22 October 2019

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Friday October 4, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen praised the people of Afghanistan for the conduct of presidential elections on 28 September 2019 and commended all who participated in and supported the electoral process.
The OIC Secretary General recognized Afghanistan’s remarkable endurance, and strong determination to build a peaceful and prosperous future.
SPA
Ansari

Tuesday September 24, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan met with the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, in New York on Sunday.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During the meeting, Khalilzad informed Imran Khan about “how far his negotiations with the Taliban had gone, the nature of the talks and what expectations he holds in the future,” Pakistan’s foreign minister said.
“So, he presented his entire analysis of the US-Taliban talks,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.
The meeting comes after US President Donald Trump declared talks with the Taliban as dead, citing the group’s continued violence.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Khan said that he would encourage US President Donald Trump to restart talks with the Taliban to end the Afghan conflict.

Sunday September 8, 2019
Kabul (BNA) U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that while it was seeking a political agreement with the Taliban, Washington would not accept just any deal after a wave of violence cast a shadow over its talks with the insurgent group.
Afghan leaders including President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani have been increasingly critical of the apparent draft deal reached between U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives in Doha this week as the violence has escalated.
“The United States’ View is that the best way forward is a political agreement and that (is  what) we’re working diligently on right now, that doesn’t mean we’ll take any deal,” Esper said during a press conference in Paris with his French counterpart.  “We will make sure we have a good deal, a good enough deal that guarantees at least the security of our countries going forward and a brighter path ahead for the Afghan people.”
Under the draft accord with the Taliban, thousands of U.S. troops would be withdrawn over the coming months in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for mi8litant attacks on the United States and its allies.  However, according to the agreement, a full peace agreement to end more than 18 years of war would depend on subsequent “intra Afghan” talks.  The Taliban have rejected calls for a ceasefire and instead stepped up operations across the country.  On Friday. U.S. envoy Khalilzad was back in the Qatari capital Doha, along with General Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to continue talks with the Taliban, who said the meeting had gone well.
Yarzada

Monday August 18, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a foreign policy hawk and close ally of President Trump, warned the White House against withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in a deal with the Taliban.
“American service members are not acting as policemen in Afghanistan. They are the front-line defense for America against the reemergence of radical Islamist groups who wish to attack the American homeland,” Graham said in a statement. “To trust the Taliban to control al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, and other radical Islamist groups present in Afghanistan – as a replacement for a US counter-terrorism force – would be a bigger mistake than Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal.”
“Any peace agreement which denies the US a robust counter-terrorism capability in Afghanistan is not a peace deal. Instead, it is paving the way for another attack on the American homeland and attacks against American interests around the world,” he added.
“President Trump should learn from President Obama’s mistakes. Be smart, take your time, and listen to your national security team.”
Graham has long advocated for a more muscular foreign policy, including advocating for strong U.S. intervention in the Middle East, saying a physical force in the region is needed to prevent terrorist attacks from reaching the mainland. He was harshly critical of President Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq, saying the move helped lead to the rise of groups like ISIS.
Graham’s statement comes after reports surfaced that Trump was set to meet with his national security team Friday afternoon to discuss a pending peace agreement with the Taliban. A senior official noted to reporters that Trump has “been pretty clear” about his desire to withdraw from Afghanistan.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the special envoy for Afghan peace talks, has been negotiating with the Taliban for months on a deal to end America’s war in Afghanistan that would see a withdrawal of troops in exchange for assurances from the group that it would not let the country become a base for terrorist organizations to launch attacks against the U.S.
Khalilzad said the last round of talks earlier this month was “productive,” though a deal’s finalization has been hindered by the Taliban’s refusal of inter-Afghan talks that the U.S. has pushed.
The Pentagon has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of both training, advising and assisting local forces in the fight against the Taliban and running counterterrorism operations against groups like al Qaeda and ISIS.
Thehill
Ansari 

 

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