Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
National Directorate of Security has announced the operation of NDS special forces unit on hideout of Anar Gul commander of Taliban group, in Marjah district of Helmand province. The statement added that 1200 kilograms of narcotics, some weapons and ammunition, and five vehicles were seized by forces involved in the operation.
Terrorist and criminal groups collaborate in drug trafficking and other organized crimes, and security and defense forces of country are fighting against them without any distinction, as per NDS.
Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission announced that the order of presidential candidates is determined on ballots.
Rahmatuallah Nabil is on the top of the list, followed by Sayed Noorullah Jalili, Faramarz Tamana, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Noor Rahman Liwal, Mohammad Shahab Hakimi, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Dr. Abdullah Abdullaha is number 9, followed by Mohammad Hakim Torsan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Abdul Latif Pedram, Nur ul-Haq Ulumi, Ghulam Farooq Najrabi, Enayatullah Hafiz, Mohmmad Hanif Atmar and Zalmai Rassoul.
This list is based on drawing and was announced today.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad wrote on Twitter that the they are distressed by reports of civilian casualties. He said that while they strive to prevent casualties, the real solution is a ceasefire or reduced violence as we pursue lasting peace . However, Khalilzad said that the Taliban are of the opinion that a ceasefire is not part of the agenda.
The victims, he wrote “each one an unnecessary victim of a war that has gone too long. Sons &daughters, brothers &sisters, neighbors & friends. Their deaths outrage us all & we stand with Afghans who protest the deaths & want to end the bloodshed”.
Khalilzad expressed that he deeply regrets any loss of innocent life during military operations. “We never target innocents. War is treacherous & unintended consequences are devastating” he wrote.
“For us, peace is the agenda. The Afghan people have had enough violence & want an end to the war. The United States stands with them. I challenge Talibs to join other Afghans and work to make this the year of peace”, he assured.
Masoud Andarabi, Acting Minister of Interior Affair stated on Thursday that the 4-year Strategic Plan has been developed and it focuses on four areas; strengthening public order and maintaining security, rule of law and combat against crimes, delivering effective and transparent services, and institutional reforms.
Andarabi said that for the first time MoI has prepared all Kabul checkposts’ maps and a GIS lab is also established.
55 corruption dossiers were referred to justice and judicial institutions, he added.
In addition, ANP conducted 3500 operations in the year 1397.
Andarabi said that the MoI will soon release the list of biggest robbers of Police food and also that for the first time, MoI encounters the criminals as networks not individuals.
“We have built strong coordination between security & defense forces so that we can jointly identify and arrest the criminals”, he said.
“I request the citizens of Afghanistan, especially Kabul, to cooperate with Police in identifying the criminals and provide information by calling 119” Andarabi said.
He conceded that they are in full coordination with ministry of defense in terms of fighting.
Waheed Omar, Senior Advisor to the President of Afghanistan on Public and Strategic Affairs said that the new Afghan parliament will be inaugurated in next 48 hours.
Speaking at closing of Government Accountability Program to Nation, Waheed Omar said “The government will have a busy week ahead. New Afghan Parliament will be inaugurated in next 48 hours and Peace Consultative Jirga will be held in the following week.”
During Government Accountability Program to Nation, around 43 government institutions including 23 ministries and 20 government organizations that have independent budget units, have reported to the people, Mr. Omar added.
Acting Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid has said that to further the development of Afghan forces, a Commando division was promoted to Corps, and the 20th Pamir division also promoted to 217 Pamir Corps.
“Commando is backbone of our Afghan army. They have operations on daily basis in different parts of the country” said Khalid.
He clarified that the ANATF was created based on needs and previous experience. He stated that currently Afghanistan has 55 territorial forces Tolai (Company); of which 33 tolai are assigned in different parts of the country and rest are under training.
“One of our goals was to double the size of Afghan Air Force. 23 Black Hawk Helicopters were received last year, 14 others will be provided within six months. AAF were provided eight AC208 helicopters last year, and they will receive 9 more this year”, Khalid explained about status of Afghan Air Force.
He added that the AAF were provided with 18 MD530 helicopters in 1397 and will receive 10 more till the end of this year.
With respect to veterans, he said that 1884 people were retired but 2858 young officers recruited. 85 Generals and 966 Colonels were also retired in past year.
“To fight against corruption, 99.9 percent of Afghan Army personnel were entered to biometric system. 3930 corruption dossiers were reviewed”, he explained.
