Taliban ready for Afghan peace talks after prisoner release completed

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, left, addresses the Loya Jirga, a grand assembly of Afghan elders, which agreed to release about 400 Taliban prisoners. (Press Office of President of Afghanistan/AFP)
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Updated 10 August 2020

Taliban ready for Afghan peace talks after prisoner release completed

  • ‘Our stance is clear, if the prisoner release is completed, then we are ready for the intra-Afghan talks within a week’

KABUL: The Taliban said Monday they were ready to hold peace talks with the Afghan government “within a week” of a contentious prisoner exchange being completed.
“Our stance is clear, if the prisoner release is completed, then we are ready for the intra-Afghan talks within a week,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said, adding that the first round of talks will be held in Doha, Qatar.
Thousands of prominent Afghans on Sunday agreed to the release of about 400 Taliban prisoners accused of serious offenses, overcoming a key hurdle in starting negotiations.


Merkel accuses China of ‘cruel treatment’ of minorities

Updated 29 min 23 sec ago

Merkel accuses China of ‘cruel treatment’ of minorities

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused China of “poor and cruel treatment” of minorities and underlined deep concerns over the crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.
In a speech at the Bundestag a day before an EU summit, Merkel vowed to bring up rights issues and Germany’s worries over the situation in the former British colony in any future dialogue with Beijing.
“Of course we have to bring up our different opinions in talks,” said Merkel, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
“That’s why we have flagged up our deep concern about the development in Hong Kong. The principle of one country, two systems stands but again and again it’s being undermined.
“We will bring that up, as well as the poor and cruel treatment in part of the rights of the minorities in China.”
She did not name the minorities bearing the brunt of poor treatment but activists have accused China over the mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
More than one million ethnic Uighurs and other minorities have been herded into internment camps to undergo political indoctrination, according to rights groups and experts.
China insists the camps are training centers aimed at providing education to reduce the allure of Islamic radicalism.
Beijing is also under fire over a security law it imposed on Hong Kong in June that radically increased its control over the financial hub and led to a brutal crackdown on dissent.