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Ghani to meet with Republic’s talks team in Doha but not the Taliban

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(Last Updated On: October 5, 2020)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will meet with the republic’s negotiating team in Doha, Qatar, during his visit but is not expected to meet the Taliban negotiating team. 

Ghani left Kabul early Monday for Kuwait, to attend the funeral ceremony of the late Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, and will then travel on to Doha. 

Speaking to Reuters, a close aide to Ghani said Monday: “Several meetings are planned to discuss efforts for deepening Afghanistan-Qatar ties and mutual cooperation in various areas.”

The aide then said Ghani will also meet the Afghan representatives who are holding talks with the Taliban.

“But it is clear that Ghani will not meet the Taliban officials as there has been no reduction of violence and they continue to kill innocent civilians,” said a senior western diplomat overseeing the ongoing peace process.

This latest development comes amid stalled peace talks between the two sides. Also, last week, US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad flew from Washington to Doha in what is believed to be a bid to restart the first phase of talks. 

This weekend, Khalilzad told NPR that the US “will not walk away” from the war-torn country should the intra-Afghan negotiations fail.

 “We will not make the mistake that was made after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was to abandon Afghanistan. And the consequences were grave for Afghanistan because of the mistakes the Afghan leaders made,” he said. 

He said now was the time for Afghanistan to seize the opportunity to negotiate a roadmap “where groups of different ideas or ideologies, values, can coexist in the same country. 

“And at the same time, there is a lesson for the United States that we cannot abandon Afghanistan. We cannot turn our back.”

He said this did not mean the US necessarily needed to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan nor continue a war just to have a military presence – “but that if the conditions are right, [if] we don’t feel threatened, that we can withdraw our military forces or adjust them accordingly, but maintain focus, relations, economic assistance, political relations, diplomatic relations, to encourage the consolidation of a peace agreement, should it be arrived at by the Afghans.”

He stated the current peace talks situation was a moment for the Afghan leaders not to repeat the mistakes of the past, but instead to build a consensus-based system where all key players can participate, “and perhaps peace in Afghanistan can change the dynamics even regionally.”

 

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Pakistan seal semi-final T20 World Cup spot after beating Namibia 

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(Last Updated On: November 2, 2021)

Pakistan defeated Namibia by 45 runs on Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi to become the first side to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.

Chasing a formidable target of 190, Namibia gave a good account of their ability and promise and eventually finished with 144-5 as Pakistan collected the two points they needed to go through to the next round.

Pakistan’s total is the second-highest in this tournament, behind Afghanistan’s 190-4 against Scotland in Sharjah.

Afghanistan’s next T20 World Cup match is on Wednesday against India.

 

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COVID-19

US administers over 420 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

The United States has administered 420,657,683 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 518,701,225 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The agency said 221,221,467 people had received at least one dose, while 192,244,927 people were fully vaccinated as of 6am on Saturday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, Reuters reported.

About 17.7 million people have received a booster dose of either Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On November 8, the United States is lifting the extraordinary travel restrictions that have barred most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. 

It is also imposing new rules requiring nearly all foreign adult air visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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IEA arrests two gunmen after wedding party shooting 

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) deputy minister of information and culture Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed on Sunday that two people have been arrested following the shooting at a wedding party on Friday night. 

Mujahid said in a series of tweets on Sunday that three people, claiming to be IEA members, had arrived at the venue in a village in Nangarhar and ordered them to stop the music, before opening fire on the guests. 

Three people died and several were wounded, he said.

“Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and one has escaped and is being pursued,” Mujahid tweeted.

 Mujahid said that the gunmen were handed over to officials.

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