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Pakistan delegation reaches Afghanistan to discuss peace plan


An high-level Pakistani delegation arrived in Afghanistan on Monday to hold talks on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), weeks after the Afghan president offered Taliban to join the political process. The Pakistani delegation is headed by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and comprises senior civil and military bigshots, including Director General Military Operations Maj Gen Shamshad Mirza. The tour precedes Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit scheduled for April 6, and succeeds visit of National Security Advisor Nasser Janjua who toured the Afghan capital on March 17-18.Janjua called on Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah in separate meetings during his trip to Kabul.

It was during the same trip that Ghani invited Pakistan’s prime minister to “initiate state to state comprehensive dialogue”. Revealing the details of the tour, Dr Faisal had informed that Pakistan had proposed five joint working groups, focusing on ensuring a comprehensive engagement for countering terrorism, intelligence sharing, military, economy, trade and transit interaction, refugee repatriation and connectivity.The FO spokesperson had also reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue to support efforts for peace in Afghanistan, but the Afghan government needed to reach a settlement with different Afghan groups.

UN top envoy against Taliban argument


Tadamichi Yamamoto told the UN Security Council that Taliban argument do not consider the reality that tens of thousands of Afghan people are killed every year because of fights between the Taliban and the government forces. He added that all relevant parties agree that a negotiated political is the only way to end the conflict. The UN’s top envoy urged the Taliban to talk with authorities in Kabul and start a peace process because the offer of negotiation is on the table. Yamamoto urged all political leaders to demonstrate statesmanship and to place the national interest above a partisan agenda. He added that national unity is necessary for the international support and for the implementation of effective reforms. The UN envoy talked about several other issues in Afghanistan, including civilian casualties from the conflict, refugees, regional trade developments, and Afghanistan’s new penal code, which he called a milestone in the country’s criminal justice reform. He underlined the importance of women’s role in peace and decision-making processes, and their important role in elections. In closing, the envoy said that the UN has important tasks ahead this year, including the upcoming elections and the Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan.

Alice Wells: US has not seen a sustaines change in the behaviour of Pakistan

in ASIA by

The US has not seen a “decisive and sustained” change in the behaviour of Pakistan, even after the Trump Administration announced a $2 billion security assistance freeze to Islamabad nearly two months ago, a senior American official said on Tuesday. “We’ve not seen decisive and sustained changes yet in Pakistan’s behaviour, but certainly we are continuing to engage with Pakistan over areas where we think they can play a helpful role in changing the calculus of the Taliban,” said Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Alice South and Central Asia. Briefing reporters on the just concluded Kabul conference in Afghanistan, Wells said Pakistan has a very important role to play in the Afghan peace process. “We believe that Pakistan can certainly help to facilitate talks and to take actions that will put pressure on and encourage the Taliban to move forward towards a politically negotiated settlement,” Wells said in response to a question. “And our engagement with Pakistan is on how we can work together, on how we can address Pakistan’s legitimate concerns and Afghanistan’s stability through a negotiated process as well,” she said.

US, Taliban do not want peace


According to the U.S. deputy secretary, John Sullivan, Taliban attack on civilians show that Taliban do not want peace, but war. “Unfortunately, at this stage, everyone but the Taliban appears ready for peace. The Taliban’s reprehensible attacks targeting innocent civilians demonstrate that they are not ready to enter into good faith peace negotiations”, Sullivan said. The U.S. deputy secretary Sullivan who has visited Kabul noted that pressures are ongoing for bringing the Taliban group to the negotiation table and emphasized on an Afghan led-peace process. “Our policy is for continue to – for us to continue to put pressure on the Taliban – military, economic, political – to bring them to the negotiating table where the ultimate resolution will be through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he said. Sullivan said that U.S. seriously asked  Pakistan to end violence, take practical measures and cooperate with the Afghan government. “We have made clear to the Pakistani Government our expectations for them to take action against terrorists that are in sanctuaries in Pakistan to reduce the pressure and the threat of violence in Afghanistan, and to contribute to a lasting and enduring peace in Afghanistan and the region”, he added. Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the group was “killing innocent people left and right so we don’t want to talk with the Taliban. There may be a time but it may be a long time”. The Taliban warned that Trump’s rhetoric would most certainly result in more war and bloodshed.

