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NATO Remains Committed to Supporting Afghan Forces: Stoltenberg

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(Last Updated On: October 25, 2019)

JensNATO remains committed to Afghanistan and continues to support the Afghan security forces with training and funding, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.

Speaking to reports following a meeting of Resolute Support’s Defense Ministers on Afghanistan, Stoltenberg added, “This helps make the Afghan forces stronger, so they can fight international terrorism and create the conditions for peace.”

He further said that Afghanistan’s last month presidential election has also been discussed in the meeting and he welcomes that the Afghan forces played a key role in providing security for the vote.

However, NATO Chief asked all parties involved in Afghan election to “exercise calm and restraint, as the electoral bodies work to determine the result.”

Prospects for for the peace process in Afghanistan was also discussed in the Defense Minister’s meeting.

“NATO supported the peace talks earlier this year and I would welcome them being resumed,” Secretary General Jens said adding, to reach a credible peace, Taliban should demonstrate ‘real willingness to make real compromises.’

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Afghan MMA fighter defeats his American opponent

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2020)

Nasrat Haqparast, an Afghan MMA fighter, defeated his American opponent Alex Munoz in a UFC fight in the United States.

The match was held Saturday in Las Vegas, US.

Haqparast managed to win all three rounds on every scorecard against his rival.

By defeating Alex Munoz, the Afghan fighter has picked up his 12th win in the UFC rings.

Haqparast is the second Afghan who is fighting in the UFC after Siyar Bahadurzada.

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Seven policemen killed in Ghazni Humvee bomb explosion

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2020)

At least seven policemen were killed and 16 others wounded in a vehicle bomb explosion in central Ghazni province.

Wahidullah Jumazada, a spokesman for the provincial governor told Ariana News that an explosive-laden Humvee was detonated at the Public Protection Battalion of Ghazni on Saturday evening.

The incident took place in the Kotal-e-Rawza area, Jumazada said, adding that several gunmen engaged in a gunbattle with Afghan forces following the explosion.

Officials at a Ghazni hospital said so far seven bodies and 14 wounded individuals had been taken to the hospital.

Local officials have not yet provided further details. 

No group or individual including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Afghanistan to release 400 ‘hard-core’ prisoners to start peace talks

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2020)

The Loya Jirga, or grand council, on Sunday officially agreed to release 400 Taliban prisoners so as to pave the way for intra-Afghan peace talks. 

The Jirga, made up of 3,200 tribal elders, community leaders and politicians, announced their decision on the third and final day of the gathering. 

“In order to remove an obstacle, allow the start of the peace process and an end of bloodshed, the Loya Jirga approves the release of 400 Taliban,” the assembly said in a resolution.

Within minutes, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said, “Today, I will sign the release order of these 400 prisoners.”

In his closing speech Ghani said: “We have the capacity for peace, and most importantly, we have the moral courage that war is not the solution.”

He said both the people and government of Afghanistan accept the Taliban as a reality but it was now up to the Taliban to prove whether they accept the diversity and unity of Afghanistan or not.

“The Loya Jirga of Afghanistan made history today. The Afghan Loya Jirga wants to end the last 40 years” of war, he said. 

“Great courage is not in war, great courage is in peace,” he added. 

He also said the decision made collectively by the delegates proved it was a sign of the country’s national unity and the people’s belief in the constitution and system of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The release of the 400 “hard-core” Taliban prisoners has been a stumbling block in the peace talks process over the past few months, following the Doha agreement signed between the US and the Taliban. 

In accordance with the agreement, the Afghan government had to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners. Over 4,600 have been released so far but the final 400, who were listed by the Taliban, has been a sticking point. 

Last week Ghani called for a Loya Jirga to make the decision. 

According to Reuters, talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government will start in Doha this week.

However, Ghani has said that the Taliban must agree to a complete ceasefire before talks can start. 

This latest move comes amid mounting pressure from the United States for Afghanistan and the Taliban to work out a peace deal. 

Ahead of November US elections, Trump is determined to fulfill a major campaign promise of ending America’s longest war.

The drawdown of troops is part of the US’s plan and will bring the number of US troops to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview broadcast on Saturday.

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