21 April 2019

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Friday April 19, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan expressed disappointment on Friday after the collapse of a planned meeting between the Taliban and a group of Afghan politicians in Qatar that exposed some of the deep divisions hampering efforts to end the war.
A 250-strong delegation of Afghan politicians and civil society figures had been due to meet Taliban officials in Doha at the weekend. The event was abruptly cancelled on Thursday amid arguments over the size and status of the group, which included some government officials attending in a personal capacity.
“I’m disappointed Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative has been delayed,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation, said on Twitter. “I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans.”
The collapse of the meeting before it had even started, described as a “fiasco” by one senior Western official, laid bare the tensions that have hampered moves towards opening formal peace negotiations.
Khalilzad, a veteran Afghan-born diplomat, has held a series of meetings with Taliban representatives but the insurgents have so far refused to talk to the Western-backed government in Kabul, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.
The Doha meeting was intended to prepare the ground for possible future talks by building familiarity among Taliban officials and representatives of the Afghan state created after the U.S.-led campaign that toppled the Taliban government in 2001. A similar encounter was held in Moscow in February.
President Ashraf Ghani’s office blamed Qatari authorities for the cancellation, saying they had authorised a list of participants that differed from the one proposed by Kabul, “which meant disrespect for the national will of the Afghans”.
“This act is not acceptable for the people of Afghanistan,” it said in a statement on Friday.
Sultan Barakat, director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Qatar, which had been facilitating the meeting, said there was no disagreement about the agenda.
“Rather, there is insufficient agreement around participation and representation to enable the conference to be a success,” he tweeted.
Preparations had already been undermined by disagreements on the government side about who should attend, as well as by suspicions among rival politicians ahead of presidential elections scheduled for September.
The Taliban derided the agreed list of 250 participants as a “wedding party”. Some senior opposition figures who had been included refused to attend.
The Taliban also objected to Ghani’s comments to a meeting of delegates that they would be representing the Afghan nation and the Afghan government, a statement that went against the insurgents’ refusal to deal with the Kabul administration.

Friday April 19, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Ambassador Huseyin Avni Botsali, the permanent representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Kabul, met with Afghan leaders regarding the peace process, inter-Afghan dialogue and negotiations with the Taliban.
Botsali met with Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and presidential advisers to reiterate the OIC’s “firm commitment to lasting peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.”
President Ashraf Ghani has also invited OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen to pay an official visit to Afghanistan to review cooperation, OIC activities, and the International Ulema Conference for Peace and Security in Afghanistan’s Makkah Declaration of July 2018.


Thursday, April 18, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Newly-appointed district governors related to a number of districts in Daikundi and Bamyan provinces met with Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh on Wednesday, BNA reported.
The participants appreciated the transparency in recruitment process, central government trust in them and efforts made by second VP on rule of law and institutionalization of administrative justice, the agency added.
Congratulating their appointment as new district governors in Bamyan and Daikundi, VP Danesh stressed that as you have been appointed through a transparent process, you should perform your activities based on the country’s laws.  About their demands to address urgent needs of people during unexpected incidents such as floods and seasonal rainfalls, VP Danesh vowed to chase their demands through relevant administrations.


Thursday, April 18, 2019
Kabul (BNA)  Chief Executive of the National Unity Government (NUG), Dr. Abdullah Abdullah met with the United Nations’ Secretary General Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto at the Spidar Palace, his office said Wednesday.
The UN special representative first briefed about his trip to the United Nations, general compound to the CE and then said that the UN would support an Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace talks, said the office.
He asked for regional coordination for the Afghan peace talks, according to the statement.
Dr. Abdullah meanwhile, thanking the UN for its Afghan peace support, said efforts for peace have been accelerated in the country.
Both sides also exchanged views on the Doha peace meeting, upcoming presidential elections and other regional issues, the statement said.


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