Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) acting minister, Masoud Andarabi said that about 431 polling centers will be closed on Election Day due to security threats. Additionally, 674 other centers are under serious security threats too.
During a press conference today in Kabul, Andarabi said, of the 5,373 polling centers, 4942 centers will be open on Election Day all across the country.
The acting minister noted that the election materials will be sent to all provinces in coordination with the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
He assured that the security forces have been trying to normalize the security threats. “A joint team of MoI, MoD and NDS have worked on polling centers to be real,” Andarabi said.
Although the acting minister of Interior did not specify in which provinces the number of closed centers are located, he stated that the security forces had taken all security measures to secure the elections using past election experience.
He once again emphasized the impartiality of security forces in the upcoming presidential election, adding that all security forces officials had been instructed not to interfere in the elections under President Ghani’s decree.
While Andarabi announced the security measures for the Election Day, Taliban had previously warned to do their utmost to disrupt the security this election.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at a campaign rally in Kabul, on Wednesday announced that his team is ready to quit elections for the sake of peace in Afghanistan. “Even if peace comes a day before or after the presidential polls,” he remarked.
Mr. Abdullah said, “If the opportunity comes one day before or after the elections, we are ready for that and there is no doubt in it,”
As efforts for peace and elections are moving together in war-weary Afghanistan, Mr. Abdullah pledged to establish the Kochi ministry if he is elected as the next president.
This comes hours after the Taliban said the group is close to finalizing a peace agreement with the United States the ninth round of their talks in Doha.
In reaction to the report of Amnesty International, spokesperson for Ministry of Interior said that, just as we have taken up security measures for the security of mosques, journalists and providing security for hotels, human rights defenders can share their security plan if they have any.
Speaking at a news press on Wednesday, Nasrat Rahimi said, “Ministry of Interior has taken measures to protect human rights defenders, both individually and collectively.”
He added that, national and international entities, businessmen and individuals who face threat, can complain to the police headquarters in centre and provinces, and if not addressed, can contact Ministry of Interior.
30 cases of violence against human rights defenders, international entities and businessmen have been handed over to the Attorney General Office in the past one year, he said.
Spokesperson for Ministry of Interior regarding the security of elections said, “According to a comprehensive plan set for the security of the election process, 72,000 forces are assigned to ensure the security before, during and after elections. 20,000 others are the reserve forces”.
He emphasized that the IS-K’s core in Afghanistan is destroyed and is at a level that does not pose a serious threat to the Afghan government and nation. With any peace deal with the Taliban, ANDSF are ready to confront and defeat IS-K.
These remarks come just after Amnesty International released a telling report on Wednesday, which states that Afghanistan’s human rights community is under intensifying attacks from both the authorities and armed groups as human rights defenders and activists face intimidation, harassment, threats and violence.
At least nine children were killed several wounded in Pakistan’s missile attacks on eastern Kunar province, local officials said Wednesday.
The spokesman of Kunar governor, Abdul Ghani Mosamem told Reporterly, “At around 2:00 PM today, as a result of two missiles firings by Pakistani military on Dangam district of Kunar, 3 children were killed and 6 others were wounded.”
Mosamem said that when the attack took place, these children were playing with each other.
This comes after when several months ago, a number of houses were damaged after Pakistan fired around 200 missiles on parts of the Sheltan district of Kunar.
Yesterday, the Afghan government complained to the UN Security Council about Pakistan’s recent missile attacks on Afghanistan’s bordering districts.
The permanent representative of Afghanistan in UN, Adela Raz in a complaint letter to UN security council has urged for the needed measure to prevent Pakistan’s missiles attacks on Afghanistan’s soil.
Jürgen Stock Secretary General of Interpol Police, who traveled to Kabul said that, they are devising a plan based on which Interpol will share information with the Afghan government to track down and prosecute organised and trans-regional criminals, and identify drug trafficking and money laundering networks.
Jürgen Stock made these remarks in a meeting with president Ghani on Wednesday morning.
Mr. Stock while stating that terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering are common challenges for all countries, promised that the relation between Interpol and Afghanistan will improve.
He emphasized that identification and elimination of the financial and monetary resources of drug trafficking and money laundering networks and organised and trans-regional offenders should be done.
President Ghani in the meeting expressed that, “Albeit terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering are similar and common threats to all countries in the world, the international community has not managed yet to define a single definition of this phenomenon,”
President Ghani emphasized that, Interpol should be the single source to define and access threats for countries around the world in order to eliminate the fragmentation and lack of coordination in joint efforts to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Ghani even suggested that Interpol and its member countries should share their experiences with Afghanistan for the effectiveness of Afghanistan’s fight against these networks of organised crime.
The Taliban on Wednesday confirmed that the group is close to finalizing a peace agreement with the US officials in the ninth round of their talks in Doha.
A spokesman of the group, Suhail Shaheen, stated on Twitter that talks will continue today, and on Wednesday, and that they are nearing towards a final agreement.
“We hope to have good news soon for our Muslim and independence-seeking nation,” Mr. Shaheen remarked.
The US and the Taliban negotiators continue their ninth round of talks in Doha, Qatar, since the past seven days, with a hope to seize an agreement which will support withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is considering closing Pakistan’s airspace to India and blocking its eastern neighbour’s land trade route to Afghanistan, the science and technology minister in Islamabad said on Tuesday.
