First row: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, third from left, Taliban political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, right, Former National security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and other participants of the "intra-Afghan" talks pray during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. The U.S. has promised to withdraw half of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of April, a Taliban official said Wednesday, but the U.S. military said it has received no orders to begin packing up. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Rejecting the reports of postponement of Afghan Peace Conference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Pakistan will host the moot from July 17 to July 19 in Islamabad. However, no representative of the Taliban will attend the conference.

According to a press release, the delegates will reach the capital on July 17 and the conference will take place on July 18 and 19. Several Afghan leaders have already confirmed their participation. 

The participants of the conference will attempt to speed up the intra-Afghan peace process as the US-led foreign military withdrawal from the neighboring country nears completion. 
The Pakistani diplomatic initiative takes place as the Taliban rapidly made territorial advances by capturing scores of new Afghan districts across the war-torn country since early May, when US and NATO troops formally began the withdrawal process. 

READ MORE: Pakistan uses tear gas to disperse crowd at Chaman border

The ensuing security deterioration has fueled fears the vacuum left by the departure of foreign troops could turn the conflict into a full-blown civil war and enable transnational terrorist groups to find more space on Afghan soil to attack their respective targets in neighboring countries and beyond. 

CEASEFIRE: Meanwhile, Afghan media reported that the clashes between the Taliban and security forces in Qala-e-Naw, capital of Badghis province, stopped on Thursday afternoon after the mediation of tribal elders.

Quoting provincial Governor Hesamuddin Shams, the media said “after mediation of the tribal elders, a ceasefire will take place from 1:00 pm today.”

Governor Shams said: “The Taliban have left the outskirts of the city of Qala-e-Naw and the security forces have the situation under control.” 

The Taliban have not yet commented on pulling back from Qala-e-Naw.  

Badghis has six distrcts and all of them have fallen to the Taliban.  

Ghormatch district fell to the Taliban three years ago and Bala Murghab five months ago, while Jawand, Qadis, Muqor and Aab Kamari districts fell to the Taliban in the past month, according to officials. 


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