KABUL, 1 December 2020, (TON): As US forces has started their withdrawal in phases, Kabul has planned induction of new soldiers and officers in Afghan National Army. Smartly turned out Afghan youth who completed three month mandatory military training course joined Afghan National Army (ANA). Afghan military had already undertaken comprehensive plan to fill the gap and presently it is Afghan National Army which is single handedly controlling security situation in Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

These soldiers are capable enough to defend Afghan territory, cater security of its citizens and their properties.

In the recent development, Pakistan has plans to offer full support to Afghanistan youth to recruits and cadets for their military training into Afghan National Army. The military courses of the Pakistan Army focuses on threat perception and realistic mission oriented training at formation level while keeping the monitoring of the training at the highest level. So far 19,000 trainees have been graduated from 55 countries. The training at elementary, med level and advance would commence from next year. There is likely collaboration between Pakistan Army and National Military Academy of Afghanistan, Command and General Staff College and Afghan Military Training Center which will come up during forthcoming military to military talks.  

KABUL, 30 November 2020 (TON): The international community has imposed stricter conditions on the Afghan government in exchange for continued aid to the country, The Afghan Ministry of Finance (MoF) has confirmed.

Nazir Kabiri, CEO of Biruni Institute, a research organization in Kabul, said that in the future the Afghan government will need to brief the international community about programs that it had undertaken in the past year and also its programs for the next year in order to get aid from the donors.

Experts believe that the 15 percent reduction in the global aid to Afghanistan at the recent Geneva Conference on Afghanistan indicates that this was the last large-scale donation to the country.

The Afghan Ministry of Finance (MoF) has also confirmed that this time the international community has imposed more restricted conditions in exchange for aid.

“This time the donors will conduct their assessments from the achievements on an annual basis, therefore, with the reduction in aid, the issues must be tackled in an appropriate way,” said Nazir Kabiri, CEO of Biruni Institute.

The international community at the Afghanistan Conference 2020 in Geneva earlier this week renewed their financial and political commitment to Afghanistan for another four years.

The 2020 Afghanistan Conference was the last pledging conference of the Transformation Decade (2015-24), which aims to take the country towards self-reliance, with the international community and Afghan nation renewing commitments to the development and stability of Afghanistan up to 2024.

Over 100 countries and international organizations participated in the two-day conference.

Although, an exact amount of money pledged by the donors is not clear so far, the Afghan government last week said that it expected that the international community will pledge $4 billion in aid to Afghanistan per year as part of its financial assistance for civilian purposes.

Experts say that with the consideration of -5 percent economic growth rate, 80 percent poverty and 45 percent unemployment, it will be difficult for Afghanistan to achieve self-reliance by 2025.

DOHA, 30 November, 2020, (TON): A breakthrough was reported from Doha as the two negotiating teams have agreed to include the US-Taliban deal, UN endorsements for Afghan peace process, commitments of the negotiating teams and will of the Afghan people as the base for upcoming negotiations.

Negotiators from both sides of the Afghan peace negotiations have conflicting accounts about the reports of recent progress in their talks.

However, sources close to the Taliban have said that a continued disagreement could push the talks into a deadlock.

Earlier, a Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem, tweeted that negotiators from both sides for the Afghan peace process have agreed on procedural rules with 21 items on the 15th of November 2020, for the talks to proceed.

However, the republic’s team have said that the procedural rules are still not finalized and the preface needs more explanation.

Dawa Khan Menapal , a deputy spokesman to President Ashraf Ghani said “The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is there with full authority in hand. The foundation of the talks are the Constitution of Afghanistan and the proposals made by the Consultative Loya Jirga on Peace.”

The Taliban insists that if a dispute emerges during the negotiations, the solution must be sought using the Hanafi jurisprudence and that the foundation for the talks should be the peace deal that the group signed with the US in late February.

But the Afghan republic's team has rejected the Taliban’s demands and has suggested some alternatives.

KABUL, 29 November 2020, (TON): At least 30 Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel were killed and 24 others wounded when a explosive laden military type vehicle exploded in a military camp in Afghanistan's Ghazni city on Sunday.  Taliban have condemned the attack and have denied any role in the attack.

As per the details the installation was police forces facility but was used by Afghan National Army operational battalion. There were also reports that Police personnel were killed but later it was reveled that those killed were military personnel.

The incidents of terrorism have increase many folds as the intra-Afghan are progressing towards the success story. The US withdrawal is seen by foreign elements, especially Indian stakeholders who consider success in peace talks as strategic blunder. There are reports that Indian commandos are involved in the attacks through one other neighbour of Afghanistan and Afghans born and raised in India as refugees.

Ghazni province has witnessed heavy clashes in recent years in an effort to regain territorm especially strategic mountains from the Taliban so that in case of US and foreign forces withdrawal the stats of quo is in favour of anti-Taliban elements

KABUL, 27 November 2020, (TON): The EU said in a statement on Thursday, "We encourage the swift establishment and operationalization of the High Council of National Reconciliation as the body designated to provide guidance to the negotiations.” 

"In addition to political leaders, the membership of the Council should include a diverse membership representing women's groups, war victims, religious minorities, youth and civil society organizations," it added.

The EU has been persuaded to give statement in favour of a broad based Afghan delegation in intra-Afghan talks at a time Afghan and the Taliban delegations are all prepared for the intra-Afghan talks in Qatari capital Doha.  

Addressing the current war that has escalated in different parts of the country, the EU said that "we express deep concern about the continuing high level of violence and the security situation in Afghanistan, especially the number of civilian casualties and call for an immediate permanent and comprehensive ceasefire".

KABUL, 26 November 2020, (TON): A total of 15 small-scale uplift projects have been completed in the relatively peaceful and poor province of Ghor, said a statement of the Ministry for Rural Development and Rehabilitation released on Thursday.

The projects include the provision of potable water, solar energy to light houses and water reservoirs implemented in Lal-o-Sarjangal district at a cost of 25 million afghani. (1 U.S. dollar equals 77.01 afghani)

The projects provided by the Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation would benefit some 1,000 families.

According to the statement of the ministry, the construction of the 5-km road has been completed in the Giti district of central Daikundi province and 3-km road in the Burka district of northern Baghlan provinces recently respectively.

The development project aims to increase the volume of private investment and productive jobs in Afghanistan. The goals are to enhance the provision of land and implement development related strategies, policies and programs.

KABUL, 25 November 2020, (TON): Roadside bombs exploded in central Afghanistan on Tuesday killing at least 13 civilians and a traffic policeman, officials said.

Official spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, said 45 people were also wounded in a late afternoon blast in Bamiyan city in Bamiyan province. Several shops and vehicles were destroyed or damaged.

Mohammad Reza Yusuofi, spokesman for the provincial police chief in Bamiyan, said there were two bombs that exploded in quick succession.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, said the group was not involved.

KABUL, 24 November 2020, (TON): Sources on Sunday reported a breakthrough in the Doha talks but added that the agreements on the procedures of the negotiations have faced opposition from President Ashraf Ghani.

Sources said the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have made progress in talks. The negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban have agreed to include the US-Taliban deal, UN endorsements for the Afghan peace process, commitments of the negotiating teams and the will of the Afghan people as the base for upcoming negotiations, sources said.

Sources said Afghan chief negotiator Mohammad Massoom Stanikzai and presidential peace advisor Salam Rahimi are on a secret trip to Kabul in the past three days, seeking President Ghani’s approval for the agreed formulation.

The Islamic Republic and the Taliban’s negotiators in Doha are tight-lipped and have not made any comments on recent progress.

“I think disagreement on peace will further blame the government in front of the people and it loses its trust among the public,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.

The Presidential Palace rejected the breakthrough in the negotiations as well as President Ghani’s opposition to this matter.

Analysts, meanwhile, criticized the High Council for National Reconciliation’s leadership for the delay in appointing its members.

“The High Council for National Reconciliation so far has not defined itself that whether it is a government council or an independent one,” said Ahmad Wali Massoud, head of Massoud Foundation.

Ata Mohammad Noor, the CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami, in a statement, welcomed the breakthrough in Doha talks and says the leadership council of Jamiat-e-Islami hopes that the progress will open the way for lasting peace in the country.

Sayed Hamed Gailani, head of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan, welcomed the breakthrough in Doha talks, calling on both sides of the negotiations to expedite their efforts for peace.

KABUL, 22 November 2020, (TON): The 2020 Afghanistan Conference, co-hosted by Afghanistan, Finland, and the UN scheduled on 23-24 November 2020, is another opening to renew commitments to the peace, development and prosperity of Afghanistan.  Due to the serious Covid-19 situation in Switzerland, the Conference will take place virtually, with the Palais des Nations in Geneva remaining as the hub for all logistics.

Finland is committed to support inclusive participation of Afghan civil society in the 2020 Afghanistan Conference. Coordination of the civil society was awarded to BAAG the British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG) and its partner Civil Society Working Committee (CSWC) to advance this objective. The CSO statement presented by the official CSO delegation on 24th of November will be a synthesis of national discussions and provincial consultations conducted in Afghanistan.

