BBC News: War photographer Andrew Quilty travelled with the charity Save the Children across Afghanistan, capturing portraits of children whose lives have been devastated by conflict in the country. Across a series of portraits, the children describe stories of losing loved ones, physical injuries from mines, and having to flee their homes because of the fighting. Click here to view photo essay (external link).
Tolo News: Presidential candidate and Afghanistan’s former minister of interior Gen. Noorul Haq Ulumi, who also leads a newly established political party, Afghanistan People’s National Front (Jabha-e-Milli Mardum-e-Afghanistan), on Tuesday warned to resist any kind of fraud and irregularities in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for July 20. Ulumi said that he quit his position as minister of interior in the National Unity Government (NUG) under President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah over policy issues with the Mujahideen and the technocrats. He said that NUG leaders were preferring their personal motives rather than working on reforms. Click here to read more (external link).
Other Election Related News
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 19, 2019
A senior U.S. diplomat has told Afghanistan’s president that U.S. officials will no longer deal with his national security adviser, Reuters news agency reports, citing four knowledgeable U.S. and Afghan sources.
The report published on March 18 said the diplomat told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that the United States was ending contacts with Hamdullah Mohib, who serves as Ghani’s national security adviser.
The State Department declined to comment, and a representative of the Afghan Embassy in Washington could not be reached for comment.
Mohib in a Washington news conference on March 14 accused the U.S. special envoy to his country, Zalmay Khalilzad, of “delegitimizing” the Kabul government by excluding it from peace negotiations with the Taliban and acting like a “viceroy.”
He added that Khalilzad had “his own personal history — he has ambitions in Afghanistan. He was wanting to run for president twice.”
Khalilzad is leading the U.S. negotiating team in talks with Taliban militants in Qatar as Washington attempts to bring an end to the long war in Afghanistan.
Many Afghan officials have been upset by their exclusion from the talks, as the Taliban has refused to talk directly to the Kabul government, claiming it is a puppet of the West.
A U.S. move to end contacts with Mohib would likely increase Kabul’s anger about being left out of the negotiations.
According to the Reuters report, the day after Mohib made his comments, David Hale — the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs — told Ghani by phone that Mohib would no longer be received in Washington and that U.S. civilian and military officials would not do business with him.
“Hale called Ghani and told him that Mohib is no longer welcome in D.C. The U.S. will not deal with him in Kabul or in D.C. any more,” said a former senior Afghan official who requested anonymity.
The former official said he saw the move as an effort to pressure Ghani to fire Mohib.
In mid-February, a planned meeting between Taliban negotiators and Pakistani officials in Islamabad was called off after Afghanistan issued a protest to the UN Security Council over the talks.
In a letter to the Security Council seen by RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal, the Afghan UN mission wrote that the Taliban-Pakistan meeting “constitutes a violation of the national sovereignty of Afghanistan.”
“These engagements, which are taking place under the pretext of support for peace efforts in Afghanistan, are void of any degree of coordination and consultation with the government of Afghanistan,” it said.
With reporting by Reuters, RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal, and The Washington Post
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
Reuters: Kabul’s green zone is a place where diplomats fly in cheesecake from New York and cases of wine from Europe, but many of those residing inside the heavily fortified enclave are not allowed to walk without an armed guard even for a distance of 100 meters. Click here to read more (external link).
1TV: Acting police chief of Baraki Barak district in Afghanistan’s central Logar province was killed by a roadside bomb on Monday, officials said. Saber Khan was killed as he was on his way to inspect police checkpoints, said Shapoor Ahmadzai, a spokesman for provincial police. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the attack was carried out by the group. Click here to read more (external link).
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Tolo News: Afghanistan National Cricket Team has beaten Ireland by seven wickets inside four days in Dehradun, Indian on Monday and claimed their first Test win. It was Afghanistan’s second Test outing after making their five-day debut last year when they lost to India in Bangalore. Click here to read more (external link).