Newsfeed; Monday, July 19 2021

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…


  • 19 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Afghan Government, Taliban Delegations To Meet Again As Doha Talks Inconclusive

    Kabul: Delegations from the Afghan government and the Taliban said in a joint statement on Sunday that they will meet again and plan to expedite peace negotiations after two days of inconclusive talks in Doha.

    The negotiators from the rival sides, who have been in Doha since Saturday, said “the two sides committed to continue negotiations at a high level until a settlement is reached”. For months, the two sides have been meeting intermittently in the Qatari capital, but have achieved little success. The discussions appear to have lost momentum as the Taliban fighters have made enormous gains on the battlefield.

    Senior representatives of the Afghanistan government, including the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, flew in for two days of intensive talks as US forces are about to complete their troops’ pullout. Ahead of the second day of talks, the Taliban’s Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada had said “the Islamic emirate strenuously favors a political settlement” despite the groups lightning victories on the ground.

    But the Qatari facilitator of the talks said at the end of the two days that the sides had merely agreed to “work to prevent civilian casualties”, far short of previously agreed ceasefires. “The two sides agreed to continue negotiations at a high level until a settlement is reached. For this purpose, they will meet again next week,” said Qatar’s counterterrorism envoy Mutlaq al-Qahtani, who oversees the Doha talks.

    HCNR chairperson Dr Abdullah Abdullah, said, “We exchanged views on core issues concerning the two parties and listened to each other’s point of views, interpretations and the ways forward to end the conflict through a comprehensive political settlement. In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the talks, we agreed to continue the talks, seek a political settlement to the current crisis, avoid civilian casualties, facilitate humanitarian assistance and medical supplies to tackle Covid-19 pandemic.”

    “During the talks we reiterated the republic’s commitment to a just and durable peace, an end to violence and resolving the current crisis through a negotiated political settlement. We thank all our partners, especially the State of Qatar for hosting and supporting the peace talks.”

    Abdullah told the Taliban that violence brings violence and that the idea of victory is an “incalculable mistake”. On Monday, HCNR chairman issued a statement reaffirming the Afghan government’s commitment to ending the war in the country.

    The statement said, “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has always expressed its commitment to ending the war, a nationwide ceasefire and a just and lasting political solution. Unfortunately, the other side has taken the time to jeopardize the historic opportunity to end the 43-year-old conflict.” Dr. Abdullah said that the notion that the current conflict could end with the escalation of violence, killing and bloodshed is an irreparable miscalculation and that violence creates violence.

    According to him, the people of Afghanistan will not surrender to any force, oppression. Therefore, it is better for the Taliban to understand the current situation in the country, to have a meaningful and fruitful dialogue, and not to torture the Afghan people any more.

    In a message for Eid, Abdullah said that Afghanistan is experiencing its “last opportunities” for peace and a political settlement. “The last opportunities remain for a political settlement and an enduring peace in Afghanistan,” Abdullah said. “The people of Afghanistan are expecting the peace negotiations to be expedited so the opportunity is not missed.” Abdullah said no excuse remains for the continuation of violence as international forces are leaving.

    He added that the continuation of violence, bloodshed and the destruction of infrastructure, public assets and the Afghan people’s achievements is a stance against the development and honor of Afghanistan. Abdullah said the solution to the ongoing conflict is not through military means and that no group can reach its goal militarily.

    In fact, the agreement on further talks between Kabul and the Taliban in Doha inspires hope, Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan and director of the Russian foreign ministry’s second Asia department Zamir Kabulov told TASS on Monday. “It inspires hope that the sides have agreed, at least rhetorically, to continue to speak with each other,” he added.

    Meanwhile, referring to the latest developments in Afghanistan, the Director-General of the Department of South Asian Affairs of the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Iran is looking for a secure and peaceful Afghanistan. In a tweet on late Sunday, Rasoul Mousavi wrote that it is not possible that we were not worried about the future of the Shia in Afghanistan.

    “The concern is not because Iran has a particular view of Afghanistan’s Shia, but because Iran is looking for a secure, stable and peaceful Afghanistan, and this is possible only by guaranteeing the position and rights of all ethnicities and religions in the Constitution,” he added. It is pertinent to note that Iran had facilitated talks between the warring factions recently and plans to hold a second meet soon too.

