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US Supports Ghani’s Decision to Reassess Release of Taliban’s Prisoners: Bass

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(Last Updated On: November 17, 2019)

The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John Bass, said on Sunday that the Taliban prisoner swap process suspended following the recent attacks in Kabul and Logar provinces.

“We supported President Ghani’s announcement to release three Taliban prisoners to promote peace – and the decision to reassess their pending transfer following the attacks in Logar and Kabul on November 12 and 13,” Ambassador Bass tweeted.

Bass further said that Washington will work closely with Kabul on next steps.

“Making peace means making hard choices, but it also requires careful review of the conditions on the ground. As strategic partners, we will continue to work closely with the Afghan government on next steps,” he added.

Presidential Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi on Saturday confirmed that Anas Haqqani, Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, three members of the Haqqani Network, are still under government custody, because Taliban couldn’t deliver on their promise.

“Taliban’s failure to comply with the conditions had delayed the [prisoners] swap process,” Sediqqi wrote on Twitter.

President Ashraf Ghani’s Spokesman further said that the Afghan government will review the prisoner exchange process, and will act based on the national interests of the country.

However, Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen, a pro-Taliban political analyst, who along with other activists recently visited Taliban’s political leaders, including the group’s Deputy Leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar, told reporters in Kabul that the deal did not happen, because the U.S. insisted on a ceasefire and direct talks with the Afghan government.

According to Mutmaeen, the prisoner exchange process halted at the last minutes after Taliban refused to accept the new conditions.

In a letter given to the political activists, Taliban leaders say, they will not hold negotiations with the Washington from the very beginning, adding that Taliban is only ready to sign the previously discussed agreement.

“After signing the agreement with foreign forces, the intra-Afghan talks would begin, and ceasefire will be part of the agenda,” Shafi Azam, a political activist read the Taliban letter, “The Kabul administration, like other parties, will be a part of the intra-Afghan 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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