Politics Bakhtar News Agency is the official state news agency of the Afghan government, based in Kabul. The agency is a major source of news for all media in Afghanistan, gathering domestic and international news and providing information to outlets. http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af Sat, 16 Feb 2019 01:23:06 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb 26th Dalwa; Sweetness and Bitterness of the Day for Afghans & Former Soviet Union http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36895-26th-dalwa-sweetness-and-bitterness-of-the-day-for-afghans--former-soviet-union.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36895-26th-dalwa-sweetness-and-bitterness-of-the-day-for-afghans--former-soviet-union.html

Friday February 15, 2019
Kabul (BNA) 26th Dalwa coincidence to 15th February the anniversary day of withdrawal of Red Army from Afghanistan, the day is marked as a national rescue day for Afghanistan, Afghans celebrating the day as an unforgettable victory that shows the commitment of Afghanistan people to protect freedom and independency.
BNA analyst commenting on the issue writes, 26th Dalwa the day of withdrawal of Red Army from Afghanistan, it is called the day of national rescue, every year this day is marked as a national rescue day in Afghanistan.
On 26th Dalwa 1367 the latest unit of Red Army forces of former Soviet Union left Afghanistan and ended about 10 years occupation in Afghanistan. Withdrawal of Red Army was not accidently, former Soviet Union stormed on Afghanistan at 1357 H.S. and after a bitter defeat the world’s superpower came in to the knee. Resistance and struggle of Afghanistan people for protecting religious and national’s values have forced former Soviet Union to left Afghanistan, which finally on 26th Dalwa 1367 Red Army troops shamefully and shockingly escaped from the country.
It is mentionable that withdrawal of Red Army forces was not a suddenly event, nearby 10 years struggle and bravery of Afghanistan people have forced former Soviet Union to leave the country, about 2 million Afghans lost their lives and disabled following the aggression and at least half-million Afghans lost their homes. If today Afghanistan is facing activities of terrorist groups, if today Afghanistan is facing android of extremism in the regional, if today Afghanistan fighting against 20 terrorist groups, if today Afghanistan have over 5 million refugees all the issues have relate to the consequence of Red Army troops invasion to Afghanistan. Even though, 30 years have passed since the invasion of former Soviet Union to Afghanistan, but still the country is facing imposed wars and Afghans are suffering casualties every day.
Meanwhile, after withdrawal of Red Army troops from Afghanistan, the country was confronted with a collapsed economic and evidence of a bankruptcy security and stability, which provides a platform for external competitions in Afghanistan and regional powers have continued their vims for absorbency to Afghanistan. Today, all the problems, abnormalities and problems that Afghans are suffering is the consequences of Red Army invasion to Afghanistan, the start of a bad and bloody story that has not ended after withdrawal of the forces, during the 29 years Afghans were not save and can’t live in a safe atmosphere.
Despite of all, withdrawal of Red Army troops from Afghanistan has a clear message, the message is immortal “Occupation of Afghanistan is impossible, Afghanistan is a freedom country and Afghans never surrender to oppression” the message must understandable for other countries, those wanted to interfere in internal issues of Afghanistan, otherwise they will be faced the bitter fate of former Soviet Union.


Politics Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:54:46 +0000
Germany to Extend Afghanistan Military Mission http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36893-germany-to-extend-afghanistan-military-mission.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36893-germany-to-extend-afghanistan-military-mission.html Germany to Extend Afghanistan Military Mission

