IEC warns of delay in parliamentary elections

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday warned that the upcoming parliamentary election would be impossible to be held on time if the current crisis continues the same.

“The commission is not responsible for the delay of holding the election and closing IEC branches in capital or other provinces has no legal basis,” a member of IEC, Hafizullah Hashemi said.

Despite the disqualified candidates set up sit-in tents near the IEC office, its provincial branches and staged protest, the election commission announced the names of 2565 nominees who succeed to be in the final list. Of the 2565 candidates, 2174 of them are men and 391 of them are women.

In the meantime, the observing institutions express concern over the closure of IEC office and its provincial branches and called on the International Community to find a solution for this issue.

Recently, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) has barred 35 candidates from running in upcoming parliamentary polls.


Death toll in Kabul suicide attack climbs to 48

The death toll from today’s deadly suicide attack has climbed to at least 48 people, the Ministry of Public Health officials said.

The officials further added at least 67 people who have sustained injuries in the attack, have also been shifted to the hospitals for the treatment.

The incident took place this evening in the West of Kabul city in Dasht Barchi area after a suicide bomber targeted an education center.

The Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish had earlier confirmed that an education center has been targeted in West of the city but did not elaborate further.


US and Saudi officials discuss Afghan government’s likely ceasefire with Taliban

The US and Saudi officials have discussed the likely announcement of ceasefire by the Afghan government with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

“Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with SAudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” the State Department said in a statement.

The statement further added that the Secretary and the Crown Prince discussed their support for a ceasefire in Afghanistan over the coming Eid, and peace in Afghanistan more broadly.

No further details were given regarding the discussion about the likely ceasefire in Afghanistan.


‘Political parties not effective in Afghanistan’

The political parties are not effective in Afghanistan and that except criticizing the government do not have “comprehensive” plans, according to First Deputy of Meshrano Jirga.

“Let’s strengthen the system instead of destroying and condemning it further. We urge the [political] parties to pay heed on national interest,” said First Deputy of Senate House (Meshrano Jirga).

Some political parties, however, believe that they do not have any kind of responsibility regarding the issues of war and peace in the country except having an encouraging and supporting role.

“In political issues [the parties] can play a constructive role but the issues of war and peace are the responsibility of the government. Political parties could only encourage and support and can’t have an active role in the issue of war,” said Anwarulhaq Ahadi, Chairman of New National Front of Afghanistan.


‘U.S.-Taliban next round of talks to be held in Doha in Sep’

A member of Taliban group says the White House diplomacy efforts are proving successful, groundbreaking preliminary talks with the U.S. last month were “very helpful” and that another round will take place in Doha in September.

The Guardian newspaper has written that a senior member of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura told the newspaper that the first round of basic contacts “were very helpful” and “The next round will be more specific and focused on key issues.”

According to U.S. website the Daily Beast, the Taliban negotiators have shown willingness to compromise on the longstanding demand to evict all foreign troops before any negotiations with the Afghan government.

The report claimed that the Taliban could even countenance a remaining U.S. force in the country so long as it was involved in the political process that reached such an agreement.

In the meantime, Afghan political analysts say the peace talks should be accompanied by the preservation of Afghan values.


Defense, Interior Ministers brief media on current situation in Ghazni city

The Ministers of Interior and Defense briefed the media regarding the current situation of the provincial capital of Ghazni province after four days of intense battle.

Defense Minister Bahrami said additional forces have arrived in Ghazni city and more troops have been mobilized from the other province as well to clear the city from the presence of the militants.

Bahrami further added that senior security officials including the Afghan Army Chief of Staff Gen. Sharif Yaftali are in Ghazni city at the moment, leading the clearance operations against the Taliban.

He assured that the security situation in Ghazni city would change in the next 24 hours.


Political parties set government two-week deadline

Political parties and grand national coalition on Friday set the government a two-week deadline to address their demands or will halt the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections.

Changing the election system, allowing political parties to play a supervision in the election process and the usage of biometric system were among issues as the political parties in a released statement called for its implementation within two weeks.

“The ambiguous and manipulated voter registration process shows that the election process has been already engineered in a way so that it could pave way for every kind of systematic fraud in favor of National Unity Government leaders,” said Masoud Trushtwal, a member of Afghanistan’s Council for Protection and Stability.

He said if the government and the election commission do not guarantee transparency of the elections, the political parties will prevent the upcoming elections from being held in the country.

The political parties, meanwhile, said that they have set up a national delegation for facilitating direct peace talks with the Taliban.


Afghan backup forces arrived to Ghazni

More than a thousand of commando forces have arrived to Ghazni province to suppress the Taliban group, security officials said.

The backup forces who were deployed to Ghazni city late on Friday night said they will change the city to a Taliban cemetery and the group has suffered heavy casualties so far.

“We have more than two hundred Tanks and we will change Ghazni to a graveyard for Taliban,” Abdul Razaq Safi, the commander of 203 Thunder Corps said.

The attacks began around 2am with intense gun battles raging and fires burning in several shops in Ghazni city.

Taliban militants hiding inside homes in the city’s residential areas slipped into the streets attacking Afghan security forces.


Ghani issues new directives for the safety, order in Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Int’l Airport

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued new directives to the relevant authorities in a bid to ensure safety and order in Hamid Karzai International Airport in capital Kabul.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said President Ghani issued the new directives during the inauguration of the new Radar system in the airport.

According to ARG Palace, President Ghani ordered the relevant authorities to take necessary measures to prevent the unnecessary gatherings, ceremonial gatherings, and entry of armed men inside its premises.

The new Radar system was inaugurated in the presence of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and other high level government and security officials in Hamid Karzai International Airport today.


Taliban storm Ghazni City; heavy clashes ongoing

Sources from Ghazni province say that heavy clashes are ongoing between government forces and Taliban in Ghazni City – in the center of Afghanistan – 148 kilometers southwest of Kabul.

Taliban has said in a statement that the group has stormed Ghazni City from different sides.

Sources said that Kabul-Ghazni Highway has been closed to traffic following heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban.

Hamidullah Nawrozi, member of Ghazni Provincial Council, told TOLOnews that “Ghazni city will fall to the Taliban if reinforcements were not sent”.