|Germany To Extend Afghanistan Military Mission|
|[ToloNews] German Chancellor 's Cabinet has decided to extend the military mission in Afghanistan for another year, Deutsche Welle reported, adding that a leaked document showed government expressing doubts about the prospects of peace in Afghanistan.|
According to the report, this comes a day after an internal strategy paper showed Germany had offered to host another peace conference, this time with an extra invitation for the Germany’s Bundeswehr currently has around 1,200 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, part of 's Resolute Support mission.
In December, reports emerged that the US President was planning to withdraw around half of the US military's 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. no confirmation or details have yet been announced.
In fact, the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said recently that recent agreements reached with the Taliban during Doha talks were around a peace agreement and not a troop "withdrawal agreement".
Deutsche Welle meanwhile reported that an internal document leaked to German weekly Der Spiegel on Tuesday (and released on Wednesday) showed the government expressing doubts about the prospects of peace in Afghanistan and apparently criticizing any potential US withdrawal plans as naive and overly hasty.
The report stated that in a strategy paper addressed to selected Bundestag members, the government said Washington was making an effort to find a political solution quickly in order to pave the way for a military withdrawal. But experience had shown that "such a process can last several years without decisive breakthroughs," especially "in the face of the complex inner-Afghan and international negotiating position."
Deutche Welle reported that the document, which was signed off by Angela Merkel's office, the Defense Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry, added: "Should the US withdraw its military engagement significantly, the government will thoroughly reassess its actions in Afghanistan."
The news report stated that Foreign Ministry Rainer Breul played down the significance of the 11-page dossier at a regular on Wednesday, pointing out repeatedly that the US had not yet communicated any concrete withdrawal plans.
"This is not a document about the USA, it's about Afghanistan, and our thoughts for a and how we can support it, either militarily, or on a civilian level, or on development cooperation," he said.
Breul also said that the mooted peace conference, mentioned in passing in the paper, was merely the reiteration of an offer Germany had made many times before. "Our line remains very clear, that we need an inner-Afghan , that we would support if it is desired, no more and no less," he said.
Germany first hosted an Afghanistan peace summit at the Petersberg castle, outside Bonn, in December 2001. The resulting "Bonn Agreement" laid the foundations for the NATO-backed state-building efforts in Afghanistan following the alliance's invasion of the country.
This week's document, however, expressly mentions that the Taliban should be invited, though it added that such a conference should only take place at "an appropriate stage of the negotiations."
according to Deutsche Welle, government representatives were silent on Wednesday on exactly how long the Bundeswehr intended to stay in Afghanistan.
|Islamic State group commander killed in Afghanistan, US forces say|
|[AlAhram] A senior commander of the group was killed in Afghanistan in a raid, U.S. Forces Afghanistan said on Saturday.|
Khetab Emir was killed in the raid on Jan 10 in the eastern area of province, said Lt. Ubon Mendie, a for the U.S. forces based in Afghanistan.
Emir, who was known by multiple names, facilitated high-profile attacks and supplied Islamic State fighters with weapons and materials to make explosives, Mendie said in a statement.
"His removal helps protect innocent Afghans from future Islamic State violence and weakens their presence in Nangarhar," Mendie said.
Islamic State fighters have developed a stronghold in the province on Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistain and have become one of the country's most dangerous groups.
The hardline group's local affiliate, known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) after an old name for the region that includes Afghanistan, has been active since 2015, fighting the as well as Afghan and foreign forces.
The fight against Islamic State and other groups including Al Qaeda and the Taliban is at the heart of the U.S. led counterterrorism mission being conducted alongside the -led Resolute Support operation aimed at training and advising .
|145 Taliban Killed In Kandahar And Faryab Ongoing Operations|
|[ToloNews] At least 48 Resolute Support’s air support in southern Kandahar province, security officials said on Monday. were killed in ongoing operations by Afghan forces along with |
The operation was launched in Shah Wali Kot district of the province on December 26 and is ongoing, officials said.
In the meantime, Resolute Support confirmed this news and said that "17 s were defused, and 80 pounds of homemade explosives were destroyed".
officials did not provide further details about the operation.
security officials in Faryab said that at least 97 Taliban were killed during Afghan security force operations in the province.
Taliban have not commented on the claims.
|Taliban report blames US, Afghan forces for most civilian casualties in 2018|
|[DAWN] The blamed US and Afghan forces for almost 90 per cent of civilian casualties in 2018, in a report released on Friday that suggested Afghanistan's largest group was not responsible for a single death or injury.|
The data ‐ which 's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan dismissed as "propaganda" ‐ follows a record year of bloodshed in the Afghan war, which by some estimates overtook Syria as the world's deadliest conflict zone.
The figures, which the Taliban release every year and are based on "witnesses and primary sources", showed a total of 4,170 civilian casualties ‐ 2,294 deaths and 1,876 ‐ last year.
