Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
A targeted strike by the U.S. forces in Nerkh district of Wardak province on Sunday night killed five Taliban fighters who had attacked the Afghan security forces.
“We reject the allegations of violating the agreement and of killing innocent Afghans,” said Sonny Leggett, spokesperson for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) on Twitter.
He also said the action was in accordance to the terms of the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed in February.
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that 26 Taliban militants were killed and four were wounded in reciprocal attacks of the Afghan security forces and in airstrikes in the Sayed Abad and Nerkh district of the province.
A Taliban spokesperson said that there had been no fighting when the strike took place, and it broke the terms of agreement, reports Reuters.
“This attack is a violation of the agreement and we condemn it,” Zabihullah Mujahid said.
The strike comes less than a week after commander of the USFOR-A and NATO Resolute Support Gen. Austin Scott Miller, said that U.S. forces are doing their best to reduce violence, including opting not to go on the offensive in some cases.
“If the violence goes up, it’s going to make it very, very difficult to come to any solution in Doha,” Miller said.
Two members of the People’s Uprising Forces from the Qarabagh district of Ghazni were found dead in Ghazni city on Sunday evening.
Wahidullah Jumazada, spokesperson for the Ghazni governor’s office, told Reporterly that the bodies of the men were found inside a home in the Plan-e Charom area.
The perpetrators managed to escape from the area.
Jumazada said that intelligence and security forces are investigating the incident.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility yet.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said they are working on a plan along with the citizens to empower people at risk of future attacks from IS-K (Daesh) and the Taliban.
“There will be no such thing as militia and weapon distribution,” Saleh assured in a message on Facebook on Monday.
In his detailed post on security in Kabul city, Saleh said that Afghanistan needs to start mobilising against the “hidden nuclei of terrorism” in the cities and districts.
After the bloody suicide attack on a training centre in western Kabul, which was claimed by IS-K, he added that in the coming days, photos of terrorists operating in the districts, and those who organized the massacres in Kabul will be posted so that people can come forward with information.
Regarding crime prevention programmes, Saleh asked the Ministry of Finance to simplify and speed up the process of collecting taxes from undocumented vehicles.
He said that they will continue to work on removing encroachments and work with the Kabul municipality.
Afghanistan saw a spike of 104 cases of Coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said, pushing the tally of confirmed infections to 40,937 so far.
The ministry reported that the laboratories tested 431 samples in the past day.
New cases were reported in the provinces of Herat (41), Kabul (19), Ghazni (17), Kandahar (9), Takhar (7), Kunduz (7), Nimruz (2), Uruzgan (1) and Zabul (1)
The MoPH also recorded four deaths due to COVID-19 and 21 recoveries across Afghanistan.
There are currently 5,269 active Coronavirus cases in the country with 34,150 recovered and 1,518 dead.
Acting Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar met Chinese Ambassador Wang Yu on Sunday afternoon and talked about the significance of China’s role in the region and for the peace process.
A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that Atmar talked of Beijing’s cordial relations with Kabul and their support for the peace talks.
He praised China’s involvement and said it was “significant and effective” in garnering regional and international support in calling for a reduction of violence and a humanitarian ceasefire.
Talking about the significance of China’s role, Atmar assured the ambassador of Afghanistan’s support and commitment to the Once-China policy.
The Chinese ambassador reaffirmed their support for an Afghan-led and owned peace talks.
Atmar also held a farewell meeting with outgoing Canadian envoy Dave Metcalfe and commended his efforts in strengthening ties between the two countries.
He highlighted Canada’s friendly relations, support for the peace process and cooperation with Afghanistan over the past 19 years.
Metcalfe called the continued cooperation and maintaining and strengthening of the current relations beneficial for the people and the governments of the two countries.
Lawmakers from the central provinces of Afghanistan on Sunday called on the government to take security measures and prevent the killing of civilians.
The members of parliament (MPs) said the government should ensure the security of the people, the main highways, public facilities, religious places and schools.
They also called on the government to take action and prevent the repeat of tragedies such as suicide bombings and roadside explosions.
They further called on the international community to preserve the fundamental rights of the Afghan people, especially rights of women and minorities, during the peace negotiations.
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced that 21 people in Herat, including the current governor, have been charged with embezzlement of 20 million AFN from the COVID-19 budget.
Jamshid Rasouli, spokesperson for the AGO, said they had completed investigations into the suspected corruption in the usage of the COVID-19 relief budget in Herat and the case has now been referred for a trial.
He added that the governor of Herat, three members of the Provincial Council, the head of Public Health, the deputy and representative of Asia Pharma, head of budget department of Herat province, are among those standing trial.
The court has been asked to determine the punishment for the individuals in accordance with the Penal Code.
Moscow is supportive of the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan as it is beneficial for overall security, said Russian President Vladimir Putin in a televised interview on Sunday.
“Initially, we backed U.S. forces’ presence in Afghanistan and earlier voted in favour of a respective UN Security Council resolution,” Putin said in an interview that aired on Rossiya-1 TV channel, reports TASS news agency.
“I still believe that U.S. presence in Afghanistan does not run counter to our external interests,” he added.
The president noted that their official position has always been that foreign troop withdrawals may create “many risks” for the Afghan people and the peace process with other partners earing additional costs.
“First, we will have to spend more to maintain stability and second, no matter what, still U.S. presence in Afghanistan contributes to stability in the country and their exit creates risks,” the Russian leader explained.
“We don’t have to fight against the Americans’ presence there.”
Putin also hailed the ongoing Russian-U.S. cooperation in the field of anti-terrorism and intelligence sharing “despite numerous contradictions.”
“We view the Americans’ effort in Afghanistan as an anti-terrorist effort,” Putin stressed.
Bangladeshi scholars, elders and the muftis called on both warring parties in Afghanistan to stop the killing of Muslims and innocent people as the violence was against shariah texts and Islamic teachings.
The scholars attended the session on “Call for Peace in Afghanistan” held on Sunday in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.
They issued a statement emphasising the prohibition of war and the killing of Muslims and innocent people in Afghanistan. They also expressed their wholehearted support for the peace talks in Doha.
Calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the scholars said both sides were “Muslims and brothers” and requested an end to the ongoing attacks for them to build trust.
The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its gratitude for the issuance of the declaration of the fatwa by the scholars and reiterated the reduction of violence and ceasefire as an important condition for the success of the peace talks.