23 September 2019

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Saturday, September 14, 2019
Kabul (BNA) India on Thursday said that any peace process should have “full consent” of the Afghan government and the Afghan people, days after US President Donald Trump called off negotiations with the Taliban in which the two sides “agreed in principle” on a deal which would allow a gradual withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
Addressing a weekly briefing, Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said India is closely following the developments including the talks between Taliban and the US.
“We believe that all sections of the Afghan society including the legitimately elected government should be part of this process,” he said.
The US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad and key members of the Taliban held nine rounds of talks in Qatar and the UAE in almost a year.  The two sides were about to sign a peace deal when the US president called off the negotiations, citing Taliban’s deadly attack in Kabul which left 13 people, including a US solider, dead and many others wounded.
This decision by Mr. Trump, according to analysts, opened the way for the Afghan presidential election scheduled for September 28.
M. Kumar said India has supported the Afghan election.
“Our point of view is that any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandate, should not lead to any ungoverned spaces wee terrorist and their proxies can relocate and should have the full consent of Afghan people and the government,” he said.
“We are reasonably confident that any decision on the peace process which is being taken by the international community, including by the US, will accommodate our concerns in this regard,” he said.
Mr. Kumar said that India has shared the concerns at different intervals including during the visit of special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to India several times in the past.
“No change in India’s policy on Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan driven process.  We feel the process should include all sections of the society including the Afghan government,” he said.

Thursday September 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The September 11, 2001 horrific and heinous attacks left a dark day in the history of the United States and the world, the Presidential Palace said in a statement. “On the day, the terrorist group of Al-Qaeda committed a horrific crime and launched a series of destructive terrorist attacks in the United States which claimed nearly 300 innocent lives, wounded thousands and left billions of dollars of loss to the American people,” the statement said. On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, President Ashraf Ghani stressed that, “The government of Afghanistan as a responsible member of the international community conveys its profound sympathies and empathies to the American government and nation as well as the families who lost their loved ones in the attack.
The tragedy of 9/11 took place when the Taliban regime had already gained ground in Afghanistan and had occupied a majority of the Afghan territory, turning it into a safe haven for the presence and operation of international terrorist networks, including Al-Qaeda and hosting Osama Bin Laden on its top, according to the statement. The government of Afghanistan with the support of the international community, at the top of that the United States, has been fighting on the front lines of the war on global terror alongside with the United States and other major allies and has been paying the ultimate sacrifices to defend the security of the region and the world in the past 18 years, the statement said. Afghanistan and the international community, however, face a common threat and the terrorist groups strive to once again turn Afghanistan into their safe haven and launch pad for terrorist attacks, the statement concluded.

Thursday September 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The U.N. envoy for Afghanistan said Tuesday it is imperative for direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to start quickly, and he urged the militant Islamist group to retract its threat to disrupt the upcoming presidential election. Tadamichi Yamamoto told the Security Council that the events of recent days and weeks “have shown, more than ever, the urgency of finding a political settlement to the long Afghan conflict.” Yamamoto spoke three days after President Donald Trump abruptly halted U.S.-Taliban talks, citing an upsurge in attacks by the Islamic insurgent group. The cancellation put a spotlight on the Sept. 28 presidential election.
The U.N. envoy said opportunities for peace over the past year “created hope, but also fear for many,” and made clear that the conflict can only be resolved by direct talks involving “the whole spectrum of Afghan society.” “It is imperative therefore that direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban commence as soon as possible,” Yamamoto said. He urged the parties to the conflict and all those interested in peace to keep working to bring about direct talks. Recent informal talks between the Taliban and representatives of Afghan society in Doha and Moscow addressed some key issues for peace, Yamamoto said. He expressed hope this would be carried forward and deepened.
Peace efforts must address and lead to a reduction in violence and an eventual cease-fire, he said. But, Yamamoto added, “Any political settlement must include a promise to continue to protect and advance human rights and fundamental freedoms for all who live in Afghanistan, including those of women, youth and minorities as well as the freedom of expression and the media.” Yamamoto said security, voter turnout and fraud are major challenges for the presidential election. While the Afghan government’s technical and operational preparations for the elections are on track, he said, “we still hear much anxiety expressed by Afghan citizens particularly in view of the Taliban’s stated threat to disrupt the electoral process, especially by targeting civilians participating in the elections.”
Stressing that attacks on voters and polling stations are “clear violations of international law,” Yamamoto urged the Taliban to withdraw its threat. And he urged the government to provide adequate security to safeguard the electoral process. Yamamoto said 9.6 million people have registered to vote, but turnout could be affected by security worries. “Credible elections would provide an important political foundation for the future of the country as well as legitimacy and authority to the elected president, which would be particularly important in view of the expected peace process,” he said.

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Donald Trump has issued an executive order making it easier for the U.S. administration to impose sanctions on suspected terrorists, their financiers, and their supporters.
“Today’s executive order by President Trump adds further muscle to U.S. counterterrorism efforts.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a briefing to reporters late on September 10.
The order came out on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Calling the order the “most significant update to counterterrorism sanctions authority since September of 2001,” Pompeo said the new rules allow the State Department and Treasury Department to directly target leaders of suspected terror groups and their affiliates “without having to tie terrorist leaders to specific acts.”
He said the new rules were also more effective at targeting individuals and groups participating in terrorist training and allowed the authorities to impose sanctions on financial institutions that provide services to designated terrorist.
Using the new order, the Treasury Department on September 10 imposed sanctions on leaders, individuals, and entities affiliated with groups such as Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Taliban, and the Iranian Quds Forces, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ foreign arm.
“Since the horrific attacks of 9/11 the U. /S. government has refocused its counterterrorism efforts to constantly adapt to emerging threats,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

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