News Updates

August, 2019
  • Khalilzad says ‘excellent progress’ made in talks with Taliban
    KABUL: US Special Representative ZalmayKhalilzad said that his team and Taliban representatives will continue to discuss technical details as well as steps and mechanisms required for a successful implementation of the four-part agreement that they have been working toward since his appointment. Khalilzad in a tweet said that agreement on these details is essential.
    “I will travel to Delhi for pre-scheduled meetings to further build international consensus in support of the Afghan Peace Process,” he added. Afghanistan Times, Kabul, August 6, 2019
  • Turkmenistan lobbies transport corridor from Afghanistan to Europe via Azerbaijan
    KABUL: Turkmenistan is initiating a number of large international and regional projects, including the transit transport corridor Lapis Lazuli along the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route, Trend reports Monday, referring to the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan.
    The relevant agreement between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Afghanistan was signed on Nov. 15, 2017 in Ashgabat at the ministerial meeting of the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan.
    This was a concrete contribution of the Ashgabat forum to building up a productive international partnership in order to increase the economic integration of the region and a significant increase in trade, the report said. Afghanistan Times, Kabul, August 6, 2019
  • UN expresses concern over Taliban’s threat to target election gatherings
    KABUL: The United Nations has expressed deep concern at the Taliban’s stated threat to target civilians participating in the 28 September presidential election process.
    According to international humanitarian and human rights law, the electoral process in Afghanistan is a civilian undertaking and everyone has the right to take part in public affairs, to vote and to be elected to government without discrimination and without unreasonable restrictions, the agency said Wednesday in a statement.
    “All citizens – whether voters, candidates or election-related staff – have the right to be free from fear, intimidation and violence at all stages of an elections process,” the statement added.
    The United Nations urges the Taliban to respect and protect civilians and not to threaten them or carry out violence should they engage in their constitutional right to participate in elections. Afghanistan Times, Kabul, August 8, 2019
  • Any deal in peace process not acceptable
    AT News Report
    KABUL: A former official said that any deal in peace process is not acceptable for the Afghan masses and the process must be pure Afghani.
    Former advisor to the president, Shahzada Masoud expressed his strong reaction over any kind of peace deal, saying such agreement would have a very bad implication and not acceptable at all.
    “There is something cooking between US and Pakistan over Afghan peace,” he said, calling on stakeholders to stay imperial and support Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.
    He said the two major events—election—the peace process with Taliban must under control of Afghans, where according to him these important process is not Afghan-owned.
    His remarks come as an agreement between US and Taliban are expected to be finalized in shortest time. US Special Envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad said excellent progress made during talks with Taliban in the eighth round of talks.
    But Masoud emphasized that the process should led by Afghans and owned by them and must not be handed to other countries. Afghanistan Times, Kabul, August 9, 2019
  • Critics Express Different Views on Afghanistan’s Independence
    KABUL - A century has been passed since Afghanistan achieved its independence from the British. Critics say major decisions on Afghanistan are made abroad which indicates that the country is yet to have independence.
    Some politicians said Afghanistan has been “occupied” but despite the skepticisms, the Afghan government had decided to mark the centenary of Independence Day in a different way, but it was hampered after a deadly attack in Kabul which left 63 civilians dead.
    “We do not have freedom today,” the reconciled leader of Hizb-e-Islami and presidential candidate Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said at a ceremony on Sunday. “We don’t have independence and national sovereignty.” (Daily Outlook, Kabul, August 20, 2019)
  • 9th round of US, Taliban peace talks kicks off in Qatar
    AT News Report
    KABUL: The US and the Taliban representatives resumed their peace talks in the Qatari capital Doha on Thursday night and would sit again late Friday to resume peace talks as part of Washington’s efforts to bring an end to Afghanistan’s conflict after nearly 19 years.
    According to a Taliban’s mouthpiece, the two sides started their latest and ninth round of talks in Doha late Thursday.
    Ahead of his talks with the Taliban, US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with Qatari leaders. Afghanistan Times, Kabul, August 24, 2019
  • President Ghani emphasizes on ‘timely’ election
    President Ashraf Ghani emphasizes that the presidential elections slated for September 28, must be held on its scheduled time.
    The president is insisting on election that the process has been surrounding by scores of challenges and problems. Almost everyone of President Ghani’s 17 rivals at the contest believe that the polls would be likely postponed because right now, the United States and Taliban are working to end the almost two-decade long war and help in achieving a durable peace in Afghanistan. People prefer peace to election and they are looking for the result of the US-Taliban negotiations that its ninth round began on Thursday in the Qatari capital city of Doha. The results are expected to be finalized as soon as within few days, according to reports. Afghanistan Times, Kabul, August 24, 2019
  • US and Taliban Resume Talks on Ending War in Afghanistan
    DOHA - The United States envoy and the Taliban resumed negotiations Thursday on ending America’s longest war.
    A Taliban member familiar with, but not part of, the talks that resumed in Qatar said U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad also met one-on-one Wednesday with the Taliban’s lead negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
    The Taliban member spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with reporters.
    Baradar is one of the Taliban’s founders and has perhaps the strongest influence on the insurgent group’s rank-and-file members. Some in Afghanistan fear that Taliban fighters who reject a deal with the U.S. could migrate to other militant groups such as the brutal local affiliate of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Kabul wedding over the weekend that killed at least 80 people. Daily Outlook, Kabul, August 24, 2019
  • Partial US Troop Pullout will Not Impact Afghanistan: Ghani
    KABUL - President Ashraf Ghani says that withdrawal of part of US forces from Afghanistan as part of a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban will not impact the lives of Afghans who have reached to the point that peace is their basic need. In an exclusive interview with TOLO news on Thursday, Mr. Ghani said he requested a reduction in the number of US troops in Afghanistan in a letter to President Donald Trump seven months ago but reiterated that a decrease in number forces will be conditions-based. “The number of troops has not been mentioned in the bilateral agreement [between Afghanistan and the US] and in multilateral agreement with NATO… Reduction or increase in the number of troops is conditions-based,” he said. Daily Outlook, Kabul, August 24, 2019