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Pakistan to Deploy 60,000 Troops Along Durnad Line

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2018)

Pakistan will add as many as 60,000 troops to boost its patrols along its border with Afghanistan in an effort to curb the flow of insurgents passing between the two nations, according to reports.

According to a report published by Bloomberg, 40 percent of the troops have already been recruited in the exercise, which is expected to take two years, the officials said, asking not to be identified so they could discuss sensitive troop movements.

About 13 percent of a fence planned along the 1,456-mile-long border has also been completed, they said.

The Pak-Afghan border has 235 crossing points and it is porous. Some crossing points are used by the militants and drug traffickers, according to the report.

Pakistan has come under increasing pressure to act against the Afghan Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani network since President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of allowing them safe haven.

In January, Trump suspended military aid to the nuclear-armed nation and accused Pakistan of giving “lies and deceit” in return for years of U.S. funding.

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Doha talks fragile but best chance for peace: NATO

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(Last Updated On: October 23, 2020)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that the Doha talks are “fragile” but the best chance for peace.

Stoltenberg following the second day of the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in Brussels on Friday, stated in a tweet: “Our fight against terrorism was top of the agenda at today’s Defence Ministerial meeting.” 

“NATO supports the peace process in Afghanistan. The Doha talks are fragile, but the best chance for peace. We also tasked our military commanders to expand our mission in Iraq,” he said.

Addressing the meeting, NATO Chief noted that the organization supports the US – Taliban deal and the Afghan Peace Negotiations.

“There is a historic opportunity for peace,” he said.

“And as part of the peace process, NATO has adjusted its military presence in Afghanistan. And our presence is conditions-based.”

Stoltenberg pointed out that any future adjustments of the NATO troops in Afghanistan must depend on progress in the peace talks and the conditions on the ground.

“The Taliban must reduce the unacceptable levels of violence, to pace the way to a ceasefire. They must break all ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations so that Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for terrorist attacks on our countries.”

“It is important to preserve the gains made over the last two decades with so much sacrifice. Not least for women and girls, so that peace benefits every Afghan and is sustainable in the long-term,” NATO Secretary-General further said.

The long-waited intra-Afghan talks, aimed to find a political settlement for the conflict in the country, was started six weeks ago. Despite several meetings between the negotiating teams of the Afghan government and the Taliban, the talks yet see any progress.

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We are not silencing the lawful frees and freedoms: Saleh

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(Last Updated On: October 23, 2020)

Vice President Amrullah Saleh has ordered the arrest of the individual who reported civilian casualties from an Afghan government airstrike on October 22, 2020, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. 

The Afghan air forces targeted a Taliban gathering at a mosque in Hazara Qarluq village in Takhar on Wednesday morning in which at least 12 children were killed and 18 civilians were wounded, sources said.

Saleh, however, rejected claims, stating: “No child was killed in Afghan Air Force strike in Takhar.”

VP stated that the Taliban sniper unit “responsible four massacre of our special forces a day earlier was targeted.”

“The person responsible for spread of this venomous and fake news was arrested immediately. Talibs use houses and mosques as shield,” Saleh tweeted.

Saleh also wrote on Facebook that legal action would be taken against those “who make false allegations.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Thursday that the Afghan government ordered an investigation into the incident. However, findings from investigations into other incidents of civilian casualties have not been made public and no one has been held accountable.

“Vice President Amrullah Saleh is trying to silence those who reported a potentially unlawful airstrike that killed civilians, including many children,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director. “The government should immediately release anyone detained under Saleh’s order and carry out a thorough and impartial investigation of the airstrike.”

In response to the Human Rights Watch’s report, Saleh stated that the Afghan government has no intent to restrict the absolute rights of the people.

“We are standing against freedom to kill, freedom to kidnap, freedom to harass, freedom to rape, freedom to steal, freedom to a massacre, freedom to grab public land, freedom to extort & freedom to cage the defender of the freedom.” 

“We aren’t silencing the lawful frees and freedoms,” he tweeted.

In recent weeks, Afghan government forces have sustained many casualties during intense fighting in Takhar province. The uptick in fighting comes amid rising numbers of Taliban attacks and little progress on the Afghan peace talks in Doha.

The laws of war permit attack only against military objectives, which include enemy fighters, weapons, and equipment. Warring parties are prohibited from deliberately attacking civilians, except those directly participating in hostilities. For a specific attack on a military objective to be lawful, it must discriminate between combatants and civilians, and the expected loss of civilian life and property must be proportionate to the anticipated military gain from the attack. Attacks that target civilians, that are indiscriminate, or that cause disproportionate civilian loss are unlawful.

It is not clear if Taliban forces were in the vicinity of the mosque. Mosques and schools are civilian objects not subject to attack unless being used for military purposes. Any Taliban fighters present would be required to take all feasible precautions to remove civilians from the vicinity.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has reported that women and children comprised 65 percent of the civilian casualties from airstrikes by the Afghan air force for the first half of 2020. The Afghan government has a poor record of investigating such incidents.

“The Afghan government is obligated to investigate possible laws-of-war violations by their forces,” Gossman said. “The free expression rights of those reporting on alleged violations should be respected.”

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Taliban attack kills 24 soldiers, take several hostages in Nimroz

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Photo: Social Media
(Last Updated On: October 23, 2020)

The Taliban attacked an Afghan military base in the Delaram district of Nimroz province, killing at least 24 Afghan National Army (ANA) members.

Shahnawaz Qaderi, district governor of Delaram told Ariana News that the incident took place in the Dehmazang area of the district on Thursday night.

According to Qaderi, at least four soldiers were wounded and as many six soldiers were also taken hostages by the militants.

Sources said that the militants have seized all equipment of the base.

Meanwhile, a video released on social media also shows a number of soldiers were taken hostages while their hands were tied behind their backs with handkerchiefs in front of armed men.

The Ministry of Defense yet to comment about the incident.

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