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Turkey to host Afghan peace talks in April

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(Last Updated On: March 12, 2021)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that Turkey plans to hold an Afghan peace conference in Istanbul in April. 

This comes after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani, that a meeting facilitated by the UN will be hosted in Turkey to discuss the Afghan peace process.

The Afghan government and the Taliban representatives, and foreign countries will participate in the summit.

“We will do this (meeting) in coordination with brotherly Qatar,” said Cavusoglu quoted by the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu.

Cavusoglu stated: “We were one of the few countries invited to this signing ceremony, and we are one of the most important actors in Afghanistan.” 

He added that Turkey is trusted by both parties in the talks.

The Turkish Foreign Minister also stated that Turkey would also appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan to contribute to the process.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani hosted a meeting Thursday of high-ranking Afghan officials and other influential individuals in order to formulate a comprehensive plan for the upcoming peace summit in Turkey, aimed at securing national consensus to strengthen the government’s position in the talks.

“The meeting focused on the general security situation, strengthening the national consensus, and the continuation of consultative meetings,” said Dawa Khan Menapal, the deputy presidential spokesman.

However, a number of political figures who attended the meeting said it was more focused on creating a single plan for the Ankara summit which is expected to be held on March 27.

“The atmosphere at the meeting was such that all political leaders and even government leaders called for peace, called for an immediate end to the war, and decided to work on a peace plan to reach a conclusion at the Ankara summit soon,” said Satar Murad, a close ally of Atta Noor.

 

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Five wounded in Kabul explosion

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

At least five people including Islamic Emirate (IE) forces were wounded on Monday morning when a roadside mine detonated in PD7 along Darulaman Road.

The explosion took place at about 9.45am local time close to Habibia High School and the target appeared to have been a Hilux vehicle.

According to eyewitnesses, the explosion had been from a roadside mine and caused casualties.

Some eyewitnesses said the Hilux vehicle was being driven by IE forces at the time of the explosion.

An Ariana News reporter in the area said according to eyewitnesses at least five people were wounded in the explosion including IE forces.

Immediately after the explosion, IE forces cordoned off the area, and ambulances were seen arriving at the scene.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the explosion but ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan (ISIS-K), known locally as Daesh, have been responsible for a number of explosions in Kabul in recent months.

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Export of Afghanistan’s talc resumes: Industrial Association

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

Afghanistan Industrial Association said Monday that Kabul recently exported 500 tons of talc powder to a number of countries including China, Spain and the UK.

Abdul Jabbar Safi, the head of the association, said: “Afghanistan has recently exported talc to Pakistan, Turkey, India, China, Spain, and the UK. Exports have resumed and we want to expand our exports.”

The association meanwhile also called for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to focus on the mining sector and provide facilities for the extraction of minerals in order to boost investment.

They also called on government to establish new policies around mining, also to boost investment in the sector.

Safi meanwhile said that since the mid-August takeover by the IEA, “illegal extractions of mines, as well as smuggling, have been prevented.”

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Lush cosmetics shuts down its social media accounts globally

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

UK cosmetics company Lush shut down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts globally on Friday, citing its concern about the harms of social media in the wake of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations.

CEO Mark Constantine told the Guardian he was happy to lose $13 million that the company expects to lose by shutting their accounts.

“In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now,” the company said in a press release.

Lush’s announcement came just ahead of one of the biggest days of shopping all year, and the brand fully expected that losing its pipelines to millions of customers could harm its business.

Lush’s Facebook and Instagram accounts had a combined 10.6 million followers, according to The Guardian.

“We’ve tightened up over the Covid period, it won’t destroy us,” Constantine told The Guardian, adding that Lush had “no choice” given Meta’s own research about Instagram’s adverse impact on teenage girls’ mental health.

“We’re talking about suicide here, not spots or whether someone should dye their hair blonde,” Constantine continued, telling The Guardian: “How could we possibly suggest we’re a caring business if we look at that and don’t care?”

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