Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: A fundraiser has been set up to support the People’s Uprising Movement in Herat. Abdul Raziq Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Movement in Herat, told Salamwatandar that the fund had been created spontaneously by the people.
Abdul Raziq Ahmadi adds that the donations collected in this fund will be spent for the frontline fighters, the wounded and the families of the victims of the People’s Uprising Movement. According to him, a number of Herat residents inside and outside the province have already donated to the fund.
The spokesman for the Movement in Herat also said that a number of benefactors inside and outside Herat had also announced their readiness to help. He emphasized that the creation of this fund shows the strong will of the people of Herat to stand against the Taliban and that this resistance will last as long as the Taliban do not make peace.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, an adviser to former President Hamid Karzai, has recently taken over the leadership of the Council for International, Political, Popular and Financial Support of the Popular Resistance Movement led by Mohammad Ismail Khan. However, Abdul Raziq Ahmadi, a spokesman for the People’s Uprising Movement in Herat, said that in addition to Spanta, a number of other Herat figures had taken responsibility for the political and cultural support of the Movement.
Meanwhile, the meeting of the National Mobilization Military Council was held in the presence of the leader of the Islamic Jamiat and the commanders of political parties. In this meeting, the area of responsibility and the lines of each section were identified and divided. Parties and commanders expressed their readiness to carry out their duties and defend the people. The commanders assured the people that they would stand up for their lives to defend Balkh. The parties listed their needs, including tanks and ammunition, and called for their immediate provision.
This comes even as for several days now a campaign has been launched on social networks under the title of “Sanction Pakistan”. A number of high-ranking government officials, including Amrullah Saleh, the first vice-president, have also joined the campaign. Users are urging the United Nations and the international community to boycott Pakistan by using the hashtag #SanctionPakistan. According to social media users, Pakistan supports the Taliban and interferes in Afghanistan, which is why UN sanctions should be imposed on the country.
The campaign was formed ahead of a special UN Security Council meeting on Friday, but resumed on Monday. The campaign hashtag has become a dominant trend on Twitter and Facebook. As of Monday evening, the hashtag had been used about 140,000 times on Twitter and nearly 100,000 times on Facebook.
Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been strained for months. Officials in Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of openly supporting the Taliban. Islamabad has always denied the allegations and claims to be a supporter of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
In other news, Germany’s defense minister rejected on Monday calls for its soldiers to return to Afghanistan after Taliban insurgents took Kunduz city where German troops were deployed for a decade. Germany had the second largest military contingent in Afghanistan after the United States, losing more troops in combat in Kunduz than anywhere else since World War Two.
The Taliban overran three provincial capitals including Kunduz at the weekend as it pressed an offensive since foreign troops began a withdrawal. “The reports from Kunduz and from all over Afghanistan are bitter and hurt a lot,” Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Twitter. “Are society and parliament prepared to send the armed forces into a war and remain there with lots of troops for at least a generation? If we are not, then the joint withdrawal with the partners remains the right decision.”
Meanwhile, on the other hand, Dr. Wahid Majrooh, Acting Minister of Public Health, met Filipe Ribeiro, the Afghanistan representative for Doctors Without Borders, at his office to discuss humanitarian assistance during the violent times. In this meeting, there was a discussion on how to provide the services of Doctors Without Borders in the country and the joint cooperation of the Ministry of Public Health with this institution.
The Acting Minister of Public Health thanked Médecins Sans Frontières for its services and all the doctors currently serving in the war-torn provinces, and stressed the need to strengthen the organization’s cooperation in Afghanistan.
Dr. Majrooh also said that in addition to dealing with trauma cases, daily activities in the health centers of war-torn provinces should be strengthened. Ribeiro, emphasizing on the cooperation of this organization with the Ministry of Public Health, said that they are going to establish a 25-bed unit for trauma cases in Kandahar province and also to Kunduz, Helmand and other provinces where this organization provides services Medication and assistive equipment.
Filipe also pledged to continue emergency services for children and corona in Herat province. He also thanked the Ministry of Public Health for its cooperation with the organization and praised the efforts of the health sector in providing health services. Médecins Sans Frontières operates in Khost, Herat, Kandahar, Helmand and Kunduz provinces and provides health services to the public alongside the Ministry of Public Health.
Kabul: One civilian was killed and three others were injured in an explosion in PD2 of Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province. Adel Shah Adel, a spokesperson for the Balkh police, said the blast took place in PD2 of Mazar-e-Sharif on Monday afternoon.
