“We then discussed our support to the Afghanistan peace process. You might have seen the conclusions that have been adopted that highlight the concrete actions that the European Union is willing and ready to take in support of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, hopefully to be started already next week – as it was announced that intra-Afghan negotiations might start already next week” the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, while concluding the work of the meeting of Foreign ministers Council in Luxembourg.
“We have been supporting enormously the work of the Afghan legitimate authorities in their preparation for that. I am glad to see that yesterday, President of Afghanistan, Ashraf] Ghani announced the formation of the negotiating team and a senior council to lead them. I really hope that, also following our talks in Kabul a couple of weeks ago, this can open the way for negotiations that can lead to peace in Afghanistan without pre-judging neither the electoral process nor the achievements that the Afghan population has managed to reach, in particular on the rights of women, minorities and human rights in general terms.”
The Council recommends that direct negotiations between Afghans, with the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban at their core begin as soon as possible.
It confirms the EU’s readiness to support the peace process and its implementation, wit the aim of preserving and building on the political, economic and social achievements of the people of Afghanistan since 2001, which should be irreversible. The EU stands ready to support the following aspects of the process:
- to help make the peace process inclusive;
- to assist with reforms, including security sector reform;
- to act as a guarantor of a peace process, if requested by the parties;
- to assist with reintegration of fighters and their families and
- to promote regional trade and connectivity.
Taliban group stormed and seized a military base located in Tarinkot, the administrative center of the province of Uruzgan. Reportedly a unit of the Afghan National Army was stationed at the base, sharing it with representatives of the police.
According to the Afghan media, a total of 25 soldiers and police were stationed in the base, 13 among them were killed in the attack.
According to information published by Taliban in social media, they killed 10 miliary and took 13 hostages. The authorities of Uruzgan Province and a representative of the Afghan Ministry of Defense confirmed the seizure of the military base without specifying the total number of casualties.
Security forces confronted Taliban fighters in key locations in northern Afghanistan leaving dozens of people killed and the city of Sar-e Pul threatened by insurgents, officials said.
Clashes started next to the provincial capital of Sar-e Pul for two days and at least 17 members of the security forces have been killed in the past 24 hours, according to the provincial governor’s spokesman Zabihullah Amani.
He said the figure was provisional and the real number of casualties may be higher.
The Taliban’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said fighters had overrun checkpoints no more than five km (three miles) from Sar-e Pul city center and seized a large quantity of weapons and equipment.
Two journalists were among 20 people killed in Kabul in twin bomb attacks on a wrestling club on September 5, with the second blast targeting media and emergency services at the scene of the initial explosion. The first attack took place around 6 p.m. local time when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest in the Maiwand Wrestling Club, according to deputy spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, Nasrat Rahimi.
“The EU stands in solidarity with Afghan people. We pay tribute to those who provided first assistance to the victims, as well as the media community, essential for the functioning of an open and tolerant society and democracy. The European Union’s commitment to support the people and authorities of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability remains as strong as ever” – says the text the European Action Service statement.
James Mattis, the US Defense Secretary, arrived in Kabul for an unannounced visit on September 7 US media reported.
Mattis and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were meeting with Army Gen. Scott Miller, the new commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, NBC News reported.
They intend to discuss situation with peace talks with the Taliban, despite a deteriorating security climate in the country.
Mattis is scheduled to conduct a town hall meeting with troops, attend a weekly memorial service and meet with senior Afghan leaders, officials said as quoted by NBC News.
The US refusal to take part in the conference on Afghanistan scheduled to be held in Moscow on September 4 reflects the hypocrisy of Washington’s peace rhetoric with respect to Kabul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary.
“We were sorry to learn from a statement by the US Department of State that the Americans refuse to take part in a Moscow format meeting on September 4. Aside from them, representatives of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and five Central Asian countries have been invited to take part in it,” the ministry said. “The American side’s decision once again highlights the hypocrisy of Washington’s peace rhetoric towards Afghanistan.”
This decision came as no surprise to Moscow, as there were no US representatives at the previous Moscow format meeting. “This time they came up with a far-fetched pretext that the US has no intention of taking part in those events, which are not organized under the supervision of the Afghans. Its obvious inconsistency is that the Moscow meeting is scheduled to be co-chaired by Russia and Afghanistan, and Washington is perfectly aware of that,” the ministry noted. “Apparently, the fact is that the Americans are in favor of taking part only in the meetings, which are held under their supervision and serve exclusively the US interests.”
Fighting continued around Ghazni city just south of Kabul during weekend a day after Taliban fighters stormed its center in a brutal show of force, with at least 25 police and one journalist killed, officials said.
Defense ministry officials said Ghazni was under complete control of the security forces but at the same time indicated clearance operations were continuing and additional troops were being sent to boost the city’s defense.
“Afghan National Army reinforcements are making their way to Ghazni city to help the Afghan National Police search and clear the city of insurgents that may still be hiding in the city,” said Major Mohammad Farooq, Afghan army 203rd Corps spokesman.
There is no update of information on casualties, but Najib Danish, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said that 25 policemen had been killed, along with one Afghan journalist, whom he did not identify.
At NATO Summit the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the Alliance long-term commitment to Afghan government, advising, assisting the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,. “We will continue our assistance by extending our financial sustainment of the Afghan forces thought 2024, and by pleading to fill standing shortfalls, especially in priority areas”, – Stoltenberg said. He also underlined that regional actors have an important role to play in support of peace and stabilization in Afghanistan.
Lailuma SADID, reknown Afghan journalist, and former diplomat explains challenges of NATO policies in her country, pointing at urgent need to take an action stopping neighbouring countries to sponsor Taliban, and other terrorist groups. Critical of Afghan government SADID insists on democratic change as major factor to engage people, convincing them best future lies within Afghan state, and construction of a fair society, but not with Islamists mouvements. (VIDEO: Lailuma SADID from NATO Summit, Brussels)
AMENDED 12/07/2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization chief Jens Stoltenberg expects leaders to agree to fund Afghan security forces until 2024, despite public frustration in the West about their involvement in the ongoing conflict seeming endless. “We have added around 3,000 more trainers to our mission,” he said.adding “Att the Summit, I expect we will also agree to extend funding for the Afghan forces beyond 2020”, Stoltenberg added.
“We will be deploying an additional 440 personnel to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and I think that shows when NATO calls, the UK is one of the first to step up,” Prime minister Theresa May said to press, commenting on Afghanistan.