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4 new A-29 Super Tucano transferred to AAF

F.P Report

KABUL: US on Thursday delivered four new A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft to the Afghan Air Force as a sign of continued support for the war-ravaged country, Afghan sources confirmed.

The delivery of Tucano attack aircraft is being considered as a gesture of assistance to the Afghan people for their protection and security.

The A-29 Super Tucano is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency and close air support. In January 2016, the U.S. Air Force delivered the first four of 20 A-29s to the Afghan Air Force.

The Afghan forces can use these aircrafts for close air attack, air interdiction, escort and armed reconnaissance.

The transfer of 150 Black Hawk helicopters, 150 MD 530 helicopters, six A-29 fixed-wing warplanes and five AC-208 warplanes is part of the US commitment to Afghanistan by 2021.

While addressing the people on the occasion, US army CDR Lt. Gen. Deedrick said that the Allies remain steadfast in commitment to assist Afghanistan, with training, with funding as they provide security for the Afghan people.

He further added, “With the addition of these four aircraft, we have now transferred eighteen A-29s since 2016 & we will continue to transfer an additional six in Feb.”

The Defense Minister of Afghanistan Assadullah Khalid said that it demonstrates resolute support from the US for Afghanistan. He added the support would continue until terrorism is defeated in Afghanistan and the region.

Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid expressed his views on intra-Afghan talks. He said that, significant surge in violence with the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations with the Taliban seeking position of strength at the table.

He added, the Afghan forces remain on the defensive posture.

He warned enemies of Afghanistan should end dreaming about dissolving the Afghan forces on the commands of Pakistan.

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32 security force members killed

KABUL (TOLOnews):At least 32 security force members, including public uprising forces, were killed and 25 others were wounded in Taliban attacks in several parts of the country on Wednesday night, local officials said on Thursday.

In eastern Nangarhar province, at least 20 Afghan security forces, including public uprising forces, were killed and 15 were wounded in Taliban attacks in the districts of Hisarak, Khogyani and Shirzad, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The Taliban attacked security checkpoints and clashed with security forces, said Khogyani, adding: “Around 29 Taliban, including a local commander, were killed and 25 others were wounded.”

In western Herat province, At least six security force members were killed in a Taliban car bomb at a security checkpoint in Herat’s Shindand district on Wednesday night, local officials said.

Other sources said that more than 10 security force members were killed in the blast and several others were wounded.

Syed Wahid Qatali, provincial governor, said that “at least 53 Taliban were killed” in the attack on the security checkpoint in the district and the Taliban attack “was pushed back.”

In the western province of Badghis, at least three security forces were killed and eight others were wounded after the Taliban attacked a security checkpoint in Qadis district, said Mohammad Haidari Sharifi, district governor.

He said that his office had been damaged in the Taliban attack and also “two Taliban were killed and three others were wounded.”

“Two civilians were also wounded in the attack,” he added.

In southern Uruzgan province, three public uprising forces were killed and two were wounded in Gezab district of the province after the Taliban attacked the district, said Zergai Ebadi, a spokesman for provincial governor.

“The Taliban attacked the district from three directions and Sultan Mohammad, a commander of public uprising forces, and two of his sons were killed in the attack,” Ebadi said, adding that “two of his sons were also members of public uprising forces.”

“Sultan Mohammad’s wife was also killed after the Taliban attacked Sultan Mohammad’s house,” he added.

However, the Taliban has not commented on the attacks.

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Journalists misinformed about visa

KABUL (Agencies): The Afghanistan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) said the government was obliged to allow journalists to return to Qatar for coverage of the peace talks.

Sediqullah Tawhid, AJSC head, told a press conference here that a number of journalists who went to Qatar had returned due to lack of government’s cooperation.

He said the journalists had no option but to return home leaving the rest of the peace process after they were told their five-day visa was expiring.

Tawhidi said it was government’s responsibility to facilitate journalists, provide them information and create no obstacles during their coverage of the peace talks in Qatar. He called on the State Ministry for Peace Affairs and the government to facilitate return of journalists to Qatar to cover the rest of talks.

