Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: Sources in Helmand said that Attaullah Alokozay, the acting police chief of Nawzad district in the province, was killed during a recapture operation in PD5 of Lashkargah city, the capital of Helmand. Local officials in Helmand have not yet commented.
Meanwhile, sources in the Shohada district of Badakhshan province said that a 13-year-old boy has been mysteriously killed in the village of Posht Khana in the district. The district is under Taliban control. A local resident told Salam Watandar that when he returned home from school, his family was collecting fruit in a garden, and he joined them. According to him, his family members had sent the boy home to bring tea, and when he did not return, his younger brother went to search for him and found his body.
The resident adds that the boy was hanged from a wall after being killed so that it seems like an apparent case of suicide. The resident, who attended the funeral of the slain boy, said his family wanted their boy’s killer identified and arrested. Badakhshan local and security officials have not yet commented.
This comes even as the Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said that the continuing violence, killing and torture of civilians, especially women and girls, by Taliban militants is concerning. Payne raised the issue in a telephone conversation with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar on Wednesday. The telephone conversation focused on the situation in Afghanistan, diplomatic relations, the continuation of humanitarian aid and the prospect of peace in Afghanistan.
The Australian Foreign Minister has said that his country supports a just, lasting and dignified peace in Afghanistan and emphasizes the importance of peace talks. He called on the Taliban to abide by their commitments to achieve peace. On the other hand, Mohammad Hanif Atmar said that the expansion of relations is important to preserve the common values and interests between the two countries, especially in the current situation in Afghanistan, which is facing a crisis of war, drought, food insecurity and Covid-19.
The Foreign Ministry has said that during the phone call, the two sides agreed to take practical steps, including reviving a permanent diplomatic presence in Kabul, prosecuting war crimes by a number of Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan, renewing the Mutual Partnership Agreement and signing a 4-year Development Assistance Memorandum of Understanding.
Kabul: US charge’ de affairs at the US embassy in Kabul said that the Taliban’s silence and delay in meaningful peace talks showed the group’s indifference to the lives of civilians in Afghanistan. Ross Wilson, tweeted on Monday, in a hashtag titled “Ceasefire Now” that the Afghan people are being killed every day and the country is being devastated.
Wilson added that the only way to stop the violence and destruction in Afghanistan is through charitable efforts at the peace negotiating table. He has called on the Taliban to stop the violence and war and establish ceasefire.
Meanwhile, even Ahmad Wali Massoud, head of the Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation, called on the government to support national and popular resistance against the Taliban. Massoud criticized the current situation in a press conference on Monday, and said that the security situation in the country has become critical due to lack of planning and government mismanagement.
He noted that if the people had not taken up arms and defended their territories against the Taliban, the situation might have been different now. Therefore, the head of the Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation called on the government to support, equip and supplement the popular and national resistance. Massoud said, “If possible, formalize the national resistance within the framework of the system and not within the framework of the security and defense forces; because they have their work. If the voice of resistance did not come from the north, east and west, the situation would be critical. Resistance must be strengthened in various dimensions.”
Also, Ahmad Wali Massoud called the popular resistance against the Taliban effective and called on the government to allow them to defend their territories. According to him, during the war against the British and the Russians, it was the people who defended the land and defeated them. Massoud clarified that the government took responsibility for the tactical retreats, but when will it take responsibility for killing and displacing the people?
He suggested that the government use all experienced officers from diverse ethnic groups to manage the current situation. On the other hand, he stressed that victory in war does not mean victory in peace. The head of the Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation added that the only way to achieve peace is through negotiations and a political solution. He added, however, that a balanced political system and justice must be considered in the context of peace, otherwise peace does not make sense.
On the other hand, China urged the United States on Monday to aid a smooth transition in Afghanistan by accepting responsibility for the worsening situation, as the US intensified air strikes there.
