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Taliban Signal to ‘Conclude an Agreement’ With US: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2019)

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad said on Saturday that the United States is ready for “a good agreement” with the Taliban.

The U.S. Envoy arrived in Doha, the capital of Qatar, to resume talks with the Taliban representatives.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet that U.S. and Taliban delegates would resume their peace negotiation at around 10 am on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Khalilzad said that the U.S. is “pursuing a peace agreement not a withdrawal agreement; a peace agreement that enables withdrawal.”

“Our presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based, and any withdrawal will be conditions-based,” he said in a tweet.

“The Taliban are signaling they would like to conclude an agreement. We are ready for a good agreement,” the U.S. Envoy added.

Meanwhile, a sound clip of Abdulsalaam Hanafi, the Political Deputy of the Taliban, has been shared by this group on the internet.

“All of the foreigner forces will pullout Afghanistan in a defined duration if we reach the agreement on the foreigner forces’ withdraw and announce it with the presence of the international community witnesses. After that, we will go for the intra-Afghan negotiations which are the national affairs of Afghanistan,”  said Hanafi in the voice clip. 

It comes as the U.S. is preparing to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan as part of an initial peace deal to end the long-term conflict in the war-weary country.

According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration is preparing to reduce its troops in Afghanistan from nearly 14000 to between 8000 and 9000.

The agreement would require the Taliban to broker a peace deal directly with the Afghan government, and give assurances the country won’t be used as a launching pad for international terror attacks, the report said.

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Muttaqi calls on international community to recognize IEA government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Foreign acting Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi accused the international community on Friday (October 15) of “violating the rights of Afghan people” by not recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

Speaking to Reuters on the second day of a two-day visit to Turkey’s capital of Ankara, Muttaqi said he discussed the recognition of the IEA’s government with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well.

“The fact that all of them are recognized and the new Islamic government of Afghanistan is not recognized is an injustice and oppression of the Afghan people… Afghanistan wants positive relations with the world and the world must respond positively to this message,” he said.

Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and IEA forces swept into Kabul, the IEA administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis.

But the IEA has so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he had conveyed Turkey’s recommendations regarding the inclusion of women in the workforce and education of girls.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity.

“We once again explained the importance of including people from all ethnic and religious groups, besides the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan), in the administration. Especially in these difficult times, this is important in terms of establishing unity and solidarity within the country,” Cavusoglu said.

NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Kabul after Western countries withdrew following the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and have urged those countries to increase engagement.

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Blast targets mosque in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

A large explosion ripped through a mosque in the southern Kandahar province on Friday afternoon.

The blast happened at the Shi’ite Fatimiya mosque during Friday prayers, causing heavy casualties.

Sources said at least 34 people were killed and 69 others wounded in the explosion. Afghan officials have not confirmed the casualties so far.

Qari Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, has told Reuters that authorities were collecting details of the explosion.

The blast took place days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by Islamic State on a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed and wounded more than 200 people.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Islamic State has stepped up operations following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

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Turkey underlines need for inclusive Afghan government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

In talks with the delegation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Turkey on Thursday reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity, Reuters reported.

Turkey repeated its advice to the visiting IEA delegation on girls’ education and women’s employment in business life, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference following a meeting with Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Ankara.

Muttaqi led an IEA delegation for an official visit to Turkey to discuss bilateral issues as well as cooperation on the future of Afghanistan.

The IEA officials have pledged to provide the utmost support to Afghan refugees who want to return to the country from Turkey, added Cavusoglu.

He also underlined that the IEA delegation conveyed requests to Turkey during the meeting, especially on humanitarian aid and continued investment in Afghanistan.

Last month, Cavusoglu said Turkey has contributed to stabilization and development efforts in Afghanistan, including on the education of girls and empowerment of women since the 1920s, adding that Ankara continues providing humanitarian aid through the Turkish Red Crescent.

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