrorists get most of their money as drug cartels. Al Qaida set up headquarters in Pakistan's tribal areas after U.S. forces arrived in 2001. In a May 6 appearance on "Morning Joe," former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates argued that the United States has ignored Pakistan while overemphasizing Afghanistan.
"By January 2002, you had an Afghan government that was recognized internationally. You had all the parties in Afghanistan participating, except for the Taliban, who were hiding in Pakistan," Gates said. In 2009, former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari admitted during a meeting with former civil servants that Pakistan had trained terrorists to further its foreign-policy goals. "Let us be truthful to ourselves and make a candid admission of the realities. The terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryears until 9/11 occurred, and they began to haunt us as well. They were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives," Ali Zardari said.
SEAL Team Six finally killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011. Abbottabad is not some small Pakistani village hidden in the mountains just across the Afghan border. Its population is more than 200,000. Its military academy — its West Point — is less than two miles from bin Laden's headquarters and hiding place. Is anyone really supposed to believe the Pakistani government didn't know he was there, allowing his protection?
As we approach the 20-year anniversary of 9/11, there hasn't been a major al Qaida terrorist attack in the United States since then. While al Qaida leadership has changed, its goal hasn't. Drug money is the main source of funding for terror groups. According to the State Department's 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Afghanistan is the main opium supplier in the world. Pakistan produces one-third as much, but is a transshipment point for chemicals and the opium used to make heroin.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan website now states that, "Since 2009, the U.S. government has committed over $5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan and over $1 billion in emergency humanitarian response. …This commitment reflects our belief that if Pakistan is secure and peaceful and prosperous, that's not only good for Pakistan, it's good for the region and it's good for the world."
Not exactly. India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, have hated each other for decades with jealousy over the territory of Kashmir and a desire for world recognition at the expense of the other.
While most of Donald Trump's presidency was a disaster, his administration was right to cut off $1.3 billion in security assistance funding to Pakistan in 2018. However, like many events that took place under Trump, the aid was restored after his personal relationship with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan improved.
The Biden administration certainly hasn't been chummy with Pakistan so far. Biden held a climate-change summit with leaders in the region in April. Indian and Bengali leaders were invited. Pakistani leaders were snubbed. This doesn't seem to be an accident, either, as Climate Czar John Kerry also recently visited countries in the region. Pakistan wasn't one of them.
While the cold shoulder is warranted, there should be no more free lunch. Funding should be contingent on an end to safe harbor for terrorists and an end to a worldwide drug distribution to fund those terrorists.
While Pakistan claims to be a friend to the United States, it is an ally in name only.
Robert Weiner is the former spokesman for the Clinton White House National Drug Policy Office and the House Government Operations Committee. He was chief of staff for the House Aging Committee under Florida U.S. Rep. Claude Pepper. Ben Lasky is a senior policy analyst at Solutions for Change.
Key Afghan Delegation to Meet Taliban in Doha: Sources - TOLOnews
18 June 2021
By Haseeba Atakpal
A six-member team from the Afghan Republic comprising key political leaders, including the reconciliation council's chief Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai, is expected to travel to Doha within the next few days to hold talks with the Taliban, sources briefed on the matter said.
Two former vice presidents, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni and Mohammad Karim Khalili, as well as Babur Farahmand, the deputy head of the reconciliation council, and presidential adviser Akram Khpulwak, are also part of the team.
"The delegation will focus on intra-Afghan talks and facilitation of the negotiations," said university lecturer Faiz Mohammad Zaland.
This comes as the negotiating teams from the Afghan Republic and the Taliban met in Doha on Wednesday.
"Any effort which is carried out for peace is important. The trip of these political leaders will have its impacts, but the question is how they will manage to build trust between Kabul and Doha," said Nasrullah Stanekzai, a law professor and analyst.
This comes as violence has significantly increased over the past two months and has left dozens killed and wounded.
Abdullah, who is in Turkey for Antalya Diplomacy Forum on Friday called on the Taliban to engage in talks, reiterating that there is a "real opportunity" for peace in the country that should be utilized.
While in Turkey, Abdullah met with foreign ministers of Iran and Pakistan.
In meeting with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Abdullah said they exchanged views on the Afghan peace process, intra-Afghan talks, the latest political and security developments, and the two countries' bilateral relations.
