Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Afghanistan

Newsline: Afghanistan’s Taliban sources confirm Qatar meeting with senior US diplomat

Taliban officials met secretly with a senior US diplomat in Qatar last week, sources in the group have told the BBC. The face-to-face talks in Doha with Alice Wells, a state department deputy assistant secretary, were “very important”, one Taliban official said. News of the meeting follows a directive from the Trump administration for US diplomats to talk directly with the Afghan militant group. The Taliban have long said that only with the US will they discuss peace. Direct talks with the militants, without Afghan officials present, marks a major turnaround in Washington’s policy as it seeks to end America’s longest war. It comes after an unprecedented three-day ceasefire during Eid celebrations in June that was largely respected by both sides. There have been attacks since, including one on army check points in Badghis province. The meeting was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Two senior Taliban sources confirmed it to the BBC’s Mahfouz Zubaide, in Kabul. They said a six-member delegation was led by Abbas Stanikzai, who heads the group’s political office in Doha.



Newsline: Suicide attack close to Indian consulate in Afghanistan kills 14

Jalalabad, Afghanistan: A suicide attack in restive eastern Afghanistan on Sunday killed at least 14 people and wounded 45, an official said, the second attack in as many days to mark an unprecedented ceasefire. The explosion happened outside the Nangarhar provincial governor´s office in the capital Jalalabad, his spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP. It was also close to the Indian consulate. Khogyani said 14 people had been killed and 45 wounded. An Afghan security source confirmed the suicide attack but gave a lower death toll of at least 10. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.


Newsline: Car bomb explodes near Australian embassy vehicles in Kabul

A car bomb has exploded near Australian Embassy vehicles travelling in Kabul, killing an Afghan civilian. No Australians were injured in the attack, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. “The Australian government extends its sympathies to families and friends of people killed and injured by this attack,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in the statement on Friday.


Newsline: Explosion rocks Kabul near US Embassy

At least two people were killed and seven wounded Saturday in an attack in Afghanistan’s capital for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility. A suicide bomber struck in the diplomatic area of Kabul near NATO headquarters and the U.S. Emassy, Afghanistan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said, adding that the casualty count could rise.


Newsline: British embassy in Kabul will move to high-security zone

The British embassy in Kabul will be relocated to a high-security zone amid rising violence, it is understood. There are concerns that the compound is vulnerable to a bomb attack following an uptick in Taliban activity. Sir Nicholas Kay, the British ambassador to Afghanistan, has been in talks with senior members of the Afghan government including President Ashraf Ghani about finding a new location for the embassy, The Times reports. An old Afghan ministry for transport, situated on the other side of the ‘green zone’ and close to the US embassy, is thought to be the most likely choice. The relocation comes after a lorry bomb, laden with 10 tons of explosives, detonated close to the German embassy in May last year. Some 90 people – mainly civilians – were killed, and hundreds more were injured. The German compound was also damaged. The atrocity has been blamed on the Haqqani network – militants linked to the Taliban and backed by Pakistani security forces.


Newsline: Pakistani diplomat shot in Afghanistan

A Pakistani diplomatic official was shot by unknown gunmen near his residence in the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, officials said. Pakistan Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal issued a statement saying the Afghan charge d‘affaires in Islamabad had been summoned to protest the incident which consular officials said occurred in front of a staff guesthouse. He condemned the killing and demanded increased security for Pakistani diplomatic staff from Afghan authorities. Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been going through a stormy period with tensions over the latest U.S. strategic plan for the region and disputes over the Torkham border crossing, which Pakistan has closed periodically. Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal condemned the killing in a message on Twitter and said he had conveyed his government’s sympathies to the ministry of foreign affairs in Islamabad.


Newsline: Suicide bomber strikes near US Embassy in Kabul

An explosion hit a bank in an area of the Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Tuesday close to the heavily protected U.S. embassy compound, officials said. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the blast occured at the entrance to a Kabul Bank branch, not far from the embassy. There was no immediate word on casualties.