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Afghan FM asked Shah Mehmood to identify perpetrators of Kandahar attack

20 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani Friday demanded his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi to help identify the perpetrators of the attack on Afghan security officials in Kandahar, Afghan Foreign Ministry said.

Both the foreign ministers spoke by the phone a day after an Afghan security guard sprayed bullets at the participants of a high-level meeting attended by top American forces commander Gen Austin Scott Miller and Afghan officials.

Police Chief General Abdul Raziq and Intelligence Head of Kandahar Momin Hussainkhel were killed when the guard opened firing at the participants of a high-level meeting.

Kandahar Governor Zalmay Wesa, who was critically wounded, is getting treatment, according to Afghan officials.

Taliban had quickly claimed responsibility in a statement and also released a photograph of the attacker, who was wearing military uniform.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said Rabbani told Qureshi that the killing of General Raziq had “raised loads of questions” and that the Afghan government had started investigation into the incident.

In Islamabad, the Foreign Office issued a separate version of the telephonic talk between Qureshi and Rabbani and said that the former reiterated Pakistan’s support to Afghanistan.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi called his Afghan counterpart to express condolences on the sad demise of senior Afghan leaders in a terrorist attack in Kandahar,” a FO statement said. “Pakistan condemns terrorism. We will continue to work with Afghanistan for achieving long-term peace and stability in the region for which ending the conflict in Afghanistan was an essential step. Peace and economic development in Pakistan was linked with restoration of complete peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Qureshi was quoted as saying.

The foreign minister expressed the hope that Afghan parliamentary elections, scheduled for today (Saturday) would be held in a peaceful environment throughout Afghanistan. “These elections are an important landmark for strengthening of democracy in the country, which remains the key to achieve sustainable peace and progress in Afghanistan,” he said and also reassured Rabbani of Pakistan’s support for Afghan democratic process.

Rabbani briefed Qureshi about the difficulties being faced by the Afghan government in holding the upcoming elections in Afghanistan in a successful manner.

He reiterated Afghan government’s strong resolve to overcome all difficulties in this regard and also expressed the hope that both countries would continue to work together for putting an end to the decades-old conflict in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government postponed parliamentary elections in Kandahar for a week in view of the tense situation in the southern city, the presidential palace in Kabul said. The elections for 250-seat Wolesi Jirga, lower house of the parliament, will be held today amid fresh threats by the Taliban insurgents.

The Taliban military commission in a rare statement said Taliban fighters “intend to close all major and minor roads of the country during election day hence all countrymen should remain indoors and desist from bringing out any means of transport”.

“We do not want to harm any common Afghan and therefore ask the public and especially city dwellers to refrain from participating or casting votes during elections. Do not allow your homes, guestrooms, schools, religious seminaries, clinics and workers be utilized by the organizers of this vile process,” the statement said.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Interior, nearly 54,776 members of the Afghan National Security and Defence Force will be deployed for security of 5,100 polling centers, Tolo TV reported.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) had registered 30 attacks against election candidates since the registration process started in July. The commission chairperson, Sima Sama, said that 54 people, including 10 parliamentary candidates were killed and 186 others were wounded during the said period.

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