Newsfeed; Saturday, March 27 2021

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Top Turkish, US Officials & Khalilzad Discuss Afghan Peace Talks in Istanbul

    Turkey’s Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın on Saturday received U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and his accompanying delegation at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.

    During the meeting, recent developments in Afghanistan and the details of Afghan peace talks that Turkey plans to host in Istanbul were discussed.

    In the meeting, it was said that the peace talks in Istanbul will be held in a manner supporting the peace negotiations in the Qatari capital in Doha between the representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban.

    The expectation that the peace talks in Istanbul will give a new impetus to the Afghan peace process was also expressed during the meeting.

    It was noted that lasting peace in Afghanistan will be possible with an inclusive, broad-based and sustainable political solution and that the peaceful environment to be established in Afghanistan will also contribute to regional peace, stability and welfare.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Afghan FM, UN SG Special Rep. Discussed Peace Process

    The Afghan Foreign Minister, Haneef Atmar met with Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Deborah Lyons Deborah Lyons and discussed the Afghan peace process and the role of the United Nations in the success of peace talks in the country.

    The Ministry of Foriegn Affairs (MoFA) in a statement on Saturday said that FM Atmar spoke about the Moscow Peace Summit and the preparations for the Turkish Peace Summit, emphasizing the comprehensive and constructive role of the United Nations in strengthening the regional and global consensus for the success of the peace talks.

    In the meantime, Ms. Lyons called the role of regional countries and the international community in ensuring lasting peace in Afghanistan vital and assured the continuation of UN efforts to strengthen consensus and the success of peace talks in the country.

    The statement added that the two sides also stressed the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2513 and expressed hope for the success of peace talks in the country and the will of the Afghan people.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Turkey’s Support Could Boost Afghan Peace Process: Afghan Envoy

    Turkey has great potential to step up the peace process in Afghanistan and the upcoming peace talks in Istanbul slated for April will hopefully pave the way for a cease-fire first, then an agreement on fair and sustainable peace, the Afghan ambassador to Turkey said.

    In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Afghan Ambassador Amir Mohammad Ramin commented on the peace process in Afghanistan and said: “The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is strongly committed to a peace process that leads to just and sustainable peace in Afghanistan. We welcomed any initiative in support of the peace process.”

    Ramin went on to say that the first of these initiatives took place in February 2018 when President Ashraf Ghani offered unconditional peace talks with the Taliban through a conference and added: “Since then, we have continually called for dialogue as the best way to end the violence ongoing in Afghanistan.”

    One of the peace initiatives was the talks in Doha, Qatar, and the Afghan government fully supported the peace process and actively participated.

    However, according to the Afghan diplomat, the initiative later turned into a stalemate and no progress was made.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Seven Positive Cases of SARS-CoV-2 Registered in Afghanistan: MoPH

    The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) says the first Ginotyping Laboratory opened in Kabul today.

    The Acting Minister Public Health, Vahid Majrooh, inaugurated the first Ginotyping Laboratory on Saturday, which is capable of detecting new variants of the coronavirus.

    “Using this laboratory, Afghanistan can now identify the genetic origin of the coronavirus and adjust diagnostic programs after examining the genetic variants of the virus,” he said at the opening ceremony of the laboratory.

    The Minister of Health emphasized that so far, seven positive cases of the UK-type of coronavirus have been confirmed using this laboratory.

    According to him, in addition to detecting different types of coronavirus in this laboratory, the field of “ginotyping” of hepatitis, tuberculosis and polio diseases has also been provided in Afghanistan.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Hasty Withdrawal of Foreign Forces Would Lead Afghanistan into Civil War: Warns NSA

    The hasty withdrawal of foreign troops could lead to a civil war in Afghanistan.

    Following a warning from the American intelligence agencies about the hasty withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib, said that if the foreign forces withdraw, Afghanistan could face a civil war.

    Speaking at a joint press conference on Saturday in Kabul, NSA said, “If foreign troops [leave Afghanistan], and if we do not move towards peace, there is a danger that the country would return to civil war.”

    He stated, however, that the Afghan people did not want to return to civil war.

    Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser stressed that the country’s security institutions are working to fill gaps and weaknesses in order to prevent the possibility of a civil war in Afghanistan.

