CURRENT NEWS ARTICLES

Biden must decide on US troops in Afghanistan as deadline looms

Al Jazeera/AP 26 February 2021 Donald Trump, in a deal with the Taliban, promised to withdraw US troops by May if conditions were met. America’s longest war is approaching a crossroads. President Joe Biden’s choices in Afghanistan boil down to this: withdraw all troops by May, as promised by his predecessor, and risk a resurgence of extremist

Peace Negotiators Hold 3rd Meeting Following Talks Stalemate

Haseeba Atakpal Tolo News 26 Feb 2021 Peace negotiators discussed the agenda of the negotiations in their third meeting, officials said. The Afghan Republic and the Taliban negotiators held their third meeting on Thursday evening after over a month-long deadlock in the talks with the main focus on the agenda of the negotiators, officials confirmed. 

Top Democrat Warns Against a Hasty Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

By Eric Schmitt The New York Times Feb. 24, 2021 Senator Jack Reed said he favored seeking an extension of the May 1 deadline for withdrawing troops that President Donald Trump and the Taliban negotiated last year. American troops in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in 2019. The United States has 2,500 troops in the country.Credit…Jim

Taliban blames Kabul, Washington for not abiding by Doha deal

Osama Bin Javaid Al Jazeera 24 Feb 2021 Taliban accuses the Afghan government and the US of not fully honouring the agreement signed last year. Doha, Qatar – The Taliban has blamed the Afghan government and its Western allies for not living up to the agreement signed last year despite months of negotiations, including the release of

Taliban Asks Its Members to Avoid Harboring Foreign Fighters

 TOLOnews TV Network 24 Feb 2021 The Taliban has asked its members to avoid giving shelter to foreign fighters and not allow them to join their ranks.  Amidst doubts in the Taliban’s commitment to cut their ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, the group has asked its members to avoid harboring foreign fighters and

Afghan Civilian Casualties Soared After Peace Talks’ Start

By David Zucchino The New York Times Feb. 23, 2021, 1:01 a.m. ET Fighting intensified in the last quarter of 2020, after talks between the Afghan government and Taliban began. Before then, it had been a less deadly year than before. Family members mourning Ahmad Ali Mohammedi, who was fatally shot at Kabul University on Nov. 2.Credit…Farzana

Afghanistan begins COVID-19 vaccination drive amid rising violence

Reuters Staff FEBRUARY 23, 2021 KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan began its first COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, administering doses initially to security force members, health workers and journalists, in a campaign that may face challenges from a sharp rise in violence. The war-damaged country received 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine from the Serum Institute of India

Peace Negotiators Meet After More Than Month-Long Gap in Talks; Afghanistan ‘Not Vietnam’: Ghani

By TOLOnews TV Network 22 Feb 2021 Taliban spokesman says the working groups were asked to continue their meetings on the agenda. A meeting was held between heads and some members of the negotiating teams in Doha on Monday evening and was focused on the continuation of the negotiations, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said. He

Biden Vows to Work Together with NATO on Afghanistan

Syed Zabiullah Langari Tolo News 19 Feb 2021 German Chancellor said Germany is ready to stay longer in Afghanistan if it is in the interest of its allies. US President Joe Biden while addressing the Munich Security Conference on Friday said that the United States will work together with its allies in Europe and that

Russia steps in, trying to aid stalled Afghan peace process

By Kathy Gannon | AP Feb. 19, 2021 at 12:04 p.m. EST In this photo released by Inter Services Public Relations, Zamir Kabulov, left, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy on Afghanistan meets with Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, I Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Kabulov was in Pakistan, a key regional player in efforts

US Will Not Undertake Hasty Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Austin

By TOLOnews TV Network 19 Feb 2021 Austin made clear that he is committed to consulting with Allies and partners throughout this process. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin on Thursday said the United States would not undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. Addressing the second and final day of the NATO Defense

NATO Chief: No Final Decision on Afghanistan Pullout

Syed Zabiullah Langari  Tolo News 18 Feb 2021 The Taliban has said that such a move would have severe consequences and that Washington will be responsible for a future escalation. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday at end of the two NATO defense ministers meetings in Brussels that the military alliance will only leave Afghanistan

Afghanistan peace talks under threat as major Taliban spring offensive takes shape

By Hamid Shalizi, Charlotte Greenfield Reuters 17 Feb 2021 KABUL/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Unusually intense fighting in the winter by Taliban insurgents has spurred Afghan government preparations for more violence in the warmer spring, which international players fear will further endanger the nation’s fragile peace process. Nearly a year after Washington signed a troop-withdrawal deal with the

Sopko Emphasizes Importance of US Support to Afghan Women

TOLOnews TV Network 18 February 2021 Sopko says the US investment on Afghan women is an investment in Afghanistan’s future. US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko on Wednesday emphasized the importance of the United States support to Afghan women and said inattention to women in Afghanistan can lead to a tragedy

Turkish Ambassador: War Is Enough in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Times February 17, 2021   An exclusive interview with Turkish Ambassador in Afghanistan, Oguzhan Ertuğrul – Peace process should be all inclusive, and based on genuine power-sharing – Turkey is ready to host one round of talks between Afghan and Taliban sides – Turkey always calling for a ceasefire – talking and fighting should

Russian Envoy Calls for Transitional Govt in Afghanistan

Anisa Shaheed TOLOnews Reporter 17 February 2021 Kabulov said that the Taliban’s insistence on the return of the emirate will jeopardize the peace process. Russian Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov in an interview with Sputnik said that Moscow prefers that all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan agree on the establishment of an inclusive

Taliban Keeps Close Ties with Al-Qaeda: Report

TOLOnews TV Network 17 February 2021 According to the UN monitoring team’s last report in January, there are 200 to 500 Al-Qaeda fighters. Taliban has kept up a close relationship with Al-Qaeda despite having pledged to stop cooperating with the group, according to the head of a UN panel monitoring the insurgency reported by NBC

Stay or Go? Biden, Long a Critic of Afghan Deployments, Faces a Deadline

By Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger The New York Times Feb. 16, 2021, 3:12 p.m. ET The question is whether the small contingent of American troops can accomplish anything after 20 years — and whether full withdrawal would clear the way for Taliban advances.  Marines at Camp Shorabak in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2019. About 2,500 American

Warring Sides Prepare for Spring Offensive Despite Peace Efforts

By Tamim Hamid TOLOnews Reporter 15 February 2021 Taliban movements have been reported in Kunduz, Baghlan, Uruzgan, Kandahar and Helmand provinces in recent weeks. While the issue of peace with the Taliban this year has been among the hot topics in the country, there are reports that the warring parties are preparing for war in

Russia wants Iran inclusion in Afghan peace negotiations

Afghanistan Times AT News Reports February 16, 2021 KABUL: The Russian government emphasizes that Iran should be included in the quadrilateral format for Afghan peace talks. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said in an interview that Moscow wants Iran be included in the format of Russia, China and the United States on peace negotiations of

Taliban Insists on US Pullout in Open Letter to American People

By Anisa Shaheed TOLOnews Reporter 16 February 2021 In the letter,  the Taliban also said that they will respect women’s rights in accordance to the Islamic principles. In an open letter to the American public, the Taliban’s leader Mullah Abdullah Abdul Ghani Baradar urged the United States to abide by its commitments to withdraw US forces

The Taliban Close In on Afghan Cities, Pushing the Country to the Brink

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Taimoor Shah Photographs by Jim Huylebroek The New York Times Feb. 15, 2021 The Taliban have positioned themselves around several major population centers, including the capital of Kandahar Province, as the Biden administration weighs whether to withdraw or to stay. PANJWAI, Afghanistan — The Taliban have been encroaching on key cities around Afghanistan for months,

AAN Q&A: Mediation or facilitation “would help” in the Doha talks

Afghanistan Analysts Network AAN Team  14 Feb 2021 The intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha are stalling since the first round ended in December 2020 with an agreement on the talks’ rules of procedure and both parties forwarding their lists of items for an agenda for the next rounds. In order to find out where there are

NATO Not Leaving Afghanistan Before ‘Time Is Right’

By TOLOnews TV Network 15 February 2021 Stoltenberg says NATO has significantly adjusted its presence as part of the Afghan peace process. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a pre-ministerial press conference on Monday reiterated that the presence of the alliance’s troops in Afghanistan is “conditions-based,” saying “we will not leave before the time is right.”

Int’l Troops in Afghanistan Favor No One: Taliban

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 14 February 2021 An Afghan negotiator says international forces withdrawal in the absence of an agreement on peace will lead to a civil war. As the NATO defense ministers meeting comes to a close, the Taliban in a message to NATO leaders said the continuation of foreign forces’ presence in Afghanistan

Taliban Controls 52% of Territory in Afghanistan; Taliban Has Shown No Will for Peace, Mohib Says

By Tamim Hamid TOLOnews Reporter 13 February 2021 Survey shows 59 percent of the Afghan population lives in areas under the government’s control. A survey by an Afghan news agency shows that the Taliban controls at least 52 percent of the country’s territory while 59 percent of the population lives in areas under the government’s control.

Biden Vows to Bring ‘Responsible End to Wars’

By TOLOnews TV Network 11 February 2021 US President Joe Biden said that the “force should be a tool of last resort, not the first.”   The US President Joe Biden in his first visit to the Pentagon as commander-in-chief, has promised to work with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and leaders around the world “to

Danesh Says Interim Setup Will Bring More Violence

By Massoud AnsarTOLOnews Reporter 12 February 2021 Second Vice President Sarwar Daneh says an interim setup will bring more violence in the country. Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh on Friday slammed the Taliban for the high level of violence and bringing up “new preconditions,” stressing the need for preserving the current political system in

US goes one year without a combat death in Afghanistan as Taliban warn against reneging on peace deal

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 8, 2021 A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Javier J. Gutierrez, of San Antonio, Texas, at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Feb. 10, 2020. Gutierrez was killed in eastern Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on Feb. 8, 2020, one of the last two

Gov’t employees, police officers among 8 killed in Afghanistan

Al Jazeera 9 February 2021 String of attacks kills four government employees and four policemen, officials say, amid relentless violence in the war-torn country. A string of attacks in Afghanistan has killed four government employees and four policemen, officials said. In the capital, Kabul, gunmen on Tuesday opened fire in the Bagh-e-Daud neighbourhood and killed

Taliban Violence ‘Simply Too High’: Gen. MacKenzie

By TOLOnews TV Network 8 February 2021 MacKenzie says the US is taking a close look at the way forward in accordance with the February 2020 peace agreement.  The commander of the United States Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, says the level of violence in Afghanistan remains too high and that the US is reviewing

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Afghanistan from India

By Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters FEBRUARY 7, 2021 KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan received 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from India on Sunday, the first to arrive in the country, which is still waiting for emergency approval from the World Health Organisation before it can use them. Ghulam Dastagir Nazari, head of the immunisation program at

Politicians Claim to Have Seen Draft Outline of Future Govt

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 7 February 2021S The Presidential Palace said that the establishment of an interim government is unacceptable. R Some Afghan politicians have expressed different views about a draft outline of a future government, which they claim to have seen recently. Mohammad Ismail Khan, former mujahideen leader and former minister of energy and

Inside the Shadowy Militias Luring Unsuspecting Afghans to Fight, or Die

By Fahim Abed and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Feb. 4, 2021, 3:00 a.m. ET Afghanistan’s poor are being deceived into defending outposts from the Taliban, sometimes under the guise of construction work — a scheme partially bankrolled by the government. Policemen stationed at a guard post on Mazar-i-Sharif’s defensive walls in Balkh Province last month.Credit…Jim Huylebroek

Taliban on diplomatic blitz after Afghan peace talks stall

Kathy Gannon The Associated Press 4 February 2021 In this file photo released Jan. 31, 2021, by Tasnim News Agency, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second right, meets with a Taliban political team, in Tehran, Iran. (Tasnim News Agency via AP, File) ISLAMABAD — The Taliban have been on a diplomatic blitz since peace

U.S. Should Slow Withdrawal From Afghanistan, Bipartisan Panel Urges

By Julian E. Barnes and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Feb. 3, 2021, 2:30 p.m. ET A study group appointed by Congress finds that removing international forces by the May 1 date set in the 2020 U.S.-Taliban peace agreement could lead to a civil war in Afghanistan. American soldiers returning home after a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan,

Abdullah: Women’s Gains Will Not be Compromised

By Fariba Sadat Tolo News 2 February 2021 Abdullah pledged that women’s rights will not be ignored in the peace talks.  Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation, on Tuesday inaugurated the women’s commission of the council and said that there is a need to guarantee the role of the public in

Hazaras fear for future as Afghanistan risks slipping into chaos

Al Jazeera 3 Feb. 2021 Fearing the government will collapse and country may descend again into civil war, Hazaras start to prepare for the worst. The choice was straightforward for Hamidullah Asadi, a member of Afghanistan’s minority Hazara community – wait for the next deadly attack or join a growing militia. After spending months recovering

‘Islamic Govt to Replace Current Govt in Afghanistan’: Taliban

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 2 February 2021 However, the Office of National Security Council (ONSC) has said that it is premature to talk about the political system in Afghanistan. The Taliban have said that an Islamic government will replace the current government in Afghanistan under the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani as a result of peace

Taliban: Fight Will Continue if Int’l Forces Stay

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 1 February 2021 NATO spokesperson says no decision has been made and NATO defense ministers will address Afghanistan at their February meeting. The Reuters report quoting anonymous sources saying international forces will stay in Afghanistan beyond the May deadline has drawn responses from official NATO spokespeople, analysts and the Taliban. The

Taliban attacks increased in Afghan capital, says US watchdog

Al Jazeera 1 Feb 2021 Taliban attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul are on the rise, with increasing targeted killings of government officials, civil society leaders and journalists, a report by a US watchdog says. The report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, known as SIGAR, on Monday comes as the Biden

Iran’s Zarif calls for ‘inclusive government’ in Taliban talks

Maziar Motamedi Al Jazeera 31 Jan 2021 Tehran finds itself in a delicate position in talks to stop violence in neighbouring Afghanistan. Tehran, Iran – Iran will only support an “inclusive” government in neighbouring Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a top Taliban delegation. In a Sunday meeting with the group led by senior Taliban

Foreign Troops to Stay in Afghanistan Beyond May

By Rupam Jain, Charlotte Greenfield Reuters 31 January 2021 ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – International troops plan to stay in Afghanistan beyond the May deadline envisaged by the insurgent Taliban’s deal with the United States, four senior NATO officials said, a move that could escalate tensions with the Taliban demanding full withdrawal. “There will be no full withdrawal

Drawdowns of troops in Germany and Afghanistan up in the air

Meghann Myers Military Times 28 January 2021 The Pentagon is still working with a May deadline for a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, but a Defense Department spokesman told reporters on Thursday that the way ahead is unclear. The White House under President Donald Trump spent much of 2020 beating the drum for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, which

Afghan Govt ‘Flexible’ With Peace Process: Omer

By Anisa Shaheed TOLOnews Reporter 31 January 2021 Omer said the government has taken important steps for peace, but the Taliban has not addressed any of its commitments. President Ashraf Ghani has rejected the prospect of an interim government and has emphasized that the election is the main route to the transfer of power, while his

Violence May Delay U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

By Adam Nossiter and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Jan. 29, 2021 The Biden administration is reviewing a deal between its predecessor and the Taliban for a May 1 deadline to pull all American troops out of the country. Afghan police at a checkpoint in Kabul earlier this month.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times  KABUL, Afghanistan

Taliban Sees Afghan Govt As Main Hurdle for Peace

By Siyar Sirat  Tolo News 29 January 2021 Abbas Stanekzai says that they will not lay down their arms unless foreign forces leave Afghanistan. A key negotiator of the Taliban on Friday said that President Ashraf Ghani’s government in Kabul is the “only hurdle” for the Afghan peace process, blaming President Ghani for prolonging the process

Abdullah: Talks Should Focus on Ceasefire, Violence Reduction

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 28 January 2021 This comes as the talks between the republic side and the Taliban have stalled over the past 11 days. Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation, on Thursday said that he has instructed the peace negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in

Amid Biden-Ordered Review of Afghanistan Troop Drawdown, Report Finds al-Qaida Gaining Strength

Military.com | By Richard Sisk 27 Jan 2021 Col. Mark Geraldi, USACE Transatlantic Afghanistan District Commander, along with Sergeant First Class Joseph Harrison, and Sergeant Major Nathan Marshall case the command colors at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, December 16, 2020. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Cheryl Moore) The Biden administration’s review of the Afghanistan withdrawal strategy under new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin

Biden administration asks US negotiator with Taliban to stay on

Al Jazeera 28 January 2021 Zalmay Khalilzad, who brokered peace deal with Afghanistan’s Taliban, has been asked to continue his ‘vital work’. Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States’s negotiator who brokered a deal with Afghanistan’s Taliban, has been asked to stay in his post under President Joe Biden even as the administration reiterated it was assessing

8,500 Civilians Killed, Wounded in Afghanistan in 2020

Zahra Rahimi TOLOnews Reporter 27 January 2021 Based on the AIHRC report,  up to 3,000 Afghan civilians were killed and over 5,000 were wounded in war in 2020. The annual report of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) shows that over 8,500 civilians in Afghanistan were killed and wounded due to war and violence

Taliban prisoners released under peace deal arrested after rejoining fight, official says

By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 25, 2021 Taliban prisoners line up at Bagram prison before being released on May 26, 2020. Hundreds of Taliban prisoners released under the U.S.-Taliban peace deal have been rearrested after rejoining the insurgency, Afghanistan’s national security advisor said. KABUL, Afghanistan — Hundreds of Taliban prisoners released

Taliban backs Afghan vaccine drive after COVAX pledges $112 million

By Hamid Shalizi, Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters January 26, 2021 KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents on Tuesday gave their backing to a vaccination programme to which the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme has pledged $112 million. Announcing the funding, an Afghan health official said the programme would cover the 20% of the population. The COVAX

Biden inherits stalled Afghan peace process and looming troop withdrawal date

By J.P. LAWRENCE  STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 22, 2021 In a 2011 visit to Afghanistan, then-Vice President Joe Biden listens to Afghan Brig. Gen. Amlaqullah Patyani, commander of Kabul Military Training Center. In the center is Gen. David Petraeus, then the commander of the International Security Force. As president, Biden must determine whether to

SIGAR: Smugglers Use VIP Security Bypass at Kabul Airport

By TOLOnews TV Network 25 January 2021 According to the report, VVIP passengers bypass all security procedures and their vehicles are cleared to drop them directly near their planes on the tarmac.  The US Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a report published on Jan. 14 says that since the collapse of the Taliban regime

Afghan Officials Optimistic About Ties with Biden Administration

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 24 January 2021 Officials said the former US administration did not share organized information about the peace process with the Afghan government. Following the US national security adviser’s phone call with Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib, hope has emerged among Afghan officials that Kabul’s ties with Washington will strengthen and more accurate

Khalilzad’s Mission as US Peace Envoy Extended; US to review deal with the Taliban

By Anisa Shaheed TOLOnews Reporter 26 January 2021 The Afghan government has in the past reacted cautiously with the mission by Khalilzad. President Joe Biden’s administration has extended Zalmay Khalilzad’s mission as the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation for an unspecific period of time, US sources have told TOLOnews. US sources added that the Biden

Biden Administration to Review Taliban Peace Deal

Afghanistan Today AT News January 20, 2021 KABUL: The new US President Joe Biden wants to review a peace deal his predecessor Donald Trump signed with Taliban insurgents last February. The announcement over the review comes as Afghan government has some considerations and objections to the peace deal. Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of

Pakistan urges Biden to stick to Afghan troop withdrawal

Asad Hashim Al Jazeera 21 Jan 2021 Pakistan FM tells Al Jazeera the country has hopes for greater engagement with the new Biden administration. Karachi, Pakistan – Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said his country has hopes for greater engagement with the new United States government and called on Joe Biden to follow up

Ghani Warns of ‘Severe Consequences’ of Interim Setup

By Massoud Ansar TOLOnews Reporter 22 January 2021 President Ghani says Afghanistan’s constitution is the most Islamic constitution in the world. President Ashraf Ghani who visited the western province of Herat on Thursday said that those who are rallying for an interim setup has no understanding from the severe consequences of the plan for the nation. 

