UN Report: July-Sept deadliest quarter in ten Years
More civilians were killed and injured in Afghanistan in the past quarter than during any other three-month period in the past decade, according to a U.N. report released on Thursday, a spike that coincided with increased violence as talks to end an 18-year war gained steam and then suddenly collapsed. Between July and September, 1,174 civilians were killed and 3,139 were wounded. Those figures bring total civilian casualties (both dead and injured) this year to more than 8,000, according to counts by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. In the previous quarter, 785 civilians were killed and 1,254 were wounded. UN started civil casualty’s records in 2009.
Comments on peace
State Ministry for Peace Affairs says the Afghan government will priorities the demands of the Afghan people in the peace talks. Yunos Qanuni, a politician and former vice-president says Pakistan has made the US accept its strategy with regards to peace talks with the Taliban. Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state, praises cancellation of US-Taliban peace talks.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of US Department of States in Afghanistan
The US Department of State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells has supported the Afghan poll body’s decision to count only those votes which were cast after the biometrics verification of voters. The American diplomat has said that an inclusive political consensus is required to restore lasting peace in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Afghan National Security Council has stressed the need for regional and international consensus on the Afghan peace process. Mohammad Kabir Haqmal, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said: “Peace negotiations need a national and international consensus. We are taking measures to share the issues related to the peace talks with our fellow Afghans inside the country and our international partners.”
Presidential Election Update
Independent Election Commission (IEC) says some 200 biometric devices have gone missing, adding that they have started the transfer of data from some quarantined biometric devices in the presence of electoral observers and electoral teams.
On the other hand, independent Elections Complaints Commission ECC announced that they had processed all over 4000 complaints underlining that votes of 77 stations have been declared invalid and votes from 1800 polling stations will be recounted. According to ECC, over 900 complaints led to the referral of people for prosecution. ECC said 54 people including high-level officials were fined for elections related offenses. Due to the election timetable, the preliminary result of the election should have declared on Saturday 19, but the IEC has recommended its secretariat to assess a possible 3 day to one week delay in the announcement of preliminary results.
Tajikistan reported a growing militant threat from Afghanistan
A privately-owned Tajik news agency Asia-Plus wrote on 16 October that Tajikistan’s border troops have said there is a growing threat from Afghanistan to security on the state border. The Tajik parliament’s lower house ratified on 16 October the agreement on the procedure for forming and using joint groups of specialists (experts) of border agencies to quickly respond to threats to border security on the external borders of the CIS member states. Presenting the document to MPs, a deputy commander of the Border Troops of Tajikistan’s State Committee on National Security, Abdusattor Shohiyon, noted that the threat was increasing day by day.
Car Bomb Attack on District Governor Office in Laghman:
At least two Afghan security forces and one civilian were killed and 30 others mostly children were wounded in a car bomb attack in Laghman province in the east of Afghanistan. Officials said a truck laden with explosives went off at the entrance of Alishing district governor office on Wednesday morning. Provincial governor spokesman told the BBC that a mosque and a religious school nearby are partly damaged. Taliban have claimed for the responsibility.
Afghan Government: Al-Qaeda Leader killed
The Afghan intelligence agency said the leader of the al-Qaeda group in the Indian subcontinent, Asim Omar, had been killed in an airstrike in the southern province of Helmand. The National Directorate of Security said Omar, a Pakistani citizen, was killed when the international forces targeted a Taliban compound in the district of Musa Qala. Asim Omar has headed al-Qaeda in South Asia since its formation in 2014. The Afghans did not say when the raid took place but reports said US forces carried out airstrikes in the region two weeks ago. Six other militants were also killed in the attack.
Presidential Elections Update
Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission said that German Engineers have arrived in Kabul to speed up the process of transferring data from Biometric devices to the central database. The process slowed down due to technical problems in the last few days and IEC said that it may delay the announcement of the preliminary result, scheduled to Oct 19th. An election watchdog agency has warned that unless there is a third party professional and technical observation the chance of interference and rigging in the votes tallying process of September 28th Presidential election remains high. TEFA has also pointed out that the election preliminary results announcement may be delayed and called on IEC to manage the situation. TEFA says IEC is under political pressures and it may affect the results. An IEC commissioner has already said if the process goes forward slowly, the result announcement may not be possible on time. Our reporters are in the IEC tracing the latest development.