Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
An insider attack on a checkpoint in Panjwayi district of southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province left five police personnel dead on Thursday, district police chief Sultan Mohammad Hakimi said.
According to Hakimi, the deadly incident took place in Talokan area early morning and the perpetrator has escaped.
Militant infiltrators often inflict casualties on Afghan security personnel.
The previous such incident was reported on Jan. 28 when an infiltrator from the Taliban outfit managed a deadly offensive on a checkpoint killing 11 police and wounding a few others in northern Baghlan province.
The Acting Interior Minister, Masoud Andarabi says the Taliban group is made up of different networks and interacts with the regional intelligence to advance the proxy war in Afghanistan.
Speaking in an event highlighting ‘challenges and opportunities for sustainable reform in the ministry of interior’ organized by Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS), the Interior Minister declared that a cease-fire can institutionalize peace in the country.
A number of government officials, experts, university teachers, civil society and media people were present at the event.
Andarabi stated that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have the utmost capability to defend their country and to further pressurize the Taliban fighters.
He added that Afghan security forces have hardly squeezed the Taliban and had freed territory from their control.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is meeting in Geneva from 10 to 28 February 2020 will review the situation of women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is among the 189 States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Afghanistan is required to undergo regular examinations by the Committee of 23 independent experts, which reviews countries’ implementation of both the Convention as well as the Committee’s previous recommendations.
The Committee will hold dialogues with delegations from the governments and be briefed by UN agencies and entities, NGOs and national human rights institutions.
At least six senior officials of the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan’s (CNPA) have been arrested in accusation of drug trafficking, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on Thursday.
The spokesman of MoI, Nasrat Rahimi in a press conference on Thursday said, “The arrested officials include; Mian Ahmad Ahmad Zai, director of counter-narcotics Police of Kabul, Ajmal, the discovery officer of counter-narcotics, Abedul Rahman, head of Kabul counter-narcotics management task force, Allah Dad, deputy director of chemical drug control, Faridullah, narcotics analysis and evaluation officer and Lemar, the discovery officer of Kabul counter-narcotics.”
According to Rahimi, the director of counter-narcotic Police of Kabul, Mian Ahmad Ahmadi was one of the major drug smugglers in Kabul who was head of Afghan Swiss group and was responsible in transferring drugs to all Kabul districts.
“When Ahmadi has attempted to escape Kabul for Middle East, the Police forces arrested him from Salang district,” Rahimi said.
He noted that their criminal cases have been submitted to the judicial institutions.
The spokesman of MoI added that more than 40 counter-narcotics operations have been conducted during the past month and more than 223,840kgms of drugs have been seized.
At least four insurgents have been killed after the security forces stormed a Taliban hideout in Chamtal district of Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province, an army statement said Thursday.
According to the statement, the operation covered Yangi Qala area of the restive Chamtal district. The security forces killed four insurgents and discovered arms and ammunitions including anti-personnel mines, and destroyed them on the spot.
There were no casualties on the security personnel and civilians, the statement added.
Taliban militants have not made comments on the reports yet.
Afghan special operations forces and commandos are conducting more partnered missions with their America allies, raising questions about the elite unit’s ability to hold the line should U.S. troops withdraw from the the nearly 18-year long.
A recent government watchdog report detailed that 43 percent of Afghan Special Security Forces’ operations were conducted independently in 2019. In 2018, the Afghan special operators conducted 55 percent of their missions independently.
The government watchdog report compared enabled operations, missions that include coalition enablers such as air support, and partnered missions where coalition troops partner with Afghan forces. Independent operations are conducted without coalition or U.S. assistance.
“ASSF ground operations data from the last two years show that U.S. and Coalition forces are increasingly partnering with, or assisting the ASSF with, their operations,” the report reads.
“Afghan special forces conducted fewer ground operations in the fourth quarter, lower than any other quarter in 2019, and only 31 percent of their operations were conducted without U.S. or Coalition assistance,” the report reads.
Afghan special operators launched a total of nearly 3,065 missions in 2019, according to the report.
The United States says new leadership in Central Asia and better interstate cooperation are opening up more opportunities for Washington to deepen ties with the resource-rich region.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells has said that the United States has updated its regional strategy to take into account new developments over the past five years.
“We absolutely see that we are in an era of new possibilities,” Wells said a day after she returned from a trip to the region with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The five leaders of Central Asia – which also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan — met on their own in 2018 to discuss cooperation for the first time in a decade and followed that up with another meeting the following year, a development Wells called important.
In the meantime, Lisa Curtis, who oversees Central and South Asian affairs at the White House National Security Council, said such interregional cooperation “would not have happened five years ago.”
President Ashraf Ghani says the Afghan people want a peace that protects the women’s rights and solves their problems.
Presidential Palace in a statement said that President Ghani has met with a number of women’s representatives from various parts of the country at the Palace.
According to the statement, the Afghan women participated at the meeting have shared their problems regarding healthcare, sports, education, social associations, economic and commerce with President Ghani.
“President Ghani has ordered the responsible authorities to address each problems shared at the meeting,” the statement added.
The Embassy of the Netherlands in Afghanistan has launched the Orange Business Network, an initiative to support small and medium enterprises in the start-up and scale-up phase.
The event was held at the Dutch Embassy and was hosted by Ambassador Ernst Noorman.
Guest of honor Minister of Economy Mustafa Mastoor attended the event as well as representatives of the business community and the diplomatic corps.
The Netherlands Embassy in Kabul said in a statement that the Orange Business Network is part of a larger commitment of the Netherlands to support Afghan enterprises through private sector development.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that poliovirus is spreading in the country from Afghanistan and that special arrangements are being made to monitor cross-border movement of people from the neighboring country.
“Special arrangements are being made to monitor cross-border movement of people from Afghanistan and that will help prevent spread of poliovirus,” the Pakistan’s prime minister was quoted as saying at a meeting with a delegation of Rotary International.
As per Dawn report, according to the Prime Minister Office (PMO), Mr Khan said that Pakistan’s biggest priority was to eradicate polio from the country as the government was taking all steps in its fight against the ailment.
Media reports said that Pakistan was one of the three remaining countries in the world where poliomyelitis (polio) was still categorized as an endemic viral infection. The others being Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Some members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are considering withdrawing thousands of their forces from Afghanistan once the United States begins to officially cut its own presence in the country, according to American and European officials.
As per NewYork Times report, the Trump administration’s decision to eventually reduce its own forces from roughly 12,000 troops to around 8,500 has triggered a debate within the 29-country alliance, as well as with other nations contributing troops to the international force deployed to Afghanistan.
While some countries believe they need to reduce their forces, others, including Germany and Italy, believe their forces could remain under certain conditions.
The alliance has frequently said that its efforts were inexorably linked to the United States, often under the mantra “in together, out together.”
Some allied officials argue that NATO can stave off large-scale cuts in its force, currently around 8,700 troops, as long as the United States does not cut its support forces, including maintenance troops, transport planes and medical evacuation teams. American officials say their plan, for now, is to leave those support forces in place.
A US citizen working as a contractor was kidnapped in the Khost Province in eastern Afghanistan in recent days, a US official confirmed to CNN.
It is not known who the abductors are at this time.
According to Newsweek, US officials believe the Haqqani network, an insurgency group linked to the Taliban and active in the area since the 1970s, is behind this hostage.
The official said efforts to track and locate the individual are ongoing and noted that the contractor was not working for the US military at the time of the abduction.
A State Department spokesperson told CNN, “The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We have no further comment.”