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UN Urges Taliban to Extend Ceasefire with Afghan Government

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(Last Updated On: June 17, 2018)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN mission in Afghanistan welcomed on Saturday the Afghan Government’s extension of the unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban, amid an “outpouring of support” for the truce from war-weary people all across the country.

“The Secretary-General urges the Taliban to heed the call for peace from the Afghan people and also extend the ceasefire,” according to a statement issued by a UN spokesperson.

Following an initial truce announced by both sides that was to run through the Eid-ul-Fitr festival period, which began this past Friday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday announced that the government would extend “indefinitely” its ceasefire, which had been due to end on Tuesday.

“[Mr. Guterres] believes that the only solution to the conflict in Afghanistan is through an inclusive political process,” said the UN spokesperson’s statement, adding that the world body stands ready to work with the Afghan people and Government, and all stakeholders to achieve lasting peace in the country.

Reportedly, celebrations in support of the announcement continued in the country even as a deadly bombing in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar targeting Eid celebrations claimed more than two dozen lives. That attack was reportedly carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Through the statement, the UN chief condemned the attack in Nangahar and urged the Afghan government and the Taliban “not to allow those who try to derail peace efforts to prevail.”

Mr. Guterres extended his condolences to the families of the victims and wished those injured a swift recovery.

In a separate statement, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the top UN official in Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission there known as UNAMA, commended the government and the Taliban for honoring the ceasefires.

“The Government’s extension of the ceasefire provides a clear opportunity for initiating a negotiated solution to the conflict,” he said, adding: “This opportunity cannot be missed.”

Mr. Yamamoto noted the outpouring support for the ceasefires and peace on the part of the Afghan people.

“UNAMA highly appreciates the decision of President Ghani responding to the overwhelming voice of the people of Afghanistan to extend the ceasefire,” he said, adding that the Mission called upon the Taliban to respond positively to the “desire and yearning of the Afghan people for an end to the conflict.”

“I have repeatedly stated that a negotiated settlement to the conflict is possible. Now I believe it can be imminent,” he stressed, calling for concrete steps to initiate direct talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban.

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Muttaqi calls on international community to recognize IEA government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Foreign acting Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi accused the international community on Friday (October 15) of “violating the rights of Afghan people” by not recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

Speaking to Reuters on the second day of a two-day visit to Turkey’s capital of Ankara, Muttaqi said he discussed the recognition of the IEA’s government with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well.

“The fact that all of them are recognized and the new Islamic government of Afghanistan is not recognized is an injustice and oppression of the Afghan people… Afghanistan wants positive relations with the world and the world must respond positively to this message,” he said.

Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and IEA forces swept into Kabul, the IEA administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis.

But the IEA has so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he had conveyed Turkey’s recommendations regarding the inclusion of women in the workforce and education of girls.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity.

“We once again explained the importance of including people from all ethnic and religious groups, besides the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan), in the administration. Especially in these difficult times, this is important in terms of establishing unity and solidarity within the country,” Cavusoglu said.

NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Kabul after Western countries withdrew following the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and have urged those countries to increase engagement.

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Blast targets mosque in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

A large explosion ripped through a mosque in the southern Kandahar province on Friday afternoon.

The blast happened at the Shi’ite Fatimiya mosque during Friday prayers, causing heavy casualties.

Sources said at least 34 people were killed and 69 others wounded in the explosion. Afghan officials have not confirmed the casualties so far.

Qari Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, has told Reuters that authorities were collecting details of the explosion.

The blast took place days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by Islamic State on a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed and wounded more than 200 people.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Islamic State has stepped up operations following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

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Turkey underlines need for inclusive Afghan government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

In talks with the delegation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Turkey on Thursday reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity, Reuters reported.

Turkey repeated its advice to the visiting IEA delegation on girls’ education and women’s employment in business life, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference following a meeting with Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Ankara.

Muttaqi led an IEA delegation for an official visit to Turkey to discuss bilateral issues as well as cooperation on the future of Afghanistan.

The IEA officials have pledged to provide the utmost support to Afghan refugees who want to return to the country from Turkey, added Cavusoglu.

He also underlined that the IEA delegation conveyed requests to Turkey during the meeting, especially on humanitarian aid and continued investment in Afghanistan.

Last month, Cavusoglu said Turkey has contributed to stabilization and development efforts in Afghanistan, including on the education of girls and empowerment of women since the 1920s, adding that Ankara continues providing humanitarian aid through the Turkish Red Crescent.

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