Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
In a meeting with security personnel on Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani referred to the escalation of Taliban violence in the recent months and expressed regret about the disturbances in rural area.
Chief of Army Staff Gen. Yasin Zia and Abdul Sabur Ghaneh, Deputy Chief of Security at the Ministry of Interior, briefed the president on the security issues in the northeastern provinces and the plans to eliminate threats.
During the meeting they said, the security threats in Takhar, Kunduz and Baghlan have been resolved and security forces are continuing their operations to dispel the “remaining threats.”
Ghani said he regretted that the Taliban had taken the war to villages and that people were suffering as a result. He then instructed the security forces to pay close attention to ensuring the security of the rural areas.
In the meeting, he also instructed officials to maintain the security of highways so people and goods can travel “easily and safely.”
Takhar police said on Thursday that in security operations around Taloqan city, they were able to drive out all Taliban insurgents from the villages nearby.
The joint clean-up operation around the provincial capital, started on Wednesday, the police said. It was led by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Yasin Zia and Abdul Sabur Ghaneh, Deputy Chief of Security at the Ministry of Interior, along with Takhar Police Chief Ikramuddin Saree.
The air force was also involved, the Takhar police said.
At least 20 Taliban fighters, including their commanders, were killed and wounded during the operations.
The provincial police also said that dozens of villages were cleared, including in Abdul and Jangal Bagh. The security forces have advanced towards the Baharak area, where operations are underway.
The Taliban have not commented on the incident yet.
China donated health supplies worth $1million on Thursday to support Afghanistan’s fight against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said China’s aid shipment includes nearly 40,000 Coronavirus detection kits, 20,000 protective clothing, two PCR devices and two RNA extraction devices.
Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh, thanked the Chinese people and the government for their assistance to Afghanistan.
He also said that as a result of the efforts of the health sector and the institutions, Afghanistan saw fewer deaths and was able to manage the first wave of COVID-19 infections.
Acting Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani said the MoPH has set up an online group for Chinese experts to share their experiences with Afghan doctors on how to manage the pandemic.
Osmani added they has taken measures to prevent the spread of the second wave of infections.
68 new COVID-19 cases reported
The MoPH said 68 new cases of Coronavirus were reported from the 372 samples tested in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, pushing the tally of confirmed cases to 39,616.
The new cases were reported in the provinces of Herat (50), Kabul (16), Kandahar (1) and Logar (1).
One person had succumbed to the virus, the MoPH said, while 13 had recovered.
Afghanistan has 5,088 active COVID-19 cases with 1,470 deaths and 33, 058 recoveries.
Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday and discussed the Afghan peace process.
Modi reaffirmed India’s long-term commitment to further deepening and strengthening bilateral ties with Afghanistan, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs tweeted.
“In our friendly discussion we took stock of the latest developments on the Afghan peace process, the talks in Doha, and India’s support for the peace efforts,” Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
Modi also “assured” him of “India’s continued support for the peace process and Afghanistan.”
The Afghan leader then thanked India for the invitation extended to him and for their “generous hospitality.”
“I also thanked India for its principled position on the Afghan peace process,” he added.
Abdullah is scheduled to give a speech at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on Thursday afternoon.
The Office of Prisons Administration said on Thursday that Taliban abducted and then killed Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, Ghazni Prison’s Deputy Security Chief.
The official statement said that Ahmadi had been travelling along the Kabul-Ghazni highway on Tuesday this week when he was abducted, and then killed a day later.
The Taliban have not yet commented.
Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh condemned the killing and said the Taliban have started focusing more on targeting security officials.
“There is no doubt that the enemies of the Afghan people will not be able to achieve their sinister goals by committing such crimes, but their ugly faces are becoming more and more apparent,” he said.
Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh said that the Chinese government has been a strong supporter of stability and peace in Afghanistan.
Speaking at a Chinese medical aid reception in Kabul on Thursday, Danesh said, “I hope that China will continue to play a significant role in the peace process and help bring the ongoing talks to a positive conclusion and end the war in Afghanistan.”
He added, “China has always provided valuable assistance to the people and government of Afghanistan.”
Since the start of the peace talks in Doha on Sep. 12, the two sides had failed to reach a consensus on two main demands of the Taliban – the use of Hanafi jurisprudence and the U.S.-Taliban agreement as the framework of the negotiations.
At an event on Wednesday, Asadullah Saadati, deputy head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said the dispute over determining the jurisprudential basis of the talks has been partially resolved.
He did not provide more details.
NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Stefano Pontecorvo met the Taliban leaders in Qatar on Wednesday and discussed the progress on the peace talks.
Taliban’s political office spokesperson Naeem Wardak said Taliban deputy leader Mullah Baradar and his delegation met Pontecorvo.
The meeting covered the current situation in Afghanistan and the developments in the peace talks.
A “reduction in civilian casualties” was also discussed, Wardak said on Twitter.
Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, discussed the peace process with India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Wednesday.
In a series of tweets later at night, Abdullah said that Doval assured him of India’s full support for the peace efforts and said that “any peace settlement acceptable to Afghans, will have the support of India.”
Doval also said the India favoured an “independent, democratic, sovereign and peaceful Afghanistan, where no terrorists can operate.”
Abdullah attended a dinner hosted by Doval where India’s foreign secretary Harsh Shringla, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, army chief Gen. MM Naravane and senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs were also present.
The chairman also thanked India for its continued support for Afghanistan and its “constructive role in peace efforts.”
He arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon for a five-day visit, during which he will also meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday.
Abdullah will also deliver a speech at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on Thursday afternoon.