Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Director General for Afghan Government’s Office of Public and Strategic Affairs Wahid Omar says the Afghan government is willing to make sacrifices for peace.
Wahid Omar in a press conference on Saturday said that the government is willing to make sacrifice for peace, if its outcome leads to the consolidation of the system, democracy, pluralism and elections.
“Peace is the basic will of the people and government of Afghanistan; But a peace that results a stable, united, democratic and orderly Afghanistan,” he said.
“The current war is for the survival of the values of the past 20 years,” Wahid Omar asserted.
According to Mr. Omar, for a year now, the Taliban have stopped fighting the foreign forces, whom they call the occupiers; But the war against the Afghan people and public facilities continues.
He stated that more than 20 days have passed since the start of the second round of peace talks in Doha; But the Taliban delegation has shown no interest in continuing the talks.
“We hope the Taliban will increase their presence in Doha and focus on peace talks,” Mr Omar said. “We hope the Taliban accept the current situation in Afghanistan and do not come up with old plans.”
Recently, Abbas Stanekzai, the deputy head of the Taliban delegation leading a delegation to Russia, said that the current government led by Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is the main obstacle to peace in Afghanistan.
According to Stanikzai, if President Ghani resigns from power, peace will be established in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday reported 13 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 840 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry said no deaths from coronavirus were recorded and 90 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,031 the number of total reported deaths is 2,400 and the total number of recoveries is 47,609.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, Paktia, Nimroz, Wardak, Helmand and Paktika provinces.
At least eight security forces were killed in a car bomb blast that targeted a civil order forces unit in Shirzad district of Nangarhar province on Saturday morning, the provincial governor’s office confirmed.
The civil order forces unit operates under the Afghan National Army, according to local officials.
The explosion took place in the Gandumak area in Shirzad district, a statement by the Nangarhar governor’s office read.
Meanwhile, Obaidullah Shinwari, the deputy head of the provincial council in Nangarhar, said that at least 14 security force members were killed in the attack.
Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib says an interim government means a permanent opportunity for the foreign interventions in the country.
NSA in a series of tweets said that Afghan people now understood the value of democracy and the republic system.
According to Mohib, there is no time for the implementation of the foreign agenda in the country.
Mohib made the remarks in response to a statement by Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the deputy head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar.
Stanikzai announced in Moscow on Thursday that if Ashraf Ghani resigns, the Taliban are ready to work peacefully with the new government.
This comes as President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has reiterated his opposition to an interim government, saying the interim government had previously experienced “bloodshed and destruction”.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had a telephone conversation with Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov this morning, the Presidential Palace (Arg) said.
Arg in a statement on Saturday said that President Ghani congratulated Japarov on his victory in the Kyrgyz Presidential election, adding that Afghanistan has re-established its historical ties with Central Asia over the past few years, and that relations with all of these countries, including Kyrgyzstan, are great.
According to the statement, President Ghani emphasized the expansion and strengthening of relations between Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan in the fields of economy, culture, society and political consultations.
In the meantime, the Kyrgyz President thanked Ghani for congratulations, saying his country wants to have strong and lasting relations with Afghanistan, which is one of the most important countries in the region.
He invited President Ghani on an official visit to Kyrgyzstan, and the two leaders decided that the two countries authorities must arrange the preparations for the visit.
The statement added that President Ghani praised Kyrgyzstan for its cooperation in implementing major regional projects and called for Kyrgyzstan’s cooperation in the Casa 1000 project and regional railway projects.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has denied allegations of Police shootings at protesters in Hese Awal Behsud district of Maidan Wardak province.
The representative of Maidan Wardak in the Parliament, Mahdi Rasikh said that the residents of Behsud district staged a protest against Allah Dad Fadayee, the Police chief of the province yesterday.
Rasikh claimed that Police opened fire at protesters which killed 11 civilians and wounded more than 20.
He noted that the killed were transferred to the mosques and the wounded were transferred to the provincial hospital.
Rasikh also claimed that the government forces have taken 60 protesters and tribal elders as hostages.
He denied MoI officials’ claim about a clash between Police and a local commander, Ali Poor’s men in the area.
In the meantime, MoI spokesman, Tariq Arian, has said that the Maidan Wardak police leadership has been stationed in the district’s HQ for several days to introduce new police commanders and to strengthen police checkpoints in Hese Awal and Hese Dowom districts.
According to Arian, the irresponsible gunmen affiliated with commander Ali Poor were present in the area, preventing the presence and activity of security forces and police, as well as the gathering of people in front of the district’s building.
Arian said Ali Poor’s men have opened fire on people and the security forces.
He stated that a number of security forces and five local residents were wounded in the shootings by Ali Poor’s men.
The MoI spokesman cited that nine people affiliated with Ali Poor were killed and seven more of them were injured in the shootings.
According to Arian, the situation is now under the control of the security forces and 68 irresponsible gunmen have been arrested.
Arian stressed that a high-level delegation will be sent from Kabul to Maidan Wardak in order to thoroughly investigate the incident.
