Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Afghanistan, Pakistan Agree to Work to Restart Peace Talks With Taliban

Agen Sabung Ayam

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Afghan and Pakistani leaders said Wednesday they would function collectively to restart peace talks amongst the Kabul government and the Taliban inside months, in the hope of bringing to an stop the long-operating war in Afghanistan.

The announcement adopted a conference amongst Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Heart of Asia meeting, an once-a-year occasion aimed at promoting security and improvement in Afghanistan, held in the Pakistani funds this yr.

“We very a lot hope that this effort will result in a outcome-oriented peace procedure where we will see some constructive moves in the coming months,” Afghan Overseas Minister Salahuddin Rabbani instructed reporters. “That might take some time, but we hope that this will start off as shortly as attainable.”

It is unclear whether the Taliban, whose new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, is experiencing challenges from within the motion, is in a placement to interact in refreshing talks. There was no immediate response from the Taliban on Wednesday.

Previous 7 days, some Taliban commanders, Afghan officers and foreign diplomats explained Mullah Mansour experienced been shot in an assault by a rival faction. The Taliban later released an audio recording, said by them to be by Mullah Mansour, in an effort to present he is nevertheless alive.

The Taliban and the Afghan federal government met in Pakistan in July for talks brokered by Pakistan. A prepared next round was canceled following information emerged that Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Mullah—who supposedly sanctioned the talks—had been dead for two a long time.

Relations among Afghanistan and Pakistan have been strained in current months amid an upsurge in preventing amongst the Taliban and Afghan forces. But ties had been mended in the lead up to the meeting.

In a speech at the meetings, Key Minister Sharif said: “I would like to reiterate Pakistan’s commitment and wish to facilitate the resumption of the stalled reconciliation procedure.”

Mr. Ghani has taken a political chance by once again going by means of Islamabad to broker the Taliban talks, analysts say, as Pakistan is unpopular in Afghanistan, analysts in Islamabad stated.

Write to Saeed Shah at saeed.shah@wsj.com

WSJ.com: Planet Information

Taliban Suicide Bombers Attack Airport in Kandahar, Afghanistan

Agen Sabung Ayam

KABUL—Taliban suicide bombers on Tuesday attacked the airport and killed at minimum two soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s 2nd largest city, authorities officers stated.

The sprawling air base performed a central function in the yearslong U.S. army marketing campaign in the region, and stays residence to hundreds of troops and contractors from the NATO-led global coalition that maintains a existence there.

It was not instantly very clear what part of the airfield experienced been attacked. Clashes had been noted from a constructing that was beforehand employed as a school, stated the Kandahar provincial governor’s spokesman, Samim Khapalwak.

In the hours after the start of the assault, an Afghan safety formal mentioned it was way too early to say how several Taliban experienced been involved.

“It will be known when they all get killed,” he mentioned. “It will be a physique depend.”

The Taliban printed pictures on the web of militants it explained were included in the bombings. One showed ten young guys with brief beards, armed with Kalashnikovs and wearing similar armed forces uniforms.

It stated in a statement that fighters armed with weapons had entered the air foundation and begun attacking foreigners within.

The coalition did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.

The airfield was property to 26,000 coalition forces 5 a long time back, in the course of the height of the U.S. military surge.

As of early 2015, that quantity had dropped to 2,600 coalition troops and all around 7,000 protection contractors.

The assault comes as Afghan and Pakistani officials satisfy at this week’s Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad, in which reviving peace talks with the Taliban is envisioned to be a key matter of dialogue.

The Afghan govt has extended accused Pakistan of sheltering the militants, and the conferences having spot on Tuesday and Wednesday are witnessed as a phase towards mending strained ties between the two countries.

Publish to Jessica Donati at jessica.donati@wsj.com

WSJ.com: World News

Afghanistan Anticorruption Group Under Fire

Agen Sabung Ayam

Foreign donors have threatened to quit funding Afghanistan’s anticorruption watchdog following concerns surfaced over its investing and the defection of numerous of the body’s top graft busters, according to a letter and customers of the group.

