25 February 2020

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Politics

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Addressing the Council of Ministers meeting here at the Sapidar Palace on Monday, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that the peace agreement between the Taliban and US has been "finalized."
“The agreement between the Taliban and US has been finalized and the signing of the agreement is based on the reduction in violence over seven-days and then it will continue,” Dr. Abdullah said.
“It also an opportunity for the opposite side to show that they want peace in the country,” he said, adding they had clear stance before peace and that supported any efforts leading to intra-Afghan talks and durable peace in the country.
Dr. Abdullah also said that people were supporting the US-Taliban deal, however he said the future of the country would be related to the intra-Afghan talks, where people would decide about their destiny.
Praising the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces fight against insurgents, the Chief Executive asked the forces to prioritize safety of the civilians while conducting air operations against the militants.
Dr. Abdullah’s remarks came at the time that the US Special Representative for Afghanistan’s Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, tweeted updates about progress in the peace process, noting the reduction in violence agreement between the US and Taliban, but stressed that “success cannot be guaranteed.”
Khalilzad reported on Twitter that he had met with President Ghani in Munich on Friday and held a series of meetings with leaders and representatives from different countries. Khalilzad also mentioned a “prolonged and fruitful” trip to Doha before attending the Munich Security Conference.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met Heiko Maas, the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs on the sideline of the 56th Munich Security Conference late on Sunday evening and discussed bilateral relations, peace process and Afghan government’s commitment to end the war.
The president talked over the possible opportunities and risks and said the Afghan government’s main objective is to end the war and ensure a sustainable peace in the country, the statement from the presidential press office said, adding that the president also highlighted the importance of the national and political consensus built around peace in Afghanistan. “We are willing and fully committed to bringing an end to the war in Afghanistan.”
The president underscored there is a difficult process ahead and it should be handled with rationality and wisdom. He said social and political potentials among Afghans are enhanced enough to enable us to make tough decisions in the process, the statement added.
President Ghani said he would begin consultations with the Afghan Defense and Security forces, various Afghan demographics, civil society, and political strata to keep them informed of the developments and discuss the possible risks and potential opportunities, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, Heiko Maas expressed Germany’s commitment to support the efforts of the Afghan government and the United States to bring sustainable peace for Afghans. He added his country would stand with the government and people of Afghanistan and make efforts to protect the achievements of the past two decades, especially rights of women and children, the statement added.
According to another report, President Ghani also met late on Sunday evening with Sir Mark Sedwell, the UK Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor at the sideline of the 56th Munich Security Conference.
The two sides discussed mutual ties, Afghanistan’s peace process and security, regional issues, and the UK support for Afghanistan in multiple areas, the statement from the presidential press office added.

Monday, February 17, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh left Kabul for Islamabad here yesterday to attend a two-day international conference on Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
The second VP is accompanied by Acting Foreign Minister and Minister of Refugees and Repatriates and is expected to address the conference that marking 40 years since hundreds of thousands of Afghans found refuge in the country.
The two-day conference, starting from February 17, will be inaugurated by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The ministry said the UN chief’s participation in the conference was a “recognition of Pakistan’s exemplary compassion, generosity, and resolve in hosting Afghan refugees for the past four decades and our efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
Pakistan is home to an estimated 2.4 million registered and undocumented people who have fled Afghanistan after their country was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979 or during later conflicts.
Many live-in camps, while others have built lives for themselves in Pakistan's cities.
The Second VP is also expected to meet UN secretary General, Afghan students, traders and refugees in the neighboring country.

Monday, February 17, 2020
Kabul (BNA) At the Munich Security Conference, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said the US-Taliban deal to be made in a week to ten days, adding that the US and Afghanistan are now on the same page.
Addressing a panel at the Munich Security Conference, President Ghani said the other day that his government is taking a practical approach to resolving the 18-year-long Afghan conflict.
"We are not going to solve this conflict on the basis of 'paper discussions,'" he added.
President Ghani expressed some doubts about the Taliban's intention, alluding to the "Trojan Horse strategy," but said that he needed to test the group's commitment, nonetheless. "We are going to take a substantial step forward and test. Testing is going to reveal [if the peace with the Taliban works]."
The US-Taliban deal seems closer than ever after the militant group agreed to a seven-day reduction of violence in Afghanistan. US President Donald Trump on Thursday said a peace agreement was "very close."
On Friday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who also spoke at the conference, and President Ghani were ironing out the peace deal details in Munich, with a formal announcement expected sometime next week.
"We are on the same page. There are risks, but we see an opportunity," President Ghani said. "There is mutual trust [between the US and Afghanistan] that we can do this together. And because of this, we agreed not to make an announcement [here] yesterday or today. We are going to make an announcement within a week to 10 days in a coordinated and choreographed fashion," he added.
Esper also said on Saturday that the agreement between the US and the Taliban "looks very promising."

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