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Ashraf Ghani

Afghan Taliban to ‘join’ Moscow peace talks

PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban will join multilateral peace talks being hosted by Rus­sia on Friday, senior Taliban officials said on Monday, after the United States and Afghanistan turned down their invitations. But Taliban spokesman Zabih­ullah Mujahid said they had not formally agreed to take part. Russia invited 12 countries and the Taliban, but the United States and the US-backed Afghan government declined. Representatives from Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are expected to attend,…

Ashraf Ghani to seek re-election next year

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will seek re-election in 2019, his office announced on Saturday, as potential rivals begin jockeying for the country’s top job ahead of the ballot. Mr Ghani, who was elected in a controversial poll in 2014, is expected to present himself to war-weary voters as the candidate who can end the 17-year conflict. The 69-year-old acerbic academic, who has a reputation for shouting at subordinates and micromanaging the unity government, will try to capitalise on renewed US-led efforts to…

Russia says Afghanistan talks postponed

MOSCOW: Russia said on Monday that international peace talks on Afghanistan have been postponed following a phone conversation between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani. Moscow had been preparing to host peace talks on September 4 and had invited Taliban representatives to participate. The Russian foreign ministry said that Ghani had "in principle" supported the idea of such a meeting but said Afghanistan needed more time to develop a "consolidated" position including ongoing changes in the…

Afghanistan’s national security adviser resigns in break with president

KABUL: Afghanistan’s national security adviser, one of the most influential aides to President Ashraf Ghani, resigned on Saturday, a move one official said could be followed by his own bid for the top job in next year’s scheduled election. Hanif Atmar’s resignation was accepted by Ghani, presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri told Reuters. The spokesman gave no official reason for the abrupt departure, but a copy of Atmar’s resignation letter obtained by Reuters said he had developed “serious differences over…

Afghan President congratulates Imran Khan, invites him to Kabul

ISLAMABAD/KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has congratulated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on his election victory. The Afghan president said that both agreed to overcome the past and to lay a new foundation for a prosperous political, social and economic future of both countries He also invited Imran Khan to Imran Khan to visit Kabul. "I extended an open invitation to Mr. Khan and he expressed his wishes to visit Kabul soon," said the Afghan President. I just spoke to @ImranKhanPTI and…

Blast rocks Afghan city killing at least 12

JALALABAD: An explosion in a city in eastern Afghanistan where President Ashraf Ghani was visiting killed at least 12 people, officials said Sunday, in the latest deadly violence to rock the country. Provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said a suicide bomber struck a market, killing at least 12 people and wounding 20. Khogyani said that 10 Afghan Sikhs were among the dead. The death toll was confirmed by interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish, adding the assault was "most probably" carried out by a…

Pakistan, Afghanistan agree to achieve objectives of regional security

KABUL: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Afghan president Muhammad Ashraf Ghani Friday agreed on achieving the common aim of regional security through connectivity. They agreed during delegation level talks which were held in a very cordial and friendly atmosphere. Afghan president welcomed the prime minister and members of Pakistani delegation. Prime Minister Abbasi thanked the Afghan president for the warm hospitality and extended an invitation to president Ghani to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.…

Afghanistan pledges October date for parliamentary election

KABUL: Long-delayed Afghan parliamentary and district council elections should be possible this year despite major security and logistical challenges, Afghan election authorities said on Sunday as they confirmed Oct. 20 as the date of the vote. President Ashraf Ghani, his credibility on the line with both Afghan voters and increasingly impatient international partners, has vowed to hold the elections before presidential elections next year. But the elections, now three years late, have been repeatedly postponed and…

Afghan president leaves open possibility of talks with some Taliban

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left open on Saturday the possibility for talks with militants who accept peace but said the door was closed to those who cause tragedies like recent attacks in the capital, Kabul. An attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on Jan. 20 and a suicide bombing on a crowded city street a week later have stoked public anger and stepped up pressure on Ghani’s Western-backed government to improve security. The attacks, which killed more than 130 people and were claimed by the Taliban,…

Afghan strongman shows he is still ‘King of the North’

KABUL: A powerful former Afghan governor at the centre of a growing political crisis over his refusal to stand down permitted his appointed successor on Tuesday to set foot in his province for a funeral, sources have told AFP. It is the first time Mohammad Daud has publicly visited Balkh since President Ashraf Ghani's office announced on December 18 that he would replace Atta Mohammad Noor as governor of the northern province. Noor, nicknamed "King of the North", has refused to leave the post he has held since 2004,…