Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has called on the International Community (IC) and international organizations, namely the United Nations, to assist and cooperate with the Afghan government and election commissions in holding free and fair elections.
AIHRC in a statement on Thursday called on electoral commissions to take the necessary steps within the framework of the rule of law to hold a free, fair, transparent, inclusive and fraud-free election and provide the environment for the right to all citizens for political participation.
The commission urged the eligible citizens to widely support the democratic political system and to exercise their political and civil rights.
The AIHRC statement added that the security and defense institutions of the country should safeguard the voters, candidates and polling stations and try that the upcoming election will be held without any security incidents and threats against voters and candidates.
The Commission has also urged the Taliban not to disrupt the elections and to stop terrorizing and violating the rights of citizens.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission demanded the civil society organizations and the media to monitor the elections and asked them to report any illegal conduct to related authorities.
The statement said that the commission would monitor the entire election process and report its observations to the public and media.
At least 7 Taliban insurgents including Kangaroo court chief of the group have been killed in Ghazni province, local officials said.
The Ghazni governor’s office in a statement said that the airstrike was carried out in Waali village of Qarabagh district at around 10:30PM Wednesday night.
The statement added that the raid killed 5 insurgents including Esmatullah alias as Waris, Taliban kangaroo court chief.
The statement further said that a Humvee vehicle packed with explosives was destroyed and 2 insurgents were killed in a separate air operation conducted at around 10:00 PM last night in Pajak village of Deh Yak district of Ghazni province.
Civilians have not suffered any causalities in the operations, the statement added.
US has never been fan of “Endless War” and is pursuing the hope of a brighter future in Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday.
Trump made the remarks at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Our message is clear: America’s goal is lasting, America’s goal is harmony, and America’s goal is not to go with these endless wars — wars that never end,” US President said.
He noted that the elimination of terrorism and turning peace to a reality are one of his plans regarding Afghanistan.
“Unfortunately, the Taliban have been continuing their cruel attacks. We continue our support alongside to our Afghan allies to demolish the terrorism,” he said, adding, “our message is clear across the world. Our goals are not to get in to the endless war.”
Trump called off peace talks with the Taliban on 8th of September in reaction to a bloody attack in Kabul which killed 12 people including an American soldier.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan has said that attacks directed against polling centers and civilians participating in the electoral process are clear violations of international law and may amount to war crimes and urged the Taliban to retract any instructions which could disrupt elections.
“In a meeting in Doha, Yamamoto repeated the United Nations’ call on the Taliban to desist from any activity that would interfere with the elections, particularly with regard to the safety of voters and all other civilians engaged in the election”, UNAMA in a statement said on Wednesday night.
He said that in the campaign period, there have been two high-profile election-related attacks that have caused heavy loss of civilian life and the Taliban claimed the responsibility of the attacks.
“As polling day nears, there have been increased reports of intimidation of eligible voters by insurgents threatening retaliation for persons involving themselves in the election,” he said.
Moreover, the United Nations calls on all parties to de-escalate the conflict around the electoral period and to take urgent measures to better protect civilians from being harmed in any military operations.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the international alliance supports the U.S. resuming peace talks with the Taliban.
“They have to sit down and make real compromises at the negotiating table,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with US-based radio channel WBUR. “We believe that a good deal is more important than the quick deal and we will support resumption of peace talks.”
Stoltenberg noted the union of 29 nations has protected the interests and independence of each member nation by standing together.
That means being apart of NATO is important for the United States, too, he said.
“The strength of a nation can be measured not only on the size of its economy, the number of its soldiers,” he added, “but also measured by the number of its friends.”
At least 11 security personnel have been killed and injured in Pashton Kot district of Faryab province, security officials said.
Faryab police in a statement on Thursday said that the incident took place when Taliban attacked a security forces’ outpost in Dahandara village of Pashton Kot district at around 20:00PM Wednesday night.
According to the statement, the Taliban attack was repulsed when the reinforcement forces arrived at the area.
“Dozens of Taliban insurgents were killed in the clash”, the statement read.
According to Faryab police, 7 security personnel were killed and 4 others were wounded in the Taliban attack.
