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UN Envoy: Presidential Election, Peace Process Are Top Priorities in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2019)

The Head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto on Sunday said that the upcoming presidential elections of Afghanistan and the Afghan peace process are top priorities for the United Nations.

“Considering the various media reports speculating about the position of the United Nations on these two fundamental issues, let me be clear: Neither process should be harmed or held back by the other; both processes must move forward with the full force and commitment of all stakeholders,” Yamamoto said in a statement.

He added that there are clear links between these critical processes and both are important for the future of Afghanistan.

“As I told the United Nations Security Council less than two weeks ago, the presidential elections scheduled for 28 September will be a key moment to reaffirm the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s democratic political structure,” he added.

The top UN envoy urges all electoral stakeholders to ensure the credibility and transparency of the process.

“Afghanistan cannot afford a contentious and protracted post-election crisis that could result in a president with brittle democratic and domestic legitimacy, as this would harm the new president’s ability to bring the Afghan people together in a meaningful and representative peace process,” he further stated.

Meanwhile, Yamamoto says he is cautiously optimistic about the Afghan peace process and Afghanistan should have the full ownership of the process.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we are moving in the right direction,” he concluded.

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Pakistan calls on Biden to stick to US-Taliban deal

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2021)

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, on Thursday called on Joe Biden, the US president to follow up on the current Afghan peace process and US troops’ withdrawal from the country, reported Al Jazeera.

“I think they should realise there is an opportunity in Afghanistan and they should persevere with what was initiated and not reverse things,” said Qureshi quoted by Al Jazeera.

This comes as Intra-Afghan talks are continuing in the Qatari capital Doha but progress remains slow.

Under last year’s US-Taliban deal, all US troops are due to leave Afghanistan by April.

“We are concerned because we feel violence can vitiate the climate,” said Qureshi quoted by Aljazeera.

“Pakistan has done a lot, we have really bent backwards to create an environment to facilitate the peace process,” he said, while blaming “spoilers” for the violence, identifying them as internal Afghan players.

This comes as violence has been increased recently, with a surge in targeted attacks and bombings across the country for which the Afghan government has blamed the Taliban.

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NATO stands ready to adjust its presence in Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2021)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu reiterated NATO Support toward Afghan peace process, adding that NATO will address its training mission in Afghanistan in February.

Stoltenberg quoted by NATO website said that “whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a coordinated and deliberate way.”

NATO also support the Afghan peace process and said the organization stands ready to adjust its presence in Afghanistan.

 “NATO supports the Afghan peace talks and, as part of this process, stands ready to further adjust its presence,” said NATO, quoted by the website.

This comes as NATO had said they will continue Resolute Support mission (RS) mission in Afghanistan to train advice and assist Afghan forces.

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MoU on protection, restoration of Herat minarets signed in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2021)

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on restoration and protection of Musalla Minaret of Herat on Thursday signed between the acting minister of information and culture and a representative of Aga Khan Foundation in Kabul.

Dr. Fazel Fazly, head of the Administrative Office of the President (AOP) also spoke and expressed happiness regarding signing of the MoU.

“Technical assistance of the Aga Khan Development Network to Afghanistan government in the field of protection and restoration of the country’s historic monuments from perspective of quality is valuable and tangible as the Network considers all international standards in protection and restoration of cultural and historic monuments,” said Dr. Fazly.

Meanwhile, Sheherazade Hirji, a representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) said that AKDN has restored hisprotic places in Herat, including Qala-e-Ikhtiaruddin ‘Herat Palace’, Khwaja Abdullah Ansari Mausoleum.

 “Aga Khan Development Network has restored 140 – 150 historic sites in Afghanistan so far and is currently playing its part in restoration of the fifth Musalla Minarets of Herat, which shows the Network’s strong commitment towards protection Afghanistan’s cultural heritages,” said Hirji.

Tahir Zuhair, acting minister of information and culture, said that 162 historic sites have been restored in the past six years.

He said effort underway to prevent trafficking of the country’s historic artefacts.

“Based on instruction of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the survey and restoration work on all Bala-e-Hesars and historic sites of the country will be started,” said Zuhair.

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