Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on Tuesday night said that Washington has been in constant communication with Afghan officials as it continues to review the February agreement signed between the US and Taliban in Doha last year.
In an off-camera press conference, Kirby said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was also fully aware of the findings of the Afghan Study Group analysis and its recommendations.
The US Department of Defense in a press release said that Kirby cited the Pentagon is “mindful of looming deadlines here and — and everybody shares the sense of — of alacrity when it comes to working our way through this review but we want to do it in a thoughtful, deliberate way, to make sure that we’re — that whatever decisions are made, they’re the best ones, that are in our best national security interests and the — certainly the security interests of our allies and partners, and that includes the Afghan people.”
Asked whether Austin would speak directly to President Ashraf Ghani about this, Kirby said: “I don’t have a future conversation to announce here today but obviously we’ll keep you posted as he continues to consult with our allies and partners.”
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) says it has addressed 224 cases of corruption in the past two months, which resulted the arrest 500 people.
Jamshid Rasouli, the spokesman of AGO, said in a press conference today, that in the solar year of 1399, a total of 1,791 cases, including cases of corruption in the civil and security-defense departments have been addressed.
He stressed that out of a total of 1,791 cases, 266 cases were serious crimes, 1,525 cases were corruption cases and 61 cases were related to military departments.
Rasouli noted that 83,719,094 Afs, $3,540,205 and 600,000 Euros have been transferred to the government’s treasury for these cases.
The spokesman of AGO stated that, the suspect individuals in these cases include deputies, governors, heads of government departments, members of parliament and members of provincial councils who are accused of embezzlement, bribery, misuse of authority, money laundering and forgery of documents.
The National Security Council (NSC) in reaction to a new UNAMA report on civilians in Afghanistan, said that the Taliban are responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in the country.
NSC in a statement released late on Tuesday welcomed the UNAMA’s report, but emphasized that more attentions should be paid in collecting the figures and statistics.
A report by the Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Tuesday that more than 3,000 civilians were killed and more than 5,000 were wounded during the war and violence in Afghanistan between January 1 and December 31, of the year 2020.
Based on the report, the Taliban were responsible for 45 percent of civilian casualties last year.
According to the report, the IS-K group is responsible for 8% of civilian casualties at the same time.
It is said that the Afghan Armed Forces are responsible for 22% of the casualties and the international troops is responsible for 1% of the casualties.
NSC in its statement claimed that the Taliban were in fact more responsible than what was reported in the UNAMA report.
The NSC added that the Taliban have provided the basis for the activities of the majority of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, and that their use of people’s homes as shields has resulted in civilian casualties.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday reported 16 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported two deaths and 119 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,680 the number of total reported deaths is 2,438 and the total number of recoveries is 48,086.
The new cases were reported in Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Kunduz, Maidan Wardak and Kapisa.
Armed robbers ambushed a van transporting cash for the “Afghan Net” company in Ghode Sang area of Khedir district of Daikundi province this morning, local officials said.
The spokesman of Daikundi Police, Gul Aqa Sajadi told Reporterly that the incident happened at around 05:00am today.
According to Sajadi, a clash erupted after the armed robbers attacked the vehicle, which as a result three people were wounded and one robber was killed.
He added that the robbers failed to rob the cash and the case is under Police’s investigation.
At least 10 people including six women and two children died due to gas inhalation in a car in Gizab district of Uruzgan province on Tuesday morning, local officials said.
The spokesman of Uruzgan governor, Ahmad Zia Sahel said that the victims were on their way to a wedding ceremony.
According to Sahel, the incident happened after the car carrying the victims were stuck in the Helmand River and its driver had left the area, looking for help and the gas spread as the vehicle’s doors were locked.
Sahel added that the incident took place in an area controlled by the Taliban and that security forces were not able to reach the area.
Taliban’s mimilitary commission has instructed its members not to allow foreign fighters join their ranks and avoid harboring them.
The fighters failing to comply with the orders would be punished and expelled from the rebel movement, the commission warned in a statement.
“All authorities and mujahidin are instructed not to let foreign groups join their ranks and avoid giving them shelter,” the statement added.
Violators of the orders would be referred to Taliban’s military commission for punishment, according to the statement.
This comes as the Taliban has been under criticism by Afghan and US officials for keeping their ties with terrorist groups, particularly al-Qaeda.
The cabinet in Berlin will give the green light on Wednesday for an extension of Germany’s military mission in Afghanistan until Jan 31, 2022, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Tuesday.
The current parliamentary mandate for the German operation with up to 1,300 troops expires at the end of March while the new U.S. government is reviewing a 2020 agreement with the Taliban which called for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1.
Kramp-Karrenbauer warned that an early NATO withdrawal could jeopardize peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Former Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he has traveled to Afghanistan and Qatar several times in recent months to help broker a peace deal between the government in Kabul and the Taliban insurgent group.
In an interview at his home in Jakarta, he told Nikkei Asia that he went to meet the two parties in a personal capacity to “give them thoughts, as well as ways of how to negotiate effectively.”
Kalla said one way he could help mediate the conflict is by offering suggestions to both sides based on “Indonesia’s experiences in dealing with conflict areas,” adding that he aimed to operate within Indonesia’s constitution by helping “maintain world order by means of lasting peace.”
“By negotiating, it means they basically already want to achieve peace,” Kalla told Nikkei Asia, referring to peace talks that started last September in Doha.
Faran Jeffery, deputy director of the Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism (ITCT), a U.K.-based anti-terrorism think tank, told Nikkei Asia: “Afghanistan’s security and stability will not only impact Asia but the rest of the world.”