Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Ghazni local authorities have reported that 249 Taliban insurgents including seven commanders of the group were killed in the past month. Meanwhile, authorities have said that 63 insurgents were injured and 32 others were arrested.
“During first month of new solar year, Afghan security forces and coalition air force, launched more than 100 air and commando operations in surrounding of center of the province and districts of the province,” said Wahidullah Kalimzai, governor of Ghazni on Monday during his visit from joint operation of security forces in center of the province.
According to Ghazni governor, these operations were launched on hideouts, centers and Taliban gatherings on the outskirts of the city and Khwaja Omari, Khogyani, Gelan, Waghaz, Giro, Andar, Nawa, Qarabagh, Moqor and Ab Band districts of Ghazni.
“34 security forces were killed and 22 others wounded in the past month,” Ghazni governor stressed.
Kalimzai added that, during the first month of new solar year 11 civilians were killed and 27 others, including women and children, were injured.
The Presidential Palace officials have apologized over the alleged assault of a senior journalist Abdullah Khenjani by the security guards of President Protective Service (PPS).
Khenjani on Monday said that he was briefly detained, beaten, and his mobile was forcefully snatched and reviewed by the PPS guards.
Presidential spokesperson Shahussain Murtazawi said that he visited the office of 1TV News together Gen. Riaz Aryan and Haroon Chakhansuri to apologize over the alleged assault of Mr. Khenjani at the hands of PPS security guards.
Murtazawi further added that Mr. Khenjani was assured that the government is prepared to fully cooperate to thoroughly investigate the incident.
Mr. Khenjani appeared in a press conference on Monday afternoon claiming that the PPS security guards also briefly detained him besides checking his mobile phone. He also added that he was invited for an off-the-record record discussion at the Government Media Information Center (GMIC) but was prevented from attending the meeting.
Local officials have reported that seven IS-K terrorists were killed in Nangarhar province.
As a result of coalition air strike in Margha area of Deh Bala district of Nangarhar province, seven IS-K terrorists were killed, 201 Silab Corps said in a statement on Monday.
Deh Bala district is one of the border districts of Nangarhar province which has witnessed massive presence of ISI-K group for a while now.
Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, on his visit to Iran said that the issue of Afghanistan, the four decades of war in Afghanistan, has affected Pakistan and Iran, saying “At one point Pakistan hosted four million refugees and today we have 2.7 million, he said, adding that Iran has hosted almost three million”.
Khan announced that it is in the interest of both Iran and Pakistan that there be peace in Afghanistan and “we will cooperate with each other in helping there be a political settlement there. If there is peace in Afghanistan it will help not just the people of Afghanistan, but Pakistan and Iran in trade”.
He added that there will also be employment and a better standard of living for people.
“We have decided to cooperate in helping there be a political settlement in Afghanistan”, Khan announced.
He expressed his belief that without justice there is no peace.
Khan condemned the Israeli occupation of Golan Heights and added that political dialogue, not military means will bring peace and stability.
Local officials reported that seven workers were killed as a result of coal mine explosion in Samangan province.
“Seven workers were killed as a result of a coal mine explosion in Dahan Toor area, in Dara-e-Soof-e-Bala district in Samangan”, Mohammad Ali Hassani, district governor of Dara-e-Soof-e-Bala told Reporterly on Monday.
Hassani stressed that, these workers died due to explosion caused by the presence of gas in the mine. He added that the rescue team taken out the dead bodies from mine.
Security officials reported the disclosure and dismantlement of insurgents’ hideout in Kabul.
In an operation by Police Special Unit on a hideout of insurgents in Hasan Qala village of Surobi district in Kabul province on Sunday night, an explosives-laden vehicle was seized, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement.
The statement added that a weapons cache was also discovered and seized by security forces.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah expressed that the Qatar conference was interrupted due to “mismanagement”, leading to a lost opportunity for talks.
He said this while addressing the Council of Ministers meeting on Monday.
The anticipated intra-Afghan meeting was cancelled last week due to disagreement of Qatari government with respect to constituents of the Afghan delegation. This was informed by the Presidential Palace in a statement issued late on April 16.
However Taliban issued a statement saying that such a cancellation of the Qatar meeting was an act by the NUG government to cancel the conference altogether.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo furthermore urged for seeking another Intra-Afghan dialogue.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad also reacted to the cancelled talks, and said in a tweet that he is “disappointed” that Qatar’s intra-Afghan initiative “has been delayed”.
Local officials reported that 10 individuals were released from Taliban prison in Ghazni province.
Ghazni press office said on Monday that, nine Taliban insurgents were killed and five others captured as a result of special forces operations in Lailezi, Vala and Tula villages in Qarabagh district of the province.
“During the operation, 10 prisoners who were kept in a container also managed to escape from the Taliban prison”, the statement added.
The Islamic State-Khorasan terrorist group has claimed responsibility of the attack that took place on Saturday which targeted the building of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
The death toll from Saturday’s attack on the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoITC) rose to 10, a day after militants launched an attack on the facility, a security official said.
Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior said that three of those wounded during the five hour long attack had died due to severe wounds.
Rahimi added that seven civilians including two women and three security forces were killed.
According to Rahimi, five civilians were also wounded in the attack.
On Saturday morning several suicide bombers targeted the Ministry and clashes between the attackers and security forces continued until the afternoon. All attackers of MoICT were killed by security forces.
Kabul experienced a relative lull that was broken by Saturday’s attack.
Taliban denied responsibility while no other group, including Islamic State that has active cell in the Afghan capital, has yet claimed the attack.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke by phone on Saturday with Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani over the trapped peace talks between Afghan leaders and the Taliban, the U.S. State Department said on Sunday.
Pompeo voiced the United States’ disappointment over the postponed intra-Afghan dialogue, spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
Pompeo called for an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue to be convened in the Qatari capital of Doha “as soon as possible,” the statement added.
The intra-Afghan dialogue had been slated for April 19-21 in Doha to find a negotiated settlement to Afghanistan’s protracted war and civil strife. But the dialogue was abruptly postponed on Thursday reportedly amid an eruption of internal disputes and Taliban complaints about the composition of the Afghan government delegation.