Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Afghan Security Officers Killed in Taliban Attack in Kunduz

The writer is a member faculty of contemporary studies at NDU Islamabad and can be reached The writer is a member faculty of contemporary studies at NDU Islamabad and can be reached
Andrew Cummings | 09 February, 2019, 03:34

Atta Mohammad Nur, a former warlord and governor and President Ashraf Ghani's staunch opponent, tells The Associated Press that Taliban representatives are likely to voice their "vision" on the Afghan constitution and that he is open to their ideas.

At talks last month, the Taliban agreed with the US on the withdrawal of "all foreign troops from Afghanistan" and "that the soil of Afghanistan would not be used against them", said Stanikzai.

Moscow had hosted a multilateral summit on Afghanistan last November, inviting officials from regional countries, besides a Taliban delegation.

Afghanistan's government was absent from the talks, because the Taliban does not recognize its legitimacy and refuses to sit down with it at the negotiating table. Pompeo "underscored the central importance of ensuring the centrality of the Afghan government in the peace process", Ghani said.

The discussions between USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives have reached a critical juncture with the two sides signalling that at least for now they are ready to end the fighting, thereby bringing the curtains down on a 17-year-old war.

"The Russian ambassador to Afghanistan has knocked on the doors of all those invited to the meeting many times, urging for their participation", said Sebghatullah Ahmadi, spokesperson for Afghanistan's foreign ministry.

The leader of the Taliban's peace negotiations with the USA says the insurgents do not want to seize "the whole country by [military] power".

Joseph Votel said Pak should play constructive role in achieving peace in Afghanistan and South Asia.

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The Major-General doesn't really care about the US" global reputation potentially taking a hit after its "second Vietnam' or what its wounded veterans think about the withdrawal, but his emotional embellishment of these two topics appears to be nothing more than a poorly thought-out attempt to misportray Trump's peace talks with the Taliban in the worst possible light because of how anxious India is about the strategic consequences of their success. "I think their views were changed to some extent but we have to carefully watch the situation", she said.

Nur said the talks, which stretched into late evening on Tuesday, will continue on Wednesday and possibly even on Thursday.

The Taliban on Wednesday hailed two days of unprecedented talks with Afghan politicians as "very successful", despite disagreements over women's rights and its demands for an Islamic constitution in the war-torn country.

Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan MP and one of only two women present at the Moscow meeting, told the BBC: "It's a positive step that the Taliban who were using bullets against the people of Afghanistan, especially women, are now using microphone and listening to women's voices".

A 10-member Taliban delegation from the insurgent group's Qatar office attended the conference under the leadership of their chief negotiator, Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai.

Meanwhile, as the talks were underway in Moscow, violence continued in Afghanistan. Hope for peace coexists with the fear that the United States will leave as carelessly as it boosted intervention in 2017, when civilian deaths surged due to increased air strikes. While the Taliban's return to power is not a given, chaos is the most likely outcome.

"They can go to school, they can go to universities, they can work", he added. He has held several meetings with the Taliban.

At least 28 security personnel have been killed and 20 others wounded in a Taliban attack in northern Kunduz province, an official said on Tuesday.

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