Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in its operational update report has said that nearly 8,000 registered refugees voluntarily returned to Afghanistan as of November 30.
“As of 30 November, 7,985 registered refugees voluntarily returned to Afghanistan, out of which 6,048 returned from Pakistan, 1,863 from Iran and 74 from other countries,” UNHCR said in a report.
According to the report, 402,400 individuals have been displaced by conflict in 2019 and profiled by OCHA as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in need of protection and assistance.
“Preparations were made for the launch of the SSAR Support Platform on the side-lines of the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva in December. The SSAR Support Platform seeks to enhance international solidarity and burden-sharing for the Afghan situation; facilitate additional investments and expended partnerships for coherent humanitarian and development responses; ensure sustained visibility for the Afghan situation,” the report reads.
The Senior Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani Waheed Omar says regarding the ceasefire, the Afghan government has “a clearly communicated stance.”
“It is a precondition for us. It’s upon Taliban to make up their mind. We cannot comment on speculations and rumors,” Waheed Omar wrote on Twitter.
The comments come as sources close to the Taliban have confirmed that the group’s leadership has agreed on a seven-day ceasefire.
“We are not withholding the talks or the list. We are waiting for Taliban to conclude their talks with the US, announce a ceasefire and be ready to talk to a delegation that will represent the Afghan State,” Omar added.
Omar said that the delegation will be small that represent Afghan people.
“The delegation will be small but representative of all Afghanistan from all walks of life.”
Afghan forces have launched a major military operation – under the name of (Toofan-e Harirod) – in Herat province, security officials reported on Sunday.
Starting the operation, the governor of Herat, Abdul Qayoum Rahimi called the Afghan security forces the backbone of the government system, saying the ‘Toofan-e Harirod’ operation will completely suppress the insurgents.
Rahimi warned the Taliban that they would be destroyed if they will not join the peace process.
In the meantime, the commander of Zafar army corps, Fazel Ahmad Junbish considered the launch of this operation as showcasing the great capacity of Afghan forces.
Officials emphasized that this operation will be equipped with adequate facilities and air force support-covering all areas of the Herat-Ghor highway.
Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan-Nai says the violence against journalists in Afghanistan has decreased by 42 percent in the year 2019.
Releasing its annual report, Nai has stated that a total of 115 cases of violence against the media were registered this year.
“At least ten journalists have been killed and 21 others wounded in the year 2019 in Afghanistan, a 50 percent decrease compared with 20 in 2018,” the report said.
“The detention of journalists increased by 60 percent to 10 cases in 2019 and there were 51 cases of threatening of journalists, a 2.5 percent decline,” the report reads.
The watchdog added that the decline in violence against journalists happened due to the banning of live coverage of militant attacks from the site as well as decrease in the number of attacks.
Afghan security officials in the northern zone of the country say at least 13 Taliban insurgents including a key Taliban commander named Mullah Khaksar have been killed in Kunduz province.
The 207 Pamir Corps in a press release said that the air forces have conducted several operations in “Ishan Toop” area of the Khanabad district.
According to the press release, the Taliban commander identified as Mullah Rahmuddin known as Khaksar is also among the killed Taliban members.
The press release added that, several hideouts of Taliban were also destroyed during the operations.
Afghan local officials say at least 17 members of the uprising forces have been killed in a Taliban attack on Khaja Bahawoddin district of Takhar province.
The spokesman of Takhar governor, Jawad Hejri told Reporterly that the Taliban insurgents stormed a base of the uprising forces’ commander, Malek Tatar in Lala Guzar village late on Saturday night.
According to Hejri, at least 17 members of the uprising forces were killed and four others were wounded.
Hejri noted that the Taliban’s attack pushed back after the reinforcement arrived and now the area is under the control of security forces.
He added that the Taliban also suffered heavy casualties but the exact figure is not clear so far.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) says a Taliban commander for guerrilla attacks in Nawa district of Helmand province has been arrested by the security forces.
MoI in a press release on Sunday said that the Police Special Unit conducted a special operation in Terikh Nawar village of the Nawa district.
According to the press release, the commander of Taliban for guerrilla attacks named Haji Raees has been arrested during the operation.
MoI added that the detainee has been involved in planning and organizing terrorist attacks on security forces’ outposts and had an active role in parts of the Nawa district.
A senior Iranian official says a major railway connecting Iran and neighboring Afghanistan will be ready in March as construction of a key cross-border line is nearing completion.
Abbas Khatibi, a deputy to Iran’s transportation minister, said on Saturday that the Iran would link up Afghanistan to its railway once construction for the line connecting the city of Khaf in eastern Iran to the Afghan city of Herat is finished.
Khatibi said a major part of 191-kilometer railway would be complete in March or at last in April, 2019, allowing the two neighboring countries to kick off rail transportation.
Iran has almost finished its part of the Khaf-Herat railway, which runs 139 kilometers in three sections straddling the border between the two countries.
Afghan MMA fighter, Hussain Bakhsh Safari has defeated his Russian fighter Peter Berg in a breathtaking fight in Moscow.
Afghanistan’s Hussain Bakhsh Safari and Russian’s Peter Berg faced each other in the weight class of 65kg, inside a martial art cage in Moscow on Saturday evening.
Hussain Bakhsh defeated his Russian opponent Peter Berg in ‘Night Fight Global’ MMA fights in Moscow securing high score points in all three rounds fights.
Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also congratulated this young MMA fighter for his win.