Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Afghan Special Forces have stormed a Taliban jail in Helmand province and rescued 13 people who were kept as hostages.
The Afghan Special Operations Corps in a statement said that the attack was carried out at Din Mohammad village in Nahr-e-Saraj district of the province on Thursday night.
The statement has not provided any further information about the detainees.
“In the previous several months, a number of civilians and security forces have been rescued from Taliban Prisons and the rescuing operations are underway”, the statement said.
The Taliban group has not commented regarding the incident so far.
Based on the new statistics of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), 2,695,890 votes have been casted on the Election Day.
One of the IEC commissioners, Mawlana Muhammad Abdullah has said that the reported votes are 2,695,890.
According to him, the primary result will be announced at the end of the month.
Previously, IEC has announced that around 2,598,445 voters have been participated on Election Day.
In reaction to the Taliban’s visit to Pakistan, presidential spokesperson says that the meetings will not help the Afghan peace process and it will have results when it’s owned by Afghan people.
Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Thursday, Sediq Sediqqi said, “Peace is the main demand of the Afghan people; a peace in which all the principles of the republic can be maintained and owned by the Afghan can have result and lead to lasting peace.”
He noted that the conditions that the government has always emphasized are to stop the violence and Taliban attacks on the people.
Taliban must stop the war and pay attention to the peace message of the Afghan people, he said.
He noted, “We saw the Taliban members travel to Pakistan. Unfortunately, a protocol was accepted by the Pakistani foreign minister and they have met, but these meetings do not contribute to the peace process.”
Sediqqi added that the Taliban continue to resort to violence, they have attacked different election sites on Election Day and the government still sees no commitment from the Taliban for peace.
The Afghan Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said that the intelligence and security agencies have introduced 104 human trafficking suspects to judicial institutions over the past year.
Speaking to a press conference in Kabul about the report of High Commission for Combating Human Trafficking and Smuggling Migrants, the Minister of Justice, Abdul Basir Anwar said that a total of 154 human trafficking cases were referred to Attorney General Office last year, of which 145 cases have been investigated and their cases were refereed to court and 9 other cases are pending.
“Based on the report, National Directorate of Security (NDS) arrested 41 traffickers after identifying 55 human trafficking networks and conducting operations against 34 of them,” Abdul Basir Anwar said.
The commission has also provided health, psychological, social and awareness services to more than 8,600 returned migrants, he said.
In cooperation with international organizations, the commission has supported and integrated 54,242 individuals and families who were deported from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and some European countries, Minister of Justice added.
Explosive-Packed Vehicle Destroyed in Logar
Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that a Taliban explosive-packed vehicle has been destroyed in Logar province.
MoI spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said that Police Special Unit discovered and destroyed an explosives-packed vehicle in Mohammad Agha district of Logar province on Wednesday night.
He added that the Taliban insurgents intended to carry out terrorist attack in the province by using the vehicle.
The Afghan National Security Adviser, Hamdullah Mohib has said that many Taliban commanders, hardliners that did not want to join the peace process are going to join the Islamic State (IS) group.
Hamdullah Mohib in an interview with Fox News said that this threat may increase over a period of time.
“For the time being, ISIS is not a strategic threat to us. We have been able to get rid of them in places they have taken hold. But if the peace process goes wrong and doesn’t really integrate all of the Taliban, the hardliners may join ISIS, which is when it will become a strategic threat to us and our international partners”, Mohib said.
Last month, President Trump abruptly canceled the year-long Doha talks after the death of an American soldier in a Taliban-executed bombing, throwing the future of the talks into disarray.
As per Fox News report, Mohib said such a move was the right one and that the only way forward for the insurgent outfit was to sit down with the Kabul government – which they have bluntly refused to do – underscoring that all the progress made by the U.S delegation was not lost.
“Now we are in a very good place to begin real peace negotiations. It was not all a waste. I think there are parts we can salvage,” he said, adding that they are analyzing what prevailed and what can be redeemed for future use.
But also a cause for concern is the notion not only of Taliban members aligning with ISIS, but they are also merging with Al Qaeda more than eight years since the death of its leader in a Navy SEAL raid.
President Trump also last month confirmed that Hamza bin Laden, the son of Usama bin Laden and an emerging Al Qaeda leader, had been killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation. While the time and place of his death have not been confirmed, Mohib indicated it was “probably Pakistan” and marks an important feat in the fight against terrorism.
“Leadership matters in all of this. Symbolic leadership matters,” he stressed. “But there is a blurred line between Al Qaeda and the Taliban now. They have been inter-marrying, they work together, their ideologies have merged. There is very little difference between the Taliban and Al Qaeda today.”
One of the primary negotiation points between the U.S and the Taliban in the now-shuttered U.S-led peace process was that the Taliban was not to provide safe harbor to such groups that pose international security threats and threats to the U.S. homeland.
The Takhar provincial council said that clearance operation led by the deputies of the Ministries of Defense and Interior is underway.
The Taliban group damaged a wireless network in Baharak district which connects the center with all the districts in the province, a provincial council member, Mohammad Azam Afzali told Reporterly on Thursday.
He noted that the provincial capital lost communication with the districts.
“The reinforcement forces are in Taloqan city and Baharak district which is located 15 km from northwest of Taloqan is under Taliban control except district building and police headquarter,” Afzali said.
He said that the operation led by the deputy Ministers of Defense and Interior was launched two days ago.
The forces carried out air operation on Wednesday night which inflicted causalities on Taliban group, Afzali said.