Biden’s Team Kept in Dark Over Afghanistan Drawdown

By TOLOnews, TV Network 21 January 2021 Politico says the story is based on conversations with 10 Pentagon and Biden officials involved in the transition. The Pentagon blocked members of President Joe Biden’s incoming administration from gaining access to critical information about current operations, including the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, Politico reported on Wednesday. Politico says

‘There Is No Safe Area’: In Kabul, Fear Has Taken Over

By Adam Nossiter The New York Times Jan. 17, 2021 A new wave of violence and a growing uncertainty about the country’s future have left Afghans in the capital with a constant sense of fear. A police checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan, this month.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times  KABUL, Afghanistan — In Kabul’s uncertain present,

Billions in aid needed to help Afghan children in 2021

Al Jazeera 19 January 2021 Save the Children says more than 18 million Afghans, including 9.7 million children, are in need of urgent support. Some 10 million children in war-ravaged Afghanistan are at risk of not having enough food to eat in 2021, a humanitarian organisation says, calling for billions in new funds for aid.

Gunmen kill two female Supreme Court judges in Afghanistan

By Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters JANUARY 17, 2021 KABUL (Reuters) – Unidentified gunmen killed two female judges from Afghanistan’s Supreme Court on Sunday morning, police said, adding to a wave of assassinations in Kabul and other cities while government and Taliban representatives have been holding peace talks in Qatar. The two judges, who have not yet

Afghan Partners Call for Ceasefire, Expedited Peace Effort

By TOLOnews, TV Network 17 January 2021 Chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai said serious discussions on the agreed points will start by end of this week. Afghanistan’s international partners in a meeting with Afghan officials held virtually today announced their support for the peace efforts, ceasefire and humanitarian values in the country, said the High Council for

‘I Could Just Vanish’: In Kabul, Pocket Notes to Prevent Anonymous Death

By David Zucchino and Fatima Faizi The New York Times Jan. 12, 2021 As violence engulfs them, some Afghans carry notes with their names, blood types and relatives’ phone numbers in case they are killed or severely wounded.  For some young people, the pocket note has become an essential element of daily life — an identity marker ensuring

She Killed an American in 2012. Why Was She Freed in the Taliban Deal?

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman The New York Times Jan. 15, 2021, 12:01 p.m. ET The internal debate in Washington over the fate of an Iranian prisoner in Afghanistan illustrates one of the difficult decisions the end of a war brings. A portrait of Nargis Mohammad Hasan hanging in her home in 2012. Ms. Hasan,

U.S. troops in Afghanistan now down to 2,500, lowest since 2001

By Idrees Ali Reuters 15 January 2021 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of U.S troops in Afghanistan has been reduced to 2,500, the lowest level of American forces there since 2001, the Pentagon said on Friday. In November, President Donald Trump’s administration said it would sharply cut the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 4,500

Afghans Fear Losing Gains in Women’s Rights in Peace: Report

Khaled Nikzad TOLOnews Reporter 15 January 2021 Negotiators are expected to expedite their efforts to finalize the agenda in the next few days, sources said. Negotiators from both sides of the peace negotiations held meetings with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha over the past few days as they try

Peace talks are faltering, violence has surged, and U.S. troops are pulling out. Can the Afghan government withstand the pressure?

Pamela Constable The Washington Post Jan. 14, 2021 Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrives at parliament in Kabul in October. Ghani is facing calls to step down to help the peace talks with the Taliban. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images) KABUL — Growing uncertainty over peace talks with the Taliban, a drumbeat of targeted killings and the looming

Why Afghanistan-Taliban peace talks have not reached breakthrough

Osama Bin Javaid Al Jazeera 12 Jan 2021 Negotiators are back in Doha for a second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Doha, Qatar – It has been almost a week since negotiators arrived back in Doha to resume a second round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the

Intl Crisis Group Outlines Challenges for Biden in Afghan Efforts

TOLOnews TV Network 13 January 2021 The watchdog says that it is “inarguable that the insurgency remains operational, even aggressive, across the country.” The International Crisis Group, in a briefing titled “What Future for Afghan Peace Talks under a Biden Administration?”, analyses various aspects of Biden administration’s role in Afghanistan’s peace efforts and says he

Pentagon presses ahead with Afghanistan troop drawdown despite law barring it

By Jonathan Landay, Idrees Ali Reuters 11 January 2021 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military has not halted a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Department of Defense told Reuters on Monday, despite a new law prohibiting further reductions without the Pentagon sending Congress an assessment of the risks. “Currently, no new orders have been issued

US ‘Not Advocating’ Interim Govt in Afghanistan; Key Negotiators Not in Doha for 2nd Round

By TOLOnews TV Network 13 January 2021 US Chargé d’Affaires said that talked to US peace envoy for Afghanistan about the need to accelerate the talks in Doha. The US chargé d’affaires in Kabul, Ross Wilson, on Twitter Wednesday wrote that the US is ‘not advocating’ an interim government in Afghanistan. “We have not advocated, and

Afghan Leaders Sideline Spokesmen in an Escalating Misinformation War

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Fahim Abed and Najim Rahim The New York Times Jan. 11, 2021 The Ghani administration and the Taliban are fighting a public-relations battle, with the government taking more drastic measures to control the flow of information. The site of a rocket attack at a house in Kabul, Afghanistan, last month. The government has tightened the control

Officials: Attacks around Afghanistan kill at least 23

By Rahim Faiez | AP The Washington Post Jan. 7, 2021 at 3:38 a.m. EST Covered bodies of civilians lie in the back of a vehicle in front of the Helmand Provincial Government Office in Lashkar Gah, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Officials said separate attacks in Afghanistan have left over 20 civilians and security

Ghani Rejects Prospect of Interim Govt

y Anisa Shaheed TOLOnews Reporter7 January 2021 “This seat is not mine, this seat (presidency) belongs to the nation of Afghanistan, this system has dignity, you all voted for me,” said Ghani. The Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday, referring to the recent rumors about the establishment of an interim government as an outcome of a

An ‘orchard of bad apples’ weighs on new Afghan peace talks

By KATHY GANNON Associated Press January 5, 2021 FILE – In this Sept. 12, 2020, file photo, Taliban negotiator Abbas Stanikzai, center front, and his delegation attend the opening session of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, in Doha, Qatar. Afghan negotiators are to resume talks Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, aimed at

‘No Progress’ in Negotiators’ Meetings in 3 Days

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 11 January 2021 Sources said that the republic’s negotiating team is insisting on ceasefire as a priority in their formal talks. Sources from the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said that agreeing on the agenda for the negotiations will take time and that neither side has shown flexibility

Afghan rivals set to resume talks in Doha amid surge in violence

Shereena Qazi Al Jazeera 5 Jan 2021 A road map for post-war Afghanistan and a nationwide ceasefire are part of the agenda of Tuesday’s talks. Afghan government representatives and Taliban officials are set to resume peace talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, aimed at ending decades of conflict, even as journalists and opponents have been

Peace process risks collapse as targeted attacks flares

Afghanistan Times AT News  January 4, 2021  U.S. blames Taliban for spate of Afghan killings in unclaimed targeted attacks, while the Taliban accused U.S. of violating peace agreement, threaten ‘serious response’ to U.S. airstrikes KABUL: The US military on Monday blamed the Taliban for a spate of assassinations of prominent Afghans in unclaimed attacks that

Targeted Killings Are Terrorizing Afghans. And No One Is Claiming Them.

By Fahim Abed and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Jan. 2, 2021 Most officials believe the Taliban are behind the attacks on civil leaders, but others fear that factions are using chaos as a cover to settle scores, in an echo of Afghanistan’s past civil war. Afghan security officials inspecting the scene of a magnetic bomb

What to Know as Troubled Afghan Peace Talks Enter a New Phase

By David Zucchino and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Jan. 1, 2021 The Afghan government and the Taliban are set to continue negotiations toward a cease-fire in early January, but several fundamental issues stand in the way of progress Afghan government and Taliban negotiators meeting in Doha, Qatar, in September. The next round of talks is

Next Round of Talks to Focus on Future Govt: Mansoor

By Massoud Ansar TOLOnews Reporter 2 January 2021 Mansoor said he will support the idea of an interim government if the country’s achievements are protected.   As the countdown begins for the next round of the peace negotiations, negotiator Abdul Hafiz Mansoor said the talks will focus on the modality of division of power in a future

Taliban carrying out campaign of terror in Afghan capital ahead of peace talks next week

Pamela Constable and Sharif Hassan The Washington Post Jan. 1, 2021 at 12:57 p.m. EST A damaged vehicle on Monday after a bomb attack targeting government employees in Kabul. (Hedayatullah Amid/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) KABUL — In a video, five turbaned fighters stand in a row, wearing flak jackets and sneakers, assault rifles at the ready. One says in

Winter Puts 300K Afghan Children at Risk

By Syed Zabiullah Langari  Tolo News 31 December 2020 “There they risk hunger, disease, including COVD-19, even death from freezing temperatures,” the organization said. More than 300,000 Afghan children face freezing winter conditions that could lead to illness, in the worst cases death, without proper winter clothing and heating, Save the Children said on Thursday.

How life under Taliban rule in Afghanistan has changed — and how it hasn’t

Susannah George and Aziz Tassal The Washington Post Dec. 29, 2020 KABUL — Over two decades of conflict and politicking, Taliban control in Afghanistan has become a patchwork of edicts and codes, with some areas seeing modest reform. But overall, fear and intimidation remain at the heart of the militant group’s command. In one district, elders successfully

Qatar to host next round of Afghan gov’t-Taliban talks

Tolo News 27 December 2020 Next round of negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan gov’t will begin next month, a top official has said. The next round of negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government will be held in Qatar from next month, a top official said, despite President Ashraf Ghani’s recent calls

Miller says last US troops in Afghanistan will be special operations forces

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 23, 2020 A U.S. soldier looks out the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter as it flies over Kabul on the way to Resolute Support Headquarters on Dec. 22, 2020. KABUL, Afghanistan — Special operations forces were the first deployed in the war in Afghanistan nearly

Assassins silence another ‘voice of Afghan democracy’ in Kabul killing

Pamela Constable and Sharif Hassan The Washington Post Dec. 24, 2020 Afghans carry the coffin of Yousuf Rasheed, executive director of the nongovernmental Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan, during his funeral Dec. 23 in Kabul. (Rahmat Gul/AP) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Yousuf Rasheed was a soft-spoken, meticulous professional whose mission was to monitor and help

New in 2021: US troop presence heading down to 2,500 in Iraq and Afghanistan

Meghann Myers Military Times 28 December 2020 Afghan National Army soldiers, along U.S. and coalition advisors prepare to conduct an extraction following a key leader engagement Sept 1, 2019, in southeastern Afghanistan. (Master Sgt. Alejandro Licea/Army) The global war on terrorism is hitting a drawdown milestone on Jan. 15, when U.S. troop levels hit 2,500 each

‘Covid Can’t Compete.’ In a Place Mired in War, the Virus Is an Afterthought.

By David Zucchino and Fahim Abed The New York Times Dec. 21, 2020 In Afghanistan, life goes on as though the coronavirus never existed. “Fake news,” some say, even as a second wave has brought on a surge of new cases and hospitalizations. KABUL, Afghanistan — For Mohammad Wakil, 23, social distancing is an abstract concept. Every working

Armed by Iran, 2,000 Afghans Still in Syria: Zarif

 Tamim Hamid  TOLOnews Reporter 21 December 2020 Talking in an exclusive interview with TOLOnews’ Lotfullah Najafizada, Zarif said that Iran has not sent any Afghans to Syria war. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in an interview that aired on Monday, said that 2,000 Afghans are still fighting in Syria and that Iran would be

THE CIA’S AFGHAN DEATH SQUADS

The CIA Is Running Death Squads in Afghanistan Reports of atrocities supported by the American intelligence agency underscore the need to end America’s longest war. By Jeet HeerTwitter 21 December 2020 The war in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year, is the longest and most intractable of America’s forever wars. There are now American soldiers fighting in

UN Reaches Deal with Taliban to Set Up Schools in Afghanistan

By Massoud Ansar TOLOnews 18 December 2020 Based on the agreement, about 4,000 schools in Taliban-influenced areas will teach 120,000 primary school children. The United Nations has reached an agreement with the Taliban leadership to set up thousands of schools in areas under their influence in Afghanistan. According to the plan, UNICEF, the UN’s children’s body,

Pentagon’s top general meets with Taliban ahead of presidential transition in U.S.

Dan Lamothe The Washington Post Dec. 18, 2020 Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (left), talks with Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, on Dec. 16. (Robert Burns/AP) The Pentagon’s top general met with the Taliban as senior U.S. and Afghan officials press for

How US wasted billions on absurd errors in Afghanistan war

By Hollie McKay | Fox News December 8, 2020 Debates continue over US war investment For almost two decades, the U.S. military has siphoned much blood, sweat, and tears into fighting the insurgencies littering Afghanistan. In the coming weeks, the Pentagon plans to accelerate the troop drawdown from 4,500 to 2,500 under orders from President Trump – leaving behind a

Sticky and Lethal: Magnetic Bombs Terrorize Kabul

By David Zucchino and Fahim Abed The New York Times Dec. 17, 2020 The Taliban’s recent shift to magnetic bombs to target government officials in the capital underscores the government’s struggle to protect its own people. Afghan security forces inspecting the site of a magnetic bomb attack that killed Kabul’s deputy governor, Mahbubullah Mohibi, in Kabul, Afghanistan, on

UN: Additional 5M Afghans May Need Humanitarian Aid in 2021

By Zahra Rahimi TOLOnews Reporter 15 December 2020 In an interview with TOLOnews, Rajasingham said that 93 percent of the population in Afghanistan is living on less than a two-dollar daily wage. Ramesh Rajasingham, the acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, has raised deep concerns over the fragile humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, saying that war and

Documents Reveal Negotiators’ Demands for Talks Agenda

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews 14 December 2020 Both sides of the negotiations have exchanged their lists of demands and now have 23 days to discuss it internally with their respective leaders. TOLOnews has seen the drafts of demands exchanged between peace negotiators in Doha for the agenda of the talks. The documents show that the Islamic

Scores of Taliban Militants Killed as Fighting Rocks Insurgent Bastion

By Rashid Durrani Agence France Presse (AFP) 13 December 2020 Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint near the Bagram base in northern Kabul, Afghanistan, April 8, 2020. An Afghan official said Wednesday that the country has released 100 Taliban prisoners from Bagram, claiming they are part of 5,000 detainees who are to

Next Round of Talks Delayed Until January 5

By TOLOnews, TV Network 12 December 2020 Peace negotiators said the decision was made as there is a need for more consolations on the agenda of the talks. Negotiators in Doha on Saturday reported that both sides have exchanged their lists about the agenda of the peace negotiations and that the next phase of the talks

Afghan Journalist Is Killed in Latest Attack on Media Figures

By Zabihullah Ghazi and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Dec. 11, 2020 Gunmen attacked Malalai Maiwand, a well-known TV and radio journalist, in Jalalabad. Her death is one of a string of high-profile targeted killings in Afghanistan. Mourners carrying the coffin of Malalai Maiwand, a journalist killed by gunmen in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Thursday.Credit…Parwiz/Reuters JALALABAD, Afghanistan —

Taliban: Next Govt System Should be Inclusive, Islamic

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews 10 December 2020 Mullah Baradar stated that the next political system of Afghanistan should be an inclusive and an Islamic system.  The Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, at the Heart of Asia Society’s 7th session on Thursday, said the group has the will to solve Afghanistan’s conflict through negotiations.   He

Afghan civilian deaths from US air raids rose by more than 300 percent

AL JAZEERA 8 December 2020 Some 700 civilians killed in 2019 – more than any other year since the beginning of war – after the Pentagon relaxed its rules of engagement, the report says. Deaths of Afghan civilians in air raids carried out by the United States and its allies “increased dramatically” since 2017 when

Behind the Taliban’s ties to al-Qaeda: A shared ideology and decades of battlefield support

Susannah George The Washington Post Dec. 8, 2020 at 5:00 a.m. EST Members of the Taliban’s peace negotiation team meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amid talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar, in November. (Patrick Semansky/Pool/AP) KABUL — As the Taliban and the United States were finalizing their February

One Side—Not Both—is Increasing Violence in Afghanistan: Op-Ed

By Said Sabir Ibrahimi, Analyst Tolo News 8 December 2020 Said Sabir Ibrahimi writes that ambiguous rhetoric is creating a false narrative about the cause of increased violence in Afghanistan. The US-Taliban agreement in February 2020 created hope for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan. However, since then, violence has instead intensified across the country. The

US House Passes Bill to Block Afghanistan Withdrawal

By Zahra Rahimi TOLOnews 9 December 2020 US House urged that any decision to reduce US troops in Afghanistan should be done in an orderly manner. The House on Tuesday passed a $741 billion defense policy bill that would take steps to slow or block US President Trump’s planned drawdown of American troops from Germany and

Taliban denies targeting media after 50th journalist dies in Afghanistan

Stefanie Glinski in Kabul The Guardian Thu 3 Dec 2020 02.45 EST Rising violence by militants raises fears for press freedom after US troops withdraw in May An Afghan police officer investigates a car damaged in a bomb attack in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. Photograph: Abdul Khaliq/AP The Taliban have denied they are deliberately targeting journalists

Afghan peace talks show first signs of progress after months of deadlock

Susannah George The Washington Post Dec. 3, 2020 Afghan security officials patrol the Herat-Khaf railway tracks in the Ghorian district of Herat province, Afghanistan, on Dec. 1. (Jalil Rezayee/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) KABUL — The Taliban and Afghan government teams negotiating peace reached an agreement on a set of rules and procedures Wednesday, a small but important step

Ceasefire Will Be on Agenda in Talks: Taliban Spokesman; Doha Breakthrough: Afghan Negotiators Agree on Procedural Rules

By Khaled Nikzad TOLOnews 4 December 2020 Taliban spokesman says the agenda will be made in agreement of both sides. Amid a breakthrough in Doha talks, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem on Friday said cea sefire will be on the agenda among other topics in the negotiations.  He said in a tweet that the agenda will be

NATO mulls its future in Afghanistan as US draws down troops

Lorne Cook The Associated Press 30 Nov. 2020 Afghan National Army soldier stand on top of a hill during a visit by Afghan Deputy Defense Minister Dr. Yasin Zia and Resolute Support Commander Gen. Scott Miller in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 3, 2020. (Spc. Jeffery J. Harris/Army Reserve) BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday

Trump Makes a Bad Situation Worse in Afghanistan

Jim Golby Senior fellow at the Clements Center for National Security 30 November 2020 The departing president neither embraced nor fully repudiated America’s mission. WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/GETTY Since the day he entered office, President Donald Trump hasn’t been able to make up his mind about whether the United States should keep fighting in Afghanistan. His most recent

Afghan Leader Digs In on Peace Talks Despite Progress, Officials Say

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Published Nov. 29, 2020; Updated Nov. 30, 2020 President Ashraf Ghani is holding up a tentative agreement on the talks’ framework, some officials say. His aides say no agreement was near. Delegates at the talks in Doha, Qatar, between the Afghan government and the Taliban in September. The two sides

Negotiator Fawzia Koofi: ‘Doha Talks Entering New Phase’

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews 30 November 2020 Sources say agreements have been reached, but public announcements on the Kabul side are still pending. Peace negotiator Fawzia Koofi on Monday said the Doha talks have entered a new phase, but she did not offer further details.  A 21-article set of procedural rules was finalized by both sides

Car bombing at Afghan base kills at least 30

By Aziz Tassal and Susannah George The Washington Post November 30, 2020 A soldier holds a rocket-propelled grenade at an Afghan army base that was struck by a car bomb Sunday. (AFP/Getty Images) KABUL — A Humvee laden with explosives and backed by gunmen struck a government base in central Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least

The United States has closed at least 10 bases around Afghanistan. But drawdown details remain murky.