Those who intend to sabotage Afghan peace talks to exclude Taliban from mainstream politics have accelerated terrorist acts throughout Afghanistan to compel Washington to delay the Christmas withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.  On Saturday, eleven people were killed and at least 50 others wounded in two IED explosions and 23 rocket attacks. Although as in the past no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but generally Indian and Western patronized Afghan living in India are believed to be behind these terrorist acts.

 

ANKARA, 21 November 2020, (TON): Head of the High Council for National Reconciliation , Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday left for Ankara to gain Turkey's support for negotiations with the Taliban and discuss bilateral ties. His visit aims to strengthen regional consensus on Afghan peace. Over the last month, he has visited Pakistan, Iran and Uzbekistan.

Abdullah Abdullah, on Friday met with Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan in Istanbul and exchanged views on the Afghan peace process, ongoing talks in Doha and bilateral relations between both countries.

Erdogan said that Afghanistan is an ally and friend to Turkey and his country's support will the peace that is supported by the people of Afghanistan, He added that both countries have time-tested relations strengthened by common culture and values. 

Erdogan said that Turkey supports the ongoing peace efforts in Afghanistan and wants an end to violence in the country.

According to the statement issued by Abdullah’s office he highlighted the role of Turkey in Afghanistan’s issues, active presence in ensuring security, its economic and cultural assistance and the Istanbul process. And he demanded Turkey’s continued support to the country’s efforts for achieving an enduring peace. 

Top Afghan peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday left for Ankara to garner Turkey's support for negotiations with the Taliban and discuss bilateral ties. His visit aims to strengthen regional consensus on Afghan peace. Over the last month, he has visited Pakistan, Iran and Uzbekistan.

 

BRUSSELS, 18 November2020 (TON): Nato chief; Jens Stoltenberg, warned on Tuesday that it could pay a heavy price for leaving Afghanistan too early, after a US official said President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw a significant number of American troops from the conflict-ravaged country in the coming weeks.

 "We now face a difficult decision. We have been in Afghanistan for almost 20 years, and no Nato ally wants to stay any longer than necessary. But at the same time, the price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high," Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement on Tuesday.

 Stoltenberg further said, the country still “risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organise attacks on our homelands”. “And ISIS [ISIL] could rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq,” Stoltenberg said.

 NATO has fewer than 12,000 troops from dozens of nations in Afghanistan helping to train and advise the national security forces. US troops frequently make up about half that number, and the 30-nation alliance relies heavily on the US forces for transport, logistics and other support. The expected plans would cut US troop numbers almost in half by January 15, leaving 2,500 troops in the South Asian nation.

 

WASHINGTON, 18 November 2020, (TON): US Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller discussed on telephone on Wednesday with President Ghani Afghan security situation and US decision for the reduction of troops as step forward for Afghan peace process. President Donald Trump made the decision to draw down troops in Afghanistan in consultation with his top national security officials.

As per the earlier plan, Washington has honoured its words to reduced US troop in Afghanistan to   2,500 personnel.

Christopher Miller announced on Tuesday revealed plan during a press briefing at Pentagon and said, "President Trump's plan to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful and responsible conclusion and to bring our brave service members home,"  

Christopher Miller said, the conflict in Afghanistan, Miller said that "with the blessings of providence in the coming year, we will finish this generational war and bring our men and women home."

BRUSSELS 17 November 2020 (TON): “NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has spoken to the new acting US defense secretary about the alliance’s commitment to stay in Afghanistan as long as necessary,” his spokeswoman said Monday, amid speculation that President Donald Trump might order a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops in the country.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Stoltenberg held talks with Christopher Miller on Friday about the 30-nation U.S.-led military alliance’s ‘agenda, including the situation in Afghanistan,’ and that ‘NATO’s position hasn’t changed’ on its security role in the conflict-ravaged country.

‘No NATO ally wants to stay any longer than necessary. At the same time, we want to preserve the gains made with such sacrifice, and to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists that can attack the United States or any other NATO ally,’ Lungescu said.

‘We support the Afghanistan peace process, and as part of it, we continue to adjust our presence,’ Lungescu said. She noted that NATO has reduced its presence ‘to under 12,000 troops, and more than half of these are non-U.S. forces.

In a letter to all U.S Depence departments employees last Friday Miller said, ‘All wars must end.’ Without specifically citing Afghanistan, he appeared to indicate that a full withdrawal might be in the offing.

‘Ending wars requires compromise and partnership,’ he wrote. ‘We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.’

On the other hand, he also wrote that it was too early to abandon ‘the war that al-Qaida brought to our shores in 2001,’ adding: ‘This war isn’t over. We are on the verge of defeating al-Qaida and its associates, but we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish.’

The move comes in the wake of ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha, part of the peace process, aimed to finish this longest war by possible US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan aimed by Trump administration.

KABUL, 16 November 2020, (TON): The Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Roya Rehmani visited US Air Force Base at Moody to have firsthand experience of A-29 aircraft. Washington is delivering remaining A-29 Super Tucano light attack to Afghanistan to strengthen the Afghan Air Force.

A-29 attack aircraft will replace the fleet of Mi-35 aircrafts in Afghan Air Force. The Afghan Air Force has made major strides in its ability to plan and conduct operations, especially on its A-29 Super Tucano fleet. The US has provided 18 A-29s to the Afghan Air Force.

As per the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) Afghan Air Force has 154 aircrafts. It has three flight wings and 18 detachments, flying A-29s, C-208s, AC-208s, C-130s, Mi-17s, and MD-530s. The A-29 light attack aircraft is the backbone of strike operations against the insurgents.

After receiving training from the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and other allied forces, the AAF now independently conducts 70% of the operations in Afghanistan.

 

KABUL, 11 November 2020 (TON): At least four security force members were killed in two separate attacks in Kabul in the last 12 hours, police said on Wednesday.

Two police force members were killed and one more was wounded in a magnetic IED blast in Kabul on Wednesday morning, Kabul police said in a statement.

The incident happened about 06:30am in Lab-e-Jar area in Kabul's PD11.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, Kabul police said that two members of the Afghan army were killed in an attack by unknown gunmen in Qala-e-Wazir area in Kabul on Tuesday night.

This comes as violence has remained high in the country amidst peace efforts by the government and its international allies.

The intra-Afghan dialogue, which started in Qatar, has not yet achieved any significant breakthroughs because of disputes over procedural matters related to moving the process forward.  However, violence in Afghanistan is a threat to derail peace-building deal and the ongoing intra-Afghan peace negotiations.

KABUL, 3 November 2020, (TON): After the deadly the Afghan Government announced Tuesday as day of mourning to pay tribute for the victims who lost their lives following a deadly terrorist attack at Kabul University at Kabul. The Afghan national flag was flown at half mask. The terrorist attacks resulted in the killing of at least 22 people and injuries to 22 people.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in its strongest words. Neighbouring Pakistan also condemned the attack and offered assistance to the Afghan government in the investigation of the case. Pakistan strongly condemns the mindless attack at Kabul University, resulting in loss of so many precious lives and injuries to many more.  Pakistan extended our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims  

ISIS (Daesh) in a social media message accepted the responsibility of Monday University attack. However, it was part of the same anti-Taliban groups which intend to fail Taliban – Afghan Government’s peace talks to delay foreign troops withdrawal for at least another one year.  

KABUL, 28 October, 2020, (TON): The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Tuesday that violence there was too high and the Kabul government and Taliban insurgents must work harder toward forging a ceasefire at their peace talks.

Before flying to Doha to meet with the two sides, U.S. Special envoy referring to a recent surge in attacks as well as civilian and Afghan forces casualties in the country made his comments that “I returned to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened, The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever.”

Negotiations between a government delegation and the Taliban have been going on in Doha since mid-September, but developments have been slow. Diplomats and officials have warned that rising violence back home is sapping trust.

“Too many Afghans are dying, Khalilzad said, reiterating that “the sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”

Khalilzad reiterated that “the window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” adding that “intransigence and a refusal to abandon animosity, embrace fellow citizens, and agree on a formula for political cooperation/competition underpin the ongoing war.”

Khalilzad added that “Afghans are dying at a high rate, and regional spoilers are using Afghans as cannon fodder for their illegitimate objectives.”

In Doha, Khalilzad will meet with the negotiating teams to follow up on ongoing discussions to reduce violence and press both sides to immediately stem the recent increase in violence that Afghans across the country are being forced to bear.  

Along with international partners, Khalilzad will press the two negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts and agree to a political roadmap that ends Afghanistan’s 40-year-long war.  

“The sides must move past procedure and into substantive negotiations. American and international assistance remains available to all sides,” it added.

Attacks have been on the rise in recent weeks, peace negotiations between Taliban and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan started on September 12th however, up to now no direct talks have been started because of disagreements on rules for procedure.

ISLAMABAD, 28 October, 2020, (TON): Private sector of Afghanistan said that that there is a need for proper planning to overcome trade and transit issues between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Officials said that during Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum 2020 held in Islamabad, officials of both countries agreed to solve 16 out of 21 issues linked to trade and transit between two countries,

The Afghan acting minister of industry and commerce, Nisar Ahmad Ghoriani said “The remaining six issues are related to APTTA (the Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement). These six issues will be assessed during the Pakistani commerce minister's trip to Afghanistan." The official added that Pakistan’s minister of commerce will soon visit Afghanistan. 