Abdullah said in another tweet that he had a "detailed and frank discussion" with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and that they exchanged views on the peace process and bilateral relations.
He also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Abdullah said in a tweet that they exchanged views on the Afghan peace process and Turkey's role in supporting the peace process.
Abdullah said that Qureshi assured him of "Pakistan's full support for the acceleration of peace talks and stability in Afghanistan."
Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar has also traveled to Turkey to attend the event.
"The foreign minister is expected to meet foreign ministers from the region on the sideline of the conference," said Hamid Tahzib, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Pakistan would not Support Taliban Military Domination - Etilaatroz [Dari]
18 June 2021
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, met with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomatic Forum in Turkey. The two sides discussed peace efforts, cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the latest political and security developments in Afghanistan and the region. During the meeting, the Pakistan foreign minister said that his country was in favor of a political solution to the Afghan issue through dialogue and would not in any way support a military solution or Taliban military domination. Qureshi also said that Pakistan was ready to help Afghanistan achieve peace since Pakistan's policy in the region has changed.
Original, in Dari: https://www.etilaatroz.com/126446/qureshi-says-pakistan-does-not-support-taliban-military-domination/
Violence in Afghanistan May Surge, Warns EU - Pajhwok Afghan News
17 June 2021
As the withdrawal of foreign forces continues, the European Union fears violence in Afghanistan could escalate.
EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson issued the warning during an interview with Dawn at the end of his visit to Islamabad on Wednesday.
The diplomat underlined the urgent need for the warring parties to make progress in their peace negotiations in Doha.
He said: "We could, unfortunately, see an increased level of violence over the next few weeks and months."
With Doha negotiations virtually stalled, insurgent-linked violence has been on the rise in Afghanistan amid the pullout of foreign troops.
The Taliban had not floated any proposal on how they would like to see future governance or a list of subjects they would like to discuss, the envoy said.
The warring sides reportedly conferred on the recalibration of order and sequence of sessions in their meeting on Tuesday.
In talks with both sides, the envoy said, that EU had underscored the urgency to move forward. "We need to move from process to substance."
He asked the Taliban to demonstrate their sincerity about the peace process. He reminded the militant movement of its promise not to take Kabul by force and that they were committed to a negotiated settlement.
The diplomat urged the Taliban to reduce violence and prove their interest in cooperating with the European Union and others.
Asked about Pakistan's role in the process, Niklasson said he had noticed a sense of urgency among the Pakistani leaders.
US, India Discuss Afghanistan Peace - Pajhwok Afghan News
17 June 2021
KABUL (Pajhwok): US special envoy for Afghanistan peace ZalmaiKhalilzad held talks with Indian foreign minister on the peace process in the war-torn nation on Thursday.
Khalilzad wrote on his Twitter account that he met Indian Foreign Minister G. Shankar in Doha, the capital of Qatar, on Thursday.
He said during the meeting they discussed peace in an independent and united Afghanistan that would benefit both Afghans and the world.
The US special envoy praised India's role in Afghanistan's reconstruction and economic development and said that India had provided significant economic assistance to Afghanistan over the past two decades.
"We will work with the rest of the international community to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan", Khalilzad said.
Iran Pledges Support to Political Settlement in Afghanistan - Pajhwok Afghan News
18 June 2021
By Zarghoona Salehi
Iran has reaffirmed its commitment to political settlement of Afghanistan's conflict stressing that the problem has no military solution, according to a statement on Friday.
This was stated by Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif during a meeting with Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) in Antalya, Turkey, the statement said.
Peace efforts, bilateral relations between Iran and Afghanistan and recent political and security developments in the region had been discussed during the meeting.
Iranian foreign minister said that his country stood with the people of Afghanistan and was ready support Afghanistan in achieving peace and stability.
Abdullah also stressed that Afghanistan's problem has no military solution and it should be resolved through talks.
HCNR Chairman Abdullah is in Turkey to attend Antalya Diplomacy Forum. The event is attended by foreign ministers from several countries.
President Biden and Putin Discussed Afghan Peace During Their Meeting - Daily Maser [Pashto]
17 June 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly met with his Russian counterpart in Geneva to discuss a range of topics. President Biden has spoken with Putin about Afghan peace and has assured him that he would continue cooperation with Afghanistan. President Putin made it clear that Russia had no plans for another Cold War against the United States and, therefore, supported Afghanistan's peace process. Russia has previously expressed its commitment to Afghan peace and has convened several important international conferences in this regard.
