Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Taliban shadow district chief for Nerkh district of Maidan Wardak was killed in an airstrike in the province at around 11:00 PM Thursday, local officials confirmed.
Maidan Wardak provincial governor’s office in a statement said that the airstrike targeted the vehicle of Taliban shadow district chief, Janat Gul while they were enroute from Shah Kabul area of Nerkh district to Kuchiha village.
The statement noted that the shadow district chief was killed along with two key members of the Taliban group in the raid.
This comes as Taliban shadow district chief for Chak Wardak district of the province was killed yesterday in an airstrike.
The former Vice-President, Muhammad Yunus Qanooni has said that the United States’ mistake caused the continuation war in Afghanistan.
“The US mistake was to consider Al-Qaeda as a threat and the Tehrik-i- Taliban as a local insurgency group. Eventually, Pakistan was able to force the US to comply it with its strategy and the Taliban once again become a major threat”, Qanooni said during a press conference in Kabul.
Pointing on Taliban’s excuse about the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan and the reason for continuation of war, Qanooni said, the war in Afghanistan has begun on that day which there was no foreigner in the country.
“The Taliban’s war is just an excuse. The continuation of war under the pretext of occupation in Afghanistan is a cover to advance the goals of some countries”, he said.
The former-vice president noted that one of the reasons for the lack of peace in Afghanistan has been a misunderstanding of the war and peace. “The country’s current crisis is not an internal crisis and those who think so are mistaken.”
Qanooni stated that the foreign countries have always sought to instrumentalize Afghanistan’s instability, the Taliban’s claim of sharia is a false excuse, and cryptic strategies are underway for Afghanistan’s instability.
Qanooni’s remarks come as the peace process has been suspended for an indefinite time. Although foreign media have recently released reports that the United States is trying to resume peace talks, the fate of the Afghan peace talks remains unclear.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) said that the facilitator of Taliban explosions has been killed in Takhar province.
NDS Special Unit Forces killed the facilitator of Taliban explosions, Mohammadullah known as Zaid along with his subordinate in Kanjak Sarai village of Talqan city, said NDS in a statement on Thursday.
The statement noted that Mohammadullah had recently travelled to Taloqan city to carry out attacks against famous individuals and the tribal elders.
A group of 9 Taliban insurgents was identified and arrested during a search operation of Afghan Security Forces in vicinity of Takhar province, the statement added.
Afghan Ministry of Finance said that Zinatullah Zebi, an employee of General Budget Directorate of the ministry has been killed in Kabul.
The statement noted that Zebi was killed by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday afternoon in Arghani area of Paghman district while he was on his way home.
Meanwhile, the family of the victim told media, “unidentified gunmen stopped and pulled him out of his vehicle but then put him back inside the car and shot him with a rocket.”
A spokesperson for Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a tweet said, “Zinat Zebi was a civilian and the Taliban group abducted and then gunned him down in Arghani area yesterday afternoon.”
This comes as assassination has mounted recently in the capital Kabul.
At least two policemen of Herat municipality were killed by unidentified armed men on Thursday morning, Herat police confirmed.
A spokesperson for Herat police, Abdul Ahad Walizadah told Reporterly that the incident took place in Hawade village in PD6 of Herat city.
He added that no one has been arrested in connection with the incident but the investigation is underway.
Herat province is situated in west of Afghanistan where armed robbery and killing has recently mounted.
Kabul’s ambassador to Washington said “passing statements” about U.S. withdrawal or peace talks with the Taliban made in American political campaigns are “not helpful” in setting Afghanistan on the pathway to a future as functioning democratic republic.
Speaking Wednesday at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., Roya Rahmani said in answer to several questions, “we want the United States to look at us … as partners over the last 18 years.”
“Now it is not the Americans fighting the Taliban or the Islamic State in Afghanistan”, she said. “Rather, the Afghan security forces are in the lead militarily, as part of a strategy developed several years ago in coordination the United States and NATO.”
“We could talk about this as a success story.” The ambassador added Afghanistan “is an important part of your foreign policy. We have a rapidly changing environment” inside Afghanistan that includes shifting mindsets over the role of women in society.
Rahmani was speaking against the backdrop of the sudden announcement of the American withdrawal of forces from northeast Syria, where they had been working alongside the Syrian Democratic Front against the Islamic State. That sudden withdrawal raised new questions about U.S. commitment to stay in Afghanistan.
At least nine people were killed and injured in a traffic incident on Herat-Kandahar highway on Thursday morning, local officials said.
Two people were killed and 7 others injured in the incident, the provincial governor’s spokesma Jilani Farhad told Reportery.
