Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Rahmatullah Nabi, presidential candidate and head of Security and Justice Election Team has started his election campaign in Kabul with the motto “The Patriots Majority”.
Addressing the first gathering of his election campaign on Saturday in Loya Girga Tent, Mr. Nabil said that: “The time has come for the youth to play a greater role in the Afghan government and the failed tribal leaders step down from the government.”
He also said that Afghanistan’s leaders who have committed mistakes in the past several decades must now apologize to the people and should retire from the political arena.
Referring to the problems of youth, Mr. Nabil added, there should be educational opportunities in schools, religious schools and universities within Afghanistan; “we want an Afghan society whose children no longer need the religious schools’ “madrasas” that harbor terrorists”.
Presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil said the National Unity Government leaders have failed to serve the people and practice good governance.
He said that if he obtains power, he will treat the enemy the same way “as they treat us”.
He emphasized: “We want an Afghanistan that has a unified definition of national interest and knows its enemy and friends based on its national interests”.
“Has the leading [election] team succeeded in bridging the gaps in social differences and preventing disunity among people? No,” Nabil remarked.
Nabil said the high rates of poverty and unemployment are because of the violation of law by government leaders.
“We sacrifice our lives but I don’t know why discussions are underway on my country abroad and we are not included,” Nabil said as he spoke about the US-Taliban talks.
Provincial officials in Ghazni have announced that in the past month, a a total of 212 civilians were killed and wounded in the province.
Ghazni press office in a report regarding security incidents that occurred in the province during past month said that 19 civilians were killed and 193 were injured most of whom are children, as a result of direct Taliban attacks in the parts of the center and districts of the province.
Over the past month, around 69 security incidents happened across Ghazni province, including ground operation, airstrike and commando operations by Afghan security forces and NATO forces, armed clashes, three car bomb explosions in the capital of Ghazni and Ab Band district, 7 roadside bomb blast and an assassination carried out by Taliban, the report said.
But in these incidents 157 Taliban insurgents including 7 commanders have been killed and 48 others were injured.
The report emphasized that 16 security forces personnel including the commander of 3rd brigade’s battalion of National Army, and caretaker of Khogyani police headquarters were killed and 47 others have been wounded.
Meanwhile, during the past month security forces have arrested 17 perpetrators who involved in the killing tribal elders, security personnel, civil servants in the province by using silencer, attaching IEDs on vehicles and roadsides.
Security forces have been able to prevent dozens of terrorist attacks in the center as well as districts of the province in the past month, according to Ghazni press office.
A peace deal in Afghanistan is closer than it has ever been, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on Friday.
Stoltenberg expressed that “we are closer to a peace agreement now in Afghanistan than we have been ever before. But we are still not there, where we can announce an agreement”.
He also expressed certainty that the Afghan peace will be achieved and together with everyone, as there is NATO to make sure things are in place.
Stoltenberg stated that he recently spoke with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who is spearheading negotiations with the Taliban, “He has been here many times. He has briefed Allies and partners who are in Afghanistan”.
Provincial officials reported that Zenda Jan district governor along with his three companions was killed in a roadside bomb blast.
Jilani Farhad, provincial spokesperson of Herat confirmed the incident and told Reporterly that Shukrullah Shakir, the district governor of Zenda Jan of Herat province was killed with three of his companions as a result of a roadside bomb blast in Tarakhel area.
Farhad added that, 5 others were also injured in the incident.
US President Donald Trump has said that there has been considerable “progress” in peace talks with the Taliban on Friday but again warned that he has the ability to wipe out much of Afghanistan within days, killing millions.
“We’ve made a lot of progress. We’re talking,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Trump said that US forces, bogged down for nearly two decades, “could win Afghanistan in two days or three days or four days, but I’m not looking to kill 10 million people.”
He made a similar comment about 10 million casualties in July, but this time specified that this would not involve nuclear weapons.
“I’m talking conventional”, he said.
Trump was vague, however, in answering a question about a Washington Post report on a deal being brokered in which the United States would cut troop levels in Afghanistan to as low as 8,000 from their current 14,000.
In return, the Taliban insurgency would cease fire, enter peace talks with the US-backed Afghan government, and pledge to keep out Al-Qaeda, whose 9/11 attacks on the US spurred the invasion that ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001.
Ministry of Interior reported that a Taliban insurgent who was in disguise of a woman was detained in Ghazni province.
A Taliban insurgent who was in disguise of a woman was arrested by Police Special Forces in surrounding of Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Saturday.
The statement added that the forces seized 3 weapons from the detainee.
