The Afghan forces have confiscated a vehicle carrying at least 7800 kgs of Ammonium Nitrate during an operation in Momand Dara district of Nangarhar.
The provincial government media office in a statement said the vehicle was seized in Torkham Township by the operatives of the National Directorate of Security.
The statement further added that the Ammonium Nitrate was placed in 156 sacks and were hidden under the vegetables.
According to the provincial government, the militants had imported the Ammonium Nitrate from Pakistan and were looking to use them in their future attacks.
The anti-government armed militant groups frequently use explosives materials for the roadside bombings and car bombings to target the government staff and security personnel.
However, in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are killed besides such bombings incur casualties to the security personnel and in some cases the Taliban militants themselves are killed or wounded.
A total of 10,453 civilian casualties – 3,438 people killed and 7,015 injured – were documented in the 2017 Annual Report released last month by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office.
The report further added that the high number of casualties to the civilians were inflicted by suicide bombings and other attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Pakistan said on Sunday it was playing a sincere role in efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan -- a common objective for the neighbors.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, addressing the SCO Summit in Qingdao, China, said Pakistan welcomed President Ashraf Ghani’s initiatives for peace with the Taliban.
Radio Pakistan quoted Hussain as calling a ceasefire in Afghanistan a positive sign for regional peace. Pakistan and Afghanistan were working on a peace strategy on a bilateral basis, he said.
He suggested the establishment of a development fund to eliminate terrorism and extremism. He also stressed capacity-building and skill development of youth of member states.
Hussain claimed his country had rendered unprecedented sacrifices in the war on terror, asking the global community to stand united in meeting common challenges.
Members of the Upper House of Parliament on Sunday welcomed the announcement of temporary ceasefire by the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgent group, urging the government to use the opportunity for lasting peace and stability in the country.
Senators also called on the Afghan security forces to be on alert during the ceasefire period to respond to any possible attacks.
“I welcome the announcement of the ceasefire and this must become a permanent ceasefire. The security forces must remain vigilant because other terrorist groups may use the opportunity,” said Senator Najiba Hussaini.
“Taliban must stop killing the people. The religious scholars issued the Fatwa that the ongoing war is illegitimate based on Islamic teachings and they fulfilled their responsibilities. The scholars are neither the slave of Americans nor the slave of any other western country,” said senator Abdullah Qarluq.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Alam Izadyar Deputy Speaker of the Senate House said the terrorists’ supporters would never win the ongoing war.
“The ceasefire must be respected by both sides. Taliban’s supporters must understand that fighting is not the solution. They should try to reach to their goals through peace and negotiation while respecting the national interest of Afghanistan as well,” said Izadyar.
In addition, Fazel Hadi Muslimyar, Speaker of the Senate House, called the ceasefire an opportunity to be used for ending the war.
“We welcome the ceasefire by both sides and it must be a permanent ceasefire. The killing of Muslims must be stopped. The ceasefire is only with the Taliban not with other groups so the security forces must be prepared,” said Muslimyar.
US President Donald Trump has retracted his endorsement of the joint communiqué issued at the end of the G7 summit, accusing Canada of "dishonesty".
He said that other countries were imposing "massive tariffs" on the US.
The joint communiqué, advocating a "rules-based trading system", was reached despite tension over US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed afterwards to press ahead with retaliatory tariffs on 1 July.
Speaking at a news conference, he described as "insulting" Mr Trump's decision to invoke national security concerns to justify steel and aluminum tariffs.
"It would be with regret but it would be with absolute clarity and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on 1 July," Mr Trudeau said. "Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around."
His words contained nothing he had not said before, both in public and in private conversations with Trump, his office said later.
The EU said it would stick to the joint communiqué despite Trump's decision.
"We stand by the commitments made in the G7 communiqué," a senior UK government source said.
Tweeting en route to his next summit in Singapore, Trump said he had instructed US officials "not to endorse the communiqué as we look at tariffs on automobiles".
He said the move was based on Trudeau's "false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies".
He suggested Trudeau was "very dishonest and weak".
Trump had earlier signed the joint statement agreed by all the G7 nations despite the trade row.
He also tweeted defiantly about not allowing "other countries to impose massive tariffs and trade barriers on its farmers, workers and companies".
Until just a few weeks ago, the relationship between Mr Trump and Trudeau could have been called cordial. Despite differences between the two countries over trade - from tiffs over everything from softwood lumber and newsprint to the major renegotiation of the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement - the two men tended to speak positively about each other.
