Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
General Tod Wolters, who leads US European Command says that NATO will remain a strategic partner with the Afghan security and defense forces.
Gen. Tod Wolters made the remarks in a meeting on Wednesday afternoon with president Ghani, Presidential palace in a statement said.
In the meeting, Gen Wolters reiterated NATO’s commitment to continue supporting the Afghan national and defense security forces and added that they fight alongside Afghan security forces for the common goals.
While appreciating the sacrifices of Afghan forces, he stressed that the Afghan security and defense forces and NATO continue to fight not only for the security of Afghanistan but also for the security of the region and the world.
President Ghani also in the meeting emphasized that: “Our partnership with NATO is strategic and sustainable, and any increase or decrease in the number of international forces will depend on the situation.”
Referring to the Afghan peace process, he stressed that peace is a priority and that the government will develop a roadmap for peace and implement it considering its threats and consequences.
Ghani highlighted that any wrong approach towards achieving peace could have bad consequences, as peace and security in Afghanistan faces enemy threats, and the process needs to be carefully planned.
The Afghan government is committed to a peace process that leads to the end of the war and does not harm any part of republic system, said Mr. Ashraf Ghani.
President Ghani once again accused the Taliban of their lack of willingness to ceasefire and peace, saying that the Taliban must clarify to the Afghan people about their relationship with Pakistan, drugs, al-Qaeda, IS-k and dozens of other terrorist groups.
He also said that, without safe haven in Pakistan soil, Taliban cannot continue to exist and their claim that the group control most of Afghanistan’s territory is completely baseless.
Ghani emphasized that peace cannot be achieved without elections, and the Taliban have shown hostility to national trends, including elections.
British Ambassador to Kabul Ms. Alison Blake and Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Mr. Idrees Zaman, met this afternoon in Kabul for a bilateral talk.
The two sides discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, aspects of bilateral ties and the upcoming events.
At the outset, Ambassador Blake recalled with sympathy the recent security incident in Kabul that claimed many innocent lives, calling it “a terrible attack against civilians”. She reiterated her country’s commitment to supporting Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
The meeting focused on the peace process and related issues, including the regional dynamics and the role of the relevant countries in the process, the presidential elections, and the upcoming UN General Assembly and its side events.
The British Ambassador, expressing optimism over successful holding of the upcoming elections said Britain is committed to the Afghan electoral process.“There is no reason why it shouldn’t be a good election”, said Ambassador Blake.
Deputy Minister Zaman and Ambassador Blake discussed Britain’s role in Afghanistan both as an important partner and a NATO member.
The British Ambassador assured the Deputy Foreign Minister of continued cooperation with Afghanistan, highlighting Britain’s focus on girls’ education, climate change, and biodiversity.
The Spokesman for the political office of Taliban has reacted to government’s move for not disclosing the names of Intra-Afghan Negotiating Team.
“Keeping the names of the negotiating team members as confidential has either links with differences or certain influential circles have control over it”, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the political office of Taliban said in a Tweet on Wednesday.
Shaheen also raised questions regarding the inclusiveness of the team and said such a team will neither have the authority to decide nor will have support of political parties and the parties have already cleared their stand in this regard.
Meanwhile, the State Ministry for Peace Affairs said late last month that following the comprehensive consultation with internal stakeholders, the government has appointed a 15-member delegation for the talks with the Taliban group.
The state Ministry for Peace Affairs has not yet announced the list of 15-member delegation.
The Afghan government did not comment on the remarks of Spokesman for the political office of Taliban.
Subsequent to the possible US-Taliban peace deal, a serious and more formal inter-Afghan talks will start between Taliban representatives and the Afghan government.
The death toll in Kabul wedding attack claimed by the Islamic State group has risen to 80, the Ministry of Interior’s spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi confirmed on Wednesday.
The spokesman of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Nasrat Rahimi said that 17 civilians have died from their injuries since the incident. He noted 30 people were in critical condition after the attack.
This comes after the initial death toll in Saturday’s blast was recorded at 63.
The blast at the hall, known as Dubai City wedding hall, came after several lethal attacks in Kabul earlier this month.
Meanwhile, on August 7, a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated its explosives on the same road, killing 14 people and wounding 145 – most of them women and children.
Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) commemorated International Day of Remembrance and gave tribute to the victims of terrorism and Human Rights Violations.
