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Afghan Govt Expecting Direct Talks With Taliban in Two Weeks

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2019)

The Taliban and Afghan government representatives are expected to hold direct talks in less than two weeks in Germany, an Afghan official said on Sunday.

Sibghatullah Ahmadi, Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the seventh round of talks between the U.S. and Taliban negotiators is crucial.

Ahmadi said that Afghanistan is very close to peace.

This comes as U.S. and Taliban representatives are negotiating behind closed doors since Saturday and the group has always rejected to hold talks with President Ashraf Ghani’s government.

Sources close to the Taliban said that the negotiations are ongoing over the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and a Taliban guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used by terrorists against the U.S. and its Allies.

“I think the two sides are discussing the previous agenda. Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai is leading the Taliban team and the negotiation is expected to have a positive result,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban official.

However, the U.S. negotiating team is expected to focus on a ceasefire and the launch of an intra-Afghan dialogue.

At the same time, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan emphasizes that the upcoming presidential elections and peace process are top priorities for the United Nations.

“Let me be clear: Neither process should be harmed or held back by the other; both processes must move forward with the full force and commitment of all stakeholders,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of the UN mission said in a statement on Sunday.

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12 Taliban insurgents killed in Paktia clashes

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

At least 10 Taliban militants including a commander of the group were killed in clashes with the Afghan forces in Paktia province, the army confirmed.

Aimal Momand, a spokesman for the Afghan military told Ariana News that the clashes broke out after a large number of the insurgents attacked outposts of the Afghan forces in Zazi Aryoub district of the province.

The incident has taken place in Shah Mohammad village in the district at around 5 a.m. Thursday.

According to Momand, the group’s commander known as Abasin was also among the deaths and seven more were wounded in the incident.

He added no casualty was inflicted on the Afghan forces.

In a separate incident, the militants attacked the Afghan army while they patrolling in Samkani district of the province, Momand said in the counterattack on Tuesday night two Taliban fighters including one Pakistani national were killed and two others wounded.

Meanwhile, the Taliban, however, claimed that its fighters have imposed casualties on the Afghan forces in Zazi Aryoub clashes, but the group’s spokesman did not provide further details.

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Senseless violence in Afghanistan must end

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

Canada and Australia join others in the international community in condemning the escalation of violence across Afghanistan. 

 We deplore the suffering and deaths of innocent civilians.

We condemn the deliberate and callous targeting of advocates for peace, and of the security forces trying to protect the population. 

We are deeply concerned that unacceptable levels of Taliban violence against Afghan forces threaten the long-delayed hopes of the Afghan people for peace. 

The recent attacks on religious leaders, healthcare workers, human rights advocates, and judicial figures are abhorrent. Those who carried out these crimes clearly intended to stop free debate. But the calls by civil society for an end to violence, and a bright and inclusive future for Afghanistan, cannot be silenced. 

We are confident Afghans will not be deterred from raising their voices to help achieve their common goal of an Afghanistan at peace, and in which the people’s wellbeing and diverse contributions are valued. We urge the full investigation of these crimes so those responsible can be brought to justice.

We continue to support inclusive, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-led negotiations as the only effective pathway to peace. It is disheartening that the restraint being shown by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces is not mirrored by the Taliban. This is not the behavior expected of those who claim to represent the very same people who are the victims of their violence.

Together, we call on all parties to the conflict to immediately comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2532. Now is the time for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, which will allow the access so greatly needed to vulnerable Afghan communities battling the heavy impact of the COVID-19 crisis. An immediate reduction in violence and the humanitarian ceasefire will also build confidence and enable progress to be achieved in the intra-Afghan negotiations. 

The Taliban should demonstrate to fellow Afghans and the rest of the world it’s intent to undertake good faith negotiations for a peaceful future for Afghanistan. We encourage all parties to create the right conditions for the intra-Afghan talks by making clear their commitment to peace.

They must end this senseless violence now.

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US starts formal withdrawal from WHO

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

US has begun formal processing for withdrawing from the World Health Organization after the country’s President Donald Trump repeatedly slammed the organization for alleged misinformation about the spread of COVID-19.

CNN citing multiple US officials reported that Trump has sent a notice to the Congress and the United Nations that it is officially withdrawing from the agency.

The withdrawal would take effect in July 2021, the report said, adding that it prompted criticisms among bipartisan lawmakers, medical associations, advocacy organizations, and allies abroad.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden vowed Tuesday to reverse the decision “on (his) first day” if elected.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed that the UN has received the notice from the US of “its withdrawal from the World Health Organization, effective on 6 July 2021.”

He said that the Secretary-General, in his capacity as depositary, is in the process of verifying with the World Health Organization whether all the conditions for such withdrawal are met.

Those conditions “include giving a one-year notice and fully meeting the payment of assessed financial obligations.”

The US is the WHO’s largest contributor, providing more than $400m per year.

It comes the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to 3,054,699 with 132,300 deaths and 953,420 recoveries in the United States.

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