Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban
Russia's foreign minister says the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan are working together to ensure that Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers keep their promises, especially to form a genuinely representative government and prevent the spread of extremist groups.
Afghan President Ghani leaves country as Taliban continue talks for "unconditional surrender"
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday, according to Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation.Why it matters: Ghani's removal from government had been a key demand by the Taliban as a part of the on-again-off-again peace talks, which insurgents slow rolled in order to gain military ground.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free“The former president of Afghanistan left Anews.yahoo.com
Taliban storms Kabul, demands unconditional surrender of government; US scrambles to pull out embassy workers
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban fighters entered Kabul on Sunday and sought the unconditional surrender of the central government, officials said, as Afghans and foreigners alike raced for the exit, signaling the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan.news.yahoo.com
Biden vows to evacuate thousands of Afghans who helped US
President Joe Biden is vowing that Afghans who helped the U.S. military “are not going to be left behind” as his administration steps up planning to evacuate thousands of Afghan interpreters while their applications for U.S. entry are processed.
AP INTERVIEW: Peace chief says Afghan gov't must step up
Afghanistan's chief peace negotiator said Saturday the often fractured Afghan political leadership must unify in its peace talks with the Taliban or risk the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops bringing more bitter fighting. Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council, said the time is now for Afghanistan’s political leaders to stand united in the talks. In an interview with The Associated Press in the Afghan capital, Abdullah warned that history and millions of Afghans — already frustrated by what they see as government ineptitude and runaway corruption — will judge them harshly if unity eludes the powerful leaders now in Kabul.news.yahoo.com
Afghan president appoints 2 ministers, angers ruling partner
FILE - In this March 6, 2021, file photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during the opening ceremony of the new legislative session of the Parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ghani has made two key Cabinet changes, evoking a strong response Saturday, March 20, 2021 from powerful governing partner Abdullah Abdullah amid increasing pressure from the U.S. to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban. In May 2020, Ghani and political rival Abdullah signed a power-sharing agreement, two months after both declared themselves the winner of the September 2019 presidential election. AdThe Cabinet changes could be a sign that Ghani is pushing back against the U.S. and opposition’s increasing support for an interim administration. The talks in Qatar between the Afghan government and the Taliban have stalled, but Russia voiced hope that the talks in Moscow could help reinvigorate them.
Taliban expect US withdrawal, vow to restore Islamic rule
The Taliban warned Washington against defying a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan promising a "reaction". He also reaffirmed that the Taliban were firm on their demand for an Islamic government. The Taliban, who during their rule imposed a harsh brand of Islam, now control about half of the country. The joint statement emphasized that the four countries do not support the restoration of an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan similar to the Taliban's past rule. Shaheen emphasized that the Taliban would stick to the goal of building an Islamic state.
Russia hosts Afghan peace conference, hoping to boost talks
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, center, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for an international peace conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)MOSCOW – Russia hosted a peace conference for Afghanistan on Thursday, bringing together government representatives, the Taliban and international observers in a bid to help jump-start the country's stalled peace process. Moscow’s attempt at mediation comes as talks in Qatar between the Afghan government and the Taliban, still waging an insurgency, have stalled. Washington and Kabul have been pressing for a cease-fire while the Taliban say they will negotiate it as part of peace talks with the Afghan government. Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan, told reporters that the Afghan participants in the talks showed willingness to negotiate peace.
AP Interview: Karzai says US plan catalyst for Afghan peace
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 11, 2021. Afghans are eager for peace and a recently floated U.S. draft for a deal between Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government is the best chance to accelerate stalled peace talks, ex-president Hamid Karzai said in an interview Thursday. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)KABUL – A recently floated U.S. draft for a deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government is the best chance to accelerate stalled peace talks between the country's warring sides, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview Thursday. Karzai, considered a key player in the talks going forward, told the AP that the proposed U.S. peace plan contains important provisions that could help bring peace to Afghanistan — with some revisions by both sides. AdDespite Karzai's optimistic assessment, the Washington plan could encounter serious opposition from President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban.
