Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad announced on Twitter that US is set to hold talks with Taliban on June 29.
He wrote “based on my recent visits to Afghanistan and Qatar, I believe all sides want rapid progress”.
These will be the seventh round of talks between US and Taliban.
In the meanwhile, Pakistan hosted the Afghan Peace Conference on Saturday which was attended by many Afghan politicians.
The National U20 Futsal Team finished second in the AFC Futsal Championship after losing the final match against Japan.
The match was held in the city of Tabriz, Iran, on Saturday.This is the first time that Afghanistan reached the final of the futsal championship.
The match ended 3-1 in Japan’s favor.
The National Directorate of Security reported the killing of seven IS-K terrorists in Kunar province.
As a result of NDS special forces operation on hideout of IS-K terrorist group in Nurgal district of Kunar, seven members of the group were killed, National Directorate of Security said in a statement on Saturday that.
The statement further added that, the intelligence in-charge of IS-K group is also among the individuals killed in the operation who had gathered to organize a terrorist and destructive attack on security forces and government facilities.
14 suspected individuals were also detained in the operation and 5 Kalashnikov, 1 pistol, 2 RPGs, several hand grenades and some military equipment were confiscated by security forces, as per NDS statement.
According to NDS, a hideout of the group, an ammunition and weapon cache and a vehicle were destroyed in the operation.
Afghan Army in the north of Afghanistan reported the repulse of Taliban attack on Dawlat Abad district of Faryab province.
In Taliban’s attack on Jat Chaghatak and Qozibai Qala villages of Dawlat Abad district of the province, 4 Taliban insurgents were killed, 209th Shanin Corps press office said on Saturday.
The Corps further added that, in clashes between security forces with Taliban, 3 individuals including Qari Sibghatullah, known as Talaha one of the key Taliban commanders for Andkhoy district were injured.
209th Shahin Corps did not comment on the causalities of Afghan security forces in the clashes.
Afghanistan’s under 20 Futsal Team will take stage with Japan on Saturday afternoon in final round of AFC U-20 Futsal Championship.
The match promises to be a cracker, as both sides overcame stiff challenges in the semi-finals to advance to their first final, which kicks off at 6:30 (local time) at the Pour Sharifi Indoor Stadium.
Afghanistan’s Under20 Futsal Team defeated Indonesia 4-3 and for the first time in history of its sport, managed to reach at final round of AFC Under-20 championship.
Meanwhile, in a phone call with Abdulraziq Mamrak coach of Afghan under-20 Fustam Team, president Ghani congratulated the team for booking their place in the final round of AFC Under-20 championship and appreciated the efforts of the team.
It is said that, a delegation led by Fahim Hashemi acting Telecommunication and Information Technology minister and also Yousuf Kaakar, caretaker of National Football Federation went to Iran for encouraging the team members at final match of AFC.
Although Tabriz city is a “prohibited area” for Afghan immigrants, but the governor of the city recently announced that the immigrants can travel to Tabriz to attend and encourage their national futsal team. Previously, Afghan citizens had launched various campaigns on social pages in which they asked Iranian authorities to allow Afghan immigrants attend the final match city and encourage the country’s national football futsal team.
The ministry of interior released multiple statement to inform that 22 Taliban insurgents were killed across three provinces of Afghanistan in the last 24 hours.
14 Taliban insurgents were killed in a clash with Afghan National Police (ANP), as reported by Ministry of Interior.
The clash took place while a group of armed Taliban attacked Afghan National Police check posts in Shapigali and Nawa villages, Tagab district of Kapisa.
Secondly, Khaksar, a key commander of Taliban insurgents was arrested and another was killed in a joint operation of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in Garmsir district of Helmand.
ANDSF also seized one AK-47 rifle and 20 various types of roadside bombs.
Last night, seven Taliban insurgents were killed and two others were injured in a clash with Afghan Local Police (ALP) in Logar province.
The clash took place while a group of Taliban militants attacked Afghan Local Police (ALP) check posts in Baghki region, Khoshi district of Logar.
In other news, Afghan National Police (ANP) discovered and defused two roadside bombs, placed by terrorists in Khair Qala village, Sayed Karam district of Paktiya.
In another report, Afghan National Police (ANP) detected two roadside bombs, placed by terrorists on the main road of the Khowaja Alwan region, Baghlan province.
Moreover, on Friday Afghan National Police (ANP) arrested a mine planter with his three accomplices while they were planting a roadside bomb in Sanglakh region, Rustaq district of Takhar.
US President Trump nominated Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army and former West Point classmate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Friday to be the next acting defense secretary, as per New York Times.
If confirmed, Mr. Esper, an Army infantryman who fought in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 before becoming a lobbyist for Raytheon, would succeed Jim Mattis, who resigned in December during a dispute over pulling American troops out of Syria.
Mr. Esper is set to become acting defense secretary on Sunday, after the abrupt resignation of Patrick Shanahan, who was also nominated by Mr. Trump to the top Pentagon job. Mr. Shanahan withdrew on Tuesday amid news reports about his 2011 divorce.
The president nominated Ryan McCarthy, the under secretary of the Army and a former Army Ranger, to succeed Mr. Esper. He also nominated David Norquist, the Pentagon’s chief financial officer, to be the next deputy defense secretary.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday at the Afghan Peace Conference that Islamabad wishes to see a friendly Afghanistan that is governed by an elected leadership. Qureshi assured that Pakistan supports an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself, and at peace with its neighbours.
Qureshi expressed while addressing inaugural session of an Afghan peace conference titled “Lahore Process” in Murree. A number of senior Afghan politicians and chairman of High Peace Council, Karim Khalili, are attending the event.
He said that Pakistan is determined to build bilateral relationship on the principles of non-interference, mutual respect and common interest.
He said that advancing the cause of peace and stability in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s own national interests as after the Afghan nation, Pakistan has suffered most from instability.
“It is indispensable to move away from this negative paradigm”, he said while referring to the blame-game.
He said that the two countries should take practical steps to build mutual trust and confidence and must not allow their respective territories to be used by anyone to the detriment of our interests and added that Pakistan has whole-heartedly facilitated the Afghan peace process in good faith and as a shared responsibility and will continue playing its due role.
He said that Pakistan remains committed to the Afghan reconstruction and development efforts, post-settlement.
Atmar’s Peace & Moderation Team issued a statement regarding the Afghan Peace Conference being hosted in Pakistan today. It clarified that the meeting is an exchange of views between political leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the focus will be on peace.
The team was invited to attend this conference and it approved the invite, and the statement added that “the team is committed to supporting any sincere effort aimed at bringing peace to our country”.
The statement conceded that the team hopes for continued cooperation between governments of both the countries in areas of peace and security and a call for greater cooperation between them.
Pakistan is set to host the “Afghan Peace Conference” on Saturday where many politicians will be marking their presence.
Among them would be Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Atta Mohammad Noor, and Mohammad Mohaqiq.
Presidential candidate Abdul Latif Pedram will also be attending the conference.