20 January 2020

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Thursday, 02 January 2020 07:22

Taliban Insurgents Killed in Kandahar Strike

Thursday, January 2, 2020
Kandahar (BNA)  Six armed Taliban insurgents were killed in an air strike in Kandahar province.
According to reports, the insurgents riding motorcycles were suppressed in suburb of Maiwand district bazaar while terrorist and destructive activities.
ANA top commander in south of the country told BNA, the insurgents were targeted by security troop’s air strike.
According to another report, police of Kandahar with discovering of eleven mines from main roads of the province, prevented a series of explosives.
T. Yarzada

Thursday, 12 December 2019 12:04

Afghan Peace is Elusive but Not Impossible

Friday December 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The need for a negotiated withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has increased in urgency after the Washington Post this week published an explosive article outlining the “Afghanistan Papers”, which documents that the US government long has concluded its efforts in Afghanistan were futile and that the war was unwinnable. The article’s revelations will provide ready arguments to those in Washington already pushing for US troop withdrawals – and will thus indirectly bolster the position of the Taliban.
Talks between the US and the Taliban had only just resumed on 8 December, three months after US President Donald Trump had put an abrupt end to earlier negotiations, following the killing of a US solider in Afghanistan. A negotiated exit of US troops from Afghanistan would pave the way for intra-Afghan peace talks to resolve Afghanistan’s longstanding conflict and US engagement.
The 19 November release of two kidnapped academics (Australian and US), held by the Taliban for three years, was a promising sign ahead of the talks. The prisoner-hostage exchange came after intense negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, assisted by Pakistan. The deal was widely interpreted as a sign that the Taliban would consider further direct negotiations with the Afghan government, which it has previously refused on the contention that the Afghan government is illegitimate.
If intra-Afghan talks were to take place, how could the prospects for a reasonably successful process be improved? A number of main points have crystallised in discussions within the “new” Afghan civil society, which has developed since 2001 to become a well-informed, influential political voice. The focus here is primarily on procedural issues, as the content of the final agreements should be decided by those who have to live with the consequences of a peace deal – Afghan citizens.
First, Afghanistan needs peace. The country is bleeding, with record record-high civilian casualties – the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan recorded 2,563 killed and 5,676 injured in the first nine month of 2019 alone. The humanitarian costs are high, with roughly one in six Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance and 237,000 displaced alone this year. With still about 2.7 million Afghan refugees, mostly in Pakistan and Iran, the second highest number of refugees after Syrians, and Afghans still lodging among the highest number of asylum claims in Europe, the costs to neighboring and other refugee destinations countries will continue to rise if the conflict is not resolved peacefully. For any serious peace negotiations to happen, the Taliban must agree to some kind of cease-fire.
Second, the idea that peace can come cheaply is a false assumption, as a recent World Bank Report has outlined. A sustainable peace means that funds saved from military engagement will have to go towards reconstruction to help the country get back on its feet and provide for health, education, employment and other services. With billions of dollars already spent in Afghanistan since 2001, this might be a hard pill to swallow for some donor countries.
Third, there is the question whether intra-Afghan peace negotiations can happen before the results of the presidential elections are finalised. Presently, the situation looks like a repeat of the 2015 election impasse, with the two main contenders, the incumbent Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah, once again struggling over who gets to rule the country. Whatever happens, the new government will have even less legitimacy than the current one, which will weaken its negotiating stance.
Given the urgency of peace talks, it is striking that the Afghan political establishment – and chiefly two political elites – cannot come to a speedy and amicable agreement when there are more pressing issues to tend to. It also does not present a promising picture of their ability to negotiate anything successfully or peacefully.
Fourth, the elites within (and outside) the Afghan government – election squabbles aside – need to agree on what they are bringing to the negotiating table. At the moment, there is no clear sense what the Afghan government wants to negotiate over. The backstabbing, undermining, and secret talks must stop, or else any peace negotiations will be imbalanced, stacking the cards further in favour of the Taliban. If the Afghan government wants to negotiate from a position of strength, it needs a minimal level of unity at home.
This means no more discussions about an interim government or constitutional changes unless they are squarely on the table. Neither should be an option until a ceasefire and a peace agreement have been signed. There needs to be clear stance on human rights, especially the rights of women and minorities, so they don’t become concessions in a poorly negotiated peace deal.
Fifth, any peace talks will need a high level of inclusiveness and allow a very active and vocal civil society to present their terms to the Taliban personally. The Taliban need to understand that Afghanistan has changed and that the population they might one day rule is not the same as in 2001. It is important that women can speak to the Taliban about their views on women’s rights from a perspective that does not allow them to be cast aside as a Western-influenced folly.
It is equally important to include youth leaders. More than two thirds of the Afghan population are estimated to be under age 24, and 42% under 14. They like their smart phones, music, and progress. They seek future prospects in education and jobs. It is the youth who will have to bear the burden of a new phase of reconstruction, and it is them the country needs for its future survival. Young Afghans are the ones increasingly fleeing to make a better life abroad, and if they feel voiceless and excluded from the peace process, this trend will only continue.
Sixth, settlements at the elite level need time to trickle down. Talks are needed at the village and district level on what peace would look like post-settlement. This means collaborating with civil society, traditional elites, religious leaders, and customary structures (e.g., jirgas, shuras) that are critical to forging and maintaining peace at a grassroots level. But grass root activities will also need direction and resources from the government.
In the end, there is a distinct danger of rushing into a peace deal that might eventually fail again. If we are to learn from the 2001 Bonn Agreement, the future of a country cannot be rushed, nor can decisions on a post-peace order. The lessons of what went wrong after Bonn need to be heeded. Principal among these is that any future peace deal needs to be much more inclusive in recognizing and responding to the diversity of the Afghan people.
Lowyinstitute
Ansari