According to Afghan officials the permission of the Afghan trucks through Wagah port as well as issues related to the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement will also discussed in the event.

Representatives from Afghan private sector called on officials from both countries to address their problems and said that Afghanistan has been looking for alternatives for its trade with Pakistan in the region and that there is a need for Pakistan to facilitate trade relations with Afghanistan.

The deputy head of Chamber of Commerce and Investment Mohammad Yunus Mohmand said “The problems faced by Afghan businessmen in Pakistan should be addressed. Also, our problems in crossing points and ports should be addressed.”

According to officials, both the customs department of Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on 28-article protocol on the electronic exchange customs data.

ACF deputy chief Khan Jan Alokozai said at least 900 trucks are traveling to Pakistan and from there to Afghanistan daily while it was at least 2,000 last year.

Trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan will significantly drop down by the end of this year because of different hurdles including “extortion”, transit issues and recent closure of crossing points among the both neighboring countries.

Pakistan has been a main trade partner for Afghanistan in recent years with an annual trade volume of approximately $2 billion. Earlier ACF predicted that this year’s Afghanistan-Pakistan trade will be less than $1 billion.

KABUL, 25 October 2020, (TON): Suicide attack outside an educational institution in Afghan capital Kabul caused deaths of 30 youth, mostly attending the classes. The wounded were immediately taken to the Jinnah Hospital in Kabul but many died on the way to hospital.

As per the details, the attack that took place near the Kawsar e-Danish Educational Centre on Saturday evening in the Pul-e-Khoshk area of Dasht-e-Barchi.

Security guard who was a witness to the incident said that the suicide bomber was  challenged by security guards at the Centre, hence, he detonated his explosives just before reaching his target. He added that those killed were mostly young students. A specific educational institution was targeted to create special impact in the perception of foreign nations having troops in Afghanistan. 

ISIS (Daesh) in a social media message accepted the responsibility of Saturday evening attack Kawsar e-Danish. However, the witnesses said that they were part of the same anti-Taliban groups which intend to fail Taliban – Afghan Government’s peace talks to delay foreign troops withdrawal for at least another one year.  

Analysts, were of the view that New Delhi and Tehran condemned the attack but were strongly in favour of one year delay to the US and other foreign forces delay. The efforts are taking place after tweet by US President Donald Trump that withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by Christmas and statement by US General Mark A. Milley, when he said, “the arrangement of US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan was conditional on the security situation in Afghanistan.

TEHRAN, 20 October 2020. (TON): Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Afghanistan on Monday met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and discussed issues relating to enduring and acceptable peace in Afghanistan.

According to the statement issued by Abdullah’s office at Kabul, the meeting took place on Monday and was quite successful in meeting the objectives.  President Rouhani assured implementation of joint economic plans between the two countries, already signed in the past. Abdullah Abdullah appreciated the Iranian continuous principle stance, supporting the Afghan peace efforts.

President Rouhani spelled out Iranian principle stance on Afghan peace efforts and assured Abdullah Abdullah-led Afghan delegation that Tehran would extend full support for durable peace in Afghanistan and would not allow Taliban to derail the peace process. President Rouhani  and Abdullah Abdullah also discussed disagreements on procedural rules for direct peace talks and chalked out joint Afghan-Iranian strategy to bring lasting peace in Afghanistan.

 

 

ISLAMABAD, 19 October 2020, (TON):  Former Afghan PM Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-e-Islami of Afghanistan is due to arrive Islamabad today (Monday) along with a delegation for talks on the role of Pakistan in the Afghan peace process, officials confirmed on Sunday.

Hekmatyar, who served as the Afghanistan’s Prime Minister; will be on a three-day visit in Pakistan at the invitation of the Foreign Office. He leads political party Hizb-e-Islami. This is the second high-level visit from Afghanistan after the recent visit of Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Afghan Peace Council.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Sunday “during the visit, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar will call on the Prime Minister and President and will meet Senate Chairman, Speaker National Assembly, Foreign Minister and other dignitaries. He will deliver a talk at a policy think-tank and interact with the media".  

Hekmatyar’s son Habibur Rehman is also part of the delegation said in a statement, “As Pakistan’s role is a key to the peace process, so we want to have a better understanding with Pakistan.”

GHOUR, 18 October 2020, (TON): At least 21 people were killed and 80 injured after a powerful explosion on Sunday hit Firoz Koah, in Afghanistan's Ghor province. The blast occurred roughly at Sunday noon when an explosive-laden minibus was detonated in an area.

Immediate reports were not available as which group carried out the attack but is is probable that the explosion was planned to destabilize Afghanistan to give an impression that Taliban were behind the attack. A witness said, he has no knowledge about the group but such events have become a routine.

TEHRAN, 18 October 2020, (TON): Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, is due to arrive Tehran today on a three-day visit to discuss the Afghan peace process. His visit was confirmed by senior adviser Mujiburrahman Rahimi.

Abdullah Abdullah is scheduled to hold meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other Iranian top officials to discuss the latest situation arising from signals from Washington. Both sides are to discuss ongoing peace negotiations between delegates from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban and possible role of Iran in seeking guarantees to resist Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Sources in Tehran says that Abdullah Abdullah along with other Afghan officials including members of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Afghan National Assembly will have meeting with President Hassan Rouhani, and other top Iranian leadership on Monday.

If we recall, Abdullah said this Friday on the occasion of second death anniversary of former Kandahar police chief General Abdul Raziq that a return of the Taliban is unacceptable to Afghans under any circumstances as it will continue the war in Afghanistan. In his visit to Pakistan, he was successful in assuring many guarantees while India visit early this month was even more successful.

Abdullah made the remarks at a ceremony on the second anniversary of former Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq’s death where other dignitaries and politicians attended, including First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib and Jamiat-e-Islami chief Salahuddin Rabbani.

KABUL, 17 October, 2020, (TON): Recent renewed clashes between Afghanistan government forces and Taliban in Southern Helmand province has forced more than 5,600 families to flee from their homes. Officials said on Thursday that the latest renewed flare-up could undermine US efforts to broker peace in the war-torn country.

Clashes between the Taliban and Afghan government forces geared up when they were holding Peace talks in Qatar; Where the Taliban had maintained a political office for years. The negotiations, envisaged under a US deal signed with the insurgents in February, are meant to end Afghanistan’s grueling 19-year war and are seen as the possibility for Afghanistan to be in peace.

The Trump administration has pledged to take out American forces from Afghanistan however US officials are stressed that the Taliban have still not met requirements to lessen fighting and aggression against the Afghans, which is the key element of the US withdrawal plan.

In Helmand Provincial governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak  said that “Afghan security forces were trying to regain areas lost to the Taliban over the weekend, while local officials were scrambling to provide food and shelter to the growing number of civilians fleeing from nearby districts to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah”.

A local resident of the area Ajab Gul 25, and his family have been in the city for four days  He said that “The Taliban’s have taken over our village and both sides in the battle are using light and heavy weapons, so how could we stay there?”

KABUL, 16 October 2020, (TON): Provincial governor Yasin Khan said on Thursday that Al Qaeda, Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayyiaba are aiding Taliban in Helmand Fight. He added that foreign fighters are backing the Taliban in the ongoing attacks in Helmand, as violence in the southern province and nearby areas had entered their sixth day.

He further added said that the Taliban has provided safe havens to the fighters linked with Al Qaeda, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayyiaba, stating that these terrorist organizations are providing military and bomb-making training to the Taliban fighters.

Taliban spokesperson rejected the clams and siad in a statement these are allegations to derail the peace process. He added that these are self-engineered incidents to give and impression that Afghanistan is unsafe. 

According to the reports fighting has done significant damage to public infrastructure in Helmand. During the fights these group fighters took over some check points whereas the Afghan security officials says that the security forces will soon take back the checkpoints fallen to the Taliban.

KABUL, 16 October, 2020, (TON): The US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad urged Taliban to remain committed to the implementation of the US-Taliban peace agreement. He warned that the increase of violence in country is threat to peace of the region.

In a tweet Khalilzada said “Following several meetings General Miller and I had with the Taliban, we agreed to re-set actions by strictly adhering to implementation of all elements of the U.S.-Taliban Agreement and all commitments made. This means reduced numbers of operations. At present too many Afghans are dying. With the re-set, we expect that number to drop significantly”.

Khalilzada further said that “Attacks have been on the rise in recent weeks - threatening the peace process and alarming the Afghan people and their regional and international supporters.”

Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem tweeted that the group's chief negotiator Mawlavi Abdul Hakim met with the US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and General Miller and both the sides negotiated on the implementation of the Doha peace agreement.

It is to be noted that Taliban spokesperson did not stated that the agreement was made for both sides to decrease operations.

In the meantime, the NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg met US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and both sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, clashes among government forces and allegedly the Taliban in the capital of Helmand Lashkargah and nearby areas have entered their sixth day.

 

 

KABUL, 15 October, 2020, (TON): On Tuesday Afghan Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar met with NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative to Afghnistan Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo.

During the discussions Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs highly praised NATO’s continued cooperation, assistance and commitment towards Afghanistan over the past 19 years. Moreover he commended NATO’s dedication to the success of Afghan Peace process.

