Pakistan ‘admits’ housing Taliban, Haqqani Network in its soil

Pakistan’s envoy to the United States, Aizaz Chaudhry has said that his country is forcing the Taliban and Haqqani network to go to Afghanistan.

The U.S., Afghanistan and others have long complained that Pakistan offered safe haven to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani Network, allowing them to carry out terror attacks in Afghanistan. But Pakistan repeatedly has denied the allegations.

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Ghani: Petty politics does not hold any space within our forces

The Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani says the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are committed to the national unity, insisting that petty politics does not hold any space within our forces.

President Ghani made the remarks during a visit to a compound of the Afghan Special Operations Forces in capital Kabul on Friday.

He said “We uphold the constitution. As guardian of the constitution ANDSF is committed to the national unity. Petty politics does not hold any space within our forces.”

In other parts of his speech, President Ghani hailed the Ministry of Defense for bringing its strategies and programs in line with the current situation that has resulted into the reduction of the Afghan armed forces casualties.

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Drug labs still finance Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan

More than hundreds of drug production facilities are still operating in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.

Hayatullah Hayat, provincial governor of Helmand province has told Ariana News that at least 40 drug labs were destroyed during the last two months; however, he said narcotic drugs are still the main source of financing violence and terror.

“We have destroyed dozens of drug labs and we have killed drug traffickers and more than a hundred Taliban militants who were involved in this business. In addition, we have seized and destroyed more than three tons of narcotics,” Mr. Hayat said.

Afghan defense ministry says targeting the revenue streams of terrorists is very effective in order to disable the insurgents.

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Coordinated attack on Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul city

A group of insurgents have launched a coordinated attack on Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul city as the security officials are saying that efforts are underway to eliminate the assailants.

The Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish confirmed that the ministry has received reports regarding the death of five people so far while six others have been wounded during the attack.

He said two of the attackers have been shot dead by the security forces and the clearance operations are underway to eliminate the remaining militants.

The eyewitnesses in the area earlier said that a section of the hotel has also caught fire and there are fears that some people have also been killed or wounded in the attack.

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Karzai Backs Russia’s Military Support To Pakistan

Former president Hamid Karzai has supported the military assistance of Russia to Pakistan, saying that Moscow can give weapons to Islamabad same as the United States is providing arms to Afghanistan’s neighboring country.

Addressing the Raisina Dialogue 2018 in India, Karzai said Moscow and Islamabad relations are new.

“There are ninety times more US weapons in Pakistan than Russian weapons in Pakistan,” Karzai said. “Shouldn’t we first correct the US part? Ninety percent… When they do that we will go to Russia and ask them to stop their will.”

The former president said the US has failed in Afghanistan war because it gives more importance to Pakistan compared with Afghanistan.

“When I pressed the US delegation on Pakistan and their support to Pakistan and the continuity of extremism arriving from there to Afghanistan, the trouble that it cost to Afghanistan and the US mission in Afghanistan, suddenly vice president (Joe) Biden got up from his place and said look Mr. Karzai, Pakistan is fifty times more important for us than you Afghanistan. That is the relationship that we should focus on,” Karzai said.

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5 senior Al-Qaeda leaders killed in Afghan forces raid in Nangarhar

At least five senior leaders of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network were killed in an operation of the Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office said Friday that the senior leaders of the Al-Qaeda network were killed in an operation conducted by the Special Forces of the Afghan intelligence directorate.

According to an official statement, the five senior Al-Qaeda network leaders, hailing from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Chechnya, were actively involved in planning and coordinating suicide attacks in the country.

The statement further added that three of those killed hailed from Chechnya, one hailed from Afghanistan, and one of them was a Pakistani national.

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Suicide bomber killed by own explosives before reaching to his target

A suicide bomber was killed in an explosion triggered by his own explosives and before reaching to his target in eastern Nangrhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government in a statement said the incident took place late on Wednesday evening in the vicinity of Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of Nangarhar.

The statement further added that the suicide bomber’s explosives went off in the 6th police district of the city, leaving himself dead along with another individual.

The suicide bomber was being chased by the security forces to be arrested based on the tip off received by Nangarhar police, the statement said.

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Taliban Leader ‘Approved’ Islamabad Meeting on Peace Talks

delegation approved by the Taliban’s leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada visited Islamabad this week for exploratory talks on restarting peace negotiations to end the 16-year war in the country, two senior officials in the movement told Reuters.

The three-member Taliban delegation from Qatar included Shababuddin Dilawar and Jan Mohammad Madani from the Taliban’s political office in Qatari capital as well as the brother-in-law of Mullah Jacoob, son of the late Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, the sources said told Reuters.

They met representatives of Afghan politician Syed Hamid Gilani, Chairman of Mahaz-e-Milli Party, a senior aide to Gilani confirmed on condition of anonymity, it said. Gilani’s office did not respond to queries.

The Taliban’s Haqqani network last week released 14 Afghan army soldiers in the eastern province of Paktia as a goodwill gesture ahead of the talks, according to both the Taliban officials and the aide to Gilani, the report said.

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Newly-appointed Balkh governor visits Mazar amid rising political tensions

The newly-appointed provincial governor of the northern Balkh province Engineer Mohammad Daud arrived to Mazar-e-Sharif city, the provincial capital of Balkh province late on Tuesday night.
According to the informed sources, Eng. Daud has visited the Balkh province to participate in the funeral ceremony of his father.

The sources further added that Eng. Daud was escorted by a large number of the security forces as he landed in Mawlana Jalauddin Balkhi International Airport.

This comes as tensions still remain high between the government and the ousted governor of Balkh province Ata Mohammad Noor over his dismissal from the provincial political leadership.

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Pakistan Halting Afghan Peace Process

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) says Pakistan clearly intervening in Afghan peace talks, and not letting the process to “practically” get started.

Addressing an event on Tuesday in Kabul, the HPC Secretary Mohammad Akram Khpalwak said the intervention of Central Asian countries particularly Pakistan, the presence of terrorist groups and drug trafficking mafia are the “serious” challenges in front of Afghan peace process.

He urged the international community to support the Afghan government by building an international consensus in this regard.

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