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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said that if the terms of the Washington agreement with the Taliban are implemented, the rest of the US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan.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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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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