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Chief peace negotiator says key topic in talks will be ceasefire



(Last Updated On: December 30, 2020)

Afghanistan’s chief peace negotiator Masoom Stanekzai said on Wednesday that while he knows Afghans want a “quick result”, which is not possible, the focus will be on a ceasefire when talks resume. 

Speaking at a gathering at the Institute for Peace Studies in Kabul, Stanekzai said: “We will go to the negotiations with a strong will.” 

“Ending the war in Afghanistan is the demand of the people of the country,” he added.

This comes just days ahead of peace talks resuming in Doha between the Afghan republic’s team and the Taliban’s team. 

“We know the people expect a quick result, but it’s a little difficult as it’s not just in our hands,” Stanekzai said. 

“Security is very important for the people of Afghanistan, which includes a ceasefire, highway security and other issues,” he said adding that there is a difference of opinion over the governing system for the country going forward. 

He stated however that one of the first issues to be raised by the Afghan republic’s team would be that of a ceasefire. 

Farooq Majroh, a member of the peace negotiating team, also spoke at the event and said “for the past three months of negotiations we have shown a will for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Mohammad Natiqi, another team member said “after lots of discussions we convinced the religious scholars in Qatar, to declare Afghan war unjust.”

“The UN supports the system we currently have, not the one the Taliban are talking about. In the next round, we will defend our system,” he said.

Peace talks started on September 12 in Doha but soon hit a deadlock over the rules and procedures of talks going forward. However, in early December both sides were able to reach consensus on the issue. 

They then took a three week break and are expected to resume talks on January 5.   

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New NATO strategy being drawn up to deal with ‘changing world’



(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that a new Strategic Concept was being drawn up for NATO in order to ensure the alliance is prepared for emerging threats in a changing world.

Speaking after the NATO defense minister’s meeting, Blinken said “three months after Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan ended, the alliance remains focused on the fight against terrorism, including ISIS-K (Daesh).

He said while NATO military operations in Afghanistan had ended, “our work together continues”.

“For 20 years, NATO made sure that Afghanistan could not again become a safe haven for terrorists to threaten our countries and our people. That’s why we went there in the first place. No attacks on allies or partners originated in Afghanistan during that time, and together we decimated al-Qaida’s capacity to attack any of our countries or people from Afghanistan.

“Now, NATO remains fully committed to the fight against terrorism worldwide and will use all our capabilities to aid in that fight,” he said.

He said the new Strategic Concept for NATO will be worked on from now until the summit next year and is vitally important for modernizing the alliance.

He said this concept would help make sure NATO will be able to address challenges in the future, and foster unity among the Allies “as we navigate an increasingly complex and unpredictable security environment”.

“I think as you know, the current Strategic Concept, the one that we’re operating under now, dates to 2010, when Russia was considered a partner, China was not mentioned, and the alliance did not yet account for new challenges like cyber threats and the climate crisis,” he said.

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UN defers decision to give IEA govt a seat in general assembly



(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

A special UN committee has ruled that Afghanistan’s seat in the UN General Assembly should not be given to the new Afghan government for now.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is the IEA’s nominated UN ambassador, said in response to the announcement that “this decision is not based on principles and justice because it has taken away the legitimate rights of the Afghan people.

“We hope that in the near future this right will be handed over to the representative of the Government of Afghanistan at the United Nations so that the problems of the Afghan people can be solved more effectively and efficiently and we can have positive interactions with the international community.”

This comes after a UN committee on Wednesday deferred a decision on who will represent Afghanistan and Myanmar at the United Nations.

Rival claims were made for the seats of both countries with the IEA and Myanmar’s junta pitted against ambassadors appointed by the governments they ousted this year.

UN acceptance of the IEA or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both.

The nine-member UN credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States, met at UN headquarters to consider the credentials of all 193 members for the current session of the UN General Assembly.

Several diplomats had told Reuters that the committee was likely to defer its decisions on the representation of Afghanistan and Myanmar on the understanding that the current ambassadors for both countries remain in those seats.

While the committee chair, Sweden’s UN Ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, told reporters the decisions had been deferred, she declined to comment on whether the ambassador appointed by the former Ashraf Ghani government for Afghanistan would still represent their countries.

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Clash between Afghan and Iranian forces was a misunderstanding: Mujahid



(Last Updated On: December 2, 2021)

Clashes between Iran’s border forces and Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate (IEA) forces in Nimroz province have ended and were attributed to a “border misunderstanding”, IEA officials said on Thursday.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, said that a clash broke out between Afghan and Iranian security forces in the border area of Kang district in Nimroz province on Wednesday, but has now been brought under control by both sides.

He added that in order to prevent a recurrence, IEA officials have given the necessary guidance.

The IEA also said that no casualties were reported by either side.

Although the Iranian government has had generally good relations with the IEA, there have been longstanding tensions along the border, which has active smuggling routes and thousands of refugees crossing every day, Reuters reported.

The Afghan foreign ministry meanwhile said on Thursday that the dispute along the border in Kang district, “ended with the efforts of border officials, and efforts will be made to prevent such incidents from happening again”.

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