Newsfeed; Tuesday, June 29 2021

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…


  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Afghan Supreme Court: Corruption, Serious Crime Defendants Will Not Be Released On Bail

    Kabul: The Afghan Supreme Court on Tuesday has ruled that financial and personal guarantee is no longer “accepted” in corruption cases and serious corruption offenses.

    According to the organization, those convicted of corruption and serious crimes after the first sentencing will not be released on any bail. Preventing the escape of defendants and suspects of corruption and fighting corruption is the main purpose of this decision.

    Ahmad Fahim Qawim, a spokesman for the Afghan judiciary, told the BBC, that according to the decision, the accused should be detained, so that their cases are investigated. He added that this will ensure that the defendants do not disrupt the investigation process and the trial process.

    In Afghanistan, a large number of defendants left the country while their cases were being processed and refused to appear in court to continue their cases. The Afghan Supreme Court believes that by adopting this new decision, it will prevent people from fleeing. A number of lawyers and legal entities have welcomed the decision of the Afghan judiciary.

    Earlier, the Independent Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee said in a report that the process of fighting corruption in Afghanistan is not transparent. The agency, which has been investigating how corruption cases are handled from the time of “discovery to investigation and outcome”, finally stated that “there may be corruption in the process of fighting corruption.” Last year, the Afghan Attorney General’s Office announced that it had registered and investigated a total of 1,803 corruption cases.

    In recent years, a number of Afghan government officials and senior officials have been sentenced to prison for corruption, but they have managed to leave Afghanistan without serving their sentences. In addition, a number of senior government officials, including former ministers, have been accused of corruption, but the government has only tried them in absentia.

    Meanwhile, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) reported the seizure of thousands of DShK bullets, placed in 44 boxes, which were imported from Pakistan. The NDS accused Pakistan of sending the bullets to be used in clashes in Sabari district. Provincial Governor Mohmand Katawazai said that enemy attempt to use the bullets for fighting had failed.

  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Security Situation Not Good: Top US Afghanistan Commander

    Kabul: The senior US military commander in Afghanistan said that the security situation continues to decline in Afghanistan as US troops are near completion of their departure from the country, and Afghan forces are increasingly facing the Taliban alone.

    “I think what you’re seeing, just if you look at the security situation, it’s not good,” General Scott Miller said in an interview with ABC News in Kabul. “The Afghans have recognized it’s not good. The Taliban are on the move.” As the Taliban take control of dozens of districts in recent weeks, Afghans in major population centers, such as the capital Kabul, are beginning to fear an impending military takeover and protracted civil war.

    “As you watch the Taliban moving across the country, what you don’t want to have happen is that the people lose hope, and they believe they now have a foregone conclusion presented to them,” Miller told ABC. “The loss of terrain and the rapidity of that loss of terrain has to be a concerning one.”

    However, Miller’s mission now is to get all the US troops out safely. He’ll help the Afghans when he can, but with each passing day, there is less he can do. These days when Afghanistan’s defense minister requests US military assistance, more often than not, the answer is “no”, he said.

    “There’s points where I have to tell him I won’t be able to do that,” said Miller. “It’s a tough, tough business. It is tough.” Miller has served on and off in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. “I don’t like leaving friends in need, and I know my friends are in need,” he says. “As we continue to move down the retrograde and withdraw forces, there’s less and less I can directly offer them in terms of assistance,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee reiterated on Tuesday that his country’s support for intra-Afghan talks, stressing on the need for the formation of a comprehensive government in Afghanistan. “We assure the government and people of Afghanistan that the Islamic Republic of Iran will stand by them, and with good will, we call on all ethnic groups, groups and political forces in Afghanistan to stand united and by rejecting any foreign intervention remain committed to peaceful solutions to their natural differences,” Rabiyee told reporters at a press conference in Tehran.

    He underlined the necessity for protecting the territorial integrity of Afghanistan, preserving its national unity and respecting the rights of minorities and the achievements of the Afghan people over the past two decades, and said, “We emphasize that a genuine intra-Afghan dialogue is the only is sustainable solution for the Afghan issue.”

