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UN shares peace roadmap with Taliban, government: Sources

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(Last Updated On: April 7, 2021)

Sources in the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) confirmed to ArianaNews on Wednesday that the United Nations’ (UN) envoy in Kabul sent a letter to the Taliban and government outlining a suggested peace roadmap.

According to the sources the letter highlighted the following issues:

1- Ceasefire
2- Participatory and transitional government
3- Holding of elections
4- Preserving gains made over the past two decades
5- Preserving women’s rights
6- Preserving minority rights
7- Preserving freedom of speech

The government and Taliban have not confirmed the letter officially, but the UN envoy, Deborah Lyons, had meetings with the Taliban and government negotiators in Doha last week and recently met with some politicians in Kabul.

Lialoma Ahmadi, an HCNR adviser, said the UN envoy had shared the UN’s stance with Afghan sides.

“They emphasized [the need for] preserving the gains, announcing a ceasefire, and urged both sides to show willingness for negotiations,” said Ahmadi.

Afghan politicians, meanwhile, said that US and UN plans will be discussed at the upcoming Istanbul Summit in Turkey.

“The summit is very important for the future of Afghanistan. All sides should go to the summit with one plan, otherwise the plan of foreigners will be implemented,” said Qazi Muhammad Amin Waqad, a politician.

On the other hand, a 15-member committee from the HCNR discussed combining the plans they have received but, despite it having been their fourth meeting, they were not able to agree on one trajectory.

The HCNR’s committee is reviewing the various proposals put forward by the US and internal stakeholders in order to settle on one clear cut plan to present at the Turkey conference.

“Discussions were going very well, but several issues remain,” said Faridoon Khwazoon, a spokesman for the HCNR.

Sources stated 11 issues have been proposed and so far the committee has agreed on eight.

But sources claim the issue of establishing an interim government is a sticking point.

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Taliban warns foreign forces to leave by May 1

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(Last Updated On: April 14, 2021)

Taliban on Wednesday afternoon warned the US and NATO to stick to the agreement of troops withdrawal on May 1 and said if the Doha agreement is not adhered to problems will be “compounded” and those in breach of the deal will “be held liable”.

In a series of tweets, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said: “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seeks the withdrawal of all foreign forces from our homeland on the date specified in the Doha Agreement.

“If the agreement is adhered to, a pathway to addressing the remaining issues will also be found.

“If the agreement is breached and foreign forces fail to exit our country on the specified date, problems will certainly be compounded and those whom failed to comply with the agreement will be held liable.”

This comes ahead of an expected official announcement by US President Joe Biden that troops with be pulled out by September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meanwhile said in Brussels on Wednesday that the coalition of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan will leave the country in coordination with a planned U.S. withdrawal by September 11.

Blinken said it was time for NATO allies to make good on its mantra that allies went into Afghanistan together and would leave together.

“I am here to work closely with our allies, with the (NATO) secretary-general, on the principle that we have established from the start: In together, adapt together and out together,” Blinken said in a televised statement at NATO headquarters.

“We will work very closely together in the months ahead on a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan,” Blinken said, standing alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg,

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Austin arrives in Brussels ahead of troop withdrawal announcement

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(Last Updated On: April 14, 2021)

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Brussels on Wednesday ahead of a planned announcement by US President Joe Biden that troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11.

Reuters reported earlier that a coalition of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan will leave the country in coordination with a planned U.S. withdrawal by September 11. President Joe Biden is expected to make a formal announcement later Wednesday that will end two decades of fighting.

Around 7,000 non-U.S. forces from mainly NATO countries, but also from Australia, New Zealand and Georgia, outnumber the 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan but still rely on U.S. air support, planning and leadership for their training mission.

NATO foreign and defense ministers will discuss their plans later on Wednesday via video conference. A senior NATO diplomat told Reuters that no ally was expected to oppose U.S. President Joe Biden’s formal announcement.

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NATO forces to leave together from Afghanistan: Blinken

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(Last Updated On: April 14, 2021)

A coalition of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan will leave the country in coordination with a planned U.S. withdrawal by September 11, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Brussels on Wednesday.

His remarks came ahead of a formal announcement of the end of two decades of fighting.

Around 7,000 non-U.S. forces from mainly NATO countries, but also from Australia, New Zealand and Georgia, outnumber the 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan but still rely on U.S. air support, planning and leadership for their training mission, Reuters reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Brussels that it was time for NATO allies to make good on its mantra that allies went into Afghanistan together and would leave together.

“I am here to work closely with our allies, with the (NATO) secretary-general, on the principle that we have established from the start: In together, adapt together and out together,” Blinken said in a televised statement at NATO headquarters.

“We will work very closely together in the months ahead on a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan,” Blinken said, standing alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg,

NATO foreign and defence ministers will discuss their plans later on Wednesday via video conference. A senior NATO diplomat told Reuters that no ally was expected to oppose U.S. President Joe Biden’s formal announcement, expected later on Wednesday, for a complete U.S. withdrawal of troops by Sept. 11.

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