Original, in Pashto: http://maseerdaily.af/?p=53197
Qureshi to Afghans: Work for Political Settlement - Pajhwok Afghan News
18 June 2021
Pakistan has reminded Afghan leaders of the responsibility to work together to find a political solution to the ongoing conflict.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Wednesday the next few months would crucial for Afghanistan as the situation could aggravate further or get resolved.
In a statement, Qureshi warned the Afghans would suffer more in case of a situation similar to that of 1990s or in the event of a civil war breaking out.
Pakistan and Afghanistan had a clear understanding that both would not allow their soils to be used against each other or by a third party, the minister concluded.
War Has No Winner and Peace Has No Loser, SMP Said During Opening New a Peace Affairs Office - Khaama Press
17 June 2021
The Afghan State Minister for Peace, Sadat Mansoor Naderi opened a new peace affairs office for the eastern zone that will cover Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Laghman provinces, the ministry said in a statement.
"The war has no winner and the peace has no loser", the State Minister for Peace said during the opening ceremony of the new office in Nangarhar.
The people will not give in to force, they believe there is no other reason to continue war in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops, the Minister said.
Sadat Mansoor Naderi, the State Minister for Peace called on the Taliban to take this peace opportunity and help for a prestigious stability and peace in Afghanistqn.
Naderi said that the civil society institutions are the real partner of the peace efforts and the new peace offices in zones and provinces will facilitate to more engage them in the peace talks.
The State Ministry for Peace has also plans to open officially open offices in South, West, North, North-East, South-East and Center of Afghanistan to cover the rest of provinces, a source at SMP told Khaama Press.
US, Russia Presidents also Talk Afghan Peace, Security - Pajhwok Afghan News
18 June 2021
By Javed Hamim Kakar
US and Russia presidents in their first time face to face meeting have agreed on arms control, negotiations and sending envoys to each other's countries.
The meeting in Geneva city of Switzerland on Wednesday continued for three hours.
After the meeting, Russian president Vladimir Putin during in a joint conference with US president, Joe Biden termed their talks as 'productive' and said that both sides were interested in understanding each other.
Biden, on his part, said that he told the Russian president, 'my agenda is not against Russia, but for Americans." He said that he also emphasized about focusing on human rights issues.
Biden said that he also talked with Putin about Americans imprisoned in Russia.
In response to a question, he said that the Russia president hoped to help facilitate peace in Afghanistan. He said that he did not think Putin would be seeking another cold war with the US.
Putin called Biden 'a constructive and experienced' man and said 'it is hard to say relations are getting better with the US, but there is a clue for bilateral trust."
Rights Watchdog, UN and Afghan Women Band Together Over Ceasefire Calls - Ariana News
17 June 2021
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and UN Women Afghanistan stated that gendered ceasefires are a prerequisite for peace talks and a negotiated settlement.
In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the organizations said that women across the globe have long been at the frontlines of conflict and crisis, pioneering ways to end the conflict, participating in peace, and advocating for the rights of women and girls in agreement seeking to end violent conflict.
"Yet often, women's expertise and priorities are excluded from formal ceasefire agreements and implementation mechanisms. In Afghanistan, women continue to risk their lives every day in the name of peace," the statement read.
The organizations added that 2020 marked the highest number of women killed since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began systematic documentation in 2009.
Shaharzad Akbar Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission stated: "Why are we talking about ceasefires and peace when the violence rates are so high? Because this is the common demand of all Afghans, across ethnicities, across genders, across geographies, across age groups: the end of war and ceasefire. From a human rights perspective, from all perspectives, this the biggest need, working for peace"
The publication – Gender-responsive ceasefires and ceasefire agreements – was launched for highlighting how a gender-responsive ceasefire is urgently needed in the context of Afghanistan to secure the conditions for meaningful peace talks, the statement noted.
The publication outlines a practical set of recommended entry points for securing gender-related provisions in the ceasefire text as well as outlining how ceasefire agreements can address the gender dynamics of conflict, the organizations said.
