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HPC Says It Has ‘Direct and Indirect Contacts’ with Taliban

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(Last Updated On: March 31, 2018)

The Afghanistan High Peace Council says it has maintained “direct and indirect” contacts with the Taliban, insisting that if the militant group reaches into an agreement with the government, the council will work on a timeline for withdrawal of foreign troops from the war-torn country.

As part of the efforts to end the 16-year-old war in the country that has been on “frontline” of fight against terrorism in the region, the High Peace Council says it has begun direct talks with the Taliban – which have repeatedly rejected dialogue with Kabul government in the past – but stresses that the council will not reveal the details yet.

“If we reach into an agreement with the Taliban, we will prepare a timeline for withdrawal of foreign forces [from the country] and will resolve this issue,” said Sayed Ehsan Tahiri, spokesman of the High Peace Council. “There have been direct and indirect contacts with the group [in this regard].”

This comes as recently, Russia’s envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said the Taliban has asked for financial support to the group in talks with Russian representatives, adding that the Taliban illegally buy all the weapons they need from the Afghan government and police and just need money for that.

“We laughed with Taliban representatives about it, and I’ll tell you why. They (Taliban) say they wouldn’t mind if we gave them weapons, but they don’t need weapons. They (Taliban) say “give us money, we’re buying weapons from the stocks of the Afghan army and police,” Kabulov said, as quoted by The Associated Press.

He said Moscow’s contacts with the Taliban aim to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and encourage the group to join peace talks.

“The countries that are opposed to U.S. policy in Afghanistan, they support the Taliban and that paves way for escalation of [the ongoing] war and kill more Afghans,” said a military expert, Javid Kohistani.

Criticizing the government over failure to bring Taliban to the negotiation table, some Afghan parliamentarians, meanwhile called for shut down of High Peace Council, as they believe the council has been failed in attempts for reconciliation with the Taliban.

By Shakib Mahmud and Fawad Naseri

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Stefano Pontecorvo takes office as NATO’s SCR in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2020)

Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo of Italy officially takes up his role, today June 1, as the new NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, NATO confirmed in a statement.

NATO Sec-Gen Jens Stoltenberg said, “I look forward to working closely with him at this critical juncture for Afghanistan’s future.”

According to the statement, Pontecorvo will be working with the NATO-led Resolute Support mission that trains, advises, and assists the Afghan National forces as well as advising the NATO Secretary-General and the North Atlantic Council on the Alliance’s efforts in Afghanistan and relations with Afghan partners.

The statement added, “He will liaise with senior members of the Afghan government, Afghan officials and other prominent national and local officials. He will engage with representatives of the international community, Afghan civil society, and non-governmental organizations.”

His previous roles have been described as Italy’s Ambassador to Pakistan, diplomatic adviser to the Italian Defense Minister working on NATO political-military issues, including on Afghanistan, and deputy head of mission at the Italian embassies in London and Moscow.

It is noteworthy that Sir Nicholas Kay of the United Kingdom was previously serving as the NATO SCR in Afghanistan since March 2019.

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Senior Traffic Police official killed – Kapisa

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2020)

An Afghan Traffic Police official was killed by unknown gunmen in Kapisa province on Monday, police confirmed.

Shayiq Shurish, a spokesman for the provincial police told Ariana News that Sayed Munir, head of Kapisa’s traffic department, was shot dead by unknown gunmen at around 8 a.m. Monday.

The incident has taken place in Qala-e-Sayed Khan village in Kapisa city, while Munir was on his way to his office, Shurish said.

He said the motives behind the attack yet to be determined, adding that police have begun investigations. 

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Former Afghan goalkeeper dies of Coronavirus

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2020)

Sadiq Ibrahimi, a former Afghanistan National Football Team’s goalkeeper, passed away on Sunday, his relatives confirmed.

According to his brother, Ibrahimi has died of the Coronavirus.

Ibrahimi was playing for the National Team between 2002 to 2007.

He played for Afghanistan in Asian competition in South Korea in 2002, as well as he showed well performance in matches against Bangladesh and Turkmenistan in 2005.

It comes as Ali Reza Ghorbani, a goalkeeper of the National Futsal Team of Afghanistan was also tested positive for COVID-19.

Ghorbani said that he was battling with the Coronavirus, “Corona knocked me down, take is serious.”

So far, 15,205 people in the country have been infected with the virus.

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