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Taliban Shadow District Governor Arrested in Helmand

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(Last Updated On: April 21, 2019)

Afghan intelligence operatives have arrested Taliban’s shadow governor for Musa Qala district of southern Helmand province, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said on Sunday.

In a statement released, NDS said that Mullah Abdul Ghafoor, the shadow district governor of Musa Qala was arrested during a raid conducted by NDS special forces in Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

Three AK-47, one pistol, 600kg Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), a Corolla Toyota vehicle, a motorbike, and one radio communication were also seized during the operation, the statement added.

Helmand is among the volatile provinces in south of Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgent group is actively operating in a number of its districts including Lashkargah, the capital of the province.

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Khalilzad, Qataris, Taliban discuss development opportunities in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 4, 2020)

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Qatari officials discussed the possibility of co-investing in Afghan projects to “consolidate peace and unlock regional prosperity.”

Khalilzad said in a series tweets that he and Adam Boehler, the CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation, who is accompanying him during his trip on Afghan peace, met with officials of Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Fund For Development in Doha.

“We discussed the possibility of co-investing in Afghan projects to consolidate peace and unlock regional prosperity. The potential to amplify investment impact in Afghanistan with like-minded partners is real,” Khalilzad tweeted.

Khalilzad also met with Mullah Baradar the deputy Taliban leader in Doha on Thursday. The group’s spokesman said in a statement that the meeting focused on the Afghan peace process, quick release of prisoners, the commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations, and other related issues.

“We underscored the economic development opportunities that will follow a sustainable peace,” said Khalilzad, “We agreed developing plans in support of peace can never start too early, assuming the two sides can overcome final hurdles on the path to intra-Afghan negotiations.”

Mullah Baradar and his team were engaged and the Taliban recognize all Afghans will have to make compromises in order to draw in the required investment in Afghanistan’s future, the US Envoy tweeted.

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Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan to expand trade ties

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2020)

Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan have agreed to form a joint committee to expand trade and transportation relations. 

The leaders of the three countries in an online meeting discussed the formation of a joint committee that could work on regional connectivity, railway development, fiber optics, and transportation.

In a tripartite meeting between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the three leaders discussed trade cooperation. They agreed on the proposal of the President of Azerbaijan to form a joint delegation, which includes ministers of transport and other officials from the three countries.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani welcomed the proposal of the President of Azerbaijan to form a joint delegation of the three countries

At the meeting, the President of Turkmenistan supported the plan of the port of Aqina and Turgundi to better transmit commercial goods.

“So the first thing is to welcome President Aliyev’s suggestion backed by President Berdimuhamedow that we form a joint task force at the level of heads of transports and other relevant ministries from the three ministries,” said Afghan Pres. Ghani.

During the meeting, Mr. Ghani also announced the development of a railway in Afghanistan, saying that the country needs 4,000 to 6,000 kilometers of railways for economic development and that international partners have expressed readiness to cooperate in this area.

Turkmenistan has expanded the railway network to the ports of Aqina and Torghundi for trade with Afghanistan, which the Afghan government wants to become standard ports.

Ashraf Ghani added: “We are creating dry ports to eight locations in Afghanistan… the finance development cooperation of the United States is now willing and ready to work with us to offer guarantees.”

 In the past, Afghans relied heavily on the Pakistani port of Karachi for trade with the world. With the opening of Iran’s Chabahar port and the opening of new transit routes through Central Asian countries, Afghanistan has been able to reduce its reliance on the port of Karachi in recent years

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Delay in intra-Afghan talks provides opportunities for spoilers: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2020)

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, stressed that delay in the start of intra-Afghan talks could “provides opportunities for spoilers.”

Apparently, the conditions have not yet been set for the start of the Afghan talks. As Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan has expressed concern about the delay.

Khalilzad, in a video call with President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High National Reconciliation Council, emphasized that remaining issues surrounding the start of intra-Afghan negotiations should be resolved as soon as possible.

“On peace, we emphasized the immediate step is to rapidly resolve the remaining issues surrounding the start of intra-Afghan negotiations. Delay provides opportunities for spoilers,” Khalilzad tweeted.

“People can no longer tolerate insecurity and killings. Taliban and government leaders need to think about peace,” said Wali Safi, another Kabul resident.

One of the differences in starting negotiations between the Afghans is the Afghan government’s opposition to the release of a number of Taliban prisoners, as well as an increase in Taliban attacks.

“As soon as possible, the prisoners should be released and negotiations between the Afghans should begin,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.

Meanwhile, at the same time as reports of the withdrawal of half of the US troops from Afghanistan, the Defense Committee of the US House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would condition the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Some former US officials have said that Donald Trump will keep 4,000 troops in Afghanistan until the end of the US election.

US Senator Rand Paul said, “You know I think we have been at war too long and too many places. The Afghan war is now 19 years old… the war has gone on too long, and I don’t think we have a military mission.”

Intra-Afghan talks are expected to take place in Doha this month. But before that, about 20 countries are scheduled to meet to discuss peace in Afghanistan.

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