Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghan local officials have confirmed that two districts of the Faryab province have been collapsed to the Taliban.
A member of the Faryab provincial council, Muhammad Taher Rahmani told Reporterly that the Taliban group attacked Qarghan and Qaramqul districts last night.
According to Rahmani, the Taliban insurgents took control of the cleared areas and overran the district.
He declared that security forces retreated at a distance of four Kilometers from Andkhoy and the clashes are currently underway.
Rahmani added that at least six people including the police commander of Qarmqul district were wounded and one of the security forces was killed.
The security officials have refused to comment regarding the issue
The dead bodies of 28 Afghans who died in a traffic accident in neighboring Iran have been returned to southeastern Nimroz province, officials confirmed.
The refugees died “in a traffic accident” on November 14, in an attempt to travel “illegally” to Turkey, said Mohammad Ibrahim Amini, head of the Nimroz Police media office.
The accident took place when two vans crashed into each other near the town of Khash, in the south-eastern Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran.
Ibrahimi said most of those killed in the accident are from the western province of Ghor.
Iran is one of the deadliest countries in the world for road traffic accidents, according to the World Health Organization.
Afghan local officials say at least 24 Taliban insurgents including a commander of the group’s Red Unit have been killed in Jawzjan province.
The Jawzjan governor’s office in a press release said that 24 insurgents were killed and 16 others were wounded during an operation for recapturing the Darzab district.
According to the press release, Mawlavi Noor Muhammad known as Ayoubi, a commander of the Taliban’s Red Unit along with eight of his men are also among the killed.
“The Taliban’s shadow governor for Darzab district, Rohullah Pahlawan is also among the injured,” the press release added.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has said that the violence against women continues in Afghanistan, despite efforts by the commission and other active bodies for more than a decade and a half.
AIHRC in a report said that about 2,762 cases of violence against women were registered during the seven months of the current year which shows an increase of 8.2 % compared to the same period last year.
According to the report, the violence against women includes 1041 cases of psychological and verbal violence, 861 cases of physical violence, 485 cases of economic violence, 123 cases of sexual violence and 252 cases of other violence.
AIHRC in its report said that the most common type of violence against women is physical violence, notably beating. The statistics of violence cases increased to 41 compared to the last year, including 30 cases of homicides, 71 cases of injuries, 7 cases of burning, eight cases of forced labor and one case of amputation.
The Human Rights Commission in its report added that family violence is also the most common type which of the figure of the past seven months, a total of 2,762 cases reported and it has taken place in the home environment. The statistics show that the home environment has been the most insecure place for women in Afghanistan.
At least eight Taliban insurgents killed and wounded by Special Forces during an operation in northern Kunduz province, the security officials said on Saturday.
The Special Operations Corps in a statement said that Afghan Special Forces conducted the raid in Taloka Village located in the provincial capital of Kunduz.
According to the statement, the Special Forces killed 5 Taliban insurgents and wounded 3 others.
In the meantime, the Afghan forces routinely launched counter-terrorism operations against the anti-government armed groups in the province.
Bollywood and cricket are the two “real stars” of Afghanistan’s close relationship with India and the cultures of the two countries are deeply entwined, according to Kabul’s top diplomat.
India and Afghanistan share centuries-old cultural heritage with deep-rooted linkages in the field of music, arts, architecture, language, and cuisine.
“Let’s face it; no government initiative could ever be more effective in bringing our people closer than the two real stars of this relationship. And no, I am not referring to any particular political leader,” Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Roya Rahmani, said at an event on Thursday. The truth is that no discussion about Indian-Afghan relationships would be complete without a mention of Bollywood and cricket, she said.
“I myself grew up anxiously awaiting Thursday nights when the only TV channel available in Kabul would air an Indian movie. I know I was not the only one eagerly awaiting Thursday nights!” she said. The event, ‘The India-Afghanistan Relationship: Examining Historical, Political, Economic, and Cultural Ties’, was organized by The Hudson Institute, a major think tank.
During the dark days of Taliban rule, these joyful films were sometimes the only colorful things Afghan people had to look forward to, she said.
These films provided a glimpse into a different world and gave us hope when little else could. Today, every Afghan, she said, she knows speaks a little Hindi because of these films.
Indian films, songs, and TV serials are hugely popular in Afghanistan, contributing significantly to the popularization of Hindi and familiarization of the populace with the Indian socio-cultural value system.
A group of ten IS-K terrorists surrendered to Afghan Special Forces in eastern Nangarhar province as security officials said that the province has been cleared of terrorists.
The Special Operations Corps said in a statement late on Friday that the terrorists surrendered to Special Forces in Achin district.
According to the statement, the IS-K terrorists also handed over 10 Ak-47 assault rifles to Special Forces.
The statement added that a small group of IS-K terrorists are still active in Achin district who have no option other surrender or they would be eliminated.
This comes as the Defense Ministry had previously announced that more than 600 IS-K terrorists and their family members surrendered to Afghan forces in Nangarhar.
At least three civilians were killed and seven others were wounded in an explosion in Alsai district of Kapisa province on Friday, local officials said.
The spokesman of Kapisa Police, Abdul Shayeq Shoresh told Reporterly that the explosion was a result of remote control IED which took place at around 11:00 AM on Friday.
According to Shoresh, at least three civilians were killed, five others and two security forces were wounded in the incident.
Strongly criticizing China’s international development projects and lending practices under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Alice Wells, the U.S.’s top diplomat for South and Central Asia said China has not been a real player in Afghanistan development.
“Right now I would say I see opportunities for the United States and China to be important partners in reinforcing the need for a negotiated political settlement, and you see Ambassador Khalilzad regularly consulting with his Chinese counterpart among other regional actors,” said Ms Wells, speaking at the Wilson Center, a Washington DC-based think tank.
“I haven’t seen China take the steps that would make it a real contributor to Afghanistan’s stabilization, much less stitching it back into Central Asia and the international community,” she said.
Ms. Wells emphasized that China is not a provider of any significant grant assistance and stated that neighbors Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan have done much more to aid Afghanistan with regional connectivity initiatives such as cross-border railways, electricity lines, and trade exchange.
“Very positive developments that we’ve seen over the last two years in particular with the opening of Uzbekistan,” she asserted.
Wells also spoke about the US relationship with Pakistan, warning the country of the long-term risks to its economy if it embraces China’s massive infrastructure project and suggested that it should instead look to the U.S. business model.
The Ashgabat Initiative on the reduction of barriers to trade and transport in the region has been adopted as part of the Days of the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) held Nov. 18-21 in the Turkmen capital, Trend reports referring to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) website.
The Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, together with Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, have taken a decisive step to capitalize on this potential with the adoption of a new initiative to reduce barriers to trade and transport using UN legal instruments, standards and recommendations, significantly increasing interconnectivity in the region, reads a UNECE press release.
Now is the moment to transform Central Asia from a periphery of the large trading blocs in Europe and East Asia into a bustling hub of development and trade at the heart of Eurasia, according to the report.
The countries, represented at the ministerial level, decided to establish a Fund to support the implementation of these strategic documents.
The U.S. President Donald Trump has said his administration is working on agreement with the Taliban following the release of Western professors, it has been reported.
President Trump made the remarks in Fox News’ “Fox & Friends”, according to CNN television channel.
“We’re working on an agreement now with the Taliban. Let’s see what happens” Trump said.
His comments come several days after the Taliban released an American and Australian professor in exchange for the release of three Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government. The Taliban also released 10 Afghan soldiers this week.
Earlier, Trump has said he hopes the release of two Western prisoners held hostage by the Afghan Taliban could help pave the way to an end to the war in Afghanistan.