SIGAR result about situation in Afghanistan


The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction or SIGAR says the U.S. military attacks has failed to increase the Afghan government’s control over its population. The reports says that U.S. casualties are increasing, too, twice the number killed in action in the same periods in 2015 and 2016. SIGAR said that despite $8.7 billion in U.S. aid for counter-narcotics efforts, opium production is up 87 percent in the last year in Afghanistan. The report warned that U.S. and Afghan officials have adopted unrealistic expectations for the development of untapped mineral resources in the country. Even with nearly a half billion dollars in U.S. aid, the report said that mining revenues only supplied three-tenths of one percent of Afghanistan’s $6.5 billion national budget. John Sopko, the responsible for the report, criticized the U.S. Defense Department for not release already public data on specific districts in Afghanistan. He added, ‘Historically, the number of districts controlled or influenced by the government has been falling since SIGAR began reporting on it, while the number controlled or influenced by the insurgents has been rising. The report noted the Asia Foundation, which promotes the improvement of lives across the continent, found in its annual survey that only slightly more than half of Afghan respondents believed that reconciliation with Taliban insurgents in the country was possible and that about 16 percent of Afghans had ‘a lot’ or at least some sympathy for the Taliban.

Trump rejects peace talks with Taliban in departure from Afghan strategy


U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday rejected the idea of talks with the Taliban after a series of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, in an apparent contradiction of his own strategy to end America’s longest foreign war. Trump condemned the militant group for the carnage in Kabul and pledged to “finish what we have to finish”. Trump’s comments suggest he sees a military victory over the Taliban, an outcome that military and diplomatic officials say cannot be achieved with the resources and manpower he has authorized. When he announced an increase in U.S. troops to Afghanistan in August, U.S. officials said the goal was to force the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement.

Taliban want Farah as a base


The governor for the western province of Farah warned that Taliban wants to change Farah into its base. Farah residents are worrying  because the militants have intensified attacks in several districts, but the governor downplays it. “Taliban cannot dare attack the security forces in daylight, but they wage attacks on them with sophisticated weapons overnight”, Mohammad Aref Shahjahan said Tuesday. He emphasized that the insurgent group wants to establish its base by intensifying attack, but said the government forces have control on the province. “This is why Taliban is destabilizing Farah in order to create a corridor to the south-west region. Their plan has attracted attention of their supporters”. The provincial council had earlier warned against the fall of the province if the government did not prevent Taliban’s attacks. According to some military, Farah is instable because of Iran border and drugs trade. Representatives of Farah in the parliament, accuse the government of hiding realities about the security situation. “Situation is not good in Farah, Taliban has its own custom office and receives taxes from trucks”, said Samiullah Samim, a lawmaker from Farah.

Taliban insurgents are pushing to capture Farah city


Some officials showed concern over Farah city’s  collapse to the Taliban insurgents, while security officials saying no such thing gone happen. “Last year, the Taliban militants were very close to provincial capital—Farah City, but faced utterly defeat” the provincial governor spokesman Naser Mehir said.  As part of their failure in last year, now the Taliban insurgent will do everything under their capacity to gain control of the province, Mehri said. Moreover, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that everything is under control. “In the past one week, the Afghan security forces killed more than 55 Taliban insurgents, and wounded 31 others in separate crackdowns against the militants”, MoD Deputy Spokesman, Mohammad Radmanish said. He added “The Taliban insurgents already received tooth-breaking response. The province will not collapse” However, the provincial council members reported that the Taliban insurgents are pushing to capture Farah City after a week of clashes with the security forces. They also reported casualties of the Afghan security forces by the Taliban.

Afghanistan: 96 insurgents killed


Afghan National Army (ANA) in collaboration with Afghan National Police (ANP) and National Directorate of Security (NDS) personal has killed at least 96 militants and wounded other within in past 24 hours. In Achin 21 Daesh fighters were killed; 24 insurgent killed and 9 others wounded in Ghazni; 15 Taliban insurgent were killed and 11 wounded in Badakhshan; 14 rebels killed and 17 wounded in Farah; 7 insurgent killed and 7 arrested in Helmand. Similar, 6 Taliban fighters were killed and 7 others wounded in Baghlan, 4 insurgents were killed and 3 others wounded in Kunduz, 2 militants killed and 1 wounded in Chora district of Urzgan, 2 insurgents killed in Shirzad district of Nangarhar and 1 Taliban fighter was killed in Qaisar district of Faryab.
ANA discovered and confiscated weapons and ammunition in the operations as well.

Attack at Afghan market


At least five civilians were killed when three mortar shells hit local market in Khwaja Sabz Push district, police said on Tuesday. A local police spokesman  said five people, including women and children, got killed and around 50 other got wounded in the incident.
There has been no claim of responsibility, but the local administration is blaming the Taliban for the attack.
The market hit by the mortars is located only meters away from the district administration compound.
Abdullah Masoumi, the district governor, said the rockets were fired by the Taliban, and the attack may have targeted a provincial delegation, including the governor, building it hit the Bazar.
This comes a day after two similar rockets landed inside the diplomatic enclave in the capital Kabul, but caused no human loss.

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