Susannah George and Dan Lamothe The Washington Post November 28, 2020 A U.S. Marine keeps watch during a meeting between Afghan commanders and U.S. advisers at Camp Bost in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in September 2017. (Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images) KABUL — The United States has closed at least 10 bases across Afghanistan since the signing of a

Afghan Conflict Rages Despite Efforts for Peace

By Khaled Nikzad TOLOnews 28 Nov 2020 Muslim clerics have also tried to persuade the Taliban to stop the violence and make peace. Fighting continues to grip Afghanistan despite political efforts for peace within the country and international and regional appeals to the warring sides to agree on a ceasefire.   Afghan officials have persistently stated that

World Renews Political, Financial Commitment to Afghanistan

By Zabihullah Jahanmal, Tolo News 24 November 2020 Josep Borrell, the EU Minister for Foreign Affairs, said violence in Afghanistan must stop, not tomorrow but by now. The international community at Afghanistan Conference 2020 in Geneva on Tuesday renewed their financial and political commitment to Afghanistan for another four years.    The 2020 Afghanistan Conference is

Reports of Progress in Talks Disputed

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews 29 November 2020 Negotiators from both sides of the Afghan negotiations have conflicting accounts about the reports of recent progress in their discussions. This comes a day after the Taliban’s spokesman in Doha, Mohammad Naeem, said that negotiators from both sides on November 15 agreed on procedural rules with 21 items for

US Pullout in Afghanistan Will Empower the Taliban

Military.com | By Richard Sisk 23 November 2020 Then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing in the Brady press briefing room at the White House on Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) The new Pentagon plan for accelerating the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will speed a Taliban takeover and renew

The Taliban is on the offensive. Keeping the militants at bay: U.S. airstrikes, even as bases close and troops leave.

Susannah George The Washington Post November 22, 2020 A member of a bomb disposal unit prepares to move out to territory around Kandahar city recently retaken from Taliban control. (Susannah George/The Washington Post) KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The Taliban’s attacks outside this large provincial capital began this month with little out of the ordinary: sporadic small-arms

NATO: Stoltenberg, Ghani Discuss Peace, Troop Level Adjustment; UK will likely follow the US in cutting Afghan troops

By TOLOnews, TV Network 19 November 2020 NATO Secretary General says that even with the US reduction, NATO will continue to assist the Afghan forces. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on a phone call with President Ghani on Wednesday evening discussed the Afghan peace process and troops level adjustment with the Afghan leader. Stoltenberg said

Trump’s military cuts in Afghanistan highlight an array of divisions in a 19-year-old conflict

Dan Lamothe The Washington Post November 19, 2020 The longest war in U.S. history isn’t over, and there are still many disagreements about what to do. President Trump has ordered a reduction of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from about 5,000 to 2,500. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) As news emerged that the Trump administration will cut in half

As America pulls out of Afghanistan the Taliban fight on

The Economist Nov 18th 2020 Negotiations are not making much headway, but the insurgency is HERAT AND KABUL TO REACH THE front line in Afghanistan’s civil war, you do not need to go far from the capital, Kabul. At a police outpost in Wardak province, about 20km outside the city on the main highway leading

Donors Set 12 Conditions for Continued Support to Afghanistan

By Zabihullah Jahanmal, Tolo News 17 November 2020 From the 12 conditions, nine are belonged to the continued international aid to Afghanistan while three others belonged to the international community. TOLOnews has obtained a document that shows that the international community has defined 12 conditions as part of its continued financial aid to Afghanistan in the

U.S. Troops Are Packing Up, Ready or Not

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Najim Rahim and Fatima Faizi The New York Times Nov. 18, 2020 The Pentagon has announced a reduction down to 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan before President-elect Biden takes office. Afghan officials fear the cuts will encourage the Taliban to keep fighting. The Taliban have threatened areas surrounding Kandahar city, like the Panjwai District, shown on

Trump administration to cut troop levels in Afghanistan despite Pentagon warnings

Missy Ryan, Ellen Nakashima, Dan Lamothe and John Hudson The Washington Post November 17, 2020 Afghan security forces inspect the site of a bomb explosion near a damaged vehicle in Kabul on Nov 16. (Rahmat Gul/AP) The Trump administration is planning to move ahead with a significant reduction of U.S. forces in Afghanistan before President

Trump Pentagon Purge Could Accelerate His Goal to Pull Troops From Afghanistan

By Jennifer Steinhauer The New York Times Nov. 13, 2020 President Trump’s supporters hope he is the president to end America’s longest war. President Trump in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, in 2019. His views on reducing the United States’ footprint overseas are a central component of his “America First” foreign policy agenda.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

New Pentagon Chief to US Troops: ‘Time to Come Home’

By TOLOnews 14 November 2020 Christopher Miller said the US is committed to defeating al-Qaeda and is “on the verge of defeating” the group. The newly appointed acting defense secretary of the United States, Christopher Miller, in a message signaled that he could expedite the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East, saying

Will Biden stay on the course set by Trump in Afghanistan?

Shereena Qazi Al Jazeera 11 Nov 2020 How will Joe Biden’s election as the US president affect the Afghan peace process, which was pushed by his predecessor, Donald Trump? How will Joe Biden’s election as US president affect the Afghan peace process, which was pushed by his predecessor, current President Donald Trump? Analysts say Biden

U.S. Troops Are Still Leaving, but Afghans Hope Biden Will Help

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Nov. 13, 2020,  Afghans fear the Taliban are subverting the peace process, and hope a Biden administration will bring more accountability. Afghan newspapers carried heavy coverage of the U.S. presidential elections this month.Credit…Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images  KABUL, Afghanistan — Three U.S. presidents and 19 years later, it

Defense secretary sent classified memo to White House about Afghanistan before Trump fired him

Dan Lamothe,  Missy Ryan,  Karen DeYoung and  Susannah George The Washington Post November 14, 2020 President Trump watches as Mark T. Esper speaks after being sworn in as secretary of defense on July 23, 2019. Trump fired Esper this week. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) In the run-up to the election, President Trump’s tweet saying that all

With Biden headed to White House, Afghan government hopes for tougher stance on Taliban

Susannah George and Karen DeYoung The Washington Post November 10, 2020 Abdullah Abdullah, center, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, attends the opening session of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in September. (Hussein Sayed/AP) KABUL — The stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban

Afghan Leaders Congratulate Biden, Expect More Focus on Peace; Koofi Remains Hopeful on Resuming Talks in Doha

By TOLOnews 8 November 2020 “We hope his administration’s policy and relations with Afghanistan will focus entirely on bringing peace and stability,” Karzai said.  President Ghani congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden and US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on wining the United States election and said Afghanistan looks forward to continuing and deepening its multilayered strategic partnership

Exclusive: International donors likely to pledge less for Afghanistan

By Rupam Jain, Charlotte Greenfield Reuters NOVEMBER 3, 2020 (Reuters) – Afghanistan is likely to receive reduced pledges for aid from international donors gathering in Geneva next month, three sources familiar with discussions said, amid uncertainty over how the government’s peace talks with the Taliban will progress. Washington is hoping the intra-Afghan peace process will eventually

Deadly School Assault Catapults Kabul into Even More Despair

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Fatima Faizi The New York Times Nov. 3, 2020 With the Americans scheduled to leave Afghanistan under a deal with the Taliban, the carnage at Kabul University seemed to erase the nation’s hope. A student looking at the ruins of a classroom on Tuesday at Kabul University, after an attack that killed at least

‘Act of terror’: At least 22 killed in Kabul University attack

Al Jazeera 2 November 2020 ISIL claim responsibility for attack on Afghanistan’s biggest university; President Ghani announces day of mourning. At least 22 people were killed and 22 other wounded when gunmen stormed Kabul University in a brutal, hours-long assault that saw students left in pools of blood in their classrooms. The attack in Afghanistan’s

U.S. special envoy calls for urgent reduction of violence in Afghanistan

OCTOBER 27, 2020 By Reuters Staff (Reuters) – The U.S. envoy for Afghanistan said on Tuesday that violence there was too high and the Kabul government and Taliban insurgents must work harder toward forging a ceasefire at their peace talks. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad made his comments ahead of flying to Doha to meet with the

Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians killed or wounded in 2020: U.N.

Reuters staff OCTOBER 27, 2020 KABUL (Reuters) – Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations said on Tuesday. From January to September, there were 5,939 civilian casualties

Taliban shows it can launch attacks anywhere across Afghanistan, even as peace talks continue

Pamela Constable The WWashington Post Oct. 25, 2020 at 6:02 a.m. EDT Afghan security forces removes a damaged police vehicle at the site of a car-bomb attack that targeted Laghman provincial governor’s convoy, in Mihtarlam, Afghanistan, on Oct. 5. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images) KABUL — The gruesome image showed two dozen corpses in military uniforms, dragged

A Radical Cleric Ignites an Islamist Resistance in Afghanistan

By David Zucchino and Najim Rahim Photographs by Jim Huylebroek The New York Times Oct. 23, 2020 The cleric’s supporters in Herat are enforcing harsh Shariah law reminiscent of the Taliban’s. Women are alarmed, and the government has been able to do little. Friday prayer at cleric Mawlawi Mujib Rahman Ansari’s mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, last month. HERAT, Afghanistan

$19 billion in aid to Afghanistan lost to corruption: SIGAR

Afghanistan Times 21 October 2020  KABUL: Billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid to Afghanistan has been lost to widespread waste, and endemic corruption in the past 10 years, the US oversight authority on Afghanistan reconstruction says. The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, SIGAR, in a new report said that more than $19 billion

The U.S. Once Surged into Helmand Province. Now the Taliban Is, Too.

BY MOHSIN KHAN MOHMAND, ALI M. LATIFI Foreign Policy Magazine OCTOBER 20, 2020, 3:23 PM As Afghanistan peace talks drag on, with Washington sending mixed signals on troop withdrawals, the Taliban make a violent bid for a key province. Internally displaced people with their belongings flee from Nadali district to Lashkar Gah during the ongoing clashes between

A Storied Female Warlord Surrenders, Taliban Say, Exposing Afghan Weakness

By Mujib Mashal, Najim Rahim and Fatima Faizi The New York Times Oct. 18, 2020 She was undefeated in decades of war, but her decision was an act of survival. A government that has come to depend on unreliable militias finds itself vulnerable. Bibi Ayesha, an Afghan warlord, at her home in Nahrin district, Baghlan Province, Afghanistan, last month.Credit…Mohammad

Afghans say preventing next war as vital as ending this one

By KATHY GANNON Associated Press 18 October 2020 In this Monday, Aug. 3, 2020 file photo, Taliban prisoners watch through the door inside the prison after an attack in the city of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been at war for more than 40 years, first against the invading Soviet army that killed

Despite its 10-day assault in Helmand, Afghan Taliban accuse U.S. military of violating February accord

Pamela Constable The Washington Post October 18, 2020 at 10:10 a.m. EDT Afghan families leave their houses after fighting between the Afghan military and Taliban insurgents last week in Helmand province. (Abdul Khaliq/AP) KABUL — The Taliban, facing international condemnation for a 10-day assault in southern Helmand province, are accusing the U.S. military of violating

Trump Has ‘No Plan’ to Exit Afghanistan by Christmas: US Lawmaker

Massoud Ansar TOLOnews 30 October 2020 Afghan analysts said there is a need for US pressure on the Taliban to move the peace process forward. Weeks after President Donald Trump’s remarks that all US troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, a top US lawmaker said that there was no

U.S. and Taliban agree to “re-set” as Afghanistan peace deal marred by spiraling carnage

BY TUCKER REALS, AHMAD MUKHTAR OCTOBER 15, 2020 / 1:14 PM / CBS NEWS The Trump administration’s top envoy for Afghanistan said Thursday that the U.S. and the Taliban had “agreed to re-set actions by strictly adhering to” the terms of an agreement reached between the two sides earlier this year. The agreement was meant to reduce the

US, Taliban Agree to Reduce Operations: Khalilzad

 Syed Zabiullah Langari  Tolo News 15 October 2020 “We continue to support the ANDSF and the brave efforts made to create lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the UK Embassy said. The US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday urged the Taliban to remain committed to the implementation of the US-Taliban peace agreement, warning that

Afghans stunned, worried by Trump tweet to bring home U.S. troops early

Pamela Constable and  Sharif Hassan Oct. 13, 2020 Afghan police personnel man the Ali Nazar outpost in the area of Bolan, just outside Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, in February 2020. (Lorenzo Tugnoli/For The Washington Post) KABUL — After months of tortuous negotiations and diplomatic efforts to settle the 19-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, President

Taliban Test Afghan and U.S. Resolve in Talks by Attacking a City

By Mujib Mashal and Taimoor Shah The New York Times Oct. 12, 2020 Updated 12:24 p.m. ET The insurgents have opened an offensive against the capital of Helmand Province even as their negotiators remain at the table in Qatar. Afghans fled villages in Helmand Province on Monday as fighting between Taliban militants and government forces intensified.Credit…Watan Yar/EPA, via Shutterstock

With U.S. troops gone, Taliban expands influence in one Afghan province

By Susannah George and Aziz Tassal The Washington Post OCTOBER 11, 2020    GARDEZ, Afghanistan — Months after the Americans withdrew from this province in southeast Afghanistan, what little they left behind still lies scattered across the small military base: rations packaging for chicken pesto pasta, Rice Krispies cereal boxes, instant chocolate milk packets. Inside trailers, the floors are

Interim Govt ‘Only Solution’: Hekmatyar; Taliban cheers Trump vowing early troop withdrawal

Tolo News 25 October 2020 Pakistan has assured the leader of the Hizb-e-Islami party that Islamabad will work “honestly” in the Afghan peace process. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hizb-e-Islami party, at a press conference on Sunday said that “the Taliban has not accepted the current government and an interim government is the only solution.” 

Who are the Afghan women negotiating peace with the Taliban?

Shereena Qazi Al Jazeera 7 Oct 2020 They have risked their lives to educate girls and survived assassination attempts. Now they hope to end decades of war. Among many Afghan women and girls, there is a fear that the US-Taliban deal could potentially pave the way for the armed group’s return to power and to

Exclusive: Taliban, Afghan negotiators set ground rules to safeguard peace talks

By Rupam Jain Reuters 6 October 2020 (Reuters) – Taliban and Afghan government-backed negotiators have agreed on a broad code of conduct to advance the intra-Afghan peace talks in Qatar, even as key differences between the two warring sides remain, three official sources told Reuters on Tuesday. Efforts to resolve disagreements over Islamic jurisprudence and

At Afghan Peace Talks, Hoping to End Their Fathers’ War

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Oct. 5, 2020 The children of the war against the Soviets carry legacies of loss and determination — and their own generation’s crimes — as they meet to try to break a cycle of devastation. Anas Haqqani, left, and Mawlawi Matiulhaq Khalis, second from right, arriving in Doha, Qatar,

In Proud Corners of Afghanistan, New Calls for Autonomy

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Fatima Faizi The New York Times Sept. 28, 2020 In Panjshir, one of the last holdout regions against the Soviets and the Taliban, some would prefer to go their own way rather than support a government negotiating peace with the insurgency. Supporters of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, waving the Northern Alliance flag on

Taliban: Doha Talks Need Patience, Not Mediators

By Sharif Amiry TOLOnews Reporter 1 October 2020 We will not allow anyone to interfere in our internal affairs,” said Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban. As US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad recently arrived in Doha to “meet with partners on Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace negotiations,” the Taliban’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem said that

Shadow politicians, clerics and Soviet-era fighters: The Taliban’s team negotiating peace

Susannah George, Aziz Tassal and Haq Nawaz Khan The Washington Post October 1, 2020 Members of the Taliban delegation attend the opening session of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Sept. 12. (Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images) DOHA, Qatar — The Taliban negotiating team that will determine the future

Afghan Talks: A Road Leading to Peace?

By Mohammad Reza Bahrami, 26 SEPTEMBER 2020 Mohammad Reza Bahrami, Iran’s former ambassador to Afghanistan, writes that the US’s vision for peace in Afghanistan oversimplifies the situation. The preliminary preparations for the intra-Afghan talks are taking shape in Qatar, aiming to set the stage for the official negotiations that were called for in the US-Taliban agreement

Khalilzad: No Permanent Ceasefire from Taliban Until Settlement

By khalid Nikzad Tolo News 26 September 2020 The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that the Taliban will not agree to a comprehensive ceasefire until there is a political settlement in place in the country. “The [Taliban] will not accept a ceasefire–comprehensive and permanent–until there is a political settlement. And that is

Official: Pentagon has started ‘prudent planning’ for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May

BY REBECCA KHEEL  The Hill 09/22/20 © Getty Images The Pentagon has started planning to have zero U.S. troops in Afghanistan by spring, though orders have not yet been issued for a full withdrawal, a Defense Department official said Tuesday. “I’d like to make it clear that [Defense Secretary Mark Esper] has not issued orders to reduce

As Afghanistan peace talks stutter, U.S. says violence levels too high

By Idrees Ali, Patricia Zengerle Reuters SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The level of violence in Afghanistan is unacceptably high and the United States expects further setbacks during talks, the Special Representative for Afghanistan said on Tuesday, as the Afghan government and Taliban remained far apart on even basic issues 10 days into talks meant to

Deep divisions as Afghan negotiators get down to details

By Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Hamid Shalizi Reuters 21 September 2020 KABUL (Reuters) – The Afghan government and Taliban militants remain far apart on even the most basic issues a week into talks meant to end two decades of war that has killed tens of thousands of people. The chasm, not just on the predictably thorny problem

After Trump Remarks, MoFA Confirms Govt Has Place in Talks; 3 Issues Holding Up Start of Doha Talks

By Sharif Amiry, TOLOnews Reporter 20 September 2020 US President Donald Trump said that the number of US forces in Afghanistan will be less than 4,000 in near future. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Afghan government has a place in the peace process, responding to recent remarks by US President Donald Trump who complimented

Deadly airstrike in Afghanistan kills at least 10 civilians, 30 Taliban fighters despite ongoing peace talks

Susannah George and  Sharif Hassan The Washington Post September 21, 2020 An A-29 Super Tucano aircraft was one of four delivered by the United States to the Afghan air force last week. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters) KABUL — While representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban talk peace in Doha, the sides continue to launch deadly attacks in

NATO chief rules out rushed, early exit from Afghanistan

By LORNE COOK Associated Press 21 October 2020 BRUSSELS (AP) — As rising violence threatens to derail Afghan peace talks, the head of NATO said Wednesday that the military alliance will not leave Afghanistan until security conditions allow, even as some U.S. troops might be hoping to be back home in time for Christmas. “We

Negotiators in Doha Struggle to Agree on Disputed Points; No Ceasefire Until Cause of War is Discussed: Taliban Spokesman

By Karim Amini, Tolo News 19 September 2020 A joint meeting between the negotiating teams of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban is expected on Saturday evening in Doha to resolve disputed points regarding rules and regulations of the peace talks, according to sources from the two teams.  The two sides have a disagreement

Mike Pompeo: US troops could withdraw from Afghanistan by spring

By Mark Moore New York Post September 14, 2020 Secretary of State Mike PompeoGetty ImagesSecretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is optimistic about the pace of peace talks between Afghan government officials and the Taliban and expects to see a full withdrawal of US forces from the country by the spring of 2021. “So, 19 years

What do the Taliban want out of the long-awaited “Intra-Afghan” talks?

BY SAMI YOUSAFZAI, TUCKER REALS SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 / 6:45 AM CBS NEWS Direct negotiations between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban began over the weekend. The “Intra-Afghan” talks were the direct result of an agreement reached between the insurgent group and the Trump administration in February. The Afghan government was not directly involved in those negotiations, as the Taliban

Khalilzad: US Will Safeguard Afghan People’s Interest in Talks

By TOLOnews.com 13 September 2020 Khalilzad said some people inside Afghanistan prefer the current situation to peace with the Taliban. Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan peace, in an interview with TOLOnews on the sidelines of the  Afghan peace talks in Doha on Saturday said the United States will not allow personal interests to take precedence over national interests in

No Compromise on Type of Govt in Talks, Says Saleh; ‘Collapse of the System’ Not Part of Peace Plan

By Gulabuddin Ghubar , Tolo News 15 September 2020 Saleh says that a US official assured him that it will harm the Taliban if the group violates ethical and political framework in the talks. First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Tuesday said there will be no compromise on the title, the context and the type of a

Afghan Vice President, Staunch Opponent of Taliban, Survives Blast

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Sept. 9, 2020, 5:39 a.m. ET At least 10 bystanders were killed in the attack in Kabul, the second in just over a year aimed at the senior vice president, Amrullah Saleh. Smoke rose from the site of a bombing that targeted the convoy of Afghanistan’s senior vice president, Amrullah

U.S. envoy meets new Taliban chief negotiator as Afghan peace talks near

Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Jibran Ahmad Reuters September 8, 2020 KABUL/PESHAWAR (Reuters) – U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has held a meeting in Doha with the head of the new Taliban team due to open peace talks with a team representing the Afghan government, the Islamist insurgent group said on Tuesday. The negotiations, the result of an

Fighting Patriarchy, and Fearing Worse From the Taliban

By David Zucchino and Fatima Faizi Photographs by Kiana Hayeri The New York Times September 7, 2020 Clockwise from top left: Raihana Azad, politician; Hasiba Ebrahimi, actress; Gaisu Yari, government official; Nargiss Hurakhsh, journalist. A new generation of career-minded women in Afghanistan fear that all they have fought for will be swept away if the Taliban negotiate a return.

