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U.S. to Sign ‘New Agreement’ With Afghan Gov’t

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2019)

The National Unity Government (NUG) says that the United States will sign a new agreement with the Afghan government concurrently with the US-Taliban peace agreement.

The NUG officials say that they have the agreement’s content.

Mujib Rahimi, the Spokesperson to the Office of the Chief Executive, says that the agreement is to indicate that the Afghan government is aware of the agreement which will be signed between the United States and the Taliban and it will be signed in the coordination of the Afghan government.

Familiar sources with the US-Taliban peace agreement’s content say that total withdrawal of foreigner forces from Afghanistan, termination of all contracts of U.S. with the Afghanistan, release of 35,000 prisoners of the Taliban, and termination of all the foreigner forces bases in Afghanistan are the core articles of the agreement.

“We still need part of the foreigner forces remain in Afghanistan since they are to train the Afghan forces and support them,” said Sediq Sediqqi, the Spokesperson to the Presidential Palace.

“The total withdrawal of foreigner forces is included in the agreement and no military base of them will remain in Afghanistan,” said Wahid Muzhda, a political commentator.

According to the sources, the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban is supposed to be signed by the end of August and the U.S. has accepted that the Taliban sign the agreement as the Islamic Emirates.

“The Russian, China and some other regional countries are expected to become ready as the agreement will be signed in their presence,” said Nazar Mohammad Motmaein, a political commentator.

This comes as both the Afghan government and the close sources to the Taliban accept that the intra-Afghan negotiations will begin after the US-Taliban agreement is signed.

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On eve of peace talks, Ghani urges Taliban to stop planting roadside mines

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday condemned the roadside mine incident in Kandahar earlier in the day and called on the Taliban to stop the violence and end their practice of planting IEDs. 

In a series of tweets, Ghani condemned the incident and stated that this comes as the Taliban are “on the eve of peace and direct negotiations with the Afghan negotiating team. 

“The Taliban should avoid violence specifically roadside mines which are the main cause of civilian casualties, and in order to reach a dignified and lasting peace, they should accept people and Loya Jirga’s voice.”

The president said the incident, which happened early Thursday in the Zalkhan area of Panjwai district of Kandahar province, resulted in a number of women, a child, and other Afghans being killed and wounded “as a result of a mine planted by the Taliban”.

Ghani expressed his deep condolences and sympathy to the families of those killed and wished the wounded a speedy recovery. 

The incident happened when a vehicle, carrying a number of civilian passengers, hit a roadside IED. 

This comes after at least eight civilians were killed in another roadside mine explosion in the same province on Sunday.

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Democrat Harris rebukes Trump in historic campaign-trail debut with Biden

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2020)

US Senator Kamala Harris made her campaign-trail debut as Joe Biden’s Democratic running mate on Wednesday, delivering a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump’s leadership and highlighting the historic significance of her new role.

Harris said Biden, the former vice president under President Barack Obama, had recognized the critical moment being faced by the country by picking her to be the first Black woman and Asian American on a major-party US presidential ticket.

“Today, he takes his place in the ongoing story of America’s march toward equality and justice as the only person who served alongside the first Black president, and has chosen the first Black woman as his running mate,” said Harris, a US senator from California.

Nearly nine out of 10 Democrats approved of Harris as Biden’s pick, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

Forced by the coronavirus pandemic to stage a more subdued launch than would be expected from a typical presidential campaign, the new running mates managed to display a personal connection that dates back to Harris’ friendship with Biden’s son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015.

Harris said she had long admired Biden’s commitment to his family and country, and she described him as ready to meet the challenges created by Trump’s failures in handling the pandemic and its economic consequences, as well as racial unrest.

“This is a moment of real consequence for America,” she said. “Everything we care about — our economy, our health, our kids, the kind of country we live in — it’s all on the line.”

“America is crying out for leadership, yet we have a president who cares more about himself than the people who elected him, a president who is making every challenge we face even more difficult to solve,” Harris said.

The speech, delivered in a Delaware high school gymnasium near Biden’s home, featured no cheering crowds. The two candidates wore masks as they arrived and kept their social distance on a stage flanked by state flags.

The joint appearance came just days before Biden will formally accept the Democratic presidential nomination at next week’s party convention, which will take place largely as a virtual event due to COVID-19.

The Republican convention, where Trump is set to be nominated to seek a second four-year term, follows a week later and kicks off a 10-week sprint to Election Day on November 3.

In choosing Harris, Biden selected a former rival for the nomination whose most memorable campaign moment came during a televised debate when she criticized his past position on using busing to integrate schools and talked about its effect on her as a little girl.

Biden on Wednesday said her addition to the ticket sent a powerful message to girls across America.

“This morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up – especially little black and brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities – today, just maybe, they’re seeing themselves in the first time in a new way. As the stuff of presidents, and vice presidents,” Biden said.

Harris is the daughter of immigrants, her mother from India and her father from Jamaica. 

Harris, 55, was announced as Biden’s choice on Tuesday after a selection process that drew extra scrutiny thanks to Biden’s age. The 77-year-old would be the oldest president ever if he wins, raising speculation that he would not seek re-election in 2024.

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Pompeo says he warned Lavrov against offering bounties for U.S. soldiers

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2020)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said he warned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that there would be “an enormous price to pay” if Moscow is offering bounties to kill US soldiers or other Western troops in Afghanistan.

The New York Times in June reported that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including American troops, citing US intelligence officials.

President Donald Trump said he was not told about the information because many US intelligence officials doubted its veracity, although several US and European sources contradicted his comments.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Pompeo declined to say whether he believed the intelligence was credible or if he thought Trump should have been briefed but said Washington would not put up with such behavior.

“If the Russians are offering money to kill Americans, or for that matter other Westerns as well, there will be an enormous price to pay. That’s what I shared with foreign minister Lavrov,” Pompeo said in the interview, conducted during his official visit to the Czech Republic.

“I know our military has talked to their senior leaders as well. We won’t brook that, we won’t tolerate,” Pompeo said.

Last month, US and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said that the United States had acquired fresh reporting backing up the allegations that Russia had encouraged Taliban-affiliated militants to kill US and allied soldiers in Afghanistan.

The intelligence reporting comes as the United States has been engaged in negotiating with the Taliban as well as the Afghan government to get a stalled peace agreement, struck in February for the withdrawal of US troops, moving.

 

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