 

Friday December 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) American civilians, who are confused that their soldiers are still in Kabul while the officials always said they are making progress in Afghanistan, finally get to know a true Afghanistan war after the Afghanistan Papers published by The Washington Post on Monday.
Since the start of the U.S.' war in Afghanistan in 2001, senior U.S. civilian and military officials did not tell the truth about the status of the war, according to the newspaper after reviewing more than 2,000 pages of government documents.
It's reported that the officials made rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hid evidence that the war had become unwinnable.
Including previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, the documents are reported to examine the root failures of the 18-year-long armed conflict and provide some lessons so that the world's largest economy will not repeat the mistakes any more.
Besides lying to the public, the interviews in the documents showed that many of the interviewees, who were involved in the longest armed conflict in the country, had no idea of what they were doing in the Middle East country.
"What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking," Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, was quoted by the Post as saying.
Besides for individual officials, even the U.S. government never settled on what they wanted to achieve in Afghanistan. A reshape of the regional power balance or rebuild a democratic Afghanistan? There is still no answer.
The documents show that the interviewees in the Middle Eastern country could not tell friend from foe, and some of them were used to altering data to present the best picture possible.
According to the Post, behind the progress the officials told the public, there is flourishing drug trafficking instead of flourishing market economy, incompetent Afghan security forces instead of a robust Afghan army to defend their homeland, and a corrupt Afghanistan instead of a democratic one.
The Post said that it won release of the documents after a three-year legal battle with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, known as SIGAR, which was created by Congress in 2008 to investigate waste and fraud in the war zone.
The report — "The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of America's longest war" — was published just as peace talks between the United States and the Taliban have restarted in Doha, Qatar.
According to the United Nations, 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed last year. That is the most in one year since the United Nations began tracking casualties in the war a decade ago.
Cgtn
Ansari

 