Despite Pullout, US ‘Not Leaving’ Afghanistan: VP Saleh

By TOLOnews.com  7 September 2020 Nothing will happen” if US troops leave Afghanistan, and that Afghan forces will continue to provide security.    Despite the US’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan–to be completed within a year according to the US-Taliban agreement–First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in an interview with TOLOnews on Sunday night said the

Defying Peace Deal, Freed Taliban Return to Battlefield

BY LYNNE O’DONNELL Foreign Policy September 3, 2020 A new confidential report concludes that a majority of fighters are resuming their “jihad” to overthrow the U.S.-backed Afghan government. Taliban prisoners greet each other as they are in the process of being potentially released from Pul-e-Charkhi prison, on the outskirts of Kabul, on July 31. WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP VIA

As U.S. air war in Afghanistan surged, investigations into civilian harm plunged

By Susannah George The Washington Post SEPTEMBER 5, 2020 Asadullah Mubaris, 31, stands near the graves of people whose families say they were killed by a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan’s Herat province in January. At least 10 civilians died in the strike, according to Afghan officials. The U.S. military assessed that no civilians were killed. (Lorenzo

House Democrats demand Pompeo, Esper provide witnesses for Afghan hearing

Reuters 31 August 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to provide witnesses for a hearing on Afghanistan policy, and threatened to issue subpoenas if their departments did not comply. In letters to the pair, Democrats on

Taliban Violated Afghan Deal With Shelling of American Bases, U.S. Officials Say

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Aug. 31, 2020 Rockets that U.S. officials say were fired by the insurgent group have landed around two bases used by American forces. A Taliban commander denied involvement. Afghan security officials patrolled a highway in the southern province of Helmand this month. The province is a Taliban stronghold.Credit…Watan Yar/EPA,

Afghans Mark Ashura Under Tight Security

By Faridullah Hussainkhail Tolo News30 Aug. 2020 President Ashraf Ghani and other officials on Sunday participated in an Ashura ceremony held in western Kabul to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, Prophet Mohammad’s grandson. Speaking at the ceremony, Ghani said that peace does not mean a power-sharing political deal, but instead the fulfillment of the

Abdullah Opposes Ghani’s Decree on Reconciliation Council Members

By Anisa Shaheed Tolo News 31 August 2020 Abdullah says he has the authority to appoint members of the council, and a presidential decree is not required. Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Monday issued a statement opposing President Ashraf Ghani’s decree officially listing members of the council, saying

3 Afghans accused of links to insider attacks that killed U.S. troops are among Taliban prisoners to be released

Susannah George The Washington Post August 30, 2020 Taliban prisoners are released from Pul-e-Charkhi jail in Kabul on Aug. 13. (Afghanistan National Security Council/AP) KABUL — Three Afghans accused of involvement in the deaths of U.S. troops in so-called insider attacks are among more than 300 high-value Taliban prisoners that the Afghan government is set

HRW voices grave concern amid surging attacks on activists

August 26, 2020 AT News KABUL: A high-level Human Rights Watch (HRW) official have voiced grave concerns regarding targeted attacks in Afghanistan, saying threats and attacks against activists and critics in the country appeared to be sharply on the rise. Patricia Gossman, HRW’s associate director for the Asia division, expected the institutions concerned would take

‘Why was I targetted?’: Asks Afghan activist after gun attack

by Shereena Qazi Al Jazeera 28 August 2020 Afghan politician Fawzia Koofi says the assassination attempt will not dampen her resolve to fight for women’s rights. The assassination attempt on Koofi drew nationwide condemnation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calling the attack ‘cowardly’ [File: Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera] Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan politician who fights for

Atmar Says Peace Talks Closer than Ever

By TOLOnews 28 August 2020 Atmar said that last hurdles in the way of the talks are being addressed successfully.   Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Thursday said he remains optimistic about the intra-Afghan negotiations to start next week, adding that the last hurdles in the way of the talks are being

With Delay in Afghan Peace Talks, a Creeping Sense of ‘Siege’ Around Kabul

By Mujib Mashal, Fatima Faizi and Najim Rahim The New York Times Aug. 24, 2020 Instead of mass-casualty attacks, the Taliban are carrying out targeted assaults in the capital and neighboring districts. The country’s security forces seem unable to control them. A police vehicle was hit by magnetic bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan, last month.Credit…Reuters KABUL, Afghanistan — Mornings in

Taliban Meets Pakistani Officials in Islamabad

By Sayed Sharif Amiri Tolo News 25 August 2020 Pakistani’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the delegation briefed Qureshi on the latest implementation of the US-Taliban agreement. A six-member Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and discussed recent progress in the Afghan peace process

The Taliban didn’t shoot at US forces in Afghanistan a single time for three months, DoD claims

JARED KELLER Task and Purpose AUG 18, 2020 The Taliban didn’t conduct a single attack against U.S. or coalition forces over three months this spring, according to a new report from the Defense Department Inspector General, an almost miraculous occurrence given the uptick in violence against Afghan security forces since the signing of the U.S.-Taliban peace

Female Afghan peace negotiator wounded in assassination bid

Associated Press Sat 15 Aug 2020 23.51 EDT Women’s rights activist Fawzia Koofi, a member of the team negotiating a deal with the Taliban, was shot in the arm  Afghan politician Fawzia Koofi speaking before “intra-Afghan” talks in Moscow last year. Koofi survived an assassination attempt on Friday, officials say. Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP A female member of

Afghanistan’s unseen Covid crisis

PUBLISHED DAILY BY THE LOWY INSTITUTE ANDREW QUILTY Published 12 Aug 2020 09:00 In a country familiar with tragedy, the pandemic is met witha dose of nonchalance. But the numbers keep going up. Roya, 55, in the ICU of the Afghan Japan Communicable Diseases Hospital in Kabul The most striking thing about the top Covid-19 treatment

US intelligence indicates Iran paid bounties to Taliban for targeting American troops in Afghanistan

By Zachary Cohen, CNN Updated 1148 GMT (1948 HKT) August 17, 2020 US intelligence: Iran paid bounties to Taliban to target US troops  Washington (CNN)US intelligence agencies assessed that Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group

Australia, France object to release of final Taliban prisoners

AUGUST 17, 2020 Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters KABUL (Reuters) – Some Western nations including France and Australia have urged Afghanistan not to free all of a final batch of prisoners demanded by Taliban militants, officials said, posing a further possible complication to long-awaited peace talks. The Afghan government, under pressure from the United States as

Ghani Will ‘Not Compromise’ Afghans’ Fate Despite Intl Pressure

By Sayed Sharif Amiri Tolo News 17 August 2020 Sediqqi said the release of Taliban prisoners will be halted until the Taliban releases govt troops. President Ashraf Ghani on Monday warned that a possible deal made by the international community on the fate of Afghans will be rejected by Kabul, and he pledged that the

Ceasefire, Ending War Initial Demands of Kabul’s Negotiating Team

By Sayed Sharif Amiri Tolo News 12 August 2020 The talks are being hosted by Qatar and are likely to be monitored by the United States. The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, who will face the Taliban in the intra-Afghan talks in Qatar, on Wednesday announced that the agenda of these talks has

Afghan talks to kick off as Kabul set to free Taliban prisoners

AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES 10 August 2020 The prisoners’ fate has been a crucial hurdle in launching peace talks between Kabul and Taliban armed group. The long-delayed peace talks pushed by Washington are aimed at ending the almost two-decade-old conflict in the country [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera] Peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the

Afghanistan to Release Last Taliban Prisoners, Removing Final Hurdle to Talks

By Mujib Mashal and Fatima Faizi The New York Times Aug. 10, 2020, 3:47 a.m. ET The decision clears the way for the last of 5,000 insurgents to be freed. President Ashraf Ghani announced the release after convening an assembly of 3,000 representatives to seek their advice. Taliban prisoners at Bagram Military Base in Afghanistan before being released,

As Afghanistan struggles to start peace talks, violence fills the void

Susannah George and  Aziz Tassal The Washington Post August 10, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. EDT Concrete barriers line the edge of government-held territory in Maidan Shar, Wardak’s provincial capital. In the months since the signing of the U.S.-Taliban peace deal in February, Taliban influence in this province and other key areas of Afghanistan has grown. (Susannah

Poll: About three quarters support bringing troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan

BY REBECCA KHEEL – 08/06/20  The Hill © Getty Images About three-quarters of U.S. adults say they support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan in a new poll commissioned by the libertarian Charles Koch Institute obtained exclusively by The Hill. In the poll, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, 44 percent said they strongly support bringing U.S.

Islamic State attack on Afghan prison ends on second day, with at least 29 dead

Susannah George,  Aziz Tassal and Sharif Hassan The Washington Post August 4, 2020 Afghan security personnel gather in front of the gate of a Jalalabad prison that was attacked Sunday night and into Monday by members of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. (Rahmat Gul/AP) KABUL — A sophisticated attack on a major prison in eastern Afghanistan

Trump: Probably Below 5,000 Troops in Afghanistan by US Election

By TOLOnews.com 4 August 2020 – 1:56 PM “We’ll be down in a very short period of time to 8,000, then we’re going to be down to 4,000. We’re negotiating right now,” Trump said. The US will reduce its military presence in Afghanistan to about 4,000 troops “very soon,” said President Donald Trump, in an

SIGAR released its forty-eighth Quarterly Report to Congress.

SIGAR’s forty-eighth Quarterly Report to Congress Key Points: — Implementation of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, contested presidential election results, tensions between the United States and Iran, prisoner-release discussions, war, and COVID-19 had a major impact this quarter, making it “perhaps the most complex and challenging period in the last two decades” for Afghanistan’s security forces, according to

Khalizad Arrives in Kabul, Meets With Afghan Leaders; Taliban Head Seeks ‘Pure Islamic Govt,’ But Not ‘Monopoly’

By Sayed Sharif Amiri Tolo News 29 July 2020 The Taliban on Tuesday announced a three-day ceasefire during Eid al-Adha, which are expected in the coming weeks. The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has arrived in Kabul where he is meeting with Afghan leaders ahead of the Eid-al-Adha ceasefire, which starts on

Taliban Announce Brief Cease-Fire, as Afghan Peace Talks Look Imminent

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times July 29, 2020 The developments could inject new optimism into a peace process that had been floundering over disagreements and insurgent attacks. Taliban fighters in Laghman, Afghanistan in March.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban said on Tuesday that they would observe a three-day

‘Terrible harm’: 1,282 Afghan civilians killed so far in 2020

AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES 27 July 2020 Nearly 2,200 people also wounded in first half of the year, with women and children disproportionately affected. A wreckage of a bus which carried employees of an Afghan television station and was bombed in May is seen in Kabul, Afghanistan [File: Omar Sobhani/Reuters] Almost 1,300 civilians, including

Taliban push to control private companies, aid agencies in Afghanistan

Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters 27 July 2020 KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban wants all private companies and aid organisations operating in Afghanistan to register with the hardline Islamists, officials from the group said. The order was issued last week and comes as the Afghan government and Taliban officials prepare to engage in intra-Afghan talks aimed

Taliban Will ‘Make Necessary Desicions’ if US Delays Pullout; Rise of Foreign Fighters in Afghanistan’s East:

By TOLOnews.com 27 July 2020   “All Afghans have the right to be involved in serving and safeguarding the Islamic establishment and their country,” said Baradar. Taliban deputy leader Mullah Baradar in interview with Iran’s Tasnim news agency said the Doha agreement with US has been “positive so far,” but if the US does not

In Afghan Attacks, Facts Are Murky. But It’s Clear Deaths Are Piling Up.

By Asadullah Timory and Mujib Mashal The New York Times Published July 24, 2020 With peace talks stalled, the details of intensifying strikes across the country, and their toll on civilians, are increasingly hard to pin down. But there’s one certainty: Afghans are dying. A medical worker treating a patient who was wounded in an airstrike in Herat,

250 Soldiers Killed in 3 Weeks: TOLOnews Investigation

By Sayed Sharif Amiri Tolo News 22 JULY 2020 Kunduz is one of the unstable areas which have suffered heavy clashes over the past few months. Assessments conducted by TOLOnews indicate that 250 Afghan security force members were killed and over 300 more were wounded in 220 attacks staged by the Taliban over the past

Released Taliban Prisoners Returned to the Battlefields: ONSC

By Anisa Shaheed Tolo News 23 July 2020 Jawzjan province, local officials have said that the Afghan security forces have captured at least two Taliban prisoners who were released from the Bagram jail. In defiance of their commitments not to rejoin the war, a number of Taliban prisoners who were released from the Afghan government

Trump vets Afghan war skeptic for ambassador job

By DANIEL LIPPMAN Politico 07/17/2020  Will Ruger, a Koch-affiliated scholar who favors withdrawal, is among several candidates for the role. U.S Marines from the 2nd MEB enter a hole in the wall of a mud compound that they detonated to enter and search for Taliban fighters near Now Zad in Afghanistan’s Helmand province Saturday June 20,

$174 Million Afghan Drone Program Is Riddled With Problems, U.S. Report Says

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Published July 17, 2020 Overhead surveillance is critical to fighting the Taliban, but the American military’s effort to equip Afghan forces has fallen short, according to an independent watchdog. An American effort to train Afghan forces on using small drones has faltered, according to a watchdog report.Credit…Jalil Rezayee/EPA, via

Afghanistan faces ‘grim’ economic outlook as pandemic wipes out growth: World Bank

Reuters JULY 15, 2020 KABUL (Reuters) – The coronavirus pandemic is expected to severely weaken Afghanistan’s economy, the World Bank said on Wednesday, as donor governments struggle themselves and uncertainty over peace talks curb private investment. The World Bank said it was forecasting gross domestic product to contract between 5.5% and 7.4% in 2020, compared

Deadly Taliban attack adds to despair over faltering Afghan peace process

Pamela Constable The Washington Post July 15, 2020 Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bomb blast near a destroyed building belonging to Afghanistan’s intelligence agency in Aybak on Monday. (AFP/Getty Images) KABUL — The news footage from a remote northern city Monday showed only the rubble that remained, hours after a Taliban

Five Bases Closed in Afghanistan: US Official

By TOLOnews.com 14 July 2020 NATO has around 12,000 troops under the Resolute Support mission, which includes a portion of the 8,600 remaining US troops. A US official in Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday that the five bases closed in Afghanistan–in compliance with the US-Taliban peace agreement–were in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and

Taliban: Calls for Halting War Before Afghan Peace Talks ‘Illogical’; Taliban Deny Prisoner Release Progress

By Ayaz Gul Voice of America July 12, 2020 11:03 AM Men carry an injured person to a hospital after a blast during a funeral ceremony in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, May 12, 2020. ISLAMABAD – Afghanistan’s Taliban has dismissed as “illogical” escalating domestic and foreign calls for the insurgent group to cease hostilities before the commencement

Within the Taliban, clashing views of Afghanistan’s future

By Susannah George and Aziz Tassal The Washington Post JULY 13, 2020 A group of Taliban fighters parade their weapons in Marawara district, Afghanistan, earlier this month. (Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post) MARAWARA, Afghanistan — In talks in Doha and in Kabul, the Taliban’s leaders have struck a conciliatory tone: Issues of human rights, democracy and

China, Pakistan Urge Taliban to Reduce Violence, Start Talks

By Sayed Sharif Amiri Tolo News 7 July 2020 Under the US-Taliban peace agreement, 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be released from the Afghan government’s jails. In a trilateral virtual meeting held between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China on Tuesday, the Pakistan and Chinese officials have reiterated the call on the Taliban to reduce violence to help

Ghani Seeks Regional Support for Peace

By TOLOnews.com 6 July 2020 AFGHANISTAN President Ghani says regional and neighboring countries’ support will help Afghanistan to achieve its goals for peace. President Ashraf Ghani on Monday afternoon spoke at the opening of an international meeting on “strengthening regional consensus for peace,” stressing the need for the support of neighboring and regional countries to

Withdraw first, ask questions later America is rapidly pulling troops from Afghanistan

The future of the country they are leaving behind is more uncertain than ever The Economist Jul 4th 2020 edition ISLAMABAD Faiza ibrahimi is too young to remember when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan as a theocracy. She can scarcely believe her parents’ stories about it. She is a radio presenter in the western city of Herat. The

Russia Denies Paying Bounties, but Some Say the U.S. Had It Coming

By Andrew Higgins and Andrew E. Kramer The  New York Times July 4, 2020 Russia’s grievances against what it sees as American bullying and expansion into its own zones of influence have been stacking up for decades. American military personnel in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last year.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times MOSCOW — Three years into a

White House tentatively agrees to leave some troops in Afghanistan past U.S. election

By DAVID S. CLOUD and TRACY WILKINSON Los Angeles Times JULY 2, 2020 5:38 PM WASHINGTON — Top U.S. commanders believe they have tentative White House approval to leave just over 4,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond November, delaying a full American pullout until after the presidential election. The plan, worked out at a meeting between Pentagon

Pentagon report: less violence but lagging Afghan progress

Todd South Militart Times 1 July 2020 The most recent U.S. security snapshot and Afghanistan progress report shows a reduction in violence and attacks on coalition forces but also notes that Afghans are not meeting goals for troop retention, training and taking their share of the load for the nation’s security. The U.S. Taliban agreement and US Afghanistan joint

Outrage mounts over report Russia offered bounties to Afghanistan militants for killing US soldiers

The Guardian 27 June 2020 Fierce response from top Democrats after US intelligence finding was reportedly briefed to Trump in March, but the White House has yet to act  US troops in Afghanistan in 2009. Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP via Getty Images Outrage has greeted media reports that American officials believe a Russian intelligence unit offered

Afghan Deaths Pile Up in Uncertainty Over U.S. Deal With Taliban

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Published June 27, 2020 Targeted killings and widespread attacks across Afghanistan have sapped brief optimism as peace talks remain stalled. Afghan soldiers leaving a health facility after an attack in Kabul in May. The Taliban agreed not to attack U.S. targets, but refused a cease-fire with Afghan forces.Credit…Jim Huylebroek

Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

By Eric Schmitt, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos The New York Times June 29, 2020 The recovery of large amounts of American cash at a Taliban outpost in Afghanistan helped tip off U.S. officials. It is believed that at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties. A car bomb killed American soldiers at this site

Watchdog Seeks Assessment of Ex-Officials Corruption Cases

By Zahra Rahimi Tolo News 30 June 2020 A Kabul-based watchdog says it sees a lack of freedom within judicial institutions to assess corruption cases. Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a Kabul-based monitoring organization, sees a lack of will in relevant government institutions to assess corruption cases involving former officials and says it has created a type

Coronavirus sweeps through Afghanistan’s security forces

Susannah George,  Aziz Tassal and Sharif Hassan The Washington Post 26 June 2020 A medical team formed by the Afghan government prepares to conduct door-to-door coronavirus tests in Herat on May 31. (Jalil Rezayee/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) KABUL — The novel coronavirus is sweeping through Afghanistan’s security forces, according to senior Afghan security officials from four provinces who report

US watchdog: Afghanistan gov’t weakened ahead of Taliban talks

SOURCE: AP NEWS AGENCY Al Jazeera 26 June 2020 The upcoming intra-Afghan dialogue is the first high-level meeting between the two after years of fighting. About 50 civil society activists rallied on Thursday in Kabul against corruption, urging the International Monetary Fund to rescind a $220m loan to fight the coronavirus pandemic [File: Ahmad Masood/Reuters] A

Abdullah at USIP: No Military Solution to the Conflict

By Syed Zabiullah Langari Tolo News 24 June 2020 Previously, sources said that the intra-Afghan talks will be convened in Doha once the release of the 5,000 Taliban prisoners has been concluded. In a virtual interview given for the US Institute of Peace on Wednesday, Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High National Reconciliation Council,

Hundreds killed in further Taliban attacks with peace talks ahead

Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Sardar Razmal Reuters 23 June 2020 KABUL/KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Increased Taliban attacks are jeopardising the peace process, the Afghan government said on Tuesday after hundreds of security force personnel were killed over the past week by the Islamist insurgents. The Taliban, fighting to reintroduce strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster from

Bolton’s Tell-All Book Sheds Light on Trump’s Afghan Policy

By Khalid Nekzad Tolo News 22 June 2020 Bolton mentions that Trump had often called for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan despite his awareness of threats from terrorism from the country. Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton in his new book, “The Room Where it Happened, ” has covered President Donald Trump’s policy

Afghanistan, Iran to Form Strategic Cooperation Pact

By TOLOnews.com 22 June 2020 Afghanistan and Iran agreed on the need for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan and on a quick start of the intra-Afghan negotiations. Afghanistan and Iran in a joint statement agreed to finalize a comprehensive document on strategic cooperation between the two countries within the next three months, the Afghan

West reluctant for ‘dangerous’ Taliban prisoners to be freed

Hamid Shalizi, Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters 18 June 2020 KABUL (Reuters) – Western powers are backing the Afghan government’s refusal to free hundreds of prisoners accused of some of Afghanistan’s most violent attacks, a release demanded by the Taliban as a condition to start peace talks, five sources told Reuters. The issue is a final major

US Reaches Troop Drawdown Target in Afghanistan

By TOLOnews.com 19 June 2020 NATO’s chief on Thursday said: “We are closer to real intra-Afghan negotiations now than I think we have ever been before. And I welcome that.”  A top US general on Thursday said the United States has reduced its troop level to 8,600 in Afghanistan, fulfilling the first phase of the

Taliban Leader Tightens Grip Before Intra-Afghan Talks

By TOLOnews.com  17 June 2020 The Taliban chief usually consults the members of the leadership council, the high level decision-making body, on all decisions, the source said. The Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada’s decision to appoint Mullah Yaqoob, elder son of Mullah Omar, as head of the military commission, is aimed at further strengthening his

Exclusive: U.S. senators ask Pentagon if $1 billion in Afghan aid was cut

Arshad Mohammed Reuters 15 June 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Democratic senators on Monday asked U.S. Defense Secretary Mike Esper what happened to $1 billion in aid for Afghanistan the Trump administration said it would cut nearly three months ago, according to a letter reviewed by Reuters. Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the

NATO Allies Committed to Afghanistan’s Security: Stoltenberg

 By Syed Zabiullah Langari Tolo News 17 June 2020 On Taliban-Al Qaeda ties, the NATO chief said: “The Taliban has to break ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Defense Ministers meeting on Wednesday reiterated the alliance’s long-term commitment to Afghanistan’s peace process and security. “Allies reiterated

171 Govt Forces Killed in a Week in Taliban Attacks; Ghani, Qatari Envoy Agree on Doha for Intra-Afghan Talks

By Khalid Nekzad Tolo News 14 June 2020 A spokesman for the Interior Affairs Ministry says that 422 Afghan security force members were killed and wounded in a week. New figures by security institutions reveal that 171 personnel of the Afghan National Security Forces lost their lives in clashes with the Taliban in a week,

Taliban have not yet met conditions for complete troop withdrawal, says the top US general in the Mideast

Robert Burns The Associated Press 10 June 2020 WASHINGTON — The Taliban have not yet met conditions required for a complete U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by next May as envisioned in a U.S.-Taliban deal signed in February, the commander overseeing U.S. forces there said Wednesday. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said the U.S.

