17 October 2019

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Friday August 30, 2019
Kabul (BNA) In an interview with DW, Shaharzad Akbar, head of Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, said that any US-Taliban deal that undermines the basic rights of Afghan civilians should be avoided.
Shaharzad Akbar: The Taliban leadership claims that its views on human rights have undergone a transformation in recent years. But if you look closely, you don't see a big change in their position. The Taliban, for instance, claim that they now have a much lenient approach toward women's rights in comparison to their stance during their rule in Afghanistan (from 1996 to 2001). But reports from the areas that are under the Taliban's control show a different picture. They prove that the group continues to deal with women in a similar manner.
Also, the Taliban have been demanding the implementation of Islamic laws in Afghanistan. We asked them in Qatar: Which Afghan laws did they consider un-Islamic? They didn't say anything specific. They also didn't tell us which laws they wanted to repeal.
All laws in Afghanistan comply with Islamic teachings. The fact that the Taliban have a problem with these laws shows that they believe in a strict interpretation of Islam that they want to impose on Afghans.
That is why we believe that the Taliban's position on human rights is a cause for concern as we don't see any shift in the group's long-held position on the issue.
A UN report has blamed the Taliban for the majority of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan. The US and the Taliban are now trying to finalize an agreement in Doha to end the 18-year-long war. Rights activists say that a possible deal will be unjust to the victims' families. What is your stand on this issue?
The people's voices must be heard. It is mostly civilians that have died in Taliban attacks. Having said that, I must add that it is not just the Taliban that have inflicted civilian casualties; international forces, too, are responsible for them. That is why, if we ignore the element of justice in a potential agreement, Afghanistan will not have lasting peace.
Read more: Taliban-US hold fresh talks in Doha amid peace deal hopes
We must ensure that all these crimes are investigated. If that does not happen, we can't end the cycle of revenge in Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) cannot force the negotiating sides to include criminal investigations in the peace process, but we can conduct polls to tell them what the people really want.
It is a matter of concern that the future of Afghanistan is being discussed without the participation of Afghans. It shows that the negotiating parties do not feel accountable to the people of Afghanistan. The Afghan government should provide details of these negotiations to Afghan citizens. But as Kabul is not involved yet, it can't.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, has stated time and again that the ongoing talks in Doha are not focused on Afghanistan's internal issues. He says that those issues will be discussed during intra-Afghan talks later. But in my view, the US-Taliban talks in Doha will have consequences for Afghanistan's internal situation as well. Therefore, human rights activists have serious concerns about the ongoing negotiations in Doha.
The AIHRC wants the basic rights of Afghan citizens safeguarded in the ongoing peace process. It should be a priority. It is important for us because the process could determine which direction Afghanistan would take in the future.
We want the assurance that the voices of ordinary Afghans are heard during the peace talks. Any deal between the US and the Taliban that possibly undermines the basic rights of Afghan civilians should be avoided.

Friday August 30, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The top U.S. military officer said Wednesday it’s too early to talk about a full American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, injecting a cautionary note as U.S. peace talks with the Taliban appear to be near a final agreement.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Pentagon reporters that any U.S. deal with the Taliban will be based on security conditions on the ground and that Afghan forces aren’t yet able to secure the country without help from allied forces.
"I'm not using the withdraw word right now," Dunford said. "It's our judgment that the Afghans need support to deal with the level of violence" in the country today.
After nearly 18 years of war, Afghanistan’s government expects that U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad will soon update officials in Kabul on the progress of peace talks with the Taliban. A Taliban spokesman has said that they’re close to a final agreement. But even as the talks go on, there are persistent attacks by the Taliban across Afghanistan, and an affiliate of the Islamic State group has taken hold in the country and has been expanding its base.
Even if Khalilzad is able to close a deal, it will remain for the Afghan government to negotiate its own peace agreement with the Taliban. Part of those talks will be determining a role for the Taliban in governing the country that it ruled before U.S. forces invaded in October 2001.
The Taliban, which now control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since their 2001 defeat in the U.S.-led invasion, have dismissed the Afghan government as an American puppet.
The U.S. has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. They are performing two missions: advising and assisting Afghan defense forces and combating extremist groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
President Donald Trump has campaigned on getting the U.S. out of the war, but efforts to withdraw U.S. troops have been slowed because military leaders argue that there is still a need for American counterterrorism forces as well as the ongoing campaign to train the Afghan troops.
Dunford and Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke at a joint news conference — the first time in exactly one year since a defense secretary and Joint Chiefs chairman have appeared together before Pentagon reporters.
Asked repeatedly about any U.S. plans to leave a counterterror force in Afghanistan, both Dunford and Esper batted the questions away.
"We reserve the right to keep all options on the table," Esper said when asked about continuing strikes on the Taliban. "But look, clearly we have a plan going forward. The key to resolve this conflict is a political agreement. We are on that path right now, and we are hopeful that we can reach some type of conclusion."
Dunford said that at some point the Afghans may be able to provide for their own defense without requiring direct U.S. military support.
"But we're not prepared to have a specific conversation about when that may be or what capability would be associated with what operating environment," he said.
Dunford, however, said that Trump has been clear that Afghanistan must not again be used as a sanctuary for terrorists who can attack America.
Al-Qaida insurgents used Afghanistan as a base from which to plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the United States. A month later, U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan, where they have remained ever since, making it the longest war in American history. More than 2,400 American service members have died in the conflict.

