News Updates

September, 2019
  • Taliban Attack Kabul as US Nears Peace Deal
    The Taliban claimed responsibility for an explosion in Kabul late Monday, just hours after a U.S. negotiator shared with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani “key details” of a deal that would see thousands of American troops leaving Afghanistan. The blast in the Green Village compound, which houses international organizations and guesthouses, killed at least 16 people and wounded 119 others, said an Afghan government spokesman. Feroz Bashari said police rescued 400 foreign nationals from the complex and transferred them to a safe place. Earlier, U.S. officials said they had reached a draft framework agreement with the Taliban that will require American troops to vacate five military bases in Afghanistan within 135 days of the signing of the document.
    U.S. chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad made the comment while speaking to the largest private Afghan television channel TOLO news. He said that 5,000 troops will withdraw from the bases. Currently, 14,000 U.S. troops are deployed to Afghanistan and there are seven known U.S.-run bases in the country. (VOA, 2 Sep, 2019)
  • Taliban deal would see US troops 'withdraw from five bases'
    The United States is set to pull troops from five Afghan bases under a proposed deal with the Taliban, the US envoy leading talks with the group said in some of the first confirmed details of a much-anticipated accord.
    Zalmay Khalilzad, who has spent about a year negotiating with the Taliban, said on Monday the draw-down would take place within about four months of a final deal being approved - provided the Taliban stick to their commitments.
    "We have agreed that if the conditions proceed according to the agreement, we will leave, within 135 days, five bases in which we are present now," Khalilzad told Tolo News. (Al Jazeera, 2 Sep, 2019)
  • Afghanistan: current US withdrawal plan risks 'total civil war', top envoys say
    The majority of America’s ambassadors to Afghanistan since the removal of the Taliban government have condemned the US approach to negotiating a troop withdrawal, warning it risked a return to “total civil war”. Writing the day after a draft agreement was announced, the nine men, including a former deputy secretary of state, said they supported peace talks in Afghanistan. o
    But they warned the current approach risks spawning more violence and insecurity, because negotiators have cut the Afghan government out of discussions and have planned the departure of US troops before sealing a full peace agreement. (Guardian, 3 September, 2019)
  • The Taliban Has Defended a Kabul Suicide Bombing That Killed at Least 16 People o
    The Taliban on Tuesday defended their suicide bombing against an international compound in the Afghan capital that killed at least 16 people and wounded 119, almost all local civilians, just hours after a U.S. envoy said he and the militant group had reached a deal “in principle” to end America’s longest war.
    Angry Kabul residents whose homes were shredded in the explosion climbed over the buckled blast wall and set part of the compound, a frequent Taliban target, on fire. Thick smoke rose from the Green Village, home to several foreign organizations and guesthouses, whose location has become a peril to nearby local residents as well. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis condemned the attack, “which, unfortunately, ended the life of a Romanian citizen and seriously wounded another one. I reiterate our profound commitment to combating terrorism at the international level.” (Time, 3 Sep, 2019)