Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said that a suicide attack has been thwarted in Marar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh.
NDS Special Forces Unit has arrested a 4-member network of suicide bombers and attacks in Ferdowsi square of Mazar-e-Sharif, NDS in a statement said on Tuesday.
The statement noted that the network wanted to use a suicide bomber and carry out a suicide attack on Ganral Malik, chancellor of a private university in Mazar-e-Sharif.
The individual was identified and detained before reaching to the target, the statement read.
The statement identified the suicide bomber Habib-Ur-Haman alias as Hanza.
According to NDS, the suicide bomber was recruited in Baghlan province by Taliban group and then sent to join Qari Eshaq in charge of suicide bombers in Kunduz province.
NDS added that the individual was later sent to Mazar-e-Sharif to carry out a suicide attack.
A senior leader of IS-K terrorist group handed himself over to Afghan security forces in Nangarhar province, local officials said.
The provincial governor’s office in a statement on Tuesday said Faraidoon, in charge of the educational programs of IS-K group in Kot district of the province surrounded to Afghan forces.
Faraidoon handed over a pistol and two hand grenades to security forces, the statement noted.
The statement added that the individual surrendered to security forces is originally a resident of Qarabagh district of Kabul and who worked under the name of Naman Bajori in IS-K group for 18 months.
Meanwhile, Special Operation Corps said late Monday night that Commando Forces launched a clearance operation in Owch Kot village, Achin district of Nangarhar province.
As a result of the operation 10 members of IS-K group including 4 men, 2 women and a child surrounded to the forces, Special Operation Corps added.
The IS-K members also handed over 4 weapons to commando forces.
Nangarhar is one of the insecure provinces of Afghanistan where IS-K and Taliban groups have widespread activities.
Officials of Independent Election Commission (IEC) said that only the corridor of IEC’s digital center has been opened and the digital data center is unharmed.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, IEC commissioner Aurangzeb said two nights ago a plastic lock was opened but “no one touched the locks of the two main rooms at IEC.
The seal was broken in coordination with security adviser of IEC’s secretariat, IEC official noted.
“We are assuring people that all the biometric-verified votes will be counted. The IEC is continuing the process independently, “Aurangzeb, said.
“The security certificate of the Dermalog was expired, and when it is expired we cannot transfer the data, that was the main reason for the postponement of primary results of elections,” he noted.
IEC officials elaborated that the interferences of presidential election candidates’ observers is also a factor for delaying the announcement of preliminary results.
“The IEC’s secretariat should tell us until 1:00 PM today how much work is remaining and when we could announce preliminary results from presidential election”, an IEC official said.
“Due to the opening of that lock, our work process has been stopped which will affect the process and will delay the announcement of the preliminary result,” Aurangzeb said.
Aurangzeb said the “media can go with us and verify that the locks on the main room have not opened.”
Elections are historic responsibility and we will not take any step to push the country into crisis, IEC Commissioner, Aurangzeb, said, adding that they have no problem with the Commissioner Mawlana.
IEC chairperson, Hawa Nuristani, said, “We are committed to steadfastly count the votes and announce the results, anyone violates the law will be taken to justice.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has rejected the interference of police forces in election works.
At least nine Taliban insurgents have died of poisoning in Ghazni province, local officials confirmed.
The provincial governor’s office in a statement said that 9 Taliban insurgents died of poisoning in their compound in Andar district.
The statement added that the incident took place late Monday night.
The Taliban group has not commented regarding the incident so far.
The Taliban stormed a checkpoint in northern Afghanistan killing at least 15 policemen in the latest attack by the armed group, an official said on Tuesday.
The multi-pronged attack on the checkpoint in the Ali Abad district of northern Kunduz province began late on Monday and set off an hours-long shootout, according to Ghulam Rabani Rabani, a provincial council member.
Along with the 15 policemen killed, two other officers were wounded in the assault, he said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the checkpoint attack.
The Afghan and Pakistani forces have exchanged fire at Spin Boldak border, according to security officials in Kandahar.
Deputy spokesperson for Kandahar police, Abdul Basir Khaksar confirmed the news to Reporterly and said, “Taliban group with cooperation of Pakistani soldiers attacked on an outpost of Afghan security forces Monday afternoon.”
Following the attack, Afghan and Pakistani forces exchanged fire at Spin Boldak border, he noted.
According to him, 6 Pakistani soldiers and 2 Taliban insurgents were killed and several were wounded in the clash.
Afghan border forces were not harmed in the incident, Abdul Basir Khaksar said.
He added that the situation is normal now.
Afghan and Pakistan forces had previously clashed at Spin Boldak border.
At least 15 members of local police including a commander of them have been killed by Taliban group, local officials said.
