Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Tajikistan has turned over to Kabul 48 Afghan citizens who were serving prison terms in the Central Asian nation.
As per Radio Free Europe report, Tajik officials said the majority of those who were handed over to Afghanistan at the Lower Pang border checkpoint on September 30 were serving terms in Tajik prisons for illegal drug trafficking.
Saidmasud Badakhsh of the Afghan Embassy in Dushanbe told RFE/RL that all of the convicts handed to Kabul will serve out their prison terms in penitentiaries in Afghanistan.
Badakhsh added that 70 Afghan nationals remain in Tajik prisons.
Afghan officials said earlier that Kabul repatriated “several Tajik citizens” sentenced in Afghanistan to prison terms on terrorism charges. The exact number was not specified.
The High Representative of the European Union Federica Mogherini has said that the Afghan Presidential election has proven once again the commitment of the Afghan people to furthering the democratic path of their country.
The Vice-President of EU, Federica Mogherini in a statement said that the European Union remains committed to supporting the Afghan constitutional order and the electoral process as a way to ensure institutional continuity and legitimacy of Afghanistan’s political institutions.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those killed and with those who were injured in attacks that attempted to dissuade voters through violence and intimidation, both on Election Day and in the run-up,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the legitimacy of the final result will now be linked to the ability of the Afghan electoral management bodies to fulfill their mandate impartially, efficiently and transparently and in full respect of the constitution, electoral laws and procedures, including with regard to any complaints and appeal proceedings.
“The European Union will continue to work with all Afghan stakeholders, along with our international partners, for democracy, peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, for the sake of the Afghans, of the region and of the whole world,” the statement added.
The civilian deputy police of Ghazni province has been killed by the Taliban insurgents, security officials said.
The Ghazni Police press office on Monday said that civilian deputy of Ghazni police, Mirza Hussain Sorosh was killed by Taliban militants on Sunday in Salar area of Kabul – Kandahar highway of Maidan Wardak province.
The office added that the incident took place while Mirza Hussain Sorosh was on his way from Kabul to Ghazni province.
Russia has announced that it recognizes the results of last week’s Afghan presidential election.
Electoral fairness and transparency, on the other hand are yet to be assessed, Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told reporters in Moscow.
Commenting on the Afghan peace process, the envoy said Russia was working on organizing another meeting in the Russia – U.S. – China plus Pakistan format in Moscow in October.
“In Moscow, we may gather in the format of the expanded ‘troika’ of special representatives of Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan on Afghanistan. We are now working on it, there is no exact date. It will take place in October,” Kabulov said.
The diplomat added that he maintained constant informal contacts with the Taliban on the issue.
The raging Afghan conflict is in its 18th year, with thousands of lives lost and millions forced to flee their homes. The UN repeatedly calls for urgent need to seize opportunities for peace in the region.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has rejected reports about fall of Baharak and Khawaja Ghar districts of Takhar province to Taliban.
The MoD spokesperson Rouhullah Ahmadzai on Monday said that fighting is continuing between Afghan forces and Taliban insurgents in Baharak and Khawaja Ghar districts.
He noted that Afghan security forces have inflicted heavy casualties to the Taliban fighters in the province. At least 11 insurgents were killed in an airstrike conducted in Baharak district on Sunday night, he said.
Spokesperson for MoD emphasized that security forces are advancing to clear the districts from the existence of insurgents.
Meanwhile, a member of Takhar provincial council told Reporterly that the Taliban captured the bazar of Baharak district and an airstrike mistakenly killed 8 members of public uprising forces and injured 15 others.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called Afghanistan one of the deadliest places for to be an aid worker.
OCHA in a report on Monday said that so far this year, 319 humanitarian incidents were recorded across the country, nearly half of the recorded incidents were the result of direct and indirect violence against humanitarian personnel, assets or facilities.
This international aid organization noted in its report that 28 aid workers killed, 31 others injured and 33 other abducted during the period.
Attack on aid workers and relief facilities not only affected the access to people in need, but also had a negative impact on the access of aid workers and their ability to provide essential services to those in need, the report stated.
The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs has emphasized any repeat of previous insecurity and violence will very likely worsen the humanitarian situation for the 6.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2019.
The organization added that already, almost two-thirds of the population live in areas directly affected by conflict, routinely exposing them to human rights violations including the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure, such as schools and health facilities and sexual and gender-based violence.
The major rival of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the head of “Stability and Partnership” Abdullah Abdullah has claimed victory in 2019 Presidential Election of Afghanistan during a press conference in Kabul.
“The results will be announced by the Independent Election Commission but we have the most votes. The election is not going to go to a second round,” Abdullah said during a press conference.
Abdullah praised the participation of Afghan people in the election, saying our people voted against the dictatorship and discrimination.
He noted that some government officials interfered in the elections on the election day, but they will be treated legally. “The Electoral Complaints Commission has an important task afterwards.”
The Chief Executive declared that the situation in 2014 election was different.
“We were the winning team at that time… Now it is 2019 and I have announced, and I am reiterating, that only pure votes will be accepted by us,” he added.
Abdullah also thanked the (election) commission and NATO forces for their role in the election’s security.
Afghan security forces have killed 45 Taliban insurgents including an Uzbek militant during the clashes in Faryab province, local officials said.
The 209th Shahin Corps in a statement said that 45 insurgents have been killed and 19 others of them have been wounded in clashes between security forces and Taliban in Qaisar, Almar, Khaja Sabz Posh, Shirin Tagab, Garizwan, Dawlat Abad, Kohstan and Bul Cheragh districts of Faryab.