“What needs to be emphasized is that the United States suddenly announced the complete withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. “This is the root cause of the deteriorating security situation in the country and it’s a serious threat to the peace and stability of Afghanistan and the regional national security interests. As the country who unleashed Afghanistan’s terrorism problem, the US should shoulder its due responsibilities, take concrete actions to ensure a smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan, prevent terrorist forces from taking the opportunity to grow bigger, and maintain the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” Lijian added.
He said Afghanistan was at a crucial point, facing challenges from war, chaos and governance. “China always believes that political negotiations are the only correct way to resolve the Afghan issue.”
Our regional partner, Turkey, too has some points to note about refugees. Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has reiterated his warning against refugee influx towards Turkey, saying the issue is a matter of perpetuity for Turkey. The “West has seen” that they can turn Turkey into an “open prison for refugees,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a video message on Twitter on July 25.
“The real survival problem of our country is the influx of refugees. Now we are caught in the Afghan influx,” he said, criticizing the government for remaining silent on the issue. “This issue has two victims. One is you, my dear people, and the second is our refugee brothers. Therefore, it is unacceptable to reduce this issue to racism. It is not an issue that we can solve by disparaging our guests, who are the other victims of the issue.” the CHP leader said.
He blamed the government for hosting the Syrian refugees in return for money from the European Union and the Western countries.
Kabul: The Ministry of Justice has announced that it has recently established a legal counseling center to provide free counseling services to the public.
The Ministry of Justice issued a statement on Monday, saying that the ministry has been setting up a free consultation service center for some time. The ministry has stated that the purpose of establishing this center is to provide legal advice services to citizens in order to solve their legal problems. According to the Ministry of Justice, the center provides legal counsel to citizens on legal, civil and criminal matters during official hours by calling 188. The ministry added that legal advisers respond to citizens’ calls from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.
The ministry added that people across the country can call this number to share their legal problems with the ministry’s advisers.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Anwarul Haq Ahadi said that millions of people around the world are at risk of food shortages, with Afghan citizens at the forefront of food insecurity.
Speaking at the UN Food Systems Summit on Monday, Ahadi said that providing balanced and sustainable food for citizens is a priority for the Afghan government. Ahadi said that due to the war and drought in Afghanistan, there is a possibility of increasing poverty and food insecurity.
The Minister of Agriculture said that Afghanistan is committed to providing healthy and adequate food for its citizens and called on the United Nations and international development agencies to continue their technical and financial support to fulfill this commitment. According to Ahadi, the Afghan government has established an independent administration to ensure food security.
He added that the Ministry of Agriculture is modernizing agriculture to help reduce poverty in remote areas, distributing improved seeds and developing new methods of gardening. The United Nations Food Systems Meeting (UNFSS) was attended by 111 countries and was attended by Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, representing Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Save the Children organization said that it is appalled by new UN data published today which shows that the number of children killed or injured in Afghanistan in the first half of this year rose more than 55% compared to a year ago to 1,682.
More children were killed or wounded in this period than in the same period of any other year for which the UNAMA has recorded data. Children accounted for 32% of all civilian casualties, up from 30% a year ago. In addition, the number of casualties that were girls almost doubled compared with the same period last year 622, marking the highest level ever recorded.
Between 1 January and 30 June, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented a total of 5,183 civilian casualties (1,659 killed and 3,524 injured) – a rise of nearly 50% from a year ago. Among these 468 children were killed and 1,214 injured. The figures reverse the trend of the previous four years, in which civilian causalities decreased in the first half of the year.
Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children’s Country Director in Afghanistan, said, “Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child, and these figures are yet another shocking indictment of our failure to protect Afghan children from the horrifying fallout of war. The record number of child casualties we’ve seen this year could not be any clearer indication that the recent escalation of the conflict is already having a catastrophic impact on children. This should be a wake-up call to the international community to keep investing in Afghanistan’s future before any progress that has been made here is undone. We call on all parties to stop the violence and protect civilians, especially children, and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. All efforts must be made to agree an enduring peace settlement so that future generations of children can grow up in a country free of the fear of violence, death, and injury.”
