Afghan government, Taliban reach deal to conduct peace talks



Issued on:

Afghan government and Taliban representatives said on Wednesday they had reached a preliminary deal to press on with peace talks, their first written agreement in 19 years of war and welcomed by the United States as a chance to halt the violence.

The agreement lays out the way forward for discussion but is considered a breakthrough because it will allow negotiators to move on to more substantive issues, including talks on a ceasefire, even as Taliban attacks on Afghan government forces have continued unabated.

“The procedure including its preamble of the negotiation has been finalised and from now on, the negotiation will begin on the agenda,” Nader Nadery, a member of the Afghan government’s negotiating team, told Reuters.

The Taliban spokesman confirmed the agreement on Twitter. “A joint working committee was tasked to prepare the draft topics for the agenda (of peace talks),” a joint statement from both sides said.

The agreement comes after months of talks in Doha, the capital of Qatar, encouraged by the United States, despite the ongoing violence.

A car bombing in the central province of Ghazni killed at least 30 security force members on Sunday, officials said. No group claimed responsibility.

A ceasefire remains the most urgent demand of international capitals and Kabul, even as the Taliban refused one during the preliminary stages of talks.

“(The agreement) is a step forward towards beginning the negotiations on the main issues, including a comprehensive ceasefire as the key demand of the Afghan people,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, said on Twitter, quoting the Afghan leader.

U.S. Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter that the two sides had agreed on a “three-page agreement codifing rules and procedures for their negotiations on a political roadmap and a comprehensive ceasefire”.

The three-page document has not yet been made public. “This agreement demonstrates that the negotiating parties can agree on tough issues,” Khalilzad said.

The Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 by U.S.-led forces for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. A U.S.-backed government has held power in Afghanistan since then, although the Taliban have control over wide areas of the country.

Trump wants out

Under a February deal, foreign forces are to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counter-terrorism guarantees from the Taliban.

U.S. President Donald Trump has looked to hasten the withdrawal, despite criticism, saying he wanted to see all American soldiers home by Christmas to end America’s longest war.

The Trump administration has since announced that there would be a sharp drawdown by January, but at least 2,500 troops would remain beyond then.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday warned NATO against withdrawing troops prematurely and said it should “ensure that we tie further troop reductions in Afghanistan to clear conditions”.

“The biggest obstacle remaining is the current unacceptable level of violence: this must stop,” the UK’s mission in Kabul said on Twitter after the agreement.

UN envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons welcomed the “positive development” on Twitter, adding that “this breakthrough should be a springboard to reach the peace wanted by all Afghans”.

The agreement was held up last month after the insurgents balked at the document because it mentioned the Afghan government by name.

A European Union diplomat familiar with the process said both sides had kept some contentious issues aside to deal with separately.

“Both sides also know that Western powers are losing patience and aid has been conditional… so both sides know they have to move forward to show some progress,” said the diplomat, requesting anonymity.

Last week, roughly $12 billion in aid was pledged by international capitals and institutions over four years for Afghanistan, but linked to annual reviews on progress in key areas such as the peace talks.

(REUTERS)





Source link

Related posts

Afghan army kills mastermind of Taliban car bomb attack on military base



Issued on:

Afghan forces have killed the Taliban mastermind of a suicide car bomb attack that left at least 30 security personnel dead, officials said Monday.

Hamza Waziristani was killed in an air strike overnight in the eastern province of Ghazni where the bomber struck an Afghan military base on Sunday.

“The mastermind behind yesterday’s terrorist attack on the (Ghazni) base was killed along with seven other terrorists,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman told AFP that Waziristani was a Taliban militant from the Pakistani border region of Waziristan.

The attack was one of the deadliest in months targeting government forces in Afghanistan, where violence has surged since the start of peace talks between President Ashraf Ghani’s administration and the Taliban in Qatar.

No group has claimed the attack.

The Taliban often do not comment on deadly attacks they are accused of carrying out.

The insurgents have launched near daily attacks against Afghan forces, primarily in rural areas, since signing a deal with Washington in February that paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign troops by May 2021.

Health officials in Ghazni said 30 people died in Sunday’s attack, but the defence ministry — which is known to downplay tolls in attacks against its forces — said 10 were killed.

Violence has also surged in Kabul in recent weeks, with more than 50 people killed in two assaults on educational centres and a rocket attack. 

The three Kabul attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group, but Afghan officials blamed the Taliban — who denied any involvement.