Friday August 30, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Moscow is concerned about the double standards demonstrated by the West toward the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"Undoubtedly, fight against terrorism should be free of double standards... There is alarming information... that some Western colleagues have double standards in relation to this terrorist organisation banned by the UN Security Council and try to use them to accomplish their unilateral geopolitical tasks in Afghanistan," Lavrov told a press conference after talks with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Sputnik reported.
The foreign minister also commented on US President Donald Trump's call on Russia and other regional powers, including India, to step up the fight against Daesh in Afghanistan.
"Fight against terrorism and drug trafficking that funds it — all of this is in the focus of our position on Afghanistan. And the goal of all our efforts, which we have undertaken in both the Moscow format and Russia-US-China format — we would like to involve other countries in the work [in this format], including India, Pakistan, and Iran  — all of these efforts are aimed at facilitating a political settlement that would be accepted by all ethnic, religious and political groups and that would be based on broad national consensus, while eliminating threat of terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking from Afghanistan", Lavrov added.
Conflict-stricken Afghanistan has long been afflicted by fighting between government troops and Taliban militants, in addition to groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, Daesh and other insurgents.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the recent explosion at a wedding in Kabul that killed over 80 people and left another 180 injured.

Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:55

Aids Distribute to 177 Displaced Families

Thursday August 22, 2019
MAIMANA CITY (BNA) Foodstuffs and non-foodstuffs have been distributed to 177 displaced families in northern Faryab province.
According to BNA report, the families have displaced due to insecurity and war from their regions and replaced in Maimana city the provincial capital of Faryab province.
The distributed aids include flour, cooking ghee, pea, tents, blankets, women and children cloths and shoes that provided by World Food Program office.
The families asked from government to ensure security in their regions.


Thursday, August 22, 2019
Kabul (BNA) A Taliban notorious commander with his five colleagues was killed in an air strike in Farah province last night.
According to national defense ministry press office to BNA, a car of Hafiz Qodratullah a notorious commander of Taliban terrorist group was targeted by security forces air strike in Todnak region, Balabalok District, Farah province, in which Hafiz Qodratullah with his five colleagues was killed.
T. Yarzada

Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:52

Two U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

Thursday August 22, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Two U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.
Apparently, the U.S. soldiers were killed during clashes with Taliban fighters.
NATO confirmed the killing of two soldiers, but said nothing about the identity and exact place of the incident.
According to BNA report, the U.S. soldiers were killed following clashes with Taliban militants.
Six U.S. soldiers were killed within the last six months in Afghanistan.


Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:52

Mine Blast Wounds Two ANA Soldiers

Thursday, August 22, 2019
Mehtarlam (BNA) Two ANA soldiers were injured in a mine explosion in Laghman province late yesterday.
The event occurred in Alishing District that a vehicle carrying the soldiers struck a roadside mine.
ANA commander in Selab army corps in east of the country told BNA, two ANA soldiers were injured and their vehicle was destroyed.
He rejects Taliban claim of blast casualties in ANA troop.
T. Yarzada

Thursday August 22, 2019
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, in a meeting with the Gen. Tod D. Wolters Commander, U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), discussed the ways on how to fight terrorism in the country, said a statement from the Presidential Press Office, the other day.
During the meeting which was attended by Gen. Nicolas, the NATO Civilian Representative, Gen. Wolters reaffirmed his commitment towards sustainable support to the Afghan security and defense forces, the statement said. “The Afghan security and defense forces and the NATO would jointly fight not only for Afghanistan, but for the regional and the world security,” the statement quoted him as saying. He said the NATO would stay alongside the Afghan forces and that all commitments and sustainable support with the Afghan security and defense forces were in place. Thanking the NATO commander for his support to the country’s forces, the country’s president said: “Increase or decrease in the international forces linked to the condition and that peace is the top priority and the government of Afghanistan has arranged a peace roadmap and is carrying out it seriously, considering the ongoing threats and outcomes.” He said any incorrect stance about peace was not good and that peace and security is facing threats from the enemy and there was a need to hold the process cautiously.
“The government of Afghanistan is committed to peace unless the republican system was harmed and the Taliban are yet to get ready for peace as they are still targeting innocent people and public facilities,” said the country’s president. He said the Taliban should clarify their links to Pakistan, drugs, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and tens of other terrorist groups. According to the president, the Taliban could never resist unless securing safe havens inside the Pakistani soil. The president said election would essentially be held and that peace would never come without holding the election, ‘but unfortunately the Taliban have announced their enmity with the two national processes, said the statement.


Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:51

NSD: Criminal Band Demolishes in Kandahar

Thursday August 22, 2019
Kabul (BNA) National Security Directorate (NDS) personnel during a military operation succeeded to destroy a criminal band in southern Kandahar province.
Members of the band were busy on human trafficking and murderers in Kabul and Kandahar provinces.
Hayatullah Hayat governor of Kandahar in press conference told media, the members of the band in their primary investigation confessed to dozens human trafficking and murder cases.
By demolishing criminal band, human trafficking cases will be decreased in Kandahar and Kabul provinces, Hayat added.

Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:51

Chief Executive Meets US Ambassador

Thursday August 22, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah met yesterday with US ambassador to Kabul John R. Bass.
In the meeting, both sides discussed peace talks, upcoming presidential elections and recent political and military changes in Afghanistan.
The country’s chief executive praised the US for announcing $125 million in aid to Afghanistan, saying the assistance can maintain 30% needs announced by Afghanistan government.
Chief executive expressed hope that other countries would provide assistance and commitments to addressing needs of Afghans so that problem of the Afghan people would be addressed.


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