Mr. Atmar emphasized on the significance of regional along with international consensus in ensuring the successof the Afghanistan Peace talks in reference to the recent visit of President of Afghanistan to Qatar and Kawait. He added that there is an immediate need to reduce violence and to set up a convincing system that will monitor reduction in violence, resulting in ceasefire.

Ambassador Pontecorvo also reiterated the call to establish a proper mechanism to reduce and track violence. He discussed further about the removal of disagreements to finalize Rules of Procedures and to move on the next page of direct peace negotiations focusing on establishing a humanitarian ceasefire and other important issues in the region.

Mr. Atmar appreciated NATO’S support to ANDSF in Helmand and said that NATO is our reliable patner. Mr. Pontecorvo also reassured Mr. Atmar of NATO's commitment and support to ANDSF, the peace process, and Afghanistan's democratic achievements over the past 19 years.

KABUL, 15 October, 2020, (TON): Local officials confirmed that on Wednesday morning 13 civilians were killed and 19 were injured along with one policeman in two blasts in Heart and Laghman province.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that “Five civilians, including women and children, were killed and 13 others were wounded after their vehicle was struck a roadside mine in Kesh-e-Kohna district of the province”.

Spokesman for the provincial governor Jailani Farhad said that “The civilians were on the way to a wedding party when the incident happened and the mine was placed by the Taliban”.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said that in another blast five civilians were killed in a remote-controlled mine blast in Asmar district in Kunar province. He did not provide additional details of the incident.

According to Afghanistan News agency local officials say that the blast targeted Police vehical in Mehtarlam city, the capital of Laghman province. Until now no group has claimed the responsibility for the blasts.

DOHA, 15 October, 2020, (TON): Nader Nadery, a delegate from the republic’s side said General meeting of chiefs and delegates from both sides Taliban and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan held on Wednesday evening.

In the meeting discussions over resolving dispute issues were held and it was decide that contact group from both sides should provide solutions to the disputed issues in next to no time.

Mohammad Naeem, Taliban spokesperson in Doha confirmed a general session was held tonight between both teams. He said contested points were discussed and contact groups were instructed to resolve the dispute. The agenda will be discussed next, he said.

Member of the republic’s negotiating team Fawzia Koofi said “We need to accelerate the negotiation process in view of the plight of the Afghan people, every day the people are sacrificed”.

Sources say that one of the suggestions was not to discuss about the controversial procedural rules and discuss them in the next phase of the meeting. One suggestion was to add US Security Council Resolution to the talks all along with the US-Taliban deal to be part of the framework of the discussions. Taliban insisted that the intra-Afghan talks will not have significance without taking into consideration US- Taliban peace deal as the main agreement.

Both the sides have agreed on 18 out of 20 articles for the procedural rules, but two main articles about the religious basis for the talks and connection of the US-Taliban deal with the negotiations remain unsolved. Afghan Republic’s team has rejected Taliban’s demand and suggested some alternative.

Peace negotiations started on September 12th between Taliban and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan however, up to now no direct talks have been started because of disagreements on rules for procedure.

KABUL, 14 October, 2020, (TON): Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul in a press release on Monday said that urgent measures are taken to facilitate Pakistani visas for Afghan nationals and Pakistan’s Consulate in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Heart and Mazar-e-Sharif have started issuing visas to Afghan nationals in their respective jurisdictions.

The Embassy said “Under the new visa policy, long term multiple visas are being issued to the Afghan nationals for visiting Pakistan for medical treatment, family matters, business, education and other purposes”.

“As the visa facility has opened recently after many months of restrictions due to COVID-19, there is a significant backlog causing large crowds of visa applicants at Embassy’s and Consulates’ windows. The Embassy seeks the understanding and cooperation of the applicants as well as the Afghan security authorities for ensuring effective management of the submission and collection of visa applications with a view to hopefully clear the backlog in the coming days,” the embassy concluded.

It is important to mention that Pakistani visa for Afghans is free. Applicants are not required to pay any amount except for the visa fee for the business category and there are no agents.

KABUL, 14 October 2020: Over 15 people have been killed after two helicopters on Afghan National Army duty collided in midair in Nawa-i-Barakzayi district of Helmand province on Tuesday night.

The Afghan military and Paramilitary forces are carrying out operations in Helmand provides against the Taliban positions and on Tuesday night as a result there were serious injuries to Afghan security personnel who were being airlifted by these ill-fated helicopters. The Ministry of National Defense has confirmed the crash but as yet did not mention the names of personnel killed in the collusion. There were reports of more than 15 killed. 

The province has been the scene of heavy clashes in recent days after peace talks with Taliban seems bearing results. All of the sudden attacks have increased regarding which Taliban are being blamed but Taliban have not accepted any responsibility of these attacks.

KABUL, 14 October, 2020, (TON): US General Mark A. Milley on Tuesday broaden the gap between the White House and Pentagon on declarations on US troop withdrawals that emerged from the White House a week ago. His criticism arrived after US President Donald Trump tweeted withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by Christmas.

 In a talk with Afghan National Army commanders, General Milley, the administrator  of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the arrangement of US troops withdrawal came with Afghan and Taliban authorities to leave Afghanistan was conditional on the security situation in Afghanistan.
 General Milley did not try to isolate himself from schedule announced by President Trump for pulling back US troops from Afghanistan, however, his comments did not in any way challenged or confirm withdrawal schedule.   

KABUL, 13 October, 2020, (TON): A representative for the U.S. military in Afghanistan says American powers did a few airstrikes on the side of Afghan security powers enduring an onslaught by Taliban in the southern Helmand region. The U.S. strikes came after a gun battle Monday in and around Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand area. A representative for the commonplace lead representative in Helmand says Taliban warriors dispatched facilitated assaults in various pieces of the region over the previous week and that they escalated throughout the end of the week. The U.S. military representative says the ongoing Taliban assaults are "not reliable" with a U.S. - Taliban bargain and subvert progressing intra-Afghan harmony talks. He said the airstrikes don't manhandle the February deal.

Witnesses revealed irregular shooting in the city and said a few inhabitants fled from the regions of Nad Ali and Nawa in light of the battling.

Delegates of the Afghan government and the Taliban are holding intra-Afghan dealings in Qatar, a Gulf nation where the Taliban have had a political office for a long time. The arrangements are intended to end the nation's long term war.

ISLAMABAD, 9 October 2020, (TON): US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and the commander of Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan met with Pakistani authorities on Thursday to discuss the ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks. This was Khalilzad's second visit to Islamabad in less than a month, following the rare direct talks between the warring Taliban and Kabul government in Doha last month.

During the meeting held at the Army Headquarters at Rawalpindi, the two sides discussed Pak-Afghan Border management and current developments in Afghan peace process. Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq also attended the meeting. The visiting dignitaries appreciated the positive role being played by Pakistan for Afghan peace process.

KABUL, 9 October, 2020, (TP): Afghanistan’s Taliban on Thursday welcomed a tweet from President Donald Trump in which he promised to have the last of the US’s troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas.

If that withdrawal happens, it would be months ahead of schedule and the tweet made no reference to a Taliban promise to fight terrorist groups — a previous pre-requisite for an American withdrawal.

America’s exit from Afghanistan after 19 years was laid out in an agreement Washington reached with the Taliban in February.

However, that agreement said U.S. Troops would be out of Afghanistan in 18 months provided the Taliban honored a commitment to fight terrorist groups, with most attention seemingly focused on the Islamic State group affiliate in the country.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said Trump’s statement was welcome and he considered it a positive step for the implementation of the peace agreement between the US and the Taliban.

The Taliban are “committed to the contents of the agreement and hopes for good and positive relations with all countries, including the U.S, in the future,” he said.      

NANGARHAR, 3 October 2020, (TON): More than a 16 people have been killed and at least 32 injured in a car-bomb attack in Ghani Khel district of Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan.

Officials said the October 3 blast targeted an administrative building which housed some military facilities.

As per the witnesses, several unidentified masked armed gunmen attempted to enter the building after the explosion, but they were killed by security forces. Provincial police spokesman Farid Khan said the victims included both members of the security forces and civilians.

Anti-Taliban militants have stepped up attacks throughout Afghanistan to fail the holding of peace talks between Taliban and the Afghan government in Doha. The main aim of these attacks is to compel the foreign government not to withdraw from Afghanistan as security situation would further deteriorate.

KABUL, 29 September, 2020, (Tolo News): M. Ashraf Haidari, Afghan Ambassador to Sri Lanka, witnessed the signing ceremony. The CEOs of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment, Mr. Sayed Zaman Hashemi, and the Ceylon (Sri Lankan) Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Manjula de Silva, virtually signed a historic MOU of Cooperation between the two Chambers on Monday, September 28, 2020, the Afghan Foreign Ministry in Columbo reported in a statement.

"The MOU provides for the establishment of an Afghanistan-Sri Lanka Trade Desk within both Chambers, helping implement both sides’ shared commercial goals," the statement read.

The officials pledged to work with the embassies of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in Colombo and Kabul to implement the MOU to help realize "the vast trade and investment potential that exists between the two South Asian nations."

  1. Ashraf Haidari, Afghan ambassador to Sri Lanka, witnessed the signing ceremony and remarked:

“I am delighted to witness the fruition of our shared hard efforts over the past year to sign this historic MOU between our two Chambers of Commerce, which I have no doubt will work together, in partnership with our two embassies here and in Kabul, to foster and deepen commercial ties between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.”

