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US peace envoy meets with Afghan leaders in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: March 15, 2021)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Monday and immediately met with Afghan leaders to discuss the recent developments around the peace process.

The Presidential Palace (ARG) said Khalilzad met with President Ashraf Ghani on Monday afternoon. ARG stated they discussed Khalilzad’s recent trips to neighboring countries and to Doha and the next steps in the peace process.

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation also met with Khalilzad on Monday.

“We discussed the peace process, new initiatives, latest political developments and steps forward,” Abdullah said in a tweet.

Abdullah also said that during the meeting: “We reiterated our call for a political settlement and acceleration of the peace efforts.”

Khalilzad’s visit to Kabul is the second in two weeks and takes place amid growing efforts by various stakeholders to get the Afghan Republic and the Taliban to reach a political settlement.

The push for peace by the US has included a draft peace plan which was handed to all parties to the conflict and other influential parties and outlined a plan for an interim government. Another suggestion was that involving a summit, in Turkey.

Moscow has since however organized another peace meeting that is expected to take place in Russia on Thursday. The Afghan government and the Taliban have both indicated that they will be attending the meeting.

Earlier Monday, US and Qatari officials meanwhile met with the Taliban’s deputy leader in Doha.
Khalilzad, and Qatar Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Monday met with Mullar Baradar, said Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman.

According to Naeem, the implementation of the Doha deal was discussed at the meeting.

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Islamic countries to meet on Afghanistan crisis on Dec. 19

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Pakistan’s foreign minister called on Saturday for a fresh effort to stop neighboring Afghanistan sliding further into crisis as he announced an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) later this month. 

The meeting of foreign ministers from Islamic countries will be held in Islamabad on Dec. 19, with delegations from the European Union and the so-called P5 group of the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China also invited.

“To abandon Afghanistan at this stage would be a historic mistake,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad, warning that half the country was facing the risk of starvation that could trigger further chaos.

“Instability could give way to renewed conflict, it could trigger an exodus of refugees,” he said.

There have been growing warnings of the humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan since international aid was abruptly cut following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover on Aug. 15 and fears of disaster if the situation is not brought under control.

However, getting help in has been hindered by sanctions on dealing with the IEA, the U.S. decision to freeze billions of dollars of central bank reserves held outside Afghanistan and the collapse of much of the country’s banking system.

Pakistan recently agreed to allow 50,000 tonnes of wheat to transit through its territory from India to help Afghanistan but aid agencies have warned that much more help is urgently needed.

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Pakistan to let Afghan trucks transport wheat from India to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Pakistan’s has allowed India to transport 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines through Wagah as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, the Pakistani government said in a statement Saturday.

“With a view to further facilitate Pakistan’s decision to allow transportation of 50,000 MT of wheat and life-saving medicines from India to Afghanistan via Wagah border on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes, it has been decided to also allow the use of Afghan trucks for transportation from Wagah border to Torkham,” read the statement.

“This demonstrates the commitment and seriousness of the Government of Pakistan to facilitate the proposed humanitarian assistance.”

The statement noted that the decision was conveyed to the Charge d’ Affaires of India on Saturday at the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs adding that “the Indian government was also urged to proceed quickly to take necessary steps to expeditiously undertake the delivery of the humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.”

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France, Europeans working to open joint mission in Afghanistan: Macron

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Several European countries are working on opening up a joint diplomatic mission in Afghanistan that would enable their ambassadors to return to the country, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday.

Western countries have been grappling with how to engage with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) after they took power in Afghanistan in mid-August.

The United States and other Western countries shut their embassies and withdrew their diplomats when the previous government collapsed, following which the IEA declared an interim government whose top members are under U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

“We are thinking of an organisation between several European countries… a common location for several Europeans, which would allow our ambassadors to be present,” Macron told reporters in Doha before heading to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.

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