Kushner in Morocco to build support for Mideast peace plan

Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt have departed on a trip to Morocco, Jordan and Israel to push a US peace plan. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 30 May 2019

Kushner in Morocco to build support for Mideast peace plan

  • Kushner is also accompanied by Brian Hook
  • White House official spoke on condition of anonymity

RABAT: President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is in Morocco to seek King Mohammed VI’s backing for economic elements of the Trump administration’s still-secret peace plan for Israel and Palestine.

The Trump administration is stepping up efforts to build support for the plan, as the architects of the proposal began a Mideast tour this week aimed at winning over uneasy Arab nations.

A White House official said on Tuesday the trip “is part of our ongoing efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians” but offered no specifics about the team’s agenda at its various stops.

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The administration is keen to win support from members of the Arab League on whom the plan will rely heavily for both economic and political support.

Kushner, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and special US envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, will also travel to Jordan and Israel as part of the trip.

The Palestinians, who have cut off contact with the Trump administration and have rejected the peace plan, are urging fellow Arabs to steer clear of the Bahrain economic workshop to be held on June 25-26. 

However, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar have all signaled they intend to participate.

Morocco and Jordan have yet to offer any public position on either the peace plan or the Bahrain meeting. Both have close ties with the Palestinian leadership.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.