Haidari also acknowledged the "strong support from the leaderships of both countries for the further expansion of bilateral relations, especially full-spectrum connectivity for trade and investment, thereby forging long-lasting people-to-people ties between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka."

The MOU seeks to enable the two chambers of commerce to “disseminate all such information as may be relevant to enhance bilateral trade and business; initiate and promote joint ventures, partnerships and other business linkages; provide technical expertise; arrange visits between the two countries; formulate proposals to accelerate bilateral relations; and convene meetings, conferences, and discussions.”

Both sides agreed to "hold regular webinars, including major investors, to exchange business ideas and to discuss the specifics of investment opportunities in agribusiness (tea, saffron, coconut oil, fresh fruits and dried nuts), services (skilled and unskilled labor), logistics, textiles (garments, rugs and carpets), gemstones (precious and semi-precious stones), tourism, medical tourism, higher education tourism, as well as other sectors of mutual investment interest," the statement said.

ISLAMABAD, 29 September, 2020, (Tolo News): Qureshi stressed that return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honor should be part of the peace and reconciliation process.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday held a meeting with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, and both discussed the Afghan peace process and bilateral relations.

Welcoming Abdullah and his delegation to Pakistan, Qureshi expressed the hope that his visit will open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

“The Foreign Minister said that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s visit will greatly help to strengthen relations with Afghanistan and forge a common understanding on the Afghan peace process. The Foreign Minister also extended best wishes to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in steering the peace negotiations to a successful outcome,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s steadfast support for the peace process, Foreign Minister Qureshi emphasized that Pakistan has always maintained there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and encouraged all parties to reach a political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.

Qureshi noted that it was now up to the Afghan leadership to seize this historic opportunity to bring an end to the decades-long conflict and to secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

The statement also reads:

The Foreign Minister underscored Pakistan’s support for a peaceful, stable, united, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan. He stressed that mistakes of the past should not be repeated and neither should past history dictate the future course of action.

Qureshi further underlined that there was a need to guard against the detrimental role of ‘spoilers,' both within and outside Afghanistan, who do not wish to see the return of peace to the region.

“Qureshi underlined the high importance Pakistan attached to its brotherly relations with Afghanistan,” the statement said.

“At the request of the Afghanistan government, Pakistan opened five border crossing-points for facilitating transit trade, bilateral trade and pedestrian movement. The Foreign Minister also highlighted the USD 1 billion development and capacity-building assistance that Pakistan has extended to support reconstruction and economic development in Afghanistan,” the statement reads.

The statement also said: “Emphasizing importance of bilateral economic relations, the Foreign Minister noted that negotiations for Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and revision of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) will commence soon to optimally utilize our capacities for mutually beneficial trade and trans

Qureshi stressed that return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honor should be part of the peace and reconciliation process.

TEHRAN, 29 September, 2020, (TON): Iran Foreign Ministry's special assistant for Afghanistan affairs Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian discussed major regional developments in separate phone calls with uzbek and German counterparts.

The three officials reviewed Afghan peace process and the latest developments in the region.

During talks with both diplomats Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian supported the idea raised by President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev that United Nations should pay more attention to Afghanistan affairs and to establish appropriate mechanism to this end.

According to media reports, while addressing to the 75th General Assembly of the United Nation, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan called on the international body to create a Permanent UN Committee on Afghanistan to coordinate peace efforts and to facilitate a lasting political settlement in the country.

On Friday Iran Foreign Minister’s special assistant stressed the need for peace and stability in the country. He added that Afghanistan is the inseparable part of Iran’s policy and we are ready to help advance a real and lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also voiced Iran's readiness for any assistance to peace process in Afghanistan.

Since the U.S.-Taliban deal was struck in February, there has been little forward movement in the broader Afghan peace process. The talks were delayed due to disputes over a prisoner exchange that included the release of hundreds of battle-hardened Taliban fighters.

Earlier this month Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem claimed the militant group had decreased the level of violence with the start of the first round of intra-Afghan talks.

Long-delayed peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators will begin Saturday in Qatar.

ISLAMABAD, 28 September 2020, (TON): Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation along with Mohammad Umer Daudzai, President Ghani’s Special Envoy for Pakistan reached Pakistani capital city of Islamabad today, 28 September 2020, on a three-day official visit. The delegation will meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, the president, and other Pakistani military and non-military officials.

In a statement issued here, Abdullah Abdullah said that both sides will have unique opportunity to exchange views on Afghanistan peace talks in Doha and develop bilateral relations.

Mohammad Umer Daudzai, President Ghani’s Special Envoy for Pakistan appreciated Pakistan’s role in peace efforts in Afghanistan. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in an op-ed published in the Washington Post said that peace is within reach in Afghanistan, but a hasty withdrawal of foreign forces will be unwise.  Pakistani Prime Minister said, “All those who have invested in the Afghan peace process should resist the temptation for setting unrealistic timelines. A hasty international withdrawal from Afghanistan would be unwise. We should also guard against regional spoilers who are not invested in peace and see instability in Afghanistan as advantageous for their own geopolitical ends.”

The statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan witnessed some criticism from Afghan elements who were adamant that there should be no further delay in announcement of political solution of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, certain stakeholders, who pretended to be factions of Afghan Taliban engaged Afghan security forces and carried attacks in 24 provinces of the country over the past 24 hours, as per the statement of Afghan Ministry of Defense. Representative of the Defence Ministry added, Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman, Nuristan, Kapisa, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Logar, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Farah, Badghis, Ghor, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Helmand, Kunduz, Badakhshan and Baghlan are among the provinces which saw security incidents and attacks.

 

KABUL, 26 September 2020, (TON): The 24th anniversary of former president Najibullah Ahamdzai was marked in a special ceremony in Kabul on Friday. 24 years ago, the Taliban hanged Najibullah and his brother in public.

Najibullah was president of Afghanistan from 1987 until his ousting by the mujahedeen in 1992. He then lived in the United Nations headquarters in Kabul until 1996, when the Taliban took control of Kabul. After entering Kabul in the fall of 1996, the Taliban killed Najibullah and his brother Gen. Ahmadzai and then hanged them in Ariana Circle in the city.

KABUL, 21 September 2020, (Nation): Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, veteran Afghan mujahideen leader and head of the Hezb-e-Islami party, has expressed his willingness to form an alliance with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“Hezb-e-Islami is ready for direct talks with the Taliban, as well as for partnership and cooperation. We believe that if these two groups join hands, the crisis in Afghanistan will end soon and no force will be able to stand against it,” he told supporters at the party’s headquarters in the capital Kabul on Saturday.

“When the first round of talks between Kabul [the Afghan government] and the Taliban is completed, we are ready for the Hezb-e-Islami and the Taliban to start talks. The decision now rests with the Taliban.”

The Taliban, engaged in landmark direct talks with the Afghan government since last Saturday, is yet to comment on the offer.

Hekmatyar asserted that the Afghan government was “weak and divided,” while the Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami “share mutual beliefs, values, and ideology.”

Pakistan reports 633 coronavirus in one day

Earlier this month, he said the US had realized that its presence in Afghanistan had resulted in nothing but financial and human losses.

“They [Americans] want a deal with the Taliban – implemented soon and without delay – and the Kabul government has also been told that the agreement will be implemented [even if they oppose it],” he said.

Hekmatyar claimed the Afghan government was looking to delay the peace process until November’s US presidential election.

On the role of other regional countries, he said India, due to its rivalry with Pakistan, was dissatisfied with the peace push and had started supporting local militias to act as spoilers.

“China and Pakistan have a common and coordinated position on Afghanistan, not only do they support the peace process, rather they see it as beneficial to their regional interests, especially if it leads to a reduction in India’s presence in Afghanistan,” he said.

 

 

KABUL, 20 September 2020, (TON):  20 (ANI): The UNSC issued a statement on Friday regarding Afghanistan peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar on 12 September 2020. It welcomed the start of the Afghanistan peace negotiations and reaffirmed the Security Council's strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan."

The members of the Security Council recognized that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that aims at a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire as well as an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
The members of the Security Council strongly encouraged parties to the negotiations to continue pursuing confidence-building measures including reductions in violence, and to continue to engage in good faith, the statement further said.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations’ role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and welcomed the efforts of all regional and international partners of Afghanistan in facilitating intra-Afghan negotiations and in helping the parties reach peace.
The members of the Security Council thanked the Government of Qatar for facilitating the first round of negotiations, the statement added.
The members of the Security Council, as quoted in the statement, emphasized the importance of the implementation of its relevant resolutions, including resolution 2513 (2020).

KABUL, 20 September 2020 (TON): One person was killed and five others injured in an IED explosion which took place in Mazar-i-Sharif on  Saturday evening. explosion took place near Sina Stadium when a convoy of Afghan security forces was passing through the area.The injured were rushed to Abu Ali Sina Balkhi hospital in Balkh, Mazar-i-Sharif.

This is the third terrorist incident; earlier two security personnel died in separate blasts at Dedadi district of Balkh province and Paktika province on Saturday. The Afghan authorities confirmed that Mohammad Hashim, an National Directorate of Security (NDS) commander, was injured in the blast.

