Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The US and NATO Forces Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, in a statement on Tuesday, rejected reports of any limitations in US operations in the Afghanistan and said they they have no such orders and have made no changes.
Quoting senior Pentagon officials, the Newsweek reported on Monday that US personnel have been ordered to limit nearly all offensive combat operations against the Taliban and cease advising the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as the Trump administration proposes cutting US troop strength in Afghanistan by nearly half to 6,000 as a means of finalizing the “technical” details with Taliban leadership.
Gen. Miller clarified that Newsweek’s report is “inaccurate and speculative”, citing unnamed sources who are likely as far from the subject as they are from Afghanistan itself.
“The characterizations of changes to our authorities and operations have no basis in fact,” he said. “We have no such orders and have made no such changes.”
This comes as the US and the Taliban negotiators concluded the eighth round of peace talks in Qatar. The two sides are expected to sign a peace agreement within the next few days which will provide the ground for US troop withdrawal and reduction of violence in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s ambassador, Asad Majeed Khan, emphasized in an interview with The New York Times editorial board has raised the possibility that his country might redeploy troops from the Afghanistan border to the India’s Kashmir frontier.
He said that such a development could affect the Afghan peace negotiations, which are said to be in the final stages.
Khan said that the Kashmir and Afghanistan issues were separate and that he was not attempting to link them. But he said that Pakistan instead hopes for Afghan peace process to succeed and that his country was actively supporting the US-Taliban talks.
“We are doing all that we can and will continue,” Khan said. “It’s not an either-or situation.”
“We have our hands full” on the western border, Khan said, adding, “If the situation escalates on the eastern border, we will have to undertake redeployments.”
The Ministry of Interior rejects a statement by the Taliban which says 76 prisoners of the Afghan forces were released in Kunduz, Uruzgan, Khost Sar-e-Pul provinces on the occasion of Eid. The ministry says in a statement that no inmate has been released.
This comes after Taliban announced on Sunday that it had released 76 prisoners in Uruzgan, Kunduz, Khost and Sar-e Pul on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.
Meanwhile, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) has released 35 Taliban inmates in accordance with a Presidential Decree on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.
The Presidential decree said, “Marking the Eid al-Adha and advancing peace talks with Taliban, President Ashraf Ghani ordered the release of 35 Taliban prisoners.”
“Because of peace and a lasting ceasefire, the Afghan government has always been open to dialogue, so that all parties to the conflict can end the war and reconcile. The release of these prisoners is also a clear example of the government’s strong will for peace negotiations and the end of the war,” the decree added.
NDS also called on all those who have been released to not get deceived again by the insurgents and cooperate with security forces for peace and stability.
The Presidential decree also ordered the release of nearly 900 Taliban prisoners from the country’s prisons in the previous Eid in 2019.