Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
A group of four armed men stormed the distribution center of Electronic National Identity Cards in Jalalabad city earlier this evening.
The spokesperson of Nangarhar Police, Mobarez Atal said, the security forces gunned down all attackers after five hours of clashes.
The attackers entered the center after an explosion in front of the center’s building.
According to the officials, 15 others have been wounded. No civilian or government casualties have yet been reported.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident so far.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he would urge U.S. President Donald Trump next week to revive Afghanistan peace talks with the Taliban militant group.
Trump abruptly canceled secret talks with the Taliban at his Camp David retreat that were planned for Sept. 8 and has since said the talks are “dead”.
“It will be a big tragedy if these talks don’t make headway,” Khan said at a ceremony at Pakistan’s Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan.
As per Reuters report, Khan said he would meet Trump in New York on Monday, and would emphasize that there had been “destruction and chaos in Afghanistan for the last 40 years”.
“We will put our best (effort) that these talks are resumed again,” he said.
Khan said Pakistan had directed Taliban leaders to participate in earlier peace talks in Qatar and only discovered too late that talks had broken down. He said his next role would have been to convince the Taliban to open talks with the Afghan government.
Khan is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly while in New York.
Local officials confirmed that a deputy leader of IS-K Khorasan branch has been arrested in Herat province.
“The IS-K Khorasan branch deputy has been arrested by National Directorate of Security forces”, Jailani Farhad, provincial spokesperson told Reporterly on Wednesday.
Mr. Jailani Farhad said that the detainee came to Herat from from Nangarhar province.
He further noted that the deputy leader was arrested during last week.
Addressing a campaign rally in Kabul on Wednesday, the Presidential candidate Ahmad Wali Massoud, head of Wefaq-e Melli (National Accord) electoral team, said that the government has been engineering a fraud election.
Ahmad Wali Massoud said that both governmental candidates know that the presidential election will turn into a crisis; if either of them wins, the other one will not accept the result and the country will face another crisis.
He said that Mr. Ghani does not believe in a fair and transparent election, claiming that the campaigns of governmental teams are carried out by using state facilities and plans.
“President Ghani has given 1500 AFGs to the participants in his campaign in Parwan province to show the world that he has public’s support and these gatherings are a cover up to their election fraud,” Wali Massoud said.
He criticized the National Unity Government, saying Afghanistan had experienced an unsuccessful government in the past five years and millions of citizens had been affected as a result of wrong policies.
“We are in favor of an election that will lead us to the creation of a legitimate national government”, he emphasized.
Masoud also unveiled the National Consensus Charter and his team’s governance plans at the campaign rally.
Regarding the peace process he said that, “This government which has been in power for 5 years has not been able to settle its internal disagreements, how will they bring peace to its people?”
“After 9 months of conciliations now the Afghans have also realized that Khalilzad’s peace process was not a peace process, but merely a deal”, reasoned Mr.Massoud.
The head of Wefaq-e Melli electoral team added that the Taliban must understand that killing the people cannot bring peace.
According to Mr. Massoud, “Taliban have told the US that if they resume the peace process, the group pledges not to target any Americans in Afghanistan. They should have given that commitment to the Afghan people, not the United States.”
One policeman was killed and three others including, Washir district police chief were injured in a Taliban ambush in Helmand on Wednesday afternoon, local officials confirmed.
“The incident happened when Shamim Noorzai, Washir district police chief was ambushed by Taliban while he was patrolling in the vicinity of Washir district”, Omer Zhawak, provincial spokesperson told Reporterly on Wednesday.
He added that 3 policemen including Shamim were injured and another policeman was wounded in the clash.
The country’s power utility, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat announced that the work to reconnect electricity has started in Baghlan.
The Breshna Sherkat in a statement said on Wednesday that the work had started around 1:00PM today in Dand-e-Shahbuddin and Hassan Tal area of Baghlan in order to repair the damaged pylons and reconnect electricity in Kabul and 11 other provinces.
