Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Two key Republican senators, channeling President Trump, this week decried the continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan, arguing that, after 19 years, the goals are muddled, the costs in money and lives unjustifiably high, and the accomplishments unclear.
“I want to find a way to end the war,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a longtime opponent of the war.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley added, “If we cannot show any progress on any metric — we’ve invested $1 trillion. We’ve lost thousands of lives. I don’t understand. The American people have been hugely patient, hugely patient. I just don’t see what’s going on here.”
Their comments came during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing on the costs of the war and the hundreds of pages of audits showing deep corruption and waste in the nation.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană attended the launch of a Romanian photo exhibition “Afghanistan: Faces of War,” at NATO Headquarters in Brussels (Belgium).
“These photos remind us of the very human faces behind NATO’s missions and operations: not only the brave and professional servicemen and women from Romania, other Allies and our partners, including some who have made the ultimate sacrifice; but also the Afghan communities they serve,” Mr. Geoană said.
“Romania has been a longstanding supporter of our efforts in Afghanistan. Today, it is one of the largest contributors to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, with some 800 service members on the ground; our Resolute Support Mission is a strong symbol of the continued global support to the government and the people of Afghanistan’ and these photos symbolise what this support means; they remind us that the sacrifice of brave service members, like Corporal Stoica, were not in vain; our Resolute Support Mission is making a difference, for the people and the future of Afghanistan and for our own security,” he highlighted.
Afghan local officials say a key Taliban commander has been killed along with five of his men in Herat province.
The spokesman of Herat governor, Jilani Farhad told Reporterly that the Taliban commander was killed in Goran district of Herat.
According to Farhad, an airstrike targeted the Taliban commander when he was in a vehicle in Band-e Safid area.
He further added that the killed commander has previously abducted four engineers in Herat and has been involved in many of the terrorist attacks in Goran district.
U.S. officials trying to broker a peace agreement with the Taliban have put a “reduction in violence proposal” on the table, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has announced.
The offer would apply to “all” military forces stationed in Afghanistan, including international and local troops, he added.
A person familiar with the ongoing discussions told the Associated Press that the “reduction in violence” calls for the Taliban to refrain from conducting attacks for seven days, hopefully setting the stage for eventual all-Afghan negotiations to chart a road map for the political future of a post-war Afghanistan.
“The president had made it very clear that there will have to be a reduction in violence and there will have to be meaningful intra-Afghan talks for things to move forward,” Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has said.
“We have contributed a tremendous amount of blood and treasure to Afghanistan, but it’s time for America to come home,” O’Brien added at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington. “We want to make sure that Afghanistan doesn’t become a safe haven for terrorism again.”
Esper, who is in Brussels for peace talks, told reporters that he is consulting with U.S. allies about the proposal and would not comment further until an official announcement is made.
“I’m not going to get ahead of our consultations nor our diplomatic efforts,” he said.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (‘Freshfields’), in partnership with the International Refugee Assistance Project (‘IRAP’), has won a second victory for Afghans and Iraqis who have faced mortal danger for helping U.S. forces and have experienced delays of several years with their applications for Special Immigrant Visas (‘SIV’).
The SIV program was created by Congress in 2008 for Iraqis and in 2009 for Afghans in order to provide a legal pathway to safety for local U.S. allies who are the target of militias and other anti-U.S. forces as a result of their work with the U.S. government.
On 20 September 2019, U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled that the delays the applicants experienced, especially given the danger they are in, were unreasonable. Judge Chutkan granted summary judgment in the plaintiffs’ favor and ordered the U.S. government to prepare a plan to adjudicate the pending SIV applications within 30 days of a final ruling on class certification.
On 6 February 2020, the Freshfields team (in partnership with IRAP) won class certification for Afghan and Iraqi SIV applicants, with the US District Court also denying the government’s motion for reconsideration of the prior summary judgment ruling.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a global law firm with a long-standing track record of successfully supporting the world’s leading national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments on groundbreaking and business-critical mandates.
Former President, Hamid Karzai welcomed progresses made lately in peace negotiations between Taliban militants the US envoy for Afghanistan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad, hoping the talks get results to help peace in Afghanistan.
“The former president welcomes the significant progress in peace talks between the United States and Taliban’s Islamic Movement and hope that we the people of Afghanistan gain soon nationwide and sustainable peace and stability in our beloved country,” Karzai’s office said in a statement.
The two sides of negotiations have got closer to finalize the peace deal. But the chief executive admits that the national unity government had not yet formed a negotiation team.