    The Iranian foreign ministry also underlined the country’s support for continued talks among Afghan groups, saying that Iran will not tolerate insecurity and unrest in Afghanistan. “We carefully control and monitor the situation at the borders. Afghanistan’s security is our security and the unrest in Afghanistan will not be tolerated by Iran,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Monday. “We are actively in touch with Afghan groups. We are ready to continue this job [holding meeting] again. We welcome and support any initiative in this direction,” Khatibzadeh said. “Only a comprehensive and mutually beneficial dialogue can help achieve peace in Afghanistan,” he added.

    In fact, due to the rising violence, even the diplomatic missions to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, EU delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, the Office of the NATO Senior Civilian Representative, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US have called for an urgent end to the Taliban’s ongoing military offensive, which according to them, thwarts efforts to arrive at a negotiated solution to the conflict and harms and displaced the civilian population.

    In a joint statement, the diplomatic missions said, “We condemn the continued targeted killings taking place, destruction of vital infrastructure, and threats to other vital gains made over the past 20 years. We join the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in calling on the Taliban and all parties to immediately end the violence, agree to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire and engage fully in peace negotiations to end the suffering of the Afghan people. This Eid ul Adha, the Taliban should lay down their weapons for good and show the world their commitment to the peace process.”

    Meanwhile, a large group of religious scholars from across Afghanistan held a gathering on Monday and made strong demands that the Afghan government and the Taliban agree to a ceasefire, make efforts for peace and stop the violence that “brings destruction and killings” to the people and the country. Citing the unprecedented increase in violence, widespread displacement of civilians, and the damage to infrastructure in some provinces, the scholars said there is an urgent need to end the bloodshed, calling the ongoing war “forbidden” by Islam and decrying the conflict as it is killing Afghans. “Let’s be part of an effort to end the suffering of the people,” said Jamaluddin Fayiq, a religious scholar.

    “The religious scholars ask the warring parties to support peace and end ongoing problems through negotiations,” said Jalaluddin Hanafi, a religious scholar. The clerics said Afghans will stand against the Taliban if the group refuses to join peace. They also called on the government to avoid creating obstacles in the way of peace. “Neither the republic nor the emirate is holy, but the only way out for us is through the teachings of the Quran,” said Mohammad Sarwar Omari, the head of the secretariat of the religious scholars’ council.

    They blamed the government for failing to prevent targeted attacks against religious scholars. “The arrest of religious scholars should stop, the targeted killing of religious scholars should stop, and our demand from the Taliban is to agree to a ceasefire,” said Abdul Qadir Qanit, head of the Kabul religious scholars’ council. “We and you journalists are martyred together. The reason might be that you are raising the people’s voice and freedom of speech and religious scholars, too, are raising the people’s voice,” said Mohammad Monir, a religious scholar from Baghlan.

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  • 19 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Abduction Of Envoy’s Daughter Shows Weakness Of Pakistani Government: Protesters in Peshawar

    Kabul: The abduction and torture of the daughter of the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad has sparked protests in Pakistan. A march was held in Peshawar on Monday, to condemn the incident. A number of women and political activists gathered in front of Press Club in Peshawar, Pakistan, to condemn the violence against the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Islamabad, calling it against all diplomatic standards and the inability of the Pakistani government.

    “This was the daughter of an ambassador, who was not an ordinary person. When this happens, other Afghans living in Pakistan are not safe. Investigate this incident to prevent other events in the future,” the protesters demanded, calling on the United Nations to investigate the incident.

    On Sunday night, the Afghan government, in response to the incident, summoned all its high-ranking diplomats from the country and said the diplomats would not return to Islamabad “until all security threats are met including the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of the abduction.” However, Islamabad has expressed regret over Kabul’s decision and called on the Afghan government to reconsider its decision.

    Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s women parliamentarians have written a letter to the women members of Pakistan’s National Assembly, urging them to raise voice for Afghan women’s rights. “We believe that the women of Pakistan will not wish for us what they will not wish for themselves,” the letter from Afghanistan Women Parliamentarians Caucus reads. The Afghan women parliamentarians also termed the kidnapping of Silsila Alikhil an attack on human rights and women rights as well as a ‘gross violation of diplomatic norms’.

    This comes even as Washington’s point man in talks aimed at ending decades of war in Afghanistan made a brief visit Monday to Pakistan as relations between Islamabad and Kabul reached a new low. Zalmay Khalilzad’s visit came just hours after Afghanistan withdrew its ambassador from Pakistan. The US envoy met with Pakistan’s army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, but nothing was immediately known of their discussions.