    “All the preparations made by the interior and defense ministries are for us to avoid the situation (the possibility of a civil war) that all intelligence agencies are warning about and move towards peace,” he asserted.

    On the other hand, Hamdullah Mohib called on the Taliban to seize the opportunity to bring peace to the country and end the war. He stressed that if the Taliban were thinking of gaining power, they are wrong.

    Meanwhile, Mohammad Asin Zia said that the country’s security and defense institutions are fully prepared to face any situation to defend the country and are ready for the “worst case scenario”.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Khalilzad Heads to Turkey to Push Afghan Peace Talks

    The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has departed for Turkey and the region, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday.

    The State Department said in a statement that Khalilzad began the trip on Thursday.

    “He will engage the two sides on their preparatory efforts for talks on a political settlement that produces a permanent ceasefire and a durable and just peace,” the State Department said, referring to the Afghan government and the Taliban.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Acting Defense Minister Vows to Find Alipour

    About a week after government forces launched an operation on the positions of Abdul Ghani Alipour, commander of the popular resistance forces in Maidan Wardak province, Mohammad Yasin Zia, the Acting Minister of Defense says he has escaped from the Behsud district and security forces will find him.

    Speaking at a joint news conference with Hamdullah Mohib, the National Security Adviser, and Abdul Sabur Ghaneh, the deputy Minister of Interior, Zia said that government forces are working to arrest Abdul Ghani Alipour.

    “Alipour has disappeared from the area, or escaped, or is missing, or is hiding,” he said. “He is not a big issue and we will find him.”

    In the meantime, the acting Minister of National Defense stated that the operations of government forces in the Hese Awal of Behsud district of Maidan Wardak district were not against the people, but against Alipour’s men.

    He also referred to the destruction of buildings during the operation, saying that a team of government forces had deployed there to repairs them.

    Mohammad Yasin Zia also added about the collapse of the army chopper in Behsud that its remains are now in the possession of the government and more investigation is being done on this issue.

    About seven days ago, government forces attacked positions belonging to Abdul Ghani Alipour following the downing of an army helicopter in the Hese Awal of Behsud district. The helicopter crashed on Wednesday last week, killing nine people, including four crew members and five government forces.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Ghor Residents Staged Protest Against Procincial Governor for Fourth Time

    Dozens of residents of Ghor province in a protest rally in Firuzkuh city, the capital of the province, have called for the removal of Noor Mohammad Kooh Naward, the governor of the province.

    Hassan Hakimi, one of the organizers of the protest said that they were protesting for the fourth time in a row.

    Mr. Hakimi also said that the protests will continue until Noor Mohammad Kuhnvard, the governor of the province, is dismissed.

    He warned that if the government does not take action to remove the governor of Ghor, the next consequences will be on the government.

    According to him, the residents of Ghor have been setting up sit-in tent in front of the Ghor governor’s office for 26 days, accusing the governor of failing to control insecurity and manage the province.

    But the governor of Ghor claiked that he would use all his strength to provide security of Ghor and solve other challenges.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Seven Security Forces Killed, Wounded in Taliban’s Attack in Kandahar

    Local officials say Taliban militants launched attack on the center of Arghistan district of Kandahar province after two explosions today.

    Local media reported that at least three Police forces were killed and four more were wounded in the attack.

    According to the reports, the first explosion happened near Police HQ in the district at around 11:00am today.

    The Kandahar Police chief, Ghorzang Afridi said the two explosions were caused by car bombs.

    He added that Commandos and Police Special Unit have been deployed to the area and clashes are still underway.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Rain, Snow, Flash Flood Warning Issued for 18 Provinces of Afghanistan

    The Afghanistan Meteorological Department has issued a rain, snow and flash flood warning for 18 provinces for today and tomorrow.

    According to a warning posted on the AMD’s website, the department stated between 15 and 30mm of rain forecast for a number of provinces.

    The provinces include Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Samangan, Baghlan, Balkh, Sar-e Pul, Jawzjan, Faryab, Badghis, Ghor, Bamiyan and Parwan.

    The AMD also warned of the possibility of heavy snow in Panjshir, Kapisa, Laghman, Nuristan, Kunar and the Salang Pass.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Police Chief Among Three Killed in Taliban’s Attack in Helmand

    Afghan security officials say the Taliban militants attacked a security outpost on Highway 611 of Sangin district in Helmand province last night.