In the letter, reviewed by The Wall Avenue Journal, the U.S. Company for Intercontinental Growth and other aid donors accuse the group of investing their money irresponsibly, flouting tips for income hikes and abusing journey policies.

“We strongly really feel that these problems can adversely have an effect on the believability and performance of your institution,” according to the Nov. seventeen letter to Afghanistan’s Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Checking and Analysis Committee, or MEC.

The troubles at Afghanistan’s corruption watchdog underline greater challenges battling official graft in a nation in which the U.S. has earmarked much more than $ one hundred ten billion in help into reconstruction attempts since ousting the Taliban in 2001. In spite of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani coming to electricity last yr on a pledge to clean up corruption, development has been halting.

The European Union is amongst the donors placing strain on Mr. Ghani’s federal government to keep accountable senior officials involved in wrongdoing.

“Unless we commence observing Afghans currently being introduced to justice for corrupt routines, we do not think the government will send out a powerful enough signal,” EU Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin stated.

Transparency Worldwide, the Berlin-dependent checking team, mentioned Wednesday that corruption in the country’s protection sector poses a grave risk to the country’s weak armed forces.

“The Afghanistan Government has evidently created initiatives, but these are going to squander,” it mentioned in a latest study that ranks the defense sector as third most corrupt amid NATO and partner countries. “There is a real and immediate hazard that Afghanistan will collapse additional without severely addressing this dilemma.”

A spokesman for Mr. Ghani, Sayed Zafar Hashemi, cited progress battling corruption. Mr. Ghani has produced a procurement commission, individually overseeing the acceptance of every single agreement in excess of $ 1 million. But the spokesman acknowledged it would get time to root out procedures that experienced existed for many years.

Officers of the overseas help businesses named in the letter, such as USAID, declined to provide specifics about their allegations.

MEC Executive Director Ahmad Rashed Behroz, who will phase down at the end of the year, stated donors ended up prompted to publish the letter following a collection of conferences unsuccessful to produce a adjust in conduct.

“They found that no a single was getting them severely, so they had to place it in creating,” he explained.

Mr. Behroz stated an case in point of the methods the rules experienced been flouted was an try by commissioners in September to claim income for times they did not perform and expensed business class tickets for which they weren’t entitled.

Mr. Behroz said he is resigning from the MEC since commissioners abused their powers. “There was no oversight more than the roles and routines of the committee,” he said.

Another current MEC formal, who declined to be named, explained he found a colleague had improved his wage this 12 months without any individual noticing – from $ ten,000 to $ ten,670 a thirty day period.

The MEC official also explained he was subject to political strain, including a vote towards the release of a report into the $ 1 billion collapse of the Kabul Lender, which induced a monetary disaster in the nation. He refused and the report was in the long run printed.

MEC Chairman Shaukat Hassan denied any wrongdoing by customers, but said “further clarification” about salaries would be strictly observed and holiday seasons would be “more stringently” monitored. He also denied commissioners lacked the take care of to struggle corruption but mentioned it was sometimes required to average stories.

“MEC handles issues of grave concern to the state,” he said. “In this kind of circumstances, MEC tries to moderate its narrative so as not to lead to more damage to the concerned party.”

He explained Mr. Behroz is resigning simply because of an inside dispute.

In the wake of these troubles, other top officials have also departed the MEC.

The most high profile resignation came from Drago Kos, who chairs the Business for Economic Cooperation and Development’s operating team on bribery and expended over four a long time at MEC.

Mr. Kos explained the government’s failure to implement reforms and senior colleagues who were allegedly a lot more interested in pursuing their personal pursuits than preventing corruption had been the major motives he resigned.

“I was convinced that (Mr. Ghani) would invest a lot of work into creating a water-resistant anticorruption method in Afghanistan. But we are even in a worse placement than before” Mr. Kos stated. “Basically almost everything is standing still.”

The president’s spokesman mentioned other individuals have been approached about joining the corruption watchdog.

“The President is taking into consideration, and has currently achieved, a number of people and anticorruption activists for getting to be MEC national customers,” he explained.