(AFP)



Source link

Related posts

Überleben in Deutschland – Biermann Medizin

Kardiologie


Erstmals hat das Team von Prof. Stephan Schubert am Zentrum für angeborene Herzfehler des Herz- und Diabeteszentrum NRW einem Patienten mit angeborenem Herzfehler eine spezielle Herzklappe mit einem Herzkathetereingriff ersetzt. Dem jungen Mann haben die Bad Oeynhausener Herzspezialisten damit eine große Operation erspart – und bereits zum zweiten Mal das Leben gerettet.

Weihnachten spielt in einem Land wie Afghanistan, das zu 99 Prozent muslimisch geprägt ist, so gut wie keine Rolle. Fragt man den gebürtigen Afghanen Ahsanullah N. aber nach seinem größten Wunsch, gibt es für ihn nur eine Antwort: „Ich wünsche mir so sehr, dass meine Ehefrau Sayda zu mir kommen darf.“

Seit drei Jahren ist der Produktionshelfer, der in Wuppertal lebt, verheiratet. Seit mehr als einem Jahr hat er seine Frau nicht mehr gesehen. „Aufgrund meines angeborenen Herzfehlers werde ich niemals dauerhaft in Afghanistan leben können“, sagt der junge Mann, der aus dem Kundusgebiet stammt und jetzt im Herz- und Diabeteszentrum NRW (HDZ NRW), Bad Oeynhausen, eine neue Herzklappe erhalten hat.

„Unser Patient teilt das Schicksal von etwa 300.000 Erwachsenen mit angeborenem Herzfehler, die in Deutschland leben“, bestätigt Schubert, Direktor der Klinik für Kinderkardiologie und angeborene Herzfehler am HDZ NRW. „Sie sind Zeit ihres Lebens auf eine differenzierte medizinische Nachversorgung angewiesen.“ Das ist in Ahsanullas Heimatland Afghanistan leider nicht möglich.

Im Alter von fast zwölf Jahren kam der Junge dank einer Hilfsorganisation für herzkranke Kinder zu Pflegeeltern nach Deutschland. Im Juni 2003 sprach er kein einziges Wort deutsch. Ahsanullah erinnert sich noch gut an den Aufenthalt im Bad Oeynhausener Kinderherzzentrum.

„Es gab hier eine Mitarbeiterin aus Afghanistan, die mich oft besucht und bei Übersetzungen geholfen hat.“ Der erste operative Eingriff in Bad Oeynhausen rettete sein Leben. „Das war damals eine große Herzklappenoperation mit Einsatz der Herz-Lungenmaschine“, sagt Kinderherzchirurgin Dr. Ute Blanz. 2003 hat sie dem schwerkranken Jungen seine seit der Geburt fehlgebildete Trikuspidalklappe in einer aufwändigen und risikoreichen Operation durch eine biologische Herzklappenprothese ersetzt.

Diese Herzklappe hat Ahsanullah 17 Jahre lang kaum Probleme bereitet. Erst in diesem Frühjahr wurde sein Herz zunehmend schwächer, Herzrhythmusstörungen kamen hinzu. Er bekam Luftnot und konnte sich nicht mehr belasten. „Generell sind biologische Herzklappen nur begrenzt haltbar, meist sind die Klappensegel durch Gewebeveränderungen in der Funktion eingeschränkt oder zerstört“, erläutert Schubert. Als die Ärzte in Wuppertal Ahsanulla mitteilen, dass er erneut operiert werden müsse, steht für den jungen Mann fest: „Ich will unbedingt wieder nach Bad Oeynhausen.“

Im Vergleich zu einem Wechsel der Klappe, d.h. einer Operation mit Einsatz der Herz-Lungenmaschine, ist der Klappenersatz mit dem Herzkatheter ein inzwischen etabliertes und für den Patienten schonenderes Verfahren. Seine Erfahrung auf diesem Gebiet brachte Schubert vom Deutschen Herzzentrum Berlin nach Bad Oeynhausen mit.

„Der im Herzkatheterlabor durchgeführte Ersatz einer Trikuspidalklappe kommt nicht so häufig vor und war tatsächlich eine Premiere für unser Zentrum für angeborene Herzfehler.“ Zugleich ist Ahsanullas Krankengeschichte ein schönes Beispiel dafür, wie sehr Patienten mit angeborenem Herzfehler vom medizinischen Fortschritt der vergangenen 20 Jahre profitieren.

