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Government and Taliban play blame game over civilian casualties

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2020)

A day after the Afghan Republic’s peace talks team and the Taliban peace negotiators announced they had finalized the rules and procedures for intra-Afghan negotiations, the Ministry of Interior and the Taliban blamed each other for the high rate of civilian casualties in the ongoing war.

The Ministry of Interior claims that at least 476 civilians have been killed or wounded in the past month in Taliban attacks across the country.

Tariq Arian a spokesman for the ministry said that in the past month Taliban conducted 16 suicide attacks and were responsible for 168 IED explosions.

“In the past one month at least 134 civilians lost life and 342 others were wounded in the Taliban attacks and blasts,” Arian said.

This crime is unjustifiable, Arian added.

The ministry’s allegations came just an hour after the Taliban accused the government of killing 68 civilians during operations in the past week.

“Kabul carried out 26 attacks on civilian targets last week, 68 civilians martyred and injured,” the group claimed in a statement.

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Ghani extols virtues of peace, says it’s a basic right for all Afghans

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(Last Updated On: February 26, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani said on Thursday that peace is not just a dream but a goal and Afghanistan has a road map to achieve it.

Speaking at a national youth debate – “Peacebuilding, Government-Building and Market-Building” – Ghani stated it is a fundamental right of a society to live in peace, something the Afghan people have been denied for 40 years.

The president said that maintaining a Republic system was of utmost importance and that power belongs to the people. He also said power can only be transferred from one person to another with the people’s consent.

On the issue of the peace process, Ghani said the roadmap for peace is not just about negotiations with the Taliban, but also about assurances from the world “that no one has the right to interfere in our territory”.

Ghani said: “The national, regional and international environment is ready for peace, but we must act with prudence and care. Our fundamental wish is to end 40 years of violence in the country, and we will not allow violence in any form.”

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Biden revokes Trump ban on many green card applicants

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(Last Updated On: February 26, 2021)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked a proclamation from his predecessor that blocked many green card applicants from entering the United States, Reuters reported.

Former President Donald Trump issued the ban last year, saying it was needed to protect U.S. workers amid high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden rejected that reasoning in a proclamation on Wednesday rescinding the visa ban and said it had prevented families from reuniting in the United States and harmed U.S. businesses.

Biden has pledged to reverse many of Trump’s hardline immigration policies.

Reuters reported that Biden left in place another ban on most foreign temporary workers.

In October, a federal judge in California blocked Trump’s ban on those foreign guest workers as it affected hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses that fought the policy in court.

Curtis Morrison, a California-based immigration attorney, who represents people subject to the ban said Biden will now have to tackle a growing backlog of applications that have been held up for months as the pandemic shut down most visa processing by the State Department. The process could potentially take years, he said.

“It’s a backlog that Trump created,” Morrison said. “He broke the immigration system.”

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Reuters reported.

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Pakistan wants political solution to Afghanistan issue: Qureshi

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2021)

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Thursday that the establishment of peace in Afghanistan is essential for peace in Pakistan and the entire region.

Qureshi said this during discussions with the President Ashraf Ghani’s Special Representative Muhammad Umar Daudzai who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday.

During the meeting, Afghan peace talks, the regional situation and matters of mutual interest were discussed.

Qureshi said Pakistan wants a political solution to the Afghanistan issue through a comprehensive dialogue process.

He said Pakistan sees the process as a shared responsibility and will continue to play a conciliatory role.

“Pakistan has deep concerns over the increase of violence in Afghanistan,” Qureshi said.

Expressing concern over the high levels of violence, Qureshi emphasized the need for all parties to play a positive role in furthering the process of negotiations while reducing the levels of violence.

Qureshi said after the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan will continue its role in helping to rebuild and develop the war-torn country.

Daudzai thanked Pakistan for its efforts in the peace process.

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