Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Three individuals accused for the murder of BBC journalist Ahmad Shah in southeastern Khost, have been convicted by a primary court, the Afghanistan Attorney General’s Office (AGO) said on Thursday.
One individual was sentenced to death and two others to imprisonment for thirty and six years, respectively, according to AGO spokesman Jamshid Rasuli.
Ahmad Shah died after he was shot in Khost capital on 30 April last year capital by two men on a motorcycle.
Afghanistan Journalist Centre wecomed the decision of the primary court. Nine of his colleagues were killed in Kabul city on the same day during a double Islamic State suicide bombing.
Current MP hailing from Badakhshan, Abdul Latif Pedram, has officially registered as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election on Thursday.
Pedram has registered Ehsanullah Haidari and Mohammad Sadiq Warak as 1st and 2nd vice president hopefuls on his ticket.
The MP announced that he will register for the upcoming election, slated for July 20th, on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
Pedram also run for parliamentary election in his home province of Badakhshan but failed to win enough votes.
Local sources in Baghlan in northern Afghanistan confirmed that 10 Afghan Police members lost their lives in Taliban’s attacks on two police outposts in the province.
Baghlan Provincial Governor Abdul Hai Nemati told BBC Afghanistan that the rebels’ strike took place on Wednesday night in district three of Pul-e-Khumri city, the capital of the province.
According to the governor, a number of Taliban fighters have also been killed in the attack, but no accurate casualty toll is yet available.
Meanwhile, Taliban militants claimed to have killed 20 Afghan soldiers in the attacks through a statement.
The statement reads that a Taliban gunman was killed and a police outpost had been overran by the militants.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has said that with the onset of the cold season, the group’s attacks on Afghan security forces will continue.
In recent years, Baghlan province has seen a lot of fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban. A large number of districts in the province is either heavily contested or fully controlled by the Taliban.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced on Thursday that the country’s airspace will be fully managed and controlled by Afghans.
The initiative was implemented after a contract for the installation of “independent” radar systems was signed by relevant authorities at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday.
“With this system, the Afghan National Revenue will increase from 12 to 15 billion AFN, and our air space independence will be strengthened and all flights on Afghanistan will be under control,” the Afghan President said during at the kickoff of the project.
Meanwhile, the Afghan presidential palace said in a statement that “the project for installing independent radar systems for more than 9 billion AFNs will be completed in two years, which, in addition to current systems, will be utilized for privacy control of Afghanistan’s air space and will be also used for civilian and military aircraft.”
It is said that the radar system can detect up to 55,000 ft of civilian and military aircrafts from the ground level, as well as the capacity to install air defense systems on it.
National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib and his Indian counterpart are expected to meet in New Delhi on Friday to discuss the security situation in the region, the Times of India reported on Thursday.
Improving security, including the supply of military hardware to Afghanistan, will be discussed, according to Times of India.
India has close ties with Afghanistan, assisting the country both in the development and security sector.
The visit comes after recent speculations about President Trump’s decision on America’s military drawdown in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Hakim Torsan registered as Afghan presidential election candidate, according to Pajhwok news agency, becoming the first person to sign up for the upcoming presidential election.
The presidential candidate registration process has begun based on a new schedule as announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday.
The presidential election is scheduled to be held on the July 20, simultaneous with the provincial and district council, as well as Ghazni’s parliamentary elections.
Operations by Afghan security forces has left over 5,000 militants dead or wounded over the past ten months in the country’s north, the 209 Shaheen corps said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the Corps, 2,898 militants have been killed and 2,144 others were wounded during 65 joint operations conducted by Afghan security forces against insurgents during the current Islamic year.
The statement further added that the operations were aimed at suppressing the Taliban, Jundullah, IS-K and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
In addition to the foreign fighters, 194 insurgent group commanders were also included in the casualties, the statement said.
Meanwhile 127 insurgents were captured by and 171 others surrendered to Afghan security forces during the reporting period.
The claim comes while militants, especially Taliban, have increased attacks against Afghan government and security force facilities throughout the country, leaving a trail of casualties behind.
US president Donald Trump on Wednesday stated that Russia and Pakistan should be fighting in Afghanistan, not the United States. The remarks were made at a cabinet meeting while he emphasized on the role of regional countries in Afghanistan.
“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” President Trump said while also referring to India’s involvement in the country citing PM Modi, “constantly” telling the US President that India had “built a library in Afghanistan.”
“You know what that is? That’s like five hours of what we spend,” he said going on to add, “And we’re supposed to say, ‘Oh, thank you for the library.’ I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan.”
India however has spent some $3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since US-led forces toppled the Taliban regime following the September 11 attacks.
President Trump also stated that he had “essentially” fired Defence Secretary Jim Mattis saying that he was not happy with the way the Secretary had handled Afghanistan.
Around 14,000 US troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan. Earlier reports of a major drawdown by the Trump administration is yet to be confirmed or denied by the US President.