    Zaman Hamdard, Helmand Police spokesman told Reporterly that at least three security forces including Abdul Ahmad Sarwari were killed and two more were wounded in Taliban’s attack.

    According to him, at least 15 Taliban militants were also killed and seven more were wounded in the clashes.

    In the meantime, local media reported that at least nine security forces were killed in the incident.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Ministry of Health Reports 4 New Cases of COVID-19

    The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday reported 4 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

    The ministry also reported one death and no recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

    The cumulative number of total cases is now 56,294 the number of total reported deaths is 2,470 and the total number of recoveries is 49,994.

    The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar,Helmand, and Kapisa.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Delay in US Forces’ Withdrawal from Afghanistan to Harm Reconciliation Process: Kabulov

    A delay in withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan can negatively affect the Afghan settlement, but will not stop this process, Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said Friday, commenting on the US claim that it will have trouble withdrawing all force by May 1.

    “There is nothing good [about it]. Everything will depend on how the Taliban react to it. Most likely, [it will react] negatively, but this does not mean an end to this story. The Americans will have to look for resolutions and compromises with the Taliban, so that they could treat this with understanding,” Kabulov said.

    This comes as the Taliban group has warned to resume attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan if they did not meet the May 1 deadline to withdraw.

    If the May 1 deadline was not met, the Taliban would be “compelled to … continue its Jihad and armed struggle against foreign forces to liberate its country”, the group said in a statement on Friday.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Pakistan’s Exports to Afghanistan Decrease 13.59pc in 8 Months

    Pakistan’s exports of goods and services to Afghanistan witnessed a decrease of 13.59 percent during the eight months of financial year (2020-21) as compared to the corresponding period of last year, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported.

    The overall Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan were recorded at $629.324 million during July-February (2020-21) against exports of $728.315 million during July-February (2019-20), showing a decline of 13.59 percent, SBP data revealed.

    Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the exports to Afghanistan during February 2021 declined by 10 percent, from $95.194 million against the exports of $85.674 million.

    On month-on-month basis, the Pakistani exports to Afghanistan also dipped by 8.21 percent during February 2021 as compared to the exports of $93.341 million in January 2021, the SBP data revealed. Overall Pakistan’s exports to other countries witnessed a decline of 2.26 percent in eight months, from $16.438 billion to $16.065 billion, the SBP data revealed.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    Taliban Warned to Target Foreign Troops if Deadline Not Met

    The Taliban has threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops in Afghanistan if they did not meet the May 1 deadline to withdraw.

    If the May 1 deadline was not met, the Taliban would be “compelled to … continue its Jihad and armed struggle against foreign forces to liberate its country”, the group said in a statement on Friday.

    The armed group’s threat followed comments by US President Joe Biden, who on Thursday said it would be hard to withdraw the last US troops by the deadline, which was agreed with Washington last year.

    “It’s not my intention to stay there for a long time,” Biden said, “We will leave. The question is when we leave.” When asked if US troops will still be in Afghanistan next year, he said, ”I can’t picture that being the case.”

    The Taliban said it was committed to the agreement, which it termed the “most sensible and shortest path” to end the conflict.

    Responsibility for its prolongation “will be on the shoulders of those who committed this violation,” the statement said.

    Under the February 2020 deal negotiated by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump’s administration, the US promised to withdraw all 2,500 US troops left in Afghanistan.

  • 27 Mar 2021 Share this post

    US Spy Agencies Warn Biden of Possible Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan: Report

    U.S. intelligence agencies have told the Biden administration that the Taliban could overrun most of Afghanistan within two to three years if U.S. troops leave before a power-sharing deal is reached between the warring sides, a news report said on Friday.

    Such a takeover potentially would allow al Qaeda to rebuild in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported, quoting anonymous U.S. officials.

    President Joe Biden is deciding whether to meet a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of the last 3,500 American troops that was set in a February 2020 accord struck with the Taliban under his predecessor, Donald Trump.

    Some U.S. officials who favor keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan are using the intelligence report to argue that the soldiers should remain beyond the deadline, the Times said.

    The White House declined to comment.

    The classified intelligence assessment was prepared last year for the Trump administration, the Times said.

    Biden on Thursday told his first White House news conference that it would be hard to comply with the deadline, which also requires the departure of some 7,000 allied forces.