Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The third joint book exhibition of Iran and Afghanistan will be inaugurated by First Vice President Amrullah Saleh at Kabul University on Monday.
The exhibition will be held from Nov. 2-12 with at least 40 Iranian and 40 Afghan publishers taking part.
The exhibition will be held in cooperation with the ministries of Intelligence and Culture of Afghanistan and the Iranian Centre for International Cultural Studies of Islamic Culture and Relations Organisations.
Programmes including an evening of poetry and specialised tutorial workshops while fully observing the COVID-19 relevant health protocols.
At least 101 Taliban members were killed in attacks by government forces in Arghandab and Zhari districts of Kandahar, security officials said on Sunday.
Airstrikes and ground attacks were carried out by government forces in the past 24 hours in the villages of Kohk and Neghan in Arghandab district and Nahr Kariz village in Zharidistrict, Jamal Nasser Barakzai, spokesperson for the Kandahar Police told Reporterly.
In Arghandab, 64 Taliban fighters were killed and the remaining 37 were killed in Zhari. Barakzai added that 26 more members of the group were wounded during the attacks.
Taliban members had fallen in clashes with Afghan security forces and taken refuge in civilian homes. According to official accounts, civilians were not allowed to leave their homes in certain area due to the conflict.
The Taliban have not yet commented on the attacks.
President Ashraf Ghani in a telephone conversation with Herat Gov. Sayed Wahid Qatali on Sunday, said the condition of the fifth Musalla Minaret should be assessed and arrangements made for its reconstruction.
In the telephone conversation, Ghani said a technical team should evaluate the condition of the fifth minaret which has been badly damaged.
Herat cultural officials have warned of the collapse of the minaret which is among the 20 that were built during the reign of the Timurid kings in the 15th century.
Today only five minarets, each 55 meters tall, remain in downtown Herat city and are on the verge of destruction. The fifth minaret has started tilting at a worrying angle on the brink of collapse if repairs are not done.
The Senate has called on the United States to stand by the Afghans in accordance with their bilateral strategic and security agreement to establish lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Taliban attacks in various parts of the country have intensified since the start of intra-Afghan talks, the statement from the Senate released on Sunday said.
It stressed that there were high hopes for peace among the Afghan people, but the agreement did not stop the war and bring stability to the country.
The senators called on the government to use active diplomacy and persuade the U.S. to continue supporting the country, in line with the decisions by Washington.
The Senate also asked the government to form a regional and international consensus mediated by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council to achieve peace and conclude the intra-Afghan peace talks.
“With a regional and international consensus, the peace process would be fruitful, and Afghanistan would be free from global terrorism,” the Senate statement said.
They also expressed concern about the destruction of U.S. military facilities and the movement for military equipment to Pakistan before the destruction of the bases in Afghanistan.
The senators proposed to speak to U.S. officials to garner more support and to get military facilities and weapons for Afghan security forces.
The Ministry of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Science (MCIT) said Sayed Abdul Hanan Hashemi, the head of Afghansat 1 satellite in Afghan Telecom, was killed in a mine explosion in Kabul.
MCIT spokesperson Abdul Samad Hamid Poya said the explosion took place in the Bot Khak area of Kabul on Sunday.
He said a magnetic mine at the entrance of Hashemi’s house exploded while he was leaving for work.
Pouya called him a committed and honest employee who had worked in various departments of the MCIT for the past six years.
He described the incident a “crime.”
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced that in the past 24 hours, 76 new Coronavirus cases were found positive from the 307 samples tested across Afghanistan, pushing the confirmed cases to 41,501 so far.
According to the MoPH, no deaths were recorded in the past day while five have recovered.
New cases were reported in the provinces of Kabul (23), Ghazni (20), Bamiyan (8), Laghman (5), Nimruz(4), Parwan (4), Nangarhar(2), Baghlan (2), Wardak (2), Kunar(2), Nuristan (2), Kunduz (1) and Kandahar (1).
Afghanistan has 5,639 active COVID-19 cases with 1,536 deaths and 34,326 recoveries.
At least 69 Taliban members were killed in clearing operations by the Afghan forces in Badakhshan, security officials confirmed.
The operation was launched a week ago to clear the Taliban from the Yaftal Bala area of Faizabad city and Arghanj Khwa district, Badakhshan Police spokesperson Sanaullah Rouhani told Reporterly on Sunday.
Twelve villages were cleared during the operations.
Rouhani added that two security forces were also wounded in the clashes during the operation in Arghanj Khwa.
The Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP) facilitated a virtual meeting between the European Parliament and Afghan civil society on their role in the ongoing peace negotiations on Oct. 29.
“There is a need to bring all Afghan voices to the negotiating table but also seek societal consensus for compromise,” said head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Afghanistan, Andreas von Brandt.
Afghan civil society called on the EU and its member states to encourage the Afghan parties to “fully implement a comprehensive, nationwide and unconditional ceasefire.”
Afghan civil society members included Palwasha Hasan, founding member of Afghan Women’s Network, Hekmatullah Azami, deputy director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and several others. They spoke with Petras Auštrevičius, the EU Parliament’s chair of the Delegation for Relations with Afghanistan, and Ambassador Von Brandt.
They also asked the EU to continue their commitment and active support to an inclusive Afghan peace process that preserves and builds on the political, social and economic accomplishments of the citizens of Afghanistan.
Civil society members urged to maintain their support for stability and development in Afghanistan.
Acting Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar met Ambassador Ross Wilson, Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said.
Atmar thanked the U.S. for its commitment and cooperation to the Afghan people and government for 19 years, specifically their support of the peace talks.
They discussed the challenges of the ongoing peace talks, the importance of regional and international support for the success of this process, and the preservation and strengthening of bilateral cooperation between Kabul and Washington.
Atmar called the continued support of the U.S. to the people and government of Afghanistan important for achieving sustainable peace and stability.
At least three policemen were killed and another was injured, along with a civilian, in an explosion at a police station in Herat city on Sunday.
Herat Police Command spokesperson Abdul Ahad Walizada told Reporterly that the incident took place at 6 a.m. at the security post in the Payan Ab area of PD10 of the city.
He said reconnaissance forces were sent to the area and investigations had begun to look into the cause of the explosion.
Images showed that buildings nearby were also damaged from the intensity of the blast.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the explosion yet.