A good four months after taking power in Afghanistan, the radical Islamist Taliban dissolved the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Commission on Election Complaints. There is no need for these bodies, said Taliban government spokesman Bilal Karimi. He has also said that the Ministries for Peace and Parliamentary Affairs have recently been abolished.
The election commission, established in 2006, had the task of organizing and monitoring presidential and other elections in Afghanistan. Former Afghan government representative Halim Fidai condemned the dissolution of the commission. The decision shows that the Taliban "do not believe in democracy". He accused the radical Islamists of securing their power "through bullets and not through elections".
The Taliban had regained power in Afghanistan in mid-August. So far, no country has officially recognized the leadership. The Taliban took office with the promise that their new rule over the country would be milder than in the 1990s. Decisions such as the restoration of a ministry for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice attracted criticism.
Turkey and Qatar agree with the Taliban on the management of Kabul airport
It will be the first major agreement that involves recognition, at least tacit, of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, established by the Taliban after they came to power last summer.
The epicenter of the drama of the evacuations of last August already has new managers: Turkish and Qatari technicians and security personnel will be responsible for ensuring that Kabul international airport works at full capacity in the near future.
A delegation from both countries finalizes the details of the plan this weekend in the Afghan capital, with the Taliban, after announcing, this Friday, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and Qatar, on December 7.
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It will be the first major agreement that involves recognition, at least tacit, of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, established by the Taliban after they came to power last summer. The result of a "pragmatic" view of the situation, as described by the Turkish official media. In conversation with the semi-official Turkish agency Anadolu, a senior Turkish official has defined the multilateral talks to operate the airport in optimal conditions as "effective and productive".
The same source explains that, as of this Saturday, " joint teams will be formed to negotiate the details of the operations" for the start-up of the airport facilities, partially damaged or degraded by the latest events, including the evacuation of more than 120,000 people in a few days. "Over the next week there will be technical meetings between the Turkish-Qatari delegation on the one hand and the Afghan [interim] administration on the other, on operational details," he adds.
TURKEY HAD BEEN THERE FOR SIX YEARS
The Kabuli Hamid Karzai International Airport is not new to the Turks. Ankara military cooperated with US troops by guarding the terminal for the past six years. When the fundamentalists seized the Afghan capital, Turkey announced the evacuation of all its personnel, although, as it had done to the US when it announced its withdrawal plans, it offered the new rulers technical and security assistance for the airport.
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Since the proclamation of the Islamic Emirate on Afghan soil, activity at the only international airport had dropped dramatically. Due to damage to equipment and facilities, pilots could use only visual flight modes. From the first days, technical teams from Turkey and Qatar had been present at the terminals, although without an official agreement.
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According to data from Flightradar24, the majority of flights currently taking off or landing from that airport are domestic, to cities such as Herat or Mazar-e Sharif. In addition, there are approximately 10 weekly flights to Dubai and a few less to Islamabad, New Delhi or Abu Dhabi. A figure far less than in the past. A situation that is intended to be reversed while, in the center of the Afghan capital, the desperation to obtain a passport continues.
Long queues and an attack at the doors of the passport issuing office have marked the first days of the reactivation of this service. On the other hand, the border crossings that connect Afghanistan with Pakistan and Iran have long lines to leave Afghan soil. Winter, the lack of humanitarian aid, poor management, the drought in recent months and shortages are the recipe for a famine in Afghanistan that affects, above all, the little ones.
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