Connect with us

Latest News

Taliban believed strengthening relations with other extremist groups

Ariana News

Published

 on

(Last Updated On: April 6, 2016)

Taliban-Afghanistan

The Taliban appear to be strengthening ties with other extremist groups, NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland said Tuesday, a development that could further boost the already emboldened insurgents and hinder international efforts at reconciliation.

The warning came just days after Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said “fundamental decisions” would have to be made urgently about coalition troop levels in 2017.

Cleveland, who is also the spokesman for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the opaque nature of the insurgents makes it difficult to gauge when they are cooperating, “but we do see these organizations … beginning to work more and more together.”

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani Network, a group Cleveland described as “perhaps the most capable terrorist organization operating in Afghanistan,” was named deputy leader of the Taliban last year.

“We do believe that that probably indicates to us that we are going to see a bit of a closer relationship between those organizations,” Cleveland said.

He also said the military “expect al-Qaida will very likely be working more closely with the Taliban as we move forward,” after the group’s leaders swore allegiance to new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor last summer.

By consolidating ties with other groups, “the Taliban really does pose, in our view, a very serious and a very real threat,” Cleveland said.

The Afghan government had hoped to exploit Taliban infighting after authorities revealed that former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for two years, and some senior insurgent leaders opposed Monsoor’s appointment as his successor.

The Taliban have made impressive gains in 2015 after the international military coalition ended its combat role in Afghanistan. The insurgents have vowed to increase attacks this year, leading some analysts to predict that fighting in 2016 could be the deadliest since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

While U.S. forces are able to conduct counterterrorism operations against groups the Taliban are colluding with, targeting the insurgents is left to the Afghan security forces — unless insurgents attack American troops.

Though some commanders have suggested changing that policy to allow international troops to more readily come to the aid of Afghan forces who have suffered record casualties in the past year.

As part of its counterterrorism missions, the United States conducted just under 100 “kinetic strikes” between Jan. 1 and March 31 this year, predominantly in Nangarhar province against adherents to the Islamic State, whose numbers have dropped from an estimated 3,000 to around 1,000. A few strikes were against al-Qaida, Cleveland said.

Despite the resiliency of the insurgency, the Afghan government and its international backers continue to seek a negotiated settlement to end the country’s 15-year war.

The Taliban have so far rejected overtures to resume peace talks that collapsed last year.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington last week, Dunford said “the reality is we are approaching now the period of high operational tempo in Afghanistan.” This meant that the U.S. and NATO would have to decide in the next few months on what their contribution levels should be in 2017 so that the incoming contingents could be properly prepared for the mission, he said.

The U.S. is currently scheduled to draw down its 9,800 troops in Afghanistan to about 5,500 by the start of next year.

 

STARS AND STRIPES

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Featured

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah, has died aged 91

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 30, 2020)

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has died at the age of 91, state media reported.

Sheikh Sabah’s 83-year-old half-brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed, has been named by the cabinet as his successor.

In a message of condolence to the royal family and Kuwaiti nationals, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said it was with “great regret and emotion” that he had received the news of the Emir’s death. 

“The Emir of Kuwait was one of the most important and prominent figures in the Islamic world and one of the good friends of Afghanistan. During his reign, he always had good intentions towards our country and paid special attention to the development of friendly and fraternal relations between the two countries,” said Ghani in a statement issued by the Presidential Palace.

“His Highness Sheikh Sabah during his reign performed valuable services for the advancement, progress and welfare of the people of his country,” said Ghani adding that he will always be remembered for the good work he had done. 

“On behalf of the government and people of Afghanistan, I express my deepest condolences and sympathy to the officials of the Kingdom of Kuwait, the family of the late Emir of Kuwait and the people of that country. I pray to God Almighty,” said Ghani. 

Afghanistan’s chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, who is currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan, also passed on his condolences. 

In a message on Twitter, Abdullah said: “Deeply saddened to hear the demise of His Royal Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait. My thoughts and prayers are with Amir’s family, the people & government of Kuwait. His soul may rest in peace.”

The Emir had ruled the oil-rich Gulf state since 2006 and had overseen its foreign policy for more than 50 years and had been dubbed the “dean of Arab diplomacy” for his efforts to restore relations with states that backed Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, when Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi forces.

He also often acted as a mediator in regional disputes, including the ongoing diplomatic stand-off between Saudi Arabia, its allies and Qatar.

 

Continue Reading

Featured

Flash flood warning issued for nine provinces

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Meteorological Department (AMD) on Tuesday issued a flash flood warning for nine provinces, including Kabul and Parwan. 

AMD said on its website rain and possible flooding can be expected in Kabul, Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Kapisa, Panjshir, Parwan, Nangarhar and Badakhshan provinces over the next 24 hours. 

Rainfall of between 10 and 20 mm has been forecast. 

This warning comes after August’s torrential rain across 13 provinces left close to 200 people dead and thousands homeless.

The worst-hit province was Parwan, which saw torrents of water destroy hundreds of homes in the provincial capital Charikar. 

 

Continue Reading

Featured

Almost 100 dead as Armenia, Azerbaijan clashes continue

Ariana News

Published

on

(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

Almost 100 people, including civilians, have been killed as battles between Armenia and Azerbaijan continued Tuesday, for the third day, over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. 

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan said that heavy fighting had continued overnight.

The self-proclaimed authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said 87 of their military personnel had been killed and 120 wounded since Sunday.

According to the Armenpress news agency, they put the fatality figure on the Azerbaijani side at nearly 400.

Azerbaijan has not revealed its military losses but has confirmed seven civilian deaths.

Although the fighting started in the Nagorno-Karabakh territory on Sunday, clashes appeared to be spilling over the border on Tuesday. 

Armenia’s defense ministry said a passenger bus had been hit by an Azerbaijani drone in the eastern Armenian city of Vardenis. There were no reports of casualties.

Azerbaijan earlier said two Azerbaijani civilians had been killed in Armenian shelling in Azerbaijan on Monday, following the deaths of five people from the same family a day earlier, BBC reported.

The UN Security Council meanwhile is expected to hold emergency talks on the issue Tuesday.

Both sides have mobilized more soldiers and Turkey on Monday was reportedly sending in Syrian rebel fighters to help Azerbaijan. 

In a statement on Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said: “I am deeply disturbed by the reported loss of civilian lives and injuries, as well as damage to civilian property and infrastructure.”

She also urged “an immediate end to the fighting”.

Continue Reading

Trending