The publication was launched at an event in which Abdullah Abdullah, Chairperson of High Council for National Reconciliation; Hasina Safi, Acting Minister of Women's Affairs; Habiba Sarabi, Member of Peace Negotiation Team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; and Mette Knudsen, Deputy Special Representative of the US Secretary-General were present.
The event featured a collective call for a ceasefire from Afghan women across provinces and the international community in Kabul to put an end to all forms of violence, the organizations noted.
"For the last 40 years, women have been the major victims of war. If we really want a ceasefire that lasts, we need women to be part of it and all their needs must be taken very well into consideration. Peace is what all Afghan people want. A just peace, a peace for all. A justified peace that takes the rights of all Afghans into consideration," Abdullah Abdullah said.
"Today's discussion, on gender provisions in ceasefire agreements, is very timely for Afghanistan. The need to reduce violence remains. Women are concerned that their rights will be at risk, they are concerned that the civil society space is shrinking. All Afghans, particularly women, are asking for an end to violence in all its forms," said Mette Knudsen.
Aleta Miller, a UN Women Representative in Afghanistan, stated that Afghanistan can lead the world on peace processes.
"Globally, peace processes say little or nothing about women's rights, and statistically equality between women and men is a pre-requisite for long-lasting peace. Afghanistan can and should be different. But for any progress to happen, violence, in all its forms, must stop. It must stop now and forever, for any peace to happen, for any peace to last, for any progress." Miller said.
NATO Afghanistan Envoy Appeals for Regional Support to Ensure the Taliban won't Collapse the State - The National
18 June 2021
By Thomas Harding
Nato is pinning its hopes on the Taliban settling for a role in the Afghan government but not leading it despite facing warnings that the state could instead cease to function as a result of the group's continuing insurgency.
Nato's senior civilian representative in Kabul told a London panel that the best scenario after the Western Alliance withdraws this summer would be for the Taliban to be "part of the government not as the government".
"I think that is the development that we all expect but it's up to the regional countries to make it happen," Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo told the Regional Powers and Post-Nato Afghanistan conference.
Leading analysts at the meeting said there was a real prospect of the Taliban seizing power within a year of Western troops leaving.
There are also concerns that the exit of the 10,000 US and Nato forces could see a bloodbath when next year's "fighting season" begins in early spring, turning the country into "Syria two".
A lack of consensus among the powers that surround the country, from Pakistan, India, China, Russia and Iran, means that a power struggle is inevitable, the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) webinar heard.
But the deepest worry is that, as when Russia's decade-long occupation ended in 1989, the Taliban will take control through force and impose its harsh theocratic regime on the population.
"The way things are going there may not be an Afghan state a year from now and there may be a Taliban autocracy so I don't think there is an endless time we can wait for regional consensus to fall," said Dr Antonio Giustozzi, a Taliban expert from the University of London.
The United Nations is now preparing for an increase in violence, the global body's refugee chief said. "The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is another indicator that violence may rise after that," Filippo Grandi told AFP. "We are making plans for it."
The Taliban have made territorial gains across Afghanistan as peace talks with the Afghan government have stalled. With the Nato and American troops withdrawing before September it is understood that the extremists are awaiting their exit before launching an offensive early next year.
The Kabul government is hoping that Afghan security forces will prove resilient and keep the Taliban at bay, with some help from remaining US and British special forces.
Key to Afghanistan's future will be the involvement and influence of its neighbours. Foremost is Pakistan, which has both ties to the Taliban and leverage within the Afghan government, having largely pushed aside its traditional foe India.
"There does not need to be a so-called proxy war between India and Pakistan over Afghanistan," said Rahul Roy-Chaudhury of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank. "There are bad options for Pakistan as well."
He said that India would support a non-Taliban government with continued aid, and was against a civil war in Afghanistan "where there's al Qaeda, anarchy and conflict, as this is very bad news for India".
The Russians, who have been accused of paying bounties to the Taliban for dead American troops, have seen their leverage increase too, "by reaching out to all the different players" from all sides, following their "playbook from the Middle East", said David Lewis of Exeter University. "The Russians feel that they have enough there to have some influence over a future administration that the Taliban might be part of."
He said that Moscow believed its regional diplomacy was "in a good place" and that Russia "now does want a stable Afghanistan".
China, which had hoped to reap economic benefits from the country, is now more concerned about the conflict spilling over its border into the largely Muslim Xinjiang province.
