Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
NATO welcomed the announcement of ‘violence reduction’ in Afghanistan which will start from the 12:00 am on Saturday and will last for 7 days as negotiated between the U.S and Taliban delegation.
“I welcome today’s announcement that an understanding has been reached on a significant reduction in violence across Afghanistan,” Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General for NATO said in a statement on Friday.
This is a critical test of the Taliban’s willingness and ability to reduce violence, and contribute to peace in good faith, said Stoltenberg.
This could pave the way for negotiations among Afghans, sustainable peace, and ensuring the country is never again a safe haven for terrorists, he added.
NATO Allies have been in Afghanistan since 2001. NATO currently has 16,000 troops in the country to support the Afghan security forces with training and funding, so that they can create the conditions for peace.
The Afghan Special Forces killed six IS-K terrorists in North-eastern Kapisa province.
The informed military officials said Friday the Special Forces also destroyed a small cache of weapons of the terror group during the same operation which they conducted in Nejrab district.
The officials further added that an airstrike killed additional 6 IS-K terrorists in the same district.
Meanwhile, the officials said an airstrike killed 7 terrorists of the terror group in Chawkai district of Kunar.
the Afghan government has jointly organized an exhibition with Iran in Kabul for the eighth round over the last decade.
Tens of Iranian and Afghan companies have participated in the exhibition to put their latest achievements on display.
Both Afghan and Iranian officials look to holding such exhibitions as a motive to boost joint cooperation between Kabul and Tehran
A UN spokesman has urged the international community to continue helping Pakistan, which has been shouldering the burden of caring for millions of Afghan refugees over the past 40 years.
“This is not solely Pakistan’s responsibility; the international community needs to help,” Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.
The spokesman, who was answering a question from a Pakistani journalist, said that part of the reason for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Pakistan was to bring attention to the plight of the Afghan refugees.
Afghanistan’s Ariana Afghan Airlines is the market to buy six aircraft.
As per the Global Flight report, a tender document published on the airline’s website shows it is looking for two Airbus A330-200s, two Boeing 767-300ERs and two De Havilland Canada Q300s.
The airline says in the tender document that it has “budget allocation” to purchase the aircraft, which will be used exclusively by Ariana Afghan Airlines.
Ariana Afghan Airlines wants the aircraft to be no older than 20 years, and the next C check should not be due before two years. Each engine must have at least 3,000 flight cycles remaining for the first life limited parts replacement, it adds.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui has hoped that the peace deal between the United States (US) and Afghan Taliban will be signed sooner rather than later, and that it will take into account the interests of all the stakeholders.
At her weekly news briefing in Islamabad, Pakistani FO spokesperson expressed the confidence that the deal will lead to intra Afghan dialogue. She said Pakistan wishes to see peace and return of stability in Afghanistan more than any other country in the world.
Referring to the recent visits of the UN Secretary General and the Turkish President, Aisha Farooqui said these show a growing acknowledgment by the international community of Pakistan s contributions towards global peace and security.
On Afghanistan, Miss Farooqui said Pakistan’s stance on Afghan peace process is clear and Islamabad will continue to play its role. She said Pakistan is analyzing statements coming from Afghanistan after the polls.
Members of the Taliban’s office in Qatar said that the group and the US have reached an agreement in which “5,000 Taliban prisoners from Afghan government prisons will be released, and 1,000 government forces prisoners will be released by the Taliban” before intra-Afghan talks begin.
But in response, a Presidential Palace spokesman said that the release of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan talks will be one of the most important discussions, but it is not possible to release them before the talks between Afghans.
“When we, as the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, enter into negotiations with the Taliban and demand the release of their prisoners, it will naturally be discussed, and will take into account the laws and interests of our people and will be based on the consensus that will arise at that stage,” said Sediq Sediqqi, President Ghani’s spokesman.
While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.
“The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand,” Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.
The newspaper article comes after U.S. and Taliban officials recently agreed to a seven-day period of reduced violence in Afghanistan. If the temporary truce is successful, the two adversaries could sign the long-awaited peace agreement later this month.
The National Security Council (NSC) on Friday confirmed that the seven-day period of the reduction in violence – which the US and the Taliban have agreed as a pre-condition to signing a peace deal – will begin sharply at 12am-midnight, the morning of Saturday, February 22.
The NSC spokesman Jawed Faisal said that Afghan forces are ready to implement the reduction in violence plan.
“Required guidance has been given to Afghan forces in this respect,” Faisal said. “It begins on Saturday at 12am.”
He added: “We hope that the Taliban will reduce violence as per the commitments.”