Afghan President Rejects Possibility of Post-Peace Interim Govt; Khalilzad Calls for Immediate Start of Intra-Afghan Talks

By Khalid Nekzad  Tolo News 12 June 2020 “The United States and Afghanistan are completely aligned. getting to peace is my absolute priority.” Said Ghani. In a virtual interview given for the Atlantic Council on Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani laid out his vision for peace in Afghanistan and highlighted the importance of a ceasefire and

Faced with the prospect of formal peace talks, Afghans consider what they’re willing to concede

Susannah George and  Sharif Hassan  June 8, 2020 Newly freed Taliban prisoners pray at Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul on May 26. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters) KABUL — In Afghanistan’s halting effort to end two decades of conflict, recent days have brought a sudden shift: A three-day cease-fire to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan held

Intra-Afghan Negotiations to be Held in Doha; Khalilzad in Doha, Islamabad to Discuss Intra-Afghan Talks

By Sayed Sharif Amiri  Tolo News 7 June 2020 Presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi says the Afghan government is ready to send its delegation to the talks. Sources close to the Taliban said that based on initial agreements between the engaged sides, the intra-Afghan negotiations will be held in Doha, a development that critics say will

US launches airstrikes against Taliban attacking Afghan security checkpoints

JUNE 05, 2020 RYAN MORGAN American Military News U.S. forces in Afghanistan have carried out airstrikes in defense of an Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) outpost under attack by the Taliban Thursday. The U.S. conducted two airstrikes in Afghanistan to disrupt coordinated Taliban attacks, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, said in

Group: Lack of virus tests pushes Afghanistan toward crisis

By RAHIM FAIEZ Associated Press 4 June 2020 FILE – In this April 20, 2020, photo, daily-wage workers wear protective face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in Kabul, Afghanistan. A prominent international aid organization warned Tuesday, June 2, 2020 that Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster because the

Envoys Call for Women, Civil Society, Minorities in Talks

 By Syed Zabiullah Langari  Tolo News 4 June 2020 In the statement, the EU Council asked the Afghan government to continue the course of inclusive and accountable governance. Western envoys in Kabul in a statement on Thursday welcomed the formation of the High Council for National Reconciliation and called on Afghan parties involved in the

The families paying the price for the war in Afghanistan

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism Published June 3 2020 By Jessica Purkiss This story was published in partnership with: Al Jazeera. The stone compounds in which many Afghans live are a whirl of skinny arms and legs. Children run between the clustered homes of their aunts, their uncles, their parents. Afghanistan has one of the youngest

Taliban Will Pursue Both Peace Talks and Jihad: Deputy Chief

By Sharif Amiri  Tolo News 3 June 2020 According to the UN report, a new group named Hizb-e-Wilayat-e-Islami has been created outside Afghanistan.   Sirajuddin Haqqani, the deputy leader of the Taliban, said that despite the group’s belief in the peace negotiation talks as one of the core components of the solution to the conflict

What Compromises Can Afghans Afford for Peace?

By Sharif Safi  Tolo News 2 June 2020 Sharif Safi says members of the Afghan delegation should create advisory committees to represent ordinary Afghans in talks. While Afghans are hoping and praying for a lasting peace, ne major question remains: What are the compromises we can afford to live with in this peace process? It’s

Taliban Continues to Back Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan: UN

By TOLOnews.com  1 June 2020 The UN report says, “the Taliban regularly consulted with Al-Qaeda during negotiations with the US.” A UN report released on Friday states that the Taliban has failed to fulfill one of the core parts of the US-Taliban agreement, namely that it would break ties with al-Qaeda. The agreement was signed

Taliban Team in Kabul to Discuss Prisoner Release; Released Taliban Prisoners Say the War Should End

By Gulabuddin Ghubar  Tolo News 28 May 2020 The Afghan government has stated they will work together with the Taliban’s team about the swap. A five-member delegation from the Taliban arrived in Kabul to discuss the issue of the Taliban’s prisoners, said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the group’s political office in Doha. According to

Trump on Afghanistan: Bring Back Troops, But Closely Watch

By TOLOnews.com  27 May 2020 Trump criticized his predecessor President Barack Obama for announcing a timed withdrawal from Afghanistan in the past. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday repeated that he wanted to bring American troops back from Afghanistan, saying the US is acting as a police force and it is time for Afghans to

How the Taliban Outlasted a Superpower: Tenacity and Carnage

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times May 26, 2020 The Taliban stand on the brink of realizing their most fervent desire: U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan. They have given up little of their extremist ideology to do it.   Taliban members gathered under a tree in March in Alingar District of Laghman Province, Afghanistan. Credit…Jim

Afghan government releases hundreds of Taliban prisoners

By KATHY GANNON and TAMEEM HROTHGAR Associated Press 26 May 2020 Afghan Taliban prisoners freed from Bagram Prison walk in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. The Afghan government freed hundreds of prisoners, its single largest prisoner release since the U.S. and the Taliban signed a peace deal earlier this year that spells out an

Afghan Sides Agree to Rare Cease-Fire During Eid al-Fitr

Mujib Mashal May 24, 2020Updated 4:52 a.m. ET The Taliban’s announcement of a three-day cessation of violence, after months of intensifying attacks, was welcomed by President Ashraf Ghani. Government security forces in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last week.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban and the Afghan government announced a cease-fire for the three days

Ghani Pledges Release of up to 2,000 Taliban Prisoners; Khalilzad: Eid Ceasefire is Opportunit

 By TOLOnews.com  24 May 2020 Sediqqi says the government is taking further steps to ensure the success of the peace process. President Ashraf Ghani in a meeting on Sunday announced that the government will release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture in response to the Taliban’s calling for a three-day ceasefire, and

US envoy working to resuscitate flagging Afghan peace deal as US warplanes pound ISIS-K

Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press and Tameem Akhgar, The Associated Press 21 May 2020 KABUL, Afghanistan — The first visit to Kabul by Washington’s peace envoy since Afghanistan’s squabbling political leadership reached a power-sharing agreement comes amid increased violence blamed mostly on an Islamic State affiliate that has been targeted in stepped-up U.S. bombing. Zalmay Khalilzad, in a flurry

Exclusive: U.S. has not cut Afghan security funds despite Pompeo vow of immediate slash

Arshad Mohammed, Jonathan Landay, Idrees Ali Reuters 20 May 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department has not withheld $1 billion in funding from Afghan security forces despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s vow on March 23 to cut that sum “immediately”, five sources familiar with the matter said. It was unclear why the cut has

Afghan Taliban leader says committed to deal with the US; Pakistan Still Harbors Taliban, Pentagon Report Says

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES 20 May 2020 In Eid message Haibatullah Akhunzada asks US ‘not to waste’ the opportunity offered by the deal to end 19-year-old war. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, leader of the Taliban delegation, and Zalmay Khalilzad, US envoy for peace in Afghanistan, shake hands after signing an agreement in Doha [File:

Afghanistan’s civilian casualties rise following U.S.-Taliban peace deal; For most of Afghanistan war, U.S. ‘never really fought to win,’ Trump declares

Susannah George  The Washington Post May 19, 2020 at 7:41 a.m. EDT Afghan security forces sit in a Humvee amid ongoing fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on May 19, 2020. (AFP/Getty Images) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Since the signing of a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban, civilian

Taliban talks in sight as Afghan political rivals end feud

by Shereena Qazi Al Jazeera 17 May 2020 President Ghani signs deal with his rival Abdullah, who will head peace talks with the Taliban amid surge in violence. The US had been pushing Afghanistan’s divided leadership to bury their differences and begin the so-called intra-Afghan talks [File: Omar Sobhani/Reuters] Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his

Afghan Rivals Sign Power-Sharing Deal as Political Crisis Subsides

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times May 17, 2020 President Ashraf Ghani gave Abdullah Abdullah the leading role in seeking peace with the Taliban and the ability to name half the cabinet. Abdullah Abdullah, left, and President Ashraf Ghani signing a power-sharing deal in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday.Credit…Afghanistan’s Office of Chief Executive, via Agence

Khalilzad Briefs Reporters on Afghan Situation

 By TOLOnews.com  16 May 2020 Khalilzad said: “The United States-Taliban agreement opens a historic opportunity for moving forward on peace.” The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday briefed the US State Department on the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the situation which has emerged in the country following Tuesday’s deadly attacks on a

Brutal Afghan attacks highlight limitations of U.S.-Taliban deal

Jonathan Landay, Idrees Ali, Arshad Mohammed Reuters May 15, 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two brutal attacks this week laid bare major weaknesses of the U.S.-Taliban troop withdrawal pact: nothing in it obliges the Taliban to prevent such massacres and the Afghan government’s ability to thwart them will only wane as U.S. troops pull out. The pact is

Some question whether the US-Taliban agreement aimed at bringing peace to Afghanistan was mainly just a withdrawal deal.

Associates Press Al Jazeera 15 May 2020 US on track to pull troops out of Afghanistan: Pentagon The United States is on track to meet its commitment to the Taliban to withdraw several thousand troops from Afghanistan by mid-July, even as violence flares, the peace process is stalled, and Kabul struggles in political deadlock. US

Exclusive: Details of Ghani-Abdullah Political Agreement

 By TOLOnews.com  15 May 2020 – 5:31 PM  The agreement says that the council will provide guidance to the negotiation team. TOLOnews has obtained a copy of the political agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and his political opponent Abdullah Abdullah that outlines the structure of a future government in which each side will have a

Attacks deal Trump’s long-shot Afghan peace push a fresh blow

Idrees Ali, Jonathan Landay, Rupam Jain Reuters MAY 13, 2020 / 6:18 PM WASHINGTON/MUMBAI, India (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s stalled plans to bring peace to Afghanistan have suffered a new setback with a decision by Kabul to resume offensive operations against the Taliban following two attacks on Tuesday that killed scores of Afghans. Washington cast

Afghans Have to Take Care of Their Country: Trump

By TOLOnews.com TODAY – 3:15 PM – Edited: TODAY – 3:21 PM US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that the United States remained committed to a “lasting peace” in Afghanistan. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday in answer to a question about the attacks in Afghanistan told reporters: “At some point they’re going to have to be

Brutal attack on mothers and newborns prompts Afghanistan to resume offensive operations against Taliban

Sharif Hassan and  Susannah George  The Washington Post May 12, 2020 at 5:31 p.m. EDT An Afghan security officer carries a baby after gunmen attacked a maternity ward in Kabul on Tuesday. (Rahmat Gul/AP) KABUL — The woman, unmoving, lay slouched against the wall of a hospital room, blood splattered on her face mask. In her

This Afghan General Fought the Taliban for Years. Now He Has Joined Them.

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times May 11, 2020 Another influential family was split by the war when a retired province police chief defected to the insurgency. His son remains deputy governor. Pictures on Taliban social media accounts showed the former Afghan police chief Abdul Jalil Bakhtawar after insurgents said he had switched sides to

Congressmen Question Taliban Commitment to February Agreement

Voice of America 10 May 2020, 09:35 GMT+10 The top members of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee say an increase in violence in Afghanistan has raised questions about the Taliban’s commitment to an agreement they signed with the United States in February. Representatives Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, chairman of the committee,

Watchdog group says US not releasing data on Taliban attacks

Tameem Akhgar, The Associated Press 1 May 2020 Afghan firefighters work at a parking lot near the site where a tractor packed with explosives exploded the night before at the Green Village in Kabul on Sept. 3, 2019. A massive blast in a residential area of Kabul killed at least 16 people, officials, following yet

US warns Taliban to curb attacks after exit deal calls for 80% cut to violence

Emma Graham-Harrison The Guardian Sat 2 May 2020  Previously secret agreement emerges as spokesmen for US military and Taliban clash on Twitter  Afghan security officials present arrested people and weapons seized during an operation against Taliban militants in Paktia, Afghanistan, on 29 April. Photograph: Ahmadullah Ahmadi/EPA The US military has warned the Taliban it must

Afghan rivals say they’re close to ending leadership feud

Hamid Shalizi, Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters MAY 2, 2020 / 8:29 AM KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah are close to resolving a standoff over last year’s disputed presidential election that has threatened a U.S.-brokered peace process, both sides said on Saturday. The feud culminated in both men declaring themselves president

Taliban attacks in Afghanistan surge after U.S. peace deal, inflicting heavy casualties

Sharif Hassan and  Susannah George  The Washington Post May 1, 2020 A member of the Afghan special forces stands guard at the site of a suicide bombing on the outskirts of Kabul on Wednesday. (Rahmat Gul/AP) KABUL — Facing an emboldened Taliban, and with less U.S. military support, Afghan forces have suffered heavy casualties during a

Afghanistan likely facing coronavirus ‘health disaster’: U.S. watchdog

Jonathan Landay Reuters 1 May 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan, beset by a poor healthcare system, malnutrition, war and other vulnerabilities, likely is facing a “health disaster” from the coronavirus, a watchdog report to the U.S. Congress warns. The report released late on Thursday by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko could

500 Civilians Killed in Afghanistan in Year’s First Quarter: UN

TOLOnews.com  27 April 2020 UNAMA said there is an “urgent need for all parties to the conflict to do more to protect civilians from harm.” More than 500 civilians, including more than 150 children, were killed due to the fighting in Afghanistan during the first quarter of 2020, said a new UNAMA report released on

Taliban Ramp Up Attacks Even as Coronavirus Spreads in Afghanistan

Mujib Mashal The New York Times April 24, 2020 With peace negotiations apparently stuck, the insurgents are killing dozens of Afghan government forces every day. Afghan National Army soldiers near the Bagram base that holds many of the Taliban prisoners whose release is a point of dispute in negotiations.Credit…Rahmat Gul/Associated Press  KABUL, Afghanistan — The

Clashes across Afghanistan kill dozens of security force members, militants

Reuters APRIL 22, 2020 LOGAR, Afghanistan/KABUL (Reuters) – Clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban militants killed dozens nationwide over the past 24 hours, authorities said on Wednesday, even as the United States tries to broker peace talks between the warring sides. Eight security force members were killed in a Taliban attack on a checkpoint at

Dozens Test Positive for Coronavirus at Afghan President’s Palace

By Mujib Mashal and Fahim Abed The New York Times April 19, 2020 There’s no evidence that President Ashraf Ghani is infected, but the pandemic’s reach into the seat of power further tests war-torn Afghanistan. The presidential palace in Kabul, where at least 40 people in several offices have been infected with the coronavirus. Credit…Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty

Taliban Attacks Surge, 30 Security Force Members Killed; US ‘Violates’ Deal, Claims Taliban, Sharing List of Attacks

By Khalid Nekzad Tolo News 20 April 2020 The attacks were carried out in the northeastern province of Takhar, Uruzgan in the south, and Balkh in the north of the country. More than 30 members of Afghan security forces lost their lives in Taliban clashes in three provinces on Sunday evening, amid a surge in

To Save Afghan Peace Deal, U.S. May Scale Back C.I.A. Presence

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Julian E. Barnes The New York Times 18 April 2020 Including the C.I.A.’s presence in negotiations with the Taliban is Washington’s latest effort to use what bargaining chips it has left to advance the peace plan. American soldiers in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2011. C.I.A. officials have long operated out of Khost ProvinceCredit…Kuni Takahashi for

NATO Committed to ANDSF Despite Planned Troop Decrease

 By Zahra Rahimi Tolo News 16 APRIL 2020  NATO’s Resolute Support mission has provided healthcare supplies and equipment to the ANA in the southeast. Following this week’s defense ministers’ videoconference session in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that NATO and NATO allies have “expressed support” for the agreement between the US and

‘Important step’: US envoy welcomes release of Afghan prisoners

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES 13 April 2020 Taliban on Sunday released 20 Afghan security personnel after government freed hundreds of the group’s captives. Zalmay Khalilzad had negotiated a deal with the Taliban in February [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera] US special envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who negotiated a deal with the Taliban, has

Khalilzad, Gen. Miller Meet with Taliban in Qatar

 By TOLOnews.com 14 April 2020 – 8:05 PM Khalilzad met with the Taliban deputy leader and discussed the peace agreement and also the “delay in the release of prisoners,” according to Taliban. US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. Austin S. Miller, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, on Monday met with

Afghan government releases 100 Taliban prisoners after collapse of prisoner swap talks

Sharif Hassan and  Susannah George  Washington Post April 8, 2020 at 9:44 a.m. ED Captured Taliban fighters are seen inside the Pul-i-Charki prison in Kabul on Dec. 14, 2019. (Rahmat Gul/AP) KABUL — The Afghan government released 100 Taliban prisoners Wednesday after talks aimed at coordinating a prisoner swap with the Taliban collapsed the day before.