    Khalilzad arrived in Islamabad from Qatar where the Taliban and Afghan government representatives have held two days of talks that ended late Sunday, with a promise by the warring sides to meet again. It was the highest level of talks so far, aimed at jumpstarting a peace process that has stagnated for months while fighting inside Afghanistan soared as the U.S. and NATO complete their troop withdrawal.

    Khalilzad had expressed hope that the sides would agree even to a temporary truce — to mark the most important Islamic holiday, Eid al-Adha or “Feast of Sacrifice,” which begins on Tuesday in most Muslim countries. Instead, the talks ended with a communiqué that offered little prospects of an end to fighting anytime soon. It promised more high-level talks and offered promises of greater protection for Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire and for infrastructure.

    Last week, Khalilzad attended an international conference in Uzbekistan that tried to find a resolution for the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan but the gathering did not produce a roadmap to end the fighting. Pakistan is seen as key to peace in Afghanistan.

    Also, Turkmenistan continues to send heavy weaponry, helicopters, and other aircraft to areas along the Turkmen-Afghan border to allay security fears as Taliban fighters engage in major offensives nearby in northern Afghanistan. “Military officers and law enforcement officials have started hastily sending their wives and children out of Mary, which caused panic among local people. Many residents of the region would like to leave the area along with their children for Ashgabat or even farther, to the Balkan region. But nobody is allowed to leave the region,” one of the residents of the region told RFE/RL. The Turkmen government has made no announcement about increased security. Turkmenistan shares an 800-kilometer border with Afghanistan, where the security situation has deteriorated sharply as Taliban fighters advance on provincial centers and even some border crossings.

    In fact, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan will hold joint drills at Tajikistan’s Kharb-Maidon practice range 20 km from the border with Afghanistan on August 5-10, Russia’s Central Military District Commander Colonel-General Alexander Lapin announced on Monday. “In early August, we will take part in a joint exercise that will involve military contingents of the armed forces of the republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at the Kharb-Maidon practice range. In the course of the drills, we will practice preparations for combat operations by a grouping of forces to rout outlawed armed gangs that have intruded into the territory of an allied state,” the commander said.

    The commander did not disclose the strength of the troops that would be engaged in the drills. As the press office of the Central Military District specified, the Russian military contingent in the drills would mostly comprise units of Russia’s 201st military base stationed in Tajikistan, including mountain motor rifle, tank and artillery troops, and also groups of a special operations force of the Central Military District. Also, Russian radiation, chemical and biological protection troops and mobile electronic warfare groups will be involved in the drills.

    The 201st military base stationed in Tajikistan is Russia’s largest military facility outside its borders. The military base is stationed in the cities of Dushanbe and Bokhtar. The military base comprises motor rifle, armored, artillery and reconnaissance units, air defense forces, radiation, chemical and biological protection and signal troops. The military base’s armament includes T-72 tanks, BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, Grad multiple launch rocket systems, Gvozdika and Akatsiya artillery systems. Under an agreement signed in October 2012, Russia’s military base in Tajikistan will remain until 2042.

  • 19 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Helmand’s Garmsir District Recaptured By Security Forces

    Kabul: The Ministry of Defense confirmed on Monday that security and defense forces have recaptured Garmsir district of Helmand province from the Taliban.

    Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said that the district had fallen to government forces on Monday. He added that 20 Taliban fighters were killed and dozens of other fighters were wounded during the operation to retake the tropics. He stressed that clearing operations are underway in the district. The Taliban have not yet commented.

    Meanwhile, as Taliban attacks intensify across the country, Bismillah Mohammadi, acting Minister of Defense, said that the Taliban cannot achieve anything through war and violence. “If the Talib…
    [6:17 PM, 7/19/2021] +91 90497 71820: Afghan Government, Taliban Delegations To Meet Again As Doha Talks Inconclusive

    Kabul: Delegations from the Afghan government and the Taliban said in a joint statement on Sunday that they will meet again and plan to expedite peace negotiations after two days of inconclusive talks in Doha.

    The negotiators from the rival sides, who have been in Doha since Saturday, said “the two sides committed to continue negotiations at a high level until a settlement is reached”. For months, the two sides have been meeting intermittently in the Qatari capital, but have achieved little success. The discussions appear to have lost momentum as the Taliban fighters have made enormous gains on the battlefield.

