Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Truck bomb kills 12, injures scores south of Kabul

Intra-Afghan dialogue – end of war more likely than ever Afghan car bomb kills 12 and wounds dozens, including students
Patty Aguilar | 09 July, 2019, 22:57

The intra-Afghan dialogue on peace process kicked off in Qatari capital of Doha on Sunday.

President Ashraf Ghani denounced the attack, which comes as an all-Afghan two-day conference that includes the Taliban begins in Doha.

"So I took up the opportunity and addressed to them on behalf of everyone in Afghanistan of how desperate we are for peace".

The attack occurred while the US and Taliban negotiators were conducting a seventh round of direct talks in Doha, Qatar, in a bid to bring an end to 18 years of Afghan hostilities.

The Taliban are meeting with USA negotiators and Afghan representatives in Doha as the US pushes to end its 18-year involvement in Afghanistan, but violence from the insurgents and the USA military has continued apace.

Along with a timeline for the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the agreement also includes a a ceasefire and a Taliban guarantee to not allow foreign groups to use the country as a staging ground for attacks elsewhere.

The U.S. and Qatar have welcomed the talks. He said in a tweet on Wednesday that the U.S. remains committed to the Afghanpeace process and to helping those who seek a peaceful future.

He said a political settlement required a deal that satisfied both the Afghan government and the Taliban.

A visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, at the end of last month seemed to give fresh impetus to peace efforts and September 1 emerged as a target date for a peace deal to end America's longest running military engagement.

"Gathered around the table today are some of the brightest minds representing a cross-section of Afghan society", said Markus Potzel, Germany's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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"We have taken the initiative for this dialogue to pave the way for peace in Afghanistan".

Injured boys receive treatment in a hospital after a vehicle bomb attack in Ghazni province, central Afghanistan, Sunday, July 7, 2019.

But the Taliban demands a timeline for the United States troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan before agreeing to a ceasefire.

"The Taliban should know that they can not gain leverage by the killing of civilians", Ghani said in a statement.

The attack came one day after the top USA negotiator in peace talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, told a group of journalists that the past several days of talks with the insurgents had been "the most productive" since such talks began in September, and that "substantive progress" had been made on the four major issues: withdrawal of foreign forces, Taliban anti-terror guarantees, permanent cease-fire and negotiations among Afghans.

U.S. -Taliban negotiations are scheduled to resume on July 9 without any Afghan government representatives.

Khalilzad said that issue had been discussed with the Taliban but added that he could not comment further.

The appointment a year ago of Zalmay Khalilzad as a U.S. special peace envoy began the accelerated effort to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan's war and America's longest military engagement. The Afghan government had submitted a list of 250 people.

Participants at the table will be there as ordinary Afghans "on equal footing" and not as government representatives, said the German sponsors. Last night they sat with women and we chatted.

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