11 August 2020

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Monday July 6, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen said that all parties in Afghanistan need to focus their attention on peace efforts, amid the recent surge in violence, in Afghanistan.
He deplored all acts of violence and urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint, to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and realize the long awaited peace by the people of Afghanistan.
Noting, on the other hand, the positive developments towards dialogue, the Secretary General called on all Afghans to redouble their efforts exerted, to achieve long lasting peace and reconciliation, in the country.
By reiterating the firm commitment of the OIC to stand by the people of Afghanistan, Al-Othaimeen concluded his statement.

Sunday, July 5, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar held a telephone conversation with British Ambassador to Afghanistan, Alison Blake CMG yesterday, a MoFA statement said.
At the onset, both sides exchanged views on the global experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and deliberated the impacts it has had on Afghanistan and the United Kingdom, the statement added.
The main topic of discussion was the Afghan peace process.
Both sides exchanged views on the latest developments in the peace process such as concerns on the increase in the level of violence, the mechanisms needed for monitoring a reduction of violence, release of prisoners by the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, and the importance of beginning Intra-Afghan negotiation.
Minister Atmar and Ambassador Blake also deliberated the importance of regional and international engagement and the need for consensus on the Afghan peace process.
The British Ambassador reiterated the support of the British government for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Sunday, July 5, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, Stefano Pontecorvo, on Saturday updated NATO members in Brussels on the situation in Afghanistan and said that the Taliban needs to end the violence to help kick start the intra-Afghan talks.
“I have updated the North Atlantic Council on the situation in Afghanistan leading up to intra-Afghan negotiations.
I was glad to see that once again NATO and alliance affirmed commitments to Afghanistan and to Afghanistan’s national security and defense forces has been reiterated. We also discussed the situation on the ground---Taliban violence has to go down, it is simply unacceptable and it is creating an issue, a problem for getting to the peace talks,” said the NATO envoy Stefano Pontecorvo.
“The more the violence is increased, the more the pains and wounds are increased; this also makes it difficult to achieve peace and to attend the peace negotiating table,” said Shahrzada Akbar, the chairperson of the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan (AIHRC). Meanwhile, the US embassy Chargé d'Affaires Ross Wilson has said that there was an expectation that the level of violence in Afghanistan would have been reduced after the US-Taliban peace deal was signed on February 29 in Doha, but it didn’t happen like that and violence didn’t stop. “We hope that...when this prisoners release is concluded--up to 5,000 Taliban by the Afghan government, up to a 1,000 by the Taliban---intra-Afghan negotiations can be begin,” said Ross Wilson. Based on the government’s statistics, over the past one month the Taliban initiated 1538 attacks on 32 provinces of the country.
The Office of National Security Council (ONSC) has said that 153 civilians have been killed as a result of the attacks by the Taliban. Nevertheless, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Kabul will host three important meetings on Afghan peace process before the start of the intra-Afghan talks aimed at creating consensus in the regional and international level.
“The first meeting will be convened on Monday with the attendance of delegates from 20 regional and major countries and the meeting will be inaugurated with a presidential speech---the second meeting will be held on Tuesday---it is a trilateral meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chinese government under the framework of the Strategic Dialogue,” said Geran Hewad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under the US-Taliban deal, the Afghan government has to released 5,000 Taliban prisoners before heading to the intra-Afghan talks. So far the Afghan government has released over 3,000 of these prisoners. The Taliban have clarified that they will not attend the peace talks with the Afghan sides before the completion of the prisoners’ swap. As part of goodwill gesture, the Taliban also pledged to release 1,000 Afghan government hostages.

Sunday, July 5, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The funeral prayer in absentia for the late Mohammad Yousuf Ghazanfar, the President's special Representative on Economic Development, Trade, and the Reduction of Poverty, who died of COVID-19 was held at the presidential palace and was attended by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
The prayer was also attended by the First Vice President, a number of cabinet ministers, high-ranking government officials and dignitaries.
The President and other participants prayed for the soul of the late Mohammad Yousuf Ghazanfar and wished the deceased paradise.
The body of the late Mohammad Yousef Ghazanfar was laid to rest yesterday in a formal ceremony after the funeral prayer, attended by Mohammad Shaker Kargar, director general of the Office of the President, Abdul Mateen Bek, Senior Advisor to the President, and a number of high-ranking government officials, governors and civil servants as well as members of his family and friends and was buried in the shrine of Hazrat e Ali in Mazar-e-Sharif city.
Mohammad Yousuf Ghazanfar, President Ghani’s Special Representative for Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, died from the coronavirus on Friday. He was under treatment at a hospital in Turkey. President Ghani in a statement sent his condolences over Ghazanfar’s death. Ghazanfar had endorsed President Ghani in 2019 election. Ghazanfar was member of the parliament from Balkh province in 2005 and was a member of the financial and budget committee of the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan’s parliament.
He ran for parliamentary elections in 2010. He was a shareholder of Ghazanfar Bank, a private bank in the country.
In 2010, he survived an armed attack in which his bodyguard was killed and three others were wounded.

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