Friday February 15, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The German government has opted to extend the Bundeswehr's mission in Afghanistan for another year. The move defies concerns that the US is preparing to pull out of the country, rendering Germany's contribution futile.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has decided to extend the military mission in Afghanistan a day after an internal strategy paper showed Germany had offered to host another peace conference, this time with an extra invitation for the Taliban, the fundamentalist Islamic movement currently at war with NATO in the country. The Taliban took part in framework talks with US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha, Qatar, last month, while further talks, without the US, were held in Moscow.
The Bundeswehr currently has around 1,200 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, part of NATO's Resolute Support mission, though the whole operation was thrown into uncertainty in late December, when news reports from the US suggested that President Donald Trump was planning to withdraw around half of the US military's 14,000 troops in Afghanistan.
No timetable was laid out for the mooted withdrawal, though several German military experts, most notably retired General Harald Kujat, told the media at the time that a US withdrawal would render Germany's continued presence futile.
Is Trump too naive?
Meanwhile, an internal document leaked to German weekly Der Spiegel on Tuesday (and released on Wednesday) showed the government expressing doubts about the prospects of peace in Afghanistan and apparently criticizing any potential US withdrawal plans as naive and overly hasty.
In a strategy paper addressed to selected Bundestag members, the government said Washington was making an effort to find a political solution quickly in order to pave the way to a military withdrawal. But experience had shown that "such a process can last several years without decisive breakthroughs," especially "in the face of the complex inner-Afghan and international negotiating position."
The document, which was signed off by Angela Merkel's office, the Defense Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry, added: "Should the US withdraw its military engagement significantly, the government will thoroughly reassess its actions in Afghanistan."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul played down the significance of the 11-page dossier at a regular press conference on Wednesday, pointing out repeatedly that the US had not yet communicated any concrete withdrawal plans. "This is not a document about the USA, it's about Afghanistan, and our thoughts for a peace process and how we can support it, either militarily, or on a civilian level, or on development cooperation," he said.
New peace process?
Breul also said that the mooted peace conference, mentioned in passing in the paper, was merely the reiteration of an offer Germany had made many times before. "Our line remains very clear, that we need an inner-Afghan peace process, that we would support if it is desired, no more and no less," he said.
Germany first hosted an Afghanistan peace summit at the Petersberg castle, outside Bonn, in December 2001. The resulting "Bonn Agreement" laid the foundations for the NATO-backed state-building efforts in Afghanistan following the alliance's invasion of the country.
This week's document, however, expressly mentions that the Taliban should be invited, though it added that such a conference should only take place at "an appropriate stage of the negotiations."
Omid Nouripour, foreign policy spokesman for the opposition Green party, welcomed the government's offer, but added "making a conference room available is not enough." He told DW that "the government must also say what realistic prospects it has for Afghanistan, and how these should be reached."
How much longer?
The government representatives were silent on Wednesday on exactly how long the Bundeswehr intended to stay in Afghanistan, where one of its chief tasks is to train the local army. When it began in 2001, the Afghanistan mission represented the first time since World War II that German soldiers were involved in serious fighting on the ground. Some 55 Bundeswehr soldiers lost their lives in the first 13 years of the NATO-led mission now referred to as Resolute Support. Since then, the German military is primarily involved in training Afghan soldiers in the northern region around Mazar-i-Sharif, and performing reconnaissance missions for NATO partners.
Defense Ministry spokesman Frank Fähnrich insisted that Germany had achieved concrete advances in Afghanistan since then, including helping to set up an electricity grid in the region and schools. According to Fähnrich, some 8 million Afghan children now attend school in the country, as opposed to 1 million in 2001. Withdrawing the military from the country now would put these achievements "at risk," he said.
The Cabinet also decided on Wednesday to extend three other military missions: The Bundeswehr's participation in NATO's Sea Guardian mission in the Mediterranean, meant to deter weapons smuggling and human trafficking, as well as contributions to United Nations missions in Sudan and South Sudan.

Politics Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:53:56 +0000
Taliban Says Will Meet U.S. Negotiators in Pakistan http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36892-taliban-says-will-meet-us-negotiators-in-pakistan.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36892-taliban-says-will-meet-us-negotiators-in-pakistan.html Taliban Says Will Meet U.S. Negotiators in Pakistan

