Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Badakhshan security officials said on Thursday, the Taliban’s attempt to seize Warduj district of the province had been successfully countered by the Afghan security forces.
Sanaullah Rouhani, Badakhshan Police spokesperson, said the Taliban had launched a series of attacks on offensives on Wednesday evening in Warduj and clashes had continued till 1 a.m. on Thursday.
Rouhani said that six security personnel received superficial injuries, while four Taliban members were killed and 10 others were wounded in the clashes.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported that 32 people in Afghanistan have tested positive for Coronavirus from the 248 samples tested in the past 24 hours.
The MoPH reported new cases in the provinces of Balkh (16), Takhar (8), Kabul (4) and Baghlan (4).
The total number of confirmed cases in the country has now reached 40,026.
The ministry added that no deaths had been reported in the past day, while 93 people had recovered.
Afghanistan has 5,098 active COVID-19 cases, with1,481 deaths and 33,447 recoveries.
A 16-year-old boy allegedly hanged himself in the Kohistan district of Kapisa, provincial security officials said.
Abdul Shayeq Shoresh, spokesperson for Kapisa Police, said the boy was a resident of the Tal-e Sheydayee village.
He was found hanging in the backyard of his house.
The boy’s family has blamed his mental health for the suicide.
Kapisa officials confirmed that an imam was killed by unknown gunmen in the Nijrab district of the province on Thursday, while Zabul officials reported a Taliban attack at a security checkpoint in the Shah Joy district.
Kapisa Police spokesperson Abdul Shayeq Shoresh told Reporterly that the imam was killed at 4 a.m. in the Chenarak village of the district.
The assailants fled the area after shooting the imam. The motive for the killing is not clear, Shoresh said.
Zabul governor’s spokesperson Gul Islam Sial told Reporterly that the Taliban had launched an attack at a security checkpoint in the district.
The militants had first detonated a car bomb which had injured six police officers, Sial said.
Following that, they launched a ground attack, which is ongoing.
Reinforcements have been sent, Sial added.
He said that the Taliban also suffered casualties but the exact figure is not known.
Security officials in Paktika said that Mullah Abdul Kareem, a key member of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, was killed in in the Jani Khel district of the province.
Shah Mohammad Arian, spokesperson for Paktika Police, said security forces had set up an ambush in the Jomjomah village of the district on Wednesday afternoon.
They had information that the Quetta Shura member will be passing through the village.
Two other Taliban fighters were also wounded during the ambush, Arian said.
Rights organisations have expressed their concern for civilians who are bearing the brunt of the violence in Helmand, which has seen at least 35,000 people flee their homes.
Amnesty International on Wednesday released a statement that civilians must be allowed safe passage out of Lashkar Gah as the ongoing clashes have blocked all exit routes from the city.
The heavy fighting, in which the Afghan forces are receiving air support from the U.S., has also taken out power across the entire city as well as telephone lines and internet access.
“The situation for civilians in Lashkar Gah is grave and could deteriorate rapidly in the coming days. Tens of thousands of people are trapped in the middle of a bloody battle that shows no sign of abating,” said Omar Waraich, head of South Asia at Amnesty International.
“To avoid this turning into a humanitarian disaster, both parties to the conflict must ensure that civilians are protected and allowed to safely leave the war zones and get out of the city.”
Save the Children’s Country Director in Afghanistan Chris Nyamandi said, “It is deeply concerning that tens of thousands of people, many of them children, have been forced from their homes because of fighting. A humanitarian crisis must be avoided.”
The charity noted that children have made up a third of all civilian casualties of the Afghan violence this year.
“The mental scars can be felt as deeply, too. Depression and anxiety can stay with children for many years.”
Amnesty and Save the Children, called on both warring parties and international partners to ensure that those displaced are provided with immediate shelter, food and other humanitarian support.
As clashes continued between the government forces and the Taliban in Lashkar Gah and the surrounding areas, the United Nations (UN) and NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative Stefano Pontecorvo tweeted their concern that the violence is undermining the efforts of the peace talks in Doha.
Amid the deteriorating security situation, Afghan acting Minister of Defence Assadullah Khalild visited the province and pledged to improve the security situation with the held pf the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF).
“Taliban had planned to capture Lashkargah city; by Allah’s grace, ANDSF and people repelled the attack,” Khalid said.
In a Twitter thread on Thursday, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said thousands of civilians have fled from Helmand while civilians, including women and children, have been killed.
They said civilians were bearing the brunt of the Afghan conflict and in recent weeks, their casualties were increasing.
“Violence only heaps further hardship and misery on ordinary Afghans and undermines efforts for progress and building bridges between parties at the historic Afghanistan peace talks in Doha,” UNAMA said.
NATO’s Pontecorvo also said, the level of violence is “unacceptably high” with the Afghan people paying “too high a price for it.”
He joined UNAMA in urging both parties to halt the violence and focus on achieving a peaceful negotiated settlement to the conflict.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, is scheduled to visit Tehran next week, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Wednesday, that Abdullah will travel to Tehran on Oct. 18 for a three-day visit.
He will be heading a delegation comprising officials from the High Council for National Reconciliation, members of the Afghan National Assembly and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the three-day visit, Abdullah will hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Speaker of the Parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other high-ranking Iranian officials.