Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) says a number of the inhabitants Jarghan village of Kohestanat district of Sar-e Pul province staged a protest against Taliban on Sunday.
MoD in a statement said that the angry protesters clashed with Taliban militants and destroyed the vehicle of a Taliban shadow governor with stones.
“In response, the Taliban insurgents killed two inhabitants of the village including a child and wounded six others,” the statement said.
In the meantime, Afghan local officials say at least four civilians were killed in the anti-Taliban protest in Sar-e Pul.
The spokesman of Sar-e Pul governor, Zabiullah Amani told Reporterly that people staged a protest against a Taliban shadow governor in Warwa area of the Kohsanat district on Sunday.
According to Amani, clashes erupted between local people and Taliban when the residents staged the protest.
“The Taliban group led by Amanullah known as Mansour, a shadow governor for Kohestanat district has built a market of 200 shops in Warwa area and has threatened people to buy their groceries from them,” Amani said.
He added that based on the information, at least one civilian was killed and three others were wounded.
A high-ranking Taliban official has been killed in clashes with security forces in Jowzjan province, a local official said.
Qari Nuriddin and his four bodyguards were killed in the district of Mengajik, where the militant group has a strong presence, provincial government spokesman Abdul Maaruf Azar said.
Four other militants were wounded in the clashes that erupted overnight, the spokesman said.
Azar also confirmed local reporters that more than 25 members of the Taliban in Mengajik had recently cut ties with the militant group to return to civilian life.
The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi will visit Afghanistan early 2020 to reaffirm Indonesia’s commitment to building sustainable peace in the South Asian nation.
As per Tempo.co report, Women’s empowerment should be given full attention in peace-building efforts in Afghanistan, the minister said on the sidelines of a Dialogue of the Role of women in Building and Sustaining Peace.
“I have seen the determination of Afghani women to unite voices and demand peace in Afghanistan,” she said.
The determination was reflected in a national consensus reached by the Afghani women. Marsudi considered the consensus as a brave move to create lasting peace in Afghanistan.
“And Indonesia wants to contribute more to this noble effort,” she stated.
Through the dialog participated in by 38 Afghani women, Indonesia wanted to strengthen cooperation by organizing projects and program of capacity building to build and maintain peace in Afghanistan.
Indonesia and Afghanistan should identify concrete steps to promote the role of women through inclusive policies and to meet women’s needs.
The “Stability and Partnership” electoral team has called on the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Afghanistan’s international partners to prevent crisis in the country.
The leadership council, the technical committee and the coordination team for the protest of “Stability and Partnership” in a meeting on Saturday night called the spontaneous presence of people in the eight provinces of the country a national consensus for defending the right of people and preventing fraud.
During the meeting, the leadership of the “Stability and Partnership” team emphasized on stability and convergence, by relying on people’s support, using legitimate and peaceful means to protect the clean votes of people.
This comes as the supporters of “Stability and Partnership” electoral team staged protests in Kabul on Friday and today in Baghlan, demanding invalidation of 300 thousands fake votes.
A large number of IS-K fighters, have surrendered to the Afghan security forces with the latest on where a group of 31 IS-K fighter along with 62 women and children laid down their arms in eastern Nangarhar province.
Nangarhar Press Department in a statement on Saturday said these IS-K fighters and their family members surrendered in Achin district of the province.
“They (IS-K) also handed over a number of weapons with some ammunition to the Afghan forces.”
It is worth mentioning that in the past one month, hundreds of IS-K fighters surrendered to Afghan forces.
Ministry of Defense has recently said that following Afghan security forces operations in different districts of Nangarhar province, IS-K insurgents failed to stand against them and chose to surrender.
The European Union special envoy on Afghanistan Roland Kobia and Uzbekistan’s special envoy on Afghanistan Irgashev Ismatulla Raimovich will be visiting New Delhi next week.
The visit highlights the role played by New Delh and how other countries are eager to understand India’s view on the future of Afghanistan.
India is building major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan including the Afghan parliament in Kabul and the India-Afghan friendship dam in Herat province and will soon start work on Shatoot dam in Kabul for which Geotechnical survey has started.