Friday February 15, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Taliban negotiators say they will meet U.S. representatives in Pakistan on February 18 as part of ongoing Afghan peace talks, although a State Department official said the U.S. team had not yet received an invitation to the talks.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on February 13 said the meeting would take place in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, a week before the two sides are scheduled to hold negotiations in Qatar on February 25.
"While we have noted the Taliban's public announcement, we have not received a formal invitation to any talks," a State Department spokesperson said.
Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said his side would also meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to hold "comprehensive discussions about Pakistan-Afghanistan relations."
As an Afghan neighbor and military power in the region, Islamabad would likely play a key role in any eventual settlement, and some 1.5 million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan.
Talks between U.S. officials -- including Zalmay Khalilzad, the special peace envoy for Afghanistan -- have intensified in recent months. Khalilzad and Taliban envoys have both said progress has been made, but U.S. officials caution that much work needs to be done before an agreement can be finalized.
Khalilzad is due to arrive in Pakistan on a six-country trip that also includes Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, and Afghanistan.
Talks have also been held in Moscow with some of the same figures, although Khalilzad has not attended those discussions.
The U.S.-Taliban talks are aimed at finding a negotiated end to Afghanistan's 17-year war.
The United States has been attempting to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with officials in Kabul.
The Afghan government has been absent from the U.S.-Taliban talks, prompting anger and frustration in Kabul. The Taliban considers the Kabul government a Western puppet and has so far refused to directly negotiate with it.
U.S. negotiators are expected to press for a cease-fire between Taliban insurgents and Western-backed Afghan forces before any agreement on the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign troops.
The Taliban has demanded that all foreign troops leave before a cease-fire is declared but have said they would accept nonmilitary foreign aid to help rebuild Afghanistan.
U.S. officials have said President Donald Trump wants to withdraw about half of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The president has already announced that the United States will withdraw all 2,000 of its troops from Syria, saying he wants to reduce U.S. involvement in costly wars.
U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since an October 2001 invasion that brought down the Taliban government after it refused to hand over Al-Qaida members, including Osama bin Laden, blamed for launching the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The government in Kabul has struggled to contain the resurgent Taliban after a NATO-led coalition turned over military operations to Afghan troops and took a more-advisory and training role in the country.

Politics Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:53:13 +0000
NATO Weighs Future of Afghan Mission, Seeks To Support Talks http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36891-nato-weighs-future-of-afghan-mission-seeks-to-support-talks.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36891-nato-weighs-future-of-afghan-mission-seeks-to-support-talks.html NATO Weighs Future of Afghan Mission, Seeks To Support Talks

Friday February 15, 2019
Kabul (BNA) NATO defense ministers on Thursday weighed the future of the alliance’s operation in Afghanistan and debated how best to use its military presence to support political talks aimed at ending the conflict.
Frustrated with America’s longest war, U.S. President Donald Trump says he wants to pull out troops, raising doubts about NATO’s Afghan troop training operation in the strife-torn country. Around 14,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, just over half with NATO and the rest doing counter-terror and combat operations. Were U.S. troops to leave the NATO operation, allies like Germany wouldn’t be able to do their job as they rely on American air support.
“No decision has been taken about any withdrawal. But we strongly support the efforts to reach a political, peaceful settlement,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said before the talks.
The U.S. and NATO troops are mostly advising and training, but when requested they assist Afghan forces in battles with the Taliban, who carry out near-daily assaults on Afghan soldiers and police. More than 17 years after they were ousted by a U.S.-led coalition, the Taliban control, influence or hold sway over nearly half the country, and the conflict is at a stalemate.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is meeting with the Taliban and others to try to end the conflict. He has briefed NATO ambassadors three times in recent weeks, including just before Thursday’s meeting. NATO is wary of setting any timeline for a possible withdrawal as the Taliban have been content to wait international forces out in the past.
“NATO allies went in together in Afghanistan. We will make decisions on our future posture in Afghanistan together, based on conditions determined together with the Afghans,” Stoltenberg said.
Still, the Western allies understand that an offer to leave could be a powerful bargaining chip with the insurgents, even if the U.S.-led forces would want guarantees, or be able to monitor future peace moves. What is clear is that the 29-country military alliance has no shared appetite to shift from training and mentoring to counter-terrorism operations.
For the moment though it is too early to tell. Upcoming elections in Afghanistan will further complicate the picture for NATO, as those polls decide what parties should be involved in peace moves.

Politics Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:53:12 +0000
Acting Pentagon Chief: No Orders to Withdraw From Afghanistan http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36881-acting-pentagon-chief-no-orders-to-withdraw-from-afghanistan.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36881-acting-pentagon-chief-no-orders-to-withdraw-from-afghanistan.html Acting Pentagon Chief: No Orders to Withdraw From Afghanistan

