(KABUL, Afghanistan.) JUST IN: #Taliban have taken control of a district near the Afghan capital, two days before a three-day ceasefire is due to begin #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.13: Afghanistan is seeing increasing violence as the US and Nato prepare to pull out remaining troops by 11 September:

KABUL: ‘Taliban capture Afghan district ahead of Eid ceasefire: The militants confirmed on Tuesday that they had captured Nerkh district in Wardak province in a “surprise attack” Nerkh is the second district in a week to fall’

An Afghan soldier
Afghan forces had “tactically retreated from the district”, one official said. File image of Afghan troops

“The district centre of Nerkh in Maidan Wardak province, the police headquarters, the intelligence department and a large army base there were all captured,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter. 

He added that “many enemy soldiers” had been killed or wounded. 

Abdul Rahman Tariq, governor of the province, confirmed that the district had been captured and said Afghan troops had “tactically retreated from the district”. 

The defence ministry said on Wednesday that it would launch an offensive to gain back the district. 

The capture of Nerkh comes after militants took control of Borka district in the northern province of Baghlan on 5 May. 

A three-day ceasefire, coinciding with the Muslim festival Eid, is set to begin on Thursday 

The Taliban have stepped up assaults on the Afghan government this month. 

Just days ago, at least 68 people, mainly students, were killed in a bombing outside a school in Kabul. At least 165 others were injured. The Afghan government blamed Taliban militants for the attack, but the group denied involvement.

President Joe Biden says the US pull-out is justified as US forces have made sure the country cannot again become a base for foreign jihadists to plot against the West.

A senior United Nations official warned last year that al-Qaeda, which was hosted by the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks in the US, was still “heavily embedded” within Taliban militants in Afghanistan. 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says government forces are now fully capable of keeping insurgents at bay. 

However, not everyone shares the optimism. Many believe the withdrawal could plunge the country back to the dark days of the Taliban era. Tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers have been killed and injured. This 2019 video tells their story.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: May.13: 2021:

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#afghanistan, #ceasefire, #kabul, #taliban

(WASHINGTON) State Dept Report: We need to close the book on a 20-year war,” is how a US official put it when he broke the news on Tuesday that the last US troops would be out of Afghanistan by 11 September #AceNewsDesk report

Afghans face pivotal moment as US prepares to ‘close the book’ Two decades on, what does this “book” say about the country that some 10,000 US-led Nato forces will soon leave behind Biden ON YouTube in 4-hours here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Nsj4wfg1c

VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Nsj4wfg1c

4 hours ago

By Lyse Doucet
Chief international correspondent

The Afghan war: The short and long story

Soldiers from the Afghan National Army's quick reaction force run drills and prepare their readiness level at their base on the outskirts of Maidan Shahr, Afghanistan, on Saturday Nov. 7, 2020.
Despite the push for peace, the Afghan National Army is braced for further violence

It’s a dramatically different country than the shattered land and pariah state of the Taliban toppled in the US-led invasion of 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.

But this withdrawal window is decisive. It could accelerate a push towards peace, or a descent into violence that shreds the more open society which has been taking root – however slowly and unevenly – over the past two decades. 

“The best possible outcome to expect is that this withdrawal timeline serves as a catalyst and a mechanism to pressure Afghan parties to reach a political settlement by September or face a bloody Syrian-style civil war,” warns Tamim Asey, Executive Chairman of the Institute of War and Peace Studies in Kabul. 

Few would have expected this last chapter of the US military mission to read like this: a triumphal Taliban poised to return to power on the battlefield or through peace talks where they hold most of the cards; much-vaunted “gains” slipping away by the day in a wave of targeted killings of the educated, active, and ambitious lifeblood of an emerging society. 

Many Afghans now fear a terrible tumbling towards civil war in a conflict already described as one of the most violent in the world. 

“I worry most when timelines are attached to their pullout, but not conditions,” regrets an Afghan human rights activist. “The Taliban will just wait them out and won’t get into substantive issues.”

It’s a view echoed by others. 

“I wish President Biden had conditioned the troop withdrawal timeline with zero killings on the ground by all parties between May and September,” reflects Orzala Nemat, director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). 

AFPUS and other Nato troops have long been the target of Taliban attacks

But the senior administration official who briefed journalists on the pullout was adamant: “The president has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever.”

There’s also a pledge to “use our full toolkit to ensure the future that the Afghan people are seeking has the best chance of coming about”. 

But Washington’s best bargaining chip has been its military might. The departure of all foreign troops now bolstering Afghan government forces has been the Taliban’s single-minded pursuit as their fighters keep inching back, district by district, across a growing number of provinces. 