This comes as the incident followed by the reactions of Afghan people, officials and politicians.
Mohammad Karim Khalili, the leader of Hezb-e Wahdat Islami Afghanistan said in a statement that security forces had targeted a peaceful protest and used violence.
Mr Khalili called on government to summon Police officials in Kabul as soon as possible, saying the security forces had provoked concern among the people using violence on protesters.
Khalili stressed that the move was unjustifiable for government forces in a safe area, and that the consequences of this “ill-considered” move in the current situation is not in the country’s interest and spark a new crisis.
Mohammad Mohaqiq, senior Adviser to President Ashraf Ghani also issued a statement calling on the government to resolve the issue in a lawful and peaceful manner by sending a delegation to the area.
Meanwhile, Sarwar Danesh, the second Vice President, in reaction to the incident said that in the early hours after the incident, he had followed up the protest with the relevant officials in the National Security Council, the Ministry of Interior and provincial officials.
Danesh emphasized that violence by anyone and for any motive is not acceptable at all.
He called on the people to refrain from violence, saying a delegation would be sent to the area to investigate the incident.
Afghanistan’s capital witnessed two explosions in its PD5 and 10 on early Saturday morning.
Confirming the incidents, Police said the first explosion happened in Pul-e Company area of PD5 which had no casualties.
According to Police, a ranger type vehicle was targeted by a magnetic IED blast at around 08:50am this morning.
The second blast occurred in Salim Karwan area of PD10 at around 09:40am.
Police said a Corolla type vehicle was targeted by an IED blast which left four people wounded.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incidents so far.
At least five irresponsible armed individuals were killed and three more were wounded after clashes erupted between two groups in Badakhshan province, local officials said.
The Badakhshan Police spokesman, Sanaullah Rouhani said the clashes erupted between the group members of commander Sebqat and commander Najibullah in Abb Ganda village of Shahr-e Bozorg district at around 04:00pm on Friday.
According to Rouhani, the clashes continued up to 08:00pm and as a result commander Najibullah and three of his men were killed.
He added that no civilian was harmed during the clashes, but two of commander Sebqat’s men were also killed and three of them were wounded.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has urged the new US administration to step up pressure on the Taliban and not rush to withdraw more troops.
Speaking at a virtual event, he said Taliban have failed to comply with their commitment under US-Taliban deal to reduce attacks in Afghanistan.
“The United States and NATO must take a very strong stand on the conditions-based approach,” Ghani said on Friday in an online address to the Aspen Security Forum.
“They signed an agreement; that agreement now needs to be implemented.”
Ghani said the Taliban must admit to attacking government forces and conducting a string of assassinations of public figures.
The Taliban exploited former US President Donald Trump’s rush to pull US forces from Afghanistan to continue attacking government forces, Ghani suggested.
After the US-Taliban deal last year, US officials assured Kabul “there will be a ceasefire or a very substantial reduction of violence”, Ghani said.
“Instead, violence has peaked,” he said.
And rather than pursuing peace talks in good faith, he added, “the Taliban are finding one excuse after another not to meet”.
Ghani said he spoke with new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday and was assured that Biden’s administration would review matters by sending a new team to Afghanistan, and would consult more closely with Kabul.
Afghan Minister Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri said the Afghan government generated 4.2 billion Afghanis in revenue from 95 mining contracts.
He also announced that the Afghan government has signed and processed 37 small-scale mining licenses this year.
These licenses include mining of construction stones, marble, travertine and gravel that generate an annual revenue of 240 million Afghanis and provide direct job opportunities for 1,000 people.
He added that the ministry leadership has enhanced efforts to design programs aimed at boosting transparency, national revenue and job creation.
Iran’s former ambassador to Afghanistan Abolfazl Zohrevand said on Friday that Iran shares concerns of the Afghan Government in Afghan Peace Process.
Referring to the Taliban delegation’s visit to Tehran, Zohrevand said in an interview with IRNA that Iran can help resolve this impasse without talking about the Doha agreement.
He added that Tehran’s considerations in Afghan peace are close to the Afghan Government. Under the circumstances, if the Taliban see Tehran as their refuge, Afghan peace will be out of the deadlock.
The Kabul government insists that any agreement with the Taliban is a ceasefire and the establishment of peace, and Iran’s view is that if the Taliban are serious about peace, this trip is a good opportunity for peace between the Taliban and the Kabul government, he stated.
He highlighted that Iran, as Afghanistan’s neighbor, insists on peace, tranquility, and security in Afghanistan, adding that the Taliban delegation’s visit to Tehran with Iran’s considerations can create an opening for futuren agreements, but it is the Taliban’s own decision to accept these considerations or not.
The former ambassador to Kabul described Tehran-Kabul relations as friendly and said that the two countries have special and privileged relations in terms of geopolitical, historical, economic, political, cultural, and religious affinities.
Tehran follows up the agenda of the Afghan people to achieve lasting peace as quickly as possible because stability in Afghanistan will stabilize peace in the region, he reiterated.