Afghan delegation to meet with Taleban in Qatar

Updated 01 May 2015

Afghan delegation to meet with Taleban in Qatar

KABUL: An Afghan delegation is headed to Qatar for “open discussions” with representatives of Taleban insurgents over the next few days aimed at ending Afghanistan’s long war, officials said on Friday.
The scheduled meeting would mark a significant step toward opening formal talks to ending the war, but it was not clear on Friday whether the Taleban’s reclusive supreme leader had approved them.
Pakistan’s army chief told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in February that senior figures in the Taleban were open to direct talks with Kabul to end the war, but until now there had been little sign of progress.
The 20-member Afghan delegation will attend preliminary talks set for Sunday and Monday, said Attaullah Ludin, deputy chief of the country’s High Peace Council.
“The open discussions are based on peace in Afghanistan. There will be representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Taleban and some other organizations,” Ludin said.
He added that members of the High Peace Council would be meeting the Taleban in Qatar and also two representatives of Hizb-i-Islami, another militant group fighting Afghanistan’s US-backed government that also has a political wing.
A senior Taleban official in Qatar confirmed that a meeting was set for the next several days with Afghan figures, as well as some from Pakistan and other countries.
The Taleban official also said that Hizb-i-Islami figures would participate in the meeting.


Israeli attorney general to decide on Netanyahu charges

Updated 6 min 6 sec ago

Israeli attorney general to decide on Netanyahu charges

JERUSALEM: Israel’s attorney general scheduled a Thursday night news conference to announce his long-awaited decision on whether to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption scandals.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s ruling promises to upend the Israeli political world after two inconclusive elections.
If, as widely expected, he presses charges against the prime minister, it would deal a heavy blow to Netanyahu’s hopes to remaining in office. If Netanyahu is cleared, it would give him a major boost as the country braces for the possibility of its third election in under a year.
The allegations against Netanyahu include suspicions that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends, offered to trade favors with a newspaper publisher and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favorable coverage on a popular news site.  
Netanyahu has called the allegations part of a witch hunt, lashing out against the media, police, prosecutors and the justice system.
Netanyahu scheduled a press conference at 6:30 p.m. GMT, an hour after Mandelblit’s expected announcement.