The recent US decision to impose metals tariffs on Canada, the EU, and Mexico was a turning point. Trudeau, who had taken a conciliatory approach towards Trump, began using a much harsher tone. Polls indicate Canadians support the tougher tone.
The fact remains that the two countries' economies are deeply integrated, with jobs on both sides of the border counting on smooth trade between the neighboring nations.
Whether or not this new phase in the Canada-US relationship will allow some of the trade sticking points to be resolved is still to be seen.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states should work closely to build an SCO community with a shared future, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Sunday.
"The Shanghai Spirit is our shared asset, and the SCO is our shared home," Xi said at the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO held in the eastern Chinese coastal city of Qingdao.
"We should, guided by the Shanghai Spirit, work closely to build an SCO community with a shared future, move toward a new type of international relations, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity," he said.
Without mentioning the US, the Chinese President expressed his country’s opposition to trade policies which he called ‘selfish, short sighted’, calling for building an open global economy.
“We reject selfish, shortsighted, closed, narrow policies, (we) uphold World Trade Organization rules, support a multi-lateral trade system, and building an open world economy,” Xi said in a speech in the port city of Qingdao.
The United States and China have threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150 billion each, as President Donald Trump has pushed Beijing to open its economy further and address the United States’ large trade deficit with China.
Xi spoke hours after Trump said he was backing out of the Group of Seven communiqué, thwarting what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.
“We must ... discard Cold War thinking, group confrontation; we object to acts of getting one’s own absolute security at the cost of other countries’ security,” Xi said.
The SCO was launched in 2001 to combat radicalism and other security concerns in China, Russia and across Central Asia.
It added two new members, India and Pakistan, last year and Iran has been knocking at the door. Tehran is currently an observer rather than a full member of a bloc that also includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics.
Xi also said China would offer the equivalent of 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in loans under a framework formed by SCO countries.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticized the United States for "imposing its policies on the rest of the world".
Speaking at an international summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao on Sunday, Rouhani said the US' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal poses a potential threat to the world.
"The recent example of such unilateralism and the defiance of the decisions of the international community by the US government is its withdrawal from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal)," Rouhani said during the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a regional security pact in which Iran has observer status.
US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 international pact with Iran that placed limits on its nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
Rouhani praised China and Russia for their continued efforts to maintain the nuclear deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also criticized the US for its withdrawal, claiming the decision could potentially destabilize the situation.
Putin said Russia will honor its part of the deal, adding Moscow is still in favor of the "unconditional implementation" of the pact.
The remarks were made during the 18th annual summit of SCO, an eight-member grouping led by Beijing and Moscow - in the coastal city of Qingdao.
The JCPOA was officially not on the agenda for the SCO, which aims to increase regional security and stability through trade, investment and development cooperation.
The two-day event was opened on Saturday by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
The SCO summit was stand in stark contrast to Saturday's G7 meeting, held in Canada over the weekend.
That summit, attended by the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the European Union, tensions rose high after US President Donald Trump pulled out of a joint statement, citing "false statements" by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The summit was also marked by the looming trade dispute between the US and several other countries as a result of Trump imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the US from Canada, Mexico and European Union countries.
Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh and experts say a recent deal between Myanmar and the United Nations (UN) falls short of guaranteeing the Muslims’ safe return to Myanmar, where thousands of them have already been killed in state-sponsored violence.
The UN Development Program (UNDP) on Wednesday signed an agreement with the Myanmarese government to return some of the 700,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled persecution in their villages in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and who are now living in crowded makeshift camps in Bangladesh.
The deal has, however, disconcerted the refugees, who say they won’t return unless they are given safety guarantees and citizenship by the Myanmarese government, according to the Associated Press.
Though the Muslim community has lived in Myanmar for generations, its members are denied citizenship by the government in Naypyidaw, which persistently describes them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, where they are also denied citizenship.
In the deal between the UN and Myanmar, the Muslims have not been referred to by their common name — the Rohingya. Instead, they have been referred to merely as “displaced persons,” potentially indicating that the UN has adopted the Myanmarese government position.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmarese soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August 2017, when many of the surviving members started fleeing to Bangladesh en masse.
In their absence, the government has bulldozed their villages, built new housing structures, and shuttled Buddhist citizens from elsewhere in the country to populate the area.
The UN has described the campaign as a textbook example of “ethnic cleansing” and possibly “genocide.”
