Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) has said it has signed a cooperation deal on information sharing with Afghanistan’s National Procurement Authority.
The agreement was signed as part of a business meeting organized by DEIK’s Turkey-Afghanistan Business Council, it said on Friday.
Business representatives and officials discussed economic relations, investment and cooperation opportunities between the two countries during the meeting.
Nail Olpak, the head of the DEIK, said the annual bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Afghanistan is around $150 million, adding that it should be increased.
There are significant opportunities in construction, energy and security fields between the two countries, Olpak noted.
“I invite Turkish businesspeople to invest in these sectors,” he said.
Accessing information and security are two critical points for doing business and increasing relations with Afghanistan, he recalled.
“I believe that we can create a fertile environment for our businesspeople,” the head of the DEIK added.
Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, Afghanistan’s acting finance minister, said two countries aim to make cooperation in political, investment, infrastructure, and trade areas.
Qayoumi reminded that Afghanistan is located in the middle of the historical trade line of Silk Road and it has a key role to integrate Central and South Asian economies.
“We are grateful for Turkey’s extraordinary support to peaceful, prosperous and stabilized Afghanistan,” he added.
Afghan security officials say the Taliban insurgents’ attacks on two districts of Faryab have been thwarted.
Faryab Police command in a statement said that the Taliban group stormed security forces’ outposts in Do Rahi Khaja qashqar area of Khaja Sabz Posh district on Friday night which at least four Taliban fighters were killed and three others were wounded.
According to Faryab Police, at least one Afghan soldier was killed and four others were wounded during the clashes.
The statement said that Taliban insurgents also attacked a security outpost in the center of Shirin Tagab district and the attack was thwarted with the killing of two Taliban insurgents and wounding two others.
Police further added that security forces had no casualties in Taliban’s attack on Shirin Tagap but two civilians including a woman were wounded in the incident.
President Ashraf Ghani in a meeting with Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan has said that peace in the country means the stability in the region.
The Presidential Palace on a statement on Saturday said that President Ghani met the Muhammad Ibrahim Taherayan, Iran’s special representative to Afghanistan and discussed over the development of bilateral relations regarding the Afghan peace process.
“Peace and stability in Afghanistan means stability in the region and the Afghan government’s efforts is to ensure a lasting peace and stability in the country,” President Ghani said.
In the meantime, the Iranian envoy in his meeting with President Ghani brifed the President about Taliban’s trip to Iran and emphasized that with respect to the Afghanistan constitution, the Iranian government supports Afghan led-peace process which will be by the leadership of the Afghan government
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan would continue to play its role of mediator and facilitator in Afghan peace process.
Qureshi said this during his meeting with the United States Ambassador to Pakistan Paul Jones to discuss the Afghan peace process.
According to reports, the Pakistani foreign minister said that for long-lasting peace in the region, it was important that the Afghan peace process continue.
He appreciated the decision of the US to start the Afghan peace process again.
Washington resumed talks with the Taliban in Qatar Saturday, a US source told AFP.
“The US rejoined talks today in Doha. The focus of discussion will be reduction of violence that leads to intra-Afghan negotiations and a ceasefire,” said the source briefed on efforts to end almost two decades of war in Afghanistan.
In September, the United States and the Taliban had appeared on the verge of signing a deal that would have seen Washington begin withdrawing thousands of troops in return for security guarantees.
It was also expected to pave the way towards direct talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul and, ultimately, a possible peace agreement after more than 18 years of war.
During a surprise visit to a US military base in Afghanistan last week, Trump said the Taliban “wants to make a deal.”
At least fifteen Taliban insurgents have been killed and two others arrested after Afghan Special Forces waged an operation in the southern Kandahar province, command of special forces said Saturday.
“The raid was conducted on Friday in Khinjak area, Nish district. One militants’ control and command post with several vehicles, some weapons and ammunition were destroyed during the operation Friday,” Afghan National Army Special Operations Corps said in a statement.
Security situation has been improving in Kandahar over the past months, as security forces have conducted search and cordon operations across the province.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) says at least eleven Taliban insurgents including two Pakistani members have been killed and arrested in Helmand province.
NDS in a statement on Saturday said that the NDS operatives have launched a special operation on hideout of Taliban commanders named Mullah Mir Hamza in Nar-e Saraj district of Helmand.
According to the statement, at least six Taliban insurgents were killed and five others of them including two Pakistani members identified as Kalimullah and Bahawuddin were arrested by NDS.
The statement added that NDS forces have also seized 60kg of explosives, five bombs, a pistol, a radio and destroyed two Taliban bases.
Over 1,400 IS-K members, including hundreds of fighters, have surrendered in the past one and half month to Afghan forces, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) statement said.
The statement by MoI said that 450 IS-K fighters surrendered along with their families to the security forces from their long-held bastions in southern remote parts of Nangarhar province.
It added the robust security operations backed by the locals help force the terrorists to surrender.
In April 2017, the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan dropped the Mother of All Bombs on the Daesh’s network of tunnels in Nangarhar killing at least 90 militants.
The US Department of the Army has announced upcoming deployments to Afghanistan and South Korea for U.S. soldiers from 10th Mountain Division and 1st Infantry Division.
The Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, stationed at Fort Drum, New York, will be rotating this winter to Afghanistan. The unit is replacing the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team as part of the Army’s commitment to Operation Freedom Sentinel in the country.
Three paratroopers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team died in Afghanistan this year. One paratrooper was killed by an IED blast near Bagram Air Base in early September, while the other two were killed in what was reported as an insider attack in July.
This year, soldiers have accounted for 13 of the Defense Department’s 16 hostile deaths in Afghanistan, according to Pentagon figures as of Nov. 25.
The current peace deal being brokered between the Taliban and the US risks setting women’s rights and security back many years by not making assurances to protect women’s employment, education and participation in government, the Christian Aid is warning.
The NGO is calling on the UK government to use its aid budget and diplomatic influence to ensure that women’s rights defenders are supported in Afghanistan.
In a new report to coincide with the charity’s Christmas appeal, which focuses on Afghanistan and India, Christian Aid stresses that global gender inequality is exacerbated by the prevalence of all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), including forced abortions, rape, female genital mutilation and femicide.
The report, War on Women: The global toll of conflict and violence, explains that although violence exists in every society around the world, poor and marginalized women are particularly vulnerable to violence, and it is exacerbated during times of conflict.
The publication outlines how women in Afghanistan, particularly those living in extreme poverty, still experience high levels of violence. It highlights Afghan women’s concerns that any peace deal which does not proactively protect their rights is unacceptable and could further jeopardize their safety.