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Sixth Round Of U.S.-Taliban Talks in Doha to Begin Today

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(Last Updated On: May 1, 2019)

The U.S. and Taliban delegations will resume talks on Wednesday in Doha, the capital of Qatar to make a way for ending the long-term conflict in the war-weary country, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban said in a tweet.

“We are expecting the meeting to start in the next two hours as the U.S. delegation has already arrived,” Mujahid has told Reuters.

Mujahid, meanwhile, said in a statement that the Head of the Taliban office in Qatar and deputy to the group’s leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari and her delegation on Tuesday and discussed the Afghan peace process.

The U.S. officials have not made a comment on the report.

Earlier, the negotiations between the Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and a U.S. negotiating team led by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was held in Doha in March 2019, where the two sides had “agreed in a draft” on the issues of counter-terrorism assurances and troop pullout from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Khalilzad visited Islamabad from April 29 to 30 where he requested and received support for the need to accelerate intra-Afghan dialogue as well as a reduction in violence.

During his two-day visit, Khalilzad met with Pakistani officials including Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and the country’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed the Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan supports efforts to accelerate intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations and is committed to helping reduce violence in Afghanistan. Everyone I saw recognizes the benefits peace will bring to the region,” Khalilzad said in a tweet on Tuesday.

“I am also encouraged by the role Pakistan wants to play in building regional consensus in support of the Afghan peace process. The time to implement has come,” Khalilzad tweeted.

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Doing away with the Republic would cost Afghanistan dearly: Ghani

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2021)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday that any interruption in the Republic governing system would come at a great cost to the country especially as it currently provides equality to all Afghans.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the Shia Ulema (scholars) Council of Afghanistan at the Presidential Palace,Ghani said: “The Republic is an umbrella and a bed where the equality of all Afghans is ensured.”

“Our security and defense forces have not lost the war, and the full international legitimacy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan remains, and the United States is a partner of the Afghan government and our security and defense forces,” Ghani added.

The meeting was also attended by Sarwar Danish, second vice president, and Mohammad Mohaqiqm, a senior advisor to Ghani on security and political affairs.

Ghani also said that in setting the goal of peace, with the world and the region, is to ensure an independent Afghanistan that enjoys national sovereignty, democracy and national unity.

He also stated that “way to other stages of negotiations is to do it carefully, prudently and confidently.

“We are not ready for an apology or surrender and we want a peace in which there is survival, prosperity and national unity,” Ghani said.

Mohammad Akbari, deputy head of the council, said in turn the Ulema council is “working with a moderate policy and a clear path to strengthen the foundations of Islamic brotherhood and national unity, and is calling for peace and an end to the war in the country; and it supports the preservation of the Constitution, and the system of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

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Central Bank staff once again targeted in IED explosion

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2021)

A senior official of De Afghanistan Bank, (the Central Bank) was targeted in an IED explosion in Kabul early Sunday morning, the bank confirmed.

The bank said in a statement that Abdullah Dawrani, the head of the Financial Dispute Resolution Commission, was the target in an IED explosion at around 8.15 am this morning.

According to the statement, Dawrani was wounded and his bodyguard was killed in the blast.

The bank stated that another person was also injured in the explosion, which occurred in the Shah Shaheed area of PD8 of the city but did not reveal the person’s identity.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This is the second targeted attack against Central Bank employees.

In November last year, Yama Siavash, a former TV news anchor, and an employee of the Central Bank, was killed in an IED explosion in PD9 in Kabul.

Meanwhile, an IED blast rattled Jalalabad city in eastern Nangarhar province on Sunday morning.

The blast happened in PD4 of the city, police confirmed.

Farid Khan, a spokesman for Nangarhar police told Ariana News that at least three civilians were wounded in that explosion.

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SpaceX delays launch of 143 satellites due to bad weather

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2021)

SpaceX is expected to launch 143 satellites into space on a single Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday after having to postpone its launch day of Saturday at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida due to bad weather.

The decision to postpone came just six minutes before blast off, Space.com reported.

“Weather is looking a little dicey for our current liftoff time,” SpaceX production supervisor Andy Tran said about seven minutes before the rocket was scheduled to blast off, citing electrical fields.

Space.com reported that less than a minute later, the SpaceX team made the call to postpone the launch attempt entirely, not waiting for the clock to run out.

Electrical fields are a risk to rocket launches because they can prompt lightning formation during liftoff.

The Transporter-1 launch will be SpaceX’s first dedicated rideshare mission, carrying 133 assorted small satellites and 10 of the company’s Starlink internet satellites. When it launches, the mission will hold the record for most satellites deployed from a single rocket, Tran said.

The launch will be the fifth flight for the Falcon 9 first-stage booster. Its previous flights, all in 2020, include the company’s first-ever crewed launch, called Demo-2, in May 2020, which sent two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station for a two-month stay.

The booster also launched a military communications satellite for South Korea, a Cargo Dragon resupply ship to the station for NASA and a separate Starlink mission.

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