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Taliban’s top dissident Mullah Rasool ‘detained’ in Pakistan

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(Last Updated On: March 22, 2016)

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Pakistan has ‘detained’ the leader of a breakaway faction of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Rasool, Pakistani media reported on Tuesday.

After the dead of Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Rasool opposed appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as the new leader of the group and headed the splinter group of Taliban in western Afghanistan.

Many Taliban commanders, including the breakaway faction’s deputy chief Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and his brother, were killed in internal rifts between the two rival groups.

Reportedly Mullah Rasool was taken into custody after he had fled recent infighting in southern Afghanistan.

“I can confirm that Mullah Rasool has been arrested by authorities in Pakistan after he crossed the border,” a Taliban leader has said to the Express Tribune.

After the Afghan government called on all anti-government militant groups to join the peace process, in an interview Mullah Rasool called the peace efforts ‘Pakistani dictated’.

No Taliban groups and Pakistani authorities have officially made a comment about this report.

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Afghan Republic’s team agrees ‘in principle’ to peace talks procedures 

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2020)

The Afghanistan Republic’s peace negotiating team said on Saturday night that both sides have agreed in principle to the rules and procedures regarding talks going forward but that this does not mean the framework has been finalized. 

“The negotiation teams of both sides have ONLY agreed in principle to the 21 articles of the rules & procedures, with the exception of the introduction because it requires further discussion & clarification. Therefore in the joint meeting on Nov 17, 2020 in the presence … of the host country, it was decided that the rules & procedures will only be considered final once it is presented to the general meeting of both delegations & approved there,” the Afghan Republic’s statement read. 

“The IRoA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) has shared our understanding of the elements of the introduction with the other side (Taliban),” read the statement.

This statement followed soon after Naeem Wardak, the Taliban’s spokesman in Doha posted on Twitter that the “procedure” to take the intra-Afghan negotiations forward was finalized between the two sides on November 15. 

In a series of tweets Naeem said: “The procedure of Intra-Afghan negotiations between the negotiating teams was completed and finalized in 21 articles on the 15th of November 2020.”

He said this framework was then interpreted in the presence of the “host/facilitator country”, that being Qatar, two days later – on November 17. 

“A copy of it was handed over to the host/facilitator country after it was approved by both negotiating teams,” he tweeted.

This comes after reports first emerged around November 23 that there had been a breakthrough in stalled talks in Doha, which officially started on September 12. 

Sources said early this week that Afghanistan Republic’s chief negotiator Massoom Stanikzai and presidential peace advisor Salam Rahimi were in Kabul to discuss progress with President Ashraf Ghani. 

But both parties to the talks remained tight-lipped about any progress.

In fact, Presidential Palace spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said at a press conference on Wednesday that no progress had been made in Doha regarding peace talks.

Sediqqi said the Taliban’s demands contradict the Afghan Constitution but he did confirm that Stanikzai had been in Kabul.

Seddiqi said the republic’s negotiating team will hold discussions with the Taliban in respect of the Afghan Constitution and on the advice of the peace consultative Jirga.

Wednesday’s denial comes after some sources told Ariana News on condition of anonymity that Afghan leaders had approved some points that had been contested – leading to a breakthrough in the talks.

 

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Atmar calls on Muslim scholars to condemn “unjustified” violence in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2020)

Haneef Atmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, has called on the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to step up their support for the Afghan peace process.

Addressing the 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Niamey, the capital of Niger, Atmar urge the Ulema across Muslim countries to condemn the “unjustified” violence in Afghanistan

“We urge you all to join hands and support the Afghanistan peace process and to encourage Ulema across the OIC member states in condemnation of the violence in Afghanistan and support of the peace process,” he said.

Meanwhile, Atmar raised his concerns over the spike of violence across the country. He stated that the Afghan people “today continue to experience violence at the hands of our terrorist enemies on a daily basis.”

He pointed out that attacks on civilians have been increased – both in frequency and in the savagery of violence – in recent months.

“In Kabul alone, we have witnessed levels of depravity and attacks on civilian targets that are totally unprecedented from a killing spree in a maternity hospital to a suicide bomb inside a classroom full of young students in a private education facility, to a large-scale attack on Kabul University.”

“Targeted assassination of our moderate Ulema, human rights activists and journalists have added to the frenzy of violence,” Atmar highlighted.
Atmar also called on the OIC states to push the Taliban for peace and end the conflict in Afghanistan.

“We call on the OIC and its member states that have influenced in the Afghan peace process to continue to urge Taliban to pursue peace and an end into the conflict with greater urgency and sensitivity,” Atmar noted.

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Ghani discusses power transmission issues with Turkmen counterpart

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow on Saturday discussed a number of issues, on the phone, including the transmission of power from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, said the Presidential Palace in a series of tweets.

During the phone conversation, both sides agreed that Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) should meet with Turkmenistan officials over the transmission of power and to finalize the details allowing the process to move forward.

Turkman president said that they had funded the construction of a mosque in Aqeena that will be inaugurated soon,

Ghani meanwhile said that the Afghan Minister of Haj and Religious Affairs will represent Afghanistan at the inauguration ceremony.

According to the Palace, both sides also discussed strengthening bilateral relations, mutual cooperation, and regional projects.

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