Farhad noted that the incident took place in Adraskan district, in Herat-Kandahar highway when a passenger bus and a truck collided.He added that the injured are in critical health conditions.
Accidents are common in Afghanistan’s highways and most of the traffic accidents are basically due to the carelessness of drivers, high-speed driving and bad condition of the roads.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) launched an extensive military operation in Baghlan province on Wednesday night.
MoD in a statement said that ANDSF initiated the operation against Taliban insurgents from three different locations in Dand-e-Shahabuddin, Dand-e-Ghori and Kelagai.
The statement noted the operation will continue until Baghlan provine will be cleared of insurgents.
Prior to this, ANDSF carried out similar operations in Badakhshan, Takhar and Kunduz provinces that resulted in clearance of many areas from the presence of Taliban, the statement read.
The statement further added that many insurgents including their commanders, and shadow governors have been killed and injured during these operations.
The European Union (EU) Special Envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia met with president Ghani late Wednesday and reiterated EU’s position on peace which must be Afghan led and owned, the Presidential Palace said.
President Ghani and Kobia discussed the peace process, the presidential election and the EU’s role in good governance and democracy in the country, Presidential Palace said in a statement.
During the meeting Mr. Kobia commended the Afghan government and the people braving Taliban’s threats by holding the election and the Afghan security forces for safeguarding the election.
He noted that this time the electoral commissions tried to hold the election properly compare to the past.
On Afghan peace process, he said that EU supports the Afghan government’s efforts in achieving lasting peace and stability in which democratic values are maintained.
“The conditions for peace must be the end of violence in Afghanistan and Taliban should show willingness to negotiate with the Afghan government,” said Roland Kobia adding that the only way to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan is that the Taliban must renounce violence and join to peace.
The National Security Council (NSC) has said that National and International consensus have been accelerated regarding Afghan peace process that such efforts would play an important role in the peace quest.
According to the NSC’s spokesman, Kabir Haqmal, the National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Mohib in a meeting with the Australian Deputy Ambassador, Peter Trozul has emphasized that all aspects should be involved in the peace process.
“We want to continue peace efforts with consensus. The talks that should be satisfy to all sides,” said Haqmal, adding, “The Afghan government is working on national and international consensus for peace process.”
The remarks come after some foreign officials have held talks with the National Unity Government leaders, where they discuss issues related to Afghan peace talks.
The US State Department’s principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells has said that Afghans who risked their lives to cast their ballots and to protect the voters expect and deserve the process to be transparent.
She called on the Afghan electoral bodies to ensure the transparency of the elections.
Speaking of her recent meeting with Afghan leaders, Wells underscored the efforts of Afghan electoral commissions to independently lead the electoral process without pressure or interference.
“I also welcomed the IEC’s reaffirmation of its policy to only count biometric votes,” said Wells.
The US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, arrived in Afghanistan on Monday and has since held separate meetings with Ghani and Abdullah who have shared power since the 2014 election that was marred with fraud.
“I emphasized to President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah that Afghan government institutions, leaders and elections must be transparent and accountable to the Afghan people”, she noted.
This comes as the election commission has previously said that it will not be able to release the initial results on Oct. 19 because it had faced technical shortcomings, even as a number of presidential nominees said on Tuesday that Ghani and Abdullah were involved in fraud, adding that they aimed to put pressure on the IEC to announce the results in their favor.
On the Afghan peace process, Wells said: “While the administration reviews its next steps in support of a political settlement to the conflict, Afghan men and women from all sectors of society– the government, private enterprise, tribal leaders and activists–should continue to work toward a consensus on peace to ensure that they are able to take advantage of opportunities to advance a negotiated political settlement,”.
On corruption, Wells remarked: “To both the president and the Chief Executive I underscored that Afghanistan needs to do more to counter corruption and strengthen governance. The United States is committed to its partnership with Afghanistan. But the United States government and the Afghan people expect that the government will use the public and donor funds to provide services, justice and economic opportunity.”
The UN Envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto and the members of International Community (IC) met with presidential candidates for Afghanistan’s election on Wednesday, UNAMA said.
During the meeting, Mr. Yamamoto and IC members stressed the importance of Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) on carrying out their work transparently and impartially.
They reiterated the full support of all stakeholders for IEC and ECC.
Earlier, US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass during a visit to IEC said that United States supports the decision by IEC to only verify biometric votes.
He also reinforced with the commission the commitment of the United States to supporting the independence of the electoral commissions and supporting their ability to achieve the right conclusion.
The preliminary result of presidential election is set to be announced on 19 October.