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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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Guarded by ex-inmates, Kabul’s Pul-e-Charkhi Prison lies deserted

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(Last Updated On: September 16, 2021)

Afghanistan’s infamous Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, which once housed thousands of Islamic Emirate forces and Daesh fighters in its sprawling compound on the outskirts of Kabul, today stands virtually empty, except for the remnants of prisoners’ belongings and discarded documents.

On August 15, as the Islamic Emirate drove into Kabul following the fall of the previous government, the gates to the prison were flung open – ending in some cases years of incarceration for many detainees.

The once heavily fortified facility is now guarded by former inmates – Islamic Emirate members – and only a small section is used for new inmates, alleged criminals and drug addicts arrested in the past month.

A walk through the deserted cell blocks is a stark reminder of the recent changes in the country.

In some cells, personal items that once belonged to prisoners lie forgotten about, and discarded documents are testimony to the unexpected collapse of the former Ashraf Ghani government.

In parts of the prison, signs of the Islamic Emirate flag remain, as does the black flag of Daesh.

One former prison guard, Safiullah, told Ariana News: “There is no one, you can see, they have generally destroyed many places and left.”

While the majority of political prisoners were Islamic Emirate members, no differentiation was made when the gates opened. As a result hundreds of Daesh fighters also fled, as did some hardened criminals.

During the walk through of the facility, Safiullah also pointed out areas that were used for specific purposes.

“This was a Madrasa where the Islamic Emirate’s Qaris [teachers] were teaching students to memorize the Holy Quran. We set up this Madrasa for them,” Safiullah said.

One former inmate, an Islamic Emirate member Mohammad Salim, in turn pointed out the section used by prison guards to mete out punishment.

“They punished us here; they tied our hands here and punished us and beat us here,” said Salim.

Islamic Emirate authorities have however said that they are working to recapture and return some former inmates – especially hardened criminals – to the facility.

Pul-e-Charkhi has a long, disturbing history of violence, mass executions and torture.

Mass graves and torture cells were uncovered dating from the Soviet-backed governments of the late 1970s and 1980s and under the former government it was known for poor conditions and overcrowding.

The prison’s 11 cell blocks were built to house 5,000 inmates, but were often packed with more than 10,000, including political prisoners and hardened criminals.

Some of the Taliban now guarding the site were former inmates while the former guards have fled.

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UN envoy, Haqqani discuss urgent need for humanitarian aid

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(Last Updated On: September 16, 2021)

Deborah Lyons, head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, has met with Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new acting interior minister, to discuss much needed humanitarian relief for Afghanistan.

Suhail Shaheen, an Islamic Emirate spokesman, said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday: “(Haqqani) stressed that UN personnel can conduct their work without any hurdle and deliver vital aid to the Afghan people.”

Afghanistan was already facing chronic poverty and drought but the situation has deteriorated in the last month with the disruption of aid, the departure of tens of thousands of people including government and aid workers, the freezing of foreign reserves and the collapse of much economic activity.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told an international aid conference this week that Afghans were facing “perhaps their most perilous hour”.

The UN mission in Afghanistan said that in the Wednesday meeting Lyons had stressed the “absolute necessity for all UN and humanitarian personnel in Afghanistan to be able to work without intimidation or obstruction to deliver vital aid and conduct work for the Afghan people.”

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Baradar says reports he was hurt in internal clashes are false

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(Last Updated On: September 16, 2021)

Afghanistan’s acting deputy prime minister Abdul Ghani Baradar appeared in a video interview posted on Wednesday and denied reports that he was hurt in a clash with a rival faction of the Islamic Emirate.

“No this is not true, I am OK and healthy,” Baradar said in an interview with state TV which was posted on Twitter by the Islamic Emirate’s political office in Doha.

“The media says that there is internal disputes. There is nothing between us, it is not true.”

The brief clip showed him seated on a sofa next to an interviewer with an RTA state television microphone in front of him, apparently reading from a sheet of paper.

Earlier, an official from the cultural commission said on Twitter that the interview would be shown on RTA TV to disprove “enemy propaganda.” Islamic Emirate officials have issued repeated denials in recent days that Baradar had been hurt.

The denials follow days of rumors that supporters of Baradar had clashed with members of the Haqqani network, a group affiliated with the Islamic Emirate based near the border with Pakistan and blamed for some of the worst suicide attacks of the war.

Baradar, one of the founding members of the Islamic Emirate and once seen as the likely head of government, had not been seen in public for some time. He was not part of the ministerial delegation which met Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Kabul on Sunday.

In the clip, he said he had been on a trip when the visit took place and had not been able to get back in time.

On Wednesday, Anas Haqqani, younger brother of the newly appointed Acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, also issued a statement on Twitter denying reports of internal rifts in the movement.

The rumors follow speculation over rivalries between military commanders like Haqqani and leaders from the political office in Doha like Baradar, who led diplomatic efforts to reach a settlement with the United States.

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