Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
More Afghans than Syrians have migrated to the European Union so far this year, official data shows, making them the largest nationality illegally entering the bloc, with many relocating from Iran partly due to the hardship caused by U.S. sanctions.
As per Reuters report, Since the beginning of the year, nearly 17,000 Afghans crossed the Aegean sea to reach EU shores, the latest data from the EU border agency Frontex show.
Around half of them had been living in Iran before attempting the crossing through Turkey into the EU, a senior EU official told Reuters, adding that in many cases Afghan migrants arriving to Europe were born in Iran.
They are leaving because “the U.S. policy has significantly deteriorated the economic situation in Iran,” the official said.
The situation in Afghanistan remains fraught with risk, as Taliban militants presently control more territory than at any time since they were ousted from power by U.S.-led forces nearly two decades ago.
Local officials said that a team has been tasked to investigate the possible killing and injury of 15 civilians in an airstrike that took place in Zohr village of Warduj on Sunday.
Badakhsan provincial governor’s office in a statement on Tuesday said that heavy causalities were inflicted on Taliban insurgents in an airstrike carried out on hideout of insurgents in warduj district of the province.
According to the office, Taliban fired mortar rounds on local residents during the air force operation, which reportedly killed 4 civilians and wounded 11 others.
“Reports are published in media claiming that these individuals were killed and injured in the airstrike, hence, the local government has assigned a team to investigate the incident seriously and comprehensively,” said Badakhsan governor’s office.
President Ghani on Tuesday afternoon met with US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, discussed the peace process, security, regional and international relations, the presidential palace said in a statement.
The statement noted that during the meeting, Ghani emphasized that there is comprehensive consensus for dignified and sustainable peace and it is the priority of the current and next government.
Alice Wells commended successful holding of presidential election in the meeting, saying the vote was important for strengthening democracy in Afghanistan, the statement added.
“The independence of Afghan electoral commissions and their decisions should be respected”. said Ghani adding that candidates should avoid making premature claims of victory.
This comes as two days after election, Mr. Ghani’s running-mate Amrullah Saleh in a news conference claimed his team was the winner.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a statement said that India has handed over two Mi-35 helicopters to the Afghan Air Force on Tuesday.
The statement noted that the helicopters were officially handed over to Ministry of Defense with the presence of Acting MoD Minister Assadullah Khalid and Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar.
This comes as Indian government had promised the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in early 2018 to gift four attack helicopters to boost their counter-insurgency capabilities.
These four helicopters were purchased by India from Belarus and delivered to Afghan Ministry of Defense.
India has delivered several Mi-35 helicopters to Afghanistan in recent years.
Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) confirmed the participation of Afghanistan as a partner country in the 39th India International Trade Fair (IITF), said the Afghan Embassy on Monday.
Afghan Embassy India in a series of tweets said, “Congratulations. After series of negotiations by the Afghan Embassy with India Trade Promotion Organization, finally ITPO has confirmed the participation of Afghanistan as a “Partner Country” in the 39th India International Trade Fair (IITF) 2019 indiatradefair.”
The embassy said the partner country status given to Afghanistan amongst the 19 participating countries will give it a number of privileges including being acknowledged as the partner country in all the publicity materials, hoardings etc in IITF.
As per ANI report, among other privileges, the embassy said would include — one representative of the country to share the stage at the inaugural and closing ceremonies, one day complimentary use of the theatre for cultural performance, lunch hosted by CMD/ED on any one of the days during the fair, inclusion of messages of their Ambassadors in the fair catalogue, providing 100 complimentary business visitors’ passes beyond their entitlement, a memento to be given at the closing ceremony, and Inclusion of one representative in the jury panel for IITF.
The IITF is being organised from November 14-27 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Taliban’s spokesperson, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen has said that Taliban have nothing against India and need its help to reconstruct Afghanistan.
In an exclusive interview to CNN-News18’s Zakka Jacob, Shaheen declared that India need not be apprehensive about withdrawal of American troops as ‘post-liberation’; Afghanistan would need the neighbouring nation’s help for its reconstruction.
Shaheen said had US President Donald Trump not called off the negotiation, the peace deal would have been signed by now and there would have been ceasefire in Afghanistan.
“We think there is no military solution and Americans know that better because they tried the military approach for the last 18 years with no result. So I think the best option is a peaceful solution of that one issue. They have to come to the table in order to sign the peace agreement, if they want a solution of the Afghan issue. Otherwise, they will repeat the bitter experience of achieving no result”, he added.
The US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said that United States supports the decision by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to only verify biometric votes.
We discussed the importance of clarifying for the Afghan people how many polling centers and polling stations were closed and where they were located so that as biometric process goes forward people have confidence that the electronic results verified physical results, he noted.
US Ambassador John Bass said the remarks during visit to Independent Election Commission.
It is important that people have confidence in the vote rather than trying to meet an artificial deadline, he said.
“I have 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. I have reinforced with the commission the importance that we put on the integrity of the vote which means the integrity of the ballot process,” he added.
The preliminary results of presidential election is set to be announced on 19 October.
At least 2 civilians have been killed in a roadside bomb blast in Ghazni province, local officials said.
Ghazni provincial governor’s office in a statement said that a truck hit a roadside bomb embedded by Taliban group in Neyaz Kalai village of Deh district of the Ghazni.
The incident took place at around 06:30 AM on Tuesday, the statement added.
According to the Ghazni governor’s office the Taliban group cause civilian casualties through embedding mines on public roads.
Ahead of the meeting of NATO Leaders in London at the end of the year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Taliban must show willingness to make real compromises at the negotiating table.
“We would welcome the resumption of the talks, but then Taliban must show willingness to make real compromises at the negotiating table,” Stoltenberg said at a session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in London on Monday.
“Unfortunately, what we see at the moment is that the Taliban are escalating violence, not ending it,” he said.
“And it proves the need for firm and credible guarantees for any future peace,” he added.
Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan and to ensure the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists.
According to Stoltenberg, the 9/11 attack on US was an attack against freedom and democracy everywhere.
“This is why NATO Allies and partners continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan, to make the Afghan security forces stronger, so that they can fight international terrorism, and create the conditions for lasting peace,” Stoltenberg said.
A knife-wielding Afghan man is suspected of killing one person and badly wounding another in a series of attacks in Austria on Monday, police said.
As per Reuters report, Police in Upper Austria province said the man, 33, wounded a staff member at a refugee centre in Wullowitz, near the border with the Czech Republic, before fleeing the scene by bicycle. He then stabbed to death a nearby resident and took his car, police said.
The motive was still under investigation.
Broadcaster ORF cited authorities as saying the suspect had been taken into custody in the city of Linz without further incident.
A court in Amsterdam sentenced an Afghan national, who stabbed two tourists from the United States in the Netherlands last year, to 26 years behind bars on conviction for two accounts of attempted murder with terrorist intent and three counts of threatening a police officer, the Dutch media reported on Monday.
In August last year, Jawed S., a 20-year-old Afghan male, stabbed two US tourists with a knife from behind at Amsterdam Central Station. One of the victims sustained a severe spinal cord injury and is now confined to a wheelchair, while the other one barely survived the attack and had to undergo an emergency surgery. After his arrest, the man promptly confessed to the attack.
He would now have to serve a 26-year imprisonment sentence and pay over $2.2 million in damages to his victims, the NL Times reported.
According to the report, the attacker explained his motive by that he came to the Netherlands to “kill unfair and cruel people” and that his only mistake was that he did not stab people who were from the Netherlands.
Law enforcement and medical experts believe that the man might suffer a serious psychiatric disorder.