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NATO Defense Ministers Discuss Afghanistan in Brussels

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2019)

On day two of the NATO defense ministers meeting, Afghanistan was discussed at the NATO’s headquarter in Brussels, with all nations contributing to the NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

The top commander of the Resolute Support mission General Austin Scott Miller and the NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan Nicholas Kay briefed the Allies Defense Ministers regarding the situation of Afghanistan.

Speaking with the reporters at the end of the meeting, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that there is “a unique opportunity for peace “in Afghanistan.

Stoltenberg reiterated that the international community is now close to a peace deal than ever before and all NATO Allies strongly support the Afghan peace process.

“Allies fully support the efforts of the U.S. Special Representative, Ambassador [Zalmay] Khalilzad, to achieve a political settlement,” NATO Chief said.

Stoltenberg emphasized that he totally agree with Khalilzad’s principle of “nothing is agreed before everything is agreed.”

He said Afghan forces are making progress and this is important for the negotiating table.

NATO Chief said the international community went to Afghanistan after the September 11 attack which was organized by Al Qaeda from Afghanistan to prevent the country to become a safe place for international terrorists.

“We have confirmed our financial support for the Afghan security forces through 2024. We will stay in Afghanistan as long as necessary, to ensure the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists,” he added.

Referring to the recent achievements of the Afghan forces in the battlefields, Stoltenberg said we have made a lot of progress in Afghanistan.

He further said that his message to the Afghan government is that NATO will stay committed to Afghanistan and his message to the Taliban is that the militants will not win in the battlefields.

This comes as the U.S. and Taliban negotiators are set to hold their seventh round of talks within two days in Qatar aimed at ending the 18-years of violence in Afghanistan.

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Three Russian aircraft with humanitarian aid arrive in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Three Russian aircraft landed in Kabul on Wednesday carrying 36 tonnes of humanitarian aid, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

All three Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, involved in delivering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan would also evacuate Russian citizens, as well as citizens of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states, Russia’s Defense Ministry, said in a statement.

“Some three Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters of the Russian Defense Ministry have delivered humanitarian aid to the Kabul airport and are boarding evacuees for departure from Afghanistan,” the statement read.

A total of over 380 Russians, citizens of the CSTO member states (mainly Kyrgyzstan), and Afghan students from Russian universities will fly out on the departing planes, the ministry said.

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India considers re-opening mission in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

As countries slowly start reopening their embassies in Kabul, India is also reportedly considering the possibility of re-staffing its mission in Afghanistan.

So far, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan all have a diplomatic presence in the country.

Japan and the EU have also discussed the possibility of returning to Afghanistan.

One senior Indian official told The Hindu on Wednesday that “establishing a presence in Afghanistan has nothing to do with recognition [of the IEA government]. It simply means that you would like to have people on the ground dealing with the new regime, to continue engagement with the people.”

He said the Modi government is not convinced about the need to re-open its mission, but that discussions are continuing on what India’s strategy should be, The Hindu reported.

At present, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which was evacuated within two days of the IEA talking control, is intact and being guarded by IEA forces.

While calls from within the country to reopen grow, officials told The Hindu that much depends on what India’s other partners and friendly countries choose to do.

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Saudi Arabia reopens consular section of embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Saudi Arabia announced that it has reopened the consular section of its embassy in Kabul as of Tuesday in order to provide consular services to Afghan citizens.

This latest move has been welcomed by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

“We welcome them, appreciate this profound step by the Saudi government and view it as start of good relations,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry.

According to Balkhi a 14-member diplomatic team from Saudi Arabia returned to Kabul on Tuesday, and resumed consular activities.

This comes after the UAE recently reopened its embassy in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, IEA deputy minister and spokesman announced last week that the reopening of the UAE embassy was a “good step.”

The UAE was one of only a few country’s that recognized the IEA government in the 1990s, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Last week Takashi Okada, Japan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, said his country has also decided to reopen its embassy in Kabul after the new government ensured Tokyo of its security.

Enamullah Samangani, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s deputy spokesman said that Takashi Okada raised the issue during a meeting with Abdul Kabir, the IEA’s political deputy prime minister in Kabul.

According to him, the Japanese ambassador to Afghanistan has said that his country continues to support the Afghan people and is ready to work with the IEA on this issue.

Since taking power in mid-August, the IEA has repeatedly called on foreign countries to reopen their embassies after most missions evacuated staff and closed their doors during the chaos that surrounded the US troops withdrawal process.

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