Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah says the Taliban group has failed to stand by their commitments.
In an interview with FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman, Dr. Abdullah spoke about the upcoming peace talks with the Taliban to be held in Turkey in April.
He expresses hope for “significant progress”.
“My hope is that we take maximum use of every opportunity and the Turkey’s peace summit is a unique opportunity. The meeting in Istanbul would be considered a big step forward,” Abdullah said.
As US President Joe Biden admitted that some US troops could still be in Afghanistan after May 1, the agreed upon deadline for American forces to leave the country under a deal with the Taliban, Abdullah Abdullah says the agreement was “conditional”.
“Taliban haven’t observed their commitment in terms of reduction in violence”, he points out.
“Unfortunately Taliban have not observed their commitments in terms of the reduction of violence. I believe that there is no winner with the continuation of the war,” he added.
Following the escalation of insecurity and targeted killings in the country, Afghan senators summoned security officials to the Senate on Tuesday for accountability.
Senators say most of the remote parts of the country are now insecure, and the people are suffering casualties on highways.
“An ordinary government employee cannot cross the highways,” said Senator Nabih Mostafa Zadeh.
A number of other senators accused the Taliban of lacking the will for peace.
“We call on the opposition not to burn down other schools and not to inflict this great persecution on our people,” said Sen. Anarkalay Honaryar.
This comes as an important Afghan peace summit is scheduled to take place in Turkey next month.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sanday reported 28 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 2 deaths and 19 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 56,322 the number of total reported deaths is 2,472 and the total number of recoveries is 50,013.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Kunduz and Panjsher.
At least eight people including five members of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) were wounded in a bomb blast in Khost province.
The blast happened at around 1 pm in Khost province on Sunday, according to local police.
Police said that at least eight people were injured in the blast.
A motobike was reportedly loaded with explosive and later was detonated at Mujahid square in the city.
All of the wounded individuals were taken to the provincial hospital for treatment.
In a separate incident, a blast took place in Laghman province on Sunday afternoon.
Three Afghan national policemen were killed after a roadside bomb detonated in Mehtaralam, the provincial capital.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) calls for a serious investigation into allegations of civilian casualties in Khost province.
Shahrzad Akbar, the chairperson of AIHRC says the commission is also trying to investigate reports of civilian casualties in pro-government operations in Khost.
“The delegation appointes by the government; But the results of the research will not be made available to the public,” she said.
According to the residents of Khost, an operation was launched two nights ago by special forces in the province which caused civilian casualties.
Pictures circulated on social media also show that several people, allegedly civilians, including women and children, were killed in a military attack in the Sabri district of Khost province.
While local sources have not yet commented on the exact number of civilian casualties in the operation, some locals have claimed that about 20 people were killed in the operation.
So far, however, none of the security agencies and local officials have provided information about the operation and the civilian casualties.
President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday addressed a ceremony on the establishment of the High Council for Youth, the Presidential Palace said.
Arg in a statement said that President Ghani stated that for each ministry and every government institutions, the High Council for Youth must submit specific suggestions.
“Our main goal is a nation-building process, we have a history of several thousand years and it is clear that from a historical point of view there is no region of Afghanistan that has not been the center of the empire,” Ghani said.
President noted that for forty-two years, the people of Afghanistan have been deprived of their most fundamental collective right, which is the right to peace and stability.
“Anyone who commits prejudice and corruption harms the national unity. We must fight against it,” he said.
Ghani emphasized that every young Afghan should decide which problem in Afghanistan they can solve and in each section the youth should have specific plans.
In another parts of his speech, President Ghani added that the biggest asset in Afghanistan is the situation of this country, if the situation of Afghanistan is managed properly, more will be earned from its mines, because Afghanistan is located in the heart of Asia.
In an armed attack in Kandahar province, the pregnant wife of head of Police criminal investigation department of PD11 of Kandahar city was killed, local officials said.
According to Police, the attack happened when the officer took his wife to the hospital to give birth.
Doctors rescued the baby, whose mother was killed before giving birth.
According to the Kandahar police, the head of Police criminal investigating department was also injured in the attack.
Kandahar police spokesman Jamal Nasser Barakzai said on Sunday that the attack took place at 8:00pm last night in PD11.
