Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Local officials reported that 15 Taliban insurgents including two members of Quetta Shura and 7 non-Afghan insurgents were killed in Ghazni province.
Ghazni press office said in a statement on Thursday that these insurgents were killed on Wednesday night during three air raids and a commando operation in Waghaz, Muqur and Zana Khan districts of Ghazni province.
This is the latest insurgent killings in Ghazni province. In recent months, Ghazni has received much focus and attention from the central government.
Local authorities in Ghazni province reported the destruction of Shams Al arafin shrine in Ghazni province. Speaking to Reporterly, Arif Noori, Ghazni governor spokesman said that Taliban destroyed the famous Shams Al arafin shrine in village of Shams Sahib in northwest of Ghazni province on Wednesday night.
He said that the shrine will be temporarily restored but will be constructed more properly during the current year. “Taliban had burnt or destroyed two shrines last year in Muqur district and a shrine in center of Ghazni province,” Noori stressed.
The Ghazni spokesman said that Shams shrine attracted a lot of pilgrims.
it has been reported that Pakistani troops have begun shelling into the Spera district of Khost province since Wednesday night.
According to media sources, the shelling has killed four civilians and five others have been wounded. Additionally, four houses and 20 vehicles were damaged in rocket attacks.
NATO Senior Civilian Representative Sir Nicholas Kay spent last two days in Herat and emphasised on preserving achievements of last 18 years as key to lasting peace and security while meeting the Italian Resolute Support contingent, Deputy Provincial Governors, UN, civil society & women’s groups representatives, and media, as per statement of NATO.
The discussions focused on the Afghan Peace Process as well as people’s priorities . ”In Herat I was hearing that Afghans want more than just peace. They’re determined to protect the gains of last 18 years in terms of human rights, democracy & women’s rights. Preserving these achievements will be key to lasting peace & security in Afghanistan”, Kay said.
The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that in night special operation of Commandos in Chino village, Nirkh district, Maidan Wardak province, three Taliban terrorists were killed, and one other insurgent named Hedayatullah along with 5 mobiles phones and 6 national IDs was detained.
Meanwhile, in Afghan Air Force air strikes in Khas district, Uruzgan province, four Taliban terrorists were killed and three others were wounded.
Local officials reported that an explosion was prevented near a school in Herat province. Press office of Herat Police Headquarters said in a report on Thursday that an IED which was embedded near “Shaidaye” school by insurgents was defused.
The report added that the insurgents had embedded the IED to target civilians.
The United States on Wednesday ruled out having any evidence that suggested that India was using Afghan soil to perpetrate terrorism in Pakistan.
Islamabad has long been accusing Kabul of allowing New Delhi to create instability in Pakistan and often blames foreign elements (a reference to India) for acts of violence principally in the volatile Balochistan province, northwestern Gilgit-Baltistan region and the southern port city of Karachi.
“I don’t have the evidence (for) what you’re referring to but our policy is clear, that no country should support non-state actors,” Alice Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs told journalists at the US embassy in Islamabad when asked about Pakistan’s longstanding allegation that India was sponsoring terrorism from Afghanistan.
Wells had arrived in Islamabad on Monday morning as part of a delegation headed by US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. Both Wells and Khalilzad held a series of meetings with Pakistan’s civilian and military leaderships in Islamabad.
The American diplomat said her country would never condone or support any use of terrorist proxies against another country.
“We have been working very actively with Pakistan to combat whether it’s Al Qaeda or TTP (sic). Any terrorist attacking Pakistan is our enemy and we share very strong counter-terrorism objectives in defeating extremist forces,” Wells reportedly said.
She stated that the US had no information regarding the Pakistan army’s latest allegations that Afghan and Indian secret agencies were funding the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM, also Pashtun protection movement).
On Monday, the Pakistan Army spokesman, Major General Asif Ghafoor, levelled serious allegations against the PTM leaders, accusing them of receiving funds from the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) and India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
The German Special Representative for Afghanistan, Markus Potzel, met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban’s deputy political leader and head of the militant group’s political office in Qatar, according to a statement published by the militant group on Thursday.
The meeting which took place in Qatar on Wednesday coincides with start of another round of talks between the US and the Taliban to find a political solution to the Afghan conflict and end US’s 17-year war, the longest in the country’s history.
The statement by Mohammad Sohail Shaeen, Taliban spokesman in Qatar, said that both sides discussed finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict, German assurance of assistance and playing a positive role towards peace.
The sides also discussed about the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban and preventing civilian casualties, the statement said adding that both sides agreed that peace in Afghanistan benefits the conflict-ridden country, the region and the world.
At least three Pakistani soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded when a group of militants from the Afghan side of the Durand Line attacked Pakistani troops in Alwara, North Waziristan.
The Pakistani military’s media wing expressed that Pakistan’s fencing efforts will continue despite “all such impediments”.
Shortly after this happened, Pakistan summoned the Afghan Charge d’ Affaires at the Foreign Office on Wednesday to express protest over the cross-border terrorist attack in North Waziristan.
Senior U.S. military commander General Kenneth McKenzie says that no decision has been made about the presence of U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told U.S.-funded Middle East Broadcasting Network’s Alhurra TV on Monday that no decision has been made about the presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“We’ve made no decision about any shift in U.S. or coalition forces in Afghanistan at this time. Any future decisions will be directly related to ongoing negotiations involving the government of Afghanistan, the people in Afghanistan and possibly the Taliban,” McKenzie, who commands all U.S. military operations in the region, said.
“I think we’ll stay as long as necessary to ensure that the mission is accomplished, and the mission is ensuring that attacks against the U.S. homeland can’t be launched from Afghanistan,” he emphasized.
McKenzie also said the U.S. is interested in “lasting peace” in Afghanistan and that the country would not be used by terrorists to pose a threat to the security of the U.S and its allies.
“Whatever future government there is in Afghanistan is going to have to embrace the idea that it won’t be a breeding ground for terror operations that could operate against either the United States or our partners and allies,” McKenzie said.