Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
A traditional Afghan council concluded on Sunday with hundreds of delegates agreeing to free 400 Taliban members, paving the way for an early start to negotiations between Afghanistan’s warring sides.
The declaration read out in both of Afghanistan’s official languages of Pashto and Dari calls for an immediate start of negotiations and ceasefire. The Taliban have said they were ready for talks immediately after their final prisoners were released and that a ceasefire would be one of the first items of negotiations.
“To remove obstacle, to start peace talks and to stop the bloodshed, the jirga confirms the release of 400 Taliban prisoners,” said Atefa Tayeb, a council secretary who read out the final declaration.
The Afghan negotiations were laid out in a peace deal signed by the United States and the Taliban in February. At the time of its signing it was touted as Afghanistan’s best chance at ending decades of war.
The deal calls for the government to free 5000 prisoners and for the Taliban to free 1000 government and military personnel in its custody as a goodwill gesture ahead of the start of negotiations.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday reported 37 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 37,106 cases, the country’s Ministry of Public Health confirmed.
“A total of nine COVID-19 patients succumbed to the virus, taking the number of people who lost their lives to 1,321 since the outbreak of the pandemic in February,” the ministry said in a statement.
The number of people recovered stands at 26,047 after 87 patients recovered during the period.
Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of National Directorate of Security (NDS), says that Pakistan is pursuing its policies in the region in any way possible and that the country has never been and is never trustworthy to Afghanistan.
The former head of NDS wrote on Twitter that Pakistan is paving the way for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, but will never help to establish peace and security in the region.
Nabil has stated that Pakistan will always use terrorist groups as a tool to implement its policies in the region.
He also said that Pakistan now uses ISIS and al-Qaeda as umbrellas for other terrorist groups.
A car bomb explosion occurred in the city of Ghazni on Saturday evening, targeting a unit of the public protection forces, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement.
Tariq Arian, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, confirmed that a group of militants detonated a car packed with explosives in Ghazni city late on Saturday night.
Arian further added that the militants detonated the car bomb close to a unit of the Public Order forces in Kotal-e Rawza area of Ghazni city at around 7:45 pm local time.
He also added that a number of assailants attempted to storm the compound of the security forces but the security personnel reacted and killed all the assailants.
However, he said the explosion left at least 7 security personnel dead including 3 policemen and 4 security guards of the Public Order forces.
According to Arian, the attack also left at least 16 personnel wounded.