Afghanistan: Rocket strike on wedding in Helmand kills 28

A rocket fired by the Afghan National Army destroyed a wedding in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan yesterday, killing roughly 28, many of them women and children. Afghan General Sultan Mahmoud said that an early investigation has revealed that artillery fire was placed in the direction of the house from both north and south at…

Afghanistan: Foreign Combat Troops Begin Withdrawal

Primary NATO contributors to the ISAF task force that has occupied Afghanistan for almost 13 years have begun to withdraw their troops as of this month. Secretary of State John Kerry praised new President Ashraf Ghani for making moves to combat money laundering and corruption, with UK Prime Minister David Cameron also joining in. The…

Kazakhstan and Afghanistan are preparing to enter the WTO

Kazakhstan and Afghanistan are participating in active discussions to enter the World Trade Organization, said Director General Roberto Azevedo. The accession negotiations of Kazakhstan in particular are now “at an advanced stage of maturity and on the threshold of conclusion,” according to Azevedo’s statement. The expected date of matriculation will be early next year. Afghanistan…

Afghanistan: Sharif and Ghani meet in Islamabad, rekindling diplomacy

On Saturday, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani president Nawaz Sharif met for a conference in Islamabad, marking a rekindling of relations between the two adversarial countries. Sharif pledged that he would support President Ghani to bring peace to Afghanistan. Former President Hamid Karzai notoriously blamed Pakistani policy and leaders for the entirety of Afghanistan’s…

Afghan President Visits China to Discuss Trade and Security Cooperation

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrived in Beijing yesterday to begin meetings with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The recently inaugurated Ghani’s first official trip abroad as Afghanistan’s leading statesman will consist primarily of talks on the future of relations between the two countries. Ghani has made explicit his desire to strengthen relations with Afghanistan’s eastern…

Afghanistan: Opium yields at all-time high

Despite over $7.6 billion in expenditures by the United States to prevent opium cultivation in Afghanistan, crop yields have risen to their highest levels during the harvest this year. Cultivation of the poppy is a “significant” source of revenue for local Taliban groups, according to the new report released by the UN Office on Drugs…

Afghanistan Easing Relations with Pakistan

Pakistani National Security Advisor Sartag Aziz paid a short visit to new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani over the weekend, with future meetings set up between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Ghani forthcoming, an apparent sign of detente. A formal invitation was extended from Sharif to Ghani to arrange a meeting to ‘share his vision’ for…