Pakistan closes routes with Afghanistan after deadly attacks

Pakistan has closed all routes along the Durand Line with Afghanistan following a series of deadly attacks across the country.

The Pakistani military officials announced the closure of the routes late on Thursday night after a deadly suicide attack ripped through a shrine in Sindh province.

Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of Pakistani military, Major General Asif Ghafoor, informed regarding the decision by the Pakistani military.
In a tweet post on Thursday, Gen. Ghafoor said “Pakistan-Afghanistan Border is closed with immediate effects till further orders due to security reasons.”


Top Taliban leader involved in stoning of a girl surrenders in Ghor

A top Taliban leader who was involved in the brutal execution of a girl has surrendered to the Afghan security forces in western Ghor province of Afghanistan.

According to a local official in Ghor, the senior Taliban leader, Mawlavi Sa’adyar, was involved in insurgency activities in Feroz Koh area of Ghor.

The official speaking on the condition of anonymity further added that Sa’adyar was involved in the brutal execution of a girl Rukhshana who was stoned to death late in 2015.

He said Sa’adyar surrendered to the Afghan forces after he was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of appendices.

Provincial police chief Mustafa Mohseni confirmed the surrender of Mawlavi Sa’ad but has not commented further.


Man shot dead by Ata Mohammad Noor’s guards in Balkh

A man was shot dead by the security guards of the acting provincial governor of Balkh Ata Mohammad Noor in Mazar-e-Sharif city.

Local government officials confirmed the incident and said an investigation is underway regarding the killing of the man.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Munir Farhad said the incident took place close to the residence of the governor as the man was driving a vehicle.

He said the security guards of Noor called on the man to stop the car but he did not listen or notice which forced the guards to open fire on him.


Hekmatyar Reportedly Hospitalized in Istanbul

A Turkish newspaper has claimed Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hizb-e-Islami group, is currently in hospital in Istanbul.

The newspaper, Aydinlik, quoted a Turkish intelligence source as saying Hekmatyar is being treated at an Istanbul hospital. No details were however given.

Last week, Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami officials said Hekmatyar would return to Kabul within the next few weeks and that arrangements were being made in terms of housing and security.


Afghan provincial council member, relative, two guards shot dead

An Afghan provincial council member, his grandson and two guards were killed in an armed attack in northern Baghlan province on Wednesday, the latest in a spate of violence in the country.
Alam Jan Mujahid faced the attack when he was travelling in Hussain Kheil area of the province.

Two more guards were injured in the attack, according to Mohammad Zarif Zarif, another provincial council member in Baghlan.

Mujahid was a former commander of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar during Jihad. The attack comes as Hekmatyar is expected in Kabul in coming weeks after a peace deal between the government and him who led an insurgency after 2001.


ICRC suspends operations in Afghanistan after killing of 6 employees

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended operations in Afghanistan after the killing of six employees by militants in northern Afghanistan.

ICRC’s director of operations Dominik Stillhar has said the operations of the charity is on hold at the moment.


Russia Ready to Help Afghanistan in Peace, Security

In a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on Tuesday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said his country is willing to cooperate with Afghanistan on a wide range of issues including economic cooperation and to boost Afghanistan’s fragile security climate.

“Russia and Afghanistan are old-time and close partners, and are interested in cooperation in security, humanitarian and economic areas,” Lavrov said.

“We support efforts of Afghanistan’s leadership in stabilizing the situation in the country and in the war on terror,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Lavrov on Tuesday as saying.

He said that Moscow is satisfied by the “level of political dialogue” with Afghanistan and cooperation in the United Nations, Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister also expressed condolences to the victims of avalanches in Afghanistan over the weakened.

Rabbani thanked Lavrov for offering condolences, noting that Afghanistan’s authorities are making every effort to reduce the aftermath of the disaster.

“This trip is important, we call for developing our relations. We have many topics for discussion, in particular, the fight against terrorism,” Rabbani said.


Russia offers 485 scholarships to Afghans

Russia on Saturday offered 185 military and 300 civil education scholarships to Afghan students and reiterated continued support to Afghanistan.

The offer came at a meeting between Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and Russian envoy Alexander Mantytskiy in Kabul.

Rabbani thanked Mantytskiy for his country’s support to Afghanistan, particularly in education and military sectors, the statement said.

The Russian ambassador assured of his country’s continued support to Afghanistan, particularly in promoting peace and building capacity of Afghanistan institutions and announced 185 military scholarships and 300 civil education scholarships for the Afghans.


Hekmatyar’s name removed from UN Security Council sanctions list

The name of Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has been removed from the sanctions list of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

According to a statement by UNSC, “On 3 February 2017, the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al‑Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities removed the name below from the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List.”

UNSC disclosed the name of Hekmatyar after he was removed from the sanctions list, providing all the details regarding the Hezb-e-Islami leader, including date of birth and the date he was included in the list.


6,785 Afghan troops martyred till mid-November and 11,777 wounded

At least 6,785 personnel of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) lost their lives until mid-November last year, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko said in his latest report.

Citing the Afghan government figures provided to US Forces for Afghanistan (USFOR-A), Sopko said at least 11,777 ANDSF personnel were also wounded during the same period.

“From January 1, 2016, through November 12, 2016, according to figures provided by the Afghan government to USFOR-A, 6,785 ANDSF service members were killed and an additional 11,777 members were wounded,” the report said.