Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Following US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalizad’s visit to Islamabad, Riyadh and Doha, and after his consultations and briefing with Afghan Prime Minister, CEO and other government officials and civil society members, the US envoy’s visit came to a conclusion.
According to a statement issued by the US Embassy in Kabul, Khalizad is of the opinion that “The United States shares the aspirations of all Afghans for a peaceful Afghanistan where all Afghans see themselves included. All citizens of Afghanistan must be a part of the reconciliation process.”
With his last leg of visit ending in Kabul on Saturday, Khalizad will return to Washington, to take things forward with leaders in US and international partners.
US Ambassador to Kabul John Bass has issued a statement condemning the attack on Takhar election rally. He has also called on the Taliban group to agree with the statement and condemn the attack.
I strongly condemn outrageous bombing of #Takhar #election rally. Taliban said they would not target civilians. #Afghanistan elections & campaigns are inherently civilian. If Taliban is serious about pursuing peace, it will condemn today’s attack and punish those responsible.
— John R. Bass (@USAmbKabul) October 13, 2018
According to Bass, the elections processions are absolutely civilian and he pointed out that the Taliban themselves said in a statement few days ago that they will not target civil population since they want peace.
Ataullah Khoghayani, a spokesman for Nangarhar province, told the khabarnama that in an armed attack at fifth district of Jalalabad one policeman was killed and another, injured.
Khogyani further said that the attacker was also shot dead by security forces.
The Afghan government says it alone cannot fight the negative consequences of the drought, so it is asking countries and international organizations to work with them.
The State Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, Najib Aqa Fahim, said on Saturday in the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction in Kabul, this year the drought afflicted 20 provinces and the agricultural and livestock economics in this Provinces that are heavily dependent on water are severely damaged.
He noted that droughts in 20 provinces of the country affected 2.2 million people and 3.3 million livestock.
“Fighting natural disasters and droughts requires a joint and integrated struggle, and we all must work together and help fight and control it.
He further noted that China has pledged 1,000 tons of wheat and 800 tons of flour, Uzbekistan has also promised 3,000 tons of wheat.
The minister added that wheat aided to the provinces is being handed over to Provincial Committees headed by the governor.
According to him, assistance has been provided by the relief agencies for 18,000 families in Badghis, and more than 30,000 other families are to be aided soon.
On the other hand, according to Mr. Fahim, within the framework of the Drought Response Plan, health services are set to be provided to 145,000 people in 20 vulnerable provinces.
ARG has informed that the president has met with the representative of the Southeastern Afghanistan Regional Council.
Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday that administrative complexes will be built for the southeast zone, including Zabul province, according to a statement by ARG.
“This year, a specific code will be included in the national budget for the Kuchis and we will consider the implementation of major projects in the area of Kuchi settlement and livestock development,” he emphasized.
Local authorities in Herat province have reported an attack on a campaign office in the province.
The spokesman for the governor of Herat, Jailani Farhad, told Khabarnama that an armed attack has taken place in the Enjil district of Herat province today, two civilians were killed and one injured in the shooting.
The Taliban has confirmed that its senior leaders met with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalizad.
As per the statement, the Taliban confirmed that its head of Qatar political office Sher Mohammad Abas Stanekzai, along with others like Mawalwi Salam Hanafi, Shuhabuddin Delawar, Qari Deen Moh. Hanif, Zahed Ahmadzai, & Sohail Shaheen were at meeting.
Earlier on Saturday, there was no confirmation by the US State Department on Khalizad’s meeting with Taliban.
An explosion has been reported by TOLONews in the Rostaq district of Takhar province. The target was supposedly female candidate’s election rally.
At least 12 people one of which was an NDS officer were killed and 32 others wounded. The candidate is safe as per police.
More details to follow.
Army Lt. Gen. James Rainey became one of the most important generals of NATO’s Resolute Support mission on Friday as he took over the command of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.
CTSC-A is one of the largest commands in Afghanistan. Rainey told a crowd of about 100 Afghan, NATO coalition and U.S. military and civilian leaders at a ceremony closed to the media, that ” can promise you that every day I am here, you will get 100 percent of what I’ve got.” His statements were later released.
