Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The UNHCR-sponsored voluntary repatriation of registered Afghan refugees to their country witnessed a sharp decline in the current year as only 1,000 individuals have so far returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan.
The number of refugees who repatriated from Pakistan in the corresponding period last year was 1,597 individuals.
The UN refugee agency has now extended voluntary repatriation process till the end of December following decrease in the number of refugees returning to their country.
The UN agency usually suspends voluntary repatriation process in October every year because of winter in the refugees’ home country and restarts the programme in March.
At least five civilians were killed and two others were wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in Arghandab district of Kandahar province, local officials said on Saturday.
The spokesman of Kandahar Police, Jamal Naser Barikzai said the incident happened in Tabin area when a three-wheelers hit the roadside bomb.
According to Barikzai, the wounded were transferred to the provincial hospital and are under treatment.
The Taliban group has not commented on the incident so far.
A suicide bomber has detonated his explosives-packed vehicle outside the office of provincial council head in Zabul province, killing at least three civilians and wounding 15 more including two guards.
Atta Jan Haq Bayan, the head of Zabul provincial council told Reporterly that a ‘Folder’ type vehicle detonated its explosives at the first gate of his office today.
He cited that it is not clear whether he was the target or not.
In the meantime, Gul Islam Seyal, the spokesman of Zabul governor told Reporterly that the incident happened near the Haji Atta Jan oil tank at around 11:30am today which 13 civilian were wounded in the incident.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the IED blast that targeted a car carrying staffs of Da Afghanistan Bank in Macrorayan area of Kabul this morning, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.
“Unfortunately the attack took lives of three DAB staff including Yama Siawash, a former renowned journalist and his two other colleagues,” the statement said.
According to Presidential Palace, President Ghani ordered the relevant authorities to comprehensively probe the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The President also offered his profound sympathies to the family of Yama Siawash and other families affected by the incident and wished speedy recovery for the wounded.
The first Vice-President, Amrullah Saleh and the National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib refused to attend the summoning session at the Lower House of Parliament on Saturday.
An extraordinary session of the House of Representatives is scheduled for Saturday, to summon the First Vice President, National Security Adviser, Assadollah Khalid, the Acting Minister of National Defense, Mohammad Massoud Andarabi, the Acting Minister of Interior and Ahmad Zia Saraj, the head of National Directorate of Security.
The chairman of the Lower House, Mir Rahman Rahmani said only the head of NDS and the acting ministers of the defense and interior ministries attended the session.
Finally, the House of Representatives decided to hold the session with the presence of three security officials. However, some members of the House of Representatives opposed the session.
In the meantime, the first Vice President Amrullah Saleh wrote in his Facebook page that the Afghan National Assembly, as the legislature – the representative of the people and the overseer of government performance – deserves to have a close relationship with the government.
“Not only am I not ashamed to be with them, but I also consider it a matter of pride. I will be at their service if they arrange the main procedures,” he said.
The Lower House chairman also said that the National Security Adviser, Hamdullah Mohib in a telephone call told him that he has the role of secretary of the National Security Council and could not attend the summoning session.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported 58 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally in the country to 42,033 cases.
“Within the past 24 hours, 218 suspected coronavirus cases were tested, out of which 58 tested coronavirus positive,” the ministry said in a statement.
Two COVID-19 patients succumbed to the virus, taking the death toll to 1,556 since the outbreak of the pandemic in February in the country.
Six COVID-19 patients recovered and the number of people recovered reached 34,446.
A senior Taliban leader identified by Afghan authorities as a shadow district governor of the Shibar district of Bamiyan province has been killed by security forces, officials said on Saturday.
The Bamiyan governor’s press office in a press release said that the shadow district governor of Taliban for Shibar district named Amanullah was one of organizers of the explosion in Dar-e Shikari area which at least nine soldiers have been killed.
According to the press release, the Taliban commander was killed during a special operation and one of the group leaders of the Taliban Red Unit was also wounded in the incident.
A Taliban intelligence chief along nine other Taliban fighters were killed in western Helmand province in an airstrike carried out by the Afghan Air Force (AAF).
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement that the Taliban commander was responsible for planning and carrying out attacks in the province.
According to the statement, Mohibullah known as Sedaqat, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Helmand province was also wounded in the airstrike.
MoD added that a large number of arms and weapons of the group along with 6 of their vehicles were also destroyed.
Taliban have not commented on the issue.
Kabul police confirm that at least three people including a former Afghan journalist, Yama Siawash were killed in an explosion in Kabul on Saturday morning.
Baktash Siavash, a former member of parliament and Yama Siavash’s brother, confirms that Yama Siavash was killed in the blast in the Machrorian-e Char area of Kabul.
Kabul police say two other people were killed when a magnetic mine exploded on Yama Siavash’s car.