Compose to Jessica Donati at Jessica.Donati@wsj.com

WSJ.com: Planet News

Kidnappings Escalate in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A marketing campaign of kidnappings against the Hazara ethnic group intensified on Saturday as gunmen stopped a amount of buses along Afghanistan’s main freeway and divided out the Hazara passengers, officers explained.

By early morning, between fourteen and thirty Hazara travellers experienced been seized alongside a stretch of Highway 1 in Zabul Province, in the south of the country, and taken away, a few protection officials mentioned, every citing a distinct amount of kidnapped folks.

There have been many episodes this calendar year involving Hazara motorists and bus travellers. While some of individuals kidnapped have been unveiled following negotiations, other individuals have been killed: This month, militants affiliated with the Islamic Point out are considered to have beheaded seven Hazara captives, amongst them a nine-year-aged woman.

The government’s powerlessness to quit kidnappings alongside the country’s principal highway — or to return the captives to basic safety — offers a growing political disaster to the presidency of Ashraf Ghani, just above a 12 months outdated. Right after the 7 captives have been killed this month, 1000’s of primarily Hazara protesters carried the coffins to the presidential palace, in what was the premier political demonstration in Kabul in many years. Guards shot and wounded as several as ten protesters as some of them scaled partitions to enter a palace parking good deal.

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It was not acknowledged no matter whether the Islamic Condition or the Taliban ended up powering the kidnappings on Saturday. Equally companies have focused Hazaras in the previous.

“Security forces are investigating the case and will discover out who kidnapped them,” Assadullah Kakar, a member of Zabul’s provincial council, explained on Saturday.

A driver of a single of the buses that were stopped, who gave his identify as Shawali, said that 6 or seven militants climbed aboard and began pulling Hazara passengers out of their seats.

“They ended up extremely indignant and managing travellers like animals,” he mentioned. “They have been telling travellers not to chat as they eagerly appeared for Hazara people.”

Just last thirty day period, the prime American common in Afghanistan, John F. Campbell, testified to a Residence committee about the state of stability in Afghanistan and claimed that Afghans “continue to have, as I explained, liberty of motion on Highway 1.”

But for Hazaras, bus outings down that freeway are a supply of dread. This calendar year on your own, as numerous as 31 Hazaras have been kidnapped in a solitary episode, explained Hassan Raza Yusufi, a Hazara member of the provincial council in Ghazni, which sits along Freeway 1. Mr. Yusufi mentioned there experienced been at minimum 5 other kidnappings of Hazaras alongside the part of Freeway one among Kabul and Kandahar this yr.

“We blame the govt for not having adequate security steps on the highways to safeguard its individuals,” Mr. Yusufi stated.

The government’s bad record of securing the release of kidnapped Hazaras is another sign of its constrained — and receding — authority in areas of the nation. This thirty day period, the destiny of the 7 beheaded Hazara victims was discovered not by federal government forces but by the Taliban fighters who had been advancing into a part of Zabul Province held by militants faithful to the Islamic Point out. Taliban fighters organized for a truck driver to just take the bodies to a authorities hospital.

Hazaras, traditionally Afghanistan’s most persecuted ethnic group, account for possibly 5 to 10 % of the country’s inhabitants, despite the fact that figures on demographics below are usually primarily based on estimates or guesswork. Hazaras are mainly Shiite in an overwhelmingly Sunni region, and Afghans of other ethnicities have extended pilloried them as outsiders, possibly descendants of the Mongol invaders who as soon as swept by way of the region. They faced persecution and strategies of murder in the course of several years of Taliban rule.

This most recent wave of violence towards them comes following a ten years of upward mobility. Given that the tumble of the Taliban in 2001, Hazaras have grow to be properly represented in the country’s universities and have acquired a diploma of political energy that has traditionally eluded them.

But the increase in kidnappings could be major numerous Hazaras to issue their potential in Afghanistan. As Afghans have joined the migrant trail to Europe, Hazaras are mentioned to be leaving at a disproportionate rate, despite the fact that statistical proof is nonexistent.

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