“Instead of violence, all parties must focus on ensuring children can go back to school as soon as possible. Children have lost precious school time due to the double whammy of conflict and COVID-19, and our studies on school drop-out show that girls have been hardest hit. For Afghan children, education is their only chance for a way out of this devastation – they must not be denied that chance,” Nyamandi said.
Also, the port of Torghundi in western Afghanistan has been opened to trade caravans. Younes Momand, deputy director of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment, told RFE / RL that the port was reopened to caravans on Sunday night at the request of Turkmenistan and Afghan officials. He added that so far 35 oil tankers, 22 gas tankers have been imported and on Monday, 13 wagons of flour and 12 wagons of wheat will probably enter Afghanistan.
The port, located between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, was closed a few days ago due to Taliban attacks on commercial convoys. Meanwhile, Taliban attacks on some of the country’s ports have made food and fuel more expensive. But the Afghan government says it will soon clear a number of ports still under Taliban control of the group and open them to trade convoys. Meanwhile, the prices of flour, oil, rice, gas and oil have increased in the country’s markets, which has worried people.
Kabul: President Ashraf Ghani said that the environment has changed and Afghanistan is facing an onslaught of international terrorism. President Ghani held a preparatory meeting of the Joint Cohesion and Monitoring Board (JCMB) on Monday. He told the meeting that Afghanistan is facing an onslaught of international terrorism this year.
The president, however, assured that the republic would be preserved because he believed that the international community stand by the people of Afghanistan. Ghani also praised the readiness of government agencies for a joint oversight and cohesion board meeting, saying that despite Afghanistan struggling with drought, the corona and war this year, inflation has risen by 3% and the economy by 1%.
According to him, this is good news for the people of the country. President Ghani has acknowledged that Afghanistan is facing an onslaught of international terrorism, with about 90 percent of foreign troops leaving Afghanistan. This comes as the mission of these forces in Afghanistan has been to fight international terrorism. At the same time as announcing the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, the United States had said that the country had achieved its goals in the fight against terrorism.
On the other hand, Amrullah Saleh, the first vice-president, said that from a strategic point of view, the enemy of Afghanistan includes Pakistan, the Taliban and extremist groups. Saleh wrote in a note on his Facebook page on Monday, that Pakistan’s cross-border plan is carrying out an offensive, give strategic guidance and coordinate with the enemy’s red units.
He said Pakistani intelligence is responsible for the uninterrupted supply of ammunition to the enemy in small convoys. The first vice-president said that Pakistani officials are issuing practical instructions to the enemy without being present at the scene, using communication tools and Google maps. He said that the enemy’s Red Unit is responsible for the offensive attacks and the intermittent and continuous blows. Saleh said that the Taliban were wearing red masks because they feared the consequences of their crimes, and that they are afraid to reveal their identities because they are not locals.
According to Saleh, there are three categories of foreign volunteers in the Taliban. According to him, one group is Lashkar-e-Taiba, which receives basic and advanced training from the Pakistani army and is better disciplined; then comes, the remnant of al-Qaeda which sees killing in Afghanistan as a gateway to paradise and then other groups are not very big, but the Taliban use their presence to intimidate and open the door to bargaining with the intelligence of countries, these three categories are included.
Saleh says that, given the information provided, the composition of the enemy forces is strategically consistent with Pakistan, the Taliban and extremist groups and terrorist networks. The first vice-president said that there was no change in the purpose and composition of the Taliban ideology and that it was dangerous to ignore them. Saleh said the vigilance and national unity of the Afghan people could defeat this notorious and murderous group.
This comes even as the spokesman for the security forces said that more than 1,500 Taliban have been killed in clashes with security forces over the past week. Ajmal Omar Shinwari, a spokesperson for the security forces, told a news conference on Monday that security forces had carried out 154 joint operations across the country in the past week, killing 1,528 Taliban fighters and wounding 801 others.