Tawhidi said peace affairs ministry officials and some other government officials told reporters in Qatar that Qatar had issued a five-day visa to them and they could face multiple problems if they stayed further.

However, he claimed Qatar had issued a month long via not five days visa for journalists.

Hamid Kohisatani, a reporter with Kilid group, said Qatar provided good opportunity to journalists to cover the peace talks but Afghan officials misinformed them about visas and the length of their stay there and more problems.

He said they were forced to return after three days with a delegation that included Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the National High Reconciliation Council (NHRC) chairman, and acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar.

A number of other returning reporters held similar views and urged the government to help them go back to cover the rest of peace talks in Qatar.

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MoFA to form trilateral commission

KABUL (Khaama Press): The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a trilateral commission for economic cooperation will be established between Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan, the ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, a diplomatic meeting between the representatives of Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan was held at the ministry to form a trilateral commission between the three governments, in a bid to further facilitate cooperation in economic development.

Bahador Aminian, Iran Ambassador to Kabul and Avezov Hoja Sapargeldiyewich, Turkmenistan Ambassador to Kabul attended the meeting lead by Mirwais Nab, Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Cooperation.

Nab considers the commission an outstanding initiative that will determine better cooperation of the three governments in economic development, including trade and transit in regional level, the statement said.

He reiterated that Afghanistan will remain committed to the development of political, economic and cultural affairs between Iran, Turkmenistan and other neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, the ambassadors shared their thoughts on such a move, calling for soon implementation of the initiative, the statement said.

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Officials lay foundation to build CNPA in Kabul

KABUL (Agencies): The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Country Office for Afghanistan and the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) held a groundbreaking ceremony, marking the start of constructing a Counter Narcotics Canine (K9) Center at CNPA Headquarters in Kabul Wednesday, according to UNODC press release.

General Mohammad Hashim Urtaq, Deputy Minister Counter Narcotics, Ministry of Interior; Mitsuji Suzuka, Ambassador of Japan in Afghanistan; Dmitriy A. Zhirnov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Afghanistan; and Mark Colhoun, UNODC Representative in Afghanistan attended the ceremony.

The government of Japan and Russian Federation provided financial and technical assistance to implement this project.

“The project is a pivotal element in the creation of a dedicated counter narcotics canine capacity within the country,” said an emailed statement to Khaams Press. “It has been made possible through financial and technical assistance received from the Governments of Japan and the Russian Federation.”

“Given the fact, that the majority of seizures made by Afghan law enforcement agencies are intelligence based and only 15 percent of the drugs seized are as a result of interventions using detection equipment and tools, the introduction of specialized working dogs will greatly enhance the interdiction efforts of the Government of Afghanistan,” Mark Colhoun, the UNODC Representative in Afghanistan, said.

Starting in 2012 as a training programme for Afghan counter-narcotics officers, the project evolved into the “Domodedovo Training Programme” which included the five Central Asian Republics and was utilized as a tool to promote greater regional cooperation, the statement read.

“The successes achieved through that initiative made it possible to further expand the scope into the operational environment and 2018 saw the development of a new project to establish a “Counter Narcotics Canine (K9) Unit in Afghanistan.”

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Afghan civil society groups call for inclusivity in talks

KABUL (Agencies): Afghan civil society institutions called for more inclusive peace negotiation talks so that the voice of all Afghans from every layer of the society can be heard in the Afghan peace negotiation talks.

The civil society organizations gathered under the name “Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace.”

“Over 500 participants from 34 provinces were brought together by AMIP at the National Summit of Civil Society and Media to discuss various thematic areas as part of their working groups and jointly develop key recommendations for the negotiating parties,” the Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace wrote on Twitter.

According to the members of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace, the Afghan people have been the main victims of four decades of war, but they do not direct representation in the peace talks.

Meanwhile, EU special envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia also stressed the need for the inclusivity of the talks.

“Launch today of #amip2020 for inclusivity & diversity in #IAN, to reflect & represent all voices of Afghan society & ensure sustainable peace. #EU calls on both parties to embrace the Afghan-owned & non partisan #AMIP to ensure that the diversity of #Afghanistan is heard,” Tweeted Kobia.