Wednesday February 13, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan says there is no order to withdraw US forces from Afghanistanand the Afghan government should participate in peace talks with the Taliban, in remarks on a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Monday.
Shanahan met the US commander and troops and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the unannounced one-day visit, his first in his new role.
Reports that Donald Trump, president of the United States wants to withdraw about half of the estimated 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan, has raised concerns among Afghan and regional officials about the effect it might have on security in the country.
Afghan troops have been struggling to contain Taliban forces that control or contest about half of the country and a growing number of fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).
Shanahan said the US has "strong security interests in the region" which would determine what happened with US troop numbers.
"I have not been directed to step down our forces in Afghanistan," Shanahan said.
"I think the presence we want in Afghanistan is what assures our homeland defence and supports regional stability."
Peace talks
He said the aim of his trip was to get an understanding of the situation on the ground from commanders and then brief Trump on his findings.
US officials, led by chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, have held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in Qatar and other countries in the region in the past eight months, in what is widely seen as the most serious bid yet for peace in Afghanistan since the Taliban were removed by US troops and US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.
Ghani’s government has not been included in the talks. The Taliban has refused to meet the Afghan government calling it a "puppet" of the US.
Shanahan echoed what Washington had been saying for months, that any eventual peace deal would have to include the government.
"The Afghans have to decide what Afghanistan looks like in the future. It's not about the US, it's about Afghanistan," Shanahan said.
"The US has significant - significant - investment in ensuring security, but the Afghans decide their future," he said.
Shanahan's meeting with Ghani covered a range of defence issues important to the bilateral relationship, Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said.
That included "achieving a political settlement to the war that ensures Afghanistan is never again used as a safe haven from which terrorists can plan and launch terrorist attacks against the United States, our interests and our allies," Robertson said.
The Afghan government said the meeting showed the continued US commitment to Afghanistan.
"Both sides said that the peace process and the fight against terrorism will continue, and the military and security alliance between Afghanistan and US will continue until peace is achieved," the president's palace said in a statement after Ghani's meeting with Shanahan.
Khalilzad has expressed hope of finding a deal before Afghan presidential elections scheduled for July but has emphasised that any troop withdrawal would depend on conditions on the ground.
The next round of talks is due on Feb 25 in Qatar where the Taliban has its political office. Civilian casualties
Shanahan’s visit to Afghanistan came as the United Nations said it was investigating "credible" reports of Afghan civilian deaths and injuries from an air attack over the weekend in Helmand, a Taliban stronghold.   
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said late on Sunday it would share its findings once an inquiry into the "aerial operations" in Sangin district was completed.
The Taliban is responsible for about half of civilian casualties, with the remaining deaths and injuries attributed to ISIL and coalition attack, according to a UNAMA report.
But air attacks have stepped up and the UN has said civilians continue to pay a disproportionate price in the fighting.
The US dropped 7,362 weapons during air attacks in 2018 in Afghanistan - approaching double the number of 2017, US Air Forces Central Command figures show.

Politics Wed, 13 Feb 2019 10:42:54 +0000
Russian, US Envoys for Afghanistan to Meet on February 22 http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36879-russian-us-envoys-for-afghanistan-to-meet-on-february-22.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36879-russian-us-envoys-for-afghanistan-to-meet-on-february-22.html Russian, US Envoys for Afghanistan to Meet on February 22

Wednesday February 13, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov will hold a meeting with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in the Turkish capital of Ankara on February 22, as he himself said. "The meeting will take place in Ankara on February 22," he said in response to a TASS question. According to Kabulov, the parties will particularly discuss preparations for the next round of the Moscow consultations on Afghanistan.
The Russian presidential envoy added that he would also hold consultations on the Afghan issue with Turkish diplomats during his visit to Ankara.
Russia would like representatives of the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) to take part in the presidential election in Afghanistan, their non-recognition of the election has an adverse effect on the situation in the country, he said. "I would like the Taliban to take part in that election. However, their approach is different. They do not fully recognize the current constitution of Afghanistan," he said. "The Taliban did not recognize the presidential elections in the past as well, and that will, of course, have an adverse effect on the situation. However, if the Taliban movement needs an acceptable partner willing to conduct negotiations, they will have to agree with that."
The Taliban movement may be controlling up to 70% of Afghanistan’s total area, he added.
"The Taliban members are controlling more than half of Afghanistan’s territory. Directly speaking, they may be controlling up to 70% of the country’s territory," he said.
Russia does not rule out the possibility of cooperation with representatives of the Taliban movement in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia). "Why not?" he said, adding that "the Taliban is fighting against the Islamic State in Afghanistan fairly successfully even without that cooperation."