    Rabiyee said that Taliban is also part of Afghanistan and part of Afghanistan’s future solution, adding, “What is important to us is the formation of an all-inclusive government with the presence of all Afghan groups to achieve a peaceful and lasting solution in this country.” He emphasized Iran’s continued insistence on non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan by any country, and said, “To achieve these goals and given the importance of cultural, historical and geographical ties between Afghanistan and Iran, we will continue our responsibility to communicate with the Afghan government and provide any necessary assistance.”

    “We are closely monitoring the internal developments in Afghanistan and following the recent developments with concern. While calling on all parties to calm down, we do not consider the use of violence and non-peaceful behaviors useful in resolving differences, and we will continue our consultations with Kabul to end non-constructive conflicts and replace them with dialogue and engagement with the participation of all effective political groups and forces,” the spokesman concluded.

    Meanwhile, Pakistani politician Asif Ali Zardari termed the situation in Afghanistan as “dangerous” on Tuesday, saying that Pakistan could face its “blowback”. Speaking to Dawn.com prior to the budget session in Pakistani parliament, he stressed on the need for Pakistan to “keep an eye” on the situation in Afghanistan and mull and deliberate on the matter.

    He expressed hope that relevant officials and authorities would be monitoring the situation in the neighboring country and take decisions accordingly. In recent days, concerns have been raised over a security vacuum in Afghanistan amid the US pullout as the already dim prospects of successful reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban are growing dimmer with every passing day.

    Pakistani authorities fear a further intensification of the civil war in Afghanistan following the completion of the pullout in the absence of a political settlement. This, they apprehend, can have a spillover effect pushing refugees into Pakistan. In a recent opinion piece for The Washington Post, Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed out that if there was a further civil war in Afghanistan instead of a political settlement, the number of refugees in Pakistan would increase thereby “further impoverishing the frontier areas on our border”.

  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Taliban Propaganda Machine Led From Pakistan: Wahid Omar

    Kabul: Referring to the recent remarks by Pakistani interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Wahid Omar, a senior adviser to the president, said that Islamabad needs to change its approach to Afghanistan. “Pakistan has not only given refuge to the Taliban. The Taliban’s propaganda is also led and managed from Pakistan.”

    Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said in an interview with Geo News on Sunday that members of the Afghan Taliban family live in different parts of the country, especially around Islamabad. “Members of the Taliban family live here in Pakistan, in the villages of Islamabad in Rawat, Luwi Bar, Bara Kahwa and Tarnul,” Ahmad said. “Sometimes their bodies arrive and sometimes they come to hospitals for treatment.”

    Sheikh Rashid added that Islamabad expects the Afghan Taliban not to allow terrorist groups such as the TTP to operate against Pakistan. Meanwhile, Hamdullah Mohib, the NSA, had praised Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid for revealing Pakistan’s support for the Taliban. “We need more courageous Pakistanis to speak out against the invasion of Afghanistan,” he added.

    However, Wahid Omar said that the Taliban needs to know that Afghanistan has changed and they have no sovereignty anywhere in the country. Omar added that governance meant enforcing the law and providing services, and that the Taliban had taken people hostage through threats and coercion.

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar met with Deputy Korean Foreign Minister Ham Sang Wook and praised the Republic of Korea for its assistance in political, economic, educational, and cultural aspects, over the past two decades. Atmar emphasized on the importance of Korea’s continued assistance after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, in order to preserve joint values and achievements.

    Atmar said that the first bilateral political consultations are important and exchanged views with Wook over following the meeting’s commitments. Deputy Korean Foreign Minister assured Atmar of his support to the Afghan peace process, and a lasting peace with the preservation of human rights achievements, during the past two decades. Both sides also discussed to further coordination and cooperation at the UN and other international organizations.

  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Ministry of Health Reports 1,501 New Cases of COVID-19

    The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Tuesday reported 1,501 new positive cases of coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours.

    The ministry also reported 77 deaths and 811 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

    The total number of cases is now 118,659, while the number of reported deaths is 4,871 and the total number of recoveries is 70,016.

    The Ministry of Health has called on Afghan citizens to follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

    Meanwhile, following reports of the reopening of schools and universities in the country next week, the Ministry of Public Health announced that the reports were rumors and that no decision had yet been made on reopening schools and universities.

