Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Local officials have reported the killing and wounding of five pro-parliamentary candidate protesters in Baghlan.
Talking to reporterly, the Baghlan governor’s spokesperson Mahmood Haqmal said today (Apr 27) that a number of supporters of an “unsuccessful parliamentary candidate” Mahboobullah Ghaffari has been demonstrating, following the announcement of the final results of the parliamentary elections in Baghlan province.
Mr Haqmal added that the protesters have blocked the northern highway to traffic as well and last night, as a result of a clash, 1 protester was killed and 3 or 4 others were injured.
The Baghlan governor’s spokesperson emphasized that Mr Ghaffari has been arrested by security forces and is under their custody in Kabul. He said that the protesters are demanding unconditional release and asking for an assessment of their votes by the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC).
Mr Haqmal added that a delegation from Kabul will soon travel to Baghlan province to open the highway and handle the demands of the protesters.
Security officials have announced the release of 53 Taliban prisoners in southern Uruzgan province.
According to the Special Operations Corps, 53 prisoners were released last night by commandos from a Taliban prison in Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province.
Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid said at a news conference that these prisoners were in the Taliban custody for 2 to 10 years. These released prisoners include security forces and civilians.
Former president Hamid Karzai says that the absence of support of the country’s Chief Executive from the Jirga shows that it is not going to be held in an atmosphere of unity.
Speaking to the Sputnik news agency, Karzai on the eve of the eighth round of the International Security Conference in Moscow said that the time for the Loya Jirga to provide peace consultations is not right and there are doubts about the goal of holding it.
He added that the best time for holding the consultative Jirga was six months back when the Americans had initiated the efforts on peace. He said that If it [the Jirga] was held at that time and the efforts of the united states were acknowledged, as well as the demands of the Afghan people, we would be involved in these talks with the united states to negotiate with them through the decision of the Jirga of the Afghan people.
Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani says that peace is the country’s primary need and “ there will be no deal and negotiations that do not have the green card of the parliament.”
Mr Ghani said at the opening of the 17th round of the National Assembly yesterday that the government is respecting the independence of the institutions and is not interfering in their affairs.
He talked about the vacant seats of representatives in Kabul and added that this vacuum would be filled by setting a deadline for announcing the final results of the Kabul election.
Speaking to MPs, Mr Ghani said that they would be able to distinguish national and local priorities with access to all government documents and to transform government-controlled monitoring into a national and targeted process through empathy.
Afghan National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Mohib says Nangarhar is a strategic province and a special delegation will soon be deployed to investigate its security situation.
Mr Mohib has given his statements last night in a meeting with a number of elders and youth of Nangarhar province.
In the meeting, the elders of Nangarhar province, while calling for assistance for the displaced families in the recent clashes of Khogyani and Shirzad districts of the province, have urged the national security advisor to launch a clearance operation against the Taliban and IS-K in the Khogyani, Sherzad, and Hesaarak districts.
US Special representative Zalmay Khalilzad appreciated Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan statement on Afghanistan. In a tweet Mr. Khalilzad expressed his appreciation towards efforts by Pakistan to play a significant role in the Afghan Peace process and be a change maker.
Imran Khan on Thursday said, in a press release that, Pakistan will not be a party to any internal conflict in Afghanistan but is dedicated to supporting the peace process by committing diplomatic and security capital. The head of the nation welcomed the intra Afghan Dialogue wherein the people of Afghanistan will themselves decide the future of the nation.
During the operations of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, at least 15 Taliban militants were killed.
The 205th Corps spokesman confirmed the details of the operation that lasted for two days including a series of raids by the Afghan Special Forces along with the airstrikes by the Afghan Air Force in Tarin Kot, Uruzgan.
Uruzgan province has been a heavily contested area by the Taliban and the Afghan forces are continuously trying to dismantle the insurgents there.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced accelerating the process of cutting the staff at the US embassy in Kabul to almost half effective at the end of the next month. This announcement rather comes unexpectedly as this was not expected to happen so soon and fast. According to the congressional office, this will be done by not filling up the posts that go vacant and the reason cited for the same was cost-cutting.
Coming a year earlier, this announcement is predicted to put a dent in the delicate Afghan Peace process. According to the experts, this is seen as a step forward in the deal with the Taliban that involves an exchange of promises. Such a step could potentially invite a withdrawal from the earlier agreed on points by the Taliban. The Taliban who is eager to reduce the US presence in Afghanistan can possibly come down heavily during the peace process on both the US and the Afghan government. This step may reduced the leverage the negotiating party opposite to the Taliban earlier had to half.
US embassy reopened in the year 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. “With a workforce of about 1,500, the heavily fortified compound underwent an $800 million expansion four years ago and now includes 700 beds for staff”, the Reuters reported.