A provincial council member, Ghulam Rabani Rabani told Reporterly, “Taliban insurgents stormed on an outpost of local police forces in Ali Abad district of Kunduz on Monday night, as a result 15 local police were killed and 2 others injured.”
He noted that a famous commander of local police in the district identified as Aamir Mahmood is among killed in the incident.
Meanwhile, provincial governor spokesperson, Esmatullah Muradi told Reporterly, “based on initial reports Taliban attacked on local police outposts in Azar Begi village, Ali Abad district at around 11:00 PM last night killing eight members of the forces.”
Taliban group also suffered causalities in the clash but there is no precise report regarding it, he said.
According to him, Taliban attack is repulsed and the area is under control of security forces.
Russia’s foreign ministry has strongly condemned the terror attack in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province and called on the Afghan authorities to take urgent measures to ensure security in the country.
“We strongly condemn this crime and extend condolences to the families of those killed and wish the soonest recovery to those injured,” the ministry said in a press statement. “No doubt that this terror attack was geared to maintain the atmosphere of fear in Afghan society. Lasting peace in Afghanistan the conflicting parties and the international community have been taking serious efforts towards runs counter to the interests of terrorists who are seeking to use that country as their stronghold.”
“We think it necessary to spare no effort not to let these plans come true. We call on the Afghan authorities to take urgent measures to ensure security of civilians and boost the efficiency of the fight against terrorist elements on the country’s territory, first of all, to exterminate bases of the international terrorist organization Islamic State (outlawed in Russia),” the ministry stressed.
Sixty-two people were killed in a blast at a mosque in the Nangarhar province on October 18. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Kazakhstan have launched an education programme to train and educate several dozen Afghan women in Kazakh universities over the next five years.
The first group of thirty women were selected in September out of 535 initial applicants. The selected women passed a three-stage selection process that included an English placement test and an interview.
On Oct. 18, the Almaty Management University (Alma U), where the Afghan students will get their foundation training, hosted a reception in their honour with remarks from international and Kazakh officials, as well as some of the students themselves.
Between now and 2025, 50 Afghan students, including 10 women who will study in Uzbekistan, will receive bachelor’s, master’s and technical degrees in agriculture, applied statistics and mining in universities across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
In Kazakhstan, the participating universities will include four Almaty-based institutions: the Kanysh Satpayev Kazakh National University, the Kazakh-British Technical University, the Kazakh National Agratian University and Alma U. In Uzbekistan, the students are to study at an agricultural university in Termez.
The United Nations Women will organise summer schools that will train the women in entrepreneurship and networking to contribute to their post-study employment and economic empowerment.
Building on its 10-year programme to educate 1,000 Afghans in its universities, Kazakhstan proposed in 2017 to the European Union to launch a new joint programme to educate Afghan women.
The Chinese government is to host representatives from Afghan government and political leaders to sit in front of Taliban representatives in the third round of the intra-Afghan dialogues, according to reports.
Taliban representatives held talks with Afghan politicians including former president Hamid Karzai twice in Russia and Qatar to find a way for ending the war.
Sources in the government have said that the meeting has been scheduled for October 31st in Beijing, adding that President Ghani’s administration wants the session be held after the announcement of the presidential election results.
Chinese Special Representative for Afghanistan is now in Kabul and has so far met some government officials and political leaders to discuss the intra-Afghan dialogue.
The US negotiator whose talks with the Taliban was halted by President Donald Trump is meeting with Russia, China and European allies on ending Afghanistan’s war, the US State Department said.
Zalmay Khalilzad left Sunday on a trip to Brussels, Paris and Moscow as he looks for “how best to support accelerated efforts to reach peace in Afghanistan,” a State Department statement said.
In Moscow, he will meet his Russian and Chinese counterparts to “discuss shared interests in seeing the war in Afghanistan come to an end,” it said.
Khalilzad, a veteran US diplomat who was born in Afghanistan, led a year of talks with the Taliban to seek a deal that would see the United States withdraw most of its troops and end its longest-ever war.
Trump said in September that he had invited Taliban leaders to meet but then withdrew the invitation and ended the talks after an attack killed a US soldier.
Despite not reaching an agreement, General Scott Miller, who leads US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said Monday that the United States had pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the past year.
The United States has contentious relations with both Russia and China, but Khalilzad has repeatedly consulted the rival powers and appeared to find common ground on Afghanistan.
U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan have been reduced by 2,000 over the past year, according to the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.
General Austin “Scott” Miller announced the troop reduction in response to a question during a news conference in Kabul with visiting Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
“We’re always looking to optimize the force” in Afghanistan, Miller said. “Unbeknownst to the public as part of our optimization. Over the last year … we’ve reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here.”
The reduction means there are now 13,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from the 15,000 authorized top troop levels in place when Miller took over command a year ago.