Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Progress in Afghanistan?

Probably not, but interesting things are happening.

Afghanistan has extended its unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban following an initial truce observed by both sides over the Eid festival period.

President Ashraf Ghani appealed to the militants to follow the government’s lead and enter peace talks.

In extraordinary scenes, militants have been embracing security force members and taking selfies with citizens.

However 25 people died in a suicide attack on one gathering of Taliban and government officials in Nangarhar.

Taliban members and local residents were among the victims of the attack, province spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told the BBC, adding that 54 people were wounded.

Taliban Truce

Well, it’s something. Not sure what yet.

The Taliban have announced a three-day ceasefire with Afghan government forces coinciding with Eid later this month.

This is the Taliban’s first ceasefire since they were toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion and comes days after a unilateral truce by government troops.

The group said it would stop all offensive operations during the holiday, except against foreign forces.

The announcement came hours after Taliban fighters killed over 60 Afghan security forces across the country.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the Taliban move was an opportunity for the militants to realise “their violent campaign” was “not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause”.

The Afghan government’s unconditional truce follows a meeting of clerics, who earlier this week issued a fatwa condemning militant violence as un-Islamic.

The clerics were themselves targeted in a suicide attack claimed by IS, which killed 14 people outside their peace tent in Kabul this week.

The Taliban did not specify why they made the surprise decision to agree to the truce in their statement, but they did say they would consider releasing prisoners of war as long they did not continue fighting against them.

Taliban and ISIS Claim Attack of Mattis

Meanwhile, America is still at war.

The Taliban and ISIS are both taking credit for a rocket attack on Kabul airport early Wednesday just hours after U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis landed in Afghanistan for a surprise visit.

A barrage of up to 40 rounds of munitions hit the airport, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades, according to U.S. military officials.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said later that three people allegedly involved in the attack were killed by Afghan special forces in an operation close to the airport.

Mattis had left the airport hours before the attack took place. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, also in Afghanistan, was similarly out of harm’s way when the rockets hit.

Trump Announces Afghanistan Policy

I’d rather get in or get out. I’m glad to be moving away from a static policy.

President Donald Trump has said a hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a vacuum for terrorists to fill.

He said his original instinct was to pull US forces out, but had instead decided to stay and “fight to win” – avoiding the mistakes made in Iraq.

He said he wanted to shift from a time-based approach in Afghanistan to one based on conditions on the ground and said he would not set out deadlines.

However, the US president warned it was not a “blank cheque”.

“America will work with the Afghan government, so long as we see commitment and progress,” he said.

Mr Trump also warned Pakistan that the US would no longer tolerate the country offering “safe havens” to extremists, saying the country had “much to lose” if it did not side with the Americans.

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars – at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said.

He also said the US would seek a stronger partnership with India.