US-Taliban peace talks collapsed earlier this month as a deal seemed imminent to end America's longest war. File photo
As Afghans await the results of a presidential election roiled by Taliban threats, the government used its platform at the UN General Assembly on Monday to tell the insurgents: "Join us in peace, or we will continue to fight."
Afghanistan was not the only country sending a message: North Korea had one for the United States, saying it was up to Washington whether now-stalled nuclear negotiations "become a window of opportunity or an occasion that will hasten the crisis."
And even in the final hour of this year's UN gathering of world leaders, Iran and Saudi Arabia traded barbs sharpened by a recent missile and drone strike on major Saudi oil facilities.
Monday's speeches wrapped up a meeting marked by global worries over the rising tensions in the Persian Gulf region , the changing climate and the very future of the idea of large-scale international cooperation that the UN represents.
As General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande put it in his closing remarks, "The world will not survive for long unless we cultivate the give-and-take spirit" of multilateralism.
Afghanistan's national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, spoke two days after his countrymen voted in a presidential election in which hundreds of polling centers weren't opened because the country couldn't secure them against the Taliban. The militants control or hold sway over roughly half the country and warned voters not to go to the polls.
Results of the elections aren't due for weeks.
Mohib trumpeted the democratic commitment of Afghans who voted despite the threats — some despite having had fingers cut off by the Taliban during prior elections, he noted.
In a country where a new generation of leaders has grown up in wartime, "the opportunities afforded to us through the gains of the past 20 years have allowed us to change hope into something much more powerful — belief," Mobib said.
"We believe in our abilities to bring about the peace we have hoped for all our lives."
The path is far from clear. US-Taliban peace talks collapsed earlier this month as a deal seemed imminent to end America's longest war. It began in 2001 as a US effort to dislodge Afghanistan's then-ruling Taliban for harboring Al Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
The Afghan government had been sidelined in the talks; the Taliban refused to talk directly with an administration the insurgents see as a US puppet.
Stakes are high for the talks which follow a week of US-Taliban negotiations with both sides eyeing a resolution to the bloody 18-year conflict.
The Taliban have steadfastly refused to discuss peace with Ghani, whom they consider a US stooge heading an illegitimate regime.
Their meeting came during a marathon multi-country tour by Khalilzad, who is to visit Qatar — the usual venue for talks with the Taliban.
Ghani said the message of the five-day gathering was clear: “Afghans want peace” and offered a ceasefire, though he stressed it would not be unilateral. In the statement on Friday, the Taliban rejected a ceasefire, saying attacks will continue during Ramadan but said “fighters are very careful of civilians during any operation.”
As many nations face the dilemma of putting students back to school and ensuring the continuity of their education, the UAE’s commitment to opening schools in September, while prioritising the best interests of students, teachers and education providers, serves as a global model for efficient delivery, said a top official of UAE’s major school network.
The Maldives Ambassador to the UAE Hussain Niyaaz has expressed gratefulness for the unceasing support the host government has been extending for the pursuit of the economic growth and stability of the South Asian archipelago, also known since the ancient times as “Garland of Islands” or Maladvipa (Sanskrit).
The UAE-based renowned actor Rik Aby expressed delight on reaching the UAE after being stuck in Jordan for almost four months.
"I hope whoever hears my words will support, even if it is with the word. We need to feel that we can heal each other’s wounds, support each other. I wish all of you success until we meet at the celebration that will mark Lebanon’s freedom. That day will come. "