Additionally, New Delhi has committed to take up 116 high impact community development projects in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
With the help of Chabahar port and the India-Afghan air corridor, new Delhi has increased connectivity to Afghanistan, which was otherwise was being denied by Pakistan.
The visit by special envoys comes even as US President Donal Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan last week and announced talks with the Taliban has resumed. Trump had cancelled talks with the group in September after an attack killed US Solider.
Afghan local officials in Kunduz province say a fierce clash was erupted between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents on Kunduz-Takhar highway which was thwarted.
The spokesman of Pamir 217 Corps, Abdul Hadi Jamal told Reporterly that the clashes erupted at around 21:00pm last night on security forces’ outposts.
Mr. Jamal noted that Afghan security forces have also suffered casualties but the exact figure is not clear so far.
He said nearly 20 Taliban insurgents were killed and ten others were wounded during the clashes.
In the meantime, a number of media outlets quoting sources said that nine security forces have been killed and five others were wounded in the clash.
The supporters of “Stability and Partnership” started protest on Sunday in Baghlan province.
A member of the Baghlan provincial council, Asadullah Shahbaz told Reporterly that a number of the residents of Baghlan province staged a protest to support the Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s electoral team.
According to Shahbaz, the protesters in reaction to the recounting of Presidential votes are chanting that counting the votes without biometric is the death of democracy in Afghanistan and called to stop it.
This comes as the supporters of the “Stability and Partnership” also staged protest in Kabul on Friday.
The U.S. military command in Afghanistan said it is aware of allegations of civilian casualties after an airstrike targeted Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan. The strike was conducted Thursday in Khost province’s Terezayi district along the border with Pakistan, according to the U.S. military statement.
“We are aware of the allegations of civilian casualties and working with local authorities to determine the veracity of these claims,” the statement said, adding that the strike targeted three Taliban fighters.
American forces in Afghanistan have stepped up the air campaign against the Taliban over the past year as the two sides are discussing reopening peace talks to end the war.
A local lawmaker from Khost, Janmir Zazai, told The Washington Post the airstrike hit a vehicle, but he was unaware of the number of people killed. The Terezayi district is also known as Alisher.
As the American air campaign has intensified in Afghanistan, civilian casualties have increased. This year the United Nations has recorded record numbers of civilians killed and wounded. According to a U.N. tally released in October airstrikes have killed 579 civilians and wounded 306, nearly a third more than the previous year.
The Australian academic who was held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan for three years has opened up about the moment he knew he was going to be set free.
As per Australian Associate Press report, Timothy Weeks spoke in public for the first time since his release from custody almost two weeks ago and thanked all those who helped secure his freedom.
‘From the moment I sighted both Black Hawk helicopters and was placed in the hands of Special Forces, I knew my long and tortuous ordeal had come to an end,’ the 50-year-old told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
Flanked by his sisters Jo and Alyssa Carter, he said he had been changed completely by the experience.
‘The time that I spent as a hostage with the Taliban has had a profound and unimaginable effect on me,’ he said.
Despite at times fearing his death was imminent, Mr Weeks said he never lost hope and believed there had been six previous attempts to rescue him.
‘I had hope the whole time. I knew that I would leave that place eventually,’ he said.
Mr Weeks, a teacher from Wagga Wagga, arrived back on home soil on Thursday night after being transferred from a US military base in Germany.
He and US colleague Kevin King were freed from custody in Afghanistan in November after being grabbed outside Kabul’s American University in 2016.
They were released in exchange for three members of the Taliban’s Haqqani network, an offshoot responsible for several fatal Afghan attacks.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced that the Marja district of Helmand province has been recaptured by Afghan security forces after four years.
MoD in a press release has said that Afghan security forces had launched a clearance operation two weeks ago in Marja district of Helmand province, which resulted in a complete clearance of the Taliban after four years.
According to the press release, at least 37 Taliban insurgents including Mullah Abdul Bari, a Taliban military commander have been killed and a dozen others were wounded during the clearance operation.
Around 103 bombs which have been planted on the roads by Taliban have been detected and two weaponry caches have been destroyed, the press release said.
MoD has not commented regarding the casualties of security forces during the operation.