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Afghan Peace Talks Resume Following Spate of Violence

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KABUL—The Afghan authorities and the Taliban resumed talks aimed toward ending practically twenty years of preventing, with latest focused killings and widespread assaults underscoring the excessive stakes as U.S. troops are withdrawn from the nation.

Kabul and the rebel group started their first-ever peace talks in September in Qatar’s capital following a deal between the U.S. and the Taliban in February. Their delegations took a break final month after reaching a compromise on procedural disagreements.

Members of the 2 sides convened in Doha on Tuesday for negotiations which might be more likely to drag on for months, if not longer. Each side could have a watch on the incoming Biden administration for any change within the U.S.’s Afghan coverage—particularly its plan to attract down troops.

“The success of the talks additionally will depend on future engagement from the U.S. on this difficulty,” mentioned Nader Nadery, a negotiator and spokesman for the Afghan authorities.

The Taliban didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Jake Sullivan, President-elect

Joe Biden’s

nominee for nationwide safety adviser, informed CNN on Sunday that the administration would search to help the peace course of.

Whereas Kabul has known as for a right away cease-fire as a precedence, the Taliban—whose best leverage is its means to inflict violence—has refused.

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A safety official inspected the scene of a suicide bomb assault in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Dec. 7, 2020.



Photograph:

m sadiq/Shutterstock

Each side have accused the opposite of ramping up assaults in latest months. However an unclaimed assassination marketing campaign in latest weeks concentrating on high-profile activists and journalists has introduced a brand new part of terror to the capital and different cities. A lot of these focused have championed the values the U.S. has labored to advertise within the war-torn nation.

“The present ranges of violence, together with focused killings, is unacceptable,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the highest U.S. envoy for Afghan reconciliation, tweeted on his return to Doha. “These perpetuating the violence search to undermine the peace course of.”

Beneath final yr’s deal between the U.S. and the Taliban, all American forces are set to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Might this yr as a part of President Trump’s need to finish what he has known as “the ceaselessly wars.” In trade, the Taliban agreed to stop teams hostile to the U.S. from working within the nation and to have interaction in negotiations with Kabul.

Most U.S. troops have already left Afghanistan, with the quantity anticipated to whole 2,500 in mid-January. U.S. and Afghan officers say the peace course of wouldn’t survive a whole American exit.

Present and former U.S. officers say the Biden administration is more likely to delay the deadline to withdraw all remaining troops as a result of the Taliban haven’t met sure circumstances and different time strains have lapsed.

For instance, these officers say the Taliban look like falling quick on a pledge to maintain teams hostile to the U.S. from recruiting and coaching in Afghanistan. A United Nations report printed final yr described continued shut relations between the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Mr. Biden in September informed Stars and Stripes, a U.S. newspaper, that he would help maintaining a small, residual power in Afghanistan to conduct counterterrorism operations.

Some consultants warning that an extension to the timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops might jeopardize the Afghan peace talks.

“This withdrawal is without doubt one of the core aims of this motion and that has stored them going for the previous 20 years,” mentioned Andrew Watkins, a senior analyst on Afghanistan for the Worldwide Disaster Group.

In the meantime, the U.S. and Afghan governments have blamed the Taliban for the latest spate of focused killings, accusing the group of searching for to silence liberal voices and achieve leverage on the negotiating desk. The Taliban have denied involvement within the killings.

On Monday, the U.S. navy spokesman in Afghanistan on Twitter accused the Taliban of concentrating on civil society and journalists, and harming possibilities for peace.

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That got here after the rebel group’s spokesman tweeted that the U.S. was violating the phrases of the February deal by finishing up airstrikes, and threatened a violent response.

Many journalists have gone into hiding and a few have fled the nation after receiving threats, reflecting widening concern about fraying safety in Afghanistan.

A number of the most distinguished folks to have been killed embrace democracy advocate Yousuf Rasheed, the pinnacle of the Free and Truthful Elections Discussion board of Afghanistan, who was gunned down in Kabul in December. Girls’s rights activist Freshta Kohistani and her brother have been additionally shot lifeless final month in Kapisa province, days after she posted on social media that she had requested the authorities for defense, with out success.

Final week, Bismillah Adil, the editor in chief of a neighborhood radio station within the central Ghor province, turned the fifth journalist to be assassinated by unknown attackers in lower than two months. A sixth killing is underneath investigation.