Deep skepticism as Afghan peace talks set to resume amid bloodshed and U.S. withdrawal
Negotiators returned to Doha, Qatar on Tuesday to resume peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Afghan security forces inspect the scene of a blast in Kabul, December 23, 2020, after at least four people, including two policemen, were killed in multiple unclaimed bombings in the Afghan capital. The Afghan intelligence chief says security forces prevented the assassination of three more journalists. "They want to delay peace talks until the full withdrawal of foreign troops." "But the Afghan sides are not closer than before to making peace."cbsnews.com
AP Interview: Top Afghan negotiator lauds India's support
Afghanistans chief peace envoy Abdullah Abdullah speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. It also signals a gradual shift in India's approach in dealing with the ongoing Afghan peace process that began two years ago, for which it has been invited to take part in for the first time. Still, India has long been reluctant in its direct engagement in Afghanistan peace talks. In May, Khalilzad called for an increased role for India in the Afghan peace process and asked New Delhi to engage directly with the Taliban. His participation was seen by many observers as India shedding its reluctance in engaging directly with the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Envoy pushes Pakistan to press Taliban to lessen violence
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. His visit to Pakistan was seen as particularly significant because of the ties the Taliban have with Pakistan, especially with the powerful military, which is largely responsible for the country’s Afghan policy. Abdullah said he has asked not just Pakistan, but Washington and every other country that has a voice at the Afghan table, to press for a reduction of violence with the Taliban. Still, for most Afghans Pakistan is seen as having the greatest leverage with the Taliban, whose ruling council is widely thought to be headquartered in southwestern Baluchistan. “It is time (for the Taliban) to show some practical signs of their commitment for peace.
Historic Afghan peace talks fraught with uncertainty
Taliban delegation arrive to attend the opening session of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. The big hurdle is likely to be what to do with tens of thousands of armed Taliban fighters and the militias loyal to government-allied warlords. Taliban fighters have been battling the upstart affiliate, but the Taliban have already lost fighters to the radical militant Sunni Muslim group. Many Taliban fighters are disillusioned at their leaders entering peace negotiations and believe they could win militarily, with nearly 50% of the country already mostly in their control. Washington’s watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, has expressed concerns that Taliban fighters returning to their homes could be targeted by corrupt officials or threatened by authorities.
Warring Afghans meet to find peace after decades of war
Saturday's launch of intra-Afghan talks, attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, follows the U.S.-brokered recognition of Israel by two Gulf nations — Bahrain on Friday and the United Arab Emirates earlier this month. ”The intra-Afghan negotiations were laid out in a peace deal Washington signed with the Taliban on Feb. 29. At that time the deal was touted as Afghanistan's best chance at peace in 40 years of war. Abdullah was named to head the High Council for National Reconciliation overseeing the peace talks as part of a power-sharing agreement to end the bickering. “Trump likely wants a peace deal before the election, so that he can garner political benefits galore and pitch himself as a Nobel Peace Prize candidate.
Pompeo says Afghan negotiations likely to be 'contentious'
ISLAMABAD – Much anticipated negotiations between Afghanistan's warring parties are likely to be “contentious,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Friday, but are the only way forward if Afghans are to find peace after decades of relentless conflict. “It’s their country to figure out how to move forward and make a better life for all Afghan people,” he said. In the countdown to this November's presidential polls, Washington has ramped up pressure to start intra-Afghan negotiations. But Pompeo warned of spoilers to peace, citing recent targeted killings in Afghanistan and an attempted assassination earlier this week of Afghan vice-president Amrullah Saleh. The six were among 5,000 Taliban prisoner the U.S. peace deal called on the Afghan government to free before the start of negotiations.
Efforts ramping up to get intra-Afghan peace talks started
Officials on both sides of Afghanistan's protracted conflict say efforts are ramping up for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, a critical next step to a U.S. negotiated peace deal with the Taliban. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)KABUL Officials on both sides of Afghanistans protracted conflict say efforts are ramping up for a start to intra-Afghan negotiations, a critical next step to a U.S.-negotiated peace deal with the Taliban. The peace deal, which calls for the intra-Afghan negotiations, was signed by the U.S. and the Taliban in February and was seen at the time as Afghanistans best hope at peace after four decades of war. President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the High Council for National Reconciliation, the umbrella organization overseeing the government talks, says a reduction of violence or cease-fire will top their agenda. The group has reportedly completed its agenda and its 20-member negotiation team reports directly to Taliban chief Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.
