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Weekly Contemporary Developments

July, 2020

  • Casualties as gunmen storm prison in Afghanistan's Jalalabad
    Fighters have attacked a prison compound in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, and a battle with security forces is under way, according to officials, in an attack claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) group that left at least 11 people killed and 42 others wounded (Al Jazeera, August 3, 2020).
  • Afghanistan ceasefire holds as hundreds of Taliban fighters freed
    A ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government appears to be holding for the third and final day, as hundreds of the armed group's prisoners are released in a bid to bring peace talks closer ( Al Jazeera, August 3, 2020)
  • Afghanistan: At least 17 killed in Eid car blast
    At least 17 people have been killed in Afghanistan in a powerful car bomb blast in Logar province.The explosion came on the eve of a ceasefire declared by the Taliban during the festival of Eid.The Taliban have denied responsibility for the attack, while the Islamic State has not yet commented (BBC News, July 31 2020)
  • Afghans draw strength from the tale of a teen girl battling the Taliban
    In a war-torn country hungry for heroes, the tale of a teenage girl who allegedly shot Taliban militants to avenge the murder of her parents has proved potent. In mid-July, reports emerged about Qamar Gul, 15, who says she gunned down two fighters with her father’s AK-47 weapon ( NBC News, August 1,2020)
  • Taliban declares cease-fire in Afghanistan for Eid, as pressure builds for peace talks
    ISLAMABAD: The Taliban announced a temporary cease-fire Tuesday as pressure builds to bring the militants and the Afghan government together for direct peace talks now months overdue. The Afghan government welcomed the move marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and ordered Afghan government forces to respect the truce. But the gestures of goodwill come as violence across the country remains high, despite the signing of a peace deal between the Taliban and the United States in February(The Washington Post, July 29, 2020).
  • China Discusses 4-Point Plan With Pak, Nepal, Afghanistan Amid Pandemic
    BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday held the first joint virtual conference with his counterparts from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal during which he proposed a four-point plan to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic, boost economic recovery and resumption of the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) infrastructure projects.Four Country Meeting: Beijing said all the four countries should carry out regional cooperation on joint prevention and control of the pandemic drawing the experience of China and Pakistan(NDTV July 28, 2020).
  • Road blocks towards peace in Afghanistan
    Following an American intelligence assessment, it was revealed that Russia provided bounties to attack U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, complicating the Afghan Peace Process; however, the Taliban and Russia have denied these claims. Now, as the U.S. draws down its troops in Afghanistan and moves towards the peace process and negotiations, Russia’s covert efforts changes the course of the conflict. Additionally, weeks of insurgency and bombings, i.e. the attack in an intelligence agency compound in Aybak, raised concerns in the US, causing President Trump to rethink his exit strategy. Nonetheless, the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, tweeted on Tuesday that a ‘key milestone; had been achieved with the completion of the first phase of vacating US military bases.