Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Taliban revoke ban on Red Cross, provide security guarantees

Afghan children look out from a broken window at the site of a blast in Kabul Afghanistan Afghan children look out from a broken window at the site of a blast in Kabul Afghanistan
Patty Aguilar | 19 September, 2019, 14:17

"We welcome the acknowledgment of our humanitarian principles and renewal of security guarantees", Schaerer Juan-Pedro, head of ICRC in Kabul, said on Twitter.

The new arrangement was worked out during talks in Doha, according to representatives from both the Taliban and the Red Cross. Security guarantees were also revoked.

It's not clear whether the Taliban have lifted their ban on the World Health Organization, whose work in Afghanistan includes a range of medical care along with vaccinations and polio eradication.

The Afghan conflict has cost nearly 2,400 American lives and hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars. The Taliban, who consider the Afghan government a US puppet, have warned Afghans not to vote and that polling stations will be targets.

The violent incidents have made Afghanistan once again a staple of worldwide headlines. No group immediately claimed responsibility. As this is not unsubstantial territory, it may take some time for them to scale back up to cover the area. Certainly, there was no ceasefire agreement between the USA and the Taliban.

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The US tried to negotiate a peace agreement with the Islamist insurgent group, which would allow a pullout of foreign troops and further discussions among various Afghan political forces on some sort of power-sharing agreement.

In the meantime, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, during a meeting of NATO Chiefs of Defense in Slovenia, said that the alliance will continue its cooperation with the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) until peace and security prevail in the country. To boost his re-election chances, Trump believes he needs to fulfill his 2016 election campaign pledge to end United States involvement in endless wars and extricate his country from the Afghan conflict that he had called ridiculous. In 2019, he reversed course and promised a troop pullout. Despite the progress with the talks-they were a few hours away from signing the agreement-[the Taliban] suddenly heard that Mr. Trump had cancelled the talks. Kabul and Islamabad regularly trade accusations of harboring the other country's militants and the harsh language has underscored the strains between them.

Sediqqi said that the Afghan government has suspended its own peace efforts for now.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid. This policy allows it to mediate retrieval of bodies of people killed on the battlefield or monitor treatment of prisoners.

According to the Red Cross, an estimated 140,000 people received treatment at one of the seven rehabilitation centers in Afghanistan past year.

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