15 December 2019

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Sunday, December 15, 2019
Kabul (BNA) U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is on a two-day visit to Pakistan to brief the country's leaders about his latest negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.
"We will go to any extent for Afghan peace," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a meeting with the U.S. envoy, according to a Pakistani official. The country's state-run media said Khalilzad praised Islamabad's role in facilitating the peace process.
Pakistan and its spy agency, which are often accused of harboring Afghan militants, are said to have considerable influence on the group. Khalilzad last week resumed talks with Taliban negotiators in the Qatari capital, Doha, where the insurgents maintain a political office.
The talks were the first direct contact between the sides since U.S. President Donald Trump three months ago halted negotiations to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan. But Khalilzad said the negotiations were taking a "brief pause" after the Taliban on December 11 staged an attack on the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters struck near the Bagram Airfield, killing at least two Afghan civilians and wounding more than 70 other people, including five Georgian soldiers.
The restart of talks in Doha followed Trump's surprise Thanksgiving visit to see U.S. troops in Afghanistan on November 28, when he voiced hope that "the Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them."

Sunday, December 15, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The Independent Election Commission said that will begin audit and recounting votes in the seven remaining provinces on Sunday, Dec. 15, after head of the stability and convergence electoral team, Dr. Abdullah agreed with the process.
“The commission has full preparation to recount the votes,” said IEC spokesperson Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, adding the presidential election’s preliminary results will be announced shortly after the recount and audit process ended in the seven provinces.
“The recount and audit process will begin in seven provinces on Sunday [today]. Technical issues are currently being discussed and our colleagues are ready to travel to these provinces,” said Ibrahimi.
The recounting process had been halted by supporters of Stability and Convergence team in Panjshir, Baghlan, Takhar, Badakhshan, Faryab and Jawzjan provinces.
Dr. Abdullah on Friday night asked his supporters during a press conference to allow the IEC to complete the recounting process in these provinces.

Saturday, December 14, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has conferred Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan state medal on Prof. Dr. Sabastian, linguist of Bonn University of Germany, to honor his researches in the field of languages and culture of Afghanistan.
In a ceremony held the other day at Presidential Palace, advisor to president on cultural affairs Asadullah Ghazanfar first read out presidential decree issued in connection with conferring Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan state medal on Dr. Sabastian. 
According to the decree, Prof. Dr. Sabastian has conducted useful researches in Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmeni, Pashayee, Balochi and Pamiree languages.
In the ceremony, President Ghani after granting the medal to Dr. Sabastian said: “It is an honor that Dr. Sabastian is with us and I hope he comes and be in touch with our cultural colleagues.  Granting this medal shows our appreciation”.
The country’s President praised Dr. Sabastian for his researches as his work was essential for them, adding that there were signs of language in the country’s all valleys, towns and villages.  President Ghani hoped Dr. Sabastian always came and worked with our youth, elders and cultural figures. 
Afterwards, Dr. Sabastian, a linguist professor of Bann University, spoke in Uzbeki, Pashto and Dari languages and thanked President Ghani for conferring the state medal on him.
T. Yarzada

Saturday, December 14, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The peace negotiations interrupted again following an attack undertaken by Taliban militants on Wednesday.
U.S peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has informed that the Doha peace negotiations have been ‘paused’ following the attack on Bagram airfield.
We’re taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic, said Khalilzad.
“When I met the Talibs today, I expressed outrage about yesterday’s attack on Bagram, which recklessly killed two and wounded dozens of civilians. Taliban must show they are willing & able to respond to Afghan desire for peace,” Zalmay Khalizad tweeted the other day.
The major topics of the 5 days talks between the U.S peace delegations and the Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar were ‘violence reduction’ and ‘ceasefire’, but the Wednesday’s attack by Taliban which killed 2 and injured over 70 most of whom were civilians, changed the scene.

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