Doctors say the wounded baby’s is now under treatment.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
Afghan local officials say the Taliban militants attacked two outposts of National Police and the protection personnel of Dahan-e Dara dam in Ghaz Ghol village of Pashtoon Kot district of Faryab province.
Abdul Karim Yourish, Faryab Police spokesman said two security personnel of the dam were killed and two more were wounded.
According to Yourish, the clashes started at around 11:00pm on Saturday and lasted for four hours.
He added that one Taliban militant was killed and two more were wounded in the attacks.
At least six people were killed and 13 more were wounded in a traffic accident on Herat-Kandahar highway.
Muhammad Arif Jalali, the head of Herat provincial hospital said the incident occurred in Aziz Abad area of Shindand district on Saturday night.
According to Jalali, all killed and wounded were men.
He added that the wounded were transferred to the provincial hospital for treatment.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) says a police officer who beat a woman at the border port of Torkham has permanently been expelled from the police ranks.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said on his Twitter account today that the police officer had been fired from the ministry for beating a woman.
He added that after a video was released of a woman being whipped by a police officer in the border port of Torkham, the police officer was removed.
Mr. Arian called beating of women is a Taliban act and stressed that anyone who commits such behavior is considered a terrorist.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Interior stated that the police are enforcing the law and that resorting to violent behavior is not acceptable at all.
In the past few days, a video was posted on social media in which a police soldier beat an elderly woman.
The release of the video provoked a lot of reactions, with many condemning the behavior and calling for the police soldier to be punished.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Haeef Atmar, during a telephone conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian, spoke about strengthening bilateral relations, the Afghan peace negotiation process and France’s support for this process.
The Ministry of Foriegn Affairs in a statement said that the Foreign Minister praised the French initiative to name a road in Paris after the national hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud, and called it a great honor for France to achieve the aspirations of the people of two countries for peace and freedom.
Mr. Atmar also stressed the importance of the country’s support for the Afghan peace process, the preservation of democratic values and human rights, especially for women, and stressed the importance of continued French support and cooperation with Afghanistan.
Thanks to international efforts, significant progress has been made in resolving the Afghan conflict in recent years, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan said.
The most obvious evidence of that progress is that the parties to the conflict, which for a long time refused to make direct contacts, have been brought to the negotiation table, Zamir Kabulov said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.
“We believe that in recent years, thanks to international efforts, significant progress has been made in resolving the situation in Afghanistan. The impetus for this was given by the regular meeting of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan held in November 2018, in which, in addition to the key states of the region, the delegations of Kabul and the US, representatives of the political office of the Taliban Movement in Doha took part for the first time.
“Later, in 2019, two more meetings of the inter-Afghan dialogue were held in Moscow – in February and May, respectively. In parallel, the negotiation process between the US and the Taliban movement had started, which ended, as you know, with the signing of the agreement on Feb. 29, 2020, which was supported by the international community and the UN Security Council.
“In September last year, a significant event took place – the ceremony of launching direct inter-Afghan talks in the capital of Qatar. Therefore, as you can see, the intensive work done over the past few years has already borne fruit, but there is still a long way to go to bring the settlement process in the IRA [Islamic Republic of Afghanistan] to a successful conclusion,” the diplomat said.
Russia continues working actively on the Afghan track, so, when the negotiations in Doha stalled, Moscow invited Afghans to hold informal consultations aiming to find an exit and bring positions closer on the sidelines of the troika plus [Russia, the US, China, and Pakistan] meeting on Afghanistan.
“The main issue discussed during the [troika] meeting was the promotion of the inter-Afghan dialogue in Doha. In addition, the agenda included such topics as reducing the level of violence by both sides of the conflict, the early start of substantive negotiations on national reconciliation, and the future state structure of the country that takes into account the interests of all population stratum.
“We hope that this event will give the necessary impetus to inter-Afghan contacts in Doha and will contribute to finding solutions to the establishment of peace and the formation of an inclusive government in the country as soon as possible,” Kabulov said.
The meeting in Moscow gathered many influential figures, including from the Afghan government and establishment as well as influential members of the Taliban, allowing for having “a direct and open discussion,” the envoy added.