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Hundreds of prisoners rounded up as Jalalabad prison attack continues

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2020)

Almost eighteen hours into the Jalalabad prison attack, Afghan security forces are still trying to bring the situation under control and round up escaped prisoners. 

Officials have said that hundreds of prisoners who escaped during the attack have since been caught. 

Some prisoners who have been arrested told Ariana News that six attackers entered the prison and ordered them to leave. The prisoners were told that if they did not leave they would be killed by the assailants. 

A security source said that the prisoners who escaped include Taliban members, Daesh militants, and criminals.

The attack started just after 6.30 pm on Sunday night and has continued through the night and Monday morning. 

Daesh, which claimed responsibility, detonated a car bomb outside the prison on Sunday evening, blowing the gate open. Militants then stormed the facility.

In the ensuing gun battle, hundreds of prisoners escaped. 

It is believed, however, that Daesh militants took control of two prison towers earlier and that some prisoners have taken up arms and are fighting alongside the attackers. However, there has been no official confirmation of these reports. 

Nangarhar governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, meanwhile said the death toll has risen to 21 and 43 wounded. 

He said the victims include prisoners, security forces, and civilians. 

Zahir Adil, a spokesman for the provincial health directorate, told Ariana News that 13 of those wounded are in a critical condition. 

This attack started just a day after Afghanistan’s intelligence services announced the Afghan special forces had killed a high-ranking Daesh member in an operation in eastern Afghanistan.

A statement late Saturday by the National Directorate of Security said the slain militant was Assadullah Orakzai, an intelligence leader for the IS affiliate (Daesh) in Afghanistan. The statement said he was killed near Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. IS has its headquarters in the province.

Orakzai was suspected of being involved in several deadly attacks against both military and civilian targets in Afghanistan.

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Abdullah hopes Pakistan visit will ‘open new chapter’ in relations

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said early Monday morning his visit to Islamabad will prove a unique opportunity for Afghanistan and Pakistan to exchange views on the intra-Afghan negotiations. 

In a post on Twitter, Abdullah said “I hope this visit will open a new chapter of mutual cooperation at all levels, especially on achieving a lasting and dignified peace in Afghanistan.”

He also confirmed he will leave for Islamabad Monday, for an official three-day visit and will be accompanied by a high-level Afghan delegation. 

Abdullah said he will meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the Chairman of the Senate, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Foreign Minister and other dignitaries.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Sunday, Abdullah will also deliver a key-note address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

This will be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as head of the HCNR and the first since 2008. 

“The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry stated. 

“Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. 

“Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people. The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries,” read the statement.

 

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Afghan peace negotiator says they hope to finalize agenda soon

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Afghan Peace Negotiator, Mawlawi Attaullah Lodin said Sunday that the Afghan team and the Taliban peace talks team have not yet reached a consensus on the agenda and framework for negotiations going forward. 

Lodin, whose video message was posted to the official Afghan negotiating team’s Twitter page said the team is fully aware of Afghanistan’s calls for an immediate ceasefire but that the talks are complicated and will need time for agreements to be reached. 

He said: “We hope to finalize the agenda and that both sides agree to it. Thereafter a ceasefire should be called.”

Lodin also raised the issue of the US-Doha agreement signed in February, which has become a point of contention between the two teams. 

The agreement led to the Afghan negotiating team meeting the Taliban team around the talks tables, which started two weeks ago. 

However, the Afghan government was not a party to the deal between the US and the Taliban, which does not recognize the Afghan government as legitimate. 

“We were not present in the deal, we have not signed the deal,” said Lodin. 

This comes after 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 within the framework of the US-Taliban agreement.

He also stated that the second point of contention is that Shiite members say that decisions should not be based solely on Hanafi jurisprudence. The Afghan negotiating team want Hanafi, Shiite and human rights included.

Lodin said, however, that according to the Afghan constitution, the Shiites Jaʿfari jurisprudence, or Ja’fari Fiqh, can not be ignored. 

“We don’t want to experience what is going on in Yemen and Syria as there is conflict between majorities and minorities in those countries,” he said. 

Another Afghan talks team member Nader Nadery meanwhile said late Sunday night that the two teams had met earlier and discussions had lasted several hours. The discussions focused on the contentious issues and would continue, he said.

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Abdullah’s official visit to Pakistan as head of HCNR confirmed

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), will pay an official three-day visit to Pakistan from Monday, Islamabad confirmed Sunday. 

During his visit, Abdullah will meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the foreign minister and other high-ranking government officials, Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement issued Sunday. 

Abdullah will also deliver a key-note address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

This will be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as head of the HCNR and the first since 2008. 

“The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry stated. 

“Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. 

“Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people. The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries,” read the statement.

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