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Germany, Qatar to Host Intra-Afghan Talks Next Week

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2019)

Germany and Qatar will host the intra-Afghan Dialogue Conference in Doha, the capital of Qatar, on July 7-8, Germany’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said in a statement.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Potzel Markus said that as part of their efforts to support the peace process in Afghanistan, Germany and Qatar will convene an Intra-Afghan Dialogue Conference to be held in Doha on 7 and 8 July 2019.

“Afghanistan stands at a critical moment of opportunity for progress towards peace. An essential component of any process leading to this objective will be a direct engagement between Afghans,” Potzel said.

“Only Afghans themselves can decide the future of their country,” Potzel said, adding that “an Intra-Afghan Dialogue can help clarify the options and opportunities of such direct engagement.”

Germany and Qatar hope that this event will contribute to trust-building among key stakeholders, representing a wide spectrum of the Afghan people and society, and thus foster peace and stability in Afghanistan and the wider region.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in a tweet on Monday night thanked the two countries for hosting the July 7-8 intra-Afghan Dialogue Conference.

“This dialogue is an essential element of the four-part peace framework and an important step in advancing the Afghan peace process,” Khalilzad said.

“Mutual acceptance, seeking consensus, and agreeing to resolve political differences without force is what is needed to learn from the tragedy of the last 40 years. I wish participants success,” he tweeted.

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Taliban still has ties with Al-Qaeda affiliate: Pentagon

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

Pentagon says in a new report that Al-Qaeda-linked regional groups have close ties to the Taliban and have sustained interests in attacking the US forces and other countries.

While the Taliban has pledged to no longer allow Al-Qaeda to operate from Afghan soil, Pentagon says that the group colluding with al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent.

A report by the US Department of Defense to Congress on the security situation in Afghanistan shows that al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent regularly cooperates with bottom level members of the Taliban to weaken the Afghan government.

“We believe the Taliban still have ties to a network like Haqqani and dozens of other networks operating in Afghanistan. What the Pentagon findings are, our security agencies have the same report,” said Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan president.

The Pentagon has also reported that Russia is actively working with the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan to speed up the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, as the US Secretary of State has spoken to his Russian counterpart about the matter.

“They have an objective there too. To reduce the risk of terrorism there. So yes, maybe not every time. But with great frequency, when I speak to my Russian counterparts, we talk about Afghanistan. We talk about the fact that we don’t want them engage in this,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Pentagon says that despite recent progress in the peace process, al-Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent maintains close ties with the Taliban in Afghanistan, possibly for protection and training.

“The enemy of al-Qaeda is the United States, and it is very clear that the relationship with the Taliban will not be cut, and that it will continue to lead to war,” said Zahir Azimi, a retired militant.

Politician Rahmatullah Bizhanpour said: “The United States wants to repeat the game in Afghanistan or start a new round of games, as the US is taking different stances against the Taliban and then directly another force called ISIS will appear in the region.”

The report regarding Iran said that Iran pursues its goals in Afghanistan by providing calculated support to the Taliban and by engaging in efforts to strengthen relations with the Afghan government.

The Taliban, however, in a statement rejected the report, calling it “propaganda and unsubstantiated.”

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Khalilzad sees Afghan peace in favor of Central Asian countries

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy for Peace in Afghanistan, said that peace and stability in Afghanistan are critical for “regional peace, security, and prosperity in Central Asia.”

Khalilzad discussed the Afghan peace process with Foreign Ministers of the Central Asian countries on Wednesday.

“A stable and prosperous Afghanistan is critical for regional peace, security, and prosperity in Central Asia; a Central Asia made up of sovereign and independent states working together with Afghanistan bridging to South Asia is in the interest of the region and of the US,” Khalilzad wrote on his Twitter after the C5+1 meeting.

The US official discussed investments in each country and cross-border opportunities with the Central Asian ministers, “We also explored what a pooled, regional development fund might look like.”

During his recent visit to the region, Zalmay Khalilzad is working to create a regional consensus on peace in Afghanistan.

The US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan began his new trip a few days ago. He also met with Pakistani officials yesterday to discuss peace in Afghanistan. This time, Zalmay Khalilzad will speak to Afghan officials via video conference.

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Coronavirus cases in Afghanistan hike to 32,022

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health said Thursday that 33 Coronavirus patients have died in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan as the country recorded 186 new cases.

The record of new cases shows a declined in the number of infections in the country.

Meanwhile, 436 patients have been discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours after receiving treatment.

“In the past 24 hours out of 341 samples 186 people were tested positive for the Coronavirus, 33 patients died and 436 others have recovered,” said Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health Masoma Jafari.

The cases were registered in Kabul 61, Herat 34, Daikundi 31, Kunduz 16, Balkh 14, Logar 7, Parwan 6, Kandahar 6, Baghlan 3, Laghman, Maidan Wardak and Paktia 2 in each, and Helmand and Nangahar witnessed 1-1 case in each.

It brings the total infections to 32022 with 806 deaths and 16607 recoveries in Afghanistan.

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