He added that in the same period, the Taliban had killed 14 civilians and wounded 29 others. He also confirmed that the Taliban had evicted 400 civilians from their homes in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province and then shot dead 100 of them. He said that the Taliban had also killed a number of civilians in Ghazni’s Malistan district. He added that a large number of public utility facilities in war-torn areas had been destroyed or set on fire by the group.
Shinwari said there had been no change in the Taliban’s approach to the war and that the group continued to violate human rights and the rules of war. The spokesperson stated that the country’s security and defense forces have changed from a defensive state to an offensive state and will soon achieve many milestones on the battlefield. However, he stressed that the fight against terrorism is not only the responsibility of Afghanistan but of all countries in the world.
Kabul: Afghan Army chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai has postponed a visit to India this week amid the offensive by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Ahmadzai was scheduled to visit India on July 27 to meet senior political and military leadership, sources said.
The cancellation of the visit comes as Afghanistan is witnessing a surge in violence. Taliban has intensified its offensive against civilians, Afghan defense and security forces as foreign forces are withdrawing from the war-torn country. As the Taliban have taken control of several districts across the country, US intelligence assessments have suggested the country’s civilian government could fall to the terror group within months of US forces withdrawing.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 reached record levels with over 1,659 people killed and 3,254 others wounded, according to a UN agency. In recent weeks, the Taliban have carried out deadly attacks against Afghan forces and civilians. Since May, the terror group has taken control of crucial border crossings with Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the 28th report of the analysis and monitoring team of the UN Security Council has once again confirmed the continuation of the Taliban’s relations with international terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.
The al-Qaeda terrorist group is reportedly under Taliban protection in at least 15 eastern, southern and southeastern provinces of Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent is active in Taliban-held areas of Kandahar, Helmand and Nimroz. The report also adds that the Taliban have involved members of Central Asian terrorist groups, including the Islamic Jihad group, in their recent attacks in northern Afghanistan. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda and is also active in Badakhshan against the Chinese government.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has always insisted that the Taliban has not severed ties with regional and international terrorist groups. The Government of Afghanistan appreciates the UN Security Council’s documentation of the Taliban’s continued links with other regional and international terrorist groups in Afghanistan, and considers their activities in collusion with the Taliban as a serious threat to the region and the world.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, while appreciating the efforts of independent and credible international institutions to confirm the Taliban’s non-compliance with its international obligations and the Doha Peace Agreement, convened an extraordinary meeting of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and sent a UN fact-finding mission to investigate and prosecute violations.
Meanwhile, Taliban insurgents wanted to transfer ammunition, including 21 mortar shells, 36 rocket-propelled grenades and seven 82mm artillery shells, to the Kaldar district of Balkh province during the night which faced an ambush of the security forces under the leadership of Captain Ahmad Fawad Saleh, highway battalion commander of Balkh Province, in the Ab Ganda area of the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif Highway, and seized the ammunition. The Taliban terrorist cell, which is considered to be transporting ammunition, escaped.
Also, Taliban attacks on Salma Dam have been repulsed once again. Jilani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat, said that on Sunday night Taliban fighters attacked the Salma Dam checkpoints from two parts. According to him, these attacks have been repulsed by the security and defense forces stationed in Salma Dam. The spokesman for the governor of Herat added that five Taliban had been killed and seven others wounded in the clashes. He says no casualties were reported in the incident and some Taliban weapons were destroyed. The Taliban have not yet commented.
Also, according to the decision of the Military Coordination Council, in order to maintain public order from Tuesday, movements of vehicles with black tinted glass or black films on the windows have been prohibited in Farah province. Therefore, all owners have been asked to remove the glass tints and films before the due date.