US and "stooge" Afghan government forces caused 3,705 casualties, while the group and other "unknown" entities were responsible for 465, the Taliban claimed.
|Taliban blow up Afghan army outpost in Kandahar, killing five soldiers, police say|
| fighters detonated explosives planted in a tunnel below an Afghan military outpost, killing five soldiers, a police official said on Wednesday.|
Six soldiers were in the attack on Tuesday in the Maiwand district of the southern province of Kandahar, police Mohammad Ashraf Watandost said.
A Taliban , Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the s, fighting to overthrow the government and reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster, had killed or 35 soldiers and destroyed a large cache of weapons and ammunition.
Afghan border security forces separately thwarted an attack on Italian military advisers at a paramilitary base in the western province of on Wednesday.
Noorullah Qadri, the commander of 207 Zafar military corps, said two attackers who had infiltrated the border security forces tried to kill the Italians.
"The Italian nationals escaped uninjured. One attacker was immediately and the other was ," said Qadri.
The Italian forces are part of the -led Resolute Support Mission focused on training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces in four western provinces. has 895 soldiers attached to Resolute Support.
Officials at the Italian embassy in Kabul were not immediately available for comment.
|24 Taliban, ISIS-K militants killed in Afghan, coalition forces operations|
|[KhaamaPress] At least twenty belonging to and ISIS Khurasan were killed in separate operations conducted by the Afghan and coalition forces in the past 24 hours.|
According to a statement by Resolute Support Mission, a raid conducted by the Afghan Special Operations Forces in Sabari district of Khost of province left 1 Taliban fighter dead.
The statement further added that a coalition air strike left 1 Taliban fighter dead in Qaisar district of Faryab province.
Afghan Special Operations Forces conducted a raid in Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan province, killing 8 Taliban fighters and destroying bomb making material, the statement said, adding that "In province, an Afghan Special Operations Forces raid in Achin district killed 8 ISIS-K fighters."
The statement also added that a coalition air strike killed 2 ISIS-K fighters in Khugyani district of Nangarhar while a coalition air strike killed 4 Taliban fighters in Ghoriyan district of province.
|Over 1,000 Militants Killed In Military Operations|
|[ToloNews] Resolute Support Mission figures show that 1,089 fighters, including nine commanders, have been killed in Afghan-led operations supported by Coalition s since 9th November.|
Resolute Support Mission figures show that in the less than two recent months, over 440 airstrikes have been carried out in support of Afghan Forces in different parts of Afghanistan.
From the total airstrikes, 392 airstrikes were carried out in November and 150 airstrikes have been carried out in the three weeks of this month, December, in different parts of the country including and Farah provinces.
According to the Resolute Support Mission, only 450 Taliban fighters have been killed in the three weeks of December in the airstrikes.
Resolute Support Mission said the airstrikes are aimed to support the against Taliban.
Col. Dave Butler, a of the US forces in Afghanistan, said the military pressure on Taliban is aimed to set conditions for a political solution.
"What the US and what the Resolute Support nations are concerned about here is stabilizing Afghanistan to the point where the are not allowed to have safe haven and attack across the world," said Butler.
Afghanistan Interior Ministry meanwhile said military operations against the enemies have increased recently which have caused fatalities among the and every week tens of their commanders are killed across the country.
"Recently, offensive operations on Afghanistan’s enemies have increased by 100 percent in different parts of the country which have had good results. In every week, dozens of commanders of Afghanistan’s enemies are being killed," said Nusrat Rahimi, deputy for Ministry of Interior.
This comes as the has raised concerns over civilian casualties
"Airstrikes should be conducted based on intelligence about the enemy’s location and their numbers. Also the issue of civilians should be considered and the strikes should be done after a comprehensive analysis," said Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, a military affairs analyst.
"The information about the enemy should be accurate. It should not happen in a way that the enemy is in one place and they bomb another place. If they bomb areas wrongly, then people will suffer and the distance between the people and government will increase," said Aziz Ahmad Wardak, a military affairs analyst.
Taliban has not commented on the US Forces - Afghanistan figures about their airstrikes and their fatalities.
|Civilians, including children, 'killed in Afghan forces strike'|
|[Al Jazeera] At least 20 Afghan civilians, including 12 children, were killed in an air raid targeting a commander'>Taliban Überstürmbannführer in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, local officials said.|
Friday's attack, against a local named Sharif Mawiya, was the latest in a series of operations targeting senior field commanders.
Several s have been killed since the beginning of December by Afghan forces, backed by US advisers and air power but the tactic has also increased the risk of civilian casualties.
Abdul Latif Fazly, a member of the provincial council, said eight women and 12 children were killed and more than 15 civilians in the incident late on Friday.
