12 August 2020

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Monday August 10, 2020
Kabul (BNA) U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation welcomed the Loya Jirga declaration and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani decision on release of 400 remaining prisoners of Taliban.
“We welcome the Afghan Loya Jirga’s declaration and President Ashraf Ghani’s decision to sign the decree ordering the release of the remaining prisoners. In the next few days, we expect the completion of prisoner releases, then travel of the Islamic Republic team to Doha & from there the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations”, Khalilzad tweeted late on Sunday.
According to the U.S. envoy, “a historic opportunity for peace” in the war-stricken country has emerged.
“The parties will embark on a process to reach an agreement on a political roadmap & a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire to end the Afghan war”, Khalilzad said.
The United States “seeks a sovereign, unified, and democratic Afghanistan” that will not pose a threat to the world, and the prisoner release will bring everyone “one step closer” to this goal, the U.S. representative added.
Loya Jirga, the grand assembly with more than 3,200 participants, in a resolution issued on Sunday approved the release of the 400 remaining Taliban prisoners in an aim to quickly start the intra-Afghan talks and bring about a ceasefire and an end to the nation's war.
Government has released 4,600 Taliban inmates out of the 5,000 pledged in a landmark agreement signed in February by the United States-Taliban, but the release of the remaining 400 prisoners is quite difficult for them.
President Ghani has said that he could not release the last batch of Taliban prisoners without the approval of Loya Jirga, a traditional gathering of ethnic, religious, and political leaders who decide on matters of national importance.
Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, who also chairs the Loya Jirga, on Saturday told reporters that peace talks with the Taliban would start within three days of the release of the prisoners.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan National Radio and Television today reported that Intra-Afghan talks between Afghan government and Taliban will started at 16 August in Qatar.

Monday, 10 August 2020 06:34

Blast Rocks Kabul

Monday, August 10, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Two civilians were martyred and five security personnel have been injured following a blast in Kabul yesterday.
A bomb struck shortly after noon in front of a police recruiting center at the 5th police station.
Kabul police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz said a mine had been planted inside a handcart when it was defused by security forces, killing two civilians, including a woman, and wounding five security personnel.
A group has not yet claimed responsibility for the incident.
T. Yarzada

Monday, August 10, 2010
Kandahar (BNA) Eight civilians were lost their lives following in an explosion in Kandahar yesterday.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said the blast took place in the Shin Nari area of Kandahar's Arghistan district at around 4.30pm yesterday after a Datsun vehicle struck a roadside mine.
He said eight people were martyred in the blast.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
T. Yarzada

Monday, 10 August 2020 06:33

Destitute Families Received Aids

Monday, August 10, 2020
Kunduz (BNA) Cash was distributed to 1,800 families in Kunduz yesterday.
Kunduz governor's spokesman Esmatullah Moradi told BNA that WFP distributed cash to more than 1,800 destitute and poor families in Kunduz.
He added that each of these families was paid 6,000 Afghanis cash.
Hashmatullah Rahimi Arzbeigi, Deputy Governor of Kunduz, Director of Disaster Management and other officials of the province were present during the distribution of these aids.
T. Yarzada

Monday, 10 August 2020 06:32

Taliban Sniper Killed in Faryab

Monday, August 10, 2020
Maimana (BNA) A Taliban Sniper was killed in Faryab yesterday.
Abdul Karim Yurash, spokesman for Faryab police chief, told BNA that security forces killed the Taliban sniper, known as Qari Siratullah, in outskirt of Qaramqal district.
He added that the assailant was skilled in throwing and marking from a distance in the province.
T. Yarzada

Monday, 10 August 2020 06:31

Explosive Material Seized in Kapisa

Monday, August 10, 2020
Mahmoodraqi (BNA) National Security Officers and Kapisa police seized two barrels full of explosives from a house in the provincial capital, Mahmoodraqai yesterday.
The Kapisa police press office wrote in a press release that the explosive-laden barrels were recovered from a house in the provincial capital, Mahmoodraqi as a result of operations by national security and national police officers.
According to the Kapisa police report, a 40-amp, 100-meter battery was seized from the explosives, and a man was arrested in connection with it.
T. Yarzada

Monday, 10 August 2020 06:31

MoPH Reports 37 New COVID-19 Cases

Monday, August 10, 2020
Kabul (BNA) At least 37 new Covid-19 cases have been registered in different parts of the country during the last 24 hours, taking the nation’s overall tally to 37,109.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said in a statement that 1,789 individuals underwent tests during the period and 37 of them were diagnosed with the virus.
Kabul recorded 14 new cases while Kandahar and Takhar provinces registered six cases each, three each case was detected in Nangarhar and Kunduz provinces, two in Helmand and one each in Logar, Badakhshan and MaidanWardak province.
Nine people lost their lives to the pandemic while 87 recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours. The number of deaths thus reached 1,321. As many as 26,047 individuals have recovered from the disease so far.
The public health ministry called on people to follow medical instructions and guidelines to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

Monday, August 10, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Thousands of individuals have crossed the Durand Line in Chaman district into Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials say.
Pakistan opened the border crossing with for a day for the first time on Saturday following a flag meeting between the military commanders of the two countries.
Several thousand travelers started crossing into their countries at 8am when the Pakistani authorities opened the Friendship Gate.
Dawn reported the crossing from both sides went on till 5pm. Afghan and Pakistani citizens were allowed to cross into their countries on producing their national identity cards.
“Over 15,000 people, including women and children, crossed into their countries smoothly and amid tight security arrangements,” Zakaullah Durrani, a Chaman-based official told the newspaper.
Only pedestrians were allowed to cross the Durand Line, he explained, saying no vehicle loaded with Afghan transit trade goods was let cross the border.
About 8,042 Afghans and 6,966 Pakistanis, who were stranded in the two countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic, were allowed to cross the frontier.

