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SIGAR: Increase of violence impacts US-Taliban peace deal

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(Last Updated On: November 6, 2020)

US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), quoted Pentagon, saying an increase in violence by the Taliban is not acceptable and will impact the US-Taliban peace deal.

US officials said that increase in violence means a violation of the Doha deal.

The SIGAR new report reveals that the Afghan government seeks a lasting ceasefire, however, the militants want to impose their own circumstances.

“The Taliban is calibrating its use of violence to harass and undermine [the Afghan government and security forces], but remain at a level it perceives is within the bounds of the [U.S.-Taliban] agreement,” said SIGAR.

SIGAR also said that Taliban attacks have been increased by 50 percent in the past three months of 2020.

Previously the Afghan National Security Council (ONSC) has said that the Taliban has conducted an average of 55 attacks per day since the signing of the peace deal with the United States in Doha.

The council said that the Taliban conducted 2,804 attacks from the beginning of March to April 19, adding the group “does not remain committed to the reconciliation process that will help the country to end decades of war.”

“When a deal does not have a guarantee, then both sides criticizing each other. It means that the Doha deal is not guaranteed,” said Jawed Kohistani, a military analyst.

The SIGAR also said that anti-government groups are responsible for 83 percent of civilians’ casualties and the report attributed 38 percent of civilians’ casualties to the Taliban.

The United Nation in Afghanistan also attributed most of the civilians’ casualties to the anti-government groups.

“If the Taliban and government not announce a ceasefire and continue the violence, it means that they don’t have any respect for the Afghans’ blood.” Said Zabihullah Farhang, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission.

On the other hand, NATO said that they will increase their airstrikes in Afghanistan.

Lt.Gen. John Deedrick, the commander of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) on Friday said that the Taliban violence is too high and that support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will continue.

“The Taliban violence is too high and we are continuing to support the Afghan security forces and the government, and we will defend the Afghan security forces in accordance with the agreement,” said Lt. Gen. Deedrick. “We do conduct strikes and operations in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement, and we will continue to do so.”

This comes as the US continues to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan

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Arghandiwal claims he was sacked after opposing AOP contracts

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2021)

Former finance minister, Abdulhadi Arghandiwal, who was fired last week by President Ashraf Ghani, said on Monday that circles within the Presidential Palace (ARG) worked to have him ousted after he refused to approve contracts.

“Some circles in ARG worked in their personal interests to stop me from working. I asked the President to tell me directly everything, not by other circles,” said Arghandiwal.

This comes two days after Ghani fired Arghandiwal and approved a new acting minister.

According to ARG, the reason for Arghandiwal’s dismissal was the delay in collection of taxes; failure to cooperate with an assessment team investigating illegal appoints at the ministry; poor management’ a lack of commitment to good governance; not abiding by Article 77 of the constitution; and for violating decrees and directions issued by ARG.

Arghandiwal meanwhile said on Monday at a press conference that he had been dismissed because he opposed the procurement of different types of meat at inflated prices for the Administrative Office of the President (AOP) and he had disagreed with officials over an oil contract.

“Ten days ago a session of national procurement was held and I told the session that we can’t approve a contract that has 18 types of meat as our soldiers don’t even have water on the battlefield; President Ghani also rejected it. The second was an oil contract; oil in bazaars is 34 AFNs but on the contract it was 41 AFN. I opposed this,” said Arghandiwal.

This comes after a member of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) claimed that the AOP had gone ahead and procured 18 types of meat and vegetables worth 30 million AFN, in a move that sparked criticsm.

ARG has not yet commented.

Arghadiwal had been a close ally of Ghani during his previous election campaigns and was recently approved by the Wolesi Jirga as finance minister.

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US to consult with govt after reviewing deal with Taliban

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani said at a cabinet meeting on Monday that Washington will hold consultations with the Afghan government once the new Biden administration has reviewed the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February last year.

Ghani’s announcement comes a few days after the new US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib over the phone.

After their phone conversation late Friday, Sullivan stated Washington would review the deal.

Ghani meanwhile said on Monday that the discussion between the two NSAs shows the Biden administration recognizes the Afghan government and the Afghan security and defense forces as a strategic counterpart.

“The US will review the Taliban pact quickly and after that will hold consultations with the Afghan government to reach a roadmap,” said Ghani.

Political analysts, meanwhile, said that the increase in violence by Taliban and warnings issued by government are not convincing in terms of securing peace.

“They sit for peace in Qatar but discuss war and violence… they should stop the killing of Afghans,” said Wahid Faqiryar, a political analyst.

“I think the US will tell both sides (Taliban and government) to start peace talks again,” said Tariq Farhadi, another analyst.

On the other hand, close sources to the Taliban say the US will decide on whether to also engage in peace talks.

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Italian Embassy vehicle targeted in IED explosion in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2021)

An armored Land Cruiser belonging to the Italian Embassy was targeted in an early morning IED explosion in Kabul’s PD4 area in yet another targeted attack.

This time there were no casualties reported, police confirmed.

Security sources confirmed the Land Cruiser belonged to the embassy. Police stated a second vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, was also damaged in the explosion. 

This vehicle belonged to the Ministry of Economy. 

According to sources, no casualties were reported.

The incident happened at around 7.35am in Parwan-e-Do area of Kabul. 

This comes just a day after a senior official of De Afghanistan Bank, (the Central Bank) was targeted in an IED explosion in Kabul.

The bank said in a statement that Abdullah Dawrani, the head of the Financial Dispute Resolution Commission, was the target in an IED explosion at around 8.15 am on Sunday morning.

According to the statement, Dawrani was wounded and his bodyguard was killed in the blast.

The bank stated that another person was also injured in the explosion, which occurred in the Shah Shaheed area of PD8 of the city but did not reveal the person’s identity.

No group has claimed responsibility for either of the attacks.

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