Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The US State Department has named Ross Wilson as chargé d’affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul until a new ambassador is confirmed.
According to a US official, Wilson is expected to arrive in Kabul soon.
Ross L. Wilson is a former U.S. Foreign Service officer and ambassador. He was the United States Ambassador to Turkey, with the personal rank of Minister-Counselor.
Karen Decker, deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, will serve as chargé d’affaires until Wilson’s arrival, the official said.
The US ambassador to Afghanistan, John Bass has stepped down from his position on Monday, after serving in the country since December 2017.
“It is time for Holly and I to leave Afghanistan. We will cherish our memories of the Eid holiday in 2018 when peace fell over the whole country and Afghans saw it was possible for both sides to stop the violence,” Bass said in his twitter account.
Bass emphasized that he looks forward to returning to a peaceful Afghanistan.
“My earnest hope is for leaders and citizens across this country to find strength in unity, put aside their differences, and work together to negotiate a political settlement with the Taliban. Afghans and this beautiful country deserve nothing less,” he added.
A former Jihadi leader along with his son and three others were killed in a security forces’ operation in Kabul city on Sunday night.
Local residents told reporters that the security forces launched an operation at around 19:30p.m. (local time) on Sunday in Khair Khana area of Kabul city, killing five people including ‘Amer Satar’ a former commander of Hezb-e Jamiat and arresting two others.
According to the eyewitnesses, the security forces have taken the corpses and injured with themselves.
Afghan security officials have not commented regarding the incident so far.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has held a meeting with Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar’s Doha, BBC has reported.
Baradar in an interview with BBC said that the Taliban representatives are waiting for the group’s “final instruction” to begin talks.
In the meantime, there have been reports that the Taliban leadership has agreed to a temporary ceasefire, but the group rejected the reports saying their consultations were about reducing violence.
“Qatari officials had informed the Taliban that a meeting with Khalilzad will be held when he arrived in Qatar two days ago. Our representatives were ready for the meeting but Khalilzad refused on the plea that he has not received response to his proposal,” an unidentified Taliban official said as quoted by Pakistan’s Daily Times.
A Taliban source in Qatar told the paper there was a possibility that small Taliban-US committees could hold meetings to remove differences about the issue of reduction in violence.
The head of Panjshir’s rural rehabilitation and development department Mohammad Naeem Dastgir was died after his car crashed in Kalakan district of Kabul on Monday morning, Panjshir officials said.
A source on condition of anonymity told Reporterly that Dastgir was died when his vehicle has strayed off the road.
This comes as the roads in Kabul and other major provinces of the country have been frozen due to heavy snowfalls and storms.
Afghanistan Ministry of State for Disaster Management has announced that the routes to the central provinces including Bamyan, Daikundi and Ghor provinces have been closed due to the heavy snowfalls and storms.
The State Ministry in a press release on Monday said that the routes to the central provinces have been closed in Ajagak pass, Shato pass, Ghonaq, Kerman and Pul-e Bandi passes.
According to the press release, the routes in Bamyan province have been closed in Garghari valley of Panjab district as a result three avalanches and the Yakawlang-Panjab route have been closed in Sad Barg pass.
The press release added that the Bamyan-Yakawlang and Parwan-Bamyan routes are open to traffic but heavy storms are underway.
The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah says the security institutions should seriously consider the concerns of Kabul residents.
During the Ministerial Council session on Monday, CE Abdullah emphasized on Kabul residents’ concerns and called on security officials to pay serious attention regarding the security situations.
He stated that the armed robberies, extortions and assassinations in Kabul have recently increased sharply which a number of the social media users have launched a campaign of “Kabul is not safe”.
Pointing to the recent heavy snowfalls in Afghanistan, Abdullah urged the Emergency Committee to make further efforts for the ongoing challenges in the country.
“In some places procrastination, inattention and indifference can be seen, and if they are not addressed, they will aggravate people’s problems,” he said.
In the meantime, the Chief Executive asked the Ministry of Finance to have an eye on supporting the Ministry of Transport and Rural Developments to keep the routes open.
At least a police official and four Taliban members have been killed after a clash erupted outside Kunduz city in the province between Taliban militants and government troops, Esmatullah Muradi, provincial government spokesman of Kunduz province said.
The official said that the fight has started as the Taliban members have launched an attack over a security checkpoint that was set in Angor Bagh and police retaliated the attack which has resulted in the death of four militants and forced them to flee the site.
Muradi also added that a police official who was the commander of the said checkpoint has also died in the battle and another suffered injuries in the clash.
Twenty-four US National Guard soldiers are leaving New York State as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan, the Stars and Stripes reported.
The soldiers are based in the Albany suburb of Latham. They are scheduled to leave for Fort Bliss in Texas on Thursday.
They are preparing for a 10-month deployment later this year to Afghanistan, where they will provide security for a U.S. commander.
The farewell ceremony was held at the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters in Latham.
According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), almond production in Kunduz has increased by 12.5%.
This year’s almond yield has reached 6,398.4 tons compared to last year’s 5,687.5 tons.
“This year Kunduz has seen an unprecedented increase in almond production as a result of support from the government and better weather conditions,” said Abdul Hadi Qarluq, head of the agriculture department in Kunduz.
He added that this year’s almond production was collected from 6,560 hectares of land in the province.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in a phone conversation with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, assured his Iranian counterpart that based on the Afghan-US security pact, Afghan soil will never be used against any other country, the Presidential Palace said.
In this conversation, President Ghani extended his condolences and sympathy with the people and the president of Iran over Soleimani’s death.
Soleimani, who was head of the Revolutionay Guards’ overseas Quds Force, was killed in an airstrike by US military at Baghdad airport on Friday.