There were no good options on President Joe Biden’s desk when he inherited last year’s US Taliban deal which committed Washington to a 1 May troop pullout in exchange for Taliban security guarantees and a vaguer commitment to reduce violence and pursue peace talks. Is peace with the Taliban possible? (2019 report)

The security of the United States – the reason that first brought its troops in – had to be a deciding factor. And other Nato forces are expected to follow the US lead.

“This is not 2001, it is 2021,” was how a senior US official replied when questioned about the continuing threat posed by groups like al-Qaeda and Islamic State which still have a presence in Afghanistan. 

“We judge the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan to be at a level we can address without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban.”

“The decision was always going to come down to a broader political judgment about American interests writ large and from that perspective, the decision makes sense,” says Laurel Miller, director of the Asia Programme at the International Crisis Group and a former US State Department official. 

But regret quickly creeps in.

“It’s a tragedy that the US didn’t get serious about trying to stitch together a peace process in Afghanistan much earlier, before the thread ran out,” comments Miller, who had been involved in some of the first tentative efforts exploring negotiated solutions.

Now it’s the seriousness of Afghan leaders, on all sides of this conflict, which is paramount. 

“The voices of the Afghan people are very clear and unified in calling for peace, justice, and the preservation of national and democratic values,” emphasises Nemat of AREU. “But the political elite are still trying to maximise their share of power in a power-grabbing opportunity just like 1992.”

History throws a long dark shadow in Afghanistan. Many of the same power brokers and warlords who turned their guns on each other in a frenzy of infighting after the Soviet troop pullout of 1988 have been given pride of place in a new negotiating process which has been taking shape. 

Getty ImagesMany fear women’s rights in Afghanistan will suffer at the hands of warlords and the Taliban

There’s an argument that only they have the clout to strike a deal with the Taliban. But there’s also anxiety that they can’t and won’t speak for the Afghanistan of 2021 including victims of war crimes, women’s activists, and broader civil society. 

There’s a jumble of peace plans from political rivals, including a grand blueprint from President Ashraf Ghani’s office. A High Council for National Reconciliation has to first reconcile competing perspectives in Kabul.

As for the Taliban, they’re still fixated on the US’s broken pledge to pull out completely by 1 May.

“Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan,” announced Taliban spokesman Dr Mohammed Naeem in a Twitter post a few hours after news of the US decision broke.

The conference in question now is a “high level and inclusive conference” hosted by Turkey, Qatar, and the United Nations, set for Istanbul on 24 April. It’s a crucial piece in the Biden administration’s new Afghan jigsaw. The UN is being brought centre stage as efforts are stepped up to jump-start peace talks as well as forge a consensus among regional powers, each with their own Afghan proxies. 

In the Gulf state of Qatar, where teams of Taliban and Afghan government negotiators have been meeting on and off since September, some Taliban were heard using the English idiom “the ball’s now in our court” in reaction to news of a delayed US pullout. They’ve always insisted they’re in pursuit of peace.

“The Taliban leadership has shown no sign of wanting peace, and every sign of wanting to pursue a route to power through war,” assesses Kate Clark, Co-Director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. 

The traditional “fighting season” looms amid reports of a blistering Taliban campaign in store; Afghan government forces are also braced for battle. 

“Who preserves the gains of the last 20 years if there’s worsening civil war or where the Taliban capture territory?” asks Clark. “Where there’s conflict, freedoms evaporate; where the Taliban rule they are as authoritarian as before, and few girls go to school above primary age in Taliban-controlled areas.”

Mindful of this hot button issue, the US is at pains to point it will “work with other countries using diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian tools to protect the gains made by Afghan women”.

“Biden wants to get out of the Afghan war, but not Afghanistan,” says Asey of the Institute of War and Peace Studies in an effort to present a brave face at this pivotal juncture.

As the US seeks to “close the book” on its longest war, Afghan minds are now sharply focused on the next chapter of their own longer war without end.

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Published: Apr.14: 2021:

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#afghanistan, #nato, #taliban, #washington

(KABUL, Afghanistan.) JUST IN: Several rockets hit residential areas in the early rush hour in the capital on Saturday, killing at least three civilians and wounding a dozen more, police officials said: The explosions, close to the diplomatic enclave, sent warning sirens blaring from embassies and it comes two days before a major donor conference in Geneva #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.21: Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said three civilians had been killed in the attack and 11 wounded: But a health ministry official said five bodies and 21 injured were taken to the hospital from the incident: Arian said “terrorists” mounted the rockets in a small truck and set them off, adding that the investigation is going on to find out how the vehicle came inside the city:

Rocket attack on Kabul hit residential areas killing at least three civilians and wounding a dozen more according to Reuters on Saturday …

Reuters Wire News, [Nov 21, 2020 at 09:35] https://t.me/reuters_news_agency/48294

Some residents filmed when the rockets were firing and posted them on social media. Several pictures circulating on Facebook showed damaged cars and a hole in the side of a building:

#Taliban insurgents, fighting against a foreign-backed Kabul administration, denied involvement in the attack: Since peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban stalled, attacks by the Taliban and other extremist groups have been on the rise, especially in the capital that is home to more than five million Afghans.