“One of the vital components that can better define our objectives or validate our claim is the structure or formation of the same mechanism or institution or action that we take. There are members of the leadership committee from the civil society institutions, secretariat and then the regional groups and experts within the framework of this structure,” said Roshan Mashal, member of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace.

One of the objectives behind the formation of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace is to ensure the protection of the gains the country has made over the past 20 years.

“If negotiators from either side need the suggestions or advice or information from the civil society institutions or the public on certain topics, the mechanism will swiftly act to gather information inside Afghanistan and then dispatch it to the negotiators,” said Ibrahim Tawalud, a member of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace.

In addition, Ole Andreas Lindeman, the Norwegian ambassador to Afghanistan, said that the intra-Afghan talks have created a platform to end the four decades of war.

“”The world is drastically hopeful about the peace negotiation process. This mechanism is making us hopeful to reach peace after four decades of war,” said ambassador Ole Andreas Lindeman at the launching ceremony of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace.

Addressing the ceremony virually, Habiba Sarabi, a member of the peace negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, said that the Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace has also established contact offices in eight zones of the country.

“Peace negotiation between the Afghan government and Taliban is unprecedented in the history of Afghanistan. As the peace negotiation has started, Sweden would like to see Afghans developing this mechanism and amplifying the peace process engagement,” said Chrisitina Dahlman, deputy Swedish ambassador to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP) is a new, innovative, independent, inclusive peace-support mechanism built by civil society, for civil society and It seeks to promote the Afghan people’s active engagement in the Intra Afghan Talks and to ensure that their voices are heard,” said Lailuma Nasiri, a member of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace.

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14, including 5 militants killed in Kunduz

Monitoring Desk

KUNDUZ: Five militants and nine security personnel have been confirmed dead as clash erupted in Dasht-e-Archi district of the Kunduz province of Afghanistan on Wednesday, district governor Nasrudin Nazari Saadi said.

The clash broke out after the Taliban insurgents attacked security checkpoints in a local bazaar to gain ground but police returned fire, triggering gun battle which lasted for couple of hours and leaving 14 deaths including five insurgents and nine security personnel on the spot.

Nine more people including two civilians, five insurgents and two policemen had been injured, the official added.

Taliban militants haven’t commented. (Xinhua)

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Geneva to host Afghanistan Conference in Nov. this year

KABUL (Agencies): This year’s Afghanistan Conference, slated to take place in late November in Geneva, will be a milestone event in the country’s quest for peace, prosperity and self-reliance, says the UN mission here.

Jointly organised by the governments of Afghanistan and Finland, as well as the United Nations, the conference will renew international and the Ghani administration’s commitments to the development and stability of Afghanistan.

A statement from UNAMA said the participants would agree to joint development goals for 2021-24 and to coordinate uplift cooperation regarding financial support for Afghanistan.

The event comes at a historic moment as the launch of the Afghan peace talks affords new opportunities for development, according to the UN mission.

Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal commented: ‘Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. On peace, we have moved from desirability to feasibility and credibility due, largely, to the sacrifices made by the Afghans and the unmatched confidence-building measures taken by the government.’

He stressed the Afghans must remain united in their vision and ambition to realise a progressive, prosperous, democratic, free and stable Afghanistan at peace with itself, its neighbours and the world.

On development, he called for continued emphasis on high-level planning. The minister stressed the focus must shift to delivery and implementation.

The government and its international partners must work together on a vision for demonstrable reduction in poverty, Arghandiwal continued.

Investment in peace and development must provide sufficient guarantees for gender equity, protection of human rights, women ‘s rights and the rights of minorities as well as democratic principles.

‘Corruption, which drains Afghanistan’s valuable resources and interrupts the process of realising self-reliance, must be fought in all its forms,’ he said.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said: ‘For the first time in decades there is a real chance for peace. Finland stands firmly with other development partners in supporting Afghanistan towards sustainable development, prosperity and a lasting peace.

Inclusivity and women’s meaningful participation at all stages of the peace process were vital for peace and development, Haavisto added.

Despite making progress since 2001 in its political, social and economic outlook, Afghanistan needs to make decisive efforts to reach its potential as a stable, peaceful and self-reliant society during the last years of its Transformation Decade (2015-2024).