Meanwhile, Abdul Sami Ghairatmal, head of the office of the Supporting open media in Afghanistan- Nai in Kandahar, told Salam Watandar that national security forces arrested a Xinhua/official Chinese government news agency photographer and three journalists from a local radio station called Saday Milat (Voice of the Nation) on Monday morning. The journalists, identified as Sanaullah Siam, Bismillah Watandust, Qudrat Sultani and Mujib Obaidi, went to Spin Boldak district on Sunday to cover an investigation and were detained at the entrance to the city. An employee of this radio company confirmed this news; but local Kandahar officials have not commented on it. Also, Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan has recorded 44 cases of violence against journalists since January 2021, including murder, injury, arrest, beating, kidnapping, threat, insult, humiliation, attempts to kill/kidnap, forced expulsion, cellphone stealing and attack on the media.
The organization added that during the period, 10 journalists including a foreign national have lost their lives, a number of journalists have fled from insecure provinces to secure ones, and nearly 35 media outlets have been shut down in provinces where fighting is ongoing, whose employees are facing with financial problems due to unemployment.
In other news, Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar held a farewell meeting with Gabriel Ferran, Ambassador of the Government of Spain in Kabul, after lunch on Sunday. The Foreign Minister thanked the Spanish Government for its cooperation with the Government and people of Afghanistan in various fields, including security and reconstruction, over the past two decades, and thanked him for effective efforts to maintain and strengthen Kabul-Madrid relations during his mission.
Appreciating the Foreign Ministry’s co-operation with the Spanish Embassy during its mission in Kabul, ambassador reassured the Foreign Minister that his country would continue to cooperate with Afghanistan, preserving the achievements of the past two decades in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, with the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Human Rights Council and to send a UN fact-finding mission to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity in the country, the AIHRC reiterated the urgency in order to ensure justice for the victims, it emphasizes the need for a comprehensive agenda of this panel to address allegations of misconduct by all parties to the conflict in the country.
Following the brutal attack on the Sayyid al-Shuhada school, the Commission calls for an investigation by a team of independent UN investigators into this and other violations of international humanitarian law, in particular targeted killings of civil and media activists, attacks on educational facilities and ethnic minorities. In addition, the leadership of the Commission has always stated and pursued its demands in order to document as well as prevent such violations and violations in its speeches and views in international forums, meetings with local and international authorities and its press releases.
Kabul: Dr. Wahid Majrooh, Acting Minister of Public Health, discussed how to increase the capacity of health workers in a meeting with officials of relevant departments on Monday.
The Acting Minister of Public Health stressed on the need to raise the level of knowledge of health workers in hospitals and called on the relevant departments to conduct the needs assessment in health centers to determine in which departments health workers need training. He instructed the relevant departments to identify the needs of health workers in the education department, prepare a comprehensive training plan, and include all health service delivery departments, including management departments, in accordance with that plan, launch educational courses inside and outside the country.
He also reminded the officials of the purchase of medical devices from the government budget and said that the government is going to buy advanced medical devices for the health sector and health workers need to be trained in how to use medical devices. He added that sharing the skills of Kabul medical professionals with the provinces and provincial hospitals with neighboring provinces is also part of the ministry’s training programs.
This comes even as MoPH recorded 708 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and 35 deaths in the past 24 hours. The total number of cases now stand at 145,008, while the death toll is 6,515.
Also, the Ministry of Health has announced that the World Health Organization has provided 500 oxygen concentrators to the Government of Afghanistan. A statement issued by the Ministry of Health on Monday stated that the devices had been handed over to Vazhma Salemi, Deputy Minister of Finance and Administration of MoPH.
The statement said that Lyuda Peng, the director general of the World Health Organization in Afghanistan, said at the meeting that the organization hoped that these devices would be used to fight the third wave of the corona in Afghanistan. Salemi appreciated the help and cooperation of the World Health Organization and said that these devices will be distributed fairly to the health centers that need them. Oxygen concentrators assisted by the World Health Organization have the capacity to produce 8 liters of oxygen per minute.
