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Is the Government-Taliban talk deadlocked again?

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(Last Updated On: April 22, 2020)

The Taliban spokesman has said the group has no contact with the Afghan government after the disputes over the prisoner releases. But a member of the government’s focal point said that efforts were underway to resume talks with the Taliban to start the Intra-Afghan talks.

Aminuddin Mozaffari, a member of the government’s focal point, said: “It has not been seriously hung up. Efforts are being made to resume these contacts resolving some differences.”

After disagreements between the government and the Taliban over the releases of the prisoners, sources now report that the contact between the Taliban and the government has been cut off, the contacts which were mediated by the United States and Qatar.

Reportedly the Afghan government has released 71 more prisoners of the Taliban, however, bringing the total number of the released prisoners to 432 to date. The Taliban has also released 61 prisoners of the government.

On the other hand, more than 20 security forces have been killed in very recent Taliban attacks in Logar, Sar-e-Pul, and other parts of the country.

This comes as, in the course of efforts for war and peace, some media outlets have developed a supportive plan to maintain and back the freedom of expression at all levels of the peace bringing process.

“The plan has three stages, all emphasizing the protection of the freedom of expression in the whole process of the peace talks,” said Najib Sharifi, CEO of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The main dispute arose when the Taliban demanded the release of 15 senior members of the group followed by the government’s refusal noting that the at least five of the wanted had been involved in serious crimes and deadly attacks, including the ones in Shah Shahid, Zanbaq Roundabout, Intercontinental Hotel, to name a few.

 

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Afghan civil society appeals to EU to push for a ceasefire

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

Four key recommendations were presented to the European Parliament in a meeting with Afghan civil society members under the umbrella of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP) this week.

In its role as a “transfer mechanism for the peace talks”, AMIP facilitated the meeting that was aimed at highlighting the role of civil society in the Afghan peace process and called on the European Union and its member states to encourage the parties to the conflict to “immediately implement a comprehensive, nationwide and unconditional ceasefire.”

AMIP also asked the EU to call on all regional actors to “support a ceasefire agreement unequivocally, and to refrain from interference in the Afghan conflict.”

“We ask the European Union and its member states to continue their commitment and active support to an inclusive, Afghan peace process, that preserves and builds on the political, economic and social accomplishments of the citizens of Afghanistan. 

“All Afghans have suffered from the consequences of conflict, and deserve to live in a peaceful and prosperous country.

AMIP also called on the EU to “continue their commitment and support of Afghan civil society and especially that of women groups, and their participation in all processes that lead to stability and peace in Afghanistan.”

Their fourth recommendation was on the EU’s support in a post-war scenario. 

“We are grateful for the European Union’s consistent support to Afghanistan, and urge the EU and its member states to maintain its support for stability and development in the post-peace phase.”

In a tweet after the meeting, the Head of EU Delegation in Kabul ambassador Andreas von Brandt said he stated at the meeting that there was a “need to bring all Afghan voices to the negotiating table but also seek societal consensus for compromise.”

The discussion was held between the Chair of the EU Parliament Delegation for relations with Afghanistan Petras Austrevicus; the Head of EU Delegation in Kabul ambassador Andreas von Brandt; and Afghan civil society members. Also attending the meeting was representatives from the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, Afghanistan Justice Organization, Afghanistan Policy Group and the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organizations.

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MoI reports 261 civilians killed in past 50 days in Taliban attacks

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

At least 261 civilians have been killed and 602 wounded in Taliban offensives in the past 50 days, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed Saturday.

“The Taliban have increased violence in some provinces in recent months. In the past 50 days, the Taliban have conducted close to 2,000 offensives that left 863 civilians killed or wounded,” Tariq Arian, an MoI spokesperson said.

The Afghan security and defense forces stated that the Taliban have also sustained heavy casualties. 

The Defense Ministry said a key Taliban commander was killed in an airstrike by the Afghan forces in Helmand province.

According to the ministry, the deputy Taliban military commissioner Mullah Amanullah was killed along with his eight fighters in the Nawa district of Helmand on Friday.

In a reaction to the report, the Taliban blamed airstrikes conducted by the Afghan and the US forces for civilian casualties.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that their attacks are focused on military centers, from where he claimed that the Afghan forces are coordinating operations against the Taliban.

 

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Erdogan’s spokesman, interior minister test positive for COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman and interior minister both announced Saturday that they had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kolin tweeted that he had reached “the final stage of coronavirus treatment” but did not say how long he had been sick.

Kolin’s announcement came just hours after Erdogan’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said he was hospitalized Friday after testing positive for the virus. 

Turkish media reports that both men routinely meet with Erdogan, who was traveling on Saturday to Izmir to inspect the damage from an earthquake that killed more than 30 people in Turkey and Greece.

However, al-Arabiya reports that Erdogan has exhibited no signs of illness and keeps a punishing schedule that often includes several daily televised speeches.

Turkey, which this week surpassed 10,000 coronavirus deaths, has so far refrained from reintroducing the lockdown measures being unveiled by countries such as France and Greece.

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