Afghanistan’s citizens are the main victims of terrorism and armed hostilities. According to official figures published in the AIHRC reports, 75316 civilians were killed and injured between the beginning of 2009 and the end of 2018. In 2018 alone, as a result of the armed conflict, 11212 civilians were killed and injured (3032 killed and 8180 injured).
UN designated August 21 as the “International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to Victims of Terrorism” by Resolution 165/72 dated 25.1.2018 as death toll from terrorist attacks has been on the rise and has become a serious concern of Afghanistan and the international community.
The United Nations recognising these issues, and seeking to honour the victims of terrorist attacks, besides the other legal procedures for combating terrorism and protecting human rights,took this step.The draft resolution was prepared by 17 countries, including the Afghan government, and was handed over to the UN General Assembly.
The Government of Afghanistan endorsed this resolution in 2018 and ordered the organisations concerned to include this Day in the official calendar of Afghanistan and to commemorate it annually.
The AIHRC, by holding public conferences in the centre and in 31 provinces of the country, provided victims with opportunities to present their demands, wishes and suggestions to government officials and international organisations
Victims of human rights violations, including victims of terrorist events, are entitled to effective, fair and non-discriminatory access to justice, as well as effective, appropriate and immediate reparations, according to national and international human rights instruments.
Meanwhile, accessing information on violations and addressing violations, dealing with perpetrators and compensation mechanisms are other rights that should be enjoyed by victims of terrorist attacks, as mentioned in the AIHRC report.
40 Taliban insurgents were killed and eight others were injured in a joint clearance operation carried out by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in Firoz Koh City of Ghor, the Ministry of Interior announced in a statement.
Several senior commanders of Taliban were among those killed.
Three Afghan Local Policemen were killed during the operation, MoI said.
Moreover, on Tuesday night, seven Taliban insurgents were killed and seven others were injured in a clash with Afghan National Police (ANP) in PD3, Kunduz City.
ANP seized one rocket launcher and one M4 Carbine from the scene.
Security officials reported the killing of 20 Taliban insurgents in Uruzgan province.
Ministry of Defence in a statement said that, 20 Taliban insurgents were killed,as a result of ANDSF clearance operation carried out in Charchino district of Uruzgan.
The statement added that two weapon cache of Taliban group were seized by security forces during the operation.
Uruzgan is among the insecure provinces of the country where Taliban is widely active.
Provincial officials of Baghlan province reported that the Taliban killed an employee of Baghlan Population Registration Office.
Mahmood Haqmal, provincial governor’s spokesperson confirmed the incident to Reporterly and said, “Abduldeyan Safi a manager of Population Registration Office was killed by Taliban group on Tuesday afternoon.”
He added that, the employee of the province was killed by Taliban on central highway in central Baghlan district ,on his way home.
Security and intelligence departments are directed to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the incident, as per provincial spokesperson.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are set to begin a four-day track-II dialogue in Islamabad on Wednesday to explore ways for improvement in relations between the two neighbouring countries, organisers as per Pakistani media say.
The dialogue known is called “Beyond Boundaries” and it is being organised by the Islamabad-based think tank Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Afghanistan’s Organisation for Economic Studies and Peace (OESP), the CRSS head Imtiaz Gul said.
The delegates will also meet Pakistani officials and visit universities for interaction with the teachers and students in Islamabad besides bilateral discussions on key issues including the US-Taliban peace talks, Pakistan-Afghan relations, problems of the Afghan refugees, students, trade, transit and also visa issues.
A 13-member Afghan delegation, lead by former member of the parliament Khalid Pashtoon, arrived in Islamabad and both sides held informal discussion on Tuesday night at a reception. Formal meeting will start at a local hotel on Wednesday.
The delegates will discuss the impact on Pak-Afghan relations of President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan in June this year.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is set to resume talks with the Taliban as to bring forward the peace process in Afghanistan.
As per US Department of State, Khalilzad resumed his trip to Qatar and Afghanistan.
The statement added that in Kabul, Khalilzad will consult with the leadership of the Afghan government on the peace process and encourage full preparation for intra-Afghan negotiations.
Talks between US and Taliban have been going on since later half of 2018 in an effort to facilitate a peace process.
These talks also come just after an IS-K perpetrated explosion rocked a wedding party in Kabul city on Saturday night, killing 63 and wounding more than 100 people.