Early this month, several gunmen stormed Kabul University campus and killed at least 35, most of them students and wounded more than 50: The attack was claimed by the Islamic State militant group: https://acenewsservices.wordpress.com/2020/11/02/kabul-afghanistan-just-in-at-least-19-people-killed-and-another-22-wounded-after-militants-stormed-the-capitals-largest-university-on-monday-that-ended-after-hours-with-security-forces-gunfight-a/?preview=true

#AceNewsDesk report …………….Published: Nov.21: 2020:

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(KABUL, Afghanistan.) JUST IN: At least 19-people killed and another 22-wounded after militants stormed the capitals largest university on Monday that ended after hours with security forces gunfight after on of the militants blew up his explosives interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told AFP #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.02: The #Taliban said they were not involved in today’s incident at Kabul University, but several education centres have been attacked over the years by extremist groups such as Islamic State (IS): Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramerz told AFP most of those killed were students: Hamid Obaidi, a spokesman for the ministry of higher education, told AFP the attack started when government officials were arriving for the opening of an Iranian book fair organised at the campus: Gunmen stormed the facility, sending hundreds fleeing and scrambling over walls of the campus as they tried to escape the firing, witnesses said: Afghan security forces later surrounded the area, cordoning off all roads that led to the university, witnesses and an AFP correspondent reported: “The attack is over, but sadly 19 people have been killed and 22 more wounded,” interior spokesman Arian said on Twitter:

Attack at university in Afghanistan’s capital leaves at least 19 dead and 22-injured AFP reported:

‘ Policemen stand guard at an entrance gate of the Kabul University in Afghanistan

Sources told TOLOnews that there were three attackers. According to the report, an explosion and gunfire occurred when Afghan and Iranian officials were opening a book exhibition.

The outlet posted photos of students being evacuated from the campus.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Students spoke of chaos and confusion. “We were studying inside our classrooms when suddenly we heard a burst of gunfire inside the university,” said Fraidoon Ahmadi, 23, adding that he and several other students were besieged for more than two hours before being rescued: “We were very scared and we thought it could be the last day of our lives… boys and girls were shouting, praying and crying for help.”

About 800 students were in the social sciences faculty where he was studying: “I have no words to express how we survived today’s attack by gunmen on our university,” he added:

#AceNewsDesk report …………….Published: Nov.02: 2020:

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#islamicstate

(KABUL, Afghanistan.) JUST IN: At least seven policemen have been killed on Thursday night and a number of #Taliban Militants have been also been killed but have not commented on the recent attack according to a source #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.25: According to the source, the attack took place last night in the Takht-e-Pul district of the southern Afghan province. In total, seven policemen were pronounced dead and four more suffered injuries: Several militants were also killed in the clashes, although the exact number has yet to be confirmed, the source said:

At least seven policemen killed in ‘ Takht-e-Pul ‘ on Thursday night that also killed an unconfirmed number of #Taliban militants

The latest attack follows in the wake of an incident two weeks ago that left seven other law enforcement officers dead in the same area: During the attack, four insurgents stormed a checkpoint before fleeing with weapons: The Taliban have not commented on the latest attack: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-security-paris/four-stabbed-in-paris-attack-suspect-arrested-officials-idUSKCN26G1JZ

Armed clashes and bomb blasts continue to impact Afghanistan despite the ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar: And the Taliban have not commented with both sides have reportedly stated their willingness to work toward a lasting ceasefire, although US officials have reiterated calls over recent days for both sides to reduce the violence:

#AceNewsDesk report ……………Published: Sept.25: 2020:

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(KABUL, Afghanistan.) #Taliban leader says the group is ‘on the threshold of establishing an ‘Islamic government’ in the country #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Aug.02: This is happening while mainstream analysts continue to insist that groups such as the #Taliban have nothing to do with Islam. The global jihad never tires, never stops. After 1400 years, this should be abundantly clear. In seeking its own interests while attempting to humiliate the United States, the Taliban leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada “asserted that the group was ‘on the threshold of establishing an Islamic government’ in the war-ravaged country.” Jihadis (stealth and violent alike) seek every opportunity to conquer: This is not to imply that American troops should be everywhere. America and other Western countries however, need to be more astute about the spread of jihad and its ruthlessness, and above all about the fact that it is governed by normative Islamic doctrine:

“Taliban leader urges US to comply with peace deal,” by Shadi Khan Saif, Anadolu Agency, July 20, 2020:

The Taliban leader on Tuesday hailed the beginning of the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, and urged the US to abide by the peace agreement signed earlier this year.

Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, in his Eid al-Adha message, urged the US “not create obstacles for ending of the longest war in American history with unwarranted remarks and propaganda.”

The supreme leader of the insurgents said extending the 10-day prisoner exchange process to four months, existence of black lists, and carrying out drone strikes and bombardments on “unjustifiable grounds do not serve the interests of anyone.”

He asserted that the group was “on the threshold of establishing an Islamic government” in the war-ravaged country.

The message was published on the group’s propaganda website, al-Emarah, in Dari, Pashto, Urdu and English languages….

AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Aug.02: 2020:

(KABUL, Afghanistan.) JUST IN: Mosque prayer leader killed by #Taliban for announcing the funeral service of a police officer according to Baghlan Police HQ said #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.23: The Taliban militants killed the prayer leader of a mosque for making an announcement regarding the funeral service of an Afghan police. [sic] Jawid Basharat, a spokesperson for Baghlan Police Headquarters, said the #Taliban militants killed the prayer leader in Dand-e Ghori district of Baghlan:

Muslims murder mosque prayer leader for announcing the funeral service of a police officer Taliban kill prayer leader of a mosque for announcing funeral of an Afghan police,” Khaama Press, June 21, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Bashar further added that the militants tortured the prayer leader by brutally beating him: He also added that the prayer leader succumbed to the injuries which he had sustained due to the brutal beating and torture by Taliban militants….

#AceNewsDesk report ………………Published: June.23: 2020:

(KABUL, Afghanistan.) #PeaceTalks Latest: Ghani urged the #Taliban on Sunday to end violence and talk directly to his government after Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he had cancelled a planned meeting with the insurgent group over a draft peace accord blaming it on killing of another American soldier and 11-other people after attack on military base last week #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Sept.08: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani urged the #Taliban on Sunday to end violence and talk directly to his government after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he had canceled a planned meeting with the insurgent group over a draft peace accord:“Real peace will come when Taliban agree to a ceasefire,” Ghani’s officials said in a statement in response to Trump’s cancellation of the secret peace talks.

Trump unexpectedly announced on Saturday that he had canceled peace talks with the Taliban’s “major leaders” at a presidential compound in Camp David, Maryland after the group claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul last week that killed an American soldier and 11 other people: U.S. diplomats have been talking with Taliban representatives for months seeking to agree to a plan to withdraw thousands of American troops in exchange for security guarantees by the Taliban.

A source close to the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan said the group will hold a meeting to discuss all aspects of ongoing negotiations before issuing a statement: “Trump’s tweets do not clarify if the deal has been cancelled, he has just called-off the talks at this stage,” the source said.

The Taliban have rejected calls for a ceasefire and stepped up assaults in recent weeks: As negotiators reached a draft accord last week, Taliban fighters, who now control more territory than at any time since the war started in 2001, were launching assaults on the northern cities of Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri. They claimed responsibility for two major suicide bombings in the capital Kabul.

Trump’s surprise announcement left in doubt the future of a draft peace accord worked out last week by Zalmay Khalilzad, the special U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan: Under the accord some 5,000 U.S. troops would be withdrawn over the coming months in exchange for guarantees Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks on the United States and its allies.

A full peace agreement to end more than 18 years of war would depend on “intra Afghan” talks involving officials and civil society leaders as well as further agreement on issues including the remainder of the roughly 14,000-strong U.S. forces as well as thousands of other NATO troops: However the Taliban have so far refused to talk to the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate “puppet” regime.

Nine former U.S. ambassadors last week had warned that Afghanistan could collapse in a “total civil war” if Trump withdraws all U.S. forces before the Kabul government and the Taliban conclude a peace settlement: A spokesman for Ghani said Trump’s decision to cancel talks at a time when the Taliban continue to mount attacks proved the concerns expressed by the Afghan government about the deal were acknowledged: “The peace talks provided an opportunity to the Taliban to embrace political life,” Sediq Sediqqi told reporters in Kabul: “We (the Afghan government) expected an outcome leading to a ceasefire and holding direct talks with the Taliban but we did not see any real effort from their (Taliban) end,” he said.

