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US Urges India, Pakistan to ‘Exercise Restraint’: Pompeo




(Last Updated On: February 27, 2019)

The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke separately with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and urged them to avoid “further military activity” following an air strike by India inside Pakistan.

Pompeo spoke with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to stress on the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil, the US Department of State said in a statement.

“We encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost,” Pompeo said Tuesday.

He also urged both Ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity.

Meanwhile, Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the U.S. Secretary of State that the Indian ‘violation’ could affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

This comes hours after the Indian jets conducted air strikes against a militant camp in Pakistani territory on early Tuesday.

The Indian officials said on Tuesday that the air strikes hit a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the group that claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir on February 14 and raised tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbors

Pakistan says there were no casualties in the strike, while India says it hit a terrorist training camp and killed a “very large number” of militants.

The Indian aircraft “released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot”. There were “no casualties or damage,” Pakistan Army spokesman Asif Ghafoor wrote on Twitter.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister in a video message called the airstrikes as ‘grave aggression’ by violating the line of control.

He stressed, “Pakistan deserves the right to self-defense and adequate response.”

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Withdrawing without Taliban commitment to peace would be “rash”: former NATO SCR




(Last Updated On: June 7, 2020)

Former NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, Sir Nicholas Kay, has warned that withdrawing international troops without a full Taliban commitment to peace would be “rash”.

In an interview with the Forces News, Kay said, “It would be very rash for us to have a comprehensive military withdrawal from Afghanistan before there is a comprehensive political peace agreement.”

The US and Taliban signed an agreement for bringing peace in Afghanistan on February 29, in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

According to the deal, the Afghan government would release up to five thousand Taliban and the US forces would leave Afghanistan within 14 months after the deal.

In exchange, the Taliban militant group would release 1,000 prisoners of the Afghan government and it promised to stop al-Qaeda operating in the areas of its control.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Kay told the Forces News that the only commitment on the NATO side is “for this first stage of withdrawal down to 12,000 and then there would be a stocktake.”

Kay, however, said that the deal is conditions-based, adding, “If the Taliban do not live up to their commitments, then there will not be a deal.”

“Those commitments have to be demonstrated,” he noted.

One of the commitments the Taliban are expected to fulfill is the reduction of violence, but this is not the reality at the moment.

“Yes, the Taliban stopped attacking coalition forces. Yes, they stopped attacking high-profile targets in cities […] but they were killing Afghan security forces, Afghan civilians in rural areas [and] districts across the country at a very high rate.”

The next step of the process, the former ambassador explained, should be the beginning of actual negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and the wider Afghan society.

Earlier, sources said that the first round of talks between the Afghans is scheduled to take place on June 15, 11 days later, but sources close to the Taliban have said that talks would not begin unless all 5,000 Taliban prisoners are released.

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MFA Afghanistan denies Pakistan’s claim that India supports Pakistani Taliban




(Last Updated On: June 6, 2020)

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied Pakistan’s claim that India is cooperating with the Pakistani Taliban on the Afghan soil.

After India said Pakistan was a safe haven for terrorist groups in the region; Pakistan now claims that India supports the Pakistani Taliban on Afghan soil and is using them against Pakistan.

Moreover, Pakistan believes that India obscures the situation in Afghanistan.

Ayesha Farooqi, the spokeswoman for Pakistani Foreign Ministry said that India wants to divert the world’s attention from its support for the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan adding that In fact, India is trying to muddy the Afghan peace process.

In the meantime, Kabul has reacted strictly to Pakistan’s remarks. In a statement, the Afghan Foreign Ministry denied Pakistan’s claim that India supported the Pakistani Taliban and its activities against Pakistan, assuring that Afghan territory would never be used against any country.

“No group is allowed to use Afghan territory against another nation. We urge countries in the region to cooperate in the Afghan peace process and play a constructive role,” the statement said, “lasting peace in Afghanistan means that terrorist groups cannot pose a threat to the region.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, supports India’s policy toward Afghanistan, saying that New Delhi has played a key role in the recent peace efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“I believe that New Delhi’s policy of avoiding any engagement with the Taliban has had its day, especially in view of the upcoming launch of intra-Afghan talks and eventual transformation of the Taliban movement into an influential legal political force in Afghanistan,” said Kabulov.

However, after the signing of the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, there are signs of the emergence of other militant groups.

The Afghan government says the anti-government militants have direct Pakistani support; while Pakistan claims to have played a key role in the peace efforts.

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Coronavirus in Afghanistan; 582 new cases, 19,551 total




(Last Updated On: June 6, 2020)

The Coronavirus in Afghanistan grows with the course of every day – a total of 582 infections have been reported, with 18 deaths, in the past 24 hours.

The total number of the Coronavirus cases in Afghanistan has reached 19,551, and the Ministry of Public Health says if people do not cooperate, the number of people infected with the virus will increase dramatically.

“In the past 24 hours, 761 samples have been tested, of which 582 have been positive, 18 patients died and 68 others recovered,” said Wahidullah Majrooh, MOPH deputy minister.

Meanwhile, the MOPH emphasizes that if people want to decrease the risk of the virus, they should pay serious attention to the medical instructions.

The ministry underlined that there weren’t sufficient gears to effectively fight the virus in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the government has extended the restriction on movement for another three months.

Officials from the ministries of Labor and Social Affairs, Interior Affairs, Public Health, and the Governor of Kabul have presented a new quarterly plan in a joint meeting to impose restrictions on movements in the city.

According to the government’s new quarterly plan, it is mandatory to wear a mask, avoid social gatherings, prevent elders from leaving the home, and follow the health guidelines.

Also, service providers must perform their activities with strict health care measures.

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