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Ghani tells UN the country is dealing with multiple drivers of turmoil

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2020)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the international community to help his country achieve peace as Afghanistan is facing “multiple drivers of turmoil all at once.”

He said however that peace remains Afghanistan’s “most urgent and important priority”.

In a pre-recorded address to the UN General Assembly late Wednesday, Ghani said his country is at the center of a region both full of opportunity and afflicted by global problems.  

Asia cannot integrate without Afghanistan, he said, pointing to South Asia’s need for energy and Central Asia’s abundance of resources as a clear example of the country’s relevance. 

“We are right at the heart of untapped potential that could bring prosperity and peace to our region,” he said, adding that to reach that potential it is imperative to clearly identify and address existing challenges.

He said the COVID‑19 pandemic had exposed the international community’s vulnerabilities, and much like the Second World War has forced all countries to take unprecedented action. 

The pandemic exacerbates drivers of inequality, such as unemployment, which is upending our world, he said adding that the fourth industrial revolution, the digital age, is also challenging Afghanistan to adapt in the “ways we work and the ways we govern”. 

He said Afghanistan was looking at how the digital age could be used as an opportunity for the country’s “overwhelmingly young population” and ways it can be used to strengthen governance and rule of law. 

Violence and warfare have also evolved, he said adding that the Afghan people are suffering at the hands of global terrorist networks.  He said Afghans have experienced this evolution and suffer “in real-time and are living and dying inside the 5th wave of global terrorism.”

He also stated that “global terrorist networks are closely linked with global criminal networks making warfare totally unconventional and making peace-building more of a challenge.” 

He said Afghanistan has taken hard decisions to start peace talks with the Taliban but is committed to the process. “This won’t be enough for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. We must get to the roots of the terrorism problem blighting our region and address it as a global phenomenon and threat that it is.”

Further destabilizing the country is the issue of climate-related disasters in relation to climate change. 

He said Afghans grapple with “urgent and real problems daily” and that the country needs a framework and pragmatic solutions to tackle all drivers of turmoil.

Intersecting all these destabilizing factors is an explosion of inequality, he noted.

To face all these challenges, the international community must uphold the founding principles of the United Nations, he said.  

The values enshrined in human rights texts must not be seen as unachievable ideals and aspirations, rather, they must be actualized, Ghani said adding that achieving the promises of peace, dignity, justice, and freedom calls for unprecedented cooperation, frameworks that present pragmatic solutions, and a United Nations capable of fulfilling its goals.  

He said Afghanistan is poised to strengthen State governance structures and create an environment conducive to growth by combating corruption.  The role of the United Nations as the government proceeds with peace talks is important, he said, adding that an urgent end to violence will allow Afghanistan to progress.

 

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Qureshi warns against peace ‘spoilers’ during Hekmatyar meeting

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(Last Updated On: October 20, 2020)

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reportedly cautioned Hizb-e Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Monday against “spoilers” in the Afghan peace process and emphasized the importance of being vigilant.

Hekmatyar arrived in Pakistan on Monday as part of ongoing efforts by Afghan officials and politicians to push for peace in the country. 

According to a statement issued by Qureshi’s office, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to further strengthen “the close fraternal relations between the two countries.”

“The Foreign Minister stressed the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. 

“The Foreign Minister underscored that all parties must honor their respective commitments and work for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire. The Afghan leaders must seize this historic opportunity to achieve durable and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

“The Foreign Minister also underlined the importance of exercising vigilance and guarding against the role of ‘spoilers’, both within and outside,” read the statement.

Qureshi also brought up the issue of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan and said it was important to make their return as part of the peace process. 

Hekmatyar is on a three-day visit to Pakistan and will meet with other high-ranking officials. 

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Abdullah meets Rouhani to discuss Afghan Peace Process

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(Last Updated On: October 20, 2020)

Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah on Monday met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in his ongoing efforts to garner support from regional countries for the Afghan peace process. 

After his meeting with Rouhani, Abdullah said: “We exchanged views on  Afghan Peace Process, talks in Doha and bilateral relations.

“I thanked His Excellency and Islamic Republic of Iran for their principled and continued support to Afghanistan and the peace process.”

He also said Iran, as a neighbor, can play an important role to help advance the peace process in Afghanistan.

Speaking to Iran’s IRNA news, Abdullah said the people of Afghanistan want a lasting and acceptable peace for all Afghans, as well as the preservation of the achievements made over the past 19 years.

He also said cooperation between regional states can help advance the peace process and negotiations and achieve a successful outcome.

“The voice of the neighboring country is very important to us in consultation at the regional and international level,” he said.

 

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COVID-19

Global coronavirus caseload crosses the 40 million mark

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2020)

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide passed the 40 million mark on Monday, according to a Reuters tally. 

Reuters reported that this comes as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere appears to have fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease. 

Experts however believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential under-reporting by some countries.

The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic continues to increase as it took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 to 30 million, the 44 days between 10 and 20 million, and the three months it took to reach 10 million cases from when the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in early January.

Reuters also reported that record one-day increases in new infections were seen at the end of last week, with global coronavirus cases rising above 400,000 for the first time.

The United States, India, and Brazil remain the worst affected countries in the world. 

 

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