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In this handout photograph taken on February 17, 2019 and released by Pakistan’s Press Information Department (PID), Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) smile as they look at their delegation members during a signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad. – Pakistan was set to confer its highest civilian honour on the Saudi Crown Prince on February 18, a day after he signed investment deals worth $20 billion in the cash-strapped country — his first stop on a high-profile Asian tour. (Photo by HANDOUT / PID / AFP) /

Saudi vows to ‘de-escalate’ India-Pakistan tensions after Kashmir attack

Saudi Arabia vowed to “de-escalate” rising tensions between Pakistan and India during a high-profile summit in Islamabad Monday as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to travel from Islamabad to New Delhi.
Patrick Shanahan (c) flew into Baghdad from Afghanistan, where he met US troops and Afghan leaders [Afghan GMIC via AFP]

Pentagon chief reaches Iraq to discuss troops’ presence

Patrick Shanahan, the acting US defence secretary, has arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit for talks on the continued United States troops presence in Iraq
Ashraf Ghani

Taliban takes centre stage as Kabul cut out of peace talks

President Ashraf Ghani is being pushed to the sidelines as the Taliban ignores his overtures for peace and negotiates instead with his friends, and enemies, over the future of Afghanistan.
The strength of embattled Afghan defence forces has declined to its lowest level in four years [Massoud Hossaini-AP]

Report: Afghan forces lose ground as peace efforts continue

The security forces continue to lose grip over parts of Afghanistan and the Taliban are steadily holding their own, despite an increase in the US air attacks against the armed group, a US watchdog agency has said.
Abdul Ghani Baradar

Taliban appoint co-founder as top negotiator for talks with US

The Taliban have appointed a co-founder of the movement as the new head of their political office in Doha, where talks have been held since Monday with US officials seeking to end 17 years of conflict in Afghanistan.
Afghan security forces walk near the attack site after a car bomb detonated on a military base in Maidan Sharar in Wardak province on January 21, 2019. – There was ongoing confusion January 22 over the death toll after a Taliban attack on an Afghan intelligence base south of Kabul, with officials giving wildly conflicting figures to media in the latest blow to security forces’ morale. (Photo by STR / AFP)

At least 65 killed in Taliban attack on Afghan intel base

At least 65 people were killed in a Taliban-claimed attack on an Afghan intelligence base, sources said Tuesday, in the latest high-casualty attack on beleaguered Afghan forces.

Death toll from Afghan military base attack rises to 65

Around 65 people were killed in a Taliban-claimed attack on an Afghan intelligence base, a local official said on Tuesday, raising the toll substantially from 12 announced previously.

Taliban kill at least 12 in attack on Afghan military base

At least 12 people, mostly military personnel, are dead and over 30 wounded after a Taliban attack on a military base and police training centre in eastern Afghanistan, according to an Afghan official.
Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan’s incumbent president registers for re-election

President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday formally registered as a candidate for Afghanistan’s delayed presidential election, setting up a rematch with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in the July ballot.
Al Jazeera correspondent Asad Hashim has been named the winner of the 2018 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for his coverage of the plight of ethnic Pashtuns and blasphemy issues in his native Pakistan.

Al Jazeera’s Asad Hashim wins AFP’s Kate Webb Prize

Al Jazeera correspondent Asad Hashim has been named the winner of the 2018 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for his coverage of the plight of ethnic Pashtuns and blasphemy issues in his native Pakistan.
The Taliban has refused to hold formal talks with the Western-backed Afghan government [File- Sergei Karpukhin-Reuters]

Afghan Taliban, US to hold fourth round of peace talks in Qatar

Afghan Taliban representatives and United States officials will hold peace talks for two days starting Wednesday in the Gulf state of Qatar.

At least 30 killed in gold mine collapse

At least 30 people were killed when a gold mine collapsed in northeastern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, in the latest tragedy to strike the war-torn country.
The Taliban want to change the venue for talks from Saudi Arabia to Qatar [Osama Faisal-AP]

Taliban seek venue change for peace talks with US to Qatar

The Taliban will not attend planned peace talks with the United States in Saudi Arabia this month and want to shift the venue to Qatar.
The Taliban has refused to hold formal talks with the Western-backed Afghan government [File- Sergei Karpukhin-Reuters]

Taliban rejects Afghanistan’s peace talk offer

The Taliban has rejected Kabul's offer of talks next month in Saudi Arabia where the armed group, fighting to restore strict Islamic law in Afghanistan, will meet the United States officials to further peace efforts, a Taliban leader said.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran speaks during the first meeting of national security secretaries of Afghanistan, China, Iran, India and Russia, in the Iranian capital Tehran on September 26, 2018. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Iran holds talks with Afghan Taliban amid peace push

Iran has met with the Afghan Taliban, a top Iranian security official said Wednesday according to the Tasnim news agency, just days after the militants attended reconciliation talks in the UAE.
New legislation regulating print and online media alarmed press freedom advocates, who fear it will grant authorities censorship tools [K.M.Chaudary-AP]

Pakistan’s journalists complain of increasing censorship

Pakistani journalists, who have taken on military leaders and been beaten and jailed in the pursuit of a free press, say they now face a form of censorship that is more subtle but no less chilling, one spearheaded by the security services.

Militants detonate car bomb in Kabul government compound

Militants detonated a car bomb before storming a Kabul government compound in an ongoing attack Monday, officials and witnesses said, in the latest violence to rock the Afghan capital.
Zalmay Khalilzad held three days of talks with the Taliban in Qatar in November [US embassy via Reuters]

Taliban to meet US officials in UAE – spokesperson

The Taliban have said they are holding a meeting on Monday with US officials, in the latest attempt to bring a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 17-year war.

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