Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The United States Special Inspector General, tasked with monitoring U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, said the reintegration of tens of thousands of fighters into the Afghan society would be necessary for sustainable peace should talks resume.
Direct peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban are currently “dead” after President Donald Trump called them off earlier this month after a spike in violence.
John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said that whenever peace talks begin with the Taliban, the issue of reintegration would be a central factor in ensuring a “sustainable peace” in the country.
“For if there is ever to be a true, sustainable peace in Afghanistan, reintegration of the Taliban and other combatants will be a necessary component of that process, whether that process begins days — or years — from now,” Sopko said at an event at U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).
Sopko, however, cautioned against the U.S. supporting a comprehensive reintegration program in Afghanistan prematurely.
“As long as the Taliban insurgency continues, the U.S. should not support a comprehensive program to reintegrate former fighters, because of the difficulty in vetting, protecting and tracking former fighters,” Sopko said while discussing his organization’s recent report on Afghanistan.
“We recommend that the U.S. should consider supporting a reintegration effort if first, the Afghan government and Taliban sign a peace agreement that provides a framework for reintegration of ex-combatants; secondly, if a significant reduction in overall violence occurs; and thirdly, if a strong monitoring and evaluation system is established for reintegration efforts,” he added.
According to SIGAR, Taliban have an estimated 60,000 full-time fighters and about 90,000 seasonal fighters in Afghanistan.
Sopko said reintegration efforts have to be inclusive and combatants of all stripes have to be taken into consideration.
The Afghan senior security officials and NATO have emphasized on more coordination for providing a better security for the upcoming election.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that the acting interior minister, Masoud Andarabi, the acting defense minister, Asadullah Khalid and Gen. Scott Miller, US and RS commander in Afghanistan in an extraordinary meeting discussed the security situation for holding the election with the electoral bodies’ authorities.
MoI noted that the provincial security commanders have also shared their security plans through video conference in the meeting.
According to the interior ministry, the top officials stressed on impartiality of security institutions in election process and the standby alert have been issued to all security organs.
In the meantime, spokesman of the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Rohullah Ahmad Zai in a conference with media outlets said that all electoral materials have been transferred with cooperation of security forces.
Ahmad Zai further added that the security forces have been instructed to not interfere in the election process and do not hesitate of any efforts for providing the security.
Security Forces have arrested an individual who wanted to carry out rocket attacks on Kabul city, Afghan Police said on Saturday.
Kabul Police Command in a press release said that security forces detained the Taliban insurgent from PD8.
According to the press release, the detainee wanted to conduct rocket attacks on people gatherings, governmental institutions in Kabul city who was arrested in one of security stations.
Kabul Police added that the security forces also seized five BM rounds, an RPG rocket a pistol and a vehicle.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the International Day of Peace said the government once again calls on the Taliban group for a ceasefire.
On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, Ghani said to achieve a true peace, a ceasefire is needed.
Ashraf Ghani declared that the solution to the country’s forty-year-old conflict is only through a political path, and the best way is the political settlement, support for the elections and the republican system.
“This day is celebrated in Afghanistan as the country is closer to peace than ever,” President said.
Ghani noted that the National Unity Government has been working for the last five years to achieve a lasting peace in the country.
Referring to holding the Loya Jirga for Peace and the formation of a Ministry for Peace, the President noted that this will demonstrate the government’s determination and commitment to peace.
“It must be made clear that lasting peace demands precision, courage and purity. Lasting peace demands the belief in human justice and dignity. Real peace will come true when the Afghan people, men and women, achieve their rights without discrimination and injustice,” he said.
This comes as the Presidential Palace has previously announced that it had halted peace efforts until the Presidential election.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that a roadside bomb has killed at least two civilians in southern Kandahar province.
Nasrat Rahimi, MoI spokesman said Saturday that five other people were wounded when the blast struck the vehicle Friday afternoon in Spin Boldak district.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban are active in the province and have claimed earlier attacks.
Firdaus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, separately confirms two blasts in Kabul on Friday night. He said there were no casualties.
The Taliban’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the attacks in Kabul.
The insurgents have intensified attacks in all across the country as the nation is preparing for the upcoming Presidential Election this month.
The Amnesty International (AI) in reaction to the killing of civilians in a U.S. drone strike in Nangarhar province said, “the bombing suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life.”
“On yet another deadly day in Afghanistan, once again it is civilians who bear the brunt of the violence involving armed groups, the Afghan government and their backers in the US military”, the Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights Director Daphne Eviatar said.
“That a US drone strike purportedly targeting IS militants could instead result in the deaths of scores of farmers is unacceptable and suggests a shocking disregard for civilian life. US forces in Afghanistan must ensure that all possible precautions are taken to avoid civilian casualties in military operations.”
The Ministry of Defense and a senior US official in Kabul confirmed the drone strike, which took place in the Khoghyani district of Nangarhar province in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Afghan security forces have arrested an alleged planner of Zabul hospital bombing along with eight other insurgents in Ghazni province, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.
MoD in a press release stated that the Commando and Police Special Unit (PSU) forces have arrested nine Taliban insurgents including the suicide attack planner for Zabul hospital incident.
According to the press release, three facility providers of IEDs who planned to carry out a vehicle bombing in Ghazni are also among the detainees.
On September 19th 2019, a Taliban suicide car bomb detonated near a hospital in Qalat city of Zabul province which left more than 20 killed and 90 wounded.
The target of the attack was thought to be the government intelligence building nearby but the car bomb was parked outside a hospital gate.
The intelligence building suffered some damaged but the casualties are said to health workers, patients, residents and those coming to see hospitalised family members.