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Ghani’s order to ANDSF to break ‘active defense’ mode; follow-up reactions

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(Last Updated On: May 13, 2020)

President Ghani’s order of shifting the Afghan forces from “active defense” mode to “offensive” one has triggered national and international reactions.

Following Tuesday’s heinous attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar, President Ghani in a video statement ordered Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to switch from “active defense” mode to “offensive” one.

Pointing at attacks on the hospital in Kabul, the funeral in Nangarhar, and some other acts of violence, President Ghani said that the Taliban and Daesh have killed innocent Afghans, including women and children.

The president has also said that the Taliban has intensified its attacks and violence against the call of the Afghan government and the nation for a ceasefire and bringing peace.

Consequently, the Taliban released a statement condemning the attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar, considering them of Daesh’s work, noting it is due to the operations of the Taliban “that there remain no known Daesh strongholds in any part of Afghanistan”.

Also, the statement underlines that “such attacks are jointly planned and executed from guesthouses in Kabul and other cities by Daesh members” and the government “intelligence in order to batter the nation, provide a space for the implementation of failed policies and to take anti-Islam and anti-peace steps”.

The Taliban statement says that since the singing of the US-Taliban agreement, the Afghan government “has been trying to create hurdles for the peace process”.

“From deliberately delaying the prisoner release process which was both an important step for agreement implementation and launch of intra-Afghan negotiations and could have safeguarded the lives of thousands of prisoners from the current threat of coronavirus, to the current declaration of offensive operations”, the Taliban underscored in the statement.

The Taliban says it is “fully prepared to counter all enemy movements and offensives” noting that “from now onwards the responsibility of further escalation of violence and its ramifications” will be the responsibility of the government.

On the other hand, the United States, in a press release Tuesday, condemning the Kabul and Nangarhar attacks noted, “We note the Taliban has denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous. The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

“As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism. The Afghan people deserve a future free from terror, and the ongoing peace process continues to present a critical opportunity for Afghans to come together to build a united front against the menace of terrorism,” the US underlines through the statement.

Zalmay Khalilzad US Special Representative for Reconciliation in Afghanistan, who is the axis in the Afghan peace process, in a tweet, called on Taliban and the Afghan government to cooperate “against a common enemy that perpetrates such crimes” noting “Failure to do so, leaves Afghanistan vulnerable to terrorism, perpetual instability & economic hardship.”

He condemned Tuesday’s attacks, tweeting that the “unspeakable” violence “against mothers, babies, and unborn children” in Kabul and on a funeral in Nangarhar “are acts of pure evil”.

Also, the US Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson of the US Embassy Kabul condemned the attacks and those who are targeting the defenseless and oppressed people.

The United Nations has also condemned the attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

In addition, the Human Rights Watch has considered the attack on the hospital a war crime.

Ariana News Analytical

Violence in Afghanistan was expected to grade zero after the US-Taliban agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan; however, suicide bombing and other acts of violence still continue.

As in the very latest examples of terrorism Tuesday, at least 30 people were killed and 70 others were injured in a suicide bombing in eastern Nangarhar province as well as a minimum 14 were killed and 15 others got wounded in an attack on a maternity ward in a hospital in Kabul.

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Taliban team member says contentious issue is US-Taliban deal

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2020)

A member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, Khairullah Khairkhwa, said on Saturday that the main point of contention in the ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha was that the Afghanistan Republic was refusing to deal with the current talks in the framework of the US-Taliban agreement.

This agreement was conditions-based and was signed in Doha in February – which ultimately led to bringing the two warring sides together.

Khairkhwa said in a video recording that “real controversy is that the Afghan side is reluctant to accept that intra-Afghan talks are underway as part of a Taliban deal with the United States.”

According to Khairkhwa, the second point of contention is that Shiites say that decisions should not be based solely on Hanafi jurisprudence. The Afghan negotiating team want Hanafi, Shiite and human rights included.

Hanafi is one of the four schools of thought of religious jurisprudence within Sunni Islam and makes considerable use of reason or opinion in legal decisions.

Talks started two weeks ago between the two sides which clearly appear to have reached some sort of deadlock although very few details have been released on the discussions by either side.

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Taliban record video of their checkpoint actions close to Kabul

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior downplayed claims of Taliban checkpoint activity in Kabul on Saturday but a video clip shared on social media sparked concern among the city’s residents. 

The video clip, appearing to have been taken by the Taliban, surfaced on Saturday indicating Taliban checkpoints had been in PD5 in Kabul – in Bagh-e-Dawood, Qale Haidar Khan and in Company area and Arghande in Paghman district. 

One Taliban member had a radio with him while a second was armed. A third Taliban member appeared to have taken the video. 

In the video the insurgents stopped and questioned truck drivers and at least one taxi driver on where they were heading and where they had come from. They also asked one driver about the situation along the Kabul-Ghazni highway.

One Taliban said to a truck driver: “Company area of Kabul province where Islamic Emirate Mujahideen are present and asking people and … (to the driver) how are you? You, you ok?

Staring at the driver of the truck he said: “Where have you come from?”

The driver answered he had come from Ghazni and said he was on his way to Kabul. 

The Ministry of Interior, however, downplayed the claims, saying that the Afghan security forces have an active presence in the areas.

“The group’s physical presence is not lasting. They always flee from one place to another area. Our joint security forces have an active presence where the Taliban claim to be,” Tariq Arian, the ministry’s spokesperson said.

The video sparked a worried response from social media users and one resident in PD5 told Ariana news that government is not maintaining security in the area. 

He said a friend had recently been shot dead by the Taliban but “government did not address the issue and police told us you [must] pay Usher (taxes) to the Taliban,” for protection. 

Meanwhile, Afghan National Police said during the night Taliban’s Red Unit launched attacks on security checkpoints on the outskirts of Kabul city, including Company area.

This comes amid rising violence across the country that has sparked serious concern among the country’s leaders and the international community – especially as the Afghan government and the Taliban are still engaged in the early stages of peace negotiations in Doha. 

Leaders across the world have called for a reduction in violence and an urgent ceasefire to end the ongoing conflict that is taking its toll on war-weary Afghans who have lived through almost 40 years of war. 

 

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Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate quits as country’s crisis deepens

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2020)

Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib resigned Saturday after failing to form a new government in the crisis-hit country. 

Adib was tasked with forming a new government last month after the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet following the massive explosion in Beirut that caused widespread destruction across the city.

The blast came at a time when the country was reeling under a crippling economic crisis while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Adib’s resignation is a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron’s bid to rally sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war.

Adib’s appointment came after Macron intervened and secured a consensus on naming him in a country where power is shared between Muslims and Christians.

On Saturday, Adib told reporters he was stepping down after it became clear that the kind of cabinet he wished to form was “bound to fail”.

A source close to Macron reportedly said the situation that led to Adib’s resignation amounted to “collective betrayal” by political parties.

“It is indispensable to have a government capable of receiving international aid. France will not abandon Lebanon,” said the official.

Lebanon is in desperate need of financial assistance but France — the former colonial power — and others have refused to provide aid before serious reforms are made.

Adib announced he was stepping down but said Lebanon must not abandon the French plan or squander Macron’s goodwill.

“I stress that this initiative must continue,” he said after meeting President Michel Aoun.

He wished his successor well in the “hard task” of forming a government.

Politicians had promised Paris they would have a government in place by mid-September.

“It’s a setback, but we’re not giving up,” a French diplomatic source said.

Under the French roadmap, the new government would take swift steps to tackle corruption and implement reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars of international aid to fix an economy that has been crushed by a mountain of debt.

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