He added that the Afghan forces advanced about 3km from Taloqan city and again due to the large number of planted mines, they retreated during the night.
At least 10 Taliban insurgents have been killed and 12 others have been injured in Faryab province, Afghan Army said.
The Afghan National and Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) killed 4 Taliban insurgents and wounded 5 others after ambushing a group of insurgents in Khawaja Mosahi area of Pashtun Kot district, 209th Shaheen Corps said in a statment late Wednesday.
According to 209th Shaheen Corps statement, the security forces also killed 6 Taliban insurgents and wounded 7 others in Qazal Village of Khwaja Sabzposh district.
The statement added that 2 security personnel were killed in the clashes with Taliban insurgents.
External Affairs Minister S jaishankar expressed hope that the enormous achievements of the last 18 years are safeguarded in whatever direction the developments go in Afghanistan.
India shares a historical relationship with Afghanistan, but should not advance prescriptions at the moment on the efforts to bring peace in the war-torn country, S Jaishankar has said.
US President Donald Trump recently stunned the world when he suddenly declared that the Afghan peace talks with the Taliban were “dead”.
“India has a relationship with that country, with that society, which is historical. It was there. It’ll keep continuing. It will be in the future as well. But at this time, it doesn’t make sense for me that India should advance prescriptions. India can have an approach,” Jaishankar said on Tuesday at the Atlantic Council, a top American think-tank.
“When we say, Afghan owned, Afghan controlled and Afghan led, that for us is a serious statement. It’s not a cliche,” he said in response to a question from a former Afghan diplomat.
“We are not impervious to the realities of what is happening out there. But we certainly hope that the enormous achievements of the last 18 years are safeguarded in whatever sort of direction, developments go in Afghanistan,” Jaishankar said.
The India – Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), saw Afghan firms sign deals and pre-contract agreements valued at over $55 million.
In particular, the exhibition yielded benefits for the agricultural sector, which generated $46 million in new business. Nonagricultural sectors signed more than 30 pre-contract agreements valued at approximately $9.8 million.
More than 1,000 people attended the event, which took place September 24 – 26 in New Delhi. The exhibition included matchmaking sessions for buyers and sellers to exchange information, network, and negotiate deals.
The event also provided an opportunity for leading Afghan businesses in dry and fresh fruits, nuts, spices, marble, gems, jewelry, textiles, home decor, and business services to display their products and explore partnerships with their Indian counterparts.
USAID/Afghanistan Deputy Mission Director Tina Dooley-Jones said the trade and investment show demonstrates the potential of the private sector to stimulate economic growth by bringing capital to the most productive sectors and sustainably creating employment.
“USAID, in partnership with the governments of Afghanistan and India and more than a dozen Afghan and Indian private sector associations and businesses, support the Passage to Prosperity because we believe that private investment and export-led economic growth are essential to regional prosperity and stability, especially for Afghanistan,” she explained.
The Open Media Supporting Organization in Afghanistan-NAI has said that the insecurity situation on Presidential Election Day limited the media coverage in all across the country.
According to NAI officials, more than 200 reporters have complained over the coverage on Election Day.
The managing director of NAI, Abdul Mujib Khelwatgar in a press conference in Kabul said that the threats by Taliban caused the major problems in media coverage.
“The reporters have not been able to go to the remote areas due to the security threats”, Khelwatgar said.
He further added the outage of telecommunication networks on the Election Day had a direct impact on the voters’ turnout.
Afghan Minister of Interior Affairs, Masoud Andarabi has said that the Taliban have no choice but to either join the peace process or be eliminated.
While visiting the Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, the interior minister stated that Taliban have lost command and control of war.
“The only way left for the Taliban group is just the peace process”, Andarabi said.
The interior minister has called on the Taliban insurgents to achieve their goals through peace and stressed that Afghan security forces have shown that no power can grow against them.
The minister of interior made the comments at a ceremony training course for Afghan Special Forces soldiers and officers at the Special Forces Command Training Center in Mazar city.
At least 3 people have been killed and injured in a clash at Baghlan police headquarters, security officials said.
Speaking to Reporterly, a spokesperson for Baghlan police, Jawid Besharat said that the incident took place at in Baghlan police command around 18:00 PM on Wednesday between Shams-Ul-Haq Barekzai deputy of provincial council and Amin Akakhel, a local police commander in City of Pol-e-Khumri.
He noted that after a verbal clash, they exchanged fires which resulted the injury of deputy of Baghlan provincial council and local police commander.
He further said that a brother of local police commander was killed in the clash.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Ministry of Interior (MoI), Nasrat Rahimi said that a delegation led by a deputy of MoI is assigned to investigate the incident.
He added that the findings of the investigation will be shared soon.
The Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Zahed Nasrollah Khan has met with the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, Abdullah’s office said.
According to a press release by the Chief Executive office, Nasrollah Khan praised Afghan people participation in the Presidential election and emphasized on further cooperation between the two countries.
“The Pakistani ambassador was briefed the Chief Executive on a high level delegation of Taliban to Islamabad where they are scheduled to meet Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Quraishi”, the statement said.
The statement also said that the Pakistani officials will push the Taliban delegation to support the Afghan peace talks and engage in an intra-Afghan negotiations.
In the meantime, the Chief Executive declared that Afghanistan expects Pakistan to use its leverage on the Taliban to join intra-Afghan talks.
“The Afghan people and the government support the peace process and we thank the Pakistan’s ambassador”, Abdullah’s press release added.