Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Ian Ridley, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Afghanistan, says aid agencies and the international community must not take their “collective eye off the ball” in Afghanistan at this critical moment for peace.
A further slide into conflict would cause widespread humanitarian misery for Afghans, who have faced decades of war and displacement. Combined with the effects of climate change, a return to civil war would “devastate” the country, the OCHA chief told Rudaw English correspondent Robert Edwards in Kabul this September.
However, Ridley also warns there are big challenges ahead even if a peace deal is secured between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as refugees and IDPs return from exile, institutions develop, and the economy recovers.
The OCHA chief says the billions of dollars spent in humanitarian aid have been worth the expense and that donors must not lose interest in Afghanistan.
Officials in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) say around 12,650 of its staffs have been introduced to the Independent Election Compliant Commission (IECC).
The chairperson of IEC, Hawa Alam Nuristani in a joint press conference on Sunday said that around 12,650 employees of the commission have been accused of crimes and irregularities and introduced to IECC for investigations.
This comes as IEC has previously asked the commission’s secretariat to introduce those employees who committed crimes and irregularities to IECC in three days of time.
IEC held a joint conference today with the Presidential electoral teams which a member of the Stability and Partnership team boycotted the meeting by claiming that the team’s demands have not been heard.
Afghan former President Karzai has welcomed the resumption of negotiations between the United States and Taliban, saying all aspects of Afghanistan should be serious in negotiations between US and Taliban.
The ex-president’s office in a statement said that Karzai expressed hope for this round of US-Taliban talks and emphasized on ending fight and violence in the country.
“Peace is the right of war-ravaged Afghanistan people, so we are thoroughly supporting the ongoing efforts for peace,” he said.
Karzai’s remarks come as the US restarted peace talks with the Taliban group yesterday in Doha.
A member of the “Stability and Partnership” electoral team, Asadullah Saadati boycotted the meeting of Independent Election Commission (IEC) held on Sunday.
Representing the “Stability and Partnership” electoral team, Saadati boycotted the IEC meeting, saying his team was not convinced by IEC’s response to their questions and concerns.
“You (IEC members) want to validate the fraud in election,” Saadati said while leaving the IEC meeting.
He called the reason for boycotting the meeting as the IEC members did not want to hear his speeches.
The IEC meeting comes as the IEC has disputes with a number of electoral teams over how to validate or invalidate 300,000 votes. The meeting was held with the participation of media outlets, election support bodies, international and Afghan election observers.
The governor of Chardara district in the northern Kunduz province along with two of his bodyguards wounded due to a roadside bomb that struck his car on Sunday, provincial government spokesman Esmatullah Muradi said.
“Hafizullah Safi the governor of Chardara district was going to inspect a development project in a village today morning but a mine planted by militants struck his car wounding him and two of his bodyguards,” Muradi said.
Without providing more details, the official added that investigation had been initiated into the incident.
Afghan local officials have confirmed that a commander of Special Police unit has been killed in northern Balkh province.
The spokesman of Faryab governor, Jawid Bidar has confirmed the incident and told Reporterly that Mohammad Khan Ahmadi, the commander of special police unit in Faryab province, was killed by Taliban militants in Sholgara district.
He said that the commander was on his way from Sholgara district to Faryab province that faced an ambush by Taliban.
At least one of his guards was also killed and another one was wounded in the incident, Bidar added.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) chairperson, Hawa Alam Nuristani has called on all parties to let the commission to finish the recounting process of the Presidential elections’ votes in the other seven provinces to announce the preliminary results in the nearest time.
“The IEC has started the recount and inspection of the votes across the country, but we are facing issues in seven provinces due to electoral campaign protest,” IEC chief said.
Nuristani in a press conference on Sunday said that the tensions will be solved and the issues are due to the misunderstandings.
She emphasized that the IEC is independent and will not be pressured by any group.
“For us the credible votes are biometric votes,” IEC chairperson said.
In the meantime, a member of IEC, Hanif Danishyar said that the electoral observers have signed all the result sheets and the company of Dermalog in a letter clearly told IEC that they were not taking responsibility for setting the (biometric) devices’ date.
He stated that the results from several centers were sent from once device because other devices lost their charge or had other issues and SD cards were pulled out and used in functioning devices.
In the meantime, during the press conference, an Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC) commissioner, Mohammad Qasim Eliasi added that the commission has received 4518 complaints about the election process which they have been addressed them according to the law.
At least 25 Taliban insurgents were killed in separate operations in Zabul and Uruzgan provinces, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement on Sunday.
At least 14 Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike in Shahr-e-Safa district of Zabul, the statement said, adding that weapons and explosive devices were also destroyed.
The Afghan Special Forces on Saturday night also launched an operation in Trinkot, capital of Zabul, that killed 11 Taliban including their commander “Mullah Mohammad Akbar Mutaqi,” according to the statement.
“The operation was launched in Trinkot with the support of the air forces in which four Taliban strongholds, vehicles and weapons were also seized by the Special Forces,” it said.
The Taliban have not yet commented regarding the operations so far.
The Taliban on Saturday resumed formal peace talks with the U.S. in the Qatari capital, Doha, the group confirmed in a statement.
Suhail Shaheen, the insurgents’ Qatar office spokesman, said on social media that Mualla Baradar Akhund, the group’s deputy head, led the Taliban delegation.
“Talks with the U.S. negotiating team began from where they left off,” he said.
Shaheen added that a draft agreement was discussed and talks would continue on Sunday. Anas Haqqani, a recently freed Haqqani Network member affiliate of the Taliban, also took part in the talks, he added.
According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad will rejoin talks with the Taliban to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement of the 18-year-long war.
Bayat Power has launched Afghanistan’s first new gas power based production plant in more than 40 years and the region’s most technologically advanced gas fired electric power plant.
Built and led by Afghans, Bayat Power-1 will generate up to 41 megawatts of power for Afghan homes and businesses in the Phase 1 of the project.
As per Wasdam report, upon completion of all three phases of Bayat Power-1, the plant will generate more than 200 megawatts of electricity to meet the electricity needs of millions of Afghan residents and businesses.
“Bayat Power 1 is meant to pioneer a new industry and serve the first step in the redevelopment of an Afghan energy sector that will be operated by Afghans, expanded by Afghans and dedicated to accelerating Afghanistan’s economic development,” said Dr. Ehsan Bayat, the Founder of Bayat Power and the Chairman of the Bayat Group.
The power plant is located in Sherberghan, Afghanistan and it’s powered by the brand new Siemens SGT-A45 ‘Fast Power’ turbine the world’s most advanced mobile gas to energy power solution.
Afghan and Western military officials believe that ISIS is nearing defeat in Afghanistan following a weeks-long assault on the terror group’s main bastion in the eastern part of the country, the New York Times reports.
An unnamed Western military official told the New York Times that the group’s strength had been reduced to around 300 fighters.
According to the Pentagon’s June report to Congress on the security and stability situation in Afghanistan, ISIS-K had roughly 2,000 fighters consolidated in the group’s safe haven in the eastern part of the country.
In an interview with the New York Times, Army Gen. Austin S. Miller, the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the Resolute Support mission there, warned that the terror group “could remain a threat in Afghanistan even if it does not hold territory,” as the newspaper put it.
“It was instructive in Iraq and Syria,” Miller told the New York Times. “When you take away big terrain from them, they move into smaller cells and they pop up in strange places.”
There are currently 13,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.