Intra-Afghan Peace Talks in Moscow
Senior Afghan politicians and a Taliban delegation met in Moscow on the occasion of celebrating the 100th anniversary of Moscow-Kabul diplomatic ties. Taliban’s head of the political office in Doha Mullah Ghani Baradar told the meeting that the Islamic Emirate wants peace but the first step is to remove obstacles to peace and end occupation of Afghanistan. Mohammad Karim Khalili, head of the High Peace Council, the main body charged with pursuing peace efforts, said dozens of people were being killed in fighting every day and it was time for a dignified and just mechanism to end the bloodshed. Atta Mohammad Noor, former governor of the northern province of Balkh and a leader of the mainly ethnic Tajik Jamiat-e Islami party said it was in the interests of all sides to establish a good understanding. He said that we want to have good relations with the Taliban and we expect peace from them. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the complete withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan at a meeting in Moscow attended by a Taliban delegation. In his statement, he said, deepening of trust and mutual understanding between our countries contributes to a common goal that is fighting against international terrorism, primarily with the so-called Islamic State [terrorist group banned in Russia], as well as drug cartels. Lavrov said that we are ready to continue our cooperation with our Afghan partners for broader security of the region. He detailed that Russia wanted to assist in capacity building of civilian and law enforcement agencies including the ones fighting narcotics supply chain.
UNICEF: Attacks on schools in Afghanistan Tripled In 2018
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warns about a sharp rise in attacks on schools in Afghanistan. A statement said that attacks on schools in Afghanistan tripled between 2017 and 2018, surging from 68 to 192. The statement added, the ongoing conflict and rapidly deteriorating security situation across the country left more than 1,000 schools closed by the end of last year. Half a million children were denied their right to education as a result. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that education is under fire in Afghanistan. It was added that the senseless attacks on schools; the killing, injury, and abduction of teachers; and the threats against education are destroying the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children. More than 1,000 schools across the country remain closed because of security threats posed by militant groups like the Taliban and Islamic State, which have sought soft targets for attacks.
National Security Advisor HamdullahMoheb Visit to Pakistan
Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib is in Islamabad on a formal visit. A 13-member delegation, comprising officials of defense, interior, foreign and national security departments accompanies him. “At the invitation of Pakistani Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, NSA Dr @Hmohib will lead a high-level delegation to Islamabad to hold discussions on counter-terrorism, security and peace process.”, Tariq Arian spokesperson of the security council tweeted.
Up to 20 Killed in Taliban Attack in Ghor
At least 20 local government-backed anti-Taliban forces known as People’s Uprising’ were killed and 30 wounded after Taliban raided several villages in Ferozkoh district of western Ghor province, a Ghor MP told media. Abdulhai Khatibi provincial spokesperson has confirmed the Taliban’s multiple attacks.