The frequency of violence continues to increase as the hope for restoration of peace in Afghanistan is progressing. The terrorists’ incidents are being carried out by the elements who do not desire that talks with Taliban are successful. Peace talks in Doha between the Afghan government and Taliban which started last week is likely to be affected by the violence.

 

KABUL, 18 September 2020, (TON): Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has approved the inclusion of a mother’s name in the country’s national identity cards.

In many countries of the world only the name of the father is given in official documents. In Afghanistan too name of the father was recorded but foreign-funded NGOs and social activists complain that this makes women invisible. In traditional Islamic society, it is still regarded as shameful to mention the name of mother or females as identity of men. The very tradition has been taken from Quranic verses in which Muslims have been ordered by Almighty Allah to address children including the adopted children from the names of their fathers.

Now Afghan mothers will have their names printed on their children's national identity cards.

KABUL, 16 September 2020 (TON): The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on15 September extending the UN political mission in Afghanistan for another year  and welcoming the start of negotiations between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban, encouraging the warring parties to aim for a permanent cease-fire.

Adopting Resolution 2543 (2020) unanimously, the 15-member Council decided to extend the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) mandate until 17 September 2021.

The Security Council called for women and young people to be included in peace negotiations and underlined 'that the economic, social, political and development gains made in the last 19 years, including in the field of human rights, especially the rights of women, children and minorities, must be protected and built upon.'

The Council expressed deep concern over the current high level of violence in Afghanistan, especially the number of civilian casualties. It also reaffirmed that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.

KABUL, 14 September 2020, (TON): In a terrorist incident on Sunday, five Afghan soldiers were killed as a m explosive plated on roadside struck a military vehicle in Abkamari district of Badghis province.

As per the confirmation by the District Police Chief said, a mine planted by terrorists on a road in Dehistan area of Abkamari district struck a military vehicle on Sunday afternoon, killing five soldiers aboard.

According to Afghan sources, since the start of intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha on Saturday with an aim to end the war in their Afghanistan,  over 40 persons including miscreants and security personnel have been killed in Badghis province.

KABUL, 13 September 2020, TON: The intra-Afghan talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban opened in Qatar's Doha on Saturday, which was aimed at establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Afghan government's 21-member negotiating team was led by Masoom Stanekzai, a former intelligence chief while the Taliban were led by Mawlavi Abdul Hakim, the former chief justice. It was thought provoking sessions which raised many questions regarding future of Afghanistan. 

Key speakers at Saturday's opening ceremony at a hotel in Doha included Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Speaking at a conference on Afghan peace negotiations in Doha through video conferencing, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that Afghan soil should never be used for carrying out anti-India activities. In fact, India is concerned if Taliban comes to power in Afghanistan, India would be have no place to go as New Delhi considers Taliban as close ally Pakistan and see Kabul remotely controlled by Islamabad.

In the backdrop of US-Taliban peace talks, India does not want to see a Taliban government in Afghanistan as due to the fact Taliban means end to Indian hegemony in Afghanistan. Another important factor is that with the coming of Taliban, Indian investment and strategic targets in Central Asian countries, especially Uzbekistan and Tajikistan would be at stake.

KABUL, 11 September 2020, TON:  In the recent act of terrorism in the Gandumak area of Nangarhar, unidentified miscreants opened indiscriminate firing at positions where the Afghan security forces were deployed, leaving 16 servicemen dead and many others injured.

A witness claimed there is great probability of insider involved in the attacks on security posts. The witness claimed that the main motive behind the attack was to give an impression that Afghan security forces lack capacity to defend the country and foreign presence is vital for the security of Afghanistan’s minorities.

Such attacks are likely to be increased to put pressure foreign negotiators to give up talks with Afghan Taliban. The intra-Afghan peace talks that are expected to begin in Qatar on Saturday following the mutual release of prisoners by Kabul and the Taliban.

KABUL, 10 September 2020, TON: A road side mine exploded in the Afghan capital city of Kabul on Wednesday, injuring Afghanistan's First Vice President Amrullah Saleh. Witnesses claimed that it was an apparent assassination attempt which targeted convey of Amrullah Saleh, who suffered minor injuries while at least 10 people killed.

Afghan authorities said, Vice President Amrullah Saleh survived the attack but  dozens of civilian casualties, mostly bystanders, were reported  injured or have been killed in the blast.

Pakistan has strongly condemned the attack and expressed sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims. In a statement by his spokesperson, Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, in a message to media denied the its involvement in the attack on Saleh's convoy. The latest attack comes as Afghanistan is all prepared for direct peace negotiations with Taliban.

KABUL, 9 September 2020, TON: For the first time in two decades since foreign invasion in Afghanistan, Panjshir province which was secured by the foreign troops has come under attack. Local witnesses of the area claims that unidentified miscreants group also kidnapped some locals on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, residents of Panjshir claim that the unnamed authorities directed to take up arms to resist such attack in the future. Although media quoting Afghan authorities says that the attack might be carried out by the Taliban but accent of the attackers described by the locals suggests they were Persian speaking or Hazara or Tajik ethnic groups.  

Provincial officials were quoted by Afghan media that the militants took over several Afghan security force outposts in the Afshar district. VOA reported that District official Mohammad Sohrab saying that about 60 militants came from Nuristan province and took number of villagers hostage. Taliban residing in neighbouring Nuristan, Baghlan, Badakhshan, and Kapisa provinces ruled out any maneuver or attacks by the Taliban.

A local, who identified himself to Mohammad Daud said attack came at a time when 19th anniversary of Ahmed Shah Masood's death was being observed. He pointed out that Ahmed Shah Masood  and Gulbadin Hikmatyar were the main commanders who expelled foreign forces from Afghanistan and  freed Afghanistan. However, as a foreign conspiracy he was killed in 2001. He claimed that it was also an attempt to divide Afghan people into Taliban and non-Taliban.

Meanwhile Mohammad Naim, the Taliban spokesman, said the process of releasing Taliban prisoners is in progress and once the prisoner released    negotiation will be started.

KABUL. 27 July 2020,TON: The Qatar-based faction of Taliban say they are ready for talks with Afghanistan’s political leadership after Eid ul Adha holidays in August 2020, by that time when all the Taliban prisoners would be free.

The Taliban’s political spokesman Suhail Shaheen  said in a statement on Sunday offer made by Taliban’s political spokesman Suhail Shaheen in a tweet late Thursday follows one of the most significant shakeups in the Taliban in years.

Meanwhile, the High Council for National Reconciliation confirmed that they are still working through the Taliban’s prisoner list. As per the Afghan national security sources, remaining around 500 Taliban prisoners in the release list have been convicted of serious crimes by the Courts. Hence Afghan government is hesitant to release them without other assurances.

Negotiation were held for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government and 1,000 Afghan personnel and security personnel held by Taliban custody Meanwhile, the faction has finalized its 20-member negotiating team, which includes 13 members of the Taliban’s leadership council under Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

KABUL, 30 April 2020, TON: Fighters from across the borders assembled in Afghanistan to launch major operation. Many among them claims to be associated with Taliban but Taliban have totally denied any links with these people. The Afghan officials also confirmed on Wednesday that hundreds of foreign combatants are fighting alongside Taliban militants in a strategic northern province, a move that if proven true would violate the terms of the US-Taliban peace agreement.

Zakaria Sawda, the governor of the northeastern province of Badakhshan, said around 400 foreign militants, mostly from neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, had joined the Taliban and were fighting Afghan security forces in the province. However, Taliban have denied any links with these Hazara, Tajiks and Uzbeks in Badakhshan province.

KABUL, 29 April 2020, As pressure is mounting on President Ashraf Ghani to include Abdullah Abdullah in his Government, suicide attacks have taken frequency to attract attention of international community.  On 29 April, a suicide bombing close to Afghan capital Kabul killed three people and wounded 14 others.

In a statement the Interior Ministry said, "A suicide bomber detonated his explosives among civilians in the Reshkhor area of Char Asiab district of Kabul on Wednesday morning."  

The attack was close to Afghan security forces’ special operations facility, 11 kilometers from Kabul.

It was not immediately known who was responsible for the blast, as reportedly Taliban neither target civilians nor carryout proactive attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Taliban spokesman has denied that its fighters were behind the bombing. It is in the interest of Taliban that cease-fire and reduction in violence should continue as agreed upon.

KABUL, 28 April 2020, TON: Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary General's special representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA said, Anti-government forces including the Taliban, Islamic State, and other unidentified groups were responsible for 55 per cent of all the casualties during timeframe; 1st January and 31st March 2020, but Afghan government forces and international troops caused more child casualties than anti-government armed groups.

More than 500 civilians, almost a third of them children, were killed and 760 were wounded due to the fighting in Afghanistan in the first three months of this year, the UN said in a report on April 27, stressing the need to better protect civilians amid the threat posed to all Afghans by the coronavirus outbreak.

Those figures included 152 dead children and 265 wounded, as well 60 women killed and 108 wounded from January 1 to March 31, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

YUMGAN, 28 March 2020; TON:  Taliban have retaken the control of a district headquarters in Yumgan, Afghanistan's northeastern province of Badakhshan. In another Taliban refused to withdraw or negotiate handing over the headquarters to Afghan government.

