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Ghani says Geneva Conference will determine Afghanistan’s future

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(Last Updated On: November 22, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday that the Geneva pledging conference will influence Afghanistan’s future development and path to self-reliance and peace.

“We will gather virtually tomorrow for the 2020 Geneva Conference on Afghanistan. We aim to realize the decades’ hopes of all Afghans for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, said Ghani.

“The outcomes of this pledging conference will heavily influence the country’s future development and our path towards self-reliance and peace.”

Based on the official schedule, the pledging conference will run over two days from Monday and bring together 70 countries and international organizations – all of whom will attend the summit virtually.

The conference will focus on three key issues: financial support for the Afghan government; preserving the achievements of the past 19 years and support for the Afghan peace process.

Questions have been raised however on whether the Afghan government has implemented its commitment from the 2018 Geneva conference.

“We want to say that people are concerned about governance in Afghanistan. People do not trust either side,” said Rafi Azizi, the head of a civil society organization.

Afghan delegates meanwhile said they will try their best to convince the international community to continue its support.

However, the international community had set 10 conditions for financial support to Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan implemented all conditions set by the international community. We are ready to attend the conference,” said Latif Mahmood, head of government media and information center.

Some participants say that it is a key opportunity for the international community to support Afghanistan but securing more funding will be difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Janne Taalas, Special Envoy of Finland for the Geneva Conference 2020, said in an interview with VOA that some countries will review their aid to Afghanistan due to the spread of coronavirus.

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Ghani meets with leading politicians to discuss peace process

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(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani met with the country’s political and jihadi leaders on Monday morning who stressed that the peace process is a priority for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and that “all further steps in this process, will be taken with the necessary understanding and consensus.”

Present at the meeting were Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation; Hamid Karzai, former president; Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, former Jihadi leader; Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, Second Vice President; Mohammad Younus Qanuni, former vice president; Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, Speaker of the Senate; Mir Rahman Rahmani, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Mohammad Karim Khalili, leader of the Islamic Unity Party; Mohammad Ismail Khan, a member of the leadership of the Islamic Jamiat of Afghanistan; and a number of other senior politicians and officials.

According to a statement issued by the Presidential Palace (ARG), the politicians also agreed a united front was necessary.

“It was also emphasized at the meeting that a united front and a strong political consensus were necessary to strengthen peace and stability, strengthen the republican system and support the country’s security forces and make strong use of the strong popular support for the republican system to consolidate stability,” ARG said.

Participants at the meeting also discussed Ghani and his entourage’s planned visit to the United States, which they called “significant.”

On Sunday, the White House announced that Ghani and Abdullah were scheduled to travel to the US on June 25.

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the Afghan leaders to discuss continued US-Afghan cooperation, as well as the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

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US, Turkish military chiefs discuss diplomatic presence in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone on Sunday today with Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar to discuss bilateral cooperation and maintaining continued diplomatic presence in Afghanistan.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Austin reaffirmed the importance of the longstanding U.S.-Turkey defense relationship and thanked the Minister for the continuing communication and cooperation on peace and security issues.

This comes after reports emerged recently that Turkey has agreed to provide security for and run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once all foreign troops have withdrawn.

Turkey stated however that there were conditions attached to their offer.

In an interview with TRT this weekend, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar said Afghanistan welcomes Turkey’s offer to run the airport.

“We believe that this will be essential for continuation of Turkish and NATO as well as the international community’s support to Afghanistan. This is going to be important for the diplomatic community in Kabul and it’s also important for international assistance to Afghanistan,” he said.

He also said that he believes the new system will see Turkey as the lead nation in protecting the airport and might be supported by other NATO allies including Hungary.

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Civilians killed in roadside IED explosion in Paktia

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(Last Updated On: June 21, 2021)

At least four people were killed and five others were injured in a roadside explosion in Paktia province on Monday morning, officials said.

Hayatullah Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Paktia police, said the incident took place in the Tala area of Machalgho in Ahmadabad district when a car hit an IED.

He said it was not yet known if the dead included women and children.

Ahmadzai said that most of the mines in the area had been planted by Taliban militants on the roads, causing harm to civilians.

Locals meanwhile said the victims had included women and children who had been on the way to the funeral of a soldier killed in fighting in the area on Sunday night.

The Taliban has not commented on the incident.

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