    Senior representatives of the Afghanistan government, including the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, flew in for two days of intensive talks as US forces are about to complete their troops’ pullout. Ahead of the second day of talks, the Taliban’s Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada had said “the Islamic emirate strenuously favors a political settlement” despite the groups lightning victories on the ground.

    But the Qatari facilitator of the talks said at the end of the two days that the sides had merely agreed to “work to prevent civilian casualties”, far short of previously agreed ceasefires. “The two sides agreed to continue negotiations at a high level until a settlement is reached. For this purpose, they will meet again next week,” said Qatar’s counterterrorism envoy Mutlaq al-Qahtani, who oversees the Doha talks.

    HCNR chairperson Dr Abdullah Abdullah, said, “We exchanged views on core issues concerning the two parties and listened to each other’s point of views, interpretations and the ways forward to end the conflict through a comprehensive political settlement. In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the talks, we agreed to continue the talks, seek a political settlement to the current crisis, avoid civilian casualties, facilitate humanitarian assistance and medical supplies to tackle Covid-19 pandemic.”

    “During the talks we reiterated the republic’s commitment to a just and durable peace, an end to violence and resolving the current crisis through a negotiated political settlement. We thank all our partners, especially the State of Qatar for hosting and supporting the peace talks.”

    Abdullah told the Taliban that violence brings violence and that the idea of victory is an “incalculable mistake”. On Monday, HCNR chairman issued a statement reaffirming the Afghan government’s commitment to ending the war in the country.

    The statement said, “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has always expressed its commitment to ending the war, a nationwide ceasefire and a just and lasting political solution. Unfortunately, the other side has taken the time to jeopardize the historic opportunity to end the 43-year-old conflict.” Dr. Abdullah said that the notion that the current conflict could end with the escalation of violence, killing and bloodshed is an irreparable miscalculation and that violence creates violence.

    According to him, the people of Afghanistan will not surrender to any force, oppression. Therefore, it is better for the Taliban to understand the current situation in the country, to have a meaningful and fruitful dialogue, and not to torture the Afghan people any more.

    In fact, the agreement on further talks between Kabul and the Taliban in Doha inspires hope, Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan and director of the Russian foreign ministry’s second Asia department Zamir Kabulov told TASS on Monday. “It inspires hope that the sides have agreed, at least rhetorically, to continue to speak with each other,” he added.

    Meanwhile, referring to the latest developments in Afghanistan, the Director-General of the Department of South Asian Affairs of the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Iran is looking for a secure and peaceful Afghanistan. In a tweet on late Sunday, Rasoul Mousavi wrote that it is not possible that we were not worried about the future of the Shia in Afghanistan.

    “The concern is not because Iran has a particular view of Afghanistan’s Shia, but because Iran is looking for a secure, stable and peaceful Afghanistan, and this is possible only by guaranteeing the position and rights of all ethnicities and religions in the Constitution,” he added. It is pertinent to note that Iran had facilitated talks between the warring factions recently and plans to hold a second meet soon too.

    The Iranian foreign ministry also underlined the country’s support for continued talks among Afghan groups, saying that Iran will not tolerate insecurity and unrest in Afghanistan. “We carefully control and monitor the situation at the borders. Afghanistan’s security is our security and the unrest in Afghanistan will not be tolerated by Iran,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Monday. “We are actively in touch with Afghan groups. We are ready to continue this job [holding meeting] again. We welcome and support any initiative in this direction,” Khatibzadeh said. “Only a comprehensive and mutually beneficial dialogue can help achieve peace in Afghanistan,” he added.

    In fact, due to the rising violence, even the diplomatic missions to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, EU delegation, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, the Office of the NATO Senior Civilian Representative, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US have called for an urgent end to the Taliban’s ongoing military offensive, which according to them, thwarts efforts to arrive at a negotiated solution to the conflict and harms and displaced the civilian population.

    In a joint statement, the diplomatic missions said, “We condemn the continued targeted killings taking place, destruction of vital infrastructure, and threats to other vital gains made over the past 20 years. We join the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in calling on the Taliban and all parties to immediately end the violence, agree to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire and engage fully in peace negotiations to end the suffering of the Afghan people. This Eid ul Adha, the Taliban should lay down their weapons for good and show the world their commitment to the peace process.”

  • 19 Jul 2021 Share this post

    As Violence Surges On Battlefront, Ghani Reviews Security Situation In Herat

    Kabul: During his visit to Herat province, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani chaired a senior security meeting on Monday morning after entering the 207th Zafar Corps and inspecting the ceremonial unit.

