Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during his electoral campaign on Saturday said that peace with dignity is in the framework of a republican system not in Emirate, and Taliban cannot deny the election.
“Based on Loya Jirga’s order, we are ready to dispel the negative violence of Taliban. Taliban did not show a positive power. We have provided all fields for peace,” Ghani said. The President emphasized that Taliban can join the Republic Islamic of Afghanistan but cannot deny the election.
“Taliban should accept the election. If they want to come up with a formula and ruin the future of nexty generations, this is impossible,” he asserted. In another part of his speech, Ghani noted that ethnic boundaries should be broken; otherwise, Afghanistan’s national unity would be jeopardized.
“Jihad is not a legacy. Intermediaries should not become a tradition. Brotherhood is one faith, one commitment, and one team,” he said. The President also declared that the commitment of his team is that the Afghan population statistics should be completed on the basis of a nationwide census.
“The current population statistic is not trusted. It has been fifteen years since they have used the same strange formulas which demonstrate the population to be five million fewer that it used to be,” he added.
The Presidential election is scheduled to be held on September 28th of the current year.
The General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) launched two separate operations in Balkh and Sar-e-Pul. As a result, two men were arrested as they were accused of helping Taliban insurgents.
In another report, General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) arrested a drug and weapon trafficker in Nangarhar.
Moreover, the General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) seized 1,040 kilograms of explosives during an overnight operation in Nish District of Kandahar, as per a statement by Ministry of Interior.
Also, the Afghan National Police (ANP) discovered and neutralized two roadside bombs, placed by terrorists in Nadir Shah Kot District of Khost and Khost City. Hence they foiled an attack.
A high-ranking delegation from Iran’s Energy Ministry arrived in Kabul Saturday morning to hold talks with senior Afghan officials on the future of energy ties between the two neighbors.
Headed by Deputy Energy Minister for Electricity Homayoun Haeri, the delegation will hold separate meetings with Afghani energy officials with a focus on finding the ways to facilitate electricity trades between the two countries.
Mohammad Hassan Motevali Zadeh, the head of the government-affiliated Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) is accompanying the deputy minister in this trip.
The Iranian delegation’s visit to Kabul is to be held for two days and as per media sources, the delegation will discuss technical matters around cooperation between the two countries in electricity and water sectors.
The 5th edition of Herat International Women’s Film Festival will be held for four days (26 – 29 August) in Kabul city.
This edition will host 200 films from different countries of the world and selected films will be screened in Herat, Bamyan, Nangarhar and Kabul provinces.
In this edition of the festival, 47 films from (Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Turkey, France, Egypt, Italy, Belgium, Iran, Russia, United States, Lebanon, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Germany, Portugal, Korea, etc) have made to the main competition.
A panel of jury comprising of filmmakers and women’s rights activists from Afghanistan, India, Germany, Spain and Iran will bestow the awards of this edition to the selected films of this festival.
“Herat International Women’s Film Festival” is the first women film festival in the region which has hosted around 1300 films in its 4 previous editions of the festival from various countries.
In addition to the presence of prominent filmmakers and cultural figures from Afghanistan, this edition of the festival also hosts guests from other countries.
The Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior released multiple statements to confirm that a total of 48 Taliban insurgents were killed across three provinces in the past 24 hours.
The 209th Shahin Corps in a statement said on Saturday that 35 Taliban insurgents were killed in Balkh province.
The statement added that in past 24 hours in two security incidents and as a result of ANDSF clashes with Taliban insurgents and also airstrike carried out in Qala Barbar region of Dawlat Abad district, Seya Ab region of Sholgara district of Balkh province, 35 Taliban insurgents were killed and 7 others were wounded.
An ammunition cache of Taliban insurgents was also destroyed in the operations, the statement said.
Secondly, as result of special operation of ANDSF in Charkh district of Logar, 11 Taliban insurgents were killed.
Finally, as a result of the clash between security forces and Taliban insurgents which took place in Qatas area of Firuzkoh the capital of Ghor province on Friday, two Taliban’s group leaders were killed, Ministry of Interior in a statement said on Saturday.
The statement further added, the insurgents were killed when they were planning to attack on security outposts in Qatas area in surrounding of Firuzkoh district.
In clash between security forces with Taliban insurgents in Top Khana village of Sancharak district of Sar-e Pol province, three Taliban insurgents were injured as well, the statement said.
A Nevada Army National Guard unit has been deployed to Afghanistan, and is the first of five Guard units set to deploy in coming months as per the Associated Press.
A mobilization ceremony will be held Tuesday in Las Vegas for the 30 soldiers of the 3665th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company’s 10-month mission in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province.
The Henderson-based 3665th is the Nevada National Guard’s only explosive ordnance disposal unit and the deployment is its first.
EOD soldiers specialize in defusing unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices and weapons of mass destruction.
The Guard said the 3665th is its first unit to embark on a combat deployment in three years.
The Guard said soldiers from four aviation and combat sustainment support units also are set to deploy this year to Asia, Europe and Africa.
The United States has made yet another cut on aid to Pakistan by $440 million, bringing down its commitments under Kerry Lugar Berman Act to $4.1 billion.
The decision to cut Pakistan’s economic assistance, being disbursed under the Kerry Lugar legislation of 2009, was officially conveyed to Islamabad about three weeks before the planned visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the United States, sources in the Ministry of Economic Affairs told The Express Tribune
The aid was being disbursed under Pakistan Enhanced Partnership Agreement (PEPA) 2010. PEPA that was going to lapse was extended by Pakistan last week aimed at facilitating the disbursements of the remaining $900 million grant, said the sources in the ministry.
PEPA was signed in September 2010 to make operational the Kerry Lugar Berman (KLB) Act that was passed by the US Congress in October 2009 to disburse $7.5 billion to Pakistan.
The White House has stated that US President Donald Trump’s talks with his national security advisers to discuss Afghan peace talks went “very well” and that negotiations with the Taliban “are proceeding.”
Officials on August 16 said that Trump met with his top advisers to review negotiations with the Taliban about a possible U.S. troop pullout from war-ravaged Afghanistan and the potential for a political settlement in the nearly 18-year conflict.
In a tweet following the briefing, Trump wrote: “Just completed a very good meeting on Afghanistan. Many on the opposite side of this 19 year war, and us, are looking to make a deal — if possible!”
The White House statement announced that Trump met with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, national-security adviser John Bolton, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
“In continued close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan, we remain committed to achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, including a reduction in violence and a cease-fire, ensuring that Afghan soil is never again used to threaten the United States or her allies, and bringing Afghans together to work towards peace,” the statement said.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation has led eight rounds of peace talks with Taliban negotiators in Qatar in an effort to end the war in Afghanistan.
Washington has shown keenness for finalising a peace deal by September 1, and some U.S. officials have hinted according to media reports, that Afghan presidential election set for September 28 could be canceled in the event of a peace settlement and the formation of an interim government that the Taliban would join.