Kabul: Security sources in Kapisa province confirm that unidentified individuals assassinated a female police officer in Hese Dowom-e Kohistan district of the province. The incident took place at at 9pm on Sunday in the village of Shirak Pirak of the district, Abdul Shayeq Shoresh Kohistani, a spokesman for the Kapisa police, told the Etilaat Roz daily.
Kohistani added that the female police officer was a member of Kapisa Prison. Kohistani said unknown gunmen assassinated her in her house. Kohistani did not elaborate, but said the case of the assassination is under investigation. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Also, local officials in Kapisa province said that three civilians have been killed in an airstrike by army forces in the Nijrab district of the province. Abdul Quddus Mujaddadi, the district governor of Nijrab, told the daily Etilaat Roz daily that the incident took place on Sunday night in the village of Kanjak-e- Kharij Dara in the district. According to Mujaddadi, three other civilians were injured in the airstrikes. He explained that these people were killed and wounded as a result of an airstrike on a residential house.
He stressed that army forces targeted the house when Taliban fighters took over. He added that a number of Taliban fighters were also killed and wounded during the attack. He, however, did not provide any figures on Taliban casualties. The Taliban has not commented on the deaths of its fighters in the airstrikes.
In fact, health officials in Herat province said that a religious scholar has been shot dead in the province. Arif Jalali, Chief Physician at the Herat’s Regional Hospital, told Etilaat Roz daily that Samiullah Mohajer, the head of the Ain Ul-Uloom religious University in Herat, died at the hospital on Monday morning after six bullets hit him in the abdomen. Eyewitnesses said that unknown gunmen shot dead the religious scholar on the Abresham Road on Sunday and then fled the area.
So far, local and security officials in Herat have not commented. But Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, head of the Hajj and religious Affairs department in Herat, confirmed the assassination of the religious scholar but did not provide further details. Muhajer was one of the moderate religious scholars in Herat province.
Meanwhile, the Parwan Traffic Department confirmed that in a traffic accident between a car and an ambulance in the province left one dead and five injured. Mohammad Reza Bayat, traffic director of Parwan police, told Hashte Subh daily that the incident took place at 7am on Monday in Do Sarka area of the Bagram district. Meanwhile, according to officials in COVID-19 hospital of Parwan, while the ambulances hit another vehicle that was transporting the body of a dead person infected with the coronavirus to Bagram district.
Officials of the Traffic Department of the province blame the carelessness and high speed of the ambulance driver who was also moving in the opposite direction.
In other news, security sources in Nangarhar province said that 21 suspects have been detained at the Torkham border. A security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Subhe Kabul newspaper that the men had been detained by the Torkham Border Security Directorate. According to the source, these people were from different provinces of the country and were planning to attack the Torkham border. Torkham is Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.
Kabul: The Attorney General’s Office AGO said that it had instructed security and intelligence agencies to launch an investigation into allegations of killing dozens of civilians and tribal elders in Kandahar’s Spin Boldak district, and to report their findings to the AGO.
According to media reports and human rights organizations, the Taliban have killed dozens of civilians in Kandahar’s Spin Boldak district after seizing the district. According to reports, more than 400 civilians were evacuated from their homes by Taliban insurgents overnight, killing about 100 of them. Most of the victims are reportedly from the Achakzai tribe and relatives of Abdul Raziq Khan Achakzai, the slain Kandahar police chief.
The Taliban group has denied the reports. The Attorney General said that according to international treaties, this unfortunate incident is a clear example of international crime and is explicitly criminalized in the Afghan Penal Code under the crimes of genocide and war crimes.
Meanwhile, Faryab police said that the Taliban fired several artillery shells at the Maimana city on Sunday evening. The attack resulted in civilian casualties. Faryab police spokesman Karim Yurish said they hit homes and residential areas, causing huge financial losses and civilian casualties.
