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Taliban appoints Mullah Baradar as head of Qatar office amid peace talks with US

Web Desk 04:18 PM | 25 Jan, 2019
Taliban appoints Mullah Baradar as head of Qatar office amid peace talks with US
KABUL/DOHA – The Taliban have appointed a new lead negotiator to 'properly handle' talks with the United States as efforts continue to find a resolution to the 17-year-old Afghan war.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Afghan Taliban, was appointed leader of its political office in Qatar on Friday, according to a statement from the militant organisation.

Baradar, who was released from a prison in Pakistan in October last year, has been authorised to lead the political team and take decisions.

Baradar was brought in to “strengthen and properly handle the ongoing negotiations process with the United States.” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “Multiple changes have also taken place in the military and civilian departments” of the group, “so that the ongoing jihadi process and political efforts can develop positively,” he added.

The announcement comes as the insurgents said Thursday they had held four straight days of talks with US officials in Doha. It was not immediately clear if the negotiations were ongoing Friday.

The duration of the talks, described as "unprecedented" by analysts, has raised hopes of an imminent agreement that could pave the way to peace talks.

But Washington, which confirmed on Tuesday that talks were being held in Qatar between its envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and representatives of the Taliban, has made no comment since.

Afghan officials, who have complained previously about being cut out of the talks, also warned that any agreement would need their endorsement.

Baradar, formerly a number two of the Islamist group, helped Mullah Omar, who died in 2013, to found the Taliban movement.

“Baradar will soon fly to Qatar. He has been given the new position because the US wanted the senior Taliban leadership to participate in peace talks,” according to the Taliban spokesman.

Tolo News, quoting sources familiar with the Qatar talks, said the US and Taliban have inched closer towards sealing an agreement on some issues, including discussions on a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and a ceasefire.

It also quoted sources close to the Taliban as saying that they will not allow any group to stage attacks against other nations from Afghan territory.

Baradar, who coordinated the insurgent group’s military operations in southern Afghanistan, was arrested in 2010 by a team from Pakistan’s military-controlled intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, and the US' Central Intelligence Agency.

His release, according to security experts, was part of high-level negotiations led by Khalilzad with the Taliban.

Newly appointed Baradar will also hold the additional post of third deputy of Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of Taliban, and work with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, a veteran Taliban official who has been running the group’s political office in Qatar since 2015 and has participated in the latest rounds of peace talks.

The US invaded Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to topple the Taliban, who were harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. The Taliban have staged a comeback in recent years and today hold sway over nearly half the country.

Pakistan has long had influence over the Taliban, and the senior leadership of the group is widely believed to be based there. Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, said it had “facilitated” the ongoing negotiations in Qatar and that Pakistani officials were attending the latest talks.

The Taliban have refused to meet with the Afghan government, which they view as a US puppet. Earlier this week, a Taliban assault on a military base run by the intelligence service killed dozens of people.

The Taliban’s demands include the full withdrawal of NATO forces and the release of prisoners. In return, the Taliban have said they will not allow Afghan territory to be used for attacks on the US or other countries.

While most of the US troops left Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Washington continues to support the Afghan armed forces in combating terrorism.

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KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on February 8, 2023 (Wednesday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 275.93 276.69
Euro EUR 296.12 296.74
UK Pound Sterling GBP 331.78 332.48
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.06 75.36
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.48 73.79
Australian Dollar AUD 190.31 192.71
Bahrain Dinar BHD 732.23 740.23
Canadian Dollar CAD 205.22 207.42
China Yuan CNY 40.72 41.12
Danish Krone DKK 39.92 40.32
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.08 35.45
Indian Rupee INR 3.35 3.46
Japanese Yen JPY 2.5 2.54
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 900.32 909.32
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 64.65 65.25
New Zealand Dollar NZD 174.19 176.18
Norwegians Krone NOK 27.12 27.41
Omani Riyal OMR 715.11 723.11
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 75.64 76.34
Singapore Dollar SGD 208.03 210.03
Swedish Korona SEK 26.1 26.4
Swiss Franc CHF 297.31 299.81
Thai Bhat THB 8.25 8.4

KARACHI – The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs199,500 on Wednesday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs171,040.

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs167,318 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 195,157.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Karachi PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Islamabad PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Peshawar PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Quetta PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Sialkot PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Attock PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Gujranwala PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Jehlum PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Multan PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Bahawalpur PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Gujrat PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Nawabshah PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Chakwal PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Hyderabad PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Nowshehra PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Sargodha PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Faisalabad PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340
Mirpur PKR 199,500 PKR 2,340

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