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Afghan peace talks team briefs Ghani ahead of historic meeting with Taliban

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(Last Updated On: August 11, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani met with the Afghan government’s negotiating team on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming peace talks with the Taliban which are expected to start on Sunday in Doha.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Presidential Palace (ARG) said Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai briefed Ghani on the team’s activities and preparations following the Loya Jirga’s decision in favor of the release of the final 400 Taliban prisoners – which had been a stumbling block in the way of kickstarting negotiations.

Stanekzai stated they will sit around the negotiating table with the Taliban as a united team in favor of “the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” and they will consider the interests of the people.

Meanwhile, Ghani said the Loya Jirga drew a peace roadmap for government, and that they are “committed to the implementation of that.”

“We are committed to peace, the goal is to end the war in a fundamental way,” Ghani added.

He said the peace talks team will negotiate a suitable and fair peace deal with the Taliban as it is in the best interests of the people.

“After the decree pardoning 400 Taliban prisoners was signed, the people expect that there will be no more obstacles and excuses for the commencement of the negotiations between the Taliban and the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” Ghani said.

The latest developments on the political front have been welcomed by global leaders and many have hailed the decisions as an historic opportunity to bring peace to the war-torn country.

Afghans themselves have also welcomed the developments and the business community has said peace will undoubtedly help boost the country’s economy and create much-needed jobs.

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China and Tajikistan increase military presence along Afghan border

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2021)

China and Tajikistan have increased the number of border troops and outposts along their borders with Afghanistan, security forces confirmed.

An Ariana News reporter also reported having seen the increase in military presence after flying over the area in a helicopter.

According to border guards in Badakhshan, the two neighboring countries have ramped up their military presence in case the Daesh threat increases should a peace deal be sealed with the Taliban.

An Ariana News reporter visited both the Chinese and the Tajik border areas and said Afghan border forces were not well equipped nor were they structured properly.

During the reporter’s visit to Wakhan, in Badakhshan and the border points with China and Tajikistan, he saw from the army helicopter that Tajikistan had increased the number of its checkpoints on the border with Afghanistan. This was also confirmed by security sources.

“We become disappointed when we see Chinese and Tajik soldiers, because they are very well equipped,” Osama Wardoji, a Badakhshan border force member said.

China meanwhile has called for a joint mountain unit with Afghanistan. However, after Washington disapproved, this plan failed to materialize, security sources said.

The governor of Badakhshan meanwhile has said he is concerned about the large number of foreign fighters, especially Tajikistan’s Ansarullah group members, in Badakhshan.

“Foreign fighters like Ansarullah are present in parts of Badakhshan and they are involved in smuggling [minerals from] mines. This is a big threat,” said Zakaria Sawda, the provincial governor.

China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan currently have a joint 150-strong Chinese-backed force on the border working together to coordinate border threats.

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NSA claims Taliban not interested in peace, but preparing for war

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2021)

National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib on Sunday accused the Taliban of not showing any commitment to peace and said the group’s negotiating team has no authority to make decisions.

Speaking at a security meeting at an Air Force Corps in Kabul, Mohib said the Taliban negotiating team leaders do not have the authority to make their own decisions and are therefore wasting time in the process.

Moheb also said that intelligence sources indicate that the Taliban are preparing for war in the spring.

“We have new plans for the war ahead. We fulfilled our wish for peace, but the Taliban did not use it. Security forces suffered few casualties in the fighting,” said Yasin Zia, Afghan Chief of Army Staff.

Meanwhile, intelligence information from security agencies shows that the Taliban is preparing to launch their spring offensive.

“The Taliban has no intention of making peace. Terrorist groups are working for foreign intelligence and their only goal is to kill people.

Security forces have meanwhile said they are prepared for the Taliban to launch their spring offensive.

“The security forces are fully prepared, the security forces are in favor of peace. If the Taliban choose the path of war, they will face us. The level of coordination among the security forces is high, and new preparations have been made for the continuation of the Republic,” said Massoud Andarabi, the minister of interior affairs.

In addition, Shah Mohmood Miakhiakhil, the deputy defense minister, said: “The plans we have, we are trying to implement. Our forces are prepared to fight against those who have a sinister plan. They will not allow terrorist groups to destroy public facilities and kill innocent people.”

This comes amid ongoing peace talks in Doha, Qatar.

However, some security sources have said the next spring offensive could be one of the bloodiest years in 20 years, unless talks yield some results.

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Doing away with the Republic would cost Afghanistan dearly: Ghani

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2021)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday that any interruption in the Republic governing system would come at a great cost to the country especially as it currently provides equality to all Afghans.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the Shia Ulema (scholars) Council of Afghanistan at the Presidential Palace,Ghani said: “The Republic is an umbrella and a bed where the equality of all Afghans is ensured.”

“Our security and defense forces have not lost the war, and the full international legitimacy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan remains, and the United States is a partner of the Afghan government and our security and defense forces,” Ghani added.

The meeting was also attended by Sarwar Danish, second vice president, and Mohammad Mohaqiqm, a senior advisor to Ghani on security and political affairs.

Ghani also said that in setting the goal of peace, with the world and the region, is to ensure an independent Afghanistan that enjoys national sovereignty, democracy and national unity.

He also stated that “way to other stages of negotiations is to do it carefully, prudently and confidently.

“We are not ready for an apology or surrender and we want a peace in which there is survival, prosperity and national unity,” Ghani said.

Mohammad Akbari, deputy head of the council, said in turn the Ulema council is “working with a moderate policy and a clear path to strengthen the foundations of Islamic brotherhood and national unity, and is calling for peace and an end to the war in the country; and it supports the preservation of the Constitution, and the system of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

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