Taliban supreme leader offers direct negotiations with the United States

The Taliban supreme leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada has offered direct negotiations with the United States in a bid to end the ongoing conflict.

“The only path to rescuing ourselves from all these calamities is for all American and other occupying forces to leave our country and for an independent, Islamic, intra-Afghan government to take root. Our Jihad began for this exact purpose and in conjunction to our armed Jihad, we have kept the doors of understanding and negotiations open to reach this objective and appointed the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate as the exclusive avenue of activity in this regard,” Hebatullah said in a message released ahead of Eid.

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US Envoy, Resolute Support Reject Claims Of Supporting Daesh

In response to comments made by Iran’s foreign minister, ambassador John Bass said the allegations were “laughable” and entirely “false”.

The US Ambassador to Kabul John R Bass vehemently denied US involvement in transporting Daesh fighters in Afghanistan.

In a statement issued by Bass on Wednesday afternoon, the envoy said in response to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s claims of “US support for ISIS (Daesh) in Afghanistan are laughable and patently false.

“The facts are clear: US forces have removed more than 1,000 ISIS-K (Daesh Afghanistan) combatants from the battlefield, and the combined efforts of the United States and the Afghan National Defense and Security forces have reduced ISIS-K’s presence in Afghanistan.

“As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells said recently, ‘They’re very much in the cross-hairs at present.’ The Iranian government should be focusing on supporting the Afghan government’s efforts to promote peace rather than spreading falsehoods,” he said.

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Taliban publish open letter calling on U.S. to start Afghan peace talks

The Taliban have published an open letter expressing a desire for peace talks and calling on the “American people” and “peace-loving congressmen” to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The letter assailed U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy announced last August that called for military force to bring a more compliant Taliban to the negotiation table.

“If the policy of using force is continued for another one hundred years,” the letter reads, “the outcome will be the same … as you have observed over the last six months since the initiation of Trump’s new strategy.”

The letter promised a more inclusive regime, education and rights for all, including women. However, it seemed to rule out power-sharing, saying they had the right to form a government.

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Pakistan reacts at US airstrike on Haqqani network commander

Islamabad has strongly reacted at the the US drone strike targeting a commander of the notorious Haqqani terrorist network in the tribal regions of the country.

“Pakistan condemns a drone strike in Kurram Agency carried out by the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) this morning, which targeted an Afghan refugee camp,” the ministry of foreign affairs of Pakistan said in a statement.

The statement further added that Pakistan has continued to emphasize to the US the importance of sharing actionable intelligence so that appropriate action is taken against terrorists by our forces within our territory.

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Karzai Backs Russia’s Military Support To Pakistan

Former president Hamid Karzai has supported the military assistance of Russia to Pakistan, saying that Moscow can give weapons to Islamabad same as the United States is providing arms to Afghanistan’s neighboring country.

Addressing the Raisina Dialogue 2018 in India, Karzai said Moscow and Islamabad relations are new.

“There are ninety times more US weapons in Pakistan than Russian weapons in Pakistan,” Karzai said. “Shouldn’t we first correct the US part? Ninety percent… When they do that we will go to Russia and ask them to stop their will.”

The former president said the US has failed in Afghanistan war because it gives more importance to Pakistan compared with Afghanistan.

“When I pressed the US delegation on Pakistan and their support to Pakistan and the continuity of extremism arriving from there to Afghanistan, the trouble that it cost to Afghanistan and the US mission in Afghanistan, suddenly vice president (Joe) Biden got up from his place and said look Mr. Karzai, Pakistan is fifty times more important for us than you Afghanistan. That is the relationship that we should focus on,” Karzai said.

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US to send in more combat advisers to Afghanistan

The US military officials have said the United States will send in at least 1,000 new combat advisers to Afghanistan as part of its efforts to boost US training commitment to the country.

Besides the combat advisers, the US Defense Department is planning to reallocate drones and other hardware, the Wall Street Journal quoted US military officials in a report on Thursday.

The Pentagon announced last year in November that at least 3,000 additional American troops have been sent in to Afghanistan under US President Donald Trump’s new strategy, bringing the number of US forces in the country to at least 14,000.

Military officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal said the reason to bulk up the US military presence in Afghanistan is to intensify the war against terrorist groups particularly Daesh.

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Pakistan warns US over military offensive against Taliban

As the US military is gearing up to increase pressures on Taliban through military offensives as part of the new US strategy, the Pakistani officials have reportedly warned Washington regarding the negative consequences in the event the military operation does not yield any positive result.

According to reports, Islamabad has told US interlocutors that a major military offensive against the Taliban from both sides of the Afghan border, if ending in failure, will have negative consequences for the entire region.

According to Pakistan’s Dawn News, citing diplomatic sources, the key element in the new US strategy for Afghanistan is to launch a two-pronged military offensive that inflicts a military defeat on the Taliban and forces them to join the Afghan reconciliation process on Kabul’s conditions.

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US could freeze up to $2 billion in aid to Pakistan: official

A senior US official has said Washington could freeze up to $2 billion in aid to Pakistan as the Department of State on Thursday announced that the security assistance to the country has been suspended until Islamabad takes decisive actions against the terror groups.

The official has told AFP that both US military assistance and Afghanistan coalition funding to Islamabad could be suspended.

It is “approximately two billion worth of equipment and coalition support funding that is in play,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

However, the analysts believe the United States is highly unlikely to freeze all that funding, which totals $1.9 billion.

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ISIS military commission chief killed in US drone strike in Afghanistan

The military commission chief of the ISIS terrorist group loyalists in Afghanistan has been killed in an airstrike conducted by the US forces in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
The provincial government media office in a statement said at least two foreign ISIS militants were killed in an airstrike conducted in Nazian district late on Friday night.

The statement further added that the airstrike by the unmanned aerial vehicles was carried out in Lal Mandawi area, leaving three Pakistani nationals dead, including the military commission of ISIS group.

According to the Nangarhar government, the slain ISIS leader has been identified as Syd Wali andhe was a resident of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan.

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Hekmatyar offers all-out support to Taliban if the group opts peace talks

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has offered an all-out support to Taliban if the group opts to participate in peace talks with the Afghan government.

Hekmatyar made the offer during his visit to southeastern Paktia and Khost provinces where he met with supporters of his party during his three-day stay.

He said the ongoing conflict has no winner and will burn the Afghan nation since this is a conflict among the Afghan people and only the nation will suffer.

Calling on Taliban to join peace process, Hekmatyar said Hezb-e-Islami is prepared for an all-out support if the group agrees to start peace talks with the Afghan governmet.

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