Exclusive: In Afghanistan, the Taliban eye their return to centre stage
26 September 2020 | 3:07 pm
In Afghanistan, the time for dialogue has finally arrived. Historic Intra-Afghan negotiations began on September 12 in Doha, Qatar and, for the first time, representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government are holding direct talks to try to put an end to the 19-year conflict that began after the Taliban were ousted from power by American-led NATO forces in 2001. As a condition for the negotiations, the Taliban demanded the release of 5,000 of their fighters. Our reporters met with some of them, even as much of the Afghan population fears renewed violence.
Beijing and Moscow have agreed to broaden bilateral cooperation and speak on global affairs "with a united voice," Russia said after talks between both countries' foreign ministers.
A UN donor conference seeking to raise $4.4 billion says the funds will go directly to aid agencies and not through the Taliban. Donors voiced concerns after the Taliban banned girls from returning to secondary schools.
The Taliban are taking steps to halt Afghanistan's opium trade even as the country's economy crumbles. It is unclear how the Taliban government plans to replace this illicit source of income for millions of farmers.
A group of children was playing in a field in Herat when two bombs went off. In a separate incident in southern Afghanistan, at least five children were killed when they found an unexploded shell.
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Islamabad has issued a warning to Afghanistan's Taliban leadership, accusing it of giving shelter to militants. In turn, the Taliban claim Pakistani bombings recently killed dozens of civilians on Afghan soil.
Police say scores were injured when a bomb ripped through a mosque in Kunduz during Friday prayers. The attack came as an "Islamic State" affiliate claimed responsibility for several earlier bomb attacks.
The hard-line Islamist group has told Afghan women to cover their faces in public — the latest backslide on promises to retain women's rights after the Taliban seized power last August.
The Taliban have further curbed women's rights with their latest veil compulsion decree. Afghanistan's civil society faces an uphill task to challenge the group without adequate support from the international community.
The "Maghreb-Orient des livres" book festival takes place in Paris this weekend, focusing on literature from north Africa and the Middle East. One of those taking part is Jérémie Dres, the author of the graphic novel "The day I met bin Laden". It features the story of two young French men who travelled from France to Afghanistan in the spring of 2001, just months before the 9/11 terror attacks. The pair then found themselves trapped in Afghanistan and were later sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The author joined us for Perspective to tell us more.
Bombs and weapons used in Afghanistan by militants and US forces are making their way into India-administered Kashmir, raising fears that they could bolster an Islamist insurgency in the area.
The Taliban has made face veils mandatory for all Afghan women appearing in public, including those on television. This edict was ignored by presenters on Saturday, but they relented a day later.
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