Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The European Union has rejected a 60-day deadline set by Tehran for the remaining signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal to address Iran’s legal rights and protect its interests against US sanctions, saying, however, that the bloc will stay committed to the agreement for now.
In a joint statement released on Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK expressed “great concern” about Iran’s recent suspension of some of its commitments under the accord — officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — in reciprocation for Washington’s withdrawal last year.
Iran announced on Wednesday that it would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal — France, Germany, the UK, China and Russia — to take practical measures towards ensuring Iran’s interests in the face of the American sanctions that were re-imposed on Iran after Washington’s exit.
The top European diplomats said, “We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). In this respect, we recall the key role of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) monitoring and verification of the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments.”
Reports indicate that the sixth round of talks between US representatives and the Taliban has been halted for a day.
The sixth round of talks between US and Taliban groups is halted after four days for Monday (May 6), and talks are scheduled to resume tomorrow, as per reports.
It is said that both sides have not yet reached a tangible outcome and therefore are set to resume talks. A source close to the negotiating room told BBC that during talks on Sunday “discussions were good and good progress took place.”
A key Taliban commander was arrested and several bottles of alcohol were confiscated along with some weapons and military kits in northern Balkh province.
The Ministry of Interior in a statement said the Taliban commander identified as Yousuf who was arrested in Nahr-e-Shahi district of Balkh province on Sunday night.
The statement further added that 11 bottles of alcohol, a Hookah, an Ak-47 rifle, an air rifle, a pistol, and other military kits and a vehicle were confiscated.
The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the airstrike so far.
Security officials announced that in the Taliban attack on Baghlan police headquarters that occurred on Sunday, 68 people were killed and wounded.
Nusrat Rahimi, spokesman of Ministry of Interior said that in this attack, 8 assailaints of attack on Baghlan police headquarters and 13 police personnel were killed and 35 other police personnel were wounded.
Rahimi added that in this incident 20 civilians were also wounded. On Sunday afternoon, a group of insurgents armed with weapons and suicide vests attacked on Baghlan police headquarters, the assault initially began with a car bomb exploding in front of building of headquarters and then the insurgents entered police headquarters.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is set make his second visit to India for consultations starting on Monday.
While seeking support and ideas from India for the ongoing reconciliation, Khalilzad is also expected to brief Indian authorities about the progress made in the peace efforts in the past few months.
The US peace envoy for Afghanistan is likely to meet external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale.
The last time Khalilzad was here was in January when India conveyed to him that there was a need to protect the existing structure in Afghanistan and to also not insist on the formation of an interim government.
The Trump administration is deploying a carrier strike group & bombers to the Middle East in response to troubling, as per US National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The deployment, according to Bolton is due to “indications & warnings” from Iran & to show the US will retaliate with “unrelenting force” to any attack.
This comes after tensions have been rising between US and Iran following the former’s withdrawal from JCPoA and sanctions on Iran.