Kunar governor Abdul Satar Mirzakwal said an operation by Afghan forces in the Sheltan district killed 38 Taliban and al-Qaeda members, including four foreign nationals, and 12 more.
He said the operation targeted Sharif Mawiya, a commander believed to be a with the al-Qaeda group.
He said an unknown number of civilians were hit in the bombing but had no casualty details.
"We know that a number of civilians, including , have been killed but we are sending a fact-finding team," he said.
A spokeswoman for the -led Resolute Support mission said it had not carried out any air strikes in Kunar at the time of the incident. No comment was immediately available from the defence ministry.
|Killing Of Key Taliban Commander May Affect War|
|[ToloNews] Afghan Interior and Defense Ministries and local officials of southern province on Monday said the war status in the south of Afghanistan will change, following the killing of Mullah Mohammad Rahim Mannan, head of ’s military commission and Taliban’s designated governor for Helmand. |
Mullah Mohammad Rahim Mannan, also known as Mullah Abdulmannan Akhund, was killed on Saturday in Helmand’s Nawzad district in a .
Mannan was killed along with four other Taliban members, including two of his spokesmen, who were with him at the time of the strike.
A day after Mannan’s killing, the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan released footage which shows a Taliban center bombed by foreign forces in a in Sangin district in Helmand province. Resolute Support said 29 Taliban members were killed in the strike.
Now Afghan military officials say Mannan’s loss will affect the war in the south of Afghanistan.
"He was a key commander in the south and south-east of the country and was involved in most offensives and insecurities in Helmand and neighboring provinces," Interior Ministry Najib Danish said.
"He was also a drug smuggler. He was involved in insecurities in Helmand, Farah, Nimroz and Kandahar provinces," Defense Ministry Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed said.
"In terms of the military, when a commander or leader is killed in an area, the group definitely will be affected negatively," MP Khalilullah Shahidzada said.
Helmand local officials also said Mannan was one of the most influential and important commanders of the Taliban in the south of Afghanistan, who in addition to insurgency activities, was involved in drugs’ production and smuggling.
According to officials, he was shadow governor for Helmand province for eight years, and in recent years there were rumors he made decisions independently, without consulting other s.
"He had established a gang for himself and the group was busy collecting illegal money and smuggling drugs," Mohammad Yasin, governor of Helmand said.
"He was a big drugs' smuggler and he was earning money from this," Majid Akhundzada, a member of Helmand provincial council said.
While efforts on reaching a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government have been ongoing for many years and recently have been accelerated, officials from the High Peace Council (HPC) in Helmand said they never were able to contact Mannan in this regard.
"We could not make any direct contact with him. The other issue is that I do not think the war will end with the death of individuals," Helmand HPC member Ghulam Mohammad Ishaqzai said.
Although Mannan has been said to be one of the most important s in the south of Afghanistan, only a few pictures of him were released recently by the Taliban and there is not much information about him.
Taliban on Sunday in a statement confirmed Mannan’s killing.
|US, Czech Soldiers Investigated for Death of Afghan Commando|
|[ToloNews] An investigation, involving the death of an Afghan commando, is being carried out after he was allegedly beaten to death while in Resolute Support custody in the west of Afghanistan.|
Wahidullah Khan, an Afghan army commando, was last month after allegedly opening fire on Czech troops in Shindand military airbase in . At least one Czech soldier was killed and two others in the apparent insider attack.
In reference to the shooting, Afghan officials told that the Afghan commando was beaten by foreign forces.
Col. Dave Butler, a for the American-led mission in Afghanistan, confirmed the investigation but declined to provide details, The Times reported.
The American military "will investigate to determine whether any potential misconduct occurred, and we will hold individuals accountable, as appropriate,’’ Colonel Butler said in a statement on Monday.
Herat provincial council has asked the Afghan government to thoroughly investigate the death of the Afghan commando.
"He was arrested alive, they tortured him which is against the law and he died under torture, we call on government to pursue the case seriously and the law must prevail," Kamran Alizayee, head of Herat provincial council said.
"If someone commits a crime, principally he should be brought to trial in a fair manner, if someone is killed under torture, then there is no difference between this act and the brutal acts we witness during the war," said Mohammad Rafiq, political analyst.
According to the New York Times, one American official said a team from the US Army’s 7th Special Forces Unit, which helped in the transfer of Khan to Czech soldiers, has been withdrawn from Afghanistan. It is not clear, however, if any American soldiers participated in the beating of Khan.
A picture of Khan after his death was given to The New York Times by his family. It shows extensive blunt force trauma to Khan’s face and head, according to James Gill, the chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut, whom The Times asked to examine the photo.
"When we washed him, he had no bullet wounds but his entire body was bruised," Khan’s father Sayed Rahman told the New York Times.
Officials from the Afghan Special Forces unit at 207 Zafar Army Corps were not prepared to comment. But The Times reported that Afghan officials have confirmed that the soldier was killed after being tortured.
