Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
At least four Afghan Policemen have been killed in a car bomb blast in Helmand province, security officials confirmed.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said, “The four soldiers were killed when an explosive-laden vehicle hit an Afghan forces outpost on Saturday evening in the district of Greshk.”
According to the statement, four policemen were killed and one other was wounded in the incident.
The Taliban group has claimed responsibility for the incident.
Local officials say that security forces have thwarted complex attacks by the Taliban group in Mash Aba and Qabr Zubair villages of Dasht-e Qala district of Takhar province.
Takhar Police command told Reporterly that at least four children were wounded and one other was wounded after Taliban’s missiles targeted a residential house during the clashes.
Police added that another individual named Muhammad Naser was also killed in Taliban’s attack.
Afghan security officials say at least five Taliban insurgents have been killed by their own bomb in Sar-e Pul province.
The 209th Shahin Corps in a statement on Sunday said that “At least five Taliban militants including a sniper and a bomb maker were killed after their bombs went off in Dara-e Ayband village of Sayad district on Saturday night at around 19:00pm (local time).”
The statement added that the incident occurred when the Taliban’s bomb maker was training the other group members.
Sky Brown doesn’t just spend her time practising her skills, she is also an ambassador for Skateistan, a charitable organisation in Afghanistan that uses skateboarding to enhance the lives of young children and girls in particular.
Eleven-year-old Sky, who is on course to become Britain’s youngest ever Olympian in Tokyo this summer, has been a “Citizen of Skateistan” for three years acting as an ambassador and helped them open a skate school in Phnom Penh in 2018.
She donates proceeds from skateboard decks on which she collaborated and also dons the Skateistan logo on her own board.
The theme at the centre of Skateistan’s movement is to ’empower children through skateboarding and creative education’ in ‘a place where they can feel free from fear’.
In a country where most women and girls are not taught to read, Skateistan combines skateboarding with school studies to provide girls with an education while giving them a healthy outlet through the art of skateboarding.
Founded in Kabul in 2007 by Australian skateboarder Oliver Perovich, the weekly attendance has continued to rocket and reached 2,351 in 2019, of which almost half (43%) were girls.
“The whole idea is that we were building something for the kids in Afghanistan and it doesn’t matter if they’re poor or rich or coming from different ethnicities,” said Perovich, who admits he originally only brought skateboards on his travels because he thought it might help him ‘make some skateboard buddies’.
Skateistan has also drawn the attention of skateboarding royalty, America’s Tony Hawk, and has been made into a documentary entitled Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (if You’re a Girl) by American film-maker Carol Dysinger.
In the film, one 12-year-old girl tells how it is tradition that once a girl grows up she doesn’t go outside. She points to the case of her own sister, who is one year her senior and is already shut away.
She finished with the powerful statement: “I don’t want to grow up, so I can skate forever.”
The son of Mohammad Mohaqiq, the second deputy of Chief Executive has been charged with murder after he shot his brother dead, Kabul Police confirmed.
“A clash erupted between the sons of Mr. Mohaqiq early on Sunday morning in PD3 of Kabul city,” Ferdaws Faramarz, spokesman of Kabul Police said.
Faramarz declared that Hussain Muhammad killed his brother Baqir Mohaqiq and wounded five guards of Mr. Mohaqiq as his relatives claimed that he has suffered from a mental illness.
“The wounded have been transferred to the hospital, security forces are at the incident area and investigations have started,” Faramarz added.
At least two American soldiers were killed and six more wounded when a firefight broke out in Sherzad district of Nangarhar province, a US forces spokesman, Col. Sonny Leggett confirmed.
The US spokesperson’s statement read: “Upon completing a key-leader engagement at the district center, current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan force with a machine gun.”
Earlier, The New York Times, quoting two Afghan officials, reported that five or six American soldiers and six Afghan soldiers were killed in clashes between them in the district of Sherzad in Nangarhar province on Saturday.
US Col Leggett said: “We are still collecting information and the cause or motive behind the attack is unknown at this time. The incident is under investigation,” adding: “In accordance with US Department of Defense policy, the names of the service members killed in action will be withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin is complete.”
The commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces in Afghanistan, General Austin Scott Miller says Afghan forces have high combat capabilities and the Taliban will not win through war.
The 209th Shahin Corps in a press release has said that Gen. Miller in his visit to Balkh province met with the commander of Shahin Corps and assessed the security situation of the province.
“Afghan security forces were able to dramatically change the situation in Balkh and inflict severe blows on the Taliban,” Gen. Miller said.
According to the press release, Gen. Miller emphasized continuing the process of clearing areas from Taliban control, describing the Taliban’s suppress as a result of the coordination and regular planning of the Afghan army.
“Peace is the long-term aspiration of the Afghan people, and all efforts are made to maintain peace by sustaining the Afghan people’s five-year achievements,” Miller added.
Retired General Jack Keane joined “America’s News HQ” Saturday to give his assessment of the situation in Afghanistan after news broke that American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.
Several U.S. personnel were either injured or killed, but the exact number and other details were not provided, The Associated Press said, citing a U.S. official who agreed to discuss the incident only on the condition of anonymity.
“What they want us to do, […] is obviously just give up and walk out of Afghanistan. And that would be a victory for them,” Keane told anchor Arthel Neville.
Keane voiced his concern over the U.S.’s negotiations with the Taliban and said the group is focused on “overthrowing the government.”
“What we’re trying to do, what our negotiating team is trying to do is fashion a settlement with the Taliban that will, one of the principal conditions will be for them to start negotiations with the Afghan government,” Keane said. “But we know for a fact that the Taliban, all they want is eventually to overthrow that government. They’ve never given up their desire for that. They’re not looking about sharing power.”
“Eighty five percent of the people are, still reject the Taliban. They’ve been rejecting them for 18 years in continuous surveys,” Keane added. “This is the most unpopular insurgency that I’ve ever been aware of in history. So, yeah, they’re not interested in a real political settlement.”
Neville asked Keane how close the U.S. was to reducing forces in the region.
“I think the administration is pretty close to reducing those forces,” Keane said. “And the administration likely not seeing a deal being made will probably just go ahead and unilaterally withdraw them and that’ll precipitate a withdrawal in kind or at least a reduction in kind from NATO.”
U.S. and Afghan forces came under attack in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said in Kabul, as they launched investigations into what the New York Times described as a deadly shootout between Afghan and American soldiers during a joint exercise.
The Times, quoting two Afghan officials, reported that five or six American soldiers and six Afghan soldiers were killed. The newspaper quoted a U.S. military official saying there were at least six American casualties and confirmed that there were fatalities without saying how many.
U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters, that based on initial information, there were multiple American casualties in the incident.
Mubariz Khadem, a senior security official in Nangarhar province, where the incident occurred, told Reuters on Saturday that clashes took place between U.S. and Afghan forces and casualties were feared.
Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said a combined U.S. and Afghan force conducting an operation in Nangarhar was engaged by direct fire.
“We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available,” he said.