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Taliban asks for extra time to present peace talks agenda 

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2021)

The Taliban negotiating team has asked the members of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s team for a few days to submit their agenda.

Sources from the Republic’s negotiating team confirm that the request was made during a meeting between the leaders and some members of the delegations on Sunday night in Doha. 

But the Republic’s delegation has already handed over its agenda to the Taliban.

“Yesterday in the meeting, they talked about the issues of the agenda and its order and how it has progressed. Regarding the meeting today, no decision has been made yet,” said Najia Anwari, a spokesperson for the State Ministry for Peace Affairs.

Meanwhile NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that NATO’s position on Afghanistan has not changed and the presence of its troops will be conditions based in Afghanistan.

In addition, Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, said on Monday: “The complexity of the talks, the delay in setting the agenda, the indifference of the Taliban delegation, the lack of internal political consensus, the dispersal of the High Council of National Reconciliation have made it difficult to reach an agreement.”

This all comes after the US announced last week it’s troop levels were down to 2,500. 

In line with this, US Vice President Mike Pence has said that if the terms of the Washington agreement with the Taliban are implemented, the rest of the US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

“The day will come when the war in Afghanistan will finally end. Your mission in Afghanistan has been vital to the security of the American people,” Pence said. 

Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the high council for national reconciliation, also dealt with peace talks issues on Monday and met with former President Hamid Karzai where they discussed the second round of Doha talks, the latest developments in peace talks and the strengthening of national and international consensus in support of the peace process.

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Pakistan wants political solution to Afghanistan issue: Qureshi

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2021)

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Thursday that the establishment of peace in Afghanistan is essential for peace in Pakistan and the entire region.

Qureshi said this during discussions with the President Ashraf Ghani’s Special Representative Muhammad Umar Daudzai who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday.

During the meeting, Afghan peace talks, the regional situation and matters of mutual interest were discussed.

Qureshi said Pakistan wants a political solution to the Afghanistan issue through a comprehensive dialogue process.

He said Pakistan sees the process as a shared responsibility and will continue to play a conciliatory role.

“Pakistan has deep concerns over the increase of violence in Afghanistan,” Qureshi said.

Expressing concern over the high levels of violence, Qureshi emphasized the need for all parties to play a positive role in furthering the process of negotiations while reducing the levels of violence.

Qureshi said after the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan will continue its role in helping to rebuild and develop the war-torn country.

Daudzai thanked Pakistan for its efforts in the peace process.

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Thousands of Afghans fleeing the country daily: Ministry

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2021)

The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations said Thursday that everyday about one thousand Afghan citizens leave the country illegally.

Ministry officials attributed this to poverty, unemployment and insecurity for most Afghan citizens, especially young people.

“About a thousand people migrate daily through Herat and Nimroz illegally, and then about a thousand return, and this migration and return is due to the economic situation or getting work,” said Reza Bahir, the ministry’s spokesman.

Insecurity and poverty are becoming more and more prevalent among the people of Afghanistan, so most of the country’s citizens, especially the youth, are migrating illegally to other countries by tackling difficult and even treacherous asylum routes, officials said.

Issa Mohammad, who wants to immigrate to Iran illegally through Nimroz province due to insecurity and unemployment, says the lack of work and the escalation of violence in the country has caused him to risk his life and leave his homeland.

“I am going to Iran illegally, it has problems. A few days ago, our friends were wounded and killed on the way,” said Issa.

Estimates currently indicate at least 6.7 million Afghans are currently refugees or asylum seekers around the world. Of this, three million are in Iran, two million are in Pakistan, 790,000 in Europe and 500,000 have applied for asylum in Australia.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice says that the United States will impose sanctions on Afghanistan if human trafficking is not stopped abroad.

“Efforts are underway to curb human trafficking and illegal migration so that migration can take place within a defined framework,” said Aman Reyazat, the ministry’s spokesman.
With the new solar year, in April, approaching, concerns have been raised that a large wave of Afghans will leave the country during this period over rising fears of violence.

The Afghan passport office meanwhile confirmed an increase in applications and stated it is currently issuing around 5,000 passports a day.

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US blames Taliban for high level of violence in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2021)

US Central Command chief, General Kenneth F. McKenzie on Thursday said the United States and NATO’s decision to withdraw troops will depend on conditions on the ground.

McKenzie also said that US and NATO in Afghanistan continue to support a negotiated settlement as the best possible outcome between the government and the Taliban going forward.

Speaking at a virtual Beirut Institute summit McKenzie said that the US still continues to see levels of violence that are way too high.

“I place a large measure of the blame on the Taliban who have continued to mount offensive operations and targeted killings of Afghan officials but the excessive violence has led the government to launch their own defensive operations to protect themselves – the violence while too high on both sides,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie also stressed that there is no sign that the Taliban had severed ties with al-Qaeda.

“In my clear judgment rests largely on the Taliban; we also continue to … look for signs of a Taliban break with al-Qaeda and I have not at this point seen any definitive signs that would lead to believe they’re prepared to or able to honor their obligations,” McKenzie added.

Meanwhile, a member of the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said the path to peace in Afghanistan is difficult because the Taliban have always relied on war and violence and see it as an effective way to gain power.

“Taliban strategy is still focused on war, targeted killings and assassinations take place in cities as part of the same strategy,” said Amin Ahmadi, member of the Republic’s negotiating team.

On the other hand the German government on Wednesday agreed to extend its military mandate in Afghanistan by at least another 10 months.

Germany’s Deutsche Welle reported Thursday that the new draft mandate still needs the approval of the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.

“The people of Afghanistan and the government are committed to peace, only those who are not committed to peace are fighting, the Taliban want to come to power through explosions and suicide,” said Shah Mahmood Miakhil, defense deputy minister.

However, the Interior Minister said the only way left for the Taliban is peace, otherwise they will be suppressed.

“The only way left for the Taliban is to make peace, otherwise they will be suppressed everywhere in the country,” said Massoud Andarabi, the interior minister.

Although talks between Afghans have resumed over the last three days, no results have been achieved so far.

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