    Educational institutions across the country are shut down to prevent the spread of the third wave of the coronavirus. A joint committee consisting of representatives of the ministry, the medical council, the ministry of higher education, the ministry of education and the union of private and public universities has been formed and will work on the plan when the schools will reopen, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Health issued on Tuesday. The Committee will begin its work tomorrow after the coronavirus vaccine has been administered to the administrative and educational staff of these institutions. The Ministry of Public Health has said that the committee will inform if any decision is made after reviewing the plan to reopen schools and universities.

    In other news, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced that it concluded delivering the first dose of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, across Kabul. Deputy MoPH Spokesman Mirwais Alizai said that the MoPH will start delivering the 2nd dose from Saturday, July 3. Alizai added that China had provided 700,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine and the 2nd dose will be given to those who have received the 1st dose of the same vaccine. Alizai reported that over 871,000 individuals have so far received COVID-19 vaccine across the country.

  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Kaldar District Of Balkh Cleared Of Taliban Influence

    Kabul: Security and civilian forces carried out an operation to clear the Kaldar district of Balkh province of the Taliban.

    Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said that the operation had resulted in heavy casualties for the Taliban. The deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said that Kaldar district had been completely cleared of the Taliban.

    Meanwhile, Atta Mohammad Noor, former governor of Balkh, who took part in the operation, said that the clean-up operation in Kaldar district had been completed successfully. In addition to Atta Mohammad Noor, the police commander, the head of national security, the commander of the Balkh border brigade and a number of local commanders were present during the operation.

    Noor said that the Taliban, who had invaded the area with the aim of occupying Kaldar district and the port city of Hairatan, were severely defeated and pushed back from all areas of Kaldar district. Khovar Tajik News Agency reported that 17 Afghan security forces arrived Tajikistan from the Kaldar district a few days after the Taliban attacked.

    Tajik security forces are on high alert following the escalation of fighting in the north of the country. Following the escalation of the war in the north, the state-run Tajikistan News Agency reported that the country’s armed forces had been transferred to a “special regime” in the second line of defense on the border with Afghanistan.

    Tajik Defense Ministry spokesperson Feraidoun Mohammad Alizada told the news agency that the country’s security forces are protecting Tajikistan’s borders with other border guards. He added, “No additional equipment or manpower has been delivered these days and there are currently no plans to do so; because the unstable situation in Afghanistan has forced us to strengthen our military units in the second line of defense.”

    According to the Khovar News Agency, clashes between security forces and Taliban fighters have broken out at four Tajik border crossings over the past 10 days, with eight districts and two border checkpoints falling to the Taliban. Earlier, Tajikistan’s State National Security Committee said that about 134 security forces crossed the border into Tajikistan following a Taliban attack on Sher Khan port in Kunduz province. Sher Khan port fell to the Taliban about eight days ago.

    A number of security forces have also gone to Uzbekistan. The Afghan Foreign Ministry has said it is investigating the incident.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Refugees and Repatriations in Takhar Province said that as a result of the recent fighting in Takhar Province, about 9,000 families have been forced to flee their homes. Yasin Labib, the head of refugees’ department in Takhar province, told Hashte Subh daily on Tuesday that about 9,000 families from 13 districts and the capital of Takhar province had taken refuge in Taloqan following the fall of the districts.

    The head of Takhar’s refugees’ department said that the families were from Rustaq, Bangi, Chal, Khaja Bahauddin, Baharak, Khaja Ghar, Darqad, Dasht-e-Qala, Yangi-Qala and Farkhar districts, where the fighting is ongoing, as well as areas from Cheshme Shir and Qol-e-Bars.

    According to Labib, about a thousand families from Kunduz have also taken refuge in the city of Taloqan, where about 30 families have been transferred to a private school and the rest live in the homes of their relatives. Yassin Labib said that a larger location would be set aside for the migrants to meet the needs of the families who came from Kunduz.

    The head of Takhar’s refugees’ department stated that so far, 800 families of 9,000 displaced families have been distributed in cooperation with aid agencies, food and non-food aid.

    Labib, meanwhile, said that there are insufficient resources to help the displaced, and that he faces many challenges in dealing with the displaced. He added that aid agencies operating in Takhar province also do not have sufficient resources.

  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Afghanistan Responds To Uzbekistan Border Incident

    Kabul: The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has responded to the border incident of June 23 in which that Afghan nationals crossed into Uzbekistan.

