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Doha talks fragile but best chance for peace: NATO

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(Last Updated On: October 23, 2020)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that the Doha talks are “fragile” but the best chance for peace.

Stoltenberg following the second day of the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in Brussels on Friday, stated in a tweet: “Our fight against terrorism was top of the agenda at today’s Defence Ministerial meeting.” 

“NATO supports the peace process in Afghanistan. The Doha talks are fragile, but the best chance for peace. We also tasked our military commanders to expand our mission in Iraq,” he said.

Addressing the meeting, NATO Chief noted that the organization supports the US – Taliban deal and the Afghan Peace Negotiations.

“There is a historic opportunity for peace,” he said.

“And as part of the peace process, NATO has adjusted its military presence in Afghanistan. And our presence is conditions-based.”

Stoltenberg pointed out that any future adjustments of the NATO troops in Afghanistan must depend on progress in the peace talks and the conditions on the ground.

“The Taliban must reduce the unacceptable levels of violence, to pace the way to a ceasefire. They must break all ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations so that Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for terrorist attacks on our countries.”

“It is important to preserve the gains made over the last two decades with so much sacrifice. Not least for women and girls, so that peace benefits every Afghan and is sustainable in the long-term,” NATO Secretary-General further said.

The long-waited intra-Afghan talks, aimed to find a political settlement for the conflict in the country, was started six weeks ago. Despite several meetings between the negotiating teams of the Afghan government and the Taliban, the talks yet see any progress.

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Islamic countries to meet on Afghanistan crisis on Dec. 19

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Pakistan’s foreign minister called on Saturday for a fresh effort to stop neighboring Afghanistan sliding further into crisis as he announced an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) later this month. 

The meeting of foreign ministers from Islamic countries will be held in Islamabad on Dec. 19, with delegations from the European Union and the so-called P5 group of the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China also invited.

“To abandon Afghanistan at this stage would be a historic mistake,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad, warning that half the country was facing the risk of starvation that could trigger further chaos.

“Instability could give way to renewed conflict, it could trigger an exodus of refugees,” he said.

There have been growing warnings of the humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan since international aid was abruptly cut following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover on Aug. 15 and fears of disaster if the situation is not brought under control.

However, getting help in has been hindered by sanctions on dealing with the IEA, the U.S. decision to freeze billions of dollars of central bank reserves held outside Afghanistan and the collapse of much of the country’s banking system.

Pakistan recently agreed to allow 50,000 tonnes of wheat to transit through its territory from India to help Afghanistan but aid agencies have warned that much more help is urgently needed.

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Pakistan to let Afghan trucks transport wheat from India to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Pakistan’s has allowed India to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines through Wagah as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, the Pakistani government said in a statement Saturday.

“With a view to further facilitate Pakistan’s decision to allow transportation of 50,000 MT of wheat and life-saving medicines from India to Afghanistan via Wagah border on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes, it has been decided to also allow the use of Afghan trucks for transportation from Wagah border to Torkham,” read the statement.

“This demonstrates the commitment and seriousness of the Government of Pakistan to facilitate the proposed humanitarian assistance.”

The statement noted that the decision was conveyed to the Charge d’ Affaires of India on Saturday at the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs adding that “the Indian government was also urged to proceed quickly to take necessary steps to expeditiously undertake the delivery of the humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.”

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France, Europeans working to open joint mission in Afghanistan: Macron

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Several European countries are working on opening up a joint diplomatic mission in Afghanistan that would enable their ambassadors to return to the country, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday.

Western countries have been grappling with how to engage with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) after they took power in Afghanistan in mid-August.

The United States and other Western countries shut their embassies and withdrew their diplomats when the previous government collapsed, following which the IEA declared an interim government whose top members are under U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

“We are thinking of an organisation between several European countries… a common location for several Europeans, which would allow our ambassadors to be present,” Macron told reporters in Doha before heading to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.

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