Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghan local officials say at least 26 Taliban insurgents including three Pakistani nationals and the terror organizer of Helmand border brigade commander have been arrested during the past two weeks.
The deputy governor of Helmand, Mujahidullah Safari in a press conference on Saturday said that the National Directorate Security (NDS) operatives arrested the detainees during the past two weeks in Helmand province.
According to Safari, the detainees were arrested from different parts of the Lashkargah city and the NDS operatives also seized a number of arms and weapons from them.
He noted that the detainees have been involved in terrorist attacks and assassinations of people in Lashkargah city.
The arrest of Helmand commander’s terror organizer comes as General Zahir Moqbel, the commander of border brigade was killed in a road-side bomb in Janamo area of Nawa district two weeks ago.
The Afghan Presidential candidate and the current Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah says allowing the recount of Presidential votes in seven provinces does not mean disregarding the rights of people.
Talking to his supporters in Baghlan province on Saturday, CE Abdullah reiterated that they will not accept “fraudulent” results whether partial or preliminary.
Abdullah emphasized that the “Stability and Partnership” electoral team is not against individuals, but is against fraud.
“Allowing the recount process in the remaining seven provinces is to take the pretext out of those who called the protests an excuse. The Electoral Complaints Commission and The Election Commission have the opportunity to make decisions based on law and the constitution,” he said.
This comes as Abdullah during a conference with his supporters on Dec 13, announced to allow a ballot recount in seven provinces but at the same time insisting he wouldn’t accept any election result that is “fraudulent.”
Afghan local officials have confirmed that an Independent Election Commission (IEC) staff was killed in his office in Herat province on Saturday.
The spokesman of Herat governor, Jilani Farhad told Reporterly that a staff of IEC was killed in his office in Herat a few minutes ago.
Farhad noted that the reason of killing the IEC staff is not clear and Police have arrived at the scene area.
He added that no one has been arrested regarding the incident so far.
A number of the supporters of the “Stability & Partnership” electoral team staged a protest in Balkh province on Saturday, demanding the cancellation of fraudulent votes.
One of the members of the “Stability & Partnership” team, Mohammad Mohaqiq who is now in Balkh says the aim of protest is to fight against electoral fraud and irregularities.
The protesters say they have gathered in Ferdawsi circle of Mazar-e Sharif city and will continue their protest to the eastern gates of the Grand Blue mosque.
This comes as previously, the supporters of the “Stability & Partnership” team have launched protest in several northern and central provinces of the country.
Afghan local officials have confirmed that at least 25 local army soldiers have been killed in Taliban’s infiltrator attack in Ghazni province.
The district chief of Qarabagh, Habibullah told media outlets that seven Taliban infiltrators have opened fire on other army soldiers in Lewanay Bazar outpost of the district and took all weapons and equipment with themselves.
According to Habibullah, at least 25 local army soldiers have been killed and two others have been wounded.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a statement said that at least nine local army soldiers were killed in the incident.
The Taliban group has claimed responsibility behind the incident.
A special cadre of 20 Women Officers of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) has been undergoing training for over three weeks at the Indian Army Officers Training Academy in Chennai, as a part of India’s efforts to improve bilateral ties with Afghanistan.
Officers ranging from the rank Lieutenant to Captain are being imparted field training, tactical knowledge, radiotelephony, weapons training and physical training at the Academy since 24th November. Besides, the Officers are also being coached in basic Communicative English, Computer training.
“We are being exposed to English classes, computer training, Ak-47 firing and much more. There is a major difference in the overall training regimen, as it is much more challenging and of higher standards in India. Here in the Indian Army, there is very strict discipline being maintained and there is an added emphasis on being punctual. India’s is a very professional Army and there’s a lot of honour in doing one’s duty”, Captain Sonya Noori told WION.
With nearly 10 more days of training to go, the women officers from Afghanistan are a confident lot, hoping that they would be able to make the most of their training, by sharing the knowledge with their juniors and colleagues back in their home country.
At least nine Afghan local army soldiers have been killed in Taliban’s infiltrator attack in Ghazni province, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.
MoD in a press release on Saturday said that the nine soldiers have been killed in Qara Bagh district of Ghazni province.
According to the statement, the incident took place on late Friday night.
MoD has stressed that investigations are underway regarding the incident.
The special U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation has held meetings with Pakistan’s civil and military leadership seeking Islamabad’s help to strike a peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan.
The US special envoy who is in Pakistan on a two-day official visit separately met the Pakistani Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
“Regional security situation with particular reference to ongoing Afghanistan reconciliation process was discussed,” Pakistan’s army spokesperson Major Gen. Asif Ghafoor said.
Qureshi, for his part, reiterated his country would continue to support a smooth progress and successful outcome of peace efforts aimed at ending the lingering war in neighboring Afghanistan.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR has appealed for intensified support for displaced Afghans, saying that Afghans are the single largest group of asylum seekers arriving in Europe.
Babar Baloch, spokesperson for UNHCR, has told a press briefing here that of the roughly 70,000 migrant arrivals in the Eastern Mediterranean so far this year, 37.4 percent had been Afghans.
“As we enter the fifth decade of Afghan displacement, some 4.6 million Afghans remain uprooted globally,” he said, adding that this includes some 2.7 million registered as refugees, and the rest displaced inside Afghanistan.
“Afghans represent the longest displaced and the longest dispossessed population under UNHCR’s mandate worldwide,” he added.
According to UNHCR, an overwhelming majority of some 90 percent of Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan and Iran.
Afghan presidential contender and the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah announced late Friday that he has agreed to allow a ballot recount in seven provinces.
CE Abdullah addressed the media following a conference with supporters on December 13, insisting he wouldn’t accept any election result that is “fraudulent.”
“I call on the dignified people of Afghanistan to let the recount take place in seven provinces,” Abdullah said.
“Today the conflict and problem are between fraud and transparency one side committed fraud and the other side wants transparency,” he asserted.
In November, more than 40 days after the election, Abdullah withdrew his team’s election observers from an official recount of ballots following disputes over exactly which votes to count.
The Afghan Election Commission tried to launch a ballot recount in November but Abdullah halted the attempt, saying he wouldn’t let his observers participate.
Afghanistan’s election and election complaint commissions had repeatedly requested that Abdullah’s supporters allow the ballot recount process to move forward and promised to release results based on valid ballots.