    Afghanistan said that it is seriously investigating it in order to clarify the reasons and dimensions of this incident and to take the necessary legal measures to clarify it. “We are fully committed to the laws governing border relations and consider their implementation important for ensuring the security of countries and maintaining friendly relations with neighboring countries,” the statement added.

    According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, on June 27, at least 44 Afghan border troops and militias violated the state border of Uzbekistan in the area of Shortepa district, Trend reported. The Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan noted that all of them were returned to Afghanistan. It also said that the military personnel of Uzbekistan will strictly suppress such attempts to illegally enter the country. Uzbekistan called on the warring parties in Afghanistan to prevent civilian casualties and to refrain from using force. “The government of Uzbekistan firmly declares its commitment to maintaining traditionally friendly and good-neighborly relations with Afghanistan, maintaining neutrality and non-interference in the internal affairs of the neighboring country,” the statement said.

    The government of Afghanistan also said that they deeply appreciate the Republic of Uzbekistan’s continued efforts to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan and to expand bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation. “We hope that by consolidating peace and stability in Afghanistan, we will be able to further expand our bilateral relations in all areas of political, economic and security, including border security, in an atmosphere of trust and good neighborliness,” the statement added.

    It is pertinent to note that on June 22 too, Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security said that 134 soldiers of the Afghan government army had to retreat to the Tajik territory after a Taliban attack on the Sherkhon Bandar border checkpoint. One serviceman died and four were injured in the attack. Later, they returned to Kabul by a special flight. Apart from that, seventeen Afghan troops crossed into Tajikistan near the Shakhritus checkpoint after an armed clash with a Taliban unit in the Balkh Province. Tajik border guards let the Afghan soldier inside the country.

    This comes even as Bismillah Mohammadi, Acting Minister of National Defense, traveled to Maidan Wardak to assess the security situation on Monday. According to the press office of the governor of Maidan Wardak on Monday, during his visit the acting minister said that the Ministry of National Defense is using all means to ensure the security of Maidan Wardak province.

    The Acting Minister of National Defense, along with Lawang Faizan, Governor of Maidan Wardak, and General Abdul Rahman Rahman, Senior Deputy Minister of Interior, also visited some military facilities and heard soldiers’ suggestions and problems. The governor of Maidan Wardak, reporting on the security situation in Maidan Wardak, called on the Ministry of Defense to pay attention to the security threats in the province and assured the cooperation of the people with the security forces. This is Bismillah Mohammadi’s first provincial trip since taking office as the acting minister of National Defense. He traveled to Maidan Wardak province as the Taliban recently took control of some districts in the province.

    Meanwhile, local officials in Badghis province said that the Qadis district has been under severe economic sanctions by the Taliban for more than two weeks. Badghis Governor Hussam al-Din Shams told Etilat Roz that Taliban insurgents do not allow transport of raw materials to areas under their control in Qadis district.

    Shams added that they would soon be lifting the Taliban’s economic embargo, “The experience of the fall of Jund district will not be repeated in Qadis district.” Meanwhile, the Badghis provincial council is urging the Taliban not to continue the siege of Qadis because the lives of the residents of this district will be in trouble.

    Badghis provincial council member Bahauddin Qadsi called on the government to reopen the Qadis district road. He said that the Taliban had warned that they would not end the siege until they stopped supporting the government. “If the Taliban continues to impose economic sanctions, raw materials will run out in Qadis and the lives of poor people will be in trouble,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomed the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition against ISIL on June 28 in Rome, Italy, and its Joint Declaration. The statement praised the Afghan government’s efforts to fight ISIS (Khorasan branch). The declaration also emphasizes the comprehensive and collective efforts to defeat ISIS.

    Welcoming the results of this meeting, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said it is committed to combating the evolving threat of global terrorism and reiterates its commitment to a joint and comprehensive regional and global struggle in this regard.

    On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Afghan nationals, who entered Saudi Arabia using foreign passports, will receive legal documents, including Afghan passports. The Ministry stated that the Saudi government agreed to allow Afghan nationals to exchange foreign documents with those of Afghanistan’s, and the process will be implemented in coordination with the National Statistic and Information Authority (NSIA).

    The Ministry added that the issue will facilitate the travel of Afghan nationals, who work in Saudi Arabia, and transfer of money to Afghanistan. The Ministry commended the Saudi government for facilitating the process.