Trump said on Saturday that he had also planned to meet with Afghanistan’s president, who has been sidelined from the talks, but Sediqqi did not confirm a meeting was planned: Ghani’s office said in a statement it was committed to working together with the United States and allies for a “dignified and long-lasting peace”, and emphasized the holding of the presidential election this month: Ghani is seeking a second tenure in elections scheduled for Sept. 28, but the Taliban want the elections to be canceled as a precondition to signing a peace accord with the Americans: The statement said a lasting peace required “a strong, legitimate and a legal government through the upcoming elections to take the ongoing peace process forward.”……The Taliban’s strategy of fresh assaults appears to be based on the assumption that battlefield success would strengthen their hand in future negotiations with U.S and Afghan officials: Some of their field commanders have also said they are determined not to surrender gains when they are close to victory, suggesting the leadership is under internal pressure not to concede a ceasefire.

The warring sides have held nine rounds of peace talks in Qatar’s capital city Doha aimed at ending America’s longest war, which began with a U.S. invasion triggered by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, that al Qaeda launched from then Taliban-ruled Afghanistan: Almost 4,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019 in the war against militant groups, including a big increase in the number of casualties caused by government and foreign forces, the United Nations said in July.

Western diplomats and senior Afghan security experts said the resurrection of talks depends on the Taliban’s stance following Trump’s decision: “I don’t see any particular alternative than negotiations… Nobody wants to go for a bad deal that could pave the way for a civil war,” said Tamim Asey, a former chief of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency.

#AceNewsDesk reports ………….Published: Sept.08: 2019: Reuters: Writing by Rupam Jain, James Mackenzie in Kabul, Editing by Michael Perry and Ros Russell

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(KABUL, Afghanistan.) JUST IN: #Taliban suicide bombers in four Humvee’s killed at least 19-people in an attack on a government office on Saturday night, officials said, in the latest episode of violence as ‘ Peace Talks ‘ continue to end the war but many do not want peace with bombings increasing across the country daily #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – June.30: Election workers were registering voters ahead of presidential elections in September at an office in the Maroof district of the southern Kandahar province when fighters of the hardline Islamist group launched an attack using four Humvee vehicles, officials said: Eight election workers were killed, they said: Eleven Afghan security force members were also killed alongside the four suicide bombers, said Tadeen Khan, the police chief of Kandahar.

The #Taliban, which rejects the election process, claimed responsibility for the attack: Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the group’s fighters also killed 57 members of the Afghan security forces in the attack and captured 11 others, but Afghan officials disputed the account.

The interior ministry in a statement said 25 Taliban insurgents were killed in the clash: The Taliban, which controls or contests half the country, more than at any time since being overthrown by the U.S. invasion in 2001, has rejected calls for a ceasefire.

Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces has intensified even as leaders of the Taliban and U.S. officials hold peace talks in Qatar to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan: In a separate attack, Taliban fighters killed eight Afghan soldiers and injured eight others at a military checkpoint in Balabulak district in the western province of Farah, a local official said: Mahmood Naemi, the deputy chief of the Farah council, said the clashes ended after Afghan forces launched air strikes: “Many Taliban fighters were killed in the air strike,” said Naemi: In the northern province of Takhar, over 600 villagers fled as Taliban fighters seized large areas of the province during heavy fighting in recent days, government officials said.

The pace of talks between the United States and Taliban in Doha has sped up as Afghanistan heads for presidential elections on September 28: Qatar’s government, which is mediating the peace process between the United States and the Taliban, on Sunday said the two sides discussed the withdrawal of foreign troops, preventing militants from using Afghanistan to harm the United States or other countries and a comprehensive ceasefire: “They (U.S. and Taliban) also stressed the mutual desire of both sides to move quickly and make tangible progress,” the ministry said.

About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a U.S.-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some U.S. forces carry out counter-terrorism operations: The Taliban wants a complete withdrawal of foreign forces before they hold talks with the Afghan government or declare a ceasefire.

Reporting by Sarwar Amani in Kandahar, Storay Karimi, Jalil Ahmad Rezayee in Herat, Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Deepa Babington

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(QATAR, UAE.) JUST IN: Afghanistan’s Taliban opened a new round of peace talks Monday with U.S. the insurgent group said: A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the two-day meeting in Doha will continue on Tuesday: The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan political reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, is leading the U.S. delegation #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Jan.22: Following American acceptance of the agenda of ending the invasion of Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the future, talks with American representatives took place today in Doha, the capital of Qatar: The session will also continue tomorrow (Tuesday), Mujahid said: The meeting was originally set to take place in Pakistan where Khalilzad had stayed for several days before traveling to Qatar: Sources said #Taliban officials refused to come to Islamabad unless the U.S. side agreed to discuss a withdrawal plan for U.S.-led foreign troops from Afghanistan: The uncertainty had led to speculation about a breakdown in the peace dialogue.Afghanistan’s Taliban opened a new round of peace talks Monday in Qatar with the United States, the insurgent group said #AceNewsDesk reports

In this photo released by the Foreign Office, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) receives U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 18, 2019.

