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A conditions-based reduction in violence is a win for Afghanistan: Miller

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2020)

The NATO forces commander in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller said that the Afghan and foreign forces uphold commitments to US-Taliban “reduction in violence” agreement.

Miller at a press briefing with Afghan top security officials Acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid and Acting Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi at NATO’s headquarters in Kabul said that today was the first test day of the week-long reduction in violence agreement, “Very clearly, this is a conditional effort…we are very committed and very serious about our obligations.”

“Personally, on behalf of Resolute Support, we are very committed, very serious about our obligations and we expect all sides – to include Taliban – to be very serious about the obligations as well,” said Miller.

A conditions-based reduction in violence is a win for Afghanistan. The Taliban must fulfill their commitments,” said Miller. “It is up to the Taliban to move the ball forward toward peace.”

Meanwhile, Asadullah Khalid said that there are concerns regarding the possible disruptions by internal and foreign elements.

“We are committed to a comprehensive ceasefire. According to the President’s orders, we have paused all offensive operations against the Taliban. We are concerned that there are some groups inside Afghanistan that want to disrupt the environment,” Khalid added.

The Afghanistan Acting Interior Minister stressed that the Afghan forces are ready to give a response to any possible attack by the militants.

“The Afghan forces have received directions to monitor the situation,” Massoud Andarabi said.

The seven-day reduction in violence (RiV) between the Afghan and foreign forces and the Taliban militants began on Friday midnight.

The Taliban said in a statement that during the week-long period of RiV there would be no attacks on Major cities, military corps, garrisons and bases of foreign forces.

If the violence reduction period is observed successfully, the United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 that could lead to the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops from the war-weary country.

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Ghani meets with leading politicians to discuss peace process

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(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani met with the country’s political and jihadi leaders on Monday morning who stressed that the peace process is a priority for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and that “all further steps in this process, will be taken with the necessary understanding and consensus.”

Present at the meeting were Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation; Hamid Karzai, former president; Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, former Jihadi leader; Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, Second Vice President; Mohammad Younus Qanuni, former vice president; Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, Speaker of the Senate; Mir Rahman Rahmani, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Mohammad Karim Khalili, leader of the Islamic Unity Party; Mohammad Ismail Khan, a member of the leadership of the Islamic Jamiat of Afghanistan; and a number of other senior politicians and officials.

According to a statement issued by the Presidential Palace (ARG), the politicians also agreed a united front was necessary.

“It was also emphasized at the meeting that a united front and a strong political consensus were necessary to strengthen peace and stability, strengthen the republican system and support the country’s security forces and make strong use of the strong popular support for the republican system to consolidate stability,” ARG said.

Participants at the meeting also discussed Ghani and his entourage’s planned visit to the United States, which they called “significant.”

On Sunday, the White House announced that Ghani and Abdullah were scheduled to travel to the US on June 25.

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the Afghan leaders to discuss continued US-Afghan cooperation, as well as the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

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US, Turkish military chiefs discuss diplomatic presence in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone on Sunday today with Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar to discuss bilateral cooperation and maintaining continued diplomatic presence in Afghanistan.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Austin reaffirmed the importance of the longstanding U.S.-Turkey defense relationship and thanked the Minister for the continuing communication and cooperation on peace and security issues.

This comes after reports emerged recently that Turkey has agreed to provide security for and run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once all foreign troops have withdrawn.

Turkey stated however that there were conditions attached to their offer.

In an interview with TRT this weekend, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar said Afghanistan welcomes Turkey’s offer to run the airport.

“We believe that this will be essential for continuation of Turkish and NATO as well as the international community’s support to Afghanistan. This is going to be important for the diplomatic community in Kabul and it’s also important for international assistance to Afghanistan,” he said.

He also said that he believes the new system will see Turkey as the lead nation in protecting the airport and might be supported by other NATO allies including Hungary.

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Civilians killed in roadside IED explosion in Paktia

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(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

At least four people were killed and five others were injured in a roadside explosion in Paktia province on Monday morning, officials said.

Hayatullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Paktia police, said the incident took place in the Tala area of Machalgho in Ahmadabad district when a car hit an IED.

He said it was not yet known if the dead included women and children.

Ahmadzai said that most of the mines in the area had been planted by Taliban militants on the roads, causing harm to civilians.

Locals meanwhile said the victims had included women and children who had been on the way to the funeral of a soldier killed in fighting in the area on Sunday night.

The Taliban has not commented on the incident.

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