Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has expressed that the US military presence in Syria has ‘damaged’ the region as the Iran government made remarks on first US President Trump recent announcement to pull US troops from Syria.
In a tweet, Trump said on Wednesday that he was pulling all 2,000 US troops out of Syria.
The official IRNA news agency on Saturday quoted Bahram Ghasemi, the ministry spokesman, as saying that the presence of US troops during Syria’s civil war has damaged peace and security in the region.
Ghasemi said: “Basically, the deployment and presence of US forces in the region was wrong, illogical and a tension-maker.”
Iran has been a key supporter of the Syrian government.
Chief Executive Abdullah on social media informed that he met with UK’s Chief of Defense Staff General Sir Nick Carter.
As per his statement, the two discussed bilateral relations, security issues, peace process, election & UK’s Support to Afghan Armed Forces.
The Ministry of Defense announced in multiple statements that a total of 41 insurgents were killed across provinces of Ghazni, Faryab and Farah.
9 other insurgents were wounded in Ghazni and 3 motorbikes were destroyed in Faryab and Farah.
These were a result of the ANA airstrikes and clearing operations.
Kabul is set to host Afghanistan-Iran joint economic commission meeting, as announced by Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister, at a meeting with Iranian ambassador Reza Bahrami.
The two also discussed bilateral ties, including the Joint Economic Commission meeting due to be held in Kabul in the near future.
Afghan Air Force is set to get seven new light attack and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft with the first delivery scheduled for next month.
“The Afghan Aviation Modernization Program (AAMP) seeks to address ANDSF aerial fires and lift gaps and replace the Mi-17 fleet with U.S.-made helicopters while ensuring sustainment costs are affordable,” the US Department of Defense said in its latest report on Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan.
According to the report, as of the end of December 2018, DoD has delivered to Afghanistan 30 UH-60s for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and the first five new armed MD-530 helicopters to add to the 30 that were fielded previously.
The report further added that the first AC-208 attack/ISR light fixed wing aircraft will be delivered in January 2019, with a total of seven scheduled to be fielded through March.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday met with the youth activists during his visit to Afghanistan.
He posted on social media about it and said that “The youth activists i met today articulated clear & deep desire for an end to Afghan people’s pain & suffering & to build on accomplishments of past 17 yrs. Our goal is that a negotiated settlement will create better future for all afghans, especially women & youth”.
Khalilzad just completed a 3 day dialogue with various stakeholders in Abu Dhabi and paid a visit to Pakistan as well before he landed in Kabul.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) will start the registration process for presidential elections candidates’ on Saturday.
An IEC spokesman, Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, said that the IEC will use all their efforts to hold the elections on time.
The election commission said that the pre-requisites for holding the 2019 presidential elections have been completed from 60 to 70 percent. “We are preparing to start presidential elections candidates registration process on December 22,” said Maliha Hassan, an election commissioner.
Mr Ibrahimi also said “In October 20 elections, 35,000 voters repeatedly cast their votes. They were identified when biometric devices were connected to the main server”, while signalling that there is possibility of a delay in presidential elections.
US Senator Republican Lindsey Graham posted on social media that “It is imperative Congress hold hearings on withdrawal decision in Syria — and potentially Afghanistan — to understand implications to our national security.”
“Especially we must NOW hear from the Pentagon about the likelihood of the rise of ISIS and the fate of our Kurdish allies in Syria” he said while remarking “Just heard White House spokesperson claim ISIS is defeated in Syria. According to all available information, thousands of ISIS fighters still remain and are lethal in Syria.”
He also tweeted that “As to the status of our Kurdish allies, the Administration has yet to tell the American people what happens to the Kurds – who fought so hard for us – when we leave. Is there a plan to protect our allies post withdrawal? Need answers now.”
This comes after US Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned from his position on Friday.