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Russia ready to cooperate with NATO on combating terrorism in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: April 12, 2016)

Zamir-Kabulov

Russia has expressed its readiness to cooperate with NATO forces to fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan said.

Kabulov stated that Russia’s presence will be in one condition that the NATO declares agreement.

“This is possible on condition of honest and frank cooperation on NATO’s part. This, as they say, is a two-way traffic street,” Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan said.

Meanwhile, Afghan Presidential Palace welcomed Russia’s readiness for cooperation.

“Afghanistan is fighting against terrorism. We welcome and support anyone who are eager to stand against terrorism,” Dawa Khan Mina Pal, President’s deputy spokesman said.

A number of Afghan law makers also praised Russia’s readiness for cooperation against terrorism.

“Coincides with deteriorated security situation and terror presence in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan borders, Russia becomes ready to fight against terrorism, but we hope they seriously take actions,” Muhammad Hashem, representative of Faryab said.

“We welcome their readiness but they should start activities in consultation of Afghan government and NATO’s framework,” Saheb Khan, representative of Logar said.

Afghanistan is suffering from terrorist attacks in the country by the Taliban militant group. The Islamic State jihadist group and al-Qaeda also pose a threat to the country’s stability.

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Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate quits as country’s crisis deepens

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2020)

Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib resigned Saturday after failing to form a new government in the crisis-hit country. 

Adib was tasked with forming a new government last month after the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet following the massive explosion in Beirut that caused widespread destruction across the city.

The blast came at a time when the country was reeling under a crippling economic crisis while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Adib’s resignation is a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron’s bid to rally sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war.

Adib’s appointment came after Macron intervened and secured a consensus on naming him in a country where power is shared between Muslims and Christians.

On Saturday, Adib told reporters he was stepping down after it became clear that the kind of cabinet he wished to form was “bound to fail”.

A source close to Macron reportedly said the situation that led to Adib’s resignation amounted to “collective betrayal” by political parties.

“It is indispensable to have a government capable of receiving international aid. France will not abandon Lebanon,” said the official.

Lebanon is in desperate need of financial assistance but France — the former colonial power — and others have refused to provide aid before serious reforms are made.

Adib announced he was stepping down but said Lebanon must not abandon the French plan or squander Macron’s goodwill.

“I stress that this initiative must continue,” he said after meeting President Michel Aoun.

He wished his successor well in the “hard task” of forming a government.

Politicians had promised Paris they would have a government in place by mid-September.

“It’s a setback, but we’re not giving up,” a French diplomatic source said.

Under the French roadmap, the new government would take swift steps to tackle corruption and implement reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars of international aid to fix an economy that has been crushed by a mountain of debt.

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Ghani and Pakistani PM discuss need for ceasefire

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan’s Prime Minister held a telephone conversation Friday where both parties agreed there was an urgent need for a ceasefire. 

In a statement issued by the Presidential Palace (ARG), government said Ghani and Khan discussed bilateral relations, the peace process, and a ceasefire in Afghanistan. 

Ghani also invited Khan to pay an official visit to Afghanistan. 

ARG quoted Khan as saying: “We fully support the establishment of a ceasefire in Afghanistan and thanked the President for his invitation.”

According to ARG, Khan will “visit Kabul in the near future.”

Pakistan’s Geo TV meanwhile reported that Pakistan would fully support the decisions that the Afghan people would take about their future, according to Khan.

The prime minister also underlined the importance Pakistan attaches to constructive engagement with Afghanistan, and to peace, stability, and prosperity of the Afghan people.

Geo TV also stated that the Chairman of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Abdullah Abdullah, would be visiting Islamabad next week.

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Khalilzad says Taliban unlikely to call a ceasefire until a deal is made

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2020)

As the world continues to call for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday he did not think the Taliban would call for a ceasefire until an agreement between the two sides has been sealed. 

When asked about this in an interview with America’s PBS News Hour on Friday night, Khalilzad said: “I think you’re right that the Talibs will not accept a cease-fire, comprehensive and permanent, until there’s a political settlement,” adding however that this was not unprecedented in other conflicts in the past. 

In going forward and discussing a road map for peace, which might take into account an interim government, Khalilzad said there were various options the Afghan negotiating team and the Taliban have in front of them. 

“But it is for the Afghans to agree to a political road map. And the fact that they are sitting across the table from each other is unprecedented, that warring – Afghan warring parties have sat together.

“When the Soviets withdrew, before their withdrawal, there was no Afghan meetings. It was an agreement that Pakistan and the Afghan government signed with the US and USSR as guarantors. And ever since then, the warring Afghan parties have not sat together.”

“This is an extraordinary development in contemporary Afghan history,” he said.

Over the past few weeks, critics have raised their voices claiming the US was pushing Afghanistan and the Taliban together to sign a deal before the US elections in November. 

Questioned about whether he was under pressure by the White House or the US State Department to ensure progress was made by November 3, Khalilzad said he was not. 

“We would like the war to end as soon as possible. This is the expectation of the Afghan people. We have not set any artificial deadline for when these negotiations have to succeed. We are not directly involved in the negotiations. It’s Afghan-Afghan. They did not want a foreigner to be a mediator or a facilitator, to be in the room,” he said. 

Khalilzad said the Taliban had stated in Doha that the rights of minorities, such as the Shia community, would be respected and that there would be no discrimination. 

“But that’s still an unresolved issue in terms of an exact formulation and an agreement. We obviously support an agreement that respects the right of all Afghans, whether they belong to one sect or another, whether they’re men or women.”

On the issue of al-Qaeda, in terms of the February deal signed between the US and the Taliban, which had not yet cut ties with the terrorist organization, Khalilzad said Washington was holding the Taliban to that agreement. 

“And what we do is contingent, in terms of reduction of forces, on what they do. We have seen progress in terms of delivering on the commitment that they have made on terrorism, but that’s unfinished business. 

“And we will see in a couple of months, when we reached a number between 4,000 to 5,000 in terms of our troops. We will assess where they are.”

He said the US was very committed to ensuring Afghanistan could not be used as a platform to threaten the US and that Washington would “take measures necessary to protect the United States from potential terrorist threats in Afghanistan or from Afghanistan.”

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