"China doesn't really care as long as Afghanistan is not exporting its problems to them, that's where their concern lies," said Rusi's Raffaello Pantucci.
Iran, which currently has one million Afghan refugees, is another country with deep concerns over a Taliban takeover as the previous extremist regime ousted by the US in 2001 was "very problematic for it", said Rusi's Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi.
But Tehran has little control over events across its eastern border. "Iran has felt like it has very little leverage on what's going on and what could happen to the country moving forward," she said.
Ultimately, once America has departed it will be down to the country's neighbours to ensure stability, said Mr Roy-Chaudhury. "My sense is that the region has to be part of the solution for Afghanistan, there is no other option. But the problem is that there is no regional consensus, towards the future of Afghanistan."
The "most internationally legitimate" solution would be for the Doha peace talks "to somehow succeed," said Dr Giustozzi.
Without the reliance on foreign troops the Afghan government might be forced into power sharing with the Taliban, although that comes with dangers, argued Mr Pontecorvo.
He said the West's presence had effectively blocked the political process, or reforms from progressing. "The Nato forces were a good reason for nothing to happen. Now that good reason has gone. We made it clear that we are committed to Afghanistan but we have also a number of other competing priorities."
Mr Pontecorvo said that Nato would continue to fund Afghanistan with $4 billion a year, at least until 2024.
The worse scenario would be an enduring bloody civil war leading to another intervention, warned the UN's Filippo Grandi. "The crisis can start again, which means that after a few years, more troops have to be sent back. This is our concern in Afghanistan for sure."
Pakistan Against Military Solution in Afghanistan: Qureshi - Pajhwok Afghan News
18 June 2021
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that his country was not supporting military solution or Taliban's military victory in Afghanistan, according to a statement from the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) on Friday.
During a meeting the HCNR Chairman Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on the sidelines of Antalya Diplomatic Forum Qureshi reaffirmed Islamabad's support for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Both sides discussed bilateral cooperation, peace process and recent political and military development in the region, the statement said.
The statement said: "Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan's support to political reconciliation and rejected support to military solution."
Abdullah said: "Had a detailed & frank discussion with HE.@SMQureshiPTI, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan on the sidelines of @AntalyaDF. We exchanged views on the #PeaceProcess & bilateral relations. HE assured me of Pakistan's full support for the acceleration of peace talks& stability in AFG."
Pakistan's Role in Afghan War and Peace. - Ariana News [Dari]
17 June 2021
Program: Tahawol (Evolution) (14:15 to 14:15)
Guests: Tahir Khan (Pakistan-based independent journalist and Political analyst), Ahmad Sayedi, (university professor and political analyst), Mohammad Qasim Urfani, (international relations expert)
In Thursday's episode of Ariana News' Tahawol (Evolution) talk show, panelists discussed Pakistan's role in the Afghan war and peace.
International relations expert Mohammad Qasim Urfani said that President Biden's agreement with the Russian President on Afghan peace would be very valuable for Afghanistan. If the two superpowers agreed to fight terrorism in Afghanistan, they would continue supporting the Afghan government and security forces. He stated that if peace were not established in Afghanistan before the withdrawal of foreign troops, the fighting would increase, and the country would go towards additional crises. He noted that Russia was more concerned regarding foreign troops' departure from Afghanistan because as soon the United States and NATO exited from the country, the fighting and insecurity would escalate, and that could pose a threat for Russia.
University professor and political analyst Ahmad Sayedi said that the Afghan war was very complex because it had many national and international aspects. He noted that as Pakistan played a crucial role in Afghan fighting, it could also play a key role in Afghan peace. He said that the Afghan government could not fight the terrorists, extremists, and Taliban and defend the country alone. He suggested that if the United States intended to stay in the region, it should improve its relationship with Iran, India, China, and Pakistan. These countries were significant in this region. Sayedi noted that Pakistan intended to control Hamid Karzai airport and position its forces in strategic locations in Afghanistan. Still, Pakistan would not be able to achieve its goal because Pakistan was not a member of NATO.
