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Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, call on Taliban to commit to Afghan peace talks

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(Last Updated On: April 26, 2021)

Afghanistan, Turkey, and Pakistan on Friday called on the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment to achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Ministers of these countries held a trilateral meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, and discussed the Afghan peace process.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, who was tested positive for COVID-19, virtually attended the conference.

“Regretfully I tested positive for Covid-19 and had to attend the Afghanistan-Turkey-Pakistan Meeting virtually,” Atmar tweeted.

“Grateful to my brothers Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Shah Mahmood Qureshi for supporting a peaceful, sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan.”

“Deploring violence, we called on Taliban for an immediate ceasefire and return to negotiation,” Atmar said.

In a joint statement issued after talks in Istanbul, the three diplomats stated that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process that aims a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire along with an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in the country.

The diplomats emphasized the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire both to end the existing high level of violence and to provide a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks.

A U.S.-backed Afghan peace conference to be hosted in Istanbul hosted by Turkey, Qatar, and the United Nations on Saturday was postponed over the Taliban’s non-participation.

Ankara has said the talks will be held after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan but no new date has been set.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan on Friday discussed the planned conference, aimed at fast-tracking an agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban following Washington’s announcement that foreign troops will leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11.

The ministers “called on all parties, in particular, the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment for achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement leading to lasting peace in Afghanistan desired by the Afghan people, the region and the international community”, according to the joint statement.

They also “deplored the continuing high level of violence in Afghanistan.”

Speaking at a joint news conference after the talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara’s support for the Afghan peace process and efforts to organize the conference in Istanbul would continue.

“As the co-organizers, we are continuing talks on this with all sides,” he said, alongside Pakistani Foreign Minister Shan Mahmood Qureshi.

Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar joined the meeting via video link for health reasons, Cavusoglu said.

The Taliban had earlier refused to attend any summits until all foreign forces were pulled out of Afghanistan. The Taliban and the United States last year agreed that all foreign forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 1, a date that was pushed back last week by U.S. President Joe Biden.

The Islamist Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were ousted by U.S.-led forces. Since then, they have waged a long-running insurgency and still control wide swathes of territory.

Reporter: Bais Hayat

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Continued enforcement of travel ban on senior IEA officials is ‘unjust’

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) describes the international community’s continued travel ban against senior officials as “a cruel and unjust act”.

Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the IEA, says the problems in the country are the result of unfair sanctions imposed by the United States and the international community against the new government of Afghanistan and emphasized that if the world intends to interact with the Islamic Emirate, it should lift all sanctions.

Three months ago, an exemption on the travel ban against 13 senior IEA officials ended, however, the UN Security Council has still not extended it. This has prevented the officials from leaving the country.

“Political isolation had no results before, and it will not have any results now; the Afghan people and us want good relations with countries based on mutual respect,” said Karimi.

When the travel ban exemption expired, the UN Security Council held two meetings in order to decide on whether to continue with the exemption but security council members failed to reach a decision at either of the meetings.

The international community has stood by calls for the formation of an inclusive government, the upholding of human rights and the removal of terrorist threats from Afghanistan as its basic conditions for the recognition of the Islamic Emirate and the end of sanctions.

The Islamic Emirate, however, emphasizes that it has met all conditions for recognition.

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Hamid Karzai left country out of necessity: IEA

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2022)

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai left the country out of necessity, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said on Sunday.

Karzai left on Saturday for the United Arab Emirates on his first trip out of the country since the IEA takeover in August last year.

“A necessity was created for him and he left,” Bilal Karimi said.

Karzai is expected to travel to Germany from the UAE. Omar Zakhilwal, a former finance minister, who accompanied him on the flight to the UAE said they will soon return to Afghanistan.
Karzai left the country on the same day Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid headed to the UAE. IEA says the trips are not connected.

Experts meanwhile say allowing Karzai to travel abroad increases the level of trust between politicians and the IEA.

Karzai was among only a few former senior government officials who remained in the country after the IEA takeover.

While Abdullah Abdullah, former reconciliation council chief, has had couple of foreign trips, Karzai was reportedly facing travel restrictions.

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Six injured in Saturday’s blast in Jalalabad city

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2022)

Local officials have confirmed that six people were wounded in an explosion on Saturday in Nangarhar’s Jalalabad city.

This is in addition to the major losses to shops in the area that sustained serious damage.

One of the damaged shops was that of Gul Charan – the city’s only Sikh resident.

According to local officials, the incident is being investigated. The blast reportedly occurred in District 1, in Jalalabad city.

The security officials of Jalalabad meanwhile say the explosion was caused by an IED embedded in a flowerpot.

The residents of the city have called on the Islamic Emirate to prevent such events in the future.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

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