Refugee in the United Arab Emirates, ex-president Ashraf Ghani supports dialogue between the Taliban and his predecessor

Three days after their capture of the capital, Kabul, the Taliban promised to work for reconciliation in Afghanistan, saying they had forgiven their opponents and wanted to protect the rights of women in accordance with Islamic law. In the midst of the evacuation of nationals and local partners from the capital’s airport on Wednesday, several Western countries are waiting to see “The acts” the Taliban before taking a position on the new power.

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At the same time, Taliban officials met with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, according to footage which shows Mr. Karzai with Anas Haqqani, one of the movement’s negotiators. They also met, according to the monitoring group of Islamist sites, SITE, the former vice president Abdullah Abdullah. The Taliban, who seek to form a government, “Said they forgive all former government officials, so it is not necessary for anyone to leave the country”, also writes SITE.

  • Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani refugee in United Arab Emirates

A screenshot of the intervention of former President Ashraf Ghani, posted on Facebook on Wednesday August 18, 2021.

Discussions between Hamid Karzai and the Taliban were supported on Wednesday by former President Ashraf Ghani. “I wish the success of this process”, he explained during his first public speech since his flight from Kabul when the capital fell into the hands of the Taliban on Sunday. In a video posted on Facebook, with the Afghan national flag in the background, Ashraf Ghani explained that he had left for “Prevent a bloodbath” in the capital. He said to himself ” in discussion “ to return to the country, without giving further details.

A few hours earlier, the United Arab Emirates had announced that the former head of state, who had taken over from Hamid Karzai in 2014, was on his territory with his family. The Emirates “Welcomed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his family for humanitarian reasons”, announced the official WAM news agency, quoting the Foreign Ministry. No information on Mr. Ghani’s place of residence had been released since Sunday.

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The former president had already declared, in a written message posted on Facebook, convinced that “Countless patriots would have been killed and Kabul would have been destroyed” if he had stayed in Afghanistan. “The Taliban have won with the judgment of their swords and guns and are now responsible for the honor, possession and self-preservation of their country.”, he added.

  • A dead in a demonstration in Jalalabad

Several dozen people gathered on Wednesday during a demonstration to protest the Taliban’s seizure of power in the city of Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul. This is one of the first public opposition encountered in the streets by the Taliban since their takeover of central power on Sunday.

Waving in the streets the Afghan national flag, on the eve of Independence Day – which commemorates the 1919 treaty ending the British presence in the country on August 19 – demonstrators at the same time withdrew the flag of the Taliban (the shahada, the profession of faith of Islam, inscribed in black on a white background) of certain buildings where it had been attached during the capture of the city by the insurgents on August 14.

A video recording of the protest, viewed by the Associated Press (AP), then shows Taliban members shoot in the air and disperse the crowd with batons. A local health official told AP that one person died and six people were injured in the violence. “This official was not authorized to speak to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity”, AP said.

  • NATO meeting on Afghanistan on Friday

Foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries will hold a videoconference meeting on Friday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

This extraordinary meeting will be intended “To maintain close coordination and discuss a common approach on Afghanistan” after the seizure of power by the Taliban, clarified the Norwegian leader on Twitter.

It comes after a first meeting Tuesday of ambassadors of NATO member states, and as Westerners accelerate their evacuation operations at Kabul airport in difficult conditions.

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The forces of the Atlantic Alliance were surprised by “The political and military collapse of recent weeks, with a speed that had not been anticipated”, Mr. Stoltenberg commented to the press on Tuesday, calling for “Learn from it”. Armin Laschet, leader of the CDU (German Conservative Party) of Angela Merkel and candidate for her succession to the chancellery, lambasted “The biggest debacle (…) of NATO since its creation ”, in 1949.

According to a NATO official on Tuesday, a thousand Afghan employees and members of their families were to be evacuated from Kabul. Most must be transported to a third country, where they will receive a visa to join an alliance member state. Around 800 civilians working for NATO also remained behind to provide “Crucial functions”, in air traffic, fuel management and communications.

  • Joint declaration by the EU and the United States, “deeply concerned” about the situation of women

The European Union and the United States said on Wednesday “Deeply worried” of the situation of women in Afghanistan, calling on the Taliban to avoid “All forms of discrimination and abuse” and to preserve their rights, according to a joint declaration.

“We are deeply concerned for women and girls in Afghanistan, for their rights to education, to work and to freedom of movement”, says this text, co-signed by 19 other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Senegal, Norway, Argentina and New Zealand.

“We call on those in power and authorities across Afghanistan to ensure their protection. Afghan women, like all Afghans, deserve a life in safety and dignity. All forms of discrimination and abuse must be avoided ”, insists the statement.

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The international community “Is ready to attend [les femmes du pays] with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices are heard ”, write the signatory countries.

Under the previous Taliban regime (1996-2001), women were banned from going out without a male chaperone and from working, and girls from going to school. Women accused of adultery – a felony – were whipped and stoned to death. Anxious to put on a reassuring face and to convince that they have changed, the Taliban said at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday, “Commit to letting women work in accordance with the principles of Islam”.

Le Monde with AFP and AP