Qarabagh district is located 56 km south of the center of Ghazni province and is situated on the route that leads to Jaghori and Malestan districts.
Qarabagh is one of the districts of the province where most of the areas are under Taliban control.
8 civilians were injured as a result of a motorcycle explosion that occurred on early Saturday morning in Kandahar, security officials said.
Abdulbasir Khaksar, deputy spokesperson of Kandahar police told Reporterly: “8 civilians were injured in a motorcycle explosion that took place in PD2 Kandahar city on Saturday morning.”
He added that 2 children and 2 women are among the individuals injured in the explosion.
The explosion attempted to target security forces which prematurely went off, deputy spokesperson of Kandahar police said.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense has announced that 150 Taliban insurgents have been killed in the past 24 hours across 15 provinces of the country.
The Ministry in a statement said on Saturday that as a result of the ANDSF operations backed up by Air Force, 150 Taliban insurgents were killed and 50 others were injured.
The statement further added, that the operations were carried out in Farah, Badghis, Ghazni, Faryab, Daikundi, Uruzgan, Maidan Wardak, Takhar, Parwan, Zabul, Kandahar, Ghor, Balkh and Helmand provinces.
A number of vehicles of the insurgents were destroyed, some ammunition and propaganda documents were seized by security forces, the statement said.
In a statement, the Ministry of Interior informed that a key commander of Taliban terrorists was killed during Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) joint overnight operation in Bakwa District of Farah.
The commander was identified as Mullah Haqyar and one vehicle used by the militants was destroyed during the operation.
Afghan National Police (ANP) detected a roadside bomb, placed by terrorists in the vicinity of the Nadir Shah Kot District of Khost, as per another statement of Ministry of Interior.
Moreover, on Friday, a key Taliban militant expert of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making was arrested in an operation carried out by General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) in Khashrod District of Nimruz.
Finally, during an operation, the General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) arrested a man accused of helping Taliban terrorists in Chamtal District of Balkh.
An Afghanistan citizen and United States Lawful Permanent Resident was indicted on Friday for his role in a scheme to smuggle undocumented aliens from Afghanistan to the United States, as per a statement by US Department of Justice.
Mujeeb Rahman Saify, 32, is an Afghanistan national who received a Special Immigrant Visa and became a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident in 2009, after serving as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Since 2009, Saify has resided in New York and Newark. Saify was charged in the District of New Jersey with conspiracy to smuggle aliens to the United States, encouraging and inducing alien smuggling, and attempting to bring aliens to the United States.
According to the indictment, between July 2016 through January 2017, Saify conspired with members of an Afghanistan and Pakistan-based smuggling network to smuggle two Afghanistan nationals to the United States. The Afghanistan nationals did not have prior authorization to enter the United States and one had been denied a U.S. visa. The indictment alleges that Saify made contact with the aliens and arranged meetings with the co-conspirators to discuss smuggling arrangements. Further, according to the indictment, Saify received payment, gave instructions to the aliens to facilitate the smuggling venture, and he used email and phone communications to facilitate and coordinate the criminal operation.
Security forces have reported the killing of Taliban shadow governor in Farah province.
The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that Mullah Abdulrahman alias Mullah Mishir Taliban shadow governor for Farah province were killed along with two senior leaders of the group in a night raid.
The Air Force conducted the raid at 8 pm Friday night in Khak-e Sefid district of the province, as per Ministry of Defense.
The ministry added that Mawlawi Sayed, the ring Leader of Taliban and Mullah Sadiq, the finance and logistic chief of Taliban were also killed in the operation.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted that he has reached Doha to resume talks with the Taliban.
“We are pursuing a peace agreement not a withdrawal agreement, a peace agreement that enables withdrawal. Our presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based, and any withdrawal will be conditions-based” Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.
He added that the Taliban are signaling they would like to conclude an agreement, “We are ready for a good agreement”.
This comes after Khalilzad visited Islamabad on August 1 and 2 and held discussions with Pakistani leadership on developments in the Afghan peace process.
In his meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Chief of Army Staff General Javed Bajwa, Ambassador Khalilzad outlined the positive momentum in the Afghan peace process and next steps. They also discussed the role Pakistan has played in support of the process and additional positive steps Pakistan can take.
As Ambassador Khalilzad discussed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, consolidating peace will require reliable assurances from Afghanistan and Pakistan that neither side’s territory is used to threaten the other’s. Such assurances on top of an intra-Afghan comprehensive peace agreement will allow for increased regional economic integration, connectivity, and development.