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Efforts underway to determine ‘time & place’ for Intra-Afghan talks

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: June 11, 2020)

The Afghan Presidential Palace says that the time and place for holding the Intra-Afghan talks will be determined soon.

According to the presidential spokesman, the main focus of the talks between the President and the Chairman of the National Reconciliation Council with the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Special Envoy of Qatar to Afghanistan was to determine the time and place for the talks.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for peace in Afghanistan, following his meeting with the Taliban in Doha and Pakistani officials in Islamabad, met President Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, Hamed Karzai, and some other political figures and discussed steps before the start of the Intra-Afghan talks.

“It’s too early to tell when and where the talks will take place. I am looking forward to sharing the information with you in the coming days,” said presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

This comes as President Ghani in his recent statements in the Atlantic Council said that the time and place of the Intra-Afghan talks will be determined next week.

“If they decide to hold talks in Doha, we are ready to speed it up,” said Motaliq bin Majid al-Qahtani, Qatar’s special envoy to Afghanistan, after his meeting with the president and chairman of the National Reconciliation Council. “We will do so neutrally and transparently, in accordance with the international law.”

The Intra-Afghan talks are expected to take place in mid-June.

Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said that representatives of Russia, the United States, and Afghanistan would discuss how to hold the Intra-Afghan talks at a tripartite meeting next Monday.

“By releasing the prisoners, we are trying to maintain a significant reduction in violence or an undeclared ceasefire so that we can move forward with important steps in the peace process,” said Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

Earlier, during a visit to Kabul, the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff assured of his country’s cooperation in the peace process; the Afghan government sees the process of the talks as constructive, but it expects Pakistan to take practical steps in the matter.

On the other hand, General Kenneth F. McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, emphasizes that full withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan by spring next year depends on conditions that he believes have not been met yet.

According to him, there is no assurance that the attacks against the US will end.

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Death toll from Kabul suicide bombing climbs to 24

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(Last Updated On: October 25, 2020)

The death toll from Saturday’s suicide bombing outside the Kawsar-e-Danish educational center in Dasht-e-Barchi of Kabul city has risen to 24, and around 60 others wounded, officials confirmed on Sunday.

Eyewitnesses told Ariana News that Saturday’s suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the middle of the narrow street after he was identified as being an insurgent by the center’s security guards.

According to eyewitnesses, all the victims were teenagers who had been taking extra lessons for the university entrance exam (Kankor exam). 

Akram Azizi, a student at Kawsar-e-Danish, who is from Malistan district of Ghazni province, left home two months ago to start the process of writing his Kankor exam. According to him the suicide bombing took place at the front door of a hostel where he is living.

He said: “Unfortunately, one of my classmates Rohullah Rahimi was martyred. I was at his funeral last night.”

ISIS-K, or Daesh as it is commonly known in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack. 

This is not the first attack against students in the same area. In August 2018, a Daesh suicide bomber detonated his explosives at another private education center, which left at least 48 killed and close to 100 wounded.

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Khabib retires from MMA with an undefeated record of 29-0

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(Last Updated On: October 25, 2020)

MMA champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement on Saturday night after defeating his rival Justin Gaethje in a second-round submission win in Abu Dhabi. 

Reuters reported that the Russian’s many fans had questioned if he would have the heart for the fight against Gaethje following the death of his father Abdulmanap in July from complications caused by COVID-19.

But, following his win, he left his gloves in the octagon, fulfilling a promise to his mother. 

“I talked to my mother three days (ago). She didn’t want me to go fight without (my) father, but I promised her it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this,” an emotional Khabib said.

His father had tutored him in combat sports from an early age and was in his corner in Abu Dhabi in September 2019 when Khabib choked out Dustin Poirier, on that occasion using a rear-naked choke in another successful title defense, Reuters reported.

“It was my last fight. I know only one thing I want from the UFC – you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve this,” Khabib said.

The 32-year-old notched up 13 wins in eight years and a professional record featuring eight knockouts and 11 submission wins.

He competed in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he was the UFC Lightweight Champion from April 2018 until his retirement.

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NDS claims to have killed key al-Qaeda leader in Ghazni province 

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(Last Updated On: October 25, 2020)

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) said its special forces killed a key al-Qaeda member in an operation in Ghazni province. 

In a post on Twitter, the NDS said: “As a result of NDS special force unit operation in Ghazni province an al-Qaeda key member for Indian sub-continent, Abu Muhsen al-Masri was killed.”

Al-Masri, an Egyptian national was believed to be the “second-in-command” in al-Qaeda and had been on the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Most Wanted Terrorist list.

He was charged in the US with conspiring to kill US nationals and providing resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

Rahmatullah Nabil, the former director of the NDS, said Sunday that al-Masri and some other members of al-Qaeda had frequently traveled between Shawwal Valley and Ghazni over the past few weeks.

He suggested that it could be related to a possible al-Qaeda attack.

According to him, key members of al-Qaeda had also been traveling to Zabul, Logar, and Paktika provinces. 

He said the al-Qaeda members had been holding “secret meetings with unknown people” in Shawwal Valley and stated if the Taliban are sincere about the peace process they should “prevent this attack”. 

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