Meanwhile, the electricity imported from Tajikistan has been cut in Baghlan and the power supply of 12 provinces including Kabul has been disrupted.
The main power transmission line to Kabul was cut on Saturday due to fighting in Dand-e-Shahabuddin region of Baghlan province.
Presidential spokesperson, Sediq Seddiqi in a tweet said that hosting the Taliban group is against all the principles and affects Afghan relations with other countries.
“Hosting this group is against all principles and relations between countries, especially for the Afghan government, which always wants to have good relations with neighboring countries”, Seddiqi expressed.
He said, “The Taliban continue to kill Afghans and also take responsibility for it. The Taliban’s narrative is war, violence and killing of people. ”Adding that the Taliban is a serious threat to the security of the region and the world.
These remarks come just after a four-member Taliban delegation led by Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy political leader of the group in Qatar, travelled to Iran on Tuesday.
Earlier, a Taliban delegation led by Sher Abbas Stanikzai travelled to Russia and discussed peace process with the Russian president’s special representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.
At least four armed men stormed the electronic ID cards distribution center after an explosion at the entrance of the building in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar, local officials said.
The spokesman of Nangarhar governor, Ataullah Khogyani told Reporterly that the blast occurred in PD3 of Jalalabad city at around 13:30PM.
Khogyani added that the clashes are still ongoing, but the security forces have arrived at the area.
There is still no information about the casualties. No group has claimed responsibility so far.
An Explosion took place near the electronic ID cards center in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province, local officials said.
The spokesman of Nangarhar governor, Ataullah Khogyani told Reporterly that a blast occurred in front of the electronic ID cards office building, PD3 of Jalalabad city at around 13:30PM.
There is no info available about the casualties.
Details to follow..
International Criminal Court judges said Tuesday that the court’s prosecutor can appeal against the rejection of her request to open an investigation into crimes linked to the conflict in Afghanistan.
As per AP report, in April, a panel of judges rejected the proposed investigation, saying it would not be in the interests of justice because an investigation and prosecution were unlikely to be successful as those targeted including the United States, Afghan authorities and the Taliban are not expected to cooperate.
Seeking leave to appeal, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that reasoning ran contrary to the court’s goal of prosecuting grave crimes when national authorities are unwilling or unable to do so.
Bensouda must now file a detailed appeal that will be considered by judges, a process likely to take months.
Her November 2017 request to open an investigation angered Washington because as well as alleging that crimes were committed by the Taliban and Afghan security forces, Bensouda said she had information that members of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies were involved in crimes.
Her request said they allegedly “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.”
Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would revoke or deny visas to ICC staff seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
Bensouda said that the Taliban and other insurgents killed more than 17,000 civilians since 2009.
U.S. military may be poised to rely more heavily on offensive cyber capabilities, as loyalties among Afghanistan’s Islamic extremists continue to shift, mainly to target one group in particular — the dispersed but still active membership of ISIS, according to one military cyber commander.
ISIS-K terrorists, whose first activity was recorded in 2015, have developed a pattern of attacking vulnerable targets. Just last month the group claimed responsibility for the bombing at a wedding in Afghanistan. In 2017 it was a mosque in Afghanistan; in 2016, a civil hospital in Pakistan; in 2015, a bus.
According to a report published in cyberscoop, “Joint Task Force ARES, the outfit charged with running joint and coalition cyber-operations against ISIS, is working to uncover information about how the terrorist group continues to operate in Afghanistan”, the deputy commander said Monday.
Security experts are concerned that ISIS is gaining momentum in Afghanistan in part because of the Trump administration’s efforts to establish a peace deal with the Taliban, according to the Financial Times.
Taliban hardliners reportedly have been defecting to ISIS in Afghanistan, also known as ISIS-Khorasan or ISIS-K, over concerns the Taliban will establish a deal with the U.S. in exchange for counterterrorism help.
After President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that he canceled secret talks with the Taliban — Anderson said cyber-operations from the Department of Defense could play a larger role in moving forward.