The Faryab police spokesman said the exact number of casualties from Taliban artillery attacks on Maimana had not yet been determined. But at least one person was killed and several others were taken to hospitals. The published images of this incident show that residential houses in the city of Maimana have been destroyed. The Taliban have reportedly carried out artillery attacks targeting the airport and army brigade stationed in Maimana. The Faryab police spokesman, however, said all Taliban artillery shells had hit civilian homes. The Taliban have not yet commented on the issue.
Also, as per reports, Taliban fighters are closer than ever to the industrial town of Herat province in Guzara district. Currently, Zinda Jan, Adraskan and Pashtun Zarghoon districts are under the full control of the Taliban and the group also controls parts of Guzara district. Based on the official statistics of the Herat Chamber of Industries and Mines, there are more than 300 production factories located in Herat Industrial Town, and among these, more than 170 factories are operating in the current situation and at the height of the wars, they supply some domestic products to the market. But Herat industrialists are strongly warning the government that they have only one option on the table when the war reaches the industrial town: blocking factories and sending the capital abroad.
Naqibullah Haqmal is in charge of the Barak Helmand production plant in the Herat industrial town. The factory produces motorcycle parts and a large part of the company’s products are sent to different provinces of the country, but now wars and insecurities have reduced both the level of production and the number of workers in this factory.
“The security situation in Herat, especially in the industrial town, is very bad. If this situation continues, we will have to close the gates of our factory,” he said.
Ahmad Saeed Azimian has invested in the production of construction materials and industrial food for livestock and poultry in Herat Industrial Town. It still employs about 140 people in its business group, but now it has a major concern: the industrial town becoming the front line of the war. Referring to the proximity of 207 Zafar Corps in the west of the country to the industrial town and the proximity of the airport to this town, he says that these two strategic government locations have increased the Taliban’s dream of government forces in the industrial town on a large scale:
“Herat is under siege by the Taliban on three sides, and there may be a war, and, this town will become the first battlefield between the government and the Taliban.”
Kabul: The next meeting of high-level delegations from both the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban will take place at the beginning of next month, sources close to the negotiating teams in Doha said.
The first meeting was held on July 16 and lasted for two days, during which delegates agreed to continue their meetings and expedite the peace efforts. However, attendees failed to reach an agreement on a ceasefire. The sources said that efforts will be made through these meetings to achieve a framework for peace talks as the withdrawal of US and coalition forces is expected to be completed by the end of August.
The efforts for peace come as fighting continues on multiple fronts that have led to the fall of a large swath of territory to the Taliban. Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in an interview with Al Jazeera, said the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution. “Since we think that peaceful settlement is much, much better option than the continuation of the war, we will continue to make these efforts,” Abdullah said.
Meanwhile, the Peace Negotiation Team of the of Afghanistan on Monday morning tweeted that the chief negotiator of the Islamic republic of Afghanistan and some team members met Thomas Nicholson, EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan on Sunday afternoon. Both sides discussed the ongoing peace talks, the progress and obstacles that exist.
Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, head of the negotiating team, while emphasizing on the strengthening of national political consensus, said that the international and regional consensus on Afghanistan peace process is one of the main factors influencing the peace process progress. He also emphasized that the global unified and coordinated support and position and their common narrative for Afghanistan peace will move this process forward. The head of the negotiating team said that considering the current violence and conflict in the country and according to the demand of the Afghan people, peace talks should be accelerated. He added that the presence of a facilitator or mediator between the two sides would advance the progress in the current negotiations. He further affirmed that both sides should use the available opportunities to use effective mechanisms for result-oriented negotiations.
The head of the Negotiating team, while emphasizing a common political future for both sides for a prosperous and stable Afghanistan, affirmed the joint efforts and flexibility of the both sides. The chief negotiator also mentioned the recent visit of high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Qatar, saying that this visit showed the strong will of the Afghanistan political leadership for lasting peace and stability in the country.