Friday December 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) For years, China has been striving to revive the ancient Silk Road and expand it into a global land and maritime trade network to connect itself throughout the whole of Eurasia.
Nevertheless, Afghanistan has been peripheral to China's intercontinental project because drastic security conditions have made it impossible to pursue a serious economic agenda there.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a vast network of infrastructural projects. I believe that the implementation of BRI will inject investment into Afghanistan to help build transit routes and other infrastructure projects. Afghanistan, a country currently grappling with the menace of poverty, can benefit enormously from the initiative.
The country will have a grand opportunity to export marketable goods and merchandise to Central Asia, the Gulf area, South Asia and China in particular. These goods include rugs, dried fruits, vegetables and so much more. This will ultimately trigger economic growth – which is categorically the most important need of the hour for the impoverished nation.
In my opinion, Afghanistan can benefit more than any other country from the BRI. There is a vast infrastructure deficit and minimal capacity to provide a healthy investment vista. BRI could change the scenario and help the country to build the infrastructure it needs and prepare for large-scale trade.
As far as I’m concerned, China is willing to make Afghanistan a bigger part of its regional economic program. In 2016, China and Afghanistan entered a new phase of economic cooperation; Beijing and Kabul signed a MoU on the BRI. The first Chinese cargo train carrying goods valued at $20 million arrived in the northern Afghan port city of Hairatan after a journey of about two weeks via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan also sent its first cargo to China in September 2019 through Hairatan port in Balkh province, northern Afghanistan. The train was loaded with 41 containers of semi-finished stone of mineral talcum powder.
Under the BRI, China has built a huge vocational school in Afghanistan. Started in 2017, the construction of Afghanistan's vocational and technical institute finished in (April,) 2019. It's a facility that will provide technical education to many youths. There is a school building auditorium under construction at Kabul University. This project started in October 2017 and is expected to complete by the end of 2019.
I know the benefits are beyond this.
The others include the resumption of Kabul-Urumqi direct flights. And I’m happy that China is one of Afghanistan’s largest business partners. Afghanistan has huge potential and a lot more to offer. It is the shortest route between Central and Southern Asia, and between China and the Middle East, while also serving as a gateway to the Arabian Sea. I firmly believe that China will be able to use this opportunity to cut transit costs and time and obtain easy access to South Asia and Europe.
Afghanistan has a severe infrastructure deficit, making it an ideal candidate for Chinese investment. That’s why I expect more Chinese support to my country and vice versa for meeting our common interests and mutual benefits. The BRI can be a bastion to materialize those unmet achievements.
people.cn
Ansari

Friday December 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Turkey's Maarif Foundation opened an education center in Afghanistan's northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Turkey's Consul General to Mazar-i-Sharif Şevki Seçkin Alpay, Maarif Foundation board member Ahmet Türkben, TİKA Fazıl Akın Erdoğan and Afghan officials attended the opening ceremony of the center.
Speaking at the ceremony, Balkh Governorate Deputy Bashir Tavhidi said that there is a bond of brotherhood between Turkey and Afghanistan. Underlining that there are many investments Turkey has made in the country, Tavhidi said that the most important ones include investments in education.
Türkben said that the education center opened by Maarif in Afghanistan aims to increase the academic success and capacity of students studying outside the Maarif schools.
The Maarif Foundation establishes schools and education centers abroad and was established by Turkey in 2016, after a deadly coup attempt by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The defeated coup of July 15, 2016, left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
The foundation has since taken over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETÖ.
FETÖ was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
The terror group has a considerable presence abroad, including private and charter schools which serve as a revenue stream for the terror group.
Dailysabah
Ansari

Friday December 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The Afghanistan Cricket Board re-appointed former captain Asghar Afghan as the skipper across all formats of the game on Wednesday.
The decision taken by the ACB's top management officials, comes seven months after Asghar was stripped from captaincy across formats.
Afghanistan's poor show in a 'home series' against West Indies where they lost all in three formats may have prompted the authorities to call back Afghan.
"As per the decision by ACB Top management, senior player Asghar Afghan is reappointed as team Afghanistan's captain across formats," ACB wrote on its official Wednesday.
In April, two months before the ODI World Cup, ACB had named Rahmat Shah, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan as replacements of Asghar in the Test, ODI and T20 teams respectively.
However, after the World Cup after a disappointing show in England, where Afghanistan lost all its nine matches, all-rounder Rashid was named skipper across all formats.
Under Asghar's leadership, Afghanistan became a Full Member of the International Cricket Council and secured their maiden Test win against Ireland in Dehradun last month.
The 32-year-old Asghar has represented Afghanistan in 111 ODIs, 66 T20 Internationals and 4 Test matches.
Outlookindia
Ansari