In this photo released by the Foreign Office, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) receives U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 18, 2019.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who undertook a day-long visit to Islamabad on Sunday, dismissed suggestions the dialogue with the Taliban was faltering and also praised Pakistan’s effort to help the Afghan peace process: The South Carolina Republican senator, who is considered close to President Donald Trump, spoke after a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

I can tell you the fact that the effort that was made is good: It is going to take a while. I talked with Prime Minister Khan and I think he is going to deliver a message that would be very helpful,” Graham said. He did not elaborate.

Monday’s U.S.-Taliban talks came as Prime Minister Khan also arrived in Doha for official meetings with the Qatari leadership: Diplomatic sources say Khan is likely to make contact with Taliban officials during the visit to encourage them to help in negotiating a political resolution to the Afghan war.

After ending his visit to Pakistan on Sunday, Ambassador Khalilzad sounded upbeat about the future of Afghan peace talks, saying he had “good meetings” in Islamabad: “I appreciate their [Pakistan’s] hospitality and resolve to push for Afghan peace. We’re heading in the right direction with more steps by Pakistan coming that will lead to concrete results,” the Afghan-born chief U.S. negotiator said.

U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham gives a press conference at the U.S. Embassy after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 20, 2019.

U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham gives a press conference at the U.S. Embassy after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 20, 2019.

Senator Graham, in his press conference Sunday, noted Pakistan was taking significant steps under Khan’s leadership to promote Afghan peace and regional security: He also praised Pakistan’s effort to fence the 2,600-kilometer largely porous border the country shares with Afghanistan to deter cross-border terrorism.

“I am going to go back and talk to President Trump about my meeting with Prime Minister Khan and I am going to urge him to meet with the prime minister as soon as practical,” said Graham: “ Prime Minister Khan was criticized over the past 10 or 20 years about talking about reconciliation with the Taliban. He was right.”

Before coming to power last July, Khan had consistently called for the U.S. to engage the Taliban in peace talks rather than using military power to end the Afghan war: His critics would call him “Taliban Khan” for demanding and supporting reconciliation with the Islamist Afghan Taliban.

Source: VOA.Org/ Published: January.21: 2019:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports & #Brittius says are provided by Sterling Publishing & Media News and all our posts, links can be found at here Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ Ace News Services Posts https://t.me/AceSocialNews_Bot and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com or you can follow our breaking news posts on AceBreakingNews.WordPress.Com or become a member on Telegram https://t.me/acebreakingnews all private chat messaging on here https://t.me/sharingandcaring

(LONDON) Court Report: Khalid Ali Who plotted a knife attack on ‘ MPs and Police ‘ in Westminster and was arrested in Parliament Square carrying three knifes has received three life sentences: He boasted to police who were watching him for 5-years since he returned from Afghanistan that he had made bombs for the #Taliban and detonated 300-IEDs against troops #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – July.21: A man who plotted a knife attack on MPs and police in Westminster has been handed three life sentences: Khalid Ali, 28, was arrested in Parliament Square last April by armed police who found him in possession of three knives: Police had been watching Ali since he returned from Afghanistan where he had spent five years making bombs for the Taliban which were used to maim and kill coalition troops…………..In late 2016, the FBI matched his fingerprints to those of two caches of explosives recovered in 2012 #AceNewsDesk reports

Khalid Ali faces life in jail
Khalid Ali was being watched by police since returning from Afghanistan

After being tried at the Old Bailey in June, Ali was convicted of preparing terrorist acts in Britain and two charges of possessing explosive substances with intent abroad………………….Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC sentenced Ali to a minimum of 40 years for making IEDs for the Taliban in 2012………….He was also handed a 25-year sentence for the Westminster plot designed to attract “maximum publicity and instil terror”

Firearms officiers from the British police detain a man, later named as Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali, on Whitehall near the Houses of Parliament in central London on April 27, 2017 before being taken away by police. Metropolitan police attended an incident on Whitehall in central London near the Houses of Parliament where one man was arrested, police said. Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali, a 27-year-old from north London, is accused of preparing terrorist acts after being arrested not far from Prime Ministe
Ali was arrested by officers as in Parliament Square

The judge said: “I have no doubt whatsoever that there is a very considerable risk of your committing offences of violence in the future and cause death or serious injury as a result.

I’m sure your plan was to attack and kill someone in central London.