Heavy fighting between Taliban and the Afghan troops, resulted in number of casualties and finally takeover.

Yumgan and Jurm districts of Badakhshan Province which are presently with Taliban were controlled by Taliban since decades but last year taken over by the Afghan Government forces. In case Taliban retains Yumgan, there are high chances that the areas in between Yumgan and Taliban controlled Kuran wan Munjan will also be taken over by the Taliban.

KABUL: 26 people died and 8 wounded on Wednesday, 25 March 2020, as a Sikh as unidentified militant carried out early morning bomb attack at religious complex in the Afghan capital of Kabul, witness at the site of bombing said. Afghan government claims that all the attackers were killed by the Afghan security forces. 

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said 25 people who had been in the religious compound had been killed, eight wounded and 80 rescued while all of the attackers have been killed. A Taliban spokesman, in a message on Twitter, denied responsibility for the attack. Otherwise, Taliban and Sikhs enjoy cordial relations. 

Narender Singh Khalsa, a member of parliament who represents the Sikh community said “Three suicide bombers entered a Dharamsala and started their attack at a time when the Dharamsala jam-packed.”  Sikhs are a small religious minority in Afghanistan with numbers fewer than 300 families.

Pakistan Foreign Office strongly condemned the ‘heinous terrorist attack’ on Gurdwara, “Such despicable attacks have no political, religious or moral justification and must be rejected outright,” Official statement issued by Islamabad said, “Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their loved ones in this inhuman act and we pray for the swiftest recovery of the injured. We also express our abiding solidarity with the fraternal people of Afghanistan.”

If we recall, New Delhi was aggrieved over the Sikh’s protests in foreign countries and campaign against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Amendment in Citizen Act. One of the Sikh woman who lost her husband blamed Indian Embassy at Kabul.

KABUL, 19 March 2020, TON: According to reliable sources, Abdullah Abdullah is  insisting his share in the government and has threatened to form a parallel government. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) had announced the final election results, declaring Ashraf Ghani as the President of Afghanistan.According to IEC, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani secured 50.64% of votes while Abdullah Abdullah and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received 39.53% and 3.85% of the votes respectively. The total turnout for Afghanistan’s 2019 presidential election was 1,823,948 which makes less than 5% of Afghanistan’s population if the whole population is assumed 40 million. Ghani wons the election securing less than 2.5% of the nation’s votes.

The foreign powers including the United Nations have adopted controversial stances and are carrying out talks and discussion with opposition and rebel leaders. In a recent statement, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells has warned that parallel governments will be harmful to the Afghan people. However, the American and European authorities are regularly holding meetings with the defeated leaders of Afghan elections.

If we recall, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (USAMA) did not openly  honour the verdict of IEC and issued an ambiguous statement,  “The United Nations has underscored the importance of an orderly process leading up to the announcement of the final results, and continues to stress the equal importance of national cohesion in the period ahead, noting that the election process has been a joint responsibility of all stakeholders, including the electoral management bodies and the candidates, as well as media, civil society and other actors.”

The U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad also issued a statement, emphasizing,  “It is time for Afghans to compromise and put their differences aside to resolve the political crisis resulting from elections and dual inaugurations.”

KABUL: 18 March 2020, TON:  Following the Taliban’s statement over its strong standpoint against the malicious terrorist group, IS-K or so called Daesh, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad – who had signed a peace deal with the Taliban’s deputy leader around two weeks ago in the Gulf state of Qatar – said that the fulfillment of the agreement by Washington would depend on Taliban’s stand on their commitments, in accordance to the peace deal.

The progressive remarks made while there is a strong distrust between the Afghan government and Taliban who are supposed to sit in one table under Afghan-to-Afghan negotiations to end the endless war in their country. “I welcome the Taliban’s statement denouncing Daesh and committing to stop any attempts by Daesh to recruit, fundraise, or train inside Afghanistan,” Khalilzad twitted and added, “These mirror Taliban’s public commitments (in our agreement) against Al Qaeda and all other groups that threaten the US or its allies.” Khalilzad had termed Taliban’s operation against IS-K in Kunar as a positives step, which are stated in the US-Taliban peace deal.

The Taliban group in a statement said that they have fought the IS-K and that most of the Daesh hideouts have been destroyed during their operations in eastern Afghanistan. After one and half years of negotiations with the Taliban, Khalilzad had hammered out an agreement with the group’s political office in Qatar that paved way for reduction in number of foreign troops and also facilitate direct-Afghan-talks. Based on the agreement, the Taliban should cut ties with other terrorists groups and assured that Afghanistan would not be used against U.S. and allies by any terrorists groups. In return, the U.S. would reduce the number of its roughly 13,000 troops to 8,600 within 135 days and the Afghan government would release around 5,000 Taliban prisoners. But the crucial phase of peace process, which is the intra-Afghan talks, is still looming in an unfinished business, as the Afghan government and Taliban are seemed reluctant to get into practical steps.

President Ashraf Ghani has signed a decree, which allows the gradual release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners but the militants group insists that all of the 5,000 prisoners be released at the same time before its representatives set on a negotiation table with the government’s delegation. On the other hand, the current political controversies among the Afghan politicians over Presidency Power and Election have become another great challenge against peace process. Afghan peace process should be finalized because internal stability of Afghan is necessary for Afghan people as they are suffering a lot due to prolonged war.

NEW DELHI, 17 March 2020, TON: The India Government has imposed a ban on the entry of passengers from Afghanistan to India with immediate effect, according to an travel advisory issued by Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

In continuation of the travel advisory issued on 11 March and 16 March 2020, the additional advisory has been issued that says that travel of passengers from Afghanistan to India is prohibited with immediate effect. The statement said,

no flight shall take off from Afghanistan to India after 1500 hours Indian Standard Time (IST) till 31 March. The airline shall enforce this at the port of initial departure, according to the advisory. The ban shall remain imposed till further reviewed.

An official at New Delhi who introduced himself as Pardhan Dass disclosed on the condition of anonymity that New Delhi intend to impose tougher rules for the Afghans who had been in India for over a decade. It is worth mentioning that after the peace deal between the US and Taliban, New Delhi feel threatened as it is against the interests of the US and India to allow Taliban to control Afghanistan or live in peace there. He added, names of the Philippines and Malaysia have also been added to balance the equation.

 

General Kenneth McKenzie ex US Central Command, in a recent statement said, “There are indicators that the deal with Taliban ultimately may be doomed”. A day earlier on 12 March, in a statement General Kenneth McKenzie said that despite a pledge to reduce violence, the frequency of Taliban attacks across Afghanistan remained troubling. The ground facts cannot be denied that attacks continued against Afghan security forces at the border outposts, security checkpoints and, military and Police units. A local Afghan resistance commander was doubtful about US Defense Secretary Mark Esper

President Ashraf Ghani, at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, was sworn in as president for a second term. Those present on the occasion were US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson, Commander of NATO and US forces General  Scott Miller, as well as ambassadors from different countries including Pakistan, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway and EU.

In a 9th March statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “US strongly supports a unified and sovereign Afghanistan, opposes any effort to establish a parallel government or any use of force to resolve political differences.” Meanwhile, US influencers including Peace Envoy for Afghanistan Khalilzad carried out extensive negotiations with President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to reach to an agreement on broad based Government.

In another development, Abdullah Abdullah has refused to accept Ashraf Ghani as President of Afghanistan claiming that the National Unity Government ended and it is time for new Chief Executive to be announced. On the other hand President Ashraf Ghani had issued a decree abolishing office of the Chief Executive. If we recall, Chief Executive Office was established through a power-sharing agreement in 2014 in which despite Asharaf Ghani winning the election, power was divided Ashraf Ghani as President and Abdullah Chief Executive.

It is interesting to note that Afghan Independent Election Commission has declared President Ashraf Ghani as winner on 18 February but the US and allies are adamant that President Ashraf Ghani should forgo the decision of Independent Election Commission and should not announce his victory as it may hamper US-Taliban Peace Agreement. Where President Ashraf Ghani has expressed his desire that political power should not be someone’s inheritance and the next government should demonstrate the will of the entire people of Afghanistan, Western intruders are going for another political experiment to resolve the deadlock.

Reportedly, President Ashraf Ghani is being persuaded to offer 40 percent share in the Government to Abdullah Abdullah but Abdullah Abdullah is projected if he is not ready to agree and wants a bigger share. Tadamichi Yamamoto, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is holding meetings with Abdullah Abdullah despite 18 February’s Independent Election Commission declaration that Ashraf Ghani has won the elections. 

The statement issued by US State Department said, “US is engaged in intensive efforts for peace in Afghanistan” and “We welcome President Ghani’s statement at his inauguration 9 March that discussions and negotiations will continue for the next two weeks to come to an agreement on an inclusive government which unifies the country and prioritizes peace”.

Ground realities cannot be denied that US and UN are derailing democratic process and are not ready to honour the decision of Independent Election Commission, which declared Ashraf Ghani as winner. In fact, negotiation by the representatives of US and UN with Abdullah Abdullah, Dostum and other parties to reach a power sharing agreement is violation of democratic system. One wonders if countries and organizations do not believe in the democratic process why some much money has been spent on elections.  

