Tag Archives: Afghan

Afghan killer sparks far-right criticism in France

Afghan killer sparks far-right criticism in FranceJacquet said the knifeman had been first registered in France in 2009 as a minor, but travelled to Germany, Norway, Britain and Italy before returning to France in 2016 where he was granted temporary residency rights. France has been the victim of a string of Islamist-inspired terror attacks since 2015 that have cost hundreds of lives.



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Taliban says peace deal with US to end Afghan war is close

Taliban says peace deal with US to end Afghan war is closeA peace accord to end America's 18-year-war in Afghanistan is close to completion the Taliban said, with a rough draft being proof read and translated before its is signed off. Donald Trump's chief negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, will leave officials to complete final details in Doha, and fly to Kabul to brief the Afghan government. He is then expected to head to Brussels to brief Nato allies before any deal is signed and announced, sources familiar with negotiations said. "We hope to have good news soon for our Muslim, independence seeking nation," said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha. Details of the accord will not be announced until it is complete, but sources briefed on the talks said it is expected to see America withdraw troops over around 15 months, but only if security conditions on the ground are met. The Taliban will give guarantees Afghan soil will not become a launchpad for attacks by transnational terrorist groups, though it is unclear how that will be verified. They will also begin talks with Afghan leaders to discuss a wider political settlement. The Afghan government controls little over half the country despite 18 years of US support Credit: Jim Huylebroek for the Telegraph The talks have failed to agree on a broad ceasefire however or whether America will keep a permanent counter-terrorism force in the country to continue targeting Islamic State group and al-Qaeda. Both issues had been “kicked down the road to later talks”. Talks between the Taliban and Afghan politicians could now begin quickly and international officials are already beginning preparations for a meeting in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. Taliban and American envoys have spent more than a year trying to reach a settlement, meeting for nine rounds of talks. Any accord is unlikely to quickly stop bloodshed in what has become the world's deadliest conflict. The Taliban have until now refused formal talks with the Afghan government, who they consider a US puppet regime, and have refused a truce against the Afghan forces. Critics of Mr Trump's peace process warn it is a fig leaf to allow him to withdraw and it will fatally undermine the negotiating hand of the Afghan government as it tries to bargain with the Taliban.



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U.S., Taliban deal will not stop attacks on Afghan forces, Taliban say

U.S., Taliban deal will not stop attacks on Afghan forces, Taliban sayKABUL/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – As U.S. and Taliban negotiators push to wrap up talks aimed at securing the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, Taliban sources say a pact will not mean an end to fighting with the U.S.-backed Afghan government. U.S. and Taliban officials have been negotiating in Qatar since last year on an agreement centered on the withdrawal of U.S. forces, and an end to their longest-ever war, in exchange for a Taliban guarantee that international militant groups will not plot from Afghan soil. U.S. negotiators have been pressing the Taliban to agree to so-called intra-Afghan talks, meaning with the Kabul government and a ceasefire, but a senior Taliban official said that would not happen.



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Islamic State bomber kills 63 at Afghan wedding in worst attack in months