According to the statement, the majority of clashes were erupted after the militants attempted to attack the polling centers in the province.
However, at least five security forces were killed and 11 others were wounded during the clashes.
In addition, after mortar rounds hit the center of Dawlat Abad district, one child and one woman were killed and five others including men and women were wounded in the incident.
A regional Chinese diplomat has rebuked the United States for being “ignorant” about his country’s ongoing key economic contributions and cooperation with Afghanistan.
Arrangements are being worked out to enhance the cooperation with Kabul even under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Yao Jing, the Chinese ambassador to neighboring Pakistan told VOA.
As per VoA report, he hailed Saturday’s successful Afghan presidential election, saying China hopes they will boost peace-building efforts in a country wrecked by years of conflicts.
“We hope that with the election in Afghanistan, with the peace development moving forward in Afghanistan, Afghans will finally achieve a peaceful period, achieve the stability,” said the Chinese diplomat, who served in Kabul prior to his posting in Islamabad.
Earlier this month, U.S. officials and lawmakers during a congressional hearing in Washington sharply criticized China for its lack of economic assistance to Afghan rebuilding efforts.
“I think it’s fair to say that China has not contributed to the economic development of Afghanistan. We have not seen any substantial assistance from China,” Alice Wells, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, told lawmakers.
Wells, however, acknowledged that Beijing has worked with Washington on a way forward on peace as have other countries, including Russia and immediate neighbors of Afghanistan.
China is also working on infrastructure projects, including the road linking Kabul to the eastern city of Jalalabad and the road between the central Afghan city of Bamiyan and Mazar-e-Sharif. Chinese companies, Yao, said are also helping in establishing transmission lines and other infrastructure being developed under the CASA-1000 electricity transmission project linking Central Asia to energy-starved South Asia nations through Afghanistan.
India on Sunday congratulated Afghanistan on the successful conduct of its presidential elections, saying these were an “important milestone in the people”s efforts to promote peace, security, stability, prosperity and democracy in their country”.
In a statement, India commended “the people, the government and the security forces of Afghanistan for the successful conduct of Presidential elections on September 28 amidst challenging circumstances”.
“We congratulate the Afghan people for once again demonstrating their faith in democratic governance and constitutional processes despite threats, intimidation and violence. These elections are an important milestone in people”s efforts to promote peace, security, stability, prosperity and democracy in their country,” the statement said.
Afghans across the country cast their votes in the third presidential election on Saturday by defying threats from militants who vowed to disrupt the process at any cost.
According to Afghan govt, 72,000 security personnel were deployed with 9.6 million people registered to vote. Election results will be announced on October 30.
India has been a key development partner of Afghanistan since 2001. India has always maintained any US-Taliban engagement must not jeopardize gains of the last 18 years.
Local officials have said that an airstrike in Takhar province mistakenly killed and injured 15 members of Public Uprising Forces.
“The Taliban attacked on Baharak district last night and the air forces carried out a raid to repulse the attack, but the airstrike mistakenly killed 8 members of public uprising forces and injured 7 others,” a provincial council member, Mohammad Azam Afzali told Reporterly.
He noted that the Taliban assaulted on district for four consecutive nights, but the group has failed to take control of the district building and police headquarter.
Mohammad Azam Afzali said Taliban captured the bazar of Baharak district on Sunday night and killed 5 members of public uprising forces and injured 5 others.
Taliban insurgents also attacked Talqan city last night from 2 directions, but the assault was repelled and security forces were not harmed, he noted.
He added that Taliban group suffered causalities but there is no precise report regarding it.
At least 8 employees of election commission were abducted by Taliban in Parwan province, local officials said.
The provincial governor spokesperson Wahida Shahkar told Reporterly on Monday that the staff members of electoral commission were abducted yesterday (Sunday) by Taliban from vicinity of Shinwari district of Parwan province.
She noted that they were kidnapped while they were going home from polling centers without coordination of security forces.
Wahida Shahkar added that tribal elders are mediating for the release of election commission employees but no results have been obtained so far.
The Stability and Partnership team led by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that the non-biometric votes are invalid.
Dr. Abdullah in his Facebook page wrote that the leadership meeting of Stability and Partnership team was held Sunday night and the team have emphasized on protecting the pure votes of the people.
He noted that it was decided in the meeting not to give credit to non-biometric votes to ensure the credibility and transparency of the elections.
This comes as the inappropriate functioning of biometric devices was considered as one of the factors of low turnout in 28 September election.
At least four Taliban insurgents including 1 Pakistani and 2 Iranian nationals have been killed in Helmand province, army officials in south said.
215 Maiwand Corps in a statement on Monday said that the insurgents were killed in an airstrike carried out by Afghan Air Force in Haji Yaqub area in Garmsir district of the province.
The statement added that the Pakistani national was member of Taliban red unit and the Iranian nationals were involved in destructive activities in Garmsir district.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan has repeatedly criticized Iran and Pakistan for supporting the Taliban.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said that the voter turnouts for 3736 polling centers is 2,196,436.
Officials of IEC in a news conference late Sunday night announced that the figure is based on the overall voter turnout except some polling centers in Badakhshan, Takhar, Faryab and Farah provinces.
The IEC management noted that of a total of 5,373 polling centers, the voter turnout for 786 centers will soon be available to the commission, but there is no accurate data from 234 polling centers.