Afghan president names council for peace deal with Taliban
The negotiations were envisaged under a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement signed in February as intra-Afghan talks to decide the war-torn countrys future. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree late Saturday establishing the 46-member council, led by his former rival in last years presidential election, Abdullah Abdullah, who is now in the government. The council will have the final say and will ultimately decide on the points that the negotiating team takes up with the Taliban. Among them is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who signed a peace deal with Ghani in 2016 but previously was declared a terrorist by the U.S. The Taliban team answers only to the insurgents' leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhunzada.
Kabul to open traditional council on release of 400 Taliban
The statement would indicate that Washington was not ready to accept a decision to deny the 400 Taliban their freedom. Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said previously that a permanent cease-fire could be one of the first items on the agenda of negotiations between the Taliban and Kabul's leadership. The United States intends to hold the Taliban to these commitments. The intra-Afghan negotiations that Washington had hoped would begin in March have been delayed by the reluctance of Kabul to release the Taliban prisoners. The deal called on Kabul to free 5,000 Taliban and the insurgent group to free 1,000 government and military personnel.
US envoy forges ahead with troubled Taliban peace deal
FILE - In this March 9, 2020 file photo, Washington's peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, attends Ashraf Ghani's inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February to end 19 years of war in Afghanistan. Khalilzad has sought to stress the economic benefits of the peace deal throughout his tour. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied contacts with Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, saying the insurgents were committed to the peace deal. The peace deal called for the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners, in exchange for the Taliban releasing 1,000 government personnel.
US envoy working to resuscitate flagging Afghan peace deal
In this Wednesday, May 20, 2020 photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, right, and fellow leader under a recently signed power-sharing agreement, Abdullah Abdullah, center, hold a meeting with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad aimed at resuscitating a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February, at the Presidential Palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan. All were aimed at resuscitating a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February. He also said too much time has been wasted getting to the second and critical phase of the peace deal, which calls for talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan's political leadership. The increased IS activity in Afghanistan has added urgency to U.S. efforts to resuscitate the peace deal, which commits the Taliban to fight terrorist groups in Afghanistan. The delay has been blamed on Afghanistans squabbling leadership in Kabul and disruptions in prisoner releases, which were promised as part of the peace deal ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations.
Taliban suicide bomber kills 9 troops in eastern Afghanistan
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, right, and political rival Abdullah Abdullah, speak after they signed a power-sharing agreement at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 17, 2020. Ghani and Abdullah signed the power-sharing agreement eight months after both declared themselves the winner of last September's presidential election. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents were behind the attack in Ghazni province, where the Taliban control most of the countryside and the rural areas. A peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, signed on Feb. 29, calls for American and NATO troops to leave Afghanistan. The Taliban said Monday's attack in Ghazni was a response to the government's recent declaration of war.
Afghan president and rival announce power-sharing agreement
FILE - In this March 9, 2020, photo, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, second Vice President Sarwar Danish, right, and first Vice President Amrullah Saleh, left, at an inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ghani and political rival Abdullah Abdullah have signed a power-sharing agreement eight months after both declared themselves the winner of last September's presidential election, a spokesman for Ghani said Sunday, May 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)KABUL Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and political rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing agreement, two months after both declared themselves the winner of last September's presidential election, Ghanis spokesman said Sunday. The political deal would see Ghani remain president of the war-torn nation, tweeted his spokesman Sediq Sediqqi. Omed Maisam, a spokesman for Abdullahs team, confirmed an agreement had been signed at the presidential palace.
U.S. starts partial pullout of troops from Afghanistan
The U.S.-Taliban deal signed on Feb. 29 was touted as Washington's effort to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan. But Ghani and his main political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, were each sworn in as president in separate ceremonies on Monday. Ghani had been dragging his feet on releasing some 5,000 Taliban prisoners, something agreed to in the U.S.-Taliban deal. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement Monday saying, "We also welcome President Ghani's announcement that he will issue a decree March 10 on Taliban prisoner release." Taliban officials said late Monday that a flurry of biometric identifications were being conducted on Taliban prisoners, hinting at a mass release, according to prisoners currently in lockup.cbsnews.com