Pakistan’s Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Khan was debating whether to close airspace to India and its land routes to Afghanistan.
“Legal formalities for these decisions are under consideration, Modi has started we’ll finish!” Chaudhry said in a tweet.
Pakistan reopened its airspace to India in mid-July, having closed it in February after an attack by a Pakistan-based Islamist militant group in Indian-controlled, Muslim-majority Kashmir that led to clashes between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Moreover, this comes at a time when, Afghanistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Adela Raz, wrote a letter to the UNSC, condemning Pakistan’s failure to adhere to the repeated appeals made by the Afghanistan government “to cease illegal and provocative activities”.
Security officials reported that, two policewomen were killed in Kandahar city, while they were en route to their duty in Anghandab district.
Two policewomen were killed by Taliban in the vicinity of PD1 in Kandahar city on Wednesday around 8 am,Abdulbasir Khaksar deputy police chief of Kandahar told Reporterly.
He added that, perpetrators of the incident managed to escape from the area.
Earlier,Taliban had shot dead a policewoman in Balkh province. The Taliban group has not commented in this regard.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while addressing thousands of veterans on Tuesday at the American Legion’s 101st National Convention in downtown Indy, remarked that, America has never sought a permanent military presence in Afghanistan and that all sides recognise that its time to move on.
He said that United States’ 18 years of military, diplomatic and economic engagement helped transform Afghan society and crushed Al Qaeda.
He further added that, “We don’t know how these efforts towards peace and reconciliation will end but President Trump is committed to making sure that we get it right,”.
This comes at the time when sources say that the draft agreement between U.S. and Taliban group has been finalised.
Sources say the draft agreement between U.S. and Taliban group has been finalised.
As per BBC report, the 6th day of talks between the two sides ended around 01:00AM today and the negotiations will resume next Wednesday.
According to sources, the two sides are now adapting the English, Dari and Pashto texts of the agreement so that there will be no difference between the versions.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, is due to leave for Kabul on Wednesday, though he has hinted that he may return to the talks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously expressed hope that the two sides would reach an agreement by September 1 (next Sunday).
Taliban sources said that after signing the agreement, “intra-Afghan” talks will begin, with a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, roadmap for Afghanistan’s future, including dialogue on the political system, women’s rights and the constitution.
This comes as the two sides have not yet officially confirmed if the draft agreement has been finalised.
The ministry of Interior in a statement said that 37 Taliban insurgents were killed and one was arrested following a clash with ANP on Paktiya- Paktika highway.
Musa, a senior commander of Taliban was among those killed. ANP seized 1 PK machine gun, 5 AK-47 rifles, 5 motorcycles and some amount ammunition and military equipment.
Furthermore, 4 Taliban insurgents were killed during ANDSF joint clearance operation in Nehr Saraj District of Helmand.
MoI reported that several villages of Nehr Saraj were cleared of Taliban insurgents and ANDSF seized 2 rocket launchers, 2 AK-47 rifles, 5 radio handsets and 2 vehicles.
At least 14 members of Public Uprising Forces were killed in an attack by Taliban in Herat province.
Speaking to Reporterly on Wednesday, Abdul Ahad Walizadah spokesperson for Herat police said, “The attack happened around 12:00 am on Wednesday when Taliban insurgents exchanged fire with public uprising forces in Chahardara village in the vicinity of Rubat Sangi district of the province.”
The clash continued till 2 am, Walizadah said, adding that 14 members of public uprising forces were killed.
Additionally, 12 Taliban insurgents were killed after the backup forces arrived in the area, as per spokesperson of Herat police.
He said that, Taliban were pushed back from area and now it is under the control of security forces.
Provincial officials reported that 8 people fell victim to a brutal traffic accident in Daikundi province.
The accident took place yesterday afternoon at 5:30 when a vehicle overturned in Qula Qadir area in the capital of the province, Sakina Ehsani Daikundi provincial spokesperson told Reporterly.
Ehsani added that, as a result of this, 4 individuals including a child were killed and 4 others including 3 women sustained injuries.
Lack of standard and difficult roads are often cited the reasons behind traffic accidents in Daikundi province.
Afghanistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Adela Raz, wrote a letter to the UNSC, condemning Pakistan’s failure to adhere to the repeated appeals made by the Afghanistan government “to cease illegal and provocative activities”.
Seeking intervention of the UN Security Council, Afghanistan on Tuesday raised concern over Pakistan’s continued violation of territory and shelling the country’s eastern districts.
“These violations were in the form of shelling of districts in eastern parts of Afghanistan; construction of military posts and barriers on Afghan territory; and violation of Afghan air space by Pakistani military aircraft,” Adela Raz, wrote in the letter .
The letter was written in the backdrop of the recent incident on August 19 and 20, wherein Pakistani military forces fired 200 rockets into Shelton district of Kunar province.
“These attacks have resulted in the destruction of residential property and displacement of the local population, which has suffered greatly as a result of the latest violations,” the letter stated.
Finally Adela Raz appealed to the Security Council to “take necessary measures and actions to bring about an end to the violations.”