Denn schon wenige Tage nach dem Eingriff darf Ahsanulla N. die Klinik freudestrahlend wieder verlassen, voller Hoffnung auf ein Wiedersehen mit seiner Frau Sayda. „Dass ich am Leben bin, verdanke ich der Hilfe für kranke Kinder in meinem Heimatland und den Herzspezialisten in Bad Oeynhausen.“

Related posts

Australia demands China apologise after ‘repugnant’ fake image posted on Twitter



Issued on:

Australia demanded an apology after a senior Chinese official posted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife with blood on it to the throat of an Afghan child, calling it “truly repugnant” and demanding it be taken down.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called a media briefing to condemn the posting of the image, marking another downturn in deteriorating relations between the two countries.

The Australian government has asked Twitter to remove the image, posted on Monday by China‘s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on his official Twitter account, Morrison said.

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis,” Morrison said. “The Chinese government should be utterly ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes.”

Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to an independent report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, the head of the country’s army said on Friday.

“It is the Australian government who should feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians,” said Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, when asked about Morrison’s comments.

The image posted by her colleague shows people’s “indignation,” said Hua, speaking at a regular news conference in Beijing on Monday. Whether it will be taken down is a matter between Twitter and the Australian government, she said.

Australia’s relationship with China has deteriorated since Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, China outlined a list of grievances about Australia’s foreign investment, national security and human rights policy, saying Canberra needed to correct its actions to restore the bilateral relationship with its largest trading partner.

Morrison said countries around the world were watching how Beijing responded to tensions in Australia’s relationship with China.

In the latest in a series of trade sanctions, China announced on Friday it will impose temporary anti-dumping tariffs of up to 212.1% on wine imported from Australia, a move Canberra has labelled unjustified and linked to diplomatic grievances.

Zhao wrote on Twitter: “Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.”

His Twitter account had posted the same message, but without the fake image of the soldier and child, on Friday.

Morrison said Australia had established a “transparent and honest” process for investigating the allegations against the accused soldiers and this “is what a free, democratic, liberal country does”.

Australia had “patiently sought” to address tensions in the relationship with China and wanted direct discussion between ministers, he said.

(REUTERS)



Source link

Related posts

Dozens of Afghan security personnel killed in suicide attack



Issued on:

A suicide car bomber struck an army base in Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 26 security personnel, officials said, in one of the bloodiest attacks targeting Afghan forces in recent months.

The attack occurred on the outskirts of Ghazni, capital of the eastern province of Ghazni, which has seen regular fighting between the Taliban and government forces.

“We have received 26 bodies and 17 wounded so far. All of them are security personnel,” Baz Mohammad Hemat, director of Ghazni hospital, told AFP.

Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, a member of Ghazni provincial council, confirmed the death toll.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed that a suicide bomber had detonated a vehicle full of explosives in Ghazni, but did not offer any immediate figure for casualties.

(AFP)

   

                  

   

                  

  



Source link

Related posts

Trump says he will leave the White House if US Electoral College votes for Biden



Issued on:

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he reiterated his unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.

Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Republican Trump said if Democrat Biden – who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 – is certified the election winner by the Electoral College, he will depart the White House.

But Trump said it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration. The electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14.

“This election was a fraud,” Trump insisted, while offering no concrete evidence of such voting irregularities.

Biden and Trump both stayed close to home to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday as the coronavirus pandemic raged across the country.

Biden spent the holiday in the small seaside town of Rehoboth, Delaware, where he and his wife Jill have a vacation home. The Bidens are hosting daughter Ashley Biden and her husband Dr. Howard Krein for the holiday meal.

The former vice president, appearing with his wife in a video message posted to his Twitter account on Thanksgiving, said his family typically holds a large gathering on the island of Nantucket off Massachusetts, but would remain in Delaware this year “with just a small group around our dinner table” because of the pandemic.

In the presidential-style address to a nation that has lost more than 260,000 lives to the coronavirus, the Democratic president-elect said Americans were making a “shared sacrifice for the whole country” and a “statement of common purpose” by staying at home with their immediate families.

“I know this isn’t the way many of us hoped we’d spend our holiday. We know that a small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans,” said Biden. “I know better days are coming.”

Republican President Trump often likes to celebrate holidays at his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida. But on Thursday he remained in the Washington area, spending part of the morning at his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia where he played a round of golf.

It was a far cry from last year when he made a surprise visit https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-afghanistan/trump-makes-surprise-afghanistan-trip-voices-hope-for-ceasefire-idUSKBN1Y225Y to Afghanistan, where he served turkey to U.S. troops before sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them.

This time, Trump spoke by video link from the White House to members of the military.

(REUTERS)



Source link

Related posts

Anger mounts over police use of excessive force to clear Paris migrant camp



Issued on:

French police on Tuesday faced accusations of a “scandalous” use of excessive force after they fired tear gas to disperse a camp pitched by homeless migrants in Paris. 

