False - February 11, 2021

Auto DraFM Atmar’s removal falsely rumored in media ft

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Presidential Palace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) have rejected rumors about Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar’s removal from office after failing to develop regional consensus on the peace process.

Claim:  Kabul-based newspaper claims Atmar being removed as foreign minister

The newspaper published a story titled ‘Atmar will go or will be removed,’ citing some sources in the Presidential Palace that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani wanted to sack  Hanif Atmar as foreign minister due to his failure to develop regional consensus on the peace process.

Rumors on Atmar’s removal accelerated in the social media after President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on December 31/2020 removed Public Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Usmani and Finance Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal on January 23/2021.  Both ousted ministers and FM Atmar took trust vote from the Lower House of the parliament two and half months ago.

In addition, in these days question raised on the existence of regional consensus on peace process inside the country as the Taliban travelled to Moscow, Turkmenistan, Tehran and Islamabad and there is no progress in the second round of intra-Afghan talks in Doha.

On Tuesday, Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) asked countries with influence on the Taliban to encourage the Taliban to come to the table of talks, adding that the Taliban abandoned talks and some members of the group staying in Doha could not help peace process.

Reaction from Presidential Palace and MoFA

Assistant Presidential Spokesperson Dawa Khan Menapal strongly rejected the rumors about Atmar’s removal and said Atmar would continue as foreign minister. “I strongly rejected these rumors,” he remarked.

He added the Afghan government has been stressing on national and international consensus on the peace process and would continue its efforts in this regard.

Garan Hewad, spokesperson for MoFA, also rejected the rumors regarding the ouster of Atmar and termed them baseless.

He said Atmar has recently taken oath as foreign minister and signed historic Shatoot Dam MoU on Tuesday.

Hewad said Atmar during the past one year made more than 100 contacts with his foreign counterparts and top diplomats of other countries.

He added these contacts were established through telephone calls, in person meetings and video link meetings.

Outcome

The Presidential Palace and the MoFA reject rumors regarding removal of Atmar as foreign minister, thus reports circulating in the media in this regard are false

Verdict:

Reports regarding Atmar removal are false

Javed Hamim Kakar

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