“Your preparations were complete and you very simply had to identify your precise target and his or her death was very likely to be caused by a knife attack. You would kill any police officer you could.”…………………………..Ali’s family in Edmonton, north London, reported him missing in June 2011 after he disappeared without warning…………………….He resurfaced at the British Consulate in Turkey more than five years later, when he claimed he had lost his passport………………The #Taliban and al #Qaeda follower was stopped at Heathrow Airport in November and interviewed by police who took DNA samples and fingerprints.

He told police he had been involved in a Road to Hope convoy to Palestine in 2010.

Body-worn camera footage has shown the moment Khalid Ali was taken down by armed police near Parliament.1:13The moment police pinned terrorist to the floor

He said he then went to Pakistan after MI5 had tried to recruit him as a spy.

In late 2016, Ali’s DNA and fingerprints were shared with the FBI agents and the 42 prints linked him to two loads of IEDs found in Afghanistan in 2012…………………..In the meantime, he vowed to carry out an attack on Westminster to “send a message” to British authorities, the court heard…………………….On 18 March, he carried out reconnaissance while claiming to be taking part in a Stand Up To Racism march, which took him past Downing Street and the Cenotaph.

On 22 April, CCTV cameras caught him walking past the MI6 building at Vauxhall Cross.

He was also captured by CCTV at Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall……………………………..Shortly after midnight on 27 April his mother called police and told them she had found four knives in his bedroom and feared he was going to kill his family………………………….Ali had bought the blades two days before in Ealing, west London, and had been seen by surveillance officers throwing away the packaging………………..He left his mother’s home and went to Ealing where he rearmed himself with an eight-inch chef’s knife and two three-and-a-half-inch paring blades from Wilko……………………He also bought kitchen utensils including a potato masher as cover and purchased a rucksack with a Union flag and London logo on it.

Ali then travelled on the Underground to carry out his attack, just four weeks after the Westminster Bridge killings: He deliberately dropped his mobile phone into the Thames, which police divers recovered……………………..As police moved in to arrest Ali, the knives were seized from his jacket pockets and the waistband of his tracksuit bottoms……………..Ali told officers in a police interview he wanted to deliver a “message” to British authorities but he said the knives were for protection………………….He admitted involvement in IEDs in Afghanistan and bragged that he had detonated more than 300 devices.

Source: Metro UK https://t.co/iGUoZjoYot – Published: July 20, 2018 at 11:32AM

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(KABUL, Afghanistan.) Latest: #Taliban attack in #Ghor province on Friday night and within hours it was overwhelmed and fell, according to provinces governor there were no reported casualties among militants or civilians: Also 16-security forces were killed in #Farah clash with other militants #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – May.12: Ghor officials said Saturday that heavy clashes are ongoing between local uprising forces and #Taliban insurgents in Shahrak district of Ghor province: According to local officials the clash started on Friday night at about 8pm in Oshan village when dozens of Taliban attacked the village #AceNewsDesk reports

Abdulhai Khatibi provincial governor’s spokesman said the village fell to the Taliban after several hours: According to Khatibi there are no reports of casualties among the uprising forces nor civilians but that one soldier has so far been killed in the clash.

The Taliban has not yet commented: Heavy #Clashes Ongoing In #Ghor Provincehttps://t.co/E9SXe6tiRQpic.twitter.com/6cx9DT5zMf— TOLOnews May 12, 2018: https://t.me/acebreakingnews/755604: 16 Security Forces Killed In #Farah Clash https://t.co/btCT57Dvkepic.twitter.com/1PvS6wb5eR— TOLOnews May 12, 2018: https://t.me/acebreakingnews/755573

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AFGHANISTAN: At least 5 people were #killed and 27 others were wounded in a series of #explosions in Jalalabad city targeting a top security official who was #killed in the attack – @AceNewsServices

#AceNewsReport – Nov.25: Five killed, 27 wounded in three back to back explosions in Jalalabad city // Khaama Press (KP) image

At least 5 people were #killed and 27 others were wounded in a series of #explosions in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province.

Provincial government officials said the incident took place today in the 2nd police district of the city targeting a top security official who was killed in the attack.

The officials further added that the target of the #explosion was the chief of the detention center of the provincial jail who was #killed along with his son in the attack.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said the second blast took place targeted the convoy of the security forces as they were on their way to the blast site.

Khogyani further added that the third blast took place in the same area where the first blast took place as the security forces had gathered and cordoned off the area.

No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the back to back explosions so far.