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin acknowledged that images showing the clearance late on Monday were “shocking” and asked the city’s police chief to submit a report.

The government is already facing a storm of criticism over a new security law that  opponents say will erode the accountability of the police.

Officers used tear gas to dismantle the Paris camp, which was set up to protest against earlier forced evacuations of hundreds of migrants from other camps.

Volunteers had helped set up about 500 blue tents at Republic Square that were quickly filled by migrants, the majority from Afghanistan.

Police arrived shortly afterwards to remove the tents, sometimes with people still inside, in the face of protests from migrants and jeers from activists.

‘Lamentable show’

“They are too violent,” said Shahbuddin, a 34-year-old Afghan, crying after being evicted. “We just want a roof.”

Police later used tear gas and rough tactics, with videos posted on social media showing one officer tripping a man as he ran, and another officer slamming into a man who tried to intervene.

The controversy comes a week after migrants were evacuated from makeshift shelters in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, including some who were provided with alternative shelter.

“The state has made a lamentable show,” Ian Brossat, a Paris deputy mayor in charge of housing, told AFP.

CFDT trade union chief Laurent Berger told France 2 TV that the actions of the police were “scandalous and astounding”.

“People occupy a square peacefully with tents, simply because they have a housing problem, they are not harming anyone. And there is this intervention which is totally disproportionate,” he said.

Darmanin said he had asked for a report from Paris police chief Didier Lallement by midday and would take decisions based on its findings.

“Some images of the dispersal of the illegal migrant camp on Republic Square are shocking,” he wrote on Twitter.

‘Didn’t vote for this’

Paris is a key stop-off point on the European migrant route with thousands passing through, often heading to England. 

Encampments repeatedly sprout up around the city only to be torn down by the police.

The latest camp removal came as the government is pushing a security law through parliament that would restrict the publication of photos or videos of police officers’ faces — the lower house is due to vote on it later on Tuesday.

Media unions say it could give police a green light to prevent journalists from doing their work and potentially documenting abuses.

President Emmanuel Macron swept to power in 2017 as a centrist who rallied support from across the political spectrum. But critics and even some supporters accuse him of tilting to the right as he seeks re-election in 2022.

A group of public figures who voted for him in 2017 wrote an open letter this week calling for the legislation to be withdrawn.

The law would “reduce the freedoms of information, opinion, belief, education, association, demonstration and protest,” said the signatories, who included filmmaker Costa-Gavras and ex-footballer Lilian Thuram.

“Mr President, we did not vote for this.”

(AFP)





Source link

Related posts

Police use tear gas to disperse refugees living in migrant camp in central Paris



Issued on:

Police used tear gas as they dismantled a new migrant camp in the centre of Paris set up to house hundreds of refugees evacuated from makeshift suburban shelters without being relocated.

Volunteers had helped set up around 500 blue tents at the Place de la Republique in the heart of the French capital late Monday, which were quickly filled by migrants, the majority from Afghanistan.

Around an hour later police arrived to dismantle the camp, picking up tents, sometimes with people still inside, to the protests of migrants and jeers from volunteers.

“They are too violent,” sobbed Shahbuddin, a 34-year-old Afghan as he put a grey beanie back on his head after being forced out of his tent.

“We just want a roof.”

Police later used tear gas to disperse the rest of the camp, driving the migrants out into the streets of central Paris.

The dismantling of the new camp comes one week after migrants were evacuated from makeshift shelters in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis without being relocated.

Ian Brossart, a deputy of the city’s mayor in charge of housing, emergency accommodation and refugee protection, slammed the “law and order response to a social situation”.

French home minister Gerald Darmanin later said images of the dismantling were “shocking” and that he had ordered the city’s police to present a report on the clearance.

Paris is a key stop-off point on the European migrant route, with tented camps repeatedly sprouting up around the city only to be torn down by the police a few months later.

Thousands have travelled from Paris to the port of Calais and attempted to stow away on trucks heading across the Channel to England. A small number attempt the crossing by boat.

The clearance comes after the French government approved an amended security law that would restrict the publication of photos or videos taken of police officers’ faces while carrying out their duties in public spaces.

Media unions say this could give police a green light to prevent journalists from doing their work and potentially documenting abuses by security forces.

“We’re here to show that we have nowhere else to go,” said Murtaza, 20, from Afghanistan before the camp was dispersed. 

“We can’t live like animals, we just want to claim asylum.”

(AFP)



Source link