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Turkey to host trilateral foreign ministers meeting with Afghanistan and Pakistan

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(Last Updated On: April 22, 2021)

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that a trilateral meeting between foreign ministers from Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan will take place on Friday, April 23, in Istanbul to discuss the Afghan peace process.

According to a statement issued by Turkey’s foreign office, a “trilateral meeting between Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan will take place on 23 April 2021 in Istanbul.”

“Along with recent developments regarding the Afghan Peace Process, cooperation in the fields of security, energy, connectivity and irregular migration will be discussed during the Trilateral Meeting.

“On the margins of the meeting, H.E. Çavuşoğlu will also hold bilateral meetings with his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts,” read the statement.

Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar meanwhile left Kabul on Thursday afternoon for Istanbul where he will attend the meeting, said the ministry.

According to the ministry, the meeting, due to be held tomorrow, will focus on ways to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan, the resumption of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, strengthening of regional consensus for supporting peace, Turkey and Pakistan’s role in this regard, and consolidating trilateral relations.

At the sidelines of this meeting, Atmar will also engage in bilateral meetings on strengthening political, economic, and security cooperation, read the statement.

This comes just a day after Turkey, Qatar and the United Nations announced the much-anticipated Istanbul Conference had been postponed.

The conference, that was to have been co-hosted by Turkey, Qatar and the UN, had been proposed by the United States as part of its efforts to secure a peace agreement between the Afghan Republic and the Taliban.

However, last week the Taliban said in response to US President Joe Biden’s announcement that troops would be out of the country by September 11, and not as originally agreed on May 1, that they would not attend any summit on peace until all troops had exited.

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Blinken discusses situation with Abdullah, reiterates US’s support

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State spoke on the phone Thursday with Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), and reiterated Washington’s commitment to seek a just and durable political settlement that ends the war in Afghanistan.

“They discussed ways to accelerate peace negotiations and achieve a political settlement that is inclusive, respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities, allows the Afghan people to have a say in choosing their leaders, and prevents Afghan soil from being used to threaten the United States and its allies and partners,” the US State Department said in a statement.

“Both leaders deplored continuing Taliban attacks, loss of innocent Afghan lives and displacement of the civilian population, and underscored the widespread international condemnation of these attacks,” read the statement.

State Department spokesperson, Ned Price said later that Blinken and Abdullah pledged to remain in close contact going forward.

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Taliban looking to seize control of at least one province: Dostum

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

Former first vice president, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum said on Thursday that Taliban have accelerated their efforts to seize control of at least one province in the country.

According to Dostum, Herat, Takhar, Jawzjan, Kandahar, and Helmand are the provinces of choice that the Taliban is hoping to have control over.

However, security forces and uprising forces have repelled attacks on these provinces, he said adding however, that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating.

“Enemy is attempting to seize [total control] of one of the five provinces, Jawzjan, Herat, Helmand, Takhar, or Kandahar,” said Dostum.

He said he has held consultations with politicians in Kabul and will soon launch an operation against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan.

“The current situation calls for a meeting and measures need to be taken. It is not a small plot, but needs a plan [that’s agreed to] with other politicians,” said Dostum.

Dostum welcomed the establishment and actions around the uprising forces who are supporting the security forces against the Taliban, and said these civilian fighters are voluntarily making huge sacrifices in the north of Afghanistan.

“The uprising forces resisted[attacks]; I have said many times that it is not the time to seek privileges. We should trust each other,” said Dostum.

Dostum is a controversial figure in Afghanistan but is seen by many as a capable and fierce military leader who regularly leads troops into battle.

Aged 67, Dostum is from Jawzjan province and is regarded in some circles to be both one of the most powerful and most notorious warlords in the country.

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Ghani meets with Iran’s president-elect ahead of inauguration

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani met with Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President-elect of Iran, in Tehran early Thursday, the Presidential Palace (ARG) said in a statement.

The meeting was also attended by Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar and a number of other high-ranking Afghan government officials.

During the meeting, both sides discussed the expansion of cooperation and relations between the two countries.

The President-elect of Iran stressed the continued support for the Government of Afghanistan and the efforts for a regional consensus for peace.

He also expressed his support for the people of Afghanistan to preserve the republic and its past achievements.

“We support a system in which the rights of all Afghan citizens, including minorities, are protected, and our neighbors, especially Afghanistan, have a high position in our foreign policy,” Raisi said.

In turn, Ghani thanked Iran for its assistance and cooperation in various fields and stressed the need for joint economic cooperation and the expansion of relations between the two countries.

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