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US Monitoring Daesh Presence in Afghanistan: Mark Toner

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(Last Updated On: August 18, 2016)

349693_48822655US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner has said that the United States has made a long-term commitment to build a more stable, peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Afghan future.

Mark Toner said that the US is trying to reduce differences between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

While delivering a press briefing in the United States capital, Toner demanded Afghan Taliban to subdue themselves to the constitution and play their role in restoring peace.

He stated that Taliban must understand what political leadership of Afghanistan asks of them. Long battle is not the solution to problems, he said adding that the United States would continue to support those who are striving for peace and stability in Afghanistan including country’s army.

He said that the United States made efforts to stop funding of terrorists across the globe but total halt to sponsorship remains a challenge.

In the meantime, the American official also said that The US is monitoring the movement of ISIS and its affiliated groups in Afghanistan besides helping the latter’s security forces to fight out the terrorist organisation which is trying to expand its base rapidly in the war-torn country.

“We are always looking at ISIL’s ability to find safe haven and then expand to work with, these affiliate groups, factions of groups such as the Taliban that they might be able to exploit. We are monitoring it very closely,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Wednesday.

“We’re in close contact and coordination with the Afghan Security Forces in that regard, and we’re going to continue. If we see opportunities to take out key leadership, we’re going to strike,” he said while responding to a question and reiterated that reconciliation process with the Taliban needs to be an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process”.

“Any time you’ve got various splinter groups emerging, that does make those efforts more complex, but that remains our overarching goal and what we view as really the long-term solution for Afghanistan to achieve peace and stability. But I don’t have an assessment of what the latest development might mean for prospects, but we continue to encourage those efforts,” he said.

This comes as a new Taliban faction has emerged in Afghanistan, promising to fight rival Taliban groups as well as foreign forces in the country.

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Three Russian aircraft with humanitarian aid arrive in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Three Russian aircraft landed in Kabul on Wednesday carrying 36 tonnes of humanitarian aid, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

All three Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, involved in delivering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan would also evacuate Russian citizens, as well as citizens of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states, Russia’s Defense Ministry, said in a statement.

“Some three Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters of the Russian Defense Ministry have delivered humanitarian aid to the Kabul airport and are boarding evacuees for departure from Afghanistan,” the statement read.

A total of over 380 Russians, citizens of the CSTO member states (mainly Kyrgyzstan), and Afghan students from Russian universities will fly out on the departing planes, the ministry said.

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India considers re-opening mission in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

As countries slowly start reopening their embassies in Kabul, India is also reportedly considering the possibility of re-staffing its mission in Afghanistan.

So far, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan all have a diplomatic presence in the country.

Japan and the EU have also discussed the possibility of returning to Afghanistan.

One senior Indian official told The Hindu on Wednesday that “establishing a presence in Afghanistan has nothing to do with recognition [of the IEA government]. It simply means that you would like to have people on the ground dealing with the new regime, to continue engagement with the people.”

He said the Modi government is not convinced about the need to re-open its mission, but that discussions are continuing on what India’s strategy should be, The Hindu reported.

At present, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which was evacuated within two days of the IEA talking control, is intact and being guarded by IEA forces.

While calls from within the country to reopen grow, officials told The Hindu that much depends on what India’s other partners and friendly countries choose to do.

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Saudi Arabia reopens consular section of embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Saudi Arabia announced that it has reopened the consular section of its embassy in Kabul as of Tuesday in order to provide consular services to Afghan citizens.

This latest move has been welcomed by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

“We welcome them, appreciate this profound step by the Saudi government and view it as start of good relations,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry.

According to Balkhi a 14-member diplomatic team from Saudi Arabia returned to Kabul on Tuesday, and resumed consular activities.

This comes after the UAE recently reopened its embassy in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, IEA deputy minister and spokesman announced last week that the reopening of the UAE embassy was a “good step.”

The UAE was one of only a few country’s that recognized the IEA government in the 1990s, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Last week Takashi Okada, Japan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, said his country has also decided to reopen its embassy in Kabul after the new government ensured Tokyo of its security.

Enamullah Samangani, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s deputy spokesman said that Takashi Okada raised the issue during a meeting with Abdul Kabir, the IEA’s political deputy prime minister in Kabul.

According to him, the Japanese ambassador to Afghanistan has said that his country continues to support the Afghan people and is ready to work with the IEA on this issue.

Since taking power in mid-August, the IEA has repeatedly called on foreign countries to reopen their embassies after most missions evacuated staff and closed their doors during the chaos that surrounded the US troops withdrawal process.

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