Pakistan-based independent journalist and Political analyst Tahir Khan said that the Pakistan government and high-ranking military officials met with Afghan government authorities several times. Pakistan repeatedly expressed its support for the Afghan peace process. He noted that Afghan leaders should decide the Afghan war and peace, not Pakistan. He noted that Afghan National Security Advisor made negative comments, calling Pakistan a brothel house that created tension between the two countries. He noted that the Pakistan government was working hard to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Pakistan intended to encourage the Taliban's religious scholars to participate in a conference with Pakistan religious scholars to discuss the legitimacy of war in Afghanistan.
As Violence Intensifies, Abdullah Asks Taliban to Engage in Talks - TOLOnews
18 June 2021
By Siyar Sirat
Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in an address to Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey on Friday called on the Taliban to engage in talks, reiterating that there is a "real opportunity" for peace in the country that should be utilized.
"There is a real opportunity for peace, and it is our collective obligation to make the most of it," Abdullah said. "The Afghan crisis has no military solution; hence I urge the Taliban to engage in good faith in talks and negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as soon as possible and help bring an end to the violence."
Abdullah said that the world spent 20 years in Afghanistan, not only to contain terrorism but also prevent a breeding ground from re-emergence.
"We are thankful for that generous and costly global endeavor. We are now at a point where we not only need to end our internal conflict through political means, but we still need to be vigilant and assure resilience as well as containment as part of a paradigm shift that can assure peace and an acceptable and inclusive end-state for the people of Afghanistan," he said.
This comes as violence has intensified following the start of the withdrawal of US and coalition forces from Afghanistan. A parliamentary committee on Thursday reported fighting on 200 fronts across the country in just a day. Moreover, at least 30 districts have fallen to the Taliban in the last two months.
The negotiations in Doha have stalled after the announcement of the withdrawal of US and coalition forces by President Biden. The negotiating teams from the Afghan Republic and the Taliban held a meeting later this week, discussing ways to hold future meetings, but the high level of violence has diminished hopes for a progress in the negotiations.
Moreover, top Pentagon officials on Thursday said that militant groups like al Qaeda could pose a threat from Afghanistan to the United States and American allies in two years after the full withdrawal of international troops from the country.
While in Turkey, Abdullah met with foreign ministers of Iran and Pakistan.
In meeting with Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Abdullah said they exchanged views on the Afghan peace process, intra-Afghan talks, the latest political and security developments, and the two countries bilateral relations.
Abdullah said in another tweet that he had a "detailed and frank discussion" with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and that they exchanged views on the peace process and bilateral relations.
Abdullah said that Qureshi assured him of "Pakistan's full support for the acceleration of peace talks and stability in Afghanistan."
U.S. Says Biden, Erdogan Agreed on Afghanistan but S-400 Issue Is Unresolved - Reuters
17 June 2021
By Humeyra Pamuk
President Joe Biden and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed in a meeting this week that Turkey would take a lead role in securing Kabul airport as the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Thursday.
However, the two leaders were not able to resolve the long-standing issue of Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems, Sullivan said, a bitter dispute that strained ties between the NATO allies. He added that dialogue on the issue would
Sullivan told reporters that Biden and Erdogan, in their meeting on Monday at the NATO summit, discussed the Afghanistan issue. Erdogan sought certain forms of U.S. support to secure the airport and Biden committed to providing that support, Sullivan said.
"The clear commitment from the leaders was established that Turkey would play a lead role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport and we are now working through how to execute to get to that," Sullivan said, giving the first details from the U.S. side of the meeting which the Turkish presidency has not provided details of.
Turkey and the United States have been at odds over a host of issues including Ankara's purchase of Russian weaponry, policy differences in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean and expectations for a breakthrough in first face-to-face meeting between Erdogan and Biden were slim.
The two leaders sounded upbeat after their meeting although they did not announce what concrete progress they made. One potential area of cooperation has been Afghanistan, where Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul airport after U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in coming weeks.
The security of the airport is crucial for the operation of diplomatic missions out of the Afghanistan as Western forces pull out.
Last week, a Taliban spokesman said Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan under the 2020 deal for the pullout of U.S. forces but Sullivan said the Taliban comments did not deter the "detailed and effective" security plan the United States was putting together.
"Obviously we take seriously the concern that Taliban or other elements in Afghanistan will attack the Western or the international presence...We do not believe that what Taliban has said publicly should or will deter the efforts underway right now to establish that security presence," he said.
