Taliban says no to Afghan negotiators Mar 29, 2020 0 255 12345 AFPKabulThe Taliban on Saturday rejected an Afghan government negotiation team set up to hold talks with the insurgent group in a bid to end the country’s 18-year-old conflict. After months of delays, the government on Friday announced a 21-member team -- including five women -- to take part in the upcoming talks, a crucial step in bringing the warring parties to the table and getting a floundering, US-led peace process back on track.But the Taliban in a statement said the government had failed to put forward an “inclusive” team. “We shall only sit for talks with a negotiation team that conforms with our agreements and is constituted in accordance with the laid out principles,” the statement said.“In order to reach true and lasting peace, the aforementioned team must be agreed upon by all effective Afghan sides,” it said, adding that the majority of those involved in the “intra-Afghan” talks had rejected the team, without specifying which parties.Under a deal signed by the US and the Taliban last month, the insurgents agreed to resume talks with the Afghan government and discuss a possible ceasefire. In return, the US and foreign partner forces agreed to withdraw from Afghanistan over the next 14 months.The Taliban had previously refused to meet with the administration of President Ashraf Ghani, calling him an American stooge. The Kabul government said the negotiating team would be led by former intelligence chief Masoom Stanekzai and include Batur Dostum, whose father Abdul Rashid Dostum -- a notorious former warlord -- is accused of human rights violations.It is not clear when or where the “intra-Afghan” talks would start, but the Taliban has not heeded calls for a ceasefire, instead intensifying their attacks across the country. On Friday, the militants attacked several districts of northeastern Badakhan province, capturing three districts and killing at least 10 Afghan security forces, an official said.Several Taliban fighters were also killed when reinforcements were sent to the area, the defence ministry said. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Mali opposition urges huge election turnout despite coronavirus Mar 29, 2020 0 302 China’s virus epicentre Wuhan eases travel curbs after lockdown Mar 29, 2020 0 374 UN panel urges halt to Syria fighting as virus strikes Mar 29, 2020 0 1227 Virus infections climb in Saudi Arabia despite stringent measures Saudi Arabia on Saturday confirmed 99 new cases of the coronavirus, raising its total to 1,203, the highest number in an Arab country. Of these, 41 were recorded in Riyadh, a Health Ministry spokesman said. A lockdown is .. Gaza calls off Land Day border protest due to coronavirus fears DPA Gaza/Tel Aviv Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have cancelled the annual Land Day protest at the Israeli border over fears the gathering could lead to a spike in coronavirus infections. Instead, would-be .. Iran coronavirus death toll tops 2,500: ministry Tehran Iran announced on Saturday that 139 more people had died from the novel coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 2,517 in one of the world’s worst-affected countries. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush .. Jordan registers its first death from coronavirus Amman Jordan on Saturday registered its first death due to the Covid-19. The director of Prince Hamzah Hospital, Abdulrazaq Khashman, announced the death of an 83-year-old woman. “The octogenarian woman, has .. Egypt to jail & fine COVID-19 ‘false news’ mongers DPA Cairo People in Egypt who spread “false news and rumours” on social media about the novel coronavirus could face imprisonment and a hefty fine, the prosecutor general’s office said on Saturday. A statement said those .. Guinea opposition rejects constitutional referendum result The Guinean opposition on Saturday rejected the result of a constitutional referendum , which they fear will be used by President Alpha Conde to extend his grip on power. The proposal to change the constitution was hugely ..