Politics Wed, 13 Feb 2019 10:40:32 +0000
President Ghani Receives US Acting Defense Secretary http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36874-president-ghani-receives-us-acting-defense-secretary.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36874-president-ghani-receives-us-acting-defense-secretary.html President Ghani Receives US Acting Defense Secretary

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has received US acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan.
In the meeting held yesterday at presidential palace, President Ghani said that US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia has had good results, but destroying safe havens of armed individuals in neighboring country that has been strategic goal have not been achieved so far. Both sides asserted that maintaining of lasting peace, peace process and counter terrorism would continue and military partnership between Afghanistan and US would continue till maintaining peace in the country. It was also recalled in the meeting that national peace consultative Jirga would be soon held in Kabul and would be attended by representatives of various classes and all provinces so that they could consult and express views in connection with various phases of peace. In the meantime, after the Jirga, the 3rd meeting of Kabul Process will be held and its main focus will be on peace process.

Politics Tue, 12 Feb 2019 05:48:32 +0000
Laws Committee Approves 3 Legal Documents http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36873-laws-committee-approves-3-legal-documents.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36873-laws-committee-approves-3-legal-documents.html Laws Committee Approves 3 Legal Documents

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Regulation draft on implementation of International Transport of Goods (TIR) system, regulation draft on re-management urban land and its redevelopment and regulation draft on mental health were approved in laws committee’s session chaired by second vice president and head of the committee Sarwar Danesh.
In the session, regulation draft for implementation of TIR system, prepared by joint cooperation of ministries of justice and transport, was reviewed by members of the committee. Afghanistan government is making effort to pave further facilitations of TIR for transportation companies including TIR system by finalizing and implementation of the respective draft. According to 4th article of the draft, ministry of transport in cooperation with relevant ministries and institutions is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the draft’s articles. After overall discussion regarding the draft, members of the committee finally approved the draft and tasked ministry of justice to process the draft. In other part of the session’s agenda, members of the committee discussed and reviewed regulation draft on re-management urban land and its redevelopment and regulation draft on mental health and approved both drafts.

Politics Tue, 12 Feb 2019 05:47:10 +0000
People’s Achievements to Be Protected in Peace Talks, NSA http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36872-people’s-achievements-to-be-protected-in-peace-talks-nsa.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36872-people’s-achievements-to-be-protected-in-peace-talks-nsa.html People’s Achievements to Be Protected in Peace Talks, NSA

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Kabul (BNA) National Security Advisor Dr. Hamdullah Mohib in a meeting yesterday with US acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan and his accompanied delegation praised US for continued cooperation and partnership with Afghanistan.
In the meeting, the US side expressed optimism about improvement of capacities and leadership at Afghanistan ministry of defense (MoD) and assured of US and RS continued cooperation with Afghanistan in strengthening of the country’s defense and security forces. National security advisor by pointing to peace issue led and owned by Afghans thanked US for its steps and cooperation in this regard, adding that the 18-year achievements of the people of Afghanistan would be protected in peace process. Dr. Mohib further said that Afghanistan government has had good initiatives in the field of peace process and simultaneously the country’s defense and security forces were defending the people and national sovereignty, adding that efforts for maintaining peace and lasting stability in Afghanistan would continue.

Politics Tue, 12 Feb 2019 05:45:30 +0000
Electoral Draft Law Amendment Approved http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36870-electoral-draft-law-amendment-approved.html http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/politics/item/36870-electoral-draft-law-amendment-approved.html Electoral Draft Law Amendment Approved

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Kabul (BNA) The latest consultative meeting, chaired by Second Vice-President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh approved amendment draft to be brought at the electoral law, his office said Monday.
The meeting held at the Gul Khana Palace was attended by the country’s related personalities including representatives from the co-operation council of the 1398 presidential nominees, plenipotentiary representatives of the political parties, election related civil society activists and other related officials, the statement said.
Various important issues such eligibility to the independent election commission membership, type of appointing the members, heads, deputies and secretaries of the IEC, employment of permanent and temporal staff, conditions related to the district and village councils membership, and many other issues related to the election and candidates have been discussed in details during the four day meeting ended on Monday, the statement added. The meeting with an overwhelming majority of the members approved the draft law of the election and resolved that the amended drafts to be sent to the government cabinet of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for final procession, the statement concluded.

Politics Tue, 12 Feb 2019 05:43:38 +0000