Monday, August 10, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The United States plans to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview broadcast on Saturday, Reuters reported. Esper added detail to remarks President Donald Trump made earlier this week.
The US will reduce its military presence in Afghanistan to about 4,000 troops "very soon," said President Donald Trump, in an interview with Axios on HBO.
"We are largely out of Afghanistan," Trump said in an interview with the news website Axios which was filmed on Tuesday, July 28, and aired Monday, Aug. 3, on HBO.
"We'll be down in a very short period of time to 8,000, then we're going to be down to 4,000, we're negotiating right now," Trump said.
However, he did not specify exact times.
The US-Taliban agreement signed on February 29 calls for the US to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and it also called for the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return for the Taliban's release of up to 1,000 government detainees.
The Taliban has released around 1,000 detainees.
The Afghan government, under US pressure, has freed around 4,600 Taliban prisoners in accordance with a list provided by the Taliban, but has balked at releasing the remaining 400 prisoners on the list, saying these detainees have committed serious crimes.
The Afghan government is convening a consultative Loya Jirga, the grand assembly of Afghan elders and representatives, to find a consensus on the decision to release these 400 Taliban prisoners who are accused of crimes including murder, drug trafficking and abduction, a senior government official said on Monday.

Monday, August 10, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The Loya Jirga in a resolution issued on Sunday approved the release of the 400 Taliban prisoners in an aim to quickly start the intra-Afghan talks and bring about a lasting ceasefire.
The resolution, which has 25 articles, was issued at yesterday’s Loya Jirga session. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, former president Hamid Karzai and other political figures has called on the Taliban for an immediate start to the intra-Afghan talks.
The members of the Loya Jirga in the resolution welcome and support the lasting peace with dignity to bring peace and stability to the country. The resolution also states that if foreign fighters are among the 400 Taliban prisoners “they must be handed over to their countries with valid guarantee.”
It also said that the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners must come with the assurance that the direct talks between the government and the Taliban will start “without any excuses.” The resolution also called for an immediate and long-lasting ceasefire and called on the International community and the Unites States to implement their commitment regarding this.
The statement also said that the people and the government of Afghanistan must be assured that the released Taliban prisoners “will not return to war and their activity will be monitored.”
The resolution urged the international community to cease direct and indirect intervention in Afghanistan’s affairs and to cease their support for terrorist groups. They urged the Taliban and Afghan government to end the violence and conflict in the country and to solve the rifts through negotiations.
It’s also pointed out that the “Islamic values, the role of scholars, basic government institutions, democracy and thr two-decade achievements of Afghanistan “must be preserved and strengthened.”
The resolution also pointed that the members of the Loya Jirga believes that women, as half of the body of society, should have a legal and political status and play a constructive role and participation in all stages of the process.
The Loya Jirga members also believe that the Constitution is a national guarantee which must be preserved, but, if necessary, it is possible to amend it, in accordance with the mechanism provided for within it.
The resolution mentioned that the Afghan security forces are guardians of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and must be “supported and strengthened.”
According to government data, of the 400 prisoners in question, 156 of them have been sentenced to death, 105 of them are accused of murder, 34 of them are accused of kidnapping that led to murder, 51 of them are accused of drug smuggling, 44 of them are on the blacklist of the Afghan government and its allies, 6 of them are accused of other crimes, 4 are unknown. 
The list of 5,000 prisoners was given to the Afghan government by the Taliban to be released ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations, which are now expected to be held in Doha.
So far, the government has released 4,600 of the prisoners on the Taliban list, and an additional 500 who were not on the Taliban list. These last 500 were freed during Eid in response to the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire. 
President Ghani in Sunday's closing speech to the Loya Jirga members, said he would sign the decree to free the 400 remaining Taliban.
He also said that the Jirga also sends a message of unity, and commitment to the Constitution of Afghanistan, and a unified voice for peace, adding that today the Jirga has made history and the Jirga declaration reflects the views of the entire nation and the government.
President Ghani said the Jirga proved that the Afghan nation and govt have good intentions for peace and that there will be no compromise by the Afghan security forces.
He said that the "ball is now in the Taliban's court" and the group must show its willingness for peace by announcing a ceasefire, which is the basic demand of the Loya Jirga.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Loya Jirga chief said that the Loya Jirga decision has removed all obstacles to start the intra-Afghan talks.
Dr. Abdullah said that today's Jirga has made a historic decision and he thanked the security forces for providing security for the Loya Jirga.
Former President Hamid Karzai in a speech to Jirga members said that the Jirga has laid solid steps for the intra-Afghan talks. Karzai said that after the release of the 400 disputed Taliban prisoners, the negotiation team led by Masoom Stanikzai will start intra-Afghan talks within a few days.
He also thanked President Ghani for calling the Loya Jirga and announced his support for President Ghani in bringing peace to the country.
At least 3,200 delegates have attended the Jirga, all in one hall from 34 provinces of the country.

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