Finally he said, “Now as that physical caliphate has gone away we’re focused on the digital caliphate which is worldwide..” he said, noting ISIS-K terrorists in Afghanistan “are one of the higher threats as far as the organizations across ISIS.”
At least two car bombs and an ammunition cache of Taliban group have been destroyed in Paktia province, local officials confirmed.
Paktia provincial press office in a statement said,”Two vehicles packed with explosive components were destroyed on Tuesday night in Paktia province”.
The airstrike was carried out based on intelligence information in the vicinity of Zurmat district in which a weapon and ammunition cache of Taliban group was destroyed, the statement added.
Three Taliban insurgents were killed in the operation and no causalities were inflicted on civilians, according to the statement.
The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has strongly condemned the Kabul and Parwan provinces attack and said that All Afghans have the right to live “free from fear, intimidation and violence”.
The first explosion took place on Tuesday at an election rally for President Ashraf Ghani in Charikar city of Parwan province, killing 26 and wounding 42, according to news reports.
The president was addressing the residents, ahead of the Presidential Election, when a motorcyclist detonated a suicide bomb at a checkpoint leading to the event.
Hours later, another blast too place in Kabul’s Green Zone, where the defense ministry, US embassy and NATO headquarters are located, killing 22, and wounding more than three dozen.
The UN chief expressed his “deep sympathies” to the victims’ families, the Government and the people of Afghanistan.
“All Afghan citizens – whether voters, candidates or election-related staff – have the right to be free from fear, intimidation and violence”, underscored Mr. Guterres. “Attacks against civilians are unacceptable and those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable”.
Taliban militants claimed responsibility for both attacks, and a media statement noted that the extremist group had warned Afghan civilians not to attend election rallies.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the terrorist attacks carried out by the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
A Taliban suicide bomber on Tuesday targeted an election campaign rally in Charikar city of Parwan province, where Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was set to speak, killing 26 people and wounding 42.
In a separate incident hours later, a suicide bomb attack near the US embassy in central Kabul killed 22 people.
The Interior Ministry said that six military personnel were among those killed in the suicide attack near the busy Massud Square in central Kabul. There were both women and children among those killed or wounded, it also said.
“Through these attacks, the Taliban demonstrate blatant disregard for the people and institutions of Afghanistan,” Pompeo said in a statement after the Taliban claimed responsibility for both the terrorist attacks.
He said for Afghans to truly reconcile, the Taliban must begin to demonstrate a genuine commitment to peace rather than continue the violence and destruction that causes inordinate harm to the Afghan people and the future of their country.
“And for days, Afghanistan has endured blackouts and other challenges as a result of Taliban attacks against power transmission lines which carried electricity to hospitals, schools, and homes in many areas of the country,” Pompeo said on Tuesday.
The attacks came after US President Donald Trump on Saturday cancelled a secret meeting with the Taliban and Afghan President Ghani at Camp David near Washington.
The Pentagon has identified the Green Beret killed in action in a combat operation outside Kabul on Sep. 16.
Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin, 41, of Greenbrier, Tennessee, died due to “small arms fire” in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, on Monday, according to a statement by the U.S. Army.
“The loss of Sgt. 1st Class Griffin is felt across the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Family and the entire Special Forces community,” said Col. Owen G. Ray, commander, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in the statement.
“He was a warrior—an accomplished, respected, and loved Special Forces Soldier that will never be forgotten. We ask that you keep his family and teammates in your thoughts and prayers,” he said.
“Sgt. 1st Class Griffin was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart,” it added in the statement.
Griffin’s death happened after a senior U.S. general said on Sept. 9 that the U.S. Military is likely to accelerate the pace of its operations in Afghanistan to counter an increase in Taliban attacks.
Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said during a visit to Afghanistan that the Taliban overplayed its hand in peace negotiations by carrying out a spate of high-profile attacks.
According to the Defense Department figures, 17 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year including Griffin and over 80 have been injured in combat, reported the Army Times.