Taliban Warn Peace Deal with US Near Breaking Point

6 Apr 2020 The Associated Press | By Kathy Gannon In this Feb. 29, 2020 file photo, U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader sign a peace agreement between Taliban and U.S. officials in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Hussein Sayed) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Taliban said their peace deal

Afghan Prisoner Swap Hits Wall as Taliban Pull Out of Talks

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times April 7, 2020, 12:38 p.m. ET Discussions with insurgents in Kabul unraveled as Afghan officials refused to include senior Taliban commanders in the first batch of prisoners to be released. Jailed members of the Taliban in Kabul in December. Plans for a prisoner swap have faced opposition and hurdles from

Exclusive: Planned $1 billion U.S. aid cut would hit Afghan security force funds

Jonathan Landay, Arshad Mohammed, Idrees Ali Reuters APRIL 5, 2020 / 6:09 AM WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A planned $1 billion cut in U.S. aid to Afghanistan would come from funds for Afghan security forces, according to three U.S. sources, a step experts said would undercut both Kabul’s ability to fight the Taliban and its leverage to negotiate

Ghani Proposes Abdullah Leads Peace Process

 By Siyar Sirat  Tolo News 3 April 2020 Ghani says he is open to discuss all matters regarding his suggestion and he remains “fully flexible.”  President Ashraf Ghani has publicly proposed that the leadership of the peace council be taken on by his political opponent Abdullah Abdullah, who disputed the recent election results and has

Some Taliban Leaders Insist on Return of Islamic Emirate

By Tamim Hamid  Tolo News 1 April 2020 Mawlavi Kabir, a Taliban leader, says the group will only succeed in bringing about a change in Afghanistan’s current system. Remarks by several Taliban leaders in recent days and weeks show that the group views the revival of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan as their red line

Key in Trump’s deal with the Taliban: Ex-prisoners whose release in 2014 unleashed Republican furor

Missy Ryan and  Haq Nawaz Khan  The Washington Post March 30, 2020 at 8:01 p.m. EDT Norullah Noori, third from left, Mohammed Nabi Omari, and Khairullah Said Wali Khairkhwa, three former Taliban fighters held by the U.S. at Guantánamo Bay, attend talks in Doha, Qatar, on July 8, 2019. (Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images) As American negotiators raced

Taliban team arrives in Kabul to begin prisoner exchange process

MARCH 31, 2020 / 1:22 PM Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters KABUL (Reuters) – A three-member Taliban team arrived in Kabul on Tuesday to begin a prisoner exchange process pivotal to starting talks between the insurgents and the government side to end Afghanistan’s 18-year-old war. The peace talks, known as the intra-Afghan dialogue, were envisaged in

Taliban Attack Afghanistan Amid Growing Coronavirus Threat

 Mujib Mashal and Najim Rahim The New York Times 28 March 2020 Insurgents launched major assaults as preparations continued for a prisoner exchange and as diplomats worked to revive the peace plan. Construction at the site for a new hospital for coronavirus patients in Herat, Afghanistan, this week.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times KABUL, Afghanistan —

For Afghanistan Already on Brink, U.S. Aid Cut Is a Big Shove

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times March 24, 2020 The billion-dollar aid cut, accompanied by a stinging American rebuke, came as the country was already grappling with multiple crises. A view from the northern outskirts of Kabul this week.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times  Kabul, Afghanistan — As President Trump repeatedly expressed fatigue with

U.S. vows to cut $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan as political crisis threatens peace deal

Pamela Constable and John Hudson The Washington Post March 23, 2020 at 7:39 p.m. EDT KABUL — In a sign of mounting frustration with Afghanistan’s leaders, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced early Tuesday that the United States would cut $1 billion in aid to the country because of its inability to form a unity government to

Dozens of Afghan troops killed in insider attack: Officials

Al Jazeera 20 March 2020 At least six policemen open fire on sleeping troops in Zabul province, killing at least 24 soldiers, officials say. At least two dozen Afghan security forces have been killed in an insider attack on their base in southern Afghanistan, two officials told AFP news agency. Rahmatullah Yarmal, spokesman for the

Afghanistan is stuck with a divided government and Taliban insurgency. Now, coronavirus is spreading.

Pamela Constable  The Washington Post March 19, 2020 Volunteers wearing hazmat suits and face masks are reflected in a mirror while spraying disinfectant at a restaurant in Kabul on Wednesday during a preventive campaign against the spread of the coronavirus. (Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images) KABUL — With Afghanistan hovering between peace and war, and the

NATO “Concerned” About Political Turmoil; US Pushes for Sooner Release of Taliban Prisoners

By Syed Zabiullah Langari  Tolo News 19 March 2020 This comes as the Taliban are insisting that the US facilitate the release of their prisoners jailed by the Afghan government. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference on Thursday called on Afghan leaders to resolve their differences and work for peace in the country.

Coronavirus Disrupts Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Julian E. Barnes The New York Times Published March 19, 2020 Thousands of American and NATO troops are scheduled to leave in the next few months, but quarantine procedures are complicating those efforts. Travelers arriving in Kabul had their temperatures taken before entering the airport on Monday. There are at least 21 confirmed cases

Pakistan fears Afghan peace failure could bring violence its way

Pamela Constable  The Washington Post March 13, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. EDT Supporters of the Pakistani religious group Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Nazryate rally to celebrate the signing of the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, in Quetta, Pakistan, on March 1. (Arshad Butt/AP) ISLAMABAD — For years, Pakistan has been accused of

Turkey ready to take on mediator role in Afghanistan negotiations

   March 11, 2020 Afghanistan Times KABUL: Turkey has expressed readiness to mediate intra-Afghan peace talks in case of a request, the country’s Kabul envoy said Tuesday. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Oğuzhan Ertuğrul said that the peace deal that was signed between the Taliban and the United States on Feb. 29 is a crucial

US Has Given ‘Limited Support’ to Taliban in ISIS Fight, General Says

11 Mar 2020 Military.com | By Richard Sisk U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the commander of U.S. Central Command, right, visits Airmen assigned to the 332 Air Expeditionary Wing, Jan. 24, 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Roderick Jacquote) The overall commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the Mideast made the stunning admission Tuesday that the

Taliban Rejects Ghani’s Decree on Prisoners: Sources

By Sayed Sharif Amiri  Tolo News 12 March 2020 The govt has not announced the delegates for the peace negotiations. The Taliban do not accept a decree by President Ashraf Ghani on the release of the prisoners, sources close to the group said on Thursday, two days after Ghani signed an order to conditionally  pardon

Khalilzad Hopes Intra-Afghan Talks Conclude in ‘100 Days’

 By TOLOnews.com  11 March 2020  The US envoy spoke to TOLOnews about the peace deal and the election crisis. The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in an interview with TOLOnews on Wednesday spoke about a number of significant topics related to the peace agreement between the US and the Taliban, including counterterrorism

Afghan President Orders Taliban Prisoner Release

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times March 11, 2020 The decision could help remove an obstacle in the American-led peace process. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, at the presidential palace in Kabul last week.Credit…Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images  KABUL, Afghanistan — President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan on Wednesday ordered the phased release of thousands

Afghanistan plunges into a new crisis, what next?

by Shereena Qazi Al Jazeera 10 March 2020 The parallel inaugurations by Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah pose a challenge to intra-Afghan talks, analysts say. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was finally inaugurated for a second term on Monday in the capital Kabul nearly six months after the elections that were marred by vote-rigging and record

Ghani to Decide on Taliban Prisoners’ Release Tuesday; Competing swearing-in ceremonies

Anisa Shaheed  Tolo News 9 March 2020 Ghani said the negotiating team will be finalized by Tuesday and it has been formed after broad consultations. President Ashraf Ghani, who took the oath of office for president for a second term on Monday, vowed to issue a decree on the release of Taliban prisoners on Tuesday,

‘Thrown under the bus’: Some Afghans view U.S.-Taliban peace deal with mix of disbelief and anger

Susannah George  The Washington Post March 7, 2020 at 12:34 p.m. EST Shogofa Danish, 25, a Dari news presenter for ToloNews TV, anchors a morning news cast. In January 2016, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying employees of Tolo TV, Afghanistan’s most popular private broadcaster, killing seven staffers. Many Afghans

A Secret Accord With the Taliban: When and How the U.S. Would Leave Afghanistan

By David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times March 9, 2020 The Taliban have read the secret annexes of the recently signed peace deal. But most Americans haven’t, nor have many of their elected representatives. American soldiers boarding a plane last year in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times WASHINGTON —

New Special Operations network will serve as security backbone in Afghanistan ahead of U.S. withdrawal

Dan Lamothe  The Washington Post March 5, 2020 at 8:45 p.m. EST Afghan security officials patrol in Helmand province on March 4, as violence surges in Afghanistan. (Watan Yar/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock) KABUL — A new network of Special Operations forces will serve as the backbone of a smaller U.S. military mission in Afghanistan, hunting Islamic State fighters

Gunmen Kill Dozens at Event Attended by Afghan Politicians

By Najim Rahim and Mujib Mashal The New York Times March 6, 2020, 5:17 a.m. ET One security official said 27 people had been killed. The Afghan presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah escaped unharmed. Security forces arrived near the site of an extended gun battle in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday.Credit…Omar Sobhani/Reuters  KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s capital erupted into violence on

The Taliban Have Fulfilled a Series of Conditions; Taliban Attacks Decreasing

By TOLOnews.com  5 March 2020 The Pentagon on Wednesday downplayed the Taliban’s attacks on Afghan security forces.  The US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley at a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing said that less than a week has passed since the signing of the peace agreement

US Targets Taliban, 30 Afghan Forces Killed in Afghanistan

 By TOLOnews.com  4 March 2020 “It is fragile–if the Taliban are not going to lower violence.” said Miller, “that causes a risk to the agreement.” The US forces conducted an airstrike against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, a district of the southern province of Helmand on Wednesday, a spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan, Col

Top allies press Trump to keep some U.S. forces in Afghanistan

By LARA SELIGMAN and DANIEL LIPPMAN Politico 03/03/2020 03:40 PM EST The backroom scramble comes as President Donald Trump spoke with a top-ranking Taliban official by phone on Tuesday. Two former U.S. officials told POLITICO that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been urging the White House directly to leave a small presence on the ground. | Mario Tama/Getty

Afghan Forces, Taliban Face Off in 17 Provinces after Peace Deal

By Tamim Hamid  Tolo News 3 March 2020 Volatile districts in Kandahar and Helmand enjoyed relative calm during the RIV, but have now resumed fighting. A fresh spate of violence kicked off in at least seventeen Afghan provinces on Tuesday, a day after the Taliban announced they would resume military operations against the Afghan security

Differing U.S. documents helped fuel Afghan prisoner dispute

Jonathan Landay, Arshad Mohammed Reuters MARCH 2, 2020 / 7:22 PM WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States helped fuel a dispute between the Taliban and the Afghan government over prisoner releases that threatens U.S. peace efforts by using different language in documents it agreed with each side, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. The

US-Taliban Deal Has Secret Elements: Pompeo; Taliban Orders Resumed Attacks on Govt Forces

By TOLOnews.com  2 March 2020 Mike Pompeo said that “every member of Congress will get a chance to see them.” The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday in an interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation said that along with the public document of the US-Taliban deal released on Saturday, “there are two

At Center of Taliban Deal, a U.S. Envoy Who Made It Personal

By Mujib Mashal and Lara Jakes New York Times March 2010 Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born veteran American diplomat, earned the trust of the militants, if not of Afghan officials. Zalmay Khalilzad before signing an agreement with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.Credit…Ibraheem Al Omari/Reuters  DOHA, Qatar — It seemed a thankless and impossible assignment: negotiating a deal with the

U.S. signs peace deal with Taliban agreeing to full withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan

Sarah Dadouch,  Susannah George and  Dan Lamothe  The Washington Post Feb. 29, 2020 at 12:32 p.m. EST The signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal is historic—but might not end the war in Afghanistan DOHA, Qatar — The United States and the Taliban signed a peace deal Saturday that calls for the full withdrawal of American troops

ISIS loses more than half its fighters from US airstrikes and Taliban ground operations

Shawn Snow Military Times 27 February 2020 The coalition conducted a series of airstrikes to support Afghan Commandos clearance of ISIS-K fighters and fighting positions in Pekha Valley, Achin district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Feb. 17, 2018. Persistent offensive ground and air operations throughout the winter expelled ISIS-K from more than 7 km of mountainous terrain

US, Taliban set to sign deal to end war in Afghanistan

by Shereena Qazi Al Jazeera 28 February 2020 The deal will set the stage for a US troop withdrawal and usher in intra-Afghan talks to decide the country’s future. The Taliban have been waging an armed rebellion since 2001 when the US toppled the group from power [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera] A week after the “reduction

US Congress Members Demand No ‘Side Deals’ With Taliban

By TOLOnews  27 February 2020 22 US Congress members signed a letter stating concerns about US reliance on the Taliban as a counterterrorism partner, among other things.   In an open letter to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, 22 US Congress members have raised concerns over the potential

U.S. general and senior Afghan official take selfies on Kabul streets in demonstration of peace effort

Dan Lamothe  Washington Post Feb. 26, 2020 at 1:39 p.m. EST Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller greets people in the streets of Kabul on Feb. 26 as he visits shops in the area. (Dan Lamothe/The Washington Post) KABUL — The top U.S. general in Afghanistan strolled through crowded streets and visited shops in this capital on

Scarred and Weary, an Afghan Force Wonders: What Is Peace?

By Mujib Mashal Photographs by Kiana Hayeri The New York Times Feb. 27, 2020 A truce is prompting introspection. “Who is it on the other side?” mused a 15-year veteran of intimate warfare. “They are not even from a different district.” JELDAK, Afghanistan — Their young bodies are as broken as the bomb-pocked 40 miles of highway

Taliban attacks significantly down as reduction in violence deal appears to hold

Shawn Snow Military Times 25 February 2020 U.S. special operations service members conduct combat operations in support of Operation Resolute Support in Southeast Afghanistan, April 2019. RS is a NATO-led mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and institutions. (Sgt. Jaerett Engeseth/Army) The week-long reduction in violence deal hashed

Afghan government agrees to postpone Ghani inauguration: U.S.

Jonathan Landay, Humeyra Pamuk Reuters FEBRUARY 25, 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s government has agreed to postpone President Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration to a second term, the United States said on Tuesday as it declined to recognize competing election victory claims by Ghani and his chief political foe. The postponement could allow more time for U.S. diplomats

Efforts Underway to End Election Tensions

By Anisa Shaheed  Tolo News 24 Feb. 2020 A number of electoral campaign teams said that Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, is also working to dispel the tensions. Former President Hamid Karzai and former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf met with National Unity Government leaders on Monday as tensions

Will the Ghani-Abdullah rivalry undermine Afghan peace process?

Abdullah rejects presidential results at a time Kabul is likely to take part in intra-Afghan talks to end the conflict. by Shereena Qazi 22 Feb 2020 Al Jazeera The power struggle between the leaders and their supporters has come to the fore recently [AFP] Hours after Afghanistan’s incumbent President Ashraf Ghani was declared on Tuesday the winner

Countdown Begins to Possible End of U.S. War in Afghanistan

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Feb. 22, 2020\ A partial truce that began early Saturday is a first step toward signing a deal to withdraw American troops. But bitter conflict within the Afghan government clouds prospects for a lasting peace. Afghan soldiers during an exercise on Monday. Credit…Jalil Rezayee/EPA, via Shutterstock KABUL, Afghanistan — The

Secret Annexes, Backroom Deals: Can Zalmay Khalilzad Deliver Afghan Peace for Trump?

BY KIMBERLY DOZIER / WASHINGTON AND DOHA, QATAR FEBRUARY 15, 2020 10:47 PM ET TIME magazine The best hope for an end to the 18-year war in Afghanistan may lie in a sumptuous conference room in Doha’s Diplomatic Club in Qatar. But there may be only one person who knows whether a paper peace deal negotiated

As US Prepares for Deal with Taliban, Afghan Opposition Party Threatens Parallel Government

By Hasib Danish Alikozai VOA (Voice of America) Updated February 19, 2020 11:57 AM Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, center, addresses the media following a meeting with his party members, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 18, 2020. WASHINGTON – As U.S. and Taliban aim for a ‘reduction in violence’ agreement scheduled to be signed by both

Will leaving Afghanistan cause another 9/11? Former soldiers and diplomats say no, not necessarily   

 David Roza February 12, 2020 at 06:36 PM Task & Purpose The sun rises on Forward Operating Base Kutschbach, Kapisa province, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2012. The cloudy weather lowered visibility in the surrounding area. (Army photo / Spc. Andrew Claire Baker) As the war in Afghanistan drags on, and as President Donald Trump reportedly approves

A U.S.-Taliban Deal Hinges on Reducing Violence. It Might Work Like This.

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Feb. 13, 2020 As a start, all sides are supposed to halt attacks for one week — mostly. It’s not a full cease-fire, and even then it may be difficult to do. American military personnel in a helicopter flying over Helmand Province in September.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York

US military budget request for Afghanistan lowest in a decade

Shawn Snow Military Times 10 February 2020 The Pentagon’s budget for operations in Afghanistan continues to trend downward. (Master Sgt. Alex Licea/Army) With a $14 billion dollar budget request for fiscal year 2021, the U.S. military is set to spend its lowest amount on the 18-year long war in Afghanistan in nearly a decade. The overseas contingency

More than 2,000 killed in Afghanistan rebuilding mission: Agency

Al Jazeera SOURCE: AFP NEWS AGENCY 11 February 2020 Nearly 1,500 Afghans among killed since 2002 during reconstruction, highlighting human cost of war, US agency says. Afghans suffered the most casualties, with 131 soldiers and 1,447 civilians killed as they worked on operations to rebuild their country [Rahmat Gul/AP Photo] Attacks on reconstruction missions in Afghanistanhave

Afghanistan claims the Islamic State was ‘obliterated.’ But fighters who got away could stage a resurgence.

By Susannah George, Siobhán O’Grady, Sharif Hassan The Washington Post FEBRUARY 10, 2020   ACHIN, Afghanistan — For nearly four years, U.S. and Afghan forces unleashed hundreds of punishing airstrikes in this remote corner of mountainous eastern Afghanistan. The strikes transformed clusters of sparse farming villages, cratering dirt roads and, in some areas, leaving every third mud

The gunfire lasted just minutes but left two U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan dead

Susannah George and  Sharif Hassan  The Washington Post Feb. 9, 2020 at 1:53 p.m. EST Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, left, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, both assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), were killed Saturday. (U.S. Special Operations) KABUL — The first shots rang out at 6 p.m. Saturday, just

Biden’s Comments Rile Up Afghans, Internationals

 By Sharif Amiri  9 February 2020 Tolo News Former president Hamid Karzai in a statement called Joe Biden’s remarks on Afghanistan “irresponsible” and “unrealistic.” Former US vice president and Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden’s comments on Afghanistan have caused a strong reaction from the Afghan government and others. Addressing a debate in New Hampshire

In Afghanistan, climate change complicates future prospects for peace

BY SOPHIA JONES PHOTOGRAPHS BY SOLMAZ DARYANI National Geographic PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 3, 2020 Experts say warming will further fuel natural disasters, mass displacement, child marriage, and conflict. This story was produced in partnership with National Geographic and the Fuller Project, with funding from the National Geographic Society. HERAT, AFGHANISTAN As dry months turned to parched years, Fatemeh watched the crops

The Limits of U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan, by the Numbers

By C. J. Chivers The New York Times Feb. 7, 2020, 10:38 a.m. ET SIGAR’s 46th quarterly report sketched how the United States is propping up a corrupt and weak pauper state. President Trump and President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan spoke to American troops at Bagram Air Base outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, in November.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York

Afghan special operators partnering with US forces more often, still reliant on American support

Shawn Snow , Leo Shane III , and Joe Gould Military Times 5 February 2020 An Afghan commando from 8th Special Operations Kandak and a U.S. Special Forces Soldier scan the horizon for enemy movement during an operation to find Taliban leadership in Sayyidabad district, Wardak province, Afghanistan, May 24, 2018. (Sgt. Paul Sale/Army) Afghan special operations forces and commandos are

NATO Eyes Troop Reductions in Afghanistan as U.S. Draws Down

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Julian E. Barnes The New York Times Feb. 5, 2020 The Trump administration’s decision to eventually withdraw several thousand troops from America’s longest war has triggered a debate within the 29-country alliance. A German soldier with NATO forces during a graduation ceremony for new soldiers in the Afghan National Army last year in Kabul,

Afghan casualties and attrition are outpacing recruitment and retention; one insider attack every 4 days

Shawn Snow Military Times 3 February 2019 Afghan Security forces walks next to a crater caused by suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Nov. 29, 2018. Taliban insurgents staged a coordinated attack targeting a security firm in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, killing people and wounding others. (Rahmat Gul/AP) The endless slog of peace talks

Top commander sees increased Iran threat in Afghanistan

By Lolita C. Baldor | AP  Jan. 31, 2020 Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, center, top U.S. commander for the Middle East, makes an unannounced visit, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Lolita Baldor/Associated Press) KABUL, Afghanistan — There has been an increase in Iranian activity in Afghanistan that poses a risk to American and coalition troops there,

SIGAR Report: “Enemy-Initiated Attacks” Increased in Late 2019

By TOLOnews.com  1 February 2020 Afghan government is more interested in checking off boxes for the international community than in actually uprooting its corruption problem.” The US Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, also known as SIGAR, in a report released this week said Afghanistan will need as much as $8.2 billion in aid a year

