News Updates

6 - 30 December, 2019
  • Taliban slams ‘baseless reports' of ceasefire plans
    The Taliban on Monday denied agreeing to any ceasefire in Afghanistan after rumours swirled of a potential deal that would see a reduction in fighting after more than 18 years of war. In a statement released on Twitter, the Taliban’s official spokesman said the group has “no intention of declaring a ceasefire”. Blasting multiple US media reports suggesting the group was ready to announce a temporary truce, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied “propaganda by some outlets” of a schism within the movement over the ceasefire issue. (France24, December 30, 2019)
  • Taliban Rules Out Afghan Cease-fire
    The Taliban announced Monday it does not intend to stop fighting in Afghanistan, rejecting as "false and baseless" reports the insurgent group is ready to declare a temporary cease-fire in a bid to seal a peace deal with the United States. The announcement comes on a day when Taliban insurgents killed at least 14 Afghan security forces in the latest of a series of deadly assaults over the past week. (VOA, December 30, 2019)
  • Taliban council agrees to ceasefire in Afghanistan
    The Taliban said on 29th December, they have agreed to a temporary ceasefire nationwide. It provides a window during which a peace agreement with the United States could be signed.A peace deal would allow Washington to bring home its troops from Afghanistan and end its 18-year military engagement there, America’s longest. The US wants any deal to include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not used as a base by terrorist groups. The US currently has an estimated 12,000 troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban chief must approve the agreement but that is expected. The duration of the ceasefire was not specified but it is being suggested it would last for 10 days. Four members of the Taliban negotiating team met for a week with the ruling council before they agreed on the brief ceasefire. The negotiating team returned on Sunday to Qatar where they maintain their political office. (Dawn, 20.12.2019)
  • Pentagon identifies US service member killed in Afghanistan
    The Department of Defense has identified the US service member killed Monday in Afghanistan as Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble, 33, of Washington Township, New Jersey.Goble died "as a result of injuries sustained while his unit was engaged in combat operations" on Sunday in Kunduz Province, according to a statement released Monday. The incident is under investigation. He was assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.Earlier Monday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for Goble's death, even as peace negotiations between the group and US continue. President Donald Trump announced late last month during a Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan that peace negotiations between the Taliban and the US had restarted. (CNN , 24.12.2019)
  • Afghanistan president Ghani on track to win second term
    Afghanistan’s incumbent president, Ashraf Ghani, won a slim majority of votes in September’s election, according to preliminary results, after a poll that plunged the country into political crisis and was marred by allegations of fraud. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the total turnout in the presidential election was more than 1.8 million with Ghani securing 50.64% – enough to win in the first round of voting – beating his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with Ghani in a unity government. Abdullah’s office said in a statement that he did not accept the preliminary results published on Sunday and that the commission had failed to tackle election fraud. (Guardian, 22.12.2019)
  • US envoy visits Kabul amid renewed push for deal
    The US special envoy leading negotiations with the Taliban met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Wednesday, an official said, amid a renewed push to reach an accord with the insurgents. US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Ghani discussed several topics including the need for a ceasefire, the president’s spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said. “The president also expressed his concerns about the continued violence by the Taliban,” Seddiqi said. “The president reiterated that the government and people of Afghanistan want a sustainable peace.” Khalilzad has spent more than a year leading a push for a deal with the Taliban that would see the US reduce its military footprint in Afghanistan in return for security guarantees from the insurgents. ( Dawn, 19.12.2019)
  • One killed, 60 injured in bomb blast near U.S., NATO military base in Afghanistan
    At least one person was killed and more than 60 people were injured when a suicide bomb exploded on Wednesday outside the United States' main military base of Bagram in Afghanistan, local and NATO officials said.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned this suicide bombing on the press conference Wednesday. "Initial reports show that there were at least five coalition troops injured in the attacks," he said.The explosion occurred at 5:50 a.m. local time on Wednesday when militants detonated a massive car bomb and seized a building outside the U.S. military base. Local media said militants also fired rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) onto the Bagram base. (CGTN, 11.12.2019)
  • Documents Expose Years-Long Pattern of Lying to US Public About Afghan War
    PENTAGON - A trove of documents made public by The Washington Post has exposed a years-long pattern of deliberate lies in support of what officials knew to be an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. The U.S. Defense Department denied any deliberate effort to mischaracterize the 18-year war effort. "There has been no intent by DoD to mislead Congress or the public," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell wrote to VOA in response to the publication of the documents, which contain more than 400 interviews with senior military and government insiders who, the Post reported Monday, offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of war. Campbell stressed that the information in those interviews was provided to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction "for the express purpose of inclusion in SIGAR's public reports." According to the Post, U.S. officials, most of whom spoke on the assumption that their remarks would not be made public, acknowledged that the strategies for fighting the war were flawed and that the U.S. wasted hundreds of billions of dollars trying to make Afghanistan into a stable, democratic nation. ( VOA, 10. 12.2019)
  • The Afghanistan war is more than a $1 trillion mistake. It's a travesty
    he American people have known that the war in Afghanistan was a lost cause for quite some time. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans’ views of the war started to go south right around the end of 2011, until eventually a majority started seeing the writing on the wall about two years later. That’s why the Washington Post report this week on the so-called “Afghanistan Papers”, detailing how US officials “deliberately mislead the public” on the war’s progress, is almost sort of unremarkable. If the piece took away any shred of innocence left from this ghastly enterprise, it’s that perhaps some of us thought our leaders, while failing miserably at building nation thousands of miles away, were at least acting in good faith. (Opinion of Ben Armbruster, in the Guardian. 10.12.2019)
  • First round of resurrected US-Taliban peace talks open in Qatar
    Renewed negotiations expected to pave the way for direct talks between Taliban and Kabul to end 18 years of war. ( Al Jazeera: 7.12. 2019)