Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The UN and a group of Western donor nations supporting Afghanistan’s presidential elections have urged candidates not to “undermine” the poll.
In a statement, the Election Support Group – comprised of key international donors including the United States, the European Union, NATO and the UN – said that candidates should respect election law and “refrain from any actions or statements that undermine the process.”
“The ESG urges all candidates to cooperate with the recount and audit process and follow the formal complaints process to raise their concerns about the alleged irregularities,” the statement said.
The call came one day after the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said he would not accept “fraudulent votes” results and demanded a halt in the recount of votes from the September 28 first-round ballot.
An insider attack claimed the lives of five policemen in western Herat province on Tuesday, a local official said.
“A Taliban infiltrator opened fire on police personnel at a checkpoint in Jinowai village of Ob’e district on Tuesday morning, killing five policemen on the spot,” district governor Rahmudin Sarwarzai said.
The attacker had good relations with the commander of the checkpoint, the official said.
Sarwarzai further added that after committing the crime, the attacker fled the scene and a search operation is underway to locate and arrest the perpetrator.
Air raids claimed the lives of seven civilians in Zazai Aryub district of eastern Paktia province, district governor Ezatullah Khan said Tuesday.
According to the official, an unmanned plane targeted a car in Alsangi area of the troubled district Monday evening killing seven individuals including three women and two children.
As per local officials, an investigation has been initiated into the incident.
A car bomb aimed at a convoy of foreign forces has exploded near a military base in Pul-e Alam city, the center of Logar province, officials said.
“A vehicle-borne IED targeted a U.S. convoy this morning in Logar province. Only the VBIED driver was killed. No U.S. or Coalition service members were wounded or killed in the attack. We are investigating the incident,” a spokesperson for US forces in Afghanistan said.
The incident is said to have taken place around 10:20 am local time.
The attack comes on the same day that Afghanistan’s government announced that it would release three high-ranking Taliban members in exchange for two hostages held by the militant group, a US citizen and an Australian.
The men, both professors, were lecturers at the American University of Afghanistan when they were kidnapped in 2016.
A car bomb aimed at a convoy of foreign forces has exploded in the Pul-e Alam city, the center of Logar province, sources said.
A local source told Reporterly that the incident took place at around 10:20am on Tuesday.
Afghan security officials have not officially confirmed the incident and there is no detail available about the casualties.
Afghan security officials have confirmed that a militant of IS-K group handed himself and 45 family members of his comrades including women and children to Afghan security forces.
The Special Operations Corps in a statement released on Tuesday said the 45 family members of the IS-K militant include 17 women, 13 children and 15 girls.
According to the statement, the security forces have increased pressures on IS-K group with the efforts of residents in Nangarhar province.
In the meantime, the Nangarhar governor’s office declared that at least four men and 93 women and children related to the IS-K group have surrendered to security forces that 13 of them are Pakistani citizens.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has confirmed that three Taliban prisoners, including Anas Haqqani, Malii Khan and Hafiz Rashid, have been released conditionally.
Ghani in a press conference in Kabul said the AUAF lecturers, who were abducted by the Taliban in Kabul, are suffering from serious illness.
“We have decided to release three Taliban prisoners from Bagram prison including Anas Haqqani,” he said.
President Ghani stressed that serious measures have been taken with the international partners that the release of three Taliban prisoners will not mean the strengthening of the group.
The European Union (EU) High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini has called on all electoral teams to accept the results of the Presidential Elections.
During a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, Mogherini spoke about the Afghan elections and peace talks.
“We are still waiting for the preliminary results to be announced, but we are stressing our determination to accompany an Afghan-owned and an Afghan-led process for negotiation that we hope can start soon between the government and the Taliban and also our hope that the resumption of US-Taliban talks can happen soon as one step to prepare the launch of a genuine intra-Afghan peace process with direct negotiations between the government and Taliban,” she said.
She announced EU support for the Afghan peace process and said, “We would be more than ready to support this process from the very beginning, as well as an agreement in case and when it is reached.”
Mogherini reiterated that “the only condition would be that such a process would not be at the detriment but, on the contrary, to strengthen and increase the achievements that the country has reached already, in particular when it comes to human rights and rights of women.”
“We know that this is the key aspiration of the Afghan people,” she added.
India and China have begun jointly training a second batch of Afghan diplomats as part of their efforts to work together for the development of Afghanistan.
Ten diplomats from Afghanistan are participating in the course. As with the training of the first batch of Afghan diplomats last year, the current batch will spend time at the elite Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in New Delhi during November 11-23 and undertake study tours in India before traveling to China for further training.
A total of 179 Afghan diplomats had been trained at the FSI, more than any other country, according to a statement from the Indian external affairs ministry.
India has provided assistance worth $3 billion for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan and the two sides have close political and security ties.
Senior Afghan and Pakistani security officials have held talks in the capital Kabul to discuss ways for reducing tensions.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib has met with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Inter-Services Intelli¬gence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, the NSA office said.
According to officials, the agenda of talks included the dispute over an Afghan market in Peshawar, border firing incidents and mutual allegations of harassment of diplomats.
The NSA office says the two sides in their talks in Kabul had decided to set up a committee to resolve the market dispute.
Previously, the Afghan Foreign Ministry had claimed that ISI had summoned ambassador Atif Mashal and “mistreated” him, the charges denied by Pakistan.