Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Public Health has reported that 322 people were killed and nearly 20,000 more were wounded in last six months due to traffic accidents across Afghanistan.
Speaking on the occasion of Global Road Safety Week with the theme “raise your voice and save lives” Dr. Mamosa Ziwar Deputy Health Minister for Administrative and Finance Affairs said that: “traffic incidents are a major challenge of public health which claim lives of 1.35 million people every year around the globe and nearly leaves 50 million get injured.”
While expressing concerns about the increase of traffic incidents in the country, Ms Ziwar added that deaths caused by traffic accident are more than the once caused by suicide and explosive attacks. 322 people were killed and nearly 20,000 more were wounded in last six months due to traffic accidents across Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Abdulatif Khair Khah, in charge of Traffic Incidents of Kabul Traffic Department said that, control over current traffic incidents, raising public awareness on traffic laws, studying the causes of traffic accidents are the important issues that play a significant role in reducing traffic accidents.
Speaking on behalf of World Health Organization in Afghanistan, Daoud Eltaf said that celebrating the Global Road Safety Week, raising awareness about observing traffic laws and considering safety equipment while travelling are essential requirements that can help decrease the incidents.
National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mobib met with China’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Deng Xijun in Kabul today as per ONSC Press.
Amb. Xijun briefed NSA Mohib on China’s recent efforts for peace talks. He reaffirmed China’s support for Afghan-led & owned process, & offered China’s proposal as guarantor to any agreement.
Ambassador Xijun also said that China is ready to support and provide facility for an intra-Afghan dialogue, and they support President Ghani’s and Government efforts on peace talks.
He said without Afghan Government involvement, any arrangement or agreement could not be implemented.
NSA Mohib pointed out that the ANDSF and the people of Afghanistan paid tremendous amount of sacrifices and this must be recognized.
“Our commitment remains strong to peace but our commitment to fight terrorism also remains strong”, NSA Mohib said as he thanked China for their efforts in peace process.
Khan Aqha Rezayee has failed to secure a majority in parliament voting for speaker. He received 77 votes. Meanwhile, Khan Mohammad Wardak failed to secure majority and received 80 votes.
Parliament’s third election to choose speaker determined no clear winner as none of four candidates secured majority.
Runoff is now expected between Khan Mohammad Wardak and Khan Aqha Rezayee.
Security officials have reported the repulse of a Taliban attack on Gulran district of Herat province.
Abdul Ahad Walizada, spokesman of Herat police command told Reporterly on Wednesday that, around 1:30AM, Taliban insurgents wanted to capture the security outposts and even the center of Gulran district.
Walizada added that, Taliban attacks faced the resistance of security forces including National Police and National Army and the clash continued till 6AM.
“Heavy causalities were inflicted on Taliban insurgents and according to reports, more than 10 insurgents were killed and 15 others were injured,” said the spokesman of Herat Police Command.
He stressed that, one security force personnel was killed and two others were wounded in the clashes.
He further added that, backup forces have been sent to the area and for now there is no security problem.
Local officials reported that Khogyani district police chief was killed with his two bodyguards in Ghazni province.
Speaking to Reporterly, Nasir Ahmad Faqiri head of Ghazni Provincial Council said that, the police chief of the district was killed along with his two bodyguards as a result of a roadside mine explosion early Wednesday morning.
Faqiri added, this incident took place near Khogyani police command.
Khogyani is one of the most insecure districts of Ghazni province which is located about 13 km southwest of the capital.
On the eve of his trip to Pakistan, president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said that the trip to Islamabad is based on the demands of the participants of the Peace Consultative Loya Jirga.
The Presidential Palace said on a statement that, on the eve of his trip to Pakistan, the president talked about the purpose of his travel to Pakistan in a meeting with a number of political and regional experts, university professors and journalists.
In the meeting, president Ghani elaborated that, comprehensive talks with Pakistani officials regarding regional connectivity, trade and transit, security and peace is the purpose of his trip to Pakistan.
The president said that prior to this, he had been invited by Pakistani authorities to visit the country, but this trip is based on the request of Peace Consultative Loya Jirga.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday during a visit to Afghanistan that the Trump administration is aiming for a peace deal in the war-ravaged country by September.
His visit came as American and Taliban negotiators are scheduled to meet in Qatar later this week (June 29) for the next round of talks in their months-long dialogue aimed at finding a political settlement to the Afghan war.
“I hope we have a peace deal before September 1st. That’s certainly our mission set,” Pompeo told reporters at the U.S. embassy in Kabul after his meetings with Afghan leaders. The country is due to hold presidential elections on September 28.
The U.S.-Taliban dialogue process is primarily focused on working out a timeline for the withdrawal of American and NATO forces from Afghanistan in return for assurances international terrorists will not be allowed to use Taliban-controlled areas for attacks against other countries.
“We have made real progress and are nearly ready to conclude a draft text outlining the Taliban’s commitments to join fellow Afghans in ensuring that Afghan soil never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists,” Pompeo noted.
He said discussions with the Taliban regarding foreign troop withdrawal have begun. Pompeo also said insurgent claims that Washington has agreed to pull out of Afghanistan are not true.
“While we’ve made clear to the Taliban that we are prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear we have not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” Pompeo explained. He acknowledged the U.S.-Taliban discussions will be the basis for intra-Afghan peace and reconciliation talks.
Pompeo visited Kabul on a day when members of opposition groups held a large public gathering in the city to protest against extension given to President Ashraf Ghani by the country’s Supreme Court. They insisted Ghani’s constitutional five-year term ended in May and demanded the president must step down. The incumbent president is seeking re-election.
“We call upon the former president (Ghani) to withdraw his candidacy if he should continue to hold office as a caretaker president for the purpose of realization of the principles of justice and impartiality,” said a post-rally statement by the Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC).
Pompeo also emphasized the need for a credible Afghan presidential election.
“I urge the Afghan government, the Independent Election Commission, and all political stakeholders to take all necessary steps to ensure that the elections are credible,” Pompeo stressed.
National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib met with Turkish Amb. Oğuzhan Ertuğrul in Kabul today, as per ONSC Press.
They discussed security cooperation, and Turkey’s role in the newly established regional consensus on the peace process, which Afghanistan initiated.
Last week, the six-party security meeting was held in Ufa.
Participants of the Ufa six-party security meeting agreed to include Turkey in the next round of meetings.
They also reaffirmed their support for the Afghan-led, owned and controlled peace process.
Two U.S. servicemembers were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to a statement from the U.S.-led NATO Resolute Support mission.
No other details were available. Their names are being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin are notified, the statement said.
News of the deaths comes about two months after three Marines assigned to 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division were killed in a car bombing outside Bagram Air Field. The April 8 incident, which happened only days before they were expected to return home from Afghanistan, wounded three other Americans, an Afghan contractor and five Afghan civilians.