Tolo News: The Afghan Hindus and Sikhs say they will not celebrate this year’s Diwali festival due to deadly incidents took place in the country recent months. The festival was not held last year either due to a deadly incident in Kabul. Hindus and Sikhs living in Kabul said that the death of 14 Hindus and Sikhs in Nangarhar bombing July, assassination of former Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and Helmand parliamentary elections candidate Abdul Jabar Qahraman are some of the violent incidents that have left them with no option rather than canceling the celebration of the festival. Diwali is a Hindu festival with lights, held in the period October to November. Click here to read more (external link).
RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan
November 9, 2018
The Taliban are not ready to negotiate with the Afghan government, a Taliban member said at talks in Moscow on November 9.
A Taliban delegation attended a diplomatic conference in Russia for the first time, but the Kabul government sent no official representative, and the sides reported no progress.
At the end of the talks in the Russian capital, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, who led the Taliban delegation, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the militants are not ready for direct talks with Kabul and will negotiate with the United States instead.
Opening the meeting earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia hopes “through joint efforts to open a new page in the history of Afghanistan.”
The first Russian initiative to hold the conference in September was abandoned after the Afghan authorities refused to attend.
This time, the Afghan government sent only members of the government-appointed High Peace Council to attend the event.
Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry on November 9 issued a statement stressing that the High Peace Council is taking part in the talks “in its own capacity as a national but nongovernment institution, with a view to discuss the dynamics and details of initiating direct negotiations.”
The High Peace Council (HPC) is a body of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program, established by former President Hamid Karzai to negotiate with elements of the Taliban.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the militant group was sending five representatives, who will not hold “any sort of negotiations” with the Peace Council delegation.
Informal contacts between the Taliban and members of Afghanistan’s Peace Council have taken place at various forums in the past.
Based on reporting by AP, TASS, and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
- Taliban representatives said withdrawal of foreign forces is the only option for bringing peace to Afghanistan
- US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad will visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar with an “interagency delegation” from November 8 to 20
Antiwar.com: Brown University has released a new study on the cost in lives of America’s Post-9/11 Wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The study estimates between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed in the course of the three conflicts. This includes combatant deaths and civilian deaths in fighting and war violence. Civilians make up over half of the roughly 500,000 killed, with both opposition fighters and US-backed foreign military forces each sustaining in excess of 100,000 deaths as well. Click here to read more (external link).
Al Jazeera: At least 14 Afghan army soldiers were killed in Takhar province after midnight on Thursday in the latest attack by Taliban armed group, which has killed or wounded dozens of security forces this week. Six soldiers are missing and 16 others wounded in the attack on military base in Khawja Ghar district, provincial council member Mohammad Azam Afzali told Al Jazeera. Click here to read more (external link).
More Security News
- Taliban Attack Army Base in Kunduz, Killing 14 Soldiers
- Afghan Forces Kill 34 Taliban Militants in Farah
- Afghan Forces Move to Clear Dahan-i-Ghori District of Taliban Militants
- MoD Sends In Extra Troops As Violence Grips Baghlan, Ghazni
- 16 Taliban Killed In Baghlan In ANSF And Foreign Forces Operation
Tolo News: Officials from the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan (GNCA) on Thursday said that the alliance has reached an agreement about its candidate for next year’s presidential elections. The GNCA did not however name their candidate but said an announcement will be made soon. Meanwhile, close aides to former national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar have said that Atmar will run as a presidential candidate next year. Some of Afghanistan’s mainstream political parties such as Jamiat-e-Islami party, Hizb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami party and The National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan part of the GNCA. Click here to read more (external link).
Related and other political news
VOA News | November 7, 2018: Hundreds of Afghan civilians in eastern Nangarhar province took up arms and joined the Afghan security forces in the fight against the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan. The nearly 400 civilians will take part in a newly launched anti-IS operation by the government in the region. VOA’s Zabihullah Ghazi reports from Nangarhar.
Reuters: “Given the strictness of Taliban regarding implementation of their rules and regulations, I think they raise more from tax collection than the Afghan government,” said Mohammaddin, a resident of the district outside Kunduz city, which is largely under Taliban control despite repeated operations by government forces to try to push the insurgents back. “They have proper tax collection and people cannot disobey them in areas they control.” Click here to read more (external link).
Ariana: Muhammad Akram Khpalwak has resigned from his positions as Special Representative to President Ashraf Ghani in Political Affairs and Head of High Peace Council Secretariat. In a phone call, Khpalwak confirmed his resignation to Ariana News, adding that he has stepped down due to personal issues. He added that his resignation was accepted by President Ghani during the cabinet meeting today. Click here to read more (external link).