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Taliban Demands Release of 82 Prisoners in Exchange for Two Professors

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2019)

The Taliban militant group has given a list of 82 prisoners – to be exchanged with two foreign university professors – to the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation.

Wahid Muzhda, a pro-Taliban political analyst on Thursday told Ariana News that the list includes key members of the group including designated governors, war commanders, and two key members of the Haqqani Network, Anas Haqqani and Hafiz Rashid, who are kept in Bagram, Pul-e-Charkhi and Afghan Intelligence agency prisons.

Kevin King and Timothy Weeks from Australia were teaching at Kabul’s American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) before gunmen took them hostage near the campus in August 2016.

Meanwhile, government sources said the U.S. chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has told Afghan leaders that releasing of these inmates will facilitate the resumption of Afghan peace process including the intra-Afghan talks.

Recently, the Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said Khalilzad discussed the release of two professors during his latest visit to Kabul.

Mohib further explained President Ashraf Ghani’s new plan for peace that requires Taliban to announce at least a month of ceasefire before the start of any negotiations.

For the past couple of years, the government was ready for negotiations with the Taliban without any pre-condition and that has changed now, he added.

Here in Kabul, Afghan officials are holding meetings with foreign diplomats on daily basis, discussing the peace process.

On Wednesday, President Ghani’s National Security Advisor met with the Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Aleksandr Mantytsky in Kabul where they discussed the regional consensus for peace.

In addition, in a video message sent to media outlets, Spokesman of the National Security Council Kabir Haqmal re-emphasized on the government’s Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

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Regional consensus crucial to Afghan Peace Negotiations: SAARC

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2020)

Foreign Ministers of SAARC member states have emphasized the importance of the regional consensus for the success of the Afghan Peace Negotiations (APN).

In the SAARC Information meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which was held virtually on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Acting Foreign Minster Mohmmad Haneef Atmar thanked SAARC member-states for their support to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

According to a statement released on Friday, Atmar called on the participating countries to extend necessary support to Afghanistan for achieving “a humanitarian ceasefire between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolution.” 

“Atmar stressed that the humanitarian ceasefire would help enable relevant institutions of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to provide medical services to the affected communities living throughout Afghanistan,” the statement read.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia.

Its member states are Afghanistan, joined the organization in 2007, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

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Eight militants killed in Kandahar clash

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2020)

At least eight Taliban militants were killed and 11 more wounded in a clash with the Afghan forces in southern Kandahar provinces, police confirmed.

The incident took place in Takhta Pul district of Kandahar province on Thursday night.

Kandahar police spokesman Jamal Nasir Barakzai told Ariana News that the clash started after dozens of insurgents attacked a security checkpoint of the Afghan Security Forces. 

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces have also sustained casualties in the skirmish.

Barakzai stated that three policemen were killed and four others wounded in the battle.

The Taliban yet comment in this regard.

The Taliban have increased attacks of the Afghan forces across the country.

At least 64 Afghan Security and Defense Forces (ASDF) members have been killed in several days of clashes in central Uruzgan province.

Uruzgan officials confirmed the incident, saying that the center of the Gizab district of the province has been under besieging by the Taliban militants for several days. As well as the insurgents have launched coordinated attacks on Dihrawood in the past two days.

The officials have warned that the two districts would collapse to the hands of the Taliban if the government does not send reinforcement.

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Gizab, Dihrawood districts in Uruzgan on verge of collapse: officials

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2020)

The center of Gizab district of Uruzgan province has been under besieging by the Taliban militants for several days, local officials said Friday. 

According to the officials, thousands of Taliban insurgents have launched offensives to capture Gizab and Dihrawood districts. 

So far, 64 security forces have been killed in the clashes with the militants in the Gizab district. 

The officials added that the casualties in the Dihrawood district yet to be determined. 

The local officials urged for immediate reinforcements and help, saying that both districts are on the verge of collapse.

Meanwhile, residents also said that the Afghan forces yet to evacuate the civilians from the frontline.

It comes as the Taliban have intensified attacks against the government forces across the country since the start of the peace talks in Doha.

Earlier this week, the Taliban militants had killed at least 28 Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) members after they surrendered in Gizab district. 

The Taliban, however, had denied the claims and said the security forces were killed in a skirmish. 

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