Torkham crossing border closed for the next four days due to Afghanistan presidential election, said local officials in Nangarhar.
The Nangarhar provincial governor office in a statement on Thursday said that Torkhom crossing is closed to cargo vehicles until 29 September.
However, the border will be closed to all passengers from 27 September to 28.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has banned the entrance and movements of small trucks and also cargo vehicles in Kabul city for security of presidential elections.
Afghan presidential election is set to be held on 28 September throughout the country and the Taliban, in a statement, has threatened to disrupt the presidential elections and have said that their fighters will close the entire highways to traffic during polling day.
The NATO Senior Civilian Representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Kay has once again announced fully support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
In a video clip at his twitter page, Kay said that he visited NATO headquarters as his regular visit to consult the allies and partners and to hear from them their priorities now for Afghanistan.
“What I have heard is a message of very strong continuing support from NATO for the NATO mission in Afghanistan which is to train, advice and assist the Afghan national Defense and Security forces”, Kay said.
He said NATO is continuing efforts to ensure Afghanistan is not used as a base for international terrorists.
In the meantime, Nicholas Kay called on all parties to absolutely respect the Afghan election rules and to protect and respect the right of the Afghan people to vote.
The north of Afghanistan might transform into a new springboard for international terrorist organizations, and so the country needs help from abroad to prevent the threats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said in his address to the United Nations Security Council.
“Both the CSTO [the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military bloc of post-Soviet republics] and the SCO [the Shanghai Cooperation Organization] have focused their attention on the threats coming from Afghanistan. Among them are threats for Central Asia. The north of Afghanistan risks becoming a new springboard for IS-led international terrorist organizations [IS, an abbreviation for the Islamic State terror group, which is banned in Russia – TASS],” Lavrov said.
“Certainly, it requires relevant external assistance to Afghanistan in order to overcome those threats and challenges,” he added.
As per Tass report, the Russian foreign minister pointed out that the experience gained in recent years has convincingly proved that no plans on development of Central Asia’s economic cooperation with Afghanistan could not be implemented without an appropriate response to the threats coming from that state.
“In this context, I would like to point out that this reality is the foundation for work of the SCO-Afghanistan contact group, which is implementing the road map, approved this year, for the development of cooperation between the SCO members and Kabul,” he said.
Indian External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar has appreciated the United States for doing enormous good in Afghanistan but said that “those gains are not being reflected in general discourse”.
“An enormous good was done in Afghanistan. Today I don’t see that reflected in discourse… Now how do we maintain those gains? To me, that’s the big challenge,” the External Affairs Minister said during a conversation at Council on Foreign Relations here with former US ambassador to India Frank G Wisner.
“I have visited Afghanistan and I have seen that the Afghans have left the Taliban-dominated areas and re-habited the areas under the US control. So how would you protect the gains of pluralism in different ways — including civil liberties, women’s rights, and child education? And that is a big challenge,” the minister said.
He added, “We do understand the compulsions on the part of the United States.”
As per ANI report, The minister further touched upon the present scenario of turmoil ongoing in the war-torn country especially after the breakdown of the peace talks between the US and Taliban earlier this month, despite months of continuous negotiations on the two sides.
“The US had an 18-year military commitment in Afghanistan. And frankly, I can’t think any other country is capable of such a commitment,” Jaishankar said in response to a question on Afghanistan being of huge strategic importance for India and how does the country balances in its north-west frontiers in the wake of the US negotiations with the Taliban.
Following the breakdown of talks between the US and Taliban, the Trump administration had further called for a pull out of nearly 5000 troops from Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has said that in order to secure the presidential election, cargo trucks as well as small trucks will be prevented from entering and movement in Kabul.
MoI in a statement said late Wednesday night that, “Kabul police personnel have been instructed to prevent the entrance of cargo trucks at the entrance gates of Kabul from Thursday 5:00 pm.”
The statement added that from 27 September until the end of voting process, the movements of small trucks is also banned in Kabul city.
The security measures come as only two days remained to presidential election, 28 September. The campaign period has officially ended and the silence period has begun.