News Updates

26 November - 5 December, 2019
  • US's Afghanistan envoy arrives in Kabul, next stop: Qatar
    US negotiator set to resume talks with Taliban aimed at ceasefire, months after Trump halted diplomatic effort. ( AL Jazeera, 5.12.2019)
  • Japanese doctor made the Afghan deserts green, until deadly attack ( Al Jazeera 5.12.2019)
  • Khalilzad Will “Rejoin Talks with the Taliban”: US
    The US State Department on Wednesday said that Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad “will rejoin the talks with the Taliban in Doha to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict in the country.”The statement read: “In Kabul, Special Representative Khalilzad will meet with Afghan government representatives and other Afghan leaders to follow up on President Trump’s recent visit and to discuss how best to support accelerated efforts to get all parties to intra-Afghan negotiations. In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will rejoin talks with the Taliban to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement of the war, specifically a reduction in violence that leads to a ceasefire.” ( Tolo News, 4.12.2019)
  • Probe into alleged crimes in Afghanistan begins at International Criminal Court at The Hague The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a three-day hearing on Wednesday at which prosecutors and victims aim to overturn a decision scrapping a proposed investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan's brutal conflict. Fergal Gaynor, a lawyer representing 82 Afghani victims, called it a historic day for accountability in Afghanistan. ( Dawn. 5.12.2019)
  • US troop decrease in Afghanistan 'not' tied to Taliban deal
    Remarks by US defence chief Mark Esper come after Trump spoke of potential troop reductions and a Taliban ceasefire. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said that any future troop drawdowns in Afghanistan were "not necessarily" linked to a deal with the Taliban, suggesting some lowering of force levels may happen irrespective of the continuing peace push. ( Al-Jazeera, 3. 12,2019)
  • Taliban confirm informal talks with the US
    A day after Donald Trump claimed Taliban talks resumed, the Afghan armed group says meetings had taken place in Doha. The Taliban has confirmed a claim by US President Donald Trump that Washington has resumed informal talks with the Afghan armed group nearly two months after peace negotiations were abruptly suspended. The group told Al Jazeera that some preliminary meetings have taken place in the Qatari capital, Doha, where the Taliban have an office, and could pave the way for the resumption of formal peace talks. ( Al Jazeera 29.11.2019)
10 October - 25 November, 2019
  • Blast targets UN vehicle in Afghanistan killing one foreigner
    Grenade attack in the capital, Kabul, also wounds five others leaving the vehicle heavily damaged. A foreign national was killed in a grenade attack targeting a United Nations vehicle in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Sunday. The attack happened on a road frequently used by the UN shuttling workers between central Kabul and a large UN compound on its outskirts The blast targeted the vehicle on one of the busiest roads in the city, in police district 9. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. ( Al Jazeera, 25.11.2019)
  • UN Foreign Worker, 8 Afghan Soldiers Killed in Separate Attacks
    More than three dozen people are reported dead in a series of security-related incidents in Afghanistan, including a fatal attack on a U.N. vehicle in the capital, Kabul. Several of the dead were civilians. Afghan officials said Sunday that Taliban rebels assaulted a security outpost in central Daykundi province overnight, killing eight soldiers and wounding four others. Senior provincial authorities claimed the ensuing firefight also killed at least 20 assailants, though the Taliban disputed those claims. Meanwhile, doctors and residents in western Farah province said an Afghan government air strike has killed at least nine civilians and injured several others. The mainstream local TOLO news channel reported Sunday relatives took to the streets with bodies of the victims to protest and demand an immediate investigation into the deadly incident. In Kabul, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said one foreign national was killed and five people were injured by a hand grenade hurled at a U.N. vehicle in the Makrorayan area of the city. The spokesman did not provide details but local news reports suggest the death toll may climb. The United Nations condemned the attack and confirmed the death of an international employee in the Sunday night attack. It said two other staffers, including a foreigner and an Afghan, were injured. (Voa, 24.11.2019)
  • Trump thanks Qatar's emir over role in Taliban hostages release
    Two Western hostages were released after three Taliban prisoners landed in Qatar as part of a prisoner swap deal.
    Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Donald Trump held a telephone call on Friday US President Donald Trump has thanked Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for the Gulf country's efforts in facilitating the release of two Western hostages held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Qatar's official news agency has reported. The emir and Trump held a telephone call on Friday in which the US president "expressed his sincere thanks" to the emir "for its active role in facilitating the release of the two hostages who were held in Afghanistan", the Qatar News Agency (QNA) said. During the phone call, they "reviewed the strategic relations" between the two countries and "ways of enhancing them", in addition to "discussing the latest regional and international developments", QNA said. ( Al Jazeera, 23.11.2019)
  • US service members killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash
    The US military says two service members killed while the Taliban claim responsibility for downing of the helicopter. (Al Jazeera. 20.11.2019)
  • British government and army accused of covering up war crimes
    Alleged evidence implicates UK troops in murder of children in Afghanistan and Iraq
    The UK government and the British army have been accused of covering up the killing of children in Afghanistan and Iraq. Leaked documents allegedly contain evidence implicating troops in killing children and the torture of civilians. A BBC/Sunday Times investigation said it had obtained evidence from inside the Iraq historic allegations team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. The government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner, a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off from practising law amid allegations he had paid people in Iraq to find clients.But some former IHAT and Operation Northmoor investigators said Shiner’s actions were used as an excuse to close down the inquiries. No case investigated by IHAT or Operation Northmoor has led to a prosecution. An IHAT detective told Panorama: “The Ministry of Defence had no intention of prosecuting any soldier of whatever rank he was unless it was absolutely necessary, and they couldn’t wriggle their way out of it.”The year-long investigation claims to have found evidence of murders by an SAS soldier, as well as deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by members of the Black Watch. A senior SAS commander was referred to prosecutors for attempting to pervert the course of justice, the investigation claims. (Guardian, 17.11.2019)
  • Afghan president orders release of Taliban prisoners in swap attempt
    Ashraf Ghani hopes move will help secure release of American and Australian. Afghanistan’s president says he has ordered the release of three Taliban fighters in an effort to persuade the insurgent group to free a kidnapped American and Australian professor. Timothy Weekes, an English teacher from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, and Kevin King, from Pennsylvania, were abducted three years ago from outside American University of Afghanistan in Kabul by fighters in military uniform. Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president, said in a televised address on Tuesday that the three prisoners, from the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, would be released “conditionally in exchange” for the academics. “We have decided to release these three Taliban prisoners who were arrested outside of Afghanistan,” Ghani said, adding that it was meant “to facilitate direct peace negotiations”. (Guardian, 12.11.2019)
  • CIA-backed Afghan forces possibly committing war crimes: HRW
    In a damning report, Human Rights Watch says night raids and aerial strikes have led to mounting civilian casualties. ( Al Jazeera, 31.10.2019)
  • US Afghan peace envoy takes push for peace to Pakistan
    During their meeting on Monday, Pakistan PM called on all sides in Afghanistan's protracted war to reduce the violence. ( Al Jazeera, 29.10.2019)
  • Afghan, Pakistani forces clash on border, three civilians killed
    The two countries often trade accusations that each side is firing across the border. ( AL Jazeera, 29.10 2019)
  • Dozens killed in mosque explosion in Afghanistan during Friday prayers
    At least 62 people were killed in an explosion during Friday prayers in a mosque in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, according to a regional spokesman. Attaullah Khogyani, Nangarhar provincial spokesman, said 36 other people were wounded in the blast in Haska Mina district, also known as the Deh Bala district, near the border with Pakistan.
    Violence in the country has increased ahead of the presidential election last month. The United Nations said in a report on Thursday that Afghanistan violence against civilians has reached "extreme levels" in the third quarter of 2019, reflecting a spike of conflicts between rival political party supporters. ( CNN 18.10.2019)