But the Czech Ministry of Defense rejected the allegations, The Times reported.
Khan joined the ranks of Afghan Special Forces thirteen months ago after attacked his village in Kot district of eastern province.
|3 US service members killed in Afghanistan by roadside blast|
|[ABC] Three U.S. service members were killed and three others were wounded by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led training mission in that country.|
The incident took place on Nov. 27, Resolute Support, the official name of the NATO mission, said in a statement. One American contractor was also wounded.
"The wounded service members and contractor were evacuated and are receiving medical care," Resolute Support said.
No other details about the deadly incident were available.
Additional from CNN.
|Commander Alipur released after two days of protests in Kabul and elsewhere|
[KhaamaPress] The commander of the public uprising forces Alipur alias commander Shamsher has been released from the custody of the Afghan intelligence.
The Office of the Second Vice President in a statement confirmed that commander Alipur has been released from the custody of the National Directorate of Intelligence.
Commander Alipur was detained by the National Directorate of Security forces from Qala Qazi area of the city on Sunday morning.
The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), earlier had confirmed the arrest of a local uprising commander Alipur alia commander Shamsher in Kabul.
According to a statement released by NDS earlier this afternoon, commander Alipur was arrested from Qala Qazi area of the city on Sunday.
The statement further added that commander Alipur has been arrested on charges of illegal armed activities, extortion, and attacks on Afghan security forces.
Alipoor Supporters Protest For The Second Day In Kabul
[ToloNews] Supporters of local commander Alipoor, also known as Commander Shamsheer, who was arrested on Sunday, have again taken to the streets in Kabul on Monday after a day of protest action on Sunday.
By early Monday morning a few hundred people had already gathered on the streets, calling for the release of Alipoor, who was arrested by the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
Alipoor is a local commander in the central provinces, who according to protesters, has been fighting the Taliban in recent weeks in at least three provinces.
On Sunday afternoon, the Dasht-e-Barchi protest, in Kabul city, turned violent when demonstrators started stoning police. Police in turn fired into the air to disperse the crowd but armed protesters reportedly returned fire.
On Monday, Alipoor’s supporters came together in Pul-e-Sokhta area in PD6 in Kabul and called for his immediate release.
The angry protesters said Alipoor has not been fighting government forces, but had been fending off the Taliban in parts of Maidan Wardak, Ghor and Daikundi provinces - under the structure of the local uprising forces.
The protesters also said they will not end their protest until government releases Alipoor.
“We want to know why Alipoor has been arrested,” one protester said.
“We will not stop our protest if Alipoor is not freed,” another protester said.
“He has not committed any crime, he was just fighting Taliban,” another protester said.
Kabul police chief Sayed Mohammad Roshandel told TOLOnews on Monday that protesters had set fire to police check posts in the area and were clashing with police forces.
Roshandel said a number of protesters had been armed and that over 20 security force members were wounded during apparent shooting incidents.
According to Roshandel, Alipoor is an illegal armed commander and was arrested on the orders of the Attorney General’s Office.
“He has been arrested on the orders of the Attorney General’s Office. He will be released after the investigations if he is proven innocent,” said Roshandel.
By late Sunday afternoon, protesters were prevented from marching to the city center by security forces, who closed off roads in the Pul-e-Sokhta area.
By 6pm, protesters were still in the area and shooting in Dasht-e-Barchi was still heard.
A number of security forces were also positioned in Dehmazang area, to prevent protesters from breaking through the security belt in western Kabul and getting through to the Presidential Palace.
Many roads leading from the western part of Kabul towards the city center have been closed since Sunday.
After the Kabul demonstration started, protesters also took to the streets in Bamiyan and in Mazar-e-Sharif, in Balkh province. They were also protesting against Alipoor’s arrest.
By early Monday, dozens of protesters were also marching through the city of Mazar for the second day.
Wahdat Islami demands unconditional release of commander Alipur
[KhaamaPress] The Wahdat Islami party has reacted to the arrest of a local uprising commander Alipur alias commander Shamsher in Kabul.
Wahdat Islami party in a statement has said the party condemns the arrest of the local uprising forces commander of Midan Wardak commander Alipur, calling it a provocative and irresponsible move.
The statement further added that the party demands unconditional release of the commander from the custody of the security forces.
Coalition forces reject involvement in commander Alipur’s arrest in Kabul
[KhaamaPress] The coalition forces have rejected refuted rumors suggesting that the U.S. forces were involved in the arrest of the uprising commander Alipur in Kabul.
A spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan Colonel David Butler has said neither U.S. Forces nor Resolute Support had anything to do with the arrest Alipur.
Col. Butler further added that National Directorate of Security will also confirm this information.
This comes as rumors started to surface following the arrest of commander Alipur suggesting that the U.S. forces were involved in his arrest.