23 February 2019

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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.

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.

Friday, 08 February 2019 11:56

Air Raids Leaves 14 Terrorists Dead

Friday February 8, 2019
TARINKOT CITY (BNA) Over 14 rebels were killed during a series air attacks conducted by Afghan air forces in southern Urozgan province within the last 24 hours.
The militants have been targeted in various parts of Dehrawoud, Chora districts and Tarinkot city the provincial capital of the province.
Top commander of Afghan national army in the south of the country told BNA correspondent, 14 anti-government militias were killed and three others were injured during the air raids.
The rebels were busy on organizing a series of terrorist and destructive activities that targeted by Afghan air personnel, the source added.
It has been said, four Taliban’s hideouts along with all military equipment have been destroyed during the attacks.


Friday February 8, 2019
JALALABAD CITY (BNA) More than 18 loyalists of Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were killed during clashes with Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar province within the last 24 hours.
Ataullah Khogyani spokesman of Nangarhar governor told BNA correspondent, the clashes took place between fighters of ISIS terrorist group and Afghan security forces in vicinity of Nangarhar province.
According to another report, four round of mines have been discovered and defused by Afghan security forces in crowded areas of the province.
Security source in the province says, by discovering the mines several bloodiest events have been prevented.

Friday February 8, 2019
MAHTARLAM CITY (BNA) Nine insurgents were killed during clashes with Afghan security forces in eastern Laghman province.
The clashes took place during two separate military operations in different parts of the province.
Senior commander of Afghan national police in the east of the country told BNA reporter, at least 9 armed oppositions were killed during clashes with Afghan security forces in the province.
It has been said, there were no casualties on parts of civilians following the conflicts.
According to another report, Afghan security forces by discovering and confiscating 8 round of various type of mines succeeded to prevent from several deadly incidents in crowded areas of Laghman province.
The mine had been planted by Taliban militants and discovered with cooperation of local people by Afghan security personnel.

Friday February 8, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Afghan officials cannot be relied on to properly investigate reports of sexual abuse of members of the national women’s soccer team, their head coach said on Thursday, as she urged governing body FIFA to bring in new measures to protect victims.
Former U.S. international Kelly Lindsey spoke out after a panel laid out a series of recommendations aimed at protecting victims and cracking down on those found to have committed wrongdoing in the wake of the scandal.
“The women who raised their voices have taken an immense amount of pressure on their shoulders because it is life or death for them and their families,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview from Hong Kong.
“I think FIFA really needs to stand up here — they are the governing body of football and if they allow this to happen in their culture then it’s easy for it to be pushed under the rug.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered an investigation in December after allegations that some players had been molested by officials from the country’s soccer federation.
The Afghan Football Federation called the accusations “groundless” and said it would cooperate with any investigation. Its head and five other officials have been suspended.
A FIFA spokesman said the world football federation had “zero tolerance” for human rights violations and was already involved in addressing the Afghan abuse allegations.
This included measures to investigate the reports and to protect those who had spoken out, he said.
A panel led by former FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan in London on Tuesday urged Afghan officials to fully investigate all claims of criminal wrongdoing and offer protection for players and whistleblowers.
“The culture in football needs urgent reform,” said Prince Ali in a statement.
Panel members said new contracts that bar Afghan women’s team members from speaking about the team and enforce wearing the hijab should be scrapped.
FIFA, the world football federation, was also urged to take action to prevent future abuse including establishing clear whistleblowing processes within the sport, and founding a fully independent body to investigate player sexual assault cases.
Member organizations found to be non-compliant should suffer sanctions such as financial penalties, suspension and expulsion, they added.
“It’s important this is looked at seriously and taken care of, because Afghanistan in my opinion is not the only place this is happening,” Lindsey said.
Afghanistan ranks as one of the most dangerous countries for women, and allegations of sexual contact outside marriage can have deadly consequences.
Married victims of sexual harassment are often extremely reluctant to come forward for fear that they will be accused of adultery.


Friday February 8, 2019
Kabul (BNA) In latest news, Afghanistan Cricket Board unveiled the team’s squads for full-fledged series against Ireland, which is scheduled to kick off in India later this month. There is a lot of cricket to be played between these 2 teams as both are ready for one heck of a blast. The series involves 3 T20Is, 5 ODIs and 1 Test. It will start on February 21 and will come to a close on 19th March with all the matches to be organised in Dehradun itself. Afghan cricket officials were of the opinion that the upcoming series will be crucial for Afghan players as they are geared up for the World Cup which will start in May. For your information, Afghanistan and Ireland became full members of the ICC in 2017. The nations already spiced it up in their debut Tests and the next Test will be their second.
Afghanistan Team Squads
T20 Squad:
Asghar Afghan (skipper), Usman Ghani, Najeeb Tarakai, Hazratullah Zazai, Samihullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Rashid Khan, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Farid Ahmad Malik, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Ziaur Rahman Sharifi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Zahir Khan, Sharafudin Ashraf
ODI Squad:
Asghar Afghan (skipper), Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Javid Ahmadi, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Alikhail, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rashid Khan, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam, Dawlat Zadran, Zahir Khan, Farid Ahmad Malik, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Shapoor Zadran, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad
Test Squad:
Asghar Afghan (skipper), Shahzad Mohammadi, Ihsanullah Janat, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Nasir Jamal, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ikram Alikhail, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Wafadar Momand, Yamin Ahmadzai, Sharafudin Ashraf, Waqar Salamkhail
21 February – 1st T20I
23 February – 2nd T20I
24 February – 3rd T20I
28 February – 1st ODI
2 March – 2nd ODI
5 March – 3rd ODI
8 March – 4th ODI
10 March – 5th ODI
15–19 March – Test Match

Friday, 08 February 2019 11:53

10 Terrorists Kill during Artillery Attack

Friday February 8, 2019
QALAT CITY (BNA) As many as 10 armed oppositions were killed and four others were injured following artillery attack carried out by Afghan security forces on Taliban’s hideouts in southern Zabul province.
Senior commander of Afghan national army in the south of the country told BNA correspondent, the terrorists have been targeted in different parts of Mizan district of the province, in which 10 Taliban fighters were killed and four more were wounded.
According to another report, Afghan security forces by discovering and confiscating 12 round of various type of mines succeeded to prevent from several deadly incidents in crowded areas of Zabul province.
The mine had been planted by Taliban militants and discovered with cooperation of local people by Afghan security personnel.

Friday February 8, 2019
Kabul (BNA) At least 30 anti-government militias were killed during joint military operations conducted by Afghan security forces across the country.
Ministry of national defense press office stated BNA, the operations have launched by support of Afghan air and artillery forces to annihilate armed oppositions and ensure peace and stability in insecure areas of Laghman, Kapisa, Ghazni, Kandahar, Urozgan, Badghis, Balkh, Jawzjan and Helmand provinces, in which 21 terrorists were killed, seven more were wounded and five others were arrested.
Also, two hideouts, some weapons and ammunitions, a vehicle and a motorcycle belonged to the militants have been destroyed during the military operations, the source added.

Friday February 1, 2019 SAR-E-PUL CITY (BNA) Six Afghan national army soldiers and seven others were wounded during Taliban attack in Sar-e-Pul province last night. According to reports, the incident took place, while a group of Taliban militants stormed on Afghan security forces’ checkpoints in Sozma Qala district of the province. A security source in Sar-e-Pul told BNA correspondent, six Afghan National Army soldiers were martyred and seven others were injured during the raids. Taliban militants also sustained heavy losses during that attack, but the exact number is not clear yet, the source added. M.A.Ansari

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