Nangarhar is among the relatively peaceful provinces in eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups including the #Taliban insurgents and loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are actively operating in a number of its remote districts.

http://bitly.com/2guHlKq

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AFGHANISTAN: NDS Report that two key #Taliban commanders have been arrested in Helmand province in separate military operations a statement confirmed – @AceNewsServices

#AceNewsReport – July.28: Two Key Taliban Commanders Arrested in Helmand Operation

arrested man

At least two Taliban commanders were arrested in separate military operations in southern Helmand province, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement.

In addition, one insurgent was killed during the clash.

The operation was conducted in Garemsir district of the province by NDS forces and Sharafuddin and Sayed Wali, key Taliban commanders, were arrested, according to the statement.

Sharafuddin was involved in attacks on local police outposts in Helmand in which 30 police members were killed,” it said.

The forces also seized weapons during the operation, the statement added.

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AFGHANISTAN: ‘ Government Forces retake City of Kunduz from Taliban ‘

#AceNewsReport – AFGHANISTAN:June.23: Afghan government forces regained control of a key district near the northern city of Kunduz on Tuesday. Chardara district was captured two days before, and Taliban militants threatened to take a provincial capital for the first time since being driven from power in 2001.

The brief capture of Chardara brought fighting to a bridge just 3km away from the Kunduz governor’s compound.

Tuesday’s victory came despite signs that insurgents were stepping up offensive in the broader war, Reuters said.

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KABUL: ‘ Bomb explodes in offices of Afghan News agency ‘

#AceNewsReport – KABUL:June.11: A bomb exploded at an office of Afghanistan’s main news agency Pajhwok on Thursday, wounding two people, Reuters said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast in the eastern province of Nangarhar. Militants have issued threats to the agency in the past, editor-in-chief, Danish Karokhil, said.

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#201st-corps-afghanistan, #afghanistan, #ashraf-ghani-ahmadzai, #islamic-state, #jalalabad, #kabul, #nangarhar-province, #pajhwok-afghan-news, #pakistan, #taliban

WARZIRISTAN: ‘ Suicide Attack Kills Seven Soldiers on Afghan/Pakistan Border ‘

#AceNewsReport – WAZIRISTAN:June.08: A suicide attack has killed seven Pakistani soldiers in a restive northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistan’s military said Monday.

 The incident happened in North Waziristan on Sunday night, where the military has been fighting militants since June last year. “When being chased and cordoned, a terrorist exploded his suicide jacket,” the military said in a statement.

The blast triggered a gun battle between militants and troops in which 19 insurgents were killed, AFP reported.

#AceNewsServices

#afghanistan, #agence-france-presse, #al-qaeda, #datta-khel, #durand-line, #explosive-belt, #north-waziristan, #pakistan, #pakistan-armed-forces, #taliban

PAKISTAN: ‘ US Drone Attack Kills Suspected Taliban Militants ‘

#AceNewsReport – PAKISTAN:June.06: A number of suspected Taliban militants were killed Saturday in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, which borders on Afghanistan, local media reported.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US drones fired two missiles targeting a house which was said to be used as a hideout by the Taliban, the Pakistani Dawn newspaper reported citing unnamed sources.

http://sputniknews.com/asia/20150606/1023029507.html

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#afghanistan, #agence-france-presse, #datta-khel, #drone-attacks-in-pakistan, #durand-line, #list-of-pakistani-intelligence-agencies, #north-waziristan, #pakistan, #pakistan-armed-forces, #taliban, #terror-terrorism

TAJIKISTAN: ‘ BANS ISLAMIC MOVEMENT SALAFIA AS AN EXTREMIST ORGANISATION ‘

#AceWorldNews – TAJIKISTAN:Jan.12:Fundamentalist Islamic movement Salafia has been banned as an extremist organization by the republic of Tajikistan, the prosecutor general’s office told TASS on Monday.

The group opposes introduction into Islam of other religious and philosophical concepts. It joins more than 20 blacklisted parties and communities including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Tajikistan’s Supreme Court ruled to ban delivery and distribution of literature and other materials propagating Salafite ideas, including restricting access to the movement’s website.

“All those involved in this extremist movement will be criminally prosecuted,” the prosecutor’s office said.

#ANS2015

#al-qaeda, #islam, #islamic, #salafia, #taliban

PAKISTAN: ‘ CHILDREN RETURN TO SCHOOL WHERE TALIBAN KILLED 150 CLASSMATES & TEACHERS ‘

#AceWorldNews- Update: PAKISTAN:Jan.12: Pakistani children returned on Monday to the school where Taliban gunmen killed 150 of their classmates and teachers last month, AP said.

The terrorist attack on December 16 in Peshawar was one of the worst Pakistan has experienced.

A ceremony was held at the school to mark its reopening, with classes restarting on Tuesday.

#ANS2015

#children, #peshawar, #taliban