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Rashid Khan wins ICC’s Men’s T20I Player of the Decade

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(Last Updated On: December 28, 2020)

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been named the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20I Player of the Decade.

Rashid scooped the title Monday after beating six other nominees including Ghris Gayle, Virat Kohli and Imran Tahir among others. 

Rashid has an incredible record to date in the format, the ICC stated on its website. 

He has amassed 89 wickets in 48 games, at an average of just 12.62. With a strike-rate of 12.3, the No.1-ranked men’s T20I bowler boasts a T20 career-best 5/3 against Ireland in 2017. 

“What was so impressive about that innings was that Ireland, who were 64/2 from six overs, were well on course for victory, until Khan’s devastating spell saw him pick up five wickets in just ten balls to completely swing the rain-affected game, as Ireland fell 17 runs short of their 11-over target of 111,” the ICC stated. 

According to their experts, it’s not just his wicket-taking ability that has seen him recognised either. His economy rate is also exceptional, conceding 6.14 runs per over in T20Is. With the bat, in all forms of T20 cricket he’s shown that he can play shots, and along with his match-winning capabilities with the ball, he’s proved he is an asset to his side. 

“Still very young, the prolific spinner will no doubt be a player to keep an eye on for the next decade of international cricket,” the ICC stated.

Rashid said after the news was announced that he was “speechless” but thanked his fans and said it was a “great moment for all of Afghanistan”. 

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Biden to keep Khalilzad as peace envoy for now

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

Former president Donald Trump’s peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad will retain his position, for now, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN. 

This move is not typical as traditionally an incoming administration replaces all politically appointed officials – especially those dealing with foreign policy issues. 

Khalilzad, a diplomatic veteran, has worked on the peace process for more than two years and has been the key official from Washington to meet with both the Afghan government and the Taliban as well as all other stakeholders and regional leaders. 

No further details were released and according to CNN the State Department did not comment when asked about Khalilzad staying on board. 

However, in a statement issued late Friday, the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib that the United States intends to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement.”

He also said Washington would assess whether the Taliban was living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders.

Sullivan also expressed America’s desire that all Afghan leaders embrace this “historic opportunity for peace and stability.”

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Washington to review US-Taliban deal, Sullivan tells Mohib 

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib on Friday evening and said Washington intends to review the US-Taliban deal signed in February last year and to assess whether the Taliban is adhering to its commitments. 

In a statement issued by the White House following the discussion between the two NSAs, Sullivan said the US will support the peace process with “a robust and regional diplomatic effort, which will aim to help the two sides achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent ceasefire”. 

Sullivan also made clear “the United States’ intention to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement, including to assess whether the Taliban was living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders.”

According to the statement, Sullivan also expressed America’s desire that all Afghan leaders embrace this “historic opportunity for peace and stability.”

In addition, Sullivan and Mohib discussed the US’s support for protecting the gains made by Afghan women, girls, and minority groups as part of the peace process. 

Sullivan also “committed to consulting closely with the Afghan government, NATO allies, and regional partners regarding a collective strategy to support a stable, sovereign, and secure future for Afghanistan,” the statement read.

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Taliban should cut ties with Pakistan: Ghani

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani has called on the Taliban to cut ties with Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Ghani stated that the Taliban should not have a safe haven in Pakistan either.

“One of the basic needs for peace in Afghanistan is that the Taliban should cut their ties with Pakistan. If they call themselves Afghans and want to be in Afghanistan; they should not have dual citizenships,” said Ghani.

Ghani also urged Pakistan to play its positive role in the ongoing talks in Doha.

“I urged PM of Pakistan to tell Taliban that there is no solution without a political settlement,” said Ghani.

The President has also criticized the interim government plan, emphasizing a democratic process for the power transfer.

Ghani stated that he will transfer power to the Taliban if they are elected by the people in the elections.

 “We hope for peace, but we are ready for every danger,” Ghani said.

This comes as the Afghan government peace negotiators are in Doha to discuss the agenda for the negotiations with the Taliban delegates.

Ghani, however, said that in the end, it is the people of Afghanistan who would decide the outcome of the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, on Thursday called on Joe Biden, the US president to follow up on the current Afghan peace process and US troops’ withdrawal from the country.

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