    First, the commander of the 207th Zafar Corps and the governor and other officials of Herat province shared their report on the security situation and the repulsion of the enemy movements with the president. After hearing their reports and plans, the President praised the courage and heroism of the security and defense forces in defending the homeland and the people, and thanked the officials of the security and defense sector in the western part of the country for improving security and issued the necessary instructions.

    Also, President Ashraf Ghani’s wife, the first lady, Rula Ghani, in her Eid message, said, “The Taliban are using the mass media to create anxiety among the country’s citizens. In today’s situation where we are facing the cowardly attacks of the enemies of this land, as your spiritual mother, I ask you to be strong and steadfast, like Prophet Ibrahim, in the face of danger. This is our land and yours; so we need to join hands and get through this situation.”

    She also called on the people not to allow their enemies to repeat the dark history of the past once again. According to the official calendar of Afghanistan, tomorrow, Tuesday, is the first day of Eid al-Adha.

    Meanwhile, a credible security source in Kandahar province has confirmed that gunmen have killed the two sons of Fada Mohammad Afghan, a member of the provincial council. The source, who did not want to be named, told Etilaat Roz daily that the incident took place on Sunday night in the Spin Boldak district of the province. The source explained that the gunmen first took Fada Mohammad Afghan’s sons out of the house and then killed them. He stressed that the perpetrators of the incident have not yet been identified.

    The source said the sons of the Kandahar provincial council member may have been killed by the Taliban, who control the Spin Boldak district. The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter.

    This comes even as the “Afghanistan, Peace and Sustainable Security” conference begun on Monday with a speech by Ali Akbar Velayati, secretary-general of World Assembly of the Islamic Awakening. During the conference initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and hosted by the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening, more than 40 Afghan figures and representatives from Afghanistan’s neighbors and regional states, including Pakistan, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, will give a speech. The main point of the meeting is to focus on negotiations in the “process of developments in Afghanistan.”

    During the conference, a top advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said that the US has “sinister intentions” for Afghanistan but Afghan elites will foil all of them. Slamming the US’s military campaign in Afghanistan and 20 years of occupation, Ali Akbar Velayati said, “America has committed severe crimes and left behind great losses in Afghanistan instead of bringing development, and prosperity and now, the US is leaving the country with humiliation. Although they are still trying to destroy the remaining prosperity and divide the people of Afghanistan with evil provocations, the elites and intellectuals of Afghanistan will thwart these conspiracies as they know the US’s sinister intentions.” The Secretary-General of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening made the remarks on Monday while addressing the conference in Tehran. The history of Afghanistan is full of sacrifices and resistance of its people against colonialists and occupiers, from Soviet Army to US and NATO occupation, he added.

    The Afghan people have always stood against any aggression or excessive demand and the armies of the West and the East, that have been armed to the teeth, have failed against the will and resistance of these people, Velayati noted. The Islamic Republic of Iran has always called for strengthening brotherly ties with the Afghan nation that has had a major role in the Islamic civilization, said the advisor. The experience of the past 40 years shows that provocations by foreign states had led to the eruption of war between different ethnic groups; the same groups that had lived here peacefully for hundreds of years, he added.

    In other news, in a telephone conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar discussed how to investigate the abduction and torture of Silsila, daughter of Najibullah Alikhel, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan. According to the Foreign Ministry, the conversation took place on Monday. Atmar expressed concern over the remarks made by the Pakistani interior minister, saying that unprofessional comments and premature judgments severely damaged bilateral relations and the validity of ongoing investigations.

    The Foreign Minister added that Afghanistan is ready to cooperate with the Government of Pakistan in advancing the investigation into the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of this incident and ensuring the security of Afghan political missions and diplomats in that country. The Foreign Ministry said a delegation would also travel to Pakistan to co-operate in investigating the incident.

    Atmar said that in the light of the delegation’s findings, further steps will be taken regarding the return of the Afghan ambassador and diplomats. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also said that the incident was being taken seriously, as was the case with the children of Pakistan. He said that under the direct guidance of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the investigation into this matter will be completed soon and its implementation will be clear.

    Qureshi also assured the Foreign Minister of the country’s efforts to ensure the security of Afghanistan’s political missions and diplomats. Recently, following the abduction and beating of the daughter of the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad, the Afghan government summoned its ambassador and senior diplomats from Islamabad to Kabul.

