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US Ambassador ‘Strongly Welcomes’ Release of Taliban Prisoners

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(Last Updated On: November 13, 2019)

The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John Bass, welcomed the release of three Taliban prisoners including Anas Haqqani, a key member of the Haqqani Network.

John Bass told Ariana News on Tuesday that Washington hopes the move results in reduction of violence and beginning of peace talks to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan which has continued for too many years.

“The United States Government sees this courageous decision by President Ghani as an example of the strength of the Islamic Republic and of Afghan security forces, and the latest in a series of steps taken by President Ghani and the Government to respond to the Afghan people’s overwhelming desire for peace,” the U.S. Ambassador said.

Bass hoped that the Taliban respond to this “important humanitarian gesture with their own humanitarian gesture” in the coming days by releasing the Afghan security forces prisoners and western hostages that they currently hold in captivity.

However, he emphasized that the United States will continue its strong support for Afghanistan, regardless of how the Taliban may respond.

The ambassador’s comments come hours after President Ashraf Ghani, in a televised press conference, confirmed that Anas Haqqani, Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, three top Haqqani Network commanders, have been “conditionally released” in exchange for the release of two foreign university professors who were kidnapped by the Haqqani Network in 2016.

Ghani added that the negotiation was made in close cooperation with the U.S. in order to pave the way for face-to-face negotiations with the Taliban.

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Taliban accuses Afghan government intelligence of torturing the group’s prisoners

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(Last Updated On: July 11, 2020)

The Taliban accused the Afghan intelligence of torturing prisoners of the group for admitting to receiving money from Russia to kill American soldiers.

The claim of Russia rewarding Taliban fighters for killing US troops in Afghanistan is now slowly being linked to the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Recently, Khairullah Khairkhah, a member of the Taliban political group in Qatar, said that no one could prove that the Taliban had taken money from Russia to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.

“They have tortured prisoners to confess about the matter so that they can report to the world, while everything is completely baseless and no one can prove that the Taliban is receiving military assistance from Russia,” said Khairullah Khairkhah, a member of the Taliban political group in Qatar.

But Afghanistan’s national security says that it treats prisoners according to human rights law.

On the other hand, the Russian Foreign Minister once again called Russia’s involvement in this issue baseless and said that a number of US officials are initiating this claim to harm the Trump administration on the verge of the presidential election.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “I can only say that all these allegations are based on speculation and no clear facts have been presented.”

The Taliban have previously denied receiving money from Russia to kill US troops in Afghanistan, but this is the first time the Taliban have acknowledged their prisoners’ confession through torture by Afghan intelligence.

Although the Afghan government has said it will not release some 600 Taliban prisoners on serious charges, sources close to the Taliban say that the group still insists on releasing prisoners on the basis of a pre-arranged list and does not agree with the new list of prisoners.

“They still want the prisoners to be released according to the previous list. No new list has been arranged and has not been handed over to the government,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member.

Afghanistan’s allied countries also appear to be opposed to the release of hundreds of Taliban prisoners accused of involvement in major events, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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68 civilians killed, wounded in past week: ONSC

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(Last Updated On: July 11, 2020)

Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) released a statement about the civilian casualties saying that the Taliban, over the past week, killed 23 civilians and Injured 45 others in Afghanistan.

According to ONSC, the Taliban conducted 284 attacks in 16 provinces of Afghanistan in the past week resulting in heavy casualties on civilians.

Javid Faisal, Spokesman of ONSC said, “Taliban continue to take the lives of civilians in Afghanistan. This past week, they killed 23, including women and children, and wounded 45 others in 16 provinces. This violent phase of attacks on civilian can only deteriorate the already shaken trust on the will of the Taliban.”

This comes as the Taliban hasn’t commented on the ONSC’s statement yet.

According to sources, Kabul, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Paktia, Takhar, Baghlan, and Herat witnessed most of the casualties.

In Kabul alone, more than ten magnetic bombs exploded in the past two weeks.

Citizens of Kabul urge the government and the Taliban not to harm civilians during conflicts.

Military experts believe that unorganized battles between the government and the Taliban are the main cause of civilian casualties, as neither of them has a certain strategy to preserve the lives of civilians.

The Afghanistan Independent Commission of Human Rights calls the number of civilian casualties in the last month ‘shocking’.

Zabihullah Farhang, head of the AIHRC press said, “The war laterals in Afghanistan question their responsibility for the situation in which civilians are harmed. We call on the laterals to respect international civil rights.”

The Taliban and the government are still trying to show goodwill and start Intra-Afghan Talks by releasing prisoners, but the conflict has not diminished.

 

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Coronavirus prevention Committee approves plan to change working hours of government offices

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(Last Updated On: July 11, 2020)

According to the plan by the Emergency Committee to Prevent the Outbreak of the Coronavirus, the working hours of Afghan government offices will be set from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon, and government employees will be going to work in two shifts on even and odd days.

In this plan, the National Statistics and Information Authority and the Kabul Municipality, due to the high volume of customer demand, are exceptions, and their employees must be present at work every day.

In addition, the authorities have decided to keep public and private schools and universities close until August 5th, and their gradual reopening after the 5th of August will depend on the results of the Ministry of Public Health’s investigation into the general health situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The reopening of public and private schools and universities requires the views of the Ministry of Public Health, and if the ministry deems it appropriate, the government will decide on the gradual reopening of educational centers, said Sarwar Danesh, the second vice president. According to Danesh, the health and well-being of students is their priority.

At today’s meeting of the Emergency Committee to Prevent the Outbreak of the Coronavirus, the plan to start cricket sports competitions without spectators was presented and approved.

The representative of the national cricket board said that they want the resumption of the tournament, considering that the sport of cricket is played in an open atmosphere and the social distance is naturally observed in this sport.

He added that they hold the matches without spectators, but efforts are being made to broadcast the matches live on television and social media so that people can watch it.

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