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Envoys Call For Immediate Start Of Intra-Afghan Negotiations

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2019)

Representatives of China, Russia, and the United States held their 3rd consultation on the Afghan peace process in Beijing, where they encouraged all parties to take steps to reduce violence leading to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations, the U.S. Department of State said in a statement.

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad attended the summit after he concluded the seventh round of peace negotiations with the Taliban delegates in Doha, the capital of Qatar on July 9.

“We agreed “intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, Afghan government, and other Afghans should start immediately,” Khalilzad said in a tweet.

“These negotiations should produce a peace framework as soon as possible; and detail a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all Afghans,” he added.

“We also agreed that violence needs to slow now and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire should start with intra-Afghan negotiations,” said Khalilzad adding, “We agreed we will expand and ask more international partners to join with the start of negotiations. Very positive.”

The China, Russia, and the United States welcomed Pakistan joining the consultation and believe that Pakistan can play an important role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan, the statement said.

The four sides exchanged views on the current situation and joint efforts for realizing a political settlement to advance peace, stability, and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region, the statement added.

The four sides emphasized the importance of the trilateral consensus on the Afghan peace process reached in Moscow on April 25, 2019.

All sides welcomed recent positive progress as the crucial parties concerned have advanced their talks and increased contacts with each other.

All sides also welcomed intra-Afghan meetings held in Moscow and Doha.

The four sides called for relevant parties to grasp the opportunity for peace and immediately start intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans.

“They re-affirmed negotiations should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” and further agreed that these negotiations should produce a peace framework as soon as possible,” the statement said.

“This framework should guarantee the orderly and responsible transition of the security situation and detail an agreement on a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all Afghans,” the statement noted.

The four sides agreed to maintain the momentum of consultation, will invite other important stakeholders to join on the basis of the trilateral consensus agreed on April 25, 2019, in Moscow, and this broader group will meet when intra-Afghan negotiations start.

The date and venue for the next consultation will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels, the statement concluded.

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Afghanistan’s ‘cricket is proof that dreams come true’: ACB director

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

The Director of Cricket at Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), Raees Ahmadzai said on Tuesday that with hard work and determination “dreams do come true” and that Afghanistan’s cricket is proof of this. 

Representing the ACB at a virtual meeting of the Asian Cricket Council, attended by both full-members and some associate members, Ahmadzai provided details on the country’s achievements and on its challenges. 

According to the ACB, Ahmadzai also discussed the enormous potential of talent in the country – especially with spin bowlers. 

He said: “Without doubt with hard work and determination, dreams do come true and Afghanistan Cricket is a living example of it. Afghan cricketers have been through various hurdles and struggles to enjoy its results today.”

The participants, which also included officials from the International Cricket Council (ICC), recognized Afghanistan Cricket Board’s efforts to promote the game in the war-torn country. 

The meeting came just a day after ACB’s acting CEO Nazeem Abdul Rahimzai met with the governor of Nangarhar Ziaulhaq Amarkheil to discuss progress around the construction of the new Behsud cricket grounds in Jalalabad. 

Construction started about six weeks ago and phase one, which involves the leveling of the ground, is expected to be completed in the next month. 

Rahimzai asked for the governor’s assistance on some issues relating to the project and “was fully assured of full support by the local government,” an ACB statement read. 

Amarkheil meanwhile said cricket in the province should be a priority and said the project would be completed on time. 

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Three suspects identified in public beating of two women in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

The Ministry of Interior said it has identified three security officials involved in last week’s incident involving two young women who were beaten in public in Kabul. 

In a statement issued by the MoI, the ministry said: “After investigating the case, the Crime Investigation Directorate (CID) identified one member of the security forces who was the main culprit in the case and two police officers who were negligent and irresponsible by not stopping the incident.”

The MoI stated that the case is being investigated by the CID but has also been handed over to the Attorney General’s Office. 

The incident, which took place in Kabul city, was caught on video and went viral on social media – which sparked an outcry among rights activists and members of the public. 

The two women were publicly hit by one man, while two officials in uniform stood by and watched. 

A number of other people also stood around and watched the incident unfold.

This comes amid increasing concerns relating to the preservation and strengthening of women’s rights and overall human rights in Afghanistan as the Aghan negotiating team continues discussions with the Taliban in Doha. 

Human rights activists and global leaders have all called for the achievements of the past 19 years to be preserved if any peace deal is made between the warring sides. 

 

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TikTok removes over 100 million videos from its app

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

TikTok has had to remove over 104 million videos in the first six months of this year for violating its guidelines. 

About 37 million of these were from India followed by nearly 10 million in the United States.

TikTok says this is still less than one percent of the total number of videos uploaded on its app.

In the report, it adds that it took action on 96.4 percent of the removed clips before a user reported them and 90.3 percent of them didn’t have any views. 

The service’s algorithms automatically took care of and discarded 10 million of these clips.

“As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we relied more heavily on technology to detect and automatically remove violating content in markets such as India, Brazil, and Pakistan,” TikTok wrote on its website. 

TikTok’s content moderation practices haven’t always been effective, however. Earlier this month, the company was scrambling to suppress the spread of a viral, gruesome video that showed a man taking his own life with a gun, Digital Trends reported. 

With over 100 million users in the US alone, TikTok is now also a significant potential link for law enforcement agencies looking for personal data in investigations. In the US, TikTok received 226 legal requests, substantially up from 100 from the six months before 2020, from law enforcement or government entities for user information and content restrictions, 85 percent of which it agreed to comply with. 

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