As president, Biden has adopted a cooler tone than predecessor Donald Trump towards Erdogan. Biden quickly recognised the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide - a position that angers Turkey - and stepped up criticism of Turkey's human rights record.
But it was not clear if Biden raised the human rights issue with Erdogan during his meeting and Sullivan provided little details on how, if at all, the impasse over the S-400s, which prompted Washington to remove Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet program and impose sanctions, would be resolved.
"They discussed it. There was not a resolution of the issue. There was a commitment to continue the dialogue on the S-400 and the two teams will be following up on that coming out of the meeting," he said.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Alistair Bell)
German Defense Minister in Turkey for Talks - Deustche Welle
17 June 2021
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is on her first official visit to Ankara. Talks with her Turkish counterpart focused on NATO's withdrawal from Afghanistan and tensions in the Mediterranean.
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer held talks in Ankara on Thursday with her Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar.
Kramp-Karrenbauer called on Turkey to negotiate gas exploration in a disputed area of the Mediterranean Sea also claimed by European Union members Greece and Cyprus.
After her meeting with Akar, Kramp-Karrenbauer said that as a NATO partner, Turkey has also committed itself to resolving conflicts "on the basis of international law, through negotiations."
"This also applies to contentious issues in the eastern Mediterranean," she added.
The defense minister praised that Berlin and Ankara could "find better dialogue" again in recent months. Germany would continue to support dialogue, she said.
The visit was Kramp-Karrenbauer's first-ever to NATO partner Turkey.
How is Germany involved?
Germany has taken on the role of mediator in the dispute between Turkey and Greece over rights to natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The two sides have held diplomatic talks and Turkey has withdrawn its exploration ships from the contested waters, but Berlin believes the problem remains unresolved.
Talks on Afghanistan
The two defense ministers also discussed Turkey's future role in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international troops. Turkey is currently securing the international airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul — an operation that is considered crucial in order for Western embassies to continue diplomatic operations there. The pullout of NATO troops from the country could be complete as early as mid-July.
Tensions between allies
NATO partners Germany and Turkey have not always seen eye to eye.
Last year, tensions rose between the two countries after Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, conducted a search on a Turkish cargo ship. The raid was part of an EU operation to crack down on oil smuggling and stop illegal arms shipments from reaching conflict-ridden Libya.
Turkey said the move was illegal and accused Germany and the EU of unauthorized use of force. But the mission command said it had reason to believe the vessel could be violating the UN weapons embargo against Libya.
US Defense Chief Warns of al-Qaida, IS Rebound in Afghanistan - Voice of America
17 June 2021
By Jeff Seldin
Top U.S. defense officials are sounding a dire warning about the danger Afghanistan's top terror groups will pose to America once the last U.S. and coalition troops leave the country in the coming months.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers Thursday that it will take groups like al-Qaida or Islamic State "possibly about two years" to regenerate the capability to plan attacks against the United States and its Western allies.
The nation's top-ranking military officer, Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, further warned that this timeline could be accelerated depending on the fate of the current Afghan government.
"If there was a collapse of the government or a dissolution of the Afghan security forces, that risk would obviously increase," Milley said.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced in April the decision to pull all remaining U.S. forces from Afghanistan, arguing that the United States has already achieved its original goal — to hold al-Qaida and its leader Osama bin Laden to account for carrying out the deadly September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"We delivered justice to bin Laden," Biden said in a speech to a joint session of Congress. "And we degraded the terror threat of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. … After 20 years of valiant valor and sacrifice, it's time to bring those troops home."
But concerns about the potential for al-Qaida and Islamic State in Afghanistan, known as IS-Khorasan, to reemerge without U.S. boots on the ground have persisted.
U.S. military and intelligence officials have warned repeatedly of a possible ripple effect that could destabilize Afghanistan, as well as its neighbors, giving terror groups a long-awaited opening to strengthen and grow their operations.
"Anywhere that we see a significant terror presence, there is a danger of that becoming some kind of platform to threaten the homeland from," Christine Abizaid, nominated to lead the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, told lawmakers last week, noting the need for the U.S. to maintain "relentless pressure" on groups like al-Qaida and IS to minimize the danger.
A recent assessment by United Nations member states has likewise raised concern, warning that Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents appear poised to topple the current Afghan government by force if negotiations fail to produce favorable results.