The refugees now demand a UN security force to guarantee their safe return to their villages, according to a Saturday piece on the Anadolu news agency by experts, who described the new agreement as inadequate.
Experts Maung Zarni and Natalie Brinham warned the UN that sending the Rohingya back home “could potentially result in another round of mass killings, further decades of containment in concentration camps or deliberate slow starvation,” — all of which have happened to the Muslims in the past.
They argued that the refugees remained “largely unpersuaded” by the repatriation deal because it did not guarantee their safe return.
“The conditions on the ground indicate no semblance of physical safety for any returning Rohingyas,” they wrote.
They said “there is little prospect for their reintegration into the predominantly Buddhist society,” adding that “the frightening prospects of being marched back to Myanmar’s ‘killing fields,’ has unnerved Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.”
UN officials, however, said the agreement was an important first step. They said it would create a “framework of cooperation” designed to create conditions for the “voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable” repatriation of the Rohingya.
A recent report by the humanitarian group, Doctors without Borders, said at least 9,400 Rohingyas were killed in Rakhine from August 25 to September 24 last year. It revealed that the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingyas were caused by violence. That figure included 730 children below the age of 5, according to Doctors without Borders.
Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Liu Jinsong says his country hopes to include Afghanistan in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
This came after high-level delegates, including President Ashraf Ghani, took part in this weekend’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in China.
“Afghanistan expects to have more benefit from the Belt and Road project. This country has great expectations from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” the ambassador said.
He said there were positive signs coming from different social sectors in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Economy, meanwhile, said Afghanistan is part of the Belt and Road project due to its strategic location in the region. Ministry officials also said the project can help boost economic stability in the country.
“We should focus on issues inside the country. Our railway system should be established,” said Suhrab Bahman, a spokesman for the Ministry of Economy.
Analysts said the project is crucial for the region therefore Afghanistan should try to connect with the route.
“The project is based on trade connectivity. Such projects are win-win projects for Afghanistan and China,” said Mohammad Yusuf Rahnaward, advisor of the council on joint trade between Afghanistan and China.
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road or The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy proposed by the Chinese government that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, primarily the People's Republic of China (PRC), the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the ocean-going Maritime Silk Road (MSR).
The initiative was known in English as the One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR) until 2016.
The personal economic interests of some circles, in addition to a number of other factors, have complicated the settlement of Afghan war. The war if, on the one hand, has battered the lives of ordinary Afghan people and claims tens of lives on a daily basis, it on the other hand is a lucrative business for some individuals whose families are living abroad, and their lives and properties are safe. For them, the blood of Afghans is a blank check! The problem is that the majority of them are political figures and they can sabotage peace efforts. In addition to the power and influence they enjoy internally, the international community has also unfortunately lent an ear to them instead of the voice of masses.
The announcement of a temporary ceasefire by Afghan government and the Taliban in the current critical situation, where the majority of Afghans have lost hopes for a good future, was a huge step forward. It is right that the armistice is very short and may have shortcomings, but it was a glad tiding for the peace-thirsty nation after several decades. The Afghan sides of the conflict, for the first time, agreed on a nation-wide truce. The decision has been warmly welcome by the people, but some politicians are tightlipped about it, with some of them even declaring their opposition to the truce. When people are that happy about a decision and the politicians are silent about it, it clearly indicates that they no longer can hide themselves in the garb of public representatives. This group of politicians represents people as long as it protects their personal interests. However, when it comes to national interests like the ceasefire, they often embrace a deadly silence.
The truce is a good test for politicians. Their stance on the issue will determine who is against bloodshed in the country and who benefits from it. Afghan people, as the primary victims of the war, should also closely watch the situation and identify those pursuing their personal interests in the war, and no longer allow them to play with their fate. Peace and political stability is the greatest aspiration of Afghan nation, and whoever opposes that is the enemy of Afghan people and Afghanistan.
Ukraine has voiced its willingness to contribute more troops to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said on Saturday the country would triple the number of its personnel in the framework of the training mission.
At a meeting of the North Atlantic Council with countries contributing troops to Resolute Support, he said the Ukrainian forces had been accomplishing tasks in Afghanistan for 11 years.
“We will continue to participate in this operation. We are ready to … triple our personnel," the minister was quoted as saying by Interfax.
He said the Ukrainians expressed condolences to families of fallen NATO military and civil personnel, as well as the Afghan people fighting killed by terrorists.