WASHINGTON, 7 March 2020, TON: US President Donald Trump said on Friday, Taliban could possibly overrun the Afghan government after the United States at the White House withdraws from the country, leaving the US-backed authorities to defend for themselves.

At the White House briefing, President Trump said, “Countries have to take care of themselves…. You can only hold someone’s hand for so long.” The statement was given by President Trump on the apprehensions that Taliban being overwhelming Pastun majority would overrun the country and the elections if US withdraws from Afghanistan. Analysts say that 7th March deadly Kabul attack at a minority ceremony in which top opposition leadership including Abdullah Abdullah was also present was aimed to impress upon the western forces of dangers if US and NATO withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.The opposition, which in the past enjoyed the fruits of broad-based government despite democratic elections are perturbed over their future domination over the political, government and social structure of Afghanistan.

President Trump clarified, “We can’t be there for the next twenty years. We’ve been there for twenty years and we have been protecting the country but we can’t be there for the next twenty years,  eventually they’re going to have to protect themselves. ” Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper  and US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad discussed plans to convince   Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to agree to a mechanism in which minority fill the political and governmental seats regardless of election results and government rules.

KABUL, 6 March 2020, TON: In a renewed attack at Afghan capital Kabul, unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate firing at a ceremony organized by the Hazara community in which top opposition leaders were also present. At least 29 people were killed and scores of others injured. As per the detail top opposition leadership was celebrating death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari, a  Hazara leader who was killed in 1995.  

Last year too during the ceremony several people were killed in a similar attack. Taliban have denied any involvement in the attack. As per the analysts the attack was carried out by foreign intelligence agencies to create suspicion against the Taliban and create doubts amongst the masses about peace in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a statement condemned the attack and termed it  “a crime against humanity and against the national unity of Afghanistan”. Representatives of Representatives of the US, European Union, Pakistan and NATO condemned the attack. Hazaras are mostly Shi’ite Muslims, who had been in favour of foreign occupation and were critical of any deal with Taliban. It has become a routine affair that any unclaimed attack is attributed to Sunnis and Taliban but this time Taliban and other Sunni leadership has condemned the attack and denied their involvement.

DOHA, 29 February 2020, TON: American media is celebrating US -Taliban historic agreement, which American leadership claims would set into motion the drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan and potentially pave the way to ending America's longest-fought war. The media throughout the world is rejoicing over deal between the US and the Taliban but question remains, where is the deal? In fact, the deals authenticate US troops’ presence till April-May 2021, censures Taliban-Al Qaida linkage and set condition of political settlement prior to the withdrawal.

This winter the average deployment of US troops in Afghanistan was less than 4000 but the agreement provides reduction of US troops from about 12,000 to 8,600. Similarly, the NATO troops have also been explained in the deal in a similar fashion. A joint statement issued by the US and Afghan governments from Doha provide that the United States and NATO would withdraw all troops in Afghanistan within 14 months if the Taliban upheld its commitments.

Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission has announced that President Ashraf Ghani won 50.64 percent of a 28 September. Where Washington has asked President Ashraf Ghani to give up his claim of winning the elections, interestingly, the so called Taliban representatives are also dubbing President Ashraf Ghani’s government as US puppet regime. Obviously, who is left to be negotiated is an open secret.  Interestingly, Afghanistan’s government has also agreed to postpone President Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration to a second term. In the same regard, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that US notes the results announced in Ashraf Ghani’s favor but Washington claims that it is not recognizing either victory claim.

If we recall, prior to the signing of the deal, President Donald Trump said: “If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home”. One wonders is this the same democracy which USA, Britain and other western feel proud of and want the other nations to follow and implement as a political system in their countries.  

The Afghan war has led around 1.6 million innocent Afghan men, women, children killed since bloody attacks on Kandhar by the US in 1998 from the Arabian Gulf.  Whereas, although the death toll of the foreign forces in Afghanistan is much higher but the official figures released by the US and British governments says that more than 2,400 American troops and 450 from Britain have been killed in the Afghan war. One wonders if United Nations Organizations has a role to play as World Organization; if United Nations Organization can authorize US and allies to invade and destroy Afghanistan what bars United Nations Security Council to order complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD, 16 February 2020, TON: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Islamabad on Sunday as part of his three-day visit to the country to attend an international conference on Afghan refugees which is being hosted by Pakistan.

The two-day event, from February 17 to 18, will mark four decades since the refugees first moved to Pakistan to escape a decades-old conflict plaguing neighboring Afghanistan.

Secretary General Guterres arrived at the Nur Khan Air Base, Chaklala in Rawalpindi on Sunday where he was received by Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Munir Akram and officials from Pakistan Foreign Office and Ministry of Information.  

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan will be inaugurating the Afghan refugees’ conference tomorrow which is expected to see the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and ministers and senior officials from around 20 countries who have been supporting the Afghan refugees across the globe and in Pakistan.

It is added that present; Pakistan is host to nearly 1.4 million registered refugees, as data compiled by the UNHCR.

KABUL, 11 February 2020, TON: Suicide bomber attacked Marshal Fahim Military Academy on 11 February 2020 killing six persons including four military personnel and wounding eleven others including seven military personnel. Taliban have denied their involvement and blamed anti-Taliban forces to degrade Taliban.

Such attacks are usually engineered to disrupt peace process or prevent foreign forces from leaving Afghanistan. Two days back gunmen attack US forces and killed two American personnel and wounding six others in Nangarhar province. These terrorist incidents are taking place when Washington is holding peace talks with Taliban and US peace envoy Zalmay Khalizad is hopeful of breakthrough.

ISLAMABAD, 10 February 2020. TON: Pakistan in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will host an International Conference to mark “40 years of Afghan Refugees Presence in Pakistan: A New Partnership for Solidarity”, on 17-18 February 2020, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The two-day conference to be inaugurated by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will be held in Islamabad. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Filippo Grandialong with representatives from 20 countries will attend the event. In Pakistan, Afghans can be categorized as Proof-of-Registration (PoR) Card holders and therefore refugees, visa holders or ‘undocumented’, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

Among those who are ‘undocumented’, there are Afghan-Citizenship-Card holders (ACC), those who registered for ACC but haven’t yet been issued with their cards, and those who hold no documentation from the Government of Pakistan at all.

IOM figures show that currently, Pakistan hosts 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees including Proof-of-Registration (PoR) Card holders and 1.1 million undocumented Afghans including totally undocumented or registered for Afghan-Citizenship-Card holders (ACC) due to expire on 23 March 2020.

Among those considered ‘undocumented’, 549,000 Afghans hold an ACC, a further 333,000 have registered for an ACC and are in possession of tokens, and another 300-400,000 Afghans hold no legal documentation from the Government of Pakistan at all as of 04 July 2019, according to IOM.

29 January 2020, TON: Afghanistan will play Pakistan on Friday in a quarter-final match in the ICC Under 19 World Cup.

Afghan coach Rajees Ahmadzai said that his team is ready for Friday’s match with Pakistan “just like any other match” adding adding that "Any match against Pakistan is interesting to everyone as Pakistan is always a strong side.”

Ahmadzai expressed confidence in his players, and said they have an advantage of high morale having beaten Pakistan several times at the Under 19 level previously.

Afghanistan beat South Africa and UAE in group matches in the World Cup, and the match against Canada was abandoned due to rain, which meant Afghanistan topped Group-D with 5 points.

“We will try not to be emotional and will play with a clear mind because when players are emotional, they tend to lose their control and strength and are not able to focus on the match properly,” he said.

Afghanistan, 28 January 2020, TON: Militants attacked a police base in Puli Khumri, northern Afghanistan, killing 11, Mabobullah Ghafari, resident of Baghlan province said Tuesday.
The insurgents first overran a checkpoint near the base late Monday, and easily entered the compound using main gate. An Afghan police official claimed that some police personnel inside the base were accomplices of the militant who allowed the militant to easily enter from the gate. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

27 January 2020 (Courtesy of AFP): A United States military spokesman confirmed the loss of the E-11A communications plane in Ghazni province and said there was no indication the jet had been shot down.

Afghan officials had early reported the loss of a plane in the Taliban-held province, but had mistakenly reported the aircraft was a civilian passenger jet belonging to the national carrier, Ariana.

Pictures share by Taliban-linked social media accounts instead showed wreckage from a Bombardier E11 BACN emblazoned with US Air Force insignia. The aircraft is known to operate from nearby Kandahar air field in southern Afghanistan and helps boost communications among troops on the ground.

A statement from US forces in Afghanistan said: "A US Bombardier E-11A crashed in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. While the cause of the crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire."

There was no official indication of casualties, but Taliban reports said two badly burned bodies had been found in the wreckage and had  been handed over to local villagers.

Afghan officials had at first reported the crashed plane belonged to the national carrier, Ariana.

"At around 1:10 pm (0840 GMT) a plane crashed in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province. The plane is on fire and the villagers are trying to put it out. We still don't know if it is a military or commercial plane," Aref Noori, Ghazni's governor's spokesman, told AFP.

Kabul: Afghanistan suffered its deadliest year on record for journalists in 2016, according to a report released Thursday which said the country is the second most dangerous for reporters in the world after Syria.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are uprooted as relations between the neighbors deteriorate

Women who searched female passengers had received death threats from those who disapproved of them having careers.

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