Lt. Gen. Rainy takes over the command from Maj. Gen. Robin Fontes, who held the highest position of any female servicemember in the war.
After his visit to Pakistan and Qatar, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalizad came back to Kabul and held a meeting with government leaders on Saturday.
In the meeting that was held in Presidential Palace, Khalizad stated that the US is ready to cooperate on peace in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process and would continue to its efforts in this regard, according to a statement from the palace.
In response, President Ghani also expressed gratitude and said that he welcomes the US envoy’s stance towards sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalizad met with Taliban officials in Qatar on Friday, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The previous time someone from Washington side met Taliban was when Alice Wells the State Department deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia interacted with Taliban.
However, the US State Department has not confirmed Khalizad’s meeting with Taliban, saying “Special Representative Khalilzad held a number of meetings with a wide range of stakeholders as part of his trip to explore how best to reach a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan. We can’t confirm specific meetings or the content of diplomatic conversations,” said a State Department spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity.”
The Ministry of Defence has released a statement informing that 3 Haqqani network terrorists were killed and one other wounded in the Gurbuz district of Khost province.
As per the statement, the terrorists faced casualties as a result of the ANA airstrikes in the region.
Security officials have reported that 24 terrorists have been killed and wounded in Kunduz province.
209 Shahin Corps informed in a statement that as a result of the NATO airborne and Afghan forces clearing operations in Chardara and Dash-e-Archi districts of Kunduz province, 16 insurgents were killed and 8 others wounded.
According to the statement, during the operations, two armoured vehicles and a significant amount of weapons and ammunition of insurgents were captured by the Afghan Forces.
Security officials have reported that 38 terrorists have been killed or wounded in Ghazni province.
Ministry of defense said on Saturday in two statements that as a result of the ANA airborne and clearing operations in Qarabagh, Moqur, Andar, Khugyani, Rashian and Dehyak districts of Ghazni province, 20 insurgents were killed and 18 others wounded.
According to the statements, during the operations, two vehicles and a significant amount of weapons and ammunition of insurgents were also destroyed.
The Afghan Government’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah returned to Kabul on Friday after attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
According to a statement by the Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah addressed Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit on behalf of Afghanistan, as well as met with officials and representatives of various countries on the fringes of this summit. The emphasis was on the crucial need for a joint fight against terrorism, the fight against drug trafficking, the expansion of regional cooperation and partnership, the implementation of major regional programs, increased trade and draw the support of regional countries for the Afghan-own and Afghan-led peace process in Afghanistan.
The statement added that Dr. Abdullah met separately with the President of the Republic of Tajikistan on the, the Prime Ministers of the People’s Republic of China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Belarus, the Foreign Minister of India and the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran sidelines of the SCO Summit.
The Chief Executive of the government, while addressing the SCO Summit, called for regional cooperation in the war on terror, saying that he supports any steps for the success of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.
CEO Abdullah Abdullah has arrived in Kabul after his two day visit to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe for the SCO meet.
In the conference, Dr Abdullah met with many heads of state and leaders from various countries like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Iran, China and India.
An explosion at a media center in Herat, allegedly due to the launch of a hand-held bomb, did not cause any casualties.
Director of the Istiqlal Audial visual center, Ghulam Yahya Anwari, said: “Around 10 pm in the evening (Friday, October 12, 2018), first several gun shots heard followed by a massive explosion at the gate of his office where their home was in the third floor of the building.”
He said that he had no personal hostility with anyone, and it’s unclear who behind the attack was.
It is said that the blast did not hurt anyone, but all the glass in the office collapsed.
Istiqlal Audial visual center is providing audial and visual technical services to government and NGO’s political and social gatherings and events.
CEO Abdullah met with Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Ruman on Friday. They met on the sidelines of the session of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
BelTA has quoted Rumas as saying during meeting with Abdullah “Belarus knows and highly appreciates your constructive approach to promoting cooperation between Belarus and Afghanistan, as well as your personal contribution to the implementation of our joint projects. Your visit to Belarus in August last year became an important milestone for the bilateral relations and I am glad to have an opportunity today to review the implementation of our agreements.”
It has been estimated that Afghan-Belarus trade stands at $21 million so far in 2018 so the leaders’ meet was mostly a discussion on the cooperation between the two countries.