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Intelligence chiefs from regional countries meet in Kabul over security

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(Last Updated On: February 18, 2021)

Head of intelligence units from regional countries held a two-day conference on regional security and the fight against terrorism in Kabul this week, Ahmad Zia Siraj, the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Thursday.

Speaking at a meeting after the summit, Siraj said that the meeting, titled ‘Regional Counter-Terrorism Conference’, was attended by ministers and heads of national security and intelligence services from eight countries, including the United States, Pakistan and Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, Siraj told media representatives at the meeting.

Siraj said the meeting was held following in line with the Afghan government’s efforts to attract the support of regional countries and the world in the fight against terrorism and their efforts to bolster support for the peace process.

Siraj said that high-ranking officials from intelligence organizations praised the NDS for their initiative to host such a meeting.

“Members of the meeting focused on common terrorist threats on three levels: national, regional and international,” Siraj said.

“Also at the meeting, a joint roadmap and mechanism was designed to address the common terrorist threats,” he added.

Siraj said that during the meeting, NDS presented information and documents on the presence and widespread activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, noting that the activities of the Afghan government in the fight against terrorism is a step towards peace and stability in the region.

“It was stated at the meeting that the Afghan Defense and Security Forces have a prominent role to play in the fight against regional terrorism. The main goal of these forces is to protect Afghanistan from common regional threats and to prevent the spread of these threats to countries in the region,” he added.

Siraj said that the representatives of the participating countries, while acknowledging Afghanistan’s prominent role in the fight against terrorism at a regional level, accepted the Afghan government’s concerns and acknowledged the growing number of terrorist groups in the region.

“Representatives of the participating countries stated that peace and stability in the region passes through Afghanistan and that a stable Afghanistan is equal to stability in the region,” he asserted.

According to Siraj several issues were agreed upon at the meeting.

He said from now on, common threats will be identified and actions will be taken to eliminate them, and the process of information exchange between intelligence services will be accelerated.

He added that the NDS intends to host regional security meetings in the near future to form a regional consensus against terrorism.

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Logar police district chief killed in shooting

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2021)

An Afghan security official was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in eastern Logar province on Monday, sources said.

Hasibullah Stanekzai, Head of the Provincial Council told Ariana News that Shahpor Ahmadzai, police chief for PD1 of Logar, was gunned down by unknown armed men in the provincial capital Pul-e-Alam city.

The incident took place at Shahidan square in the city on Monday evening.

Ahmadzai, who was a former spokesman for Logar police, died in hospital from gunshot wounds sustained in the attack, Stanekzai said.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Amnesty International say ‘brutal crimes’ highlight govt failures

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2021)

Responding to the deadly bombing of Sayed-ul-Shuhada High School in Kabul on Saturday afternoon and the Zabul bus bombing on Sunday night, Amnesty International said Monday these two incidents must serve as a wake up call to the world.

Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, said: “The appalling scenes in West Kabul and Zabul Province must serve as a wake-up call to the world.

Officials confirmed Monday that 85 people were killed in the school bombing on Saturday and another 11 were killed in a IED explosion in Zabul on Saturday night.

“These unspeakable crimes brutally highlight the failure of authorities to protect civilians, particularly girls and minority groups. People are being slaughtered on a weekly basis and the bloodshed shows no sign of letting up,” Hamidi said.

“Now is not the time for the international community to turn its back on Afghanistan,” she said.

“Targeting civilians, especially children and schools, is a war crime and violation of international humanitarian law. All parties to the peace negotiations must focus their utmost efforts on protecting civilians, upholding human rights for all, and ending impunity for these crimes.”

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Pakistan’s Bajwa meets with Ghani in Kabul: Sources tell Reuters

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2021)

Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other leaders in Kabul on Monday, sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The media wing of Pakistan’s military did not immediately respond to a request for comment or confirm the visit.

According to Reuters, it was not immediately clear what was discussed during the meeting.

Neighbouring Pakistan is regarded as a key player in the Afghan peace process. In the past Islamabad has been accused of harbouring the Taliban but in recent years Washington and other Western powers have acknowledged its efforts to push the militant group to take part in peace talks.

Bajwa on Monday also met Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff General Nicholas Patrick Carter for talks on Afghan peacemaking, according to a statement from Pakistan’s military media wing. The venue of the meeting was not given.

In recent weeks, Taliban and diplomatic sources told Reuters, Pakistan has been negotiating with insurgents to try and get them to commit to a ceasefire, agree to an extension of the U.S.-Taliban agreement which stipulated forces should withdraw by May, and to continue to take part in peace talks at a planned conference in Turkey.

Violence has risen starkly in Afghanistan in recent weeks with the Taliban launching attacks throughout the country.

The Taliban announced on Sunday night that they would commit to a three-day ceasefire for the Islamic religious holiday of Eid later this week.

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