Khalid described that 90 percent of MoD development budget was spent in FY 1397 and they have put efforts to turn their HR system into electronic system. Now, 93 percent of Afghan Personnel and Payment System (AAPS) is completed and with full implementation of this system a new chapter will be opened in MoD.
Khalid assured that houses were provided for 31 families of martyrs and residential lands were distributed to 34 others, along with scholarships being provided to dependents of martyrs.
“Overall, 16331 people including 2161 officers, 1904 Lieutenant and 12225 soldiers graduated from ANA training centers. 1166 others were sent to abroad to pursue their higher educations”, he stated.
Khalid conceded by saying that their plan for near future is to remove the small checkposts and create strong bases that have the ability to defend, maneuver and attack.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and discussed ways to counter Iran’s “malign influence,” according to the State Department.
The top diplomats also addressed other regional issues that covered Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan, spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
“The Secretary thanked the foreign minister for his continued efforts to build upon the robust U.S.-Qatar partnership, including follow-through on Qatar’s commitments to fair competition in civil aviation,” she added.
The meeting came amid a continued push by the U.S. to ramp up pressure on Tehran in conjunction with Washington’s Sunni Arab Gulf allies and Israel.
The Trump administration earlier this week decided to stop granting waivers to seven countries and Taiwan to import Iranian oil — the latest effort to scuttle a 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, including the U.S., brokered with Iran.
Media houses 1TV and Iran International TV have concluded an agreement to establish a strategic partnership to “bring an exciting news service to audiences in Afghanistan, beyond and the world”.
Meanwhile, the partners will be editorially responsible for the content of the factual news programmers.
Iran International TV also pledges to provide a capacity building program, multimedia journalism training and technology support to 1TV.
Both organizations have agreed to share their reporters in the region, Britain, the United States, and Europe to produce shared news programs.
Fahim Hashimy, the Chairman of 1TV and Mahmood Enayat, the general manager of Iran International TV have committed to the long-term partnership.
Iran International TV is an Independent Persian-Language TV channel, broadcasting internationally from London since 2017 with bureaus in Kabul, Istanbul, Washington DC, Paris and Islamabad. It is licensed in the United Kingdom to Global Media Circulating Ltd as an editorial news service based in London. Iran International TV is not related to the government of Iran and because of its independent reporting; it is not allowed to operate in Iran. It is managed by the British Company
1TV Afghanistan is a popular independent channel based in Kabul with reporters across Afghanistan.
In response to a recent report of UNAMA on civilian casualties, National Security Council’s office said that Taliban and other terrorist groups use public places, residential houses and mosques for their attacks and use women and children as human shields. The office has emphasized that UNAMA has not considered these issues.
The statement said that, NSA Hamdullah Mohib, directed security officials to investigate incidents claiming civilian casualties and provide their findings and suggestions to prevent civilian casualties during military operations.
NSC office has stressed that Afghan security and defense forces are trained and equipped with accurate air and ground capabilities. These forces follow the war laws during the operations, the office added.
The Security Council further added that the Taliban and other terrorist groups deliberately cause civilian casualties.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs announced a one-week holiday in Kabul. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said in a statement that from Saturday to Friday “27 April to 2 May” will be public holiday only in Kabul for a week due to holding of Peace Consultative Jirga.
The statement added that, Sunday (8th Sawr) 28 April is public holiday around Afghanistan on the occasion of Mujadideen Victory Day.
Security officials reported that two individuals were wounded as a result of IED explosion in Paktia province.
Sardar Wali Tabasoom, spokesperson of police command of Paktia told Reporterly that two civilians were wounded on Thursday morning as a result of an embedded IED on a private car in Lain Khost area of Gardez city. No one has claimed the responsibility of this explosion so far.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah is boycotting the Grand Consultative Jirga for Peace, an official of Abdullah’s office told news sources.
Despite being invited by the Presidential Palace to attend the Jirga on peace, the CE has made his decision final and has rejected the invitation.
Head of Abdullah’s Office, Abdul Qahar Abid, said a team was sent by President Ghani to discuss his presence in the Jirga but Abdullah refused to meet the delegation.
Abid said the Presidential Palace is trying to convince Abdullah to attend the peace Jirga, but he has not changed his decision.
“No doubt, the request was made. A delegation was formed by them (Presidential Palace) and even from higher addresses for negotiations, but there is no negotiation. He stands by the statement that had issued. There is no negotiation and the chief executive will not attend the Jirga,” said Abed.
Not just Dr Abdullah, seven other election teams, have boycotted the peace Jirga.
The Grand Assembly/Peace Jirga is an assembly of almost 3,000 delegates who will discuss peace.