Friday December 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) The Pentagon is considering several options to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan, including one that would shift to a narrower counterterrorism mission, the top U.S. military officer told Congress on Wednesday.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not disclose any potential troop totals, but he agreed that leaving a minimal U.S. footprint in Afghanistan to battle terrorists is a potential move.
“We have multiple options, that’s one of them,” he said. The U.S. currently has about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan. About 5,000 of them are doing counterterrorism missions. The remainder are part of a broader NATO mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.
Members of the House Armed Services Committee pressed Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper on a number of issues during the hearing, including lawmakers’ demands for a hearing on whether the Pentagon deceived the American people about military progress during the 18-year war.
Earlier this week, a Washington Post report disclosed thousands of pages of documents revealing that government officials for years misled the public about failures in the Afghanistan war.
“The bottom line is that top military officials and civilian officials had known that the Afghanistan war has been unwinnable and have been misleading the American public for 20 years,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. He said the committee should hold hearings on the matter.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the committee chairman, said hearings would be appropriate.
The top U.S. commander for Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, was to brief members of Congress on the progress in the war during a closed session later Wednesday.
After the Miller briefing, Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told The Associated Press he is less interested in the Washington Post report than in grappling with the Trump administration’s handling of peace negotiations with the Taliban. He said his concern is that the Taliban may simply wait until after the last U.S. soldier leaves Afghanistan and then “try to run roughshod over everything.”
Esper, who testified alongside Milley, told the committee that the U.S. military must remain focused on the counterterrorism mission even as efforts are made to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.
“We have an important counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan,” he said. “That means we’ve got to make sure Afghanistan never becomes again a safe haven for terrorists that can strike the United States.”
He said commanders have told him and Milley that the U.S. can reduce its presence in Afghanistan and still perform the counterterrorism mission.
“I’m interested in reducing our force presence,” Esper said, so that some portion of the troops now based in Afghanistan can be reallocated to other parts of the world to bolster U.S. preparedness for potential conflict with China or Russia. Esper has said he is reviewing U.S. military missions worldwide to determine how many can be reallocated in that manner.
Gazettenet
Ansari

 

Thursday December 12, 2019
JALALBAD CITY (BNA) Stationary have been donated to hundreds girl students in Bibi Hawa girl high school in eastern Nangarhar province.
The aids have been provided by Turkey education foundation.
Ataullah Khogyani spokesman of Nangarhar governor told BNA correspondent, in this round Turkey education foundation have been distributed pen, notebooks, boxes and other stationery to 500 girl students.
Turkey education foundation’ officials during visiting to Nangarhar province pledged that to build a big library in Bibi Hawa girl high school.
M.A.Ansari 


 

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Lashkargah (BNA) Eight Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike of Afghan Security Forces in Helmand province last night.
The insurgents were suppressed in suburb of Lashkargah city for planning attack on a police checkpoint.
Atal army corps in south of the country with releasing a statement said BNA, eight Taliban insurgents were killed and a hideout of them with all war equipment has been demolished.
It is said that no harm and casualties incurred to civilians in the raid.
Another report says, police of Helmand with discovering of ten mines from busy roads of that province, prevented from a series of blasts.
No one has been detained in the connection of the failed mine planting.
T. Yartzada

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Kabul (BNA)  President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a meeting with the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zeljko Komsic exchanged views on some issues including cooperation with Afghanistan, especially within the NATO Resolution Support BNA reported Wednesday.
During the meeting which was held at the Delkusha Palace, the country’s president thanked him, for his country cooperation with Afghanistan, especially within the NATO led Resolute Support, the agency said.  The chairman of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina assured that his country would continue cooperating with Afghanistan and would develop cooperation with Afghanistan further than ever, alongside the international community, the agency quoted.  He also said his country was ready to share its experiences of good governance and development with Afghanistan, according to the agency.
Yarzada

 

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