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Afghan govt offered three-month ceasefire in exchange for 7,000 prisoners with Taliban: negotiator

The Taliban have offered a three-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of 7,000 insurgent prisoners, an Afghan government negotiator said Thursday.

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Afghan govt offered three-month ceasefire in exchange for 7,000 prisoners with Taliban: negotiator
Afghan govt offered three-month ceasefire in exchange for 7,000 prisoners with Taliban: negotiator

On the other hand, Pakistan confirmed the militant group had control of a key border crossing.

"It is a big demand," said Nader Nadery, a key member of the government team involved in peace talks with the Taliban, adding the insurgents also demanded the removal of their leaders' names from a United Nations blacklist.

It was not immediately clear how the government would react to the ceasefire offer, or how new it was, and it comes as the United States accelerates the pace of a troop withdrawal due to be finished by August 31.

A spokesman for the Taliban, whose leaders are scattered across the region, said he was only aware of the suggestion of a ceasefire over the forthcoming Eid al-Adha holiday.

Nadery's revelation came as Pakistan security forces used tear gas Thursday to disperse hundreds of people who tried to force their way across the border from Chaman to Spin Boldak in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Pakistan's foreign ministry confirmed the border crossing was in the hands of the Taliban.

"They have taken control of Spin Boldak border crossing," said ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, a day after the Taliban seized the town.

The border was closed Wednesday by Pakistan officials after the Taliban seized Spin Boldak and raised insurgent flags above the town.

"An unruly mob of about 400 people tried to cross the gate forcefully. They threw stones, which forced us to use tear gas," said a security official on the Pakistan side.

He said around 1,500 people had gathered at the border Wednesday waiting to cross.

Jumadad Khan, a senior government official in Chaman, said the situation was now "under control".

An Afghan Taliban source told AFP that hundreds of people had also gathered on the Afghan side, hoping to travel in the other direction.

"We are talking to Pakistani authorities. A formal meeting to open the border is scheduled for today, and hopefully, it will open in a day or two," he said. 

Later on Thursday, a Pakistani border official told AFP that the border would open Friday.

The crossing provides direct access to Pakistan's Balochistan province -- where the Taliban's top leadership has been based for decades -- along with an unknown number of reserve fighters who regularly enter Afghanistan to help bolster their ranks.

A major highway leading from the border connects to Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi and its sprawling port on the Arabian Sea, which is considered a linchpin for Afghanistan's billion-dollar heroin trade that has provided a crucial source of revenue for the Taliban's war chest over the years.

'Ceasefire to consolidate power'

Spin Boldak is the latest in a string of border crossings and dry ports seized by the insurgents in recent weeks as they look to choke off revenues much needed by Kabul while also filling their own coffers.

"The bazaar is closed and traders are scared that the situation will turn bad," Mohammad Rasoul, a trader in Spin Boldak, told AFP by phone.

"They fear that their products will be looted. There are scores of opportunists waiting to loot."

Muska Dastageer, a lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan, said the Taliban ceasefire offer was a likely attempt by them to consolidate the positions they have gained so swiftly in recent weeks.

"A ceasefire now would effectively prohibit ANDSF from retaking the crucial border points which Taliban have captured recently," she tweeted, referring to Afghan forces.

"I think the timing of this ceasefire offer has more to do with their wish to consolidate power over these areas."

At least one Kabul resident said the Taliban could not be trusted.

"Last year the government released 5,000 Taliban prisoners but their release did not bring peace," Ahmad Jawed told AFP.

"Instead most of them are now fighting government forces."

"Now they are asking for 7,000 prisoners to be released. That is a big number."

Authorities last year released more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners to help kick start peace talks in Doha, but negotiations have so far failed to reach any political settlement, and the latest offensives suggest the insurgents are now set on a military victory. 

SOURCE: AFP

Faisal Ali Ghumman is a senior editor at GNN, known for writing top quality content which garner very high readerships and has been covering every field of journalism, including politics, media, sports and scholarly articles. Faisal Ali Ghumman is nothing less than a Veteran Editor and has been writing for GNN for the past 3 months.

Pakistan

Pakistan: Daily COVID-19 cases drop below 2,000

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

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Pakistan: Daily COVID-19 cases drop below 2,000

Islamabad: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio decreased to 4.10% from more than 11% a couple of weeks ago.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,897 cases of coronavirus were reported while 81 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 27,327. The daily Covid-19 positivity rate in Pakistan is at 4.22%.

The total number of cases has reached 1,227,905.

As many as 1,137,656 patients have recovered from the disease with 4,846 critical cases.

Punjab            

The number of patients swelled to 423,670 in the province with 12,449 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 451,448 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,289.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 171,589 in the province with 5,426 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,772 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 33,821 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 733. On the other hand, there are 10,257 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 104,348 cases in the capital city while 904 people have lost their lives.

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Pakistan

Pakistan's COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 4.22%

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

Profile Avatar

Published

on

Pakistan's COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 4.22%

Islamabad: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio decreased to 4.22% from more than 11% a couple of weeks ago.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 2,167 cases of coronavirus were reported while 40 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 27,246. The daily Covid-19 positivity rate in Pakistan is at 4.22%.

The total number of cases has reached 1,226,008.

As many as 1,135,038 patients have recovered from the disease with 4,840 critical cases.

Punjab             

The number of patients swelled to 422,790 in the province with 12,407 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 450,787 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,270.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 171,388 in the province with 5,412 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,769 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 33,787 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 729. On the other hand, there are 10,245 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 104,242 cases in the capital city while 902 people have lost their lives

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Regional

New island emerges near Balochistan’s Kund Malir beach

A new island have popped up near Sonmiani beach of Balochistan— discovered by the fishermen sailing along the coast on Thursday.

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New island emerges near Balochistan’s Kund Malir beach

The technical advisor on marine fisheries at World Wild Fund (WWF), Muhammad Moazzam Khan said that the new island appeared in west off the coast of Sonmiani near Kund Malir.

“Such phenomena occurs due to geographical changes within the ocean depths,” he said adding that these kind of small islands emerge, remain in place for a while and then diminish back into the waters.

It is pertinent mention here that such Islands had earlier emerged at the same location in 2000 and 2010.

The first known emergence, during November 1945, was concurrent with an earthquake of magnitude 8.0.

The 2nd and 3rd emergences were in March 1999 and November 2010 respectively.

In 2013, an island emerged off Gwadar coast after a powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan. However, the island disappeared after some time.

Landsat images of March 1999 and November 2010 emergences indicate appearance of round-shaped island of 4.4 and 5.2 hectare area, followed by erosion and disappearance. The island was composed of mud breccias and circular vents spewing mud slurry and methane gas.

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