‘Doubtful’ US-Taliban Talks Will End Afghan War, Says Iran Official

Voice of America 31 Jan 2020, 06:35 GMT+10 ISLAMABAD – A senior Iranian diplomat has cast aspersions on U.S.-led efforts aimed at finding a negotiated settlement to the war in Afghanistan, and refuted allegations Tehran gives military aid to Taliban insurgents to hurt the peace process. Iran’s ambassador to Pakistan, Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, insisted

Afghan Civilians Pay Price of Conflict: Amnesty International

By TOLOnews.com  30 January 2020 The human rights organization released its annual report on events in the Asia-Pacific region. Amnesty International’s annual human rights review released on Thursday said that the Afghan civilians continued to pay the price of the ongoing conflict as “justice proved elusive for the victims.” Citing UN reports, the review stated

Despite Calm in Afghan Cities, War in Villages Kills Dozens Daily

By Mujib Mashal and Najim Rahim The New York Times Jan. 29, 2020, 2:40 p.m. ET A reduction in attacks in major Afghan cities amid American peace talks with the Taliban could be misleading. Bloodletting in the countryside continues. A view of downtown Kabul in December. An unusual calm has taken over major Afghan cities, while the country side

Afghan Govt ‘Nowhere Near’ Able to Self-Fund: Sopko

TOLOnews.com 29 January 2020 The US mission in Afghanistan and the reconstruction effort will continue to require “vigorous oversight,” Sopko said. John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), told US Congress on Tuesday that corruption remains the top “strategic threat” to the legitimacy and success of the Afghan government, and that Afghanistan is

The US is bombing the hell out of the Taliban as munitions dropped reaches nearly 10-year high

Shawn Snow Military Times 27 January 2019 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly a combat mission over Afghanistan. In the backdrop of peace negotiations to end the 18-year long war U.S. aircraft are bombing the hell out of the Taliban and other militants as the warring parties slog through never-ending discussions to bring the fighting to a close. According

In Talks, US Asks Taliban for ‘Long-Term Reduction in Violence’

By Sayed Sharif Amiri  Tolo News 27 January 2020 Sources said the Taliban delegation in Doha is conferring with its leadership over the US request. As the peace talks in Qatar continue, two sources familiar with the matter said the United States negotiators have asked the Taliban to agree to a long-term reduction in violence

Afghanistan’s president on holding ‘the most difficult job on Earth’

Lally Weymouth The Washington Post. Jan. 23, 2020 Ashraf Ghani says he has an ‘excellent relationship’ with President Trump. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at a police officers’ graduation ceremony in Kabul earlier this month. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)DAVOS, SWITZERLAND Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is in a tough spot. President Trump has made no secret of his desire

Afghanistan Is Ready for Major U.S. Troop Reduction, Ghani Says

By Rebecca Blumenstein and Mujib Mashal The New York Times Published Jan. 23, 2020  Updated Jan. 24, 2020, 1:30 a.m. ET The Afghan leader said he had told President Trump that the United States could withdraw a third of its troops, even as a peace deal with Taliban remains elusive. American military personnel in Helmand, Afghanistan, last September. About 12,000

‘Devastating Toll’ on Afghan Civilians in 2019: HRW

 By TOLOnews.com  15 January 2020 The HRW report said that civilian deaths caused by the Afghan government and US operations exceeded the Taliban’s for the first time. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday in its World Report 2020 said that attacks by all parties to Afghanistan’s armed conflict in  2019 took a “devastating toll”

As Iran and U.S. Trade Blows, Afghanistan Sweats Between the 2 Powers

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Jan. 8, 2020 Afghan officials fear that an escalation between Iran and the United States could hurt chances for peace with the Taliban during a critical time. President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, the Afghan capital, in December. The country borders Iran and also hosts thousands of American military personnel. Credit…Afghan

Taliban: We Don’t Want to be Sacrificed in US-Iran Tension

 By Sayed Sharif Amiri  Tolo News 5 Jan 2020 A former Taliban member said the Taliban does not want to work for other countries’ interests. A source within the Taliban says the leadership of the group has initially agreed that they do not want to be taken advantage of by recent US-Iran escalation. According to

As winter sets in, Afghans feel the chill of endless peace talk and political paralysis

Pamela Constable The Washington Post Dec. 27, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. EST Shoppers crowd a market in Kabul, as an icy winter takes hold in the Afghan capital and peace talks with the Taliban drag on. (Lorenzo Tugnoli/for The Washington Post) KABUL — Across the Afghan capital, carpentry shops are turning out crude pine tables.

Afghan President Declared in Lead of Disputed Vote as Opposition Protests

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Dec. 22, 2019 Initial results of the September elections, which had been delayed, show President Ashraf Ghani leading with 50.64 percent of the vote. President Ashraf Ghani at a campaign rally in Kabul in September.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times KABUL, Afghanistan — President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan

Former Afghan leader Hamid Karzai grew estranged from his American allies during 10 years in power. Here’s what he says about The Afghanistan Papers.

Pamela Constable  The Washington Post Dec. 19, 2019 Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Kabul on Dec. 10. (Altaf Qadri/AP) KABUL — Hamid Karzai was once handpicked by U.S. officials to lead his war-ravaged country, but he ended up bitterly estranged from them after spending a decade

2019 has been particularly deadly for Children in Afghanistan

UN news 17 Dec 2019, 20:55 GMT+10 An average of nine children have been killed or maimed every day in Afghanistan so far this year, according to a new report from the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, which describes the country as “the world’s most lethal war zone.” The report, entitled “Preserving Hope in Afghanistan: Protecting

Germany Ready for Mediation in Afghan Peace

By Nabila Ashrafi  Tolo News 17 December 2019 The German envoy said mediation requires cooperation by all sides of the conflict of a third party. German Ambassador to Kabul, Peter Prügel, at a meeting in Kabul on Tuesday said Germany’s government is closely working with its allies and international organizations to mediate the Afghan peace

THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS  A secret history of the war — Part 6

OVERWHELMED BY OPIUM The U.S. war on drugs in Afghanistan has imploded at nearly every turn By Craig Whitlock The Washington Post 15 December 2019 NANGAHAR PROVINCE, 2006 (Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos) BADAKHSHAN PROVINCE, 2006 (Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos) OUTSKIRTS OF KABUL, 2009 (Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images) In late 2017, U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan launched Operation Iron Tempest, a storm of

Possible Afghanistan Drawdown Without Peace Deal

By TOLOnews.com  17 December 2019 US Secretary Defense Mark Esper speaking to reporters on Monday said that US troops numbers could be lowered in Afghanistan without a peace agreement. “I think, again, today the best solution for Afghanistan is a political agreement. But I think we could go down to a lower number with or

Trump admin intends to announce withdrawal of about 4,000 troops from Afghanistan

Dec. 14, 2019, 4:46 PM EST By Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee NBC News Trump had made clear to his advisers earlier this year that he wanted to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the November 2020 election. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani delivers remarks to U.S. military personnel beside President Donald Trump during a surprise

Trump needs to explain Afghan mission, says Thornberry

Trump needs to explain Afghan mission, says Thornberry By: Joe Gould Defense News 13 December 2019 Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, is the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) WASHINGTON ― As U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to cut American boots on the ground in Afghanistan, he owes the American people a clearer

THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS  A secret history of the war — Part 5

UNGUARDED NATION Afghan security forces, despite years of training, were dogged by incompetence and corruption By Craig Whitlock The Washington Post Dec. 14, 2019 KABUL, 2006 (David Guttenfelder/AP) KABUL, 2012 (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) KABUL, 2009 (Emilio Morenatti/AP) For almost two decades, U.S. military commanders have assured the public they are making progress on the cornerstone of their war

THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS A secret history of the war — Part 4

By Craig Whitlock The Washington Post 13 December 2019 CONSUMED BY CORRUPTION The U.S. flooded the country with money — then turned a blind eye to the graft it fueled    KABUL, 2012 (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor) KABUL, 2009 (Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images) KABUL, 2006 (Gary Knight/VII/Redux) About halfway into the 18-year war, Afghans stopped hiding how corrupt their country had become.

More US contractors have died in Afghanistan than US troops, but the Pentagon doesn’t keep track

Ellen Ioanes Business Insider December 09, 2019 at 04:51 PM The Washington Post reported this week that a cache of materials about the war in Afghanistan revealed that the U.S. mission there was failing spectacularly, leading to increasing service member and contractor deaths — not to mention tens of thousands of civilian casualties over the past two decades. The internal documents

A Bitter Election Dispute Sends Afghanistan Back to the Brink

Mujib Mashal The New York Times Dec. 12, 2019, 12:04 a.m. ET Abdullah Abdullah, a three-time contender for the presidency, is again at the center of an electoral crisis. This time, he insists, he won’t compromise. “I am not here to create problems for the country,” said Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s chief executive and a presidential candidate,

US-Taliban Talks ‘Paused’ After Bagram Attack

By TOLOnews.com  13 Dec. 2019 US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said the Taliban “will consult their leadership.”  The new round of US-Taliban negotiations in Doha, which began on December 7, has been paused following Wednesday’s attack on a medical facility near Bagram air base that killed two civilians and wounded dozens more. According to sources, the

THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS A secret history of the war — Part 3

BUILT TO FAIL Despite vows the U.S. wouldn’t get mired in ‘nation-building,’ it’s wasted billions doing just that By Craig Whitlock The Washington Post 12 December 2019 KABUL, 2009 (David Guttenfelder/AP) KABUL, 2005 (David Guttenfelder/AP) KABUL, 2004 (Emilio Morenatti/AP) George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all promised the same thing: The United States would not get stuck

Afghanistan’s Karzai says American cash fed corruption

By: Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press    11 December 2019 Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (Altaf Qadri/AP) KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s former president argued Tuesday that Washington helped fuel corruption in his nation by spending hundreds of millions of dollars

Ghani Calls for Regional, Int’l Support for Afghan Peace; Iran Supports An Afghan-Led Peace Process, Says Zarif

By TOLOnews.com  9 December 2019 Speaking at Heart of Asia conference, Ghani said there is a need for a coordinated process of regional and international support for Afghan peace. President Ashraf Ghani on Monday addressed the eighth ministerial conference of the “Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process” in Turkey and emphasized the need for a political solution

THE AFGHANISTAN PAPERS A secret history of the war

By Craig Whitlock The Washington Post  Dec. 9, 2019 AT WAR WITH THE TRUTH U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it.  KONAR PROVINCE, 2010 (Moises Saman/Magnum Photos) THE PENTAGON, 2003 (David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images) FORT CAMPBELL, KY., 2014 (Matt McClain/The Washington Post) A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The

Shooting in the dark; Afghanistan’s endless war pits brother against brother

Abdul Qadir Sediqi Reuters 9 December 2019 KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) – The 19-year-old Taliban deserter is haunted by the memory of the attack on a police checkpoint in northern Afghanistan in August. The Taliban band of around 20 fighters began its assault at 10 pm, he recalled, and by sunrise, all twelve Afghan police were

US peace envoy to Afghanistan opens first round of resurrected talks with Taliban

Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press 8 December 2019 In this Feb. 8, 2019, file photo, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad speaks on the prospects for peace at the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP) KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday held the first official talks with Afghanistan’s

Will Trump Close the Deal to End Afghanistan’s Long War?

BY KIMBERLY DOZIER  UPDATED: DECEMBER 5, 2019 This appears in the December 16, 2019 issue of TIME. A U.S. soldier rests on a flight to Kabul in August 2018. The war in Afghanistan is nearly two decades old. Emanuele Satolli for TIME President Donald Trump had barely been in Afghanistan for a few hours on Nov. 28 when he made

Afghanistan Needs Billions in Aid Even After a Peace Deal, World Bank Says

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Dec. 6, 2019 Analysts say that American hopes for a quick deal and then slashed spending could lead to a collapse after 18 years of international aid created an unsustainable economy. Kabul’s retail produce market in 2017.Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times KABUL, Afghanistan — As the United

SIGAR: Were America’s efforts to help feed Afghans fruitful? No one can say.

Afghan children draw water at a camp on the outskirts of Herat. The U.S. Agency for International Development has spent $589 million since 2010 to feed starving Afghans, but a lack of oversight means no one knows how much of that was stolen, a Pentagon watchdog group said. By J.P. LAWRENCE STARS AND STRIPES Published:

Exclusive: U.S. troop drawdowns in Afghanistan ‘not necessarily’ tied to Taliban deal – Esper

Phil Stewart Reuters DECEMBER 2, 2019 / 5:18 PM LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday that any future troop drawdowns in Afghanistan were “not necessarily” linked to a deal with Taliban insurgents, suggesting some lowering of force levels may happen irrespective of the ongoing peace push. The remarks by Esper

ISIS Is Losing Afghan Territory. That Means Little for Its Victims.

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Mujib Mashal The New York Times Dec. 3, 2019 Offensives against the Islamic State’s Afghan branch have brought it down to several hundred fighters, officials say. But they warn that the group’s cruelty is still a threat. The site of an explosion in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, in which more than 70 people were killed

Uncertainty Surrounds Beijing Peace Meeting

By Tamim Hamid  Tolo News 2 December 2019 “At this stage the Afghan people are focusing more on the outcome of the elections rather than the peace process.” Amid reports of disagreements over the list of the participants for the Beijing peace meeting on Afghanistan, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday said that

Politicians Working on Plan to ‘End Crisis’; IEC Preparing to Announce Election Results

By Massoud Ansar  Tolo News (Afghanistan) 1 December 2019 A group of well-known political figures and religious scholars is working on a plan to “save the country” from the current crisis, which they believe is the outcome of a constant delay in presidential election results and a postponement of the peace talks. Politicians with “Peace

Intra-Afghan talks may take place in Germany

Afghanistan Times 30 November 2019 AT News KABUL: A conference on Afghan peace process was about to hold in Beijing, the capital city of China, but due to divergence, where Taliban group once opposed Kabul delegation prepared by the government, now there is expectation that the talks to be held in Germany. A source who

In Afghanistan, Trump Creates Confusion Over U.S. Policy on Taliban

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Nov. 29, 2019 Updated 4:38 p.m. ET The president said stalled talks with the militant group were back on and called for a cease-fire — something his negotiators had deemed unrealistic. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan with President Trump  at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan on Thursday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York

Trump makes surprise visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan

By Missy Ryan and Philip Rucker  The Washington Post November 28, 2019 at 2:01 p.m. EST President Trump serves Thanksgiving dinner to US troops at Bagram air base during a surprise visit. (Olivier Douliery/Afp Via Getty Images) BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — President Trump visited Afghanistan for the first time on Thursday, delivering Thanksgiving greetings to

Chances of successful Afghanistan peace talks higher than before

Idrees Ali Reuters 27 Nov. 2019 KABUL (Reuters) – The top U.S. general said on Wednesday that the chances of a successful outcome from peace talks on ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan were higher than before and could happen in the “near term.” Earlier this month the Afghan Taliban released American and Australian university

Taliban Delegation Visits Iran to Discuss Afghan Peace

By Sayed Sharif Amiri  Tolo News 28 November 2019 Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said on Tuesday in a tweet that the Taliban deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, along with his delegation, met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and discussed a “peaceful solution” to the “Afghan issue” and migrant problems in Iran. Ambassador

With few Afghan air controllers, the US is stuck in a forever war of air support in Afghanistan

Military Times By: Shawn Snow   25 November 2019 An Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucano pitch to land at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, after returning from a sortie at Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 14, 2015. The A-29 is the Afghan Air Force’s latest attack airframe in their inventory. (Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr./U.S. Air

American Aid Worker for U.N. Is Killed in Afghan Capital

By Mujib Mashal Them New York Times Nov. 25, 2019, 12:50 a.m. ET  The killing of the United Nations employee underscores the growing threat to aid workers at a time Afghanistan is in dire need of humanitarian assistance. KABUL, Afghanistan — An American national working for the United Nations in Afghanistan was killed and two others were

US-Taliban Unofficial Talks Underway in Doha

By Sayed Sharif Amiri  Tolo News (Afghanistan) 24 Nov 2019 Discussion between the US and Taliban has begun again in Qatar, but in an unofficial capacity, two sources familiar with the matter told TOLOnews. The sources said the two sides are discussing a reduction in violence and the resumption of official talks between American and

Afghan Vote Crawls Toward Crisis, With No Results After 2 Months

By Mujib Mashal Nov. 22, 2019 The New York Times A dispute over a decisive slice of votes in the country’s presidential election is again exposing the fragility of Afghan democracy, as President Trump pushes for a drawdown of troops. President Ashraf Ghani, center, arriving at a rally in his new campaign office in Kabul,

Sanders Supports Afghan Retreat – Even If Kabul Falls

Paul D. Shinkman, Senior Writer, National Security US News and World Report 21 November 2019 The senator from Vermont said the U.S. must leave Afghanistan – even if it loses any gains it secured in almost 20 years of war. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL candidate Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that his administration would withdraw from Afghanistan even if it

Afghan Prisoner Swap Falling Apart Amid Uncertainty About Inmates Whereabouts

By Hasib Danish Alikozai, Khalid Mafton November 15, 2019 10:52 PM Voice of America WASHINGTON – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in a televised speech to the nation earlier this week, announced that his government would release three prominent Taliban members in exchange for two Westerners abducted by the Taliban as a confidence-building measure with the

Deal With Taliban Will Free American and Australian Professors, Officials Say

 Adam Goldman and David Zucchino The New York Times Nov. 12, 2019 Updated 7:32 a.m. ET Kevin C. King, an American professor, was abducted by the Taliban in 2016.Credit…Al-Emara, via Associated Press Washington — The Afghan government and the Taliban agreed on a prisoner exchange that would free American and Australian professors who were abducted by the insurgents

Fight Against Corruption Faces Challenges: SIGAR

By TOLOnews 7 November 2019  9:09 PM Without political will, change will remain elusive, SIGAR said. The Afghan government has made progress in meeting anti-corruption benchmarks but “serious challenges remain to fighting corruption — resource shortfalls, impunity of powerful individuals, declining activity at corruption courts,” said John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction,

Captives or Defectors? Taliban Fighters Tell Conflicting Tales

By David Zucchino The New York Times Nov. 8, 2019 The simple idea of insurgency versus government proves much more complex when dozens of detained fighters tell their stories in a remote corner of Afghanistan. Nizamuddin, 19, left, said he had eagerly joined the Taliban this year because he was intrigued by their ideology. But when

China Agrees to Host Meeting on Afghan Peace

Govt Has Finalized Participant List For China Meeting By Sharif Amiry Tolo News (Afghanistan) 6 November 2019 Sediqqi did not provide details about the participants but confirmed that the list has been finalized by the government. The Afghan government has finalized the list of participants for the China meeting on Afghan peace, President Ghani’s spokesperson

US Funds to Afghanistan Over $132B Since 2002

By Zahra Rahimi  Tolo News (Afghanistan) 02 NOVEMBER 2019 – Edited: 03 NOVEMBER 2019 The report says that an additional $5.2 billion in economic and social development funds may be required to sustain a potential Afghan political settlement. The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, in a report released on Oct. 30, says the United States has

Taliban Attacks Getting More Effective, SIGAR Says

Voice of America 31 Oct 2019, 18:35 GMT+10 ISLAMABAD – Attacks carried out by Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan were twice as effective in the third quarter of 2019 than they were earlier in the year, according to a leading oversight authority on Afghanistan that reports to the United States Congress. “Roughly half

U.S. envoy in Kabul to discuss prisoner exchange; Casualties increase among Afghan security forces

Susannah George and  Sayed Salahuddin  The Washington Post November 1, 2019 at 8:55 a.m. EDT Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, speaks on the prospects for Afghan peace at the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington, on Feb. 8, 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP) KABUL — The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan is in Kabul discussing

CIA-backed Afghan forces possibly committing war crimes

by Ali M Latifi Al Jazeera 31 October 2019 In a damning report, Human Rights Watch says night raids and aerial strikes have led to mounting civilian casualties. Afghan and international military forces have been responsible for 484 civilian deaths, the United Nations says [File: AP] Kabul, Afghanistan – CIA-backed Afghan strike forces are once again

Afghan woman politician sees Taliban talks as only hope for future

Orooj Hakimi Reuters OCTOBER 31, 2019 KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan women have no choice but to hope the Taliban respect their rights for the sake of peace, said Fauzia Kofi, the first woman to lead a political party in Afghanistan. During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban imposed a medieval interpretation of Islam

