All-Afghan peace summit agreed upon, but on Taliban terms

An earlier intra-Afghan dialogue in Qatar was scuttled when the two sides couldn’t agree on participants. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 July 2019

All-Afghan peace summit agreed upon, but on Taliban terms

  • There will be no official government representation at the meeting
  • Germany will co-sponsor the talks with Qatar

ISLAMABAD: An all-Afghan peace summit will be held July 7 and 8 in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, but it would seem on Taliban terms as there will be no official government representation.
Rather, according to Germany’s special representative, those attending “will participate only in their personal capacity and on an equal footing.”
Germany will co-sponsor the talks with Qatar, according to a statement Tuesday issued by Ambassador Marcus Potzel, Germany’s special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
An earlier intra-Afghan dialogue in Qatar was scuttled when the two sides couldn’t agree on participants. Potzel said the invitations this time have been jointly issued by Germany and Qatar.
The announcement comes as US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is in Qatar holding a seventh round of direct talks with the Taliban.


Australia plans to censor extremist online content

Updated 26 August 2019

Australia plans to censor extremist online content

  • The country will create a 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center for monitoring and censorship
  • Australia earlier set up a task force with tech giants to address spread of extremist material online

SYDNEY: Australia plans to block websites to stop the spread of extreme content during “crisis events,” the country’s prime minister has said.
Speaking from the G7 in Biarritz Sunday, Scott Morrison said the measures were needed in response to the deadly attack on two New Zealand mosques in March.
The live-streamed murder of 51 worshippers “demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content,” he said in a statement.
“That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia, and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally.”
Under the measures, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner would work with companies to restrict access to domains propagating terrorist material.
A new 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center will be tasked with monitoring terror-related incidents and extremely violent events for censorship.
In the wake of the Christchurch attack, Australia set up a task force with global tech giants like Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter to address the spread of extremist material online.
It is not yet clear how the measures will be enforced. Morrison has previously suggested that legislation may come if technology companies do not cooperate.