Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghan political analyst Waheed Mujhda was assassinated by unknown armed men in capital Kabul on Wednesday evening, authorities said.
The spokesman of Interior Ministry Nasrat Rahimi said, “Mujhda was on way to a mosque to offer prayers when he was attacked by two gunmen on a motorcycle near Russian Embassy in Police District 7 of the city.”
Rahimi added that the case is under investigation.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Afghan local officials have confirmed that at least seven Taliban insurgent were killed and one of their IED making factories destroyed in Ghazni province.
The Ghazni governor’s office in a press release on Wedensday said that a Taliban’s IED making factory was targeted by airstrikes last night in Tasang Payeen area of Deh-e Yak district.
The press release added that as a result of the airstrike, all explosives were destroyed.
The Taliban was the world’s “deadliest terrorist group” last year, according to a new survey by 2019 Global Terrorism Index published on November 20.
The 2019 Global Terrorism Index by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace, shows that the number of deaths attributed to the Taliban rose by nearly 71 percent in 2018 to 6,103, and accounted for 38 percent of all terror-related deaths globally.
The Taliban overtook ISIS as the deadliest terrorist group, with deaths attributed to IS falling by almost 70 percent, to 1,328.
Overall, the number of global deaths from terrorism fell more than 15 percent to 15,952 in 2018, the report says.
The number has more than halved from a high of 33,555 deaths in 2014, according to the index.
The index noted that an overwhelming majority of terror attacks took place in countries involved in violent conflict.
However, the number of deaths caused by far-right terrorism in Western Europe, North America, and Oceania, has grown by 320 percent between 2014 and 2018.
At least 12 Afghan soldiers were killed and four others were wounded after insurgents attacked an army base in northern Kunduz province last night, local officials said on Wednesday.
A member of the Kunduz provincial council, Safiullah Amiri told Reporterly that the incident took place in Imam Saheb district.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a press release said that the Taliban group stormed security forces’ outposts from several fronts in Arbab Khel area.
According to MoD press release, at least ten fighters of Taliban Red Unit were killed and 14 others were wounded in the clashes.
MoD called the casualties of security forces as one killed and four wounded.
The Minister of Public Health, Ferozuddin Feroz at the Reaching the Last Mile forum at Louvre Abu Dhabi said there is a “missing generation” of women health workers in Afghanistan.
“In a conflict setting, working in a sector that is needed by everyone, it can be a frustration,” said Dr. Feroz, who was appointed deputy minister in 2002 and is one of the architects of Afghanistan’s health care system.
“I can see people do not have access to primary healthcare, people are dying from preventable diseases. When I can’t do anything, certainly I suffer,” he said.
The violence and insecurity in the country has meant armed conflict has become the third-highest cause of mortality with malaria, HIV/AIDS and drug addiction also pressing issues.
“If you want to do everything, you cannot do it. We need to prioritize the needs. So I address the first things first, then the frustration goes down, But at the same time we are trying to build a system – address the priorities – do something that currently may not give us fruit, but certainly in the long-term will provide us with a lot of dividends,” he added.
Despite the challenges over the past two decades, there has been significant progress in healthcare in Afghanistan.
He said he was concerned that the current security troubles in the country meant some of the recent gains in healthcare may be reversed.
The Afghan police arrested 27 drug traffickers within past seven days, officials said on Wednesday.
“During the past seven days, the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) and detective security organizations arrested 27 suspects linked to 20 cases on suspicion of transportation of drugs and narcotics from various provinces,” Counter-Narcotics Criminal Justice Task Force of Afghanistan (CJTF) said in a statement.
After initial investigations, the CNPA has handed over the cases to the Central Narcotics Tribunal (CNT), a special Afghan court for jurisdiction of major drug cases, the statement said.
In 2018, some 6,400 tons of poppy opium were produced in western and southern parts of the country, where the government security forces have little presence, less than 9,000 tons in 2017, according to official figures.
President Ashraf Ghani has said that the IS-K terrorists have been crushed in Nangarhar province where they have controlled large swathes of territories for many years.
“A year ago, no one could have thought that we will be announcing to have finished off Daesh here in Nangarhar,” Ghani told tribal volunteers in Nangarhar’s capital in Jalalabad.
More than 600 fighters from IS-K have surrendered with their families to the Afghan government in past weeks.
Officials say airstrikes by Afghan and coalition forces, lack of funds and low morale have forced the group to give up.
“Now that IS-K militants have surrendered, I ask authorities to treat their families humanely,” Ghani said.
Ghani said that he will hand over the family members of IS-K fighters to their relatives in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. “I will not hand them over to [the government of Pakistan] but instead will hand them over to their relatives,” he told tribal leaders. “You can then decide about the fate of the IS fighters. I will back your decision.”
Last month, Washington announced that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during a raid by elite U.S. special operations forces in Syria.
The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the leaders will discuss Afghanistan mission among other issues in a NATO Leaders summit in London next month.
Speaking to reporters ahead of NATO foreign ministers meeting, Stoltenberg declared that the NATO leaders will discuss a range of issues during the London summit including NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism.
“Our training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to play an important role in preventing the resurgence of ISIS and other terrorist groups,” he said.
Stoltenberg described the Afghanistan mission as the alliance’s biggest military operation aimed at fighting terrorism and making sure Afghanistan does not once again become a safe haven for international terrorism.
“And we also agree on the need to make sure that we recognize the importance of standing together in avoiding that ISIS is able to get a foothold in Afghanistan, which is their declared aim,” he added.
Russian special representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov will take part in the intra-Afghan meeting in Beijing, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said.
Morgulov stated that the date of the meeting has not been set yet. “Kabulov will definitely take part in this meeting,” he noted.
In October, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing will provide comprehensive support to the process of peaceful settlement in Afghanistan and will facilitate dialogue between participants in this process.
On November 11, the spokesperson said that China is preparing a platform for intra-Afghan talks.
Two U.S. service members were killed in a helicopter crash on November 20, 2019, in Afghanistan, US officials in Afghanistan said.
The USFOR-Afghanistan in a press release said the cause of the crash is under investigation, however preliminary reports do not indicate it was caused by enemy fire.
“In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the names of the service members killed in action are being withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin is complete,” the press release said.
In the meantime, the Taliban group in a statement claimed to have targeted a US Chinook helicopter in Dasht area of Charkh district in Logar province.