Afghan Government Demands Cease-Fire Before Any Taliban Talks

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Oct. 30, 2019 Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan national security adviser, on Tuesday. The Taliban have long refused to meet the Afghan government for direct talks even without preconditions.Credit…Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government said on Tuesday that it would not take part in negotiations

U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan Joint Statement on Peace in Afghanistan

October 28, 2019 The text of the following statement was cooperatively released by the Governments of the United States of America, Russia, China, and Pakistan on the occasion of the joint meetings on Afghanistan, held in Moscow on October 24 – 25, 2019. Begin Text: The Special Representatives of Russia, China, and the United States

Young people, including Taliban youth, must be heard; More than 350,000 Afghans displaced in 2019

Al Jazeera 29 October 2019 Aisha Khurram said the younger generation’s concerns have been shunned even as they inherit the conflict. Aisha Khurram, 20, Afghanistan’s youth representative to the United Nations, speaks during an interview with AFP in Kabul [Wakil Kohsar/AFP] Afghanistan’s ruling elite and international power brokers must listen to the fast-growing youth population —

Another Round of Afghan Peace Consultations Completed; Khalilzad to Discuss Prisoner Exchange

By Syed Zabiullah Langari  Tolo News 28 October 2019 Fourth round of Afghan peace consultations between US, Russia and China have taken place. Pakistan joined group for second time. In a statement issue late Monday night, the US Department of State said that envoys from Pakistan, Russia, US and China in their recent meeting on

Afghanistan preliminary election results delayed until November

Al Jazeera 27 October 2019 Polls took place in September but election commission says ‘cannot accept sacrificing transparency for speed’. Last month’s election saw record low turnout – roughly 26 percent of the more than nine million registered voters cast their ballot [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters] Preliminary results from Afghanistan‘s presidential elections in September will not be released

Ghani Proposes 7-Point ‘Peace Plan’

By TOLOnews.com  27 October 2019 The stated intention of the plan is to “build upon the past efforts and move the peace process forward with an aim to end the bloodshed as soon as possible.” A classified document seen by TOLOnews reveals that the Afghan government has drafted a guide for the future peace effort

Taliban say new intra-Afghan peace talks to be held in China

By: Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press     23 October 2019 In this May 28, 2019, file photo, Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, speaks to the media in Moscow. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP) ISLAMABAD — A fresh round of intra-Afghan peace talks will be held in China next week, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said

Pentagon Draws Up Plan for an Abrupt Afghan Withdrawal

By Khalid Nekzad Tolo News (Afghanistan) 22 October 2019  —  8:44 PM  Officials cautioned, however, that the planning is a precaution and there is currently no directive from the White House to pull American troops out of Afghanistan. The United States recently started drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all US troops from

Pentagon chief in Afghanistan as U.S. looks to kickstart Taliban talks

Idrees Ali Reuters October 21, 2019 KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States’ longest war. Esper’s trip to Kabul comes amid

Pentagon Chief and Pelosi Make Unannounced Visits to Afghanistan

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff Oct. 21, 2019 Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the House speaker arrived as the U.S. considers reviving peace talks with the Taliban. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper arriving in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday. It’s his first trip to the country since taking the post.CreditCreditLolita C. Balbor/Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan — Defense Secretary

U.S. has begun reducing troops in Afghanistan, commander says

Susannah George  The Washington Post Oct. 21, 2019 at 2:23 p.m. EDT U.S. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, center, walks next to Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, right, chief of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, at the U.S. military headquarters in Kabul on Sunday. (Lolita C. Balbor/AP) KABUL — The United States has reduced its troop strength

After dodging a Taliban assault, northeast Afghanistan braces for resurgence

Susannah George  The Washington Post Oct. 18, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. EDT An Afghan solider with the country’s main intelligence agency looks out over Taliban-held territory in Dashti Archi district. The area is home to profitable smuggling routes and is considered key ground for the insurgent forces. (Susannah George/The Washington Post) KHWAJA GHAR, Afghanistan —

Blasts in Afghanistan mosque kill scores of worshippers

Al Jazeera 18 October 2019 Local officials put death toll at 62, warn casualty rate could rise after explosions rock mosque in Nangarhar province. The death toll from Friday’s incident is expected to rise, with more than 100 people wounded [Ghulamullah Habibi/EPA] Scores of worshippers have been killed and more than 100 others wounded following

Civilian Casualties Reach Highest Level in Afghan War, U.N. Says

By Mujib Mashal and Thomas Gibbons-Neff The New York Times Oct. 17, 2019, 9:23 a.m.  July was the deadliest month for noncombatants in Afghanistan since the organization began tracking such figures a decade ago. A funeral in Kabul, Afghanistan, for victims of a suicide bombing at a wedding hall in August. Credit Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Afghans Demanded a Fair Election. They Could Be Waiting a While for Results.

By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Published Oct. 14, 2019 Measures meant to prevent a repeat of fraudulent elections resulted in delays that will likely mean an Oct. 19 deadline for announcing the winner will be missed. Afghan election commission workers transferring data from biometric devices to a main server at a warehouse in Kabul,

US dropped more bombs in Afghanistan last month than any time since 2010: Air Force

By Melissa Leon | Fox News 9 October 2019 The U.S. dropped more bombs on Afghanistan in September than it has at any point since October 2010, according to the Air Force. There were 948 weapons released in the Middle Eastern country last month as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and international security assistance, the branch said in an unclassified airpower statistics report dated

US, Taliban to resume negotiations after electoral results announcement

October 8, 2019 Afghanistan Times News Report KABUL: Some sources close to the Taliban said that the militants would not restart negotiations with the US before the announcement of presidential election results. The sources however urged that the talks would begin. Separately, the High Peace Council said on Tuesday that this time the negotiations would

Afghanistan braces for political uncertainty in election’s wake

OCTOBER 7, 2019 Rod Nickel, Hamid Shalizi Reuters KABUL (Reuters) – Despite pulling off a safer presidential election than expected, Afghanistan looks headed for a prolonged period of political uncertainty, with the two front-runners claiming victory before ballots are tallied and signaling they would not accept defeat. The situation echoes 2014, when candidates Ashraf Ghani and

Taliban and U.S. Envoy Meet for First Time Since Peace Talks Collapsed

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Taimoor Shah The New York Times          Oct. 5, 2019  Updated 10:15 a.m. ET Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi of Pakistan, fourth from right, met with the Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, fourth from left, and his delegation at the Pakistan Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on Thursday.CreditCreditPakistan KABUL, Afghanistan —

Afghanistan security adviser says hard-line Taliban members defecting to ISIS, merging with Al Qaeda

By Hollie McKay Fox News 3 October 2019 More than 18 years after U.S. forces entered Afghanistan and usurped the Taliban government from power, the country remains a patchwork of progress, pain, and bloodletting. While the territorial dominance and perpetual attacks orchestrated by the Taliban remains at the forefront of the fragile nation’s woes, the presence of other

Pakistan and Taliban call for U.S. to resume Afghan peace talks

OCTOBER 3, 2019 / 2:53 AM / Reuters ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR (Reuters) – Peace talks in Afghanistan must resume as soon as possible, Pakistan and the Taliban militant group urged on Thursday, after President Donald Trump broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States’ longest war. Trump halted talks with the group, aimed at

Taliban, U.S. negotiator both in Islamabad for talks with Pakistan

Jibran Ahmad, Charlotte Greenfield Reuters 2 October 2019 PESHAWAR, Pakistan, ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Afghan Taliban officials were due in Pakistan on Wednesday, the insurgent group said, even as the top U.S. diplomat involved in talks with the militants also met government officials there. The Taliban delegation will be led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, to discuss

Afghan forces still at the mercy of US air support despite huge investment into Afghan air force

By: Shawn Snow    Military Times  1 October 2019   U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fire flares while breaking away after aerial refueling from a KC-135 Stratotanker out of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2019. (Staff Sgt. Keifer Bowes/Air Force) U.S. aircraft dropped more bombs in Afghanistan in the month of August than during the past six

Afghanistan peace negotiations may be dead, but the war’s still very much alive

By: Meghann Myers    Military Times 30 September 2019 The U.S. and Afghan governments, along with Taliban leadership, are negotiating a peace deal that would draw down troops in Afghanistan and allow the Taliban to officially govern their territory. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images) Nearly 18 years after U.S. forces first dropped into Afghanistan, yet

Both Afghan Candidates Claim the Lead Even Before Votes Are Tallied

Both Afghan Candidates Claim the Lead Even Before Votes Are Tallied By Mujib Mashal and Fahim Abed The New York Times Sept. 30, 2019, 11:45 a.m. ET Abdullah Abdullah, center, a main contender in the presidential election, claimed victory in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday.CreditCreditJim Huylebroek for The New York Times KABUL, Afghanistan — The two main contenders in Afghanistan’s

Dismal turnout in Afghan election could weaken next government

Dismal turnout in Afghan election could weaken next government By Susannah George and  Pamela Constable  The Washington Post September 29, 2019 at 12:45 p.m. EDT An Afghan woman goes to casts her ballot in a key Presidential election on Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) KABUL — Voter turnout in Afghanistan’s presidential election over the weekend was

Afghanistan election: turnout may have been as low as 20% amid Taliban threats

Afghanistan election: turnout may have been as low as 20% amid Taliban threats Michael Safi The Guardian Sun 29 Sep 2019 11.56 EDT Preliminary count suggests lowest participation since 2001, with accusations of fraud  Election workers move ballot boxes to an Independent Election Commission warehouse on Sunday. Photograph: Muhammad Sadiq/EPA Voter turnout in the first round

At least 40 civilians killed in anti-Taliban raids, Afghan officials say

At least 40 civilians killed in anti-Taliban raids, Afghan officials say By: Rahim Faiez, The Associated Press 24 September 2019 Afghans transport the body of a woman who was killed during a raid conducted by Afghan special forces, in the southern Helmand province, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (Abdul Hadi/AP) KABUL, Afghanistan — Anti-Taliban raids by Afghan

Peace Talks Without Government Was A Mistake; McRaven says US will be in Afghanistan for ‘very long time’

Peace Talks Without Government Was A Mistake: Crocker Tolo News 22 September 2019 “We shouldn’t think we’re losing this war. We’re not. The Afghan government is not.” “Talking to the Taliban without the Afghan government in the room was a huge mistake,” the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said in an interview with

Afghanistan War veterans, still waiting for a peace deal, ask: Was the sacrifice worth it?

Marco della Cava, USA TODAY Published 11:05 a.m. ET Sept. 21, 2019 U.S. peace talks with the Taliban are now “dead,” President Donald Trump declared Monday, one day after he abruptly canceled a secret meeting he had arranged with Taliban and Afghan leaders aimed at ending America’s longest war. (Sept. 9) AP, AP Isiah James was

Why failure to reintegrate tens of thousands of ex-Taliban fighters is dangerous

By: Diana Stancy Correll Military Times 19 September 2019 In this May 27, 2016 file photo, Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan. (AP Photos/Allauddin Khan, File) Failure to reintegrate former Taliban fighters and other combatants in Afghanistan could prompt them to join terrorist organizations like

U.S. Cuts $100 Million in Aid to Afghanistan, Citing Government Corruption

U.S. Cuts $100 Million in Aid to Afghanistan, Citing Government Corruption By Lara Jakes New York Times 20 September 2019 Afghan women voting in Kandahar Province last year. The United States cut aid to the country, citing a need for “free and fair elections.”CreditCreditJawed Tanveer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images WASHINGTON — The State Department cut $100

Afghan president sees his chance after collapse of U.S.-Taliban talks

Afghan president sees his chance after collapse of U.S.-Taliban talks Hamid Shalizi Reuters 16 September 2019 KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had no more than 20 minutes to study a draft accord between the United States and the Taliban on pulling thousands of U.S. troops out of his country, but upcoming elections could

UN Mission in Afghanistan Renewed After Brief Stalemate

UN Mission in Afghanistan Renewed After Brief Stalemate By Margaret Besheer VOA Voice of America September 17, 2019 03:30 PM UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend and strengthen the mandate of its mission in Afghanistan, overcoming threats of a Chinese veto. The council was due to vote Monday, a day

Suicide Attack at Ghani Campaign Rally Kills 26, Wounds 42

Suicide Attack at Ghani Campaign Rally Kills 26, Wounds 42 By TOLOnews.com 17 September 2019 26 people have been killed and 42 wounded on Tuesday by a suicide bomber at President Ghani’s campaign rally in the central province of Parwan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior confirmed.  The attack took place at 11:40 a.m.

Russia hosts Taliban delegation following collapse of US talks

Russia hosts Taliban delegation following collapse of US talks Insurgent group visits Moscow days after after Donald Trump declares US negotiations with Afghan group ‘dead’ Sat 14 Sep 2019  The Guardian  Taliban officials have visited Moscow for talks with Russia’s special representative for Afghanistan. Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP A Taliban delegation has held talks with Russian

Democrats’ Afghan Strategy Sounds Familiar. It’s a Lot Like Trump’s.

Democrats’ Afghan Strategy Sounds Familiar. It’s a Lot Like Trump’s. By David E. Sanger and Maggie Astor Sept. 16, 2019 New York Times The 2020 Democratic candidates have one major goal for Afghanistan: Get out. They are struggling to differentiate themselves from a president they say has a feckless, isolationist view of American power. The Democratic presidential candidates

Taliban wanted a deal with the US, but negotiators, leadership at odds even before Camp David meeting called off

Taliban wanted a deal with the US, but negotiators, leadership at odds even before Camp David meeting called off By: Kathy Gannon, The Associated Press     13 September 2019   In this file photo taken on May 28, 2019, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader, second from left, arrives with other members of

US to Ramp Up Fight Against Taliban as Afghanistan War Enters 18th Year

US to Ramp Up Fight Against Taliban as Afghanistan War Enters 18th Year 10 Sep 2019 Military.com | By Richard Sisk Lt. Col. Zachary Miller, center left, commander of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade’s 5th Battalion, walks with Afghan military leaders during a clearing operation near Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 16, 2018. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by

Taliban to continue fighting after Trump says talks ‘dead’

Taliban to continue fighting after Trump says talks ‘dead’ Taliban says US will ‘regret’ decision calling off talks that raised hopes of ending 18-year-old Afghan war. Al Jazeera 10 September 2019 Trump’s announcement ended months of US negotiations with Taliban leaders, who control large parts of Afghanistan [File: Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera] The Taliban on Tuesday pledged

UN Calls For Resumption Of Afghan Peace Talks

Envoys Call For Resumption Of Afghan Peace Talks By Massoud Ansar Tolo News 11 September 2019 The UN envoys said they want to see the United States and the Taliban to resume their talks. Representatives of world powers at the UN on Tuesday urged the United States and the Taliban to stick to their commitments

Trump says Afghanistan talks are dead; Afghan president is on the hot seat

Trump says Afghanistan talks are dead ‘as far as I’m concerned’ By Felicia Sonmez The Washington Post September 9 at 4:20 PM President Trump said Monday that negotiations over U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan are dead, two days after he called off a secret meeting at Camp David with Afghan and Taliban leaders to secure

Collapse of Afghanistan peace talks spotlights internal Trump administration divisions

Collapse of Afghanistan peace talks spotlights internal Trump administration divisions By Karen DeYoung The Washington Post September 9, 2019  An Army team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Elis Barreto Ortiz, 34, of Puerto Rico past Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press) Plans for U.S. troop

After Trump Calls Off Talks, Afghanistan Braces for Violence

After Trump Calls Off Talks, Afghanistan Braces for Violence By David E. Sanger and Mujib Mashal The New York Times Sept. 9, 2019 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in media appearances on Sunday that the lead American negotiator in peace talks with the Taliban had been recalled to the United States.CreditCreditChristopher Smith for The New York

How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart

How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart By Peter Baker, Mujib Mashal and Michael Crowley New York Times Sept. 9, 2019  Ending the war in Afghanistan has been a focus for President Trump since he took office.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times WASHINGTON — On the Friday before Labor Day, President Trump gathered

Afghans Push Back on U.S. Deal With Taliban, as Violence Intensifies

Afghans Push Back on U.S. Deal With Taliban, as Violence Intensifies By Mujib Mashal The New York Times Sept. 5, 2019 The Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, center, meeting with the United States special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, third from left, in Kabul on Monday.CreditCreditAfghan Presidential Palace KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government is pushing back against

 Khalilzad Expects Afghan Govt To Finalize Negotiating Team; Concerned About US-Taliban Deal

 Khalilzad Expects Afghan Govt To Finalize Negotiating Team   By Anisa Shaheed Tolo News 4 Sept 2019 Sources said Mr. Khalilzad has held four meetings with President Ghani in last three days. The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has held a fresh round of backdoor talks with the government leaders and has

US And Taliban Reach Agreement In Principle: Khalilzad

US And Taliban Reach Agreement In Principle: Khalilzad  By Anisa Shaheed  Tolo News 2 September  2019 The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who is in Kabul after wrapping up Doha talks, says the United States and the Taliban have reached an agreement in principle, but it is not final until US President

Attacks escalate against Afghanistan’s human rights defenders

Attacks escalate against Afghanistan’s human rights defenders Saeed Kamali Dehghan The Guardian Thu 29 Aug 2019  Amnesty says activists have been attacked and killed with impunity, with their plight ‘largely ignored’ at home and abroad  Graffiti on a wall in Kabul. More people lost their lives last year in the country than at any times

Taliban Peace Talks Cast Uncertainty on Presidential Vote

Taliban Peace Talks Cast Uncertainty on Presidential Vote Mujib Mashal and Fahim Abed Aug. 30, 2019  The New York Times President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan in late July, on his first day of campaigning for re-election. Many now doubt the election will take place, but he insists it will.CreditCreditRahmat Gul/Associated Press Afghanistan — On one track is

After criticism from Lindsey Graham, Trump says U.S. will keep a presence in Afghanistan

After criticism from Lindsey Graham, Trump says U.S. will keep a presence in Afghanistan By Felicia Sonmez and John Wagner The Washington Post August 29 at 11:00 AM President Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Aug. 22. (Alex Brandon/AP) President Trump said Thursday that the United States will maintain a military presence

‘Ceasefire, Troop Withdrawal Prolonging US-Taliban Talks’; US Not Seeking Permanent Military Presence In Afghanistan

‘Ceasefire, Troop Withdrawal Prolonging US-Taliban Talks’ By Haseeba Atakpa Tolo News 29 August 2019 Critics said the peace deal is awaiting agreement on ceasefire and modality of troop withdrawal. Disagreements between the Taliban and the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on issues around a permanent ceasefire and the modality of American forces withdrawal from Afghanistan

As troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, will aid stream out?

As troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, will aid stream out? By CARA ANNA Associated Press 28 August 2019 In this Aug. 21, 2019, photo, a nurse, right, checks the height of a malnourished girl, Humaira, in a ward at Indira Gandhi hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Whimpering and badly malnourished, the children are among the most

NATO Will Support Afghan Forces After A Peace Deal; No Timeline For Troop Withdrawal In Afghanistan

NATO Will Support Afghan Forces After A Peace Deal: Envoy By Tamim Hamid Tolo News 28 August 2019  NATO Senior Civilian Representative for Afghanistan, Nicolas Kay, said that international forces will still remain in Afghanistan even after a peace deal to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. His comments come two days after

As U.S.-Taliban deal nears, Afghanistan’s Ghani hardens resolve to hold elections on time

As U.S.-Taliban deal nears, Afghanistan’s Ghani hardens resolve to hold elections on time By Pamela Constable The Washington Post August 25 at 11:55 AM Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inspects an honor guard during Independence Day celebrations in Kabul on Aug. 19. (Afghan Presidential Palace photo/via AP) KABUL — As 10 months of U.S.-Taliban peace talks enter their

Afghan Taliban Say Peace Deal With US in Sight

Afghan Taliban Say Peace Deal With US in Sight By Ayaz Gul August 24, 2019 05:40 PM Voice of America (VOA) FILE – A handout photo released by the official Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Feb. 26, 2019, shows Qatari officials, center, taking part in meeting between the U.S. delegation, left, and the Taliban delegation

Political Parties Call For A Ceasefire To Ensure Durable Peace; US, Taliban Make Progress In Doha Talks;

Political Parties Call For A Ceasefire To Ensure Durable Peace By Sayed Sharif Amiri Tolo News 25 August 2019 Representatives of two mainstream political parties in the country on Sunday said that a potential peace agreement between the US and the Taliban will not lead to sustainable peace in the country unless there is an