Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said “terrorists” blew up a car in Logar’s Pul-e-Alam city that led to the deaths of at least eight civilians while 30 more were injured, on Thursday evening.
“Terrorists once again committed crimes and martyred and wounded a number of civilians and compatriots on the night of Eid al-Adha,” said MoI spokesperson Tariq Arian, and later named the Taliban as the “bedrock” of all terrorist activities in Afghanistan.
Arian said the blast took place at around 7:40 pm and called it an “unforgivable act” by “enemies of Islam and the people of Afghanistan.”
He called Taliban the “certainly cannot absolve themselves of such incidents.”
Earlier, Taliban had said they were not responsible for the attack.
Logar’s Public Health Director Rasoul Gul Samar had said that 60 wounded people had been taken to the hospital so far, with intelligence sources saying that at least 18 people had been killed.
At least two Afghan people, including a woman and a child, were killed and over 20 were injured, as they protested the sudden closure of the Chaman/Spin Boldak crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday.
Last week, Pakistani authorities had temporarily allowed for the Chaman crossing to stay open till Eid al-Adha for transit trade and pedestrians.
The sudden closure upset people and hundreds entered the quarantine centre established for COVID-19 patients and torched it.
Social media videos show scenes of chaos with rioters setting beds and mattresses on fire.
Journalists also report that the Pakistani forces opened fire on the protestors and the casualties took place in the ensuing clash.
Sources also confirm that the clashes continued till late evening.
Pakistan’s Home Minister Ziaullah Langove is expected to address a press conference tonight to brief on the incident.
An explosion in the Azadi Square area of Logar provincial capital Pul-e-Alam city on Thursday evening, has killed at least 15 people and wounded 30 more.
Initial reports indicate that the explosion was caused by a car or some other type of a vehicle-borne improvised device (VBIED). A journalist cited sources within the Logar Provincial Council and counter-terrorism officer, who confirmed that it was a powerful car bomb.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that they were “not related” to the explosion.
Meanwhile, no other group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Abduulah Abdullah said the first meeting of the leadership committee of the High council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) will be held in the coming days.
In his Eid message on Thursday, the HCNR chairman said he would finalize the formation of the council in close consultations with the government, respected political leaders and national organisations.
Abdullah said he was “pleased” about the three-day Eid ceasefire and said, “This is an important step for building trust and goodwill on the eve of the start of the historic intra-Afghan talks.”
He said the Council was working to “remove obstacles” in the way of the intra-Afghan negotiations.
“In our opinion, it is important that before negotiations start and during formal talks, the rate of violence will be reduced and that a permanent ceasefire is established to prevent the killing and Afghans.”
The leader called the prisoner exchange an important step forward in the peace process and said that once it was completed, there would be “no excuses” to prevent the talks from starting.
Regional allies, the international community and domestic parties, all agree that the conflict in Afghanistan must end through dialogue, he added.
“Once again, we emphasize that the continuation of the crisis is not in the interest of any group,” he concluded, and said that everyone benefits from an Afghanistan which is peaceful and free of extremism.
Former president Hamid Karzai said serious efforts are underway for bringing peace and ending the war in Afghanistan and called for the continuation of the ceasefire and a speedy start to the intra-Afghan talks.
In his Eid al-Adha message, Karzai said there had been major obstacles to the peace process lately, for which the Afghan people are paying the price.
He added that such efforts “will not bear fruit” and Afghanistan will definitely achieve peace.
Karzai called on the parties to extend the ceasefire on the occasion of Eid, to refrain from war, violence, sensitive statements, anti-peace remarks and war propaganda, and to save the people and the country from the “war of foreign interests” as soon as possible.
The former president stressed that the government and the Taliban should accelerate their efforts to achieve lasting and universal peace in the country through dialogue and understanding.
Kapisa officials said the brother of the province’s director of education was shot dead by unknown gunmen on Wednesday night.
Qais Qaderi, spokesperson for the Kapisa governor, said that the incident took place at around 10:30 pm near Kishkatan village on the outskirts of the capital of central Kapisa.
He said that security officials had cordoned off the area and begun investigations.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported 65 cases of Coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 10 deaths and 155 recoveries.
The current figures for Afghanistan are 36,538 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, with 25,544 recovered and 1,281 dead.
The ministry also said they lab-tested 300 samples in the past day.
New cases were reported in the provinces of Herat (28), Kabul (9), Farah (7), Paktia (5), Badakhshan (4), Kunduz (3), Balkh (2), Takhar (2), Ghor (2), Faryab (2), Baghlan (1) and Panjshir (1).
The ministry has repeatedly been urging the public to refrain from social gatherings during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) received a 1,100-kilogram medical consignment from Iran, media reports said on Thursday.
MoPH officials were handed over the cargo, which was valued at €75,000 at the Kabul airport by the Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan Bahador Aminian.
The cargo included COVID-19 testing kits, ventilators, thermometers, pulse oximeters, N95 masks, and disinfectants.
Army officials in Faryab province said that seven Taliban fighters were killed and five were wounded in a counterattack by security forces on Thursday.
Hanif Rezaee, spokesperson for the 209th Shaheen Corps, said that around 6:30 am on Thursday, Taliban insurgents attacked security checkpoints in the village of Qozi Bay Qala in the Dawlat Abad district.
He did not comment on the casualties among the security forces.
The Taliban is yet to comment on the attack.
On Tuesday afternoon, Afghan security forces had also clashed with the Taliban in the same location.