Write to Jessica Donati at jessica.donati@wsj.com

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Michigan lady, 14, charged with killing her grandma

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A 14-year-old Michigan lady has been accused of stabbing her grandmother to dying, officers stated.

The teenager, who was not recognized as a result of she’s a juvenile, faces a first-degree homicide cost within the slaying of her 65-year-old grandmother, Cynthia Mosby, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Workplace stated Saturday.

Prosecutors allege the teenager stabbed her grandmother a number of occasions with a kitchen knife at their house in Canton on Feb. 21, WSLS-TV reported.

The grandmother’s physique was found face-down by her son in her bed room, the outlet reported.

Following the slaying, the teenager fled about 20 miles away to a motel in Southgate, officers stated. She was discovered there by authorities the day after the homicide.

 “The deadly stabbing of Ms. Mosby could be very unhappy and disturbing. Ms. Mosby was a nurse who was elevating her granddaughter. Our prayers exit to her son and household,” prosecutor Kym Worthy stated in a press release, WSLS reported.

If the teenager is convicted of homicide, a decide would be capable of determine whether or not to condemn her as an grownup or a juvenile or a mix of each, prosecutors stated.

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Trump slams Equality Act, calls to guard girls’s sports activities

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Former President Donald Trump slammed the Equality Act throughout feedback Sunday at Florida’s Conservative Political Motion Convention, saying it would destroy girls’s athletics by permitting transgender athletes to compete.

“Younger women and girls are incensed that they’re now being compelled to compete in opposition to those that are organic males,” Trump stated. “It’s not good for ladies, it’s not good for ladies’s sports activities, which labored so lengthy and so laborious to get the place they’re.”

“The data that stood for years, even a long time, are actually being smashed with ease,” he stated. “If this isn’t modified girls’s sports activities as we all know it would die.”

“You already know, for years the weightlifting, each ounce is sort of a huge deal for a few years,” Trump stated. “Unexpectedly any person comes alongside and beats it by 100 kilos.”

Trump declared, “We should shield the integrity of girls’s sports activities. So essential.”

The act, handed by the Home final week, seeks to increase anti-discrimination legal guidelines to incorporate homosexual, lesbian, bi, and transgender individuals — together with trans feminine scholar athletes who search to compete with different ladies.

The invoice handed 224-206 and was touted by Democrats as a historic stride towards equity. However Republicans decried the invoice for a wide range of potential implications, together with the likelihood that biologically feminine scholar athletes could possibly be at an obstacle to transgender classmates.

Tennis star Martina Navratilova and four-time Olympics gold medalist runner Sanya Richards-Ross argued in a 2019 op-ed that the invoice, which handed 236-173 that 12 months, would guarantee “there’ll all the time be vital numbers of boys and males who would beat one of the best women and girls in head-to-head competitors.”

The sports activities professionals wrote: “We assist transgender girls and ladies and their proper to equality, and we acknowledge their private battle. We don’t fear that boys and males will feign transgender id to achieve a bonus. However we do hope that lawmakers gained’t make the pointless and ironic mistake of sacrificing the enormously helpful social good that’s feminine sports activities of their effort to safe the rights of transgender girls and ladies.”

Comparable considerations have been raised final month with an anti-discrimination govt order signed by President Biden that critics stated might pressure skilled sports activities leagues for ladies to simply accept transgender candidates.

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Trump says he will not begin a brand new political social gathering

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Former president Donald Trump denied he has any plans to discovered a brand new political social gathering throughout remarks delivered Sunday at Florida’s Conservative Political Motion Convention — branding the thought “pretend information.”

As his time period as commander-in-chief wound down final month, Trump was stated to be contemplating forming a “Patriot Celebration” to tell apart his backers from extra average Republicans, a few of whom supported his impeachment over the lethal Jan. 6 riot on the US Capitol.

However Trump on Sunday known as for unity throughout the GOP.

“We’re not beginning new events,” he informed a cheering in-person crowd, throughout his first public speech since leaving workplace. “Now we have the Republican Celebration. It goes to unite and be stronger than ever earlier than.

“That was pretend information. Faux information,” continued Trump, sarcastically mocking what would have been a doubtful technique. “Wouldn’t that be good? Let’s begin a brand new social gathering and let’s divide our vote, so as to by no means win. No we’re not desirous about that.”

Former President Donald Trump taking the stage at CPAC in Orlando, Florida on February 28, 2021.
Former President Donald Trump taking the stage at CPAC in Orlando, Florida on February 28, 2021.
REUTERS/Joe Skipper

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