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US investigating possible plot of killing peace negotiator Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2020)

US officials have confirmed to The Daily Beast that the US is “taking seriously a shocking claim from its enemy in Afghanistan that the Taliban foiled an ISIS plot to assassinate a Zalmay Khalilzad.

The Daily Beast reports, “Officials said they’re investigating an assertion, made in a recent Taliban video, that the local branch of the so-called Islamic State recruited two men to murder Zalmay Khalilzad, the State Department’s envoy in charge of negotiating peace with the Taliban.”

A State Department spokesperson has confirmed to the Daily Beast that the US officials are investigating the video, noting, “The US Government takes any potential threat against US personnel seriously.”

According to the report, the Afghan government authorities are also investigating the claim.

The report writes, “The video, a purported confession from two blindfolded young men in Taliban custody, claims that elements within the US-backed Afghan government’s National Directorate of Security facilitated the failed plot against Khalilzad.”

According to the Daily Beast, the NDS is known to oppose the Khalilzad-negotiated peace deal with the Taliban; therefore, the group has an incentive to drive a deeper wedge between Washington and Kabul.

A former head of the NDS has publicly denied any complicity, calling it a “fake.”

A former senior US diplomat has said “Khalilzad is much more popular with the Taliban than with the Afghan government.”

The diplomat has added that Khalilzad is getting close (to achieve peace) and people whose interests are threatened by it are concerned.

According to the report, the video, made by the Taliban intelligence operation, was released on Taliban social media accounts on June 12.

“The level of detail in the video, and accounts provided to The Daily Beast by Taliban officials as well as Western diplomats and Afghan government officials, suggest just how dense and menacing that fog has become,” the report writes.

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Pakistan, Russia to ‘assess’ IEA’s performance

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

Pakistan and Russia would review progress of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in terms of fulfilling its commitments made to the international community on forming an inclusive government, and to deny terrorist groups a haven to operate from its soil, official sources told Pakistani media on Sunday.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is in Moscow, is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart, Sargey Lavrov on Monday and one of the key issues on their agenda is Afghanistan, The Tribune reported.

This is Zardari’s first visit to Moscow as the foreign minister and comes amid rising concerns on the part of Pakistan over the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group, which Islamabad says is being provided sanctuary in Afghanistan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a tweet that the two ministers would discuss the fight against terrorism and a number of regional topics, including the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine.

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OIC calls on IEA to allow females to get an education

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities to strive towards reopening schools and universities for girls and enable them to enroll in all levels of education.

In a series of tweets the OIC General Secretariat expressed its disappointment over the decision announced on Saturday by the IEA’s ministry of higher education, banning female students from taking university entrance exams this year in all public and private universities across the country.

“This latest decree further tightens the sweeping restrictions proclaimed by the Kabul de facto authorities on girls’ and women’s access to education and public work,” OIC tweeted.

The ban comes shortly after the OIC Executive Committee convened on 11 January 2023 an Extraordinary Meeting on the “Recent Developments and the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan”.

The Final Communique of the meeting called on the IEA to “…strive towards reopening schools and universities for girls and enable them to enroll in all levels of education and all specializations required by the Afghan people.”

The organization urged IEA to reconsider this latest decision and earlier edicts especially for its far-reaching social and economic ramifications.

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US special envoy to hold talks with foreign partners and Afghan diaspora

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West is this week visiting Pakistan, Germany, and Switzerland for talks with “partners, Afghans, and humanitarian aid organizations about the shared interests in Afghanistan”, the US State Department said Sunday.

According to the statement, Thomas West’s week-long (January 29 – February 4) visit to Pakistan, Germany, and Switzerland is aimed at consulting with partners and Afghan diasporas on the many challenges the people of Afghanistan, women, and girls in particular are currently facing.

“I will travel to Pakistan, Germany, and Switzerland Jan 29-Feb 4 to consult with partners, Afghans, and humanitarian relief organizations regarding extraordinary challenges we face in supporting the Afghan people,” West tweeted.

Foreign governments and international aid organizations have repeatedly called on the Islamic Emirate authorities to reverse the decision and allow Afghan women and girls to attend education, work, sports, and public life, however, nothing has changed for the better so far.

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