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar met this morning with U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson to discuss strengthening bilateral relations, the latest developments in the peace process, and signed the agreement to transfer land and property in the southern part of the U.S. Embassy. At the beginning, Atmar thanked the United States for its assistance to Afghanistan in various areas, in particular the delivery of 3.3 million doses of Covid 19 vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Company and its first shipment to the country. Atmar also spoke about the importance of continuing cooperation between Kabul and Washington in the post-withdrawal phase of the Resolute Support forces from Afghanistan, and the new chapter in Afghanistan’s relations with the international community.

    Wilson also assured Atmar of continued U.S.’s economic, political, military, and security assistance, and of US support for the peace process and a political solution to the Afghan problem. At the end of their meeting, Atmar and Wilson signed an agreement on the transfer of property located in the southern part of the U.S. Embassy, and exchanged documents.

    Also, Nangarhar’s provincial officials say the tightening of checkpoints across the city is part of special measures for Eid al-Adha, and first-degree security measures have been put in place, so that people can happily celebrate Eid. Provincial Police Chief Sultan Daud Sultan said all forces were ready to provide security for the people during Eid, and assured all Nangarharis that heightened measures have been taken in both the districts and Jalalabad city.

  • 19 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Samangan’s Dara-i-Suf Bala District Liberated From Taliban Control

    Kabul: The Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Monday announced that the defense forces, security forces and popular uprisings have recaptured Dara-i-Suf Bala district in Samangan province from the Taliban.

    A statement released by the Ministry of Defense states that the district was recaptured by the government forces on Monday. According to the statement, Taliban fighters suffered heavy casualties during the operation. The Ministry of Defense, however, did not elaborate on the figures.

    Munir Rahimi, spokesman for the Samangan police, said that Amir Shahidullah, the Taliban’s deputy district governor for the district, and four of his bodyguards had been killed in the operation by government forces and uprising forces.

    However, local sources in Nijrab district of Kapisa province reported that after several days of fierce fighting between Taliban fighters and security forces, the district finally fell to the Taliban on Sunday night. Sources said that security forces have been relocated to Tapa Nijrab area and are trying to re-liberate the district from Taliban control.

    Also, Deh Rawood district was the sixth district in Uruzgan province that fell to the Taliban last night. All districts have fallen within a week. Provincial Governor Mohammad Omar Sherzad said that security personnel from Deh Rawood district arrived in Tarinkot city last night. The Taliban have also claimed to completely control the district. This comes as Tarinkot, the provincial capital, is surrounded from all directions, whilst all other areas of the province are under Taliban control.

    Meanwhile, Abdul Zahir Faizada, the governor of Ghor, told BBC that the Taliban had “closed” water supply to residents of the Dawlat Yar district since the past 12 days. He said that the Taliban’s aim was to “threaten” the people of district.

    About two weeks ago, local officials in Ghor province announced that hundreds of residents of the district had mobilized against the Taliban and expressed their support for the security forces. Governor of Ghor claimed that the blocked water canal is 25 kilometers long and irrigates about 5,000 acres of peasant land. According to him, one thousand families use it for drinking water and 1,200 gardens are irrigated. He said the Taliban had “planted mines” by closing the canals.

    Agriculture in the district is said to have been “severely damaged” by the water cut. The people have called for the help of government and charitable organizations to solve this problem and called on the government to ensure the security of this section.

    In other news, at around 8:30pm on Sunday, a remote-controlled mine which was attached to the car of Mohammad Nabi, the father of Abdul Rauf, a 10-year-old boy in Balkh who has been held captive for months, exploded. Officials at Abu Ali Sina Hospital in Balkh said that four people were killed and three injured in the blast.

    Mohammad Nabi confirmed the killing of his nephew and his driver in the incident, adding that those killed and wounded were all among his relatives. Adel Shah Adel, spokesman for the Balkh Police, confirmed the incident and told Salam Watandar that the bomb attached to Abdul Rauf’s father’s car went off in an alley near his house in the PD9 of Mazar-e-Sharif. According to him, three people were killed and four others were injured in the blast.

    Adel Shah Adel added that Mohammad Nabi himself was not in the car at the time of the explosion, and reports from the NDS investigation team indicate that the explosion was caused by a remote-controlled mine. Recently, unknown individuals threw a hand grenade at Mohammad Nabi’s house at night; but no one was injured in the incident.

    Abdul Rauf, a 10-year-old boy from Balkh, has been held hostage for about nine months now, and security forces have not been able to rescue him yet.