    Also, statement by the Executive Director for Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the First Review Under the Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria, was released, stating, “Afghanistan is confronting the Covid-19 pandemic and its socioeconomic fallout amid rising insecurity. Supported by donors, the authorities boosted health and social spending to cushion the pandemic’s impact on the vulnerable. Policy measures kept the output contraction to 2 percent in 2020, but poverty rose and the fiscal deficit widened. Political uncertainty has risen as the peace talks between the government and Taliban stalled and the US, NATO, and allies announced the withdrawal of their troops by September. In a strong sign of support for Afghanistan’s development and reforms, donors pledged some US$12 billion civilian grants over 2021–24 at the Geneva conference in November 2020.”

  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    55 Taliban Insurgents Killed In Airstrike In Balkh

    Kabul: The Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on Tuesday that security forces and the popular uprising forces had driven the Taliban out of 10 villages in the Chahar Kint district of Balkh province.

    According to the Ministry of Defense, the operation was launched on Monday, by security forces and popular uprising forces with the support of the Air Force.

    The MoD said that 55 members of the Taliban had been killed and eight others wounded in the operation. According to the Ministry of Defense, in this operation, the villages of Oibulaq, Para Barat, Nawabad, Lashkar-e-Qaq, Pakbar, Khanegha, Havili, Girobala, Girupain and Kuh-e-Khaja Suri in Chahar Kint district have been cleared of Taliban. The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter.

    Meanwhile, Baghlan police said that the Taliban attack to seize Doshi district has been repulsed. Javed Besharat, a spokesman for the Baghlan police, said that the Taliban had attacked Doshi district on Monday night, but were repulsed by suffering the group heavy casualties.

    The Baghlan police spokesman said that the Taliban wanted to block the Kabul-Pul-e-Khumri highway by attacking Doshi. Taliban suffered heavy casualties as a result of resistance from security forces, popular uprisings and other defense forces in Doshi with the cooperation of the country’s air force. According to Besharat, the Taliban retreated after suffering heavy casualties.

    According to Besharat, 38 Taliban members were killed and wounded in the clashes. He said 22 members of the group were killed and 16 others were injured. The Taliban have not yet commented. Security forces recaptured Doshi district from the Taliban four days ago.

    Meanwhile, a security source confirmed on Tuesday that unidentified gunmen had attacked a police outpost in the Chehel Dokhtaran area of Kabul’s PD13. The source, who did not want to be named, told Etilat Roz that unidentified gunmen had launched the attack on Monday night. According to the source, no casualties were reported during the clashes. He added that the attack by unidentified gunmen was repulsed after a few minutes of fighting.

    Images released from the scene of the attack show that the windows of a number of houses and shops were broken during the clashes. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    In another incident, unidentified gunmen attacked a security ranger in the Arghandi area of Paghman district of Kabul province at 7:55am on Tuesday. Kabul police said that two security personnel were killed and another was injured in the attack. Kabul police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz said an investigation is underway. Pictures released of the incident show a ranger caught fire following the attack. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    On the other hand, Amrullah Saleh, the first vice-president, said that for the defeat of the Taliban and the 100 percent deployment of the air force in the service of the security and defense forces, the access of civilians, non-essentials access to the air force aircraft has been limited.

    Saleh wrote a note on his official Facebook page on Tuesday that the decision was “very reasonable and professional” after an in-depth assessment of the situation. “Our greatest priority today is to defeat the Taliban and provide full support to our forces,” Saleh wrote. Meanwhile, Taliban attacks have recently increased in various parts of the country to seize districts.

    The Taliban claim to have captured more than 70 districts in the past two months. The government has not officially confirmed the fall of all of these districts, but has said it has recaptured more than a dozen districts from the Taliban. In the latest case, the Pashtun Kot district of Faryab came under government control on Monday.

    On the other hand, the first vice-president said that in “two or three specific areas in Kabul city” where there are narrow and inaccessible alleys and entrances for cars, the Taliban used motorcycles to assassinate government officials. Saleh has emphasized that the use of motorcycles is prohibited until this threat is eliminated, with the exception of restaurants that serve food and are given special cards. He called on the people to respect this “order”.

    Kabul police announced on Monday that the movement of motorcycles with and without documents in the city and districts of Kabul is prohibited until further notice. The reason for the restriction was cited by Kabul police as “security reasons”.