Deborah Lyons, the UN secretary-general’s special representative, remarked: ‘This is a critical moment for Afghanistan, as it embarks upon peace negotiations to end the decades-long conflict.

She hoped the international community would use the occasion to reaffirm its steadfast support to Afghanistan’s development, in parallel with the peace process.

‘The UN is committed to working with the Afghan government, Finland and the donor community to deliver the best possible outcome for the benefit of all Afghans,’ said.

Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari said his country was looking forward to co-hosting the pledging conference together with the government of Afghanistan and the UN.

‘Solving the complex challenges in Afghanistan requires joint efforts and long-term commitment from Afghanistan and the international community,’ he said.

‘Together with our partners we are committed to reshaping the aid architecture while ensuring that it will preserve the progress achieved over the past decades and strengthen the further realisation of human rights and democratic principles.’

The event will take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on November 23-24, in a hybrid format where delegates may also participate virtually.

More than 70 countries, international organisations and Afghan government officials, as well as civil society representatives, are expected to participate in the conference.

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Two killed, 12 wounded in Takhar explosion

TAKHAR (Agencies): At least two civilians were killed and 12 were wounded in a blast from an IED in Kalafgan district of Takhar province, police said.

According to the police the IED was placed in a motorbike and the blast happened in Kalafgan city of the Kafalgan district.

According to the police, following the IED blast, several gas cylinders detonated in the area and damaged surrounding shops.

Police said that according to the preliminary investigations, the target was General Khair Mohammad Temor, the former Takhar police chief who was passing the area.

Police said that Temor survived the attack.

So far no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast.

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Former Guantanamo detainee now sits across the table from Trump team

F.P Report

DOHA: Mullah Muhammad Nabi Omari, who is today part of the Taliban delegation that met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the Afghan peace talks has a history of nearly twelve years of imprisonment in notorious Guantanamo Bay prison.

On September 13, 2020, a former US Guantanamo detainee, Faiz Mohammad Ahmed Al Kandari, who now lives in Kuwait tweeted out a photo of Mullah Mohammad Nabi Omari in a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the negotiations between the US and Taliban. Kandari was released from in 2016 without ever being charged with war crimes.

“I still remember when he (Mullah Muhammad Nabi Omari) said to me while we were in the sixth camp, pointing to the sun: My certainty of relief and victory is greater than my certainty that this sun is rising, it is a matter of time, and the consequence is for the righteous.” He tweeted.

Born in Khost, Afghanistan, in 1968, Mullah Muhammad Nabi Omari, an influential member of the Taliban and is one of the “Taliban Five”. He was imprisoned for nearly 12 years in extrajudicial detention at the infamous US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba in 2002. In 2014, in an exchange for US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, who had been a Taliban prisoner since 2009, Omari was transferred to Qatar together with four other men known as the “Taliban Five”.

According to the swap deal brokered by the Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad, these five Taliban members, Mohammad Nabi Omari, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mullah Mohammad Fazl and Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa, had to stay in Qatar for one year as a condition of their release. Today, he is among the delegation taking part in the Afghan peace talks with the Trump administration.

According to journalist Tahir Khan who tracks the Taliban, these five men were senior leaders in the Taliban, and they enjoyed “the trust of the foot soldiers.” Due to their great sacrifices for the movement, they were “trusted friends” of the Taliban’s founder, Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Meanwhile, in 2015, before becoming president, Donald Trump called released Taliban members “five killers,” while criticizing the prisoner exchange agreement saying they were now “back on the battlefield.”

“I’ve seen nothing that causes me to believe these folks are reformed or [have] changed their ways or intend to re-integrate to society in ways to give me any confidence that they will not return in trying to do harm to America.” Were the words of Pompeo, a Congressman for the Republican party at the time.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham wrote: “they have American blood on their hands and surely as night follows day, they will return to the fight,” in a letter to leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2014. “In effect, we released the ‘Taliban Dream Team,’ Graham added.

And now after six short years and Trump along with his administration, particularly Secretary of State, is sitting across the table deciding the future of Afghanistan with a man they said could never be reformed.