Islamic State bomber kills 63 at Afghan wedding in worst attack in monthsAn Islamic State group suicide bomber killed at least 63 and wounded scores when he detonated in crowds at a Kabul wedding feast, in the most deadly attack in Afghanistan this year. The scale of the carnage in a western Shia district of the Afghan capital was met with shock in a city frequently hit by suicide attacks. It underlined fears that a peace deal between America and the Taliban will not halt violence. America called the bombing “an act of extreme depravity”, while the Taliban, who have themselves regularly killed civilians in indiscriminate bombings, said it was barbaric. A bomber called Abu Assim al Pakistani blew himself up after infiltrating a gathering of “infidels”, according to the Afghan branch of the Islamic State group. Afghan Shia Muslims have repeatedly been hit by the group before. The blast tore through crowds of well wishers and relatives, the groom told local television.  He had welcomed guests to the venue called the Dubai City wedding hall, only to see their bodies being carried back out hours later. An Afghan man mourns near the body of his brother after he was killed in an explosion at wedding hall in Kabul Credit: AP The attack "changed my happiness to sorrow", said the young man, who gave   his name as Mirwais. "My family, my bride are in shock, they cannot even speak. My bride   keeps fainting," he said.   "I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will   never see happiness in my life again.” Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president, condemned “the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul last night. My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack.” He said the Taliban movement fighting his government “cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists”. The blast came as American and Taliban envoys continue to try to reach a deal which will see US troops withdraw and the Taliban give guarantees that Afghanistan will not become a haven for transnational terrorists such as al-Qaeda. A wounded man receives treatment at a hospital after an explosion at wedding hall in Kabul Credit: AP Saturday night's blast underlined how difficult that may be, with the local branch of Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil) still controlling a foothold in eastern Afghanistan. Kabul's gaudy wedding halls hold lavish celebrations as families save for years to show off their hospitality and largesse. Guest lists can often run to more than a thousand. The purpose-built venues also hold other gathering such as political rallies. Several have been bombed in recent years and they have come to be seen as a soft target. Pictures of the aftermath of Saturday night's blast showed bodies strewn among overturned chairs and tables. Witnesses said the bomb detonated near a stage holding musicians.  "The wedding guests were dancing and celebrating the party when the   blast happened," a 23-year-old guest called Munir Ahmad told AFP. "Following the explosion, there was total chaos. Everyone was   screaming and crying for their loved ones.” At least 185 were wounded in the blast, including many women and children. Isil first emerged in Afghanistan in early 2015, as existing militants swarmed to the banner of extremists who had shocked the world by proclaiming a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The Afghan branch of the movement has endured even as the middle eastern caliphate has been swept away in the Middle East. It has built a stronghold in Nangarhar and parts of Kunar, attracting defections from existing extremist groups already present, including the Pakistan Taliban, and a scattering of foreign fighters. An intense American special operations campaign has failed to dislodge Isil and Taliban attempts to purge the group from eastern Afghanistan have also failed.



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Dozens dead or hurt in wedding party blast in Afghan capital

Dozens dead or hurt in wedding party blast in Afghan capitalA suicide-bomb blast ripped through a wedding party on a busy Saturday night in Afghanistan’s capital and dozens of people were killed or wounded, a government official said. More than 1,000 people had been invited, one witness said, as fears grew that it could be the deadliest attack in Kabul this year. The blast occurred near the stage where musicians were and “all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed,” witness Gul Mohammad said.



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Brother of Afghan Taliban leader killed in Pakistan mosque blast

Brother of Afghan Taliban leader killed in Pakistan mosque blastQUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) – The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast which took place as the Taliban and the United States are in the final stages of talks on an agreement that would see America withdraw its troops from neighboring Afghanistan. The imam of the mosque, 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the southwestern city of Quetta, was among those killed, police said.



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UPDATE 2-Brother of Afghan Taliban leader killed in Pakistan mosque blast

UPDATE 2-Brother of Afghan Taliban leader killed in Pakistan mosque blastQUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL, Aug 16 (Reuters) – The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast which took place as the Taliban and the United States are in the final stages of talks on an agreement that would see America withdraw its troops from neighbouring Afghanistan. The imam of the mosque, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the southwestern city of Quetta, was among those killed, police said.



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The Latest: Afghan officials say Kabul attack killed 14

The Latest: Afghan officials say Kabul attack killed 14Afghan officials say 14 people were killed and 145 others were wounded in a Taliban suicide car bombing outside a police station in Kabul earlier in the day. Deputy Interior Minister Khoshal Sadat told reporters that 92 of the wounded are civilians. The Taliban said they had targeted a recruitment center for security forces.



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Afghan troop numbers drop sharply in crackdown on 'ghost' soldiers

Afghan troop numbers drop sharply in crackdown on 'ghost' soldiersThere has been a sharp drop in the size of Afghanistan’s National Defense Security Forces in the past few months due to changes in the way troops are counted and an effort to reduce the number of so-called “ghost” soldiers, a U.S. government watchdog said on Thursday. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report that ANDSF personnel size had gone down by nearly 10 percentage points in the most recent quarter compared to the previous trimester. The disclosure comes as Washington attempts to clinch a framework peace agreement with Taliban insurgents that is expected to include a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops, which now number about 14,000 in Afghanistan.



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Afghan soldier killed two US troops: official

Afghan soldier killed two US troops: officialAn Afghan soldier was responsible for the killing of two American troops a day earlier, an official told AFP Tuesday, in what appears to be the latest example of an insider attack. The US military on Monday said two of its troops had been killed in action in Afghanistan, but did not provide any additional details, pending notification of next of kin. Mohammad Qasam, a deputy police chief in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, said the attack took place at an Afghan army base during a visit by US forces.



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