    Meanwhile, local officials in Logar province said that despite an escalation in Taliban attacks over the past two weeks, the security situation is improving. Provincial Governor Abdul Qayum Rahimi told a news conference on Tuesday that the Taliban have increased attacks against the ANDSF across Azra, Khoshi, Kharwar, and Baraki Barak districts, however, the group sustained heavy casualties during the ground operations and airstrikes, and a number of areas have been cleared.

    Rahimi rejected the collapse of Azra district and added that the provincial government shifted the district headquarters to Pul-e Alam city, due to security problems, but it has developed a plan to conduct operations in areas, from where the ANDSF have recently retreated. Rahimi claimed that Pakistani nationals are leading the battle in some districts, and the ANDSF have obtained evidence about it. Provincial council head Hasibullah Stanikzai expressed concern about the intensification of violence in the province, and said that the Taliban force the ANDSF through mediation by tribal elders to evacuate an outpost or a district. Stanikzai urged the security agencies to legally treat those elders, who work for the benefit of the Taliban.

    Stanikzai blamed the lack of airstrikes of cooperation by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) as a major reason for the evacuation of outposts, as the ANDSF fail to receive air support in case of a siege. Stanikzai added that the Kabul to Logar highway experienced many security incidents and called on the government to pay serious attention to the matter. The Taliban rejected the claims of sustaining heavy casualties in Logar province, and claimed to have captured Azra, Baraki Barak, and Kharwar districts during the current week.

  • 29 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Taliban Not Committed To Peace Process In Afghanistan: Abdullah

    Kabul: Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah in a statement on Tuesday said that the Taliban are not committed to the peace process in Afghanistan.

    In fact, Abdullah Abdullah met and held talks with Japanese Ambassador to Kabul Takashi Okada to discuss relevant issues and the peace process in Afghanistan. During the meeting, Abdullah pointed to the recent developments and security situation in Afghanistan and reiterated that the Taliban is not committed to the process of peace in this country.

    “Taliban seek a military solution to Afghan problem. If this group seeks victory through a military solution, that would be completely wrong. Given the history of the last four decades, no group in Afghanistan has been able to seize power by force,” Abdullah said.

    For his part, Japanese envoy to Kabul, while emphasizing his country’s continued assistance to Afghanistan, said that Japan’s message to Taliban is that war is not the solution to end the crisis in Afghanistan. If Taliban comes to power militarily, it will have no legitimacy, he added.

    Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov said that there is no direct threat to Russia from the Taliban. “There is no immediate direct threat [to Russia] from the Taliban,” he said in an interview with the Russia-24 television channel when asked whether the Taliban’s activities could threaten Russia directly.

    According to the Russian diplomat, Taliban insurgents are not strong enough to seize the capital city and other big cities in the country. In his words, the situation in Kabul is quite tense. “There is an increased terrorist threat here, and it is clear that this is the capital city of a country in a state of war. Nevertheless, no serious changes for the worse have been observed in Kabul since May,” Zhirnov noted, adding that Russia’s, US’, China’s and Pakistan’s representatives are working on the settlement of the situation in that country via the Extended Troika mechanism. “We are pursuing a policy to push the conflicting parties to result-oriented talks that would put an end to the civil war,” he stressed.

    On the other hand, former US National Security Advisor (NSA) John Bolton said that Pakistan is directly responsible for the Taliban’s return to power. He blamed Islamabad for supporting the Taliban and providing them safe havens in Pakistan during the past two decades, as per the Khaama Press reports Bolton as saying during his interview to Voice of America (VOA). “Parts of the Pakistani government are directly responsible for the Taliban’s return to power,” Bolton said.

    Pakistan’s intelligence and other internal circles have been in contact with the Taliban for decades, Bolton added. “I am concerned about the future consequences,” he said.

    At the same time, Bolton warned Pakistan that “if the Taliban seizes power in Afghanistan, it will also be a threat to Pakistan as the terrorist pressure on the Pakistani government will increase”. In fact, Bolton also said that complete withdrawal of forces can demoralize the Afghan government and army. When asked about the meeting of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani with his counterpart Joe Biden, he stated that “this trip will be the last opportunity for the Afghan government to try to encourage President Biden to gradually provide more time for other signs of continued US support if he does not alter his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.”