Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
At least 40 people were killed and wounded in an explosion in Aybak city, the capital of Samangan province on Monday.
Abdul Khalil Musadiq, provincial head of the health department said 43 people, including three children and a woman, were taken to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Sediq Azizi, spokesperson for Samangan governor said, that the blast happened near the provincial headquarters of National Directorate of Security (NDS).
The incident took place around 11 am. Azizi said it was triggered by a car bomb, following which attackers also entered the target and gunshots were heard.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to Kabul Ross Wilson, stressed on preserving the achievements of the last 19 years as he shared ideas with the members of the Afghan government’s negotiating team on Monday.
“Our EnduringPartnership that has advanced education, health, freedoms, and rights for the Afghan people demonstrates U.S. commitment here, and it will continue.,” Wilson tweeted.
During the meeting, he shared the agenda items that were non-negotiable.
“I stressed our shared priorities – a sovereign, democratic, and united Afghanistan, at peace with itself and its neighbors, rooted in the demands of its people, and preserving the gains of the last 19 years, including the rights of minorities, women and girls.”
He also emphasized on the completion of the prisoner exchange process and for the Taliban to reduce violence to “start the next chapter” and move towards the beginning of the intra-Afghan peace talks.
With the increase in Taliban attacks in Kandahar, General Tadin Khan, the police chief, warned the militants that he would retaliate if they continue destroying public property.
In his tweets on Monday, Khan shared photos of checkpoints that were destroyed by the Taliban along the Kandahar-Raghistan highway the previous day.
The Taliban had warned the public from traveling along the highway and set off three explosion on Monday evening, destroying parts of the highway.
“Operations are underway against the defenders of Taliban’s interests,” Khan wrote.
“Soon you will see their [Taliban’s] mutilated corpses.”
ترهګرو تېره شپه د ارغستان پر لویه لاره د ملکي وګړو د تګ راتګ ۳ پلونه د ماینونو په ذریعه تخریب کړي،
چي ورسره سم ملي امنیتي ځواکونو د نورو ۳ پلونو لاندي ۸ ډبې چاودیدونکي توکي کشف کړي دي.
د پنجاب د ګټو د مدافعینو په وړاندې عملیات پر لار دي،
ډېر ژر به یې ټوټه شوي جسدونه ووینئ. pic.twitter.com/jzpzKJRoLd
— General Tadeen Khan Achakzai تادين خان اچکزي (@GenTadeenKhan) July 13, 2020
The Kandahar governor’s office said security forces also managed to find and defuse eight more mines.
In recent days, provincial officials said the public had complained that they could not travel to Kandahar from Raghistan district in neighbouring Badakhshan, and even reported shortages of food.
The Taliban waged a sustained assault in Samngan’s provincial capital Aybak on Monday, which led to 10 deaths and 54 injured people.
The attack began with a car bomb exploding near the provincial National Directorate of Security (NDS) office at around 11am and gunshots were heard as attackers stormed the building.
Four gunmen then entered the compound, where after hours of clashing with the Afghan security forces, they were shot dead, confirmed Samangan Governor Abdul Latif Ebrahimi.
He also mentioned the casualties are likely to increase with civilians accounting for most of the injured.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported 154 new cases of Coronavirus, 28 fatalities and 64 recoveries in the past 24 hours.
Officials at the ministry said they were able to test 883 samples during the day.
New cases were reported in Kabul (78), Daykundi (26), Badakhshan (11), Bamyan (11), Takhar (8), Kandahar (4), Paktia (4), Baghlan (3), Parwan (3), Kapisa (2), Helamnd (1), Panjshir (1), Zabul (1) and Nimroz (1).
Kabul also topped the list with 24 deaths reported in the province.
The country’s current tally is 34,605 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,038 patients have died and 21,280 recovered.
Pakistani militia members are aiding Taliban fighters who are engaged in clashes with security forces in Paktia’s Dand Wa Patan district, the local governor said on Monday.
Eid Mohammad Ahmadzai, the governor of the district said the combined might of the militants were inflicting heavy casualties on the Afghan forces. In coordinated attacks in Dand Wa Patan.
Ahmadzai said many Taliban members from Quetta were also entering the district as reinforcements and asked the government to provide reinforcements to the security forces.
Pakistan has decided to reopen its Wagah border crossing with India from July 15 to “facilitate Afghanistan’s transit trade,” said their Prime Minister’s Special representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq on Monday.
“We have already restored bilateral trade and Afghan transit trade at all border crossings,” Sadiq tweeted, pointing to their commitments under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).
The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs attributed this move to the “special request of the Government of Afghanistan” and said activities will resume as soon as the COVID-19 related protocols are implemented.
At least 11 security forces were killed and nine injured in Taliban attacks in Imam Sahib and Chahar Dara districts of Kunduz province, the provincial governor’s office said on Monday.
Kunduz governor’s spokesperson Esmatullah Moradi said, that three security forces and three local police officers were killed, and another police officer was injured in the Taliban attack on Chahar dara on early Monday morning.
Moradi said the attack began at 3 am and continued till reinforcements arrived. Three Taliban members were also killed and four wounded.
Another attack in the Imam Sahib district saw five police officers and four civilians killed and eight people, including several civilians, injured.
The attack began late on Sunday and continued till 6am on Monday when several dozen Taliban tried to overrun the district’s police station.
Moradi said at least six Taliban were killed and several others wounded when the security forces repelled the attackers.
Clashes in the Baghlan were reported by members of the provincial council, who expressed concern over the growing insecurity and said Taliban has amped up its activities in the Cheshme Shir and Dand-e-Ghori area.
There are reports of the group setting up checkpoints in the area and collecting 5,000 to 30,000 AFN from each passing freight vehicle.
Over 200 passenger vehicles are also stranded along the Samangan and Robatak highways as the Taliban gave them an ultimatum to pay for crossing, near Pul-e-Khumri city.
According to a council member, the Taliban is charging a passage fee of 5,000 AFN for small trucks, 10,000 AFN for ten-cylinder vehicles, 20,000 AFN for fuel trucks and 30,000 AFN from the 18-wheelers.
There are also reports of clashes with security forces in at least six of the 14 districts of Baghlan.
Meanwhile, the Baghlan governor’s office assured that while Taliban have been active in the province, security forces have been combatting them.
The Office of the National Security Council (NSC) said the Afghan government has released 180 Taliban prisoners in recent days, spokesperson Javid Faisal said on Monday.
Faisal tweeted the government has released 4,199 Taliban prisoners so far and pointed that the Taliban had yet to meet the commitments of the Doha agreement.
“The Taliban have failed to live up to their commitments, and so far, not only have they not released a thousand prisoners of war, but they have not stopped killing Afghans,” Faisal said.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said the prisoner release process should be completed in accordance to the list submitted to the government by the group’s technical team.
Till now, the Taliban has released over 700 security forces.