It also warned that contrary to the Taliban's promise to sever ties with al-Qaida, the relationship "has grown deeper as a consequence of personal bonds of marriage and shared partnership in struggle, now cemented through second-generational ties."
For the most part, officials at the White House and at the Pentagon have sought to assure the public that it will be possible to counter the potential reemergence of al-Qaida and IS, also known as ISIS, with long-range strikes, whether from bases or aircraft carriers in the Middle East.
"We're still going to have the capability to go in over-the-horizon to get after al-Qaida and ISIS should those targets emerge and be ones that we want to take," General Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told VOA this past week.
In the case of the several hundred IS fighters in Afghanistan, however, McKenzie warned that "continued CT [counterterrorism] pressure, continued direct pressure," is all that has stood in the way of the group "coming back together and expanding their numbers."
And even though the U.S. withdrawal is more than 50% complete, plans for what the "over-the-horizon" capability will look like appear to be in flux.
"We're in the process now of looking at the over-the-horizon architecture that we need to have," Ronald Moultrie, the Defense Department's undersecretary for intelligence and security, told lawmakers last week.
"We've been having weekly, almost daily discussions on how to do this," Moultrie added. "We're going to have to work very closely with our partners and allies to ensure that it's a robust architecture."
Time is running out, with U.S. and coalition troops likely to be out of Afghanistan well before the September deadline set by Biden.
"There are no guarantees in any of this," Milley told lawmakers Thursday. "There's a range of outcomes here."
Carla Babb contributed to this report.
Development, Humanitarian Affairs, Economy & Trade
COVID-19 Cases Drop 60 Percent Worldwide - Pajhwok
16 June 2021
KABUL (Pajhwok): The third wave of coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Afghanistan but the number of Covid-19 patients has dropped by 60 percent in the world.
So far 177 million people have been infected with Covid-19 worldwide and three million and 838,000 people have died and 161 million have recovered.
According to reports, the third wave of the disease started three months ago in April in several countries and hit India the hardest.
According to the Health Department of India, when the third wave was at its peak, up to 40,000 people would infected a day and an average of 5,000 people would die every day.
But now the third wave in India is coming to an end and 70000 people a day are infected with the Covid-19 and 3,000 die.
The third wave is coming to an end in Pakistan, where quarantine measures have been softened and schools and universities reopened.
According to international sources, at the height of the third wave of the Covid-19, around 9, 0000 people worldwide would get infected and 15,000 would die every day.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has welcomed the reduction in the number of Covid-19 patients worldwide.
Unfortunately, the death toll in some African countries is still high, he said in a statement. He added that the death toll in other countries has also dropped slightly.
The World Health Organization says there is a high rate of illness and death in areas where people are not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Afghanistan Reports 94 COVID-19 Deaths in 24 Hours - Pajhwok
16 June 2021
By Azizullah Hamdard
KABUL (Pajhwok): Nearly 1,722 new Covid-19 cases and 94 deaths have been recorded in Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Public Health said on Wednesday — the highest single day figures.
The ministry said 5,053 tests were conducted across the country in the past 24 hours and the virus was detected in 1,722 people, bringing Afghanistan's overall tally to 96,531.
Of the fresh cases, 396 were recorded in Kabul, 148 in Nangarhar, 125 in Kandahar, 110 in Balkh, 89 in Kapisa, 78 in Herat, 68 in Kunduz, 67 in Maidan Wardak, 65 in Badghis, 62 in Ghazni, 60 in Nimroz, 55 in Logar, 54 in Faryab, 41 in Helmand, 40 in Zabul, 39 in Ghor, 38 in Takhar, 36 in Paktia, 24 in Samangan, 22 each in Panjsher and Daikundi, 21 in Kunar, 17 in Laghman, 15 in Badakhshan, 13 in Sar-i-Pul, 10 in Khost and seven in Bamyan.
At least 391 individuals recovered from the pandemic during the period, pushing up the number of total recoveries to 62,397.
A statement from MoPH said 94 people died of the virus in the past 24 hours, pushing the overall death toll to 3,842.
The global infection tally reached 177 million, with 161 million recovering and over 3.8 million losing their lives to the pandemic.
DISCLAIMER: This media compilation is produced under contract for the U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan. The information contained in this compilation is from publicly available media sources and has not been verified or endorsed by the U.S. Embassy Kabul or the United States Government.