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US State Dept reiterates Istanbul was not meant to replace Doha talks

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(Last Updated On: April 21, 2021)

The US State Department’s spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday night that the Istanbul Conference was never meant to replace the Doha talks but rather it was part of a broader diplomatic effort to secure a political settlement.

Addressing a press conference, Price said the Doha talks “is an effort that continues to be ongoing and it’s an effort where we will continue to invest our resources, our political heft, knowing again that only through diplomacy, only through a political settlement, an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led process, will we be able to help support bringing peace, stability, and security to the people of Afghanistan.”

Soon after Price’s press conference, word spread that the Istanbul Conference had been postponed.This was confirmed on Wednesday morning by the three co-hosts, United Nations, Turkey and Qatar, in a statement.

“In view of recent developments, and after extensive consultations with the parties, it has been agreed to postpone the conference to a later date when conditions for making meaningful progress would be more favorable,” the statement read.

Price meanwhile again pointed out that the Biden administration is in no doubt that there is no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan.

He said: “The conference in Istanbul is part of that broader effort, that broader diplomatic engagement. We are grateful to the hosts – Turkey, Qatar, and the UN – for convening it. I would need to refer to them when it comes to the current status of that timing of it or timing of it going forward.”

The postponement comes after the Taliban’s announcement last week that they would not attend any peace conference until all foreign troops had withdrawn from the country.

Their announcement followed closely on the heels of US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s announcement that all foreign troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 11.

The Taliban said however this was in contravention of the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha last year which stipulated foreign troops need to leave by May 1.

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Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit, makes ‘no apologies’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday firmly defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he makes no apologies.

Addressing a press conference, Biden said: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.

Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said.

“It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity.”

He also suggested it was not the responsibility of the U.S. to fix Afghanistan’s challenges, The Week reported.

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Pakistan played major role in peace, stability of Afghanistan: Arif Alvi

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan played a major role in the peace and stability in Afghanistan and that Islamabad made sure Kabul was not isolated.

Alvi said in a media interview, that during the recent Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit he told its members that Pakistan saved Afghanistan from being isolated.

He also stated that during the extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of OIC in Islamabad, Pakistan, in December, he portrayed the actual picture of the war-torn country.

He also said the world has recognized Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiatives.

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ILO estimates underscore Afghanistan employment crisis

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Job losses in Afghanistan following the change in administration in August 2021 totaled more than half a million in the third quarter and may reach 900,000 by mid-2022, according to new estimates released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to the ILO, the estimated 14% loss by mid-2022 reflects workers pushed out of employment due to the change in administration and ensuing economic crisis as well as restrictions on women’s participation in the workplace.

The total number of hours worked in the Afghan economy is estimated to have dropped by 13% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to a hypothetical scenario with no change in administration.

The ILO said key sectors have been devastated since the collapse of the former government including agriculture, the civil service and the construction industry which have all seen large-scale job losses or workers go unpaid.

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