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Russia to invite Taliban to int'l talks on Afghanistan in Moscow on Oct 20

Russia's ambassador to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said Thursday that Russia would invite the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan scheduled for October 20 in Moscow.

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Russia to invite Taliban to int'l talks on Afghanistan in Moscow on Oct 20
GNN Media: Representational Photo

In response to a question from Russian journalists on whether representatives of the hardline group would be invited to negotiations involving China, India, Iran and Pakistan, Kabulov said: "Yes".

The talks will follow a G20 summit on Afghanistan on October 12 that will seek to help the country avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

Kabulov was also asked whether Russia would deliver aid to Afghanistan, where the humanitarian crisis is growing worse, a top UN official warned Wednesday.

Russia said it would deliver the promised aid, but the details were still being decided, Kabulov said.

"This is being worked out," he told journalists, saying "cargo" was being collected.

Moscow has moved to engage with the Taliban but stopped short of recognition of the group, which is banned as a terrorist organisation in Russia.

On Monday, Kabulov said Moscow would not "exclude" revising the UN sanctions regime against the Taliban.

"But at this stage we believe it is not expedient to rush," he said.

Russia has warned about members of extremist groups exploiting political turmoil in Afghanistan to cross into neighbouring countries as refugees.

Afghanistan shares a border with ex-Soviet Tajikistan where Russia maintains a key military base.

SOURCE: AFP/FRANCE 24

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

Pakistan

Pakistan continues to report decline in COVID cases, deaths      

Around 475 fresh coronavirus cases emerged while 10 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,728.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Pakistan continues to report decline in COVID cases, deaths      

Islamabad: Amid a steady decline in Covid-19 infections, Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio further fell to 1.1% with 475 new cases. 

According to the latest figures issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 475 persons were tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. 

The total number of cases has reached 1,284,840.

As many as 1,242,236 patients have recovered from the disease.

Punjab

The number of patients swelled to 443,094 in the province with 13,023 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 475,616 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,621.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 179,995 in the province with 5,842 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 33,479 confirmed cases while 360 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,556 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 742. On the other hand, there are 10,411 cases in GB with 186 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 10,411 cases in the capital city while 954 people have lost their lives.

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Pakistan

Pakistan has offered to host OIC moot to discuss Afghan crisis: minister

The meeting has been called to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and pathways for an urgent humanitarian response.

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Pakistan has offered to host OIC moot to discuss Afghan crisis: minister

Islamabad: Welcoming  Saudi Arabia's move to request an extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed on Monday announced that Pakistan had offered to host the meeting in Islamabad on December 17.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO), Qureshi said Pakistan "fully endorses" the initiative taken by Saudi Arabia and expressed confidence that other OIC members would also back the proposal.

Saudi Arabia, which is the chair of the OIC summit, made the call for the extraordinary session the same day, according to state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The agency reported that the meeting had been called to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and "pathways for an urgent humanitarian response", acknowledging Pakistan's offer to host the summit.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, the country — already struggling with drought and severe poverty after decades of war — has seen its economy all but collapse, raising the spectre of an exodus of refugees.

According to the FO's statement, Qureshi, too, highlighted the need for providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan in these difficult times.

"Afghanistan is a founding member of the OIC. As part of the Islamic Ummah, we are bound by fraternal bonds of amity and brotherhood with the people of Afghanistan," he said, stressing that "today, our Afghan brothers and sisters need us more than ever before."

Describing the situation in the warn-torn country, he said Afghanistan currently "faces a serious humanitarian situation — millions of Afghans, including women and children, confront an uncertain future due to [the] shortage of food, medicines, and other essential life supplies".

And the advent of winter had exacerbated this humanitarian crisis, the foreign minister added.​He emphasised the need for the OIC to "step in to help our Afghan brethren".

"We should step up our collective efforts to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, provide immediate and sustained support to them, and continue to remain engaged with them for the wellbeing and prosperity of Afghanistan."

According to the FO, the first extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was held in Islamabad in January 1980, also on the then situation in Afghanistan.

"Next month, we would, once again, gather in Islamabad, to reaffirm our abiding solidarity with and support to the Afghan people," it quoted Qureshi as saying.

The foreign minister added that he was confident about the meeting considering "concrete steps to help address the humanitarian and economic challenges facing Afghanistan," and that he looked forward to welcoming his fellow foreign ministers from OIC member states to Islamabad.

 

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Sweden's first female PM Magdalena Andersson reappointed days after quitting

Sweden's first female prime minister Magdalena Andersson was reappointed on Monday days after she quit amid political turmoil and jostling ahead of elections.

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Sweden's first female PM Magdalena Andersson reappointed days after quitting

Lawmakers narrowly elected her premier for the second time in less than a week after she set out plans for a minority government made up of only her Social Democrats.

The former finance minister had won a similar vote on Wednesday but threw in the towel hours later after a junior coalition partner left the government over a lost budget vote. read more

"Like all minority governments, we will seek co-operation with other parties in parliament, and I see good opportunities to do so," Andersson, whose party holds 100 seats in the 349-seat parliament, told a news conference.

"The Social Democrats have the biggest party group in parliament by a wide margin. We also have a long tradition of cooperation with others and stand ready to do what is needed to lead Sweden forward."

The leader of the right-wing opposition Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, described the incoming administration as a "nine-month caretaker government" and said it would not be able to achieve much in the run-up to elections due in September 2022.

Andersson will have to lead one of Sweden's weakest governments in recent decades, and govern on a budget in part formulated by three opposition parties, including the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, whose gains over the past decade lie at heart of Sweden's political turmoil.

Parliament adopted budget amendments put forward by the opposition last week which heavily reshaped government spending plans.

The Social Democrats have been in power since 2014 supported by parties united by little else than their desire to keep the Sweden Democrats from influencing policy.

The centre-right opposition has struggled to gather enough votes to form a majority government and polls suggest there may be little shift in the political calculus in the next election.

Andersson will face major challenges.

Gang violence plagues the suburbs of major cities. The health service barely coped with the pandemic and needs strengthening, while the government will need to manage a promised transition to a zero-emissions economy.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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