According to Adel, based on initial reports, one civilian was killed and three others were injured in the blast, which was caused by improvised explosive devices. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Meanwhile, Denmark plans to evacuate Afghans who worked for the Danish military in the country, the country’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod has said, following the example of the US. “We are ready to evacuate particularly threatened employees in Afghanistan at very short notice and move the handling of their case from Afghanistan to Denmark”, Kofod told the newspaper Berlingske.
Kofod’s statement follows a debate on the fate of the Afghans that supported the Danish military during the nearly 20-year US-led mission. While it is not yet clear how the evacuation will proceed, Kofod said that Denmark won’t leave anyone in the lurch.
Earlier, US President Joe Biden promised to evacuate Afghans working for the American military in the country. While the decision involves some 18,000 personnel, including their families, the figure could grow up to 100,000 Afghans who could be granted asylum in the US.
Violence has escalated in Afghanistan as international operations in the country wind down and the Taliban seized the opportunity and went on the offensive, winning swaths of territory.
Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said that he and the representatives of the Qatari office of the Taliban would hash over the Taliban’s recent territorial expansions in Afghanistan in Doha. “We will discuss this in Doha,” he said when asked the relevant question. “Yes, they [the Taliban] captured two administrative centers of provinces. They might possibly take more. However, a balance will inevitably be established,” Kabulov added.
On Friday, the Taliban took control over the city of Zaranj, capital of the Nimruz Province that borders Iran. On Saturday, the militants captured Sheberghan, the administrative center of the Jowzjan Province located in north Afghanistan. On August 11, Kabulov will take part in a meeting of the expanded trio (Russia, the US, China, Pakistan) addressing the settlement in Afghanistan.
Also, more than 10 jets and helicopters of the Central Military District will be involved in joint military exercises of Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at the Kharb-Maidon training ground located 20 km away from the border with Afghanistan, the district’s press service told reporters on Monday.
“A Su-25 jet cell, Mi-24 attack helicopter as well as Mi-8 transport and combat helicopters of various modifications are involved in the exercises. In the main stage of the drills, the pilots will train looking for disguised bases of a hypothetical enemy and striking targets that imitate a gathering of manpower and hardware with missiles and bombs,” the statement reads. During the drills, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will practice operations to eliminate armed gangs, conduct air reconnaissance and guard crucial facilities. A total of 2,500 officers and men are involved, including 1,800 from Russia, and about 500 units of military hardware. The 201st military base provided the bulk of the Russian contingent. The exercise will last till August 10.
This comes even as Pakistan, which was set to hold an Afghan peace conference last month, is now preparing to host a meeting of foreign ministers from neighboring countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to help overcome Afghan crisis. Local media reported on Monday that Pakistan has planned a conference as its latest diplomatic effort to bring peace in Afghanistan.
“Islamabad is trying to host the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries,” a senior Pakistani foreign ministry official told the Express Tribune. “The main agenda of the conference of foreign ministers of neighboring countries is to build a consensus on Afghanistan and find a common solution to save the country from civil war and to encourage a comprehensive political solution,” he said. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry official did not mention the names of the participating countries, but it is said that the foreign ministers from Iran, China, Russia and Turkey will be among the most important delegations invited to attend the Islamabad conference.
The Pakistani government had announced plans to hold a peace conference last month with high-ranking Afghan officials and leaders of various factions, but the plan was postponed at the request of Kabul.
This comes even as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths released a statement on Afghanistan, saying that he is extremely concerned by the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan where more than 1,000 people have been killed or injured due to indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Hilmand, Kandahar and Hirat provinces in the last month alone.
“Afghan children, women and men are suffering and forced to live with violence, insecurity, and fear every day. There are grave concerns for women’s survival and basic human rights,” he said, adding that he condemned the attacks against civilians and called for a ceasefire.
Even, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative Hervé Ludovic De Lys released a statement on rapid escalation of grave violations against children. “UNICEF is shocked by the rapid escalation of grave violations against children in Afghanistan. In the last 72 hours, 20 children have been killed and 130 children have been injured in Kandahar province; two children were killed and three were injured in Khost province; and in Paktia province, five children were killed and three were injured,” the representative said.
The representative also added that UNICEF is also deeply concerned about reports that children are, increasingly, being recruited into the conflict by armed groups. UNICEF called on all those engaged in mediation efforts to uphold the warring parties to their international obligations to children.
On the other hand, civil society representatives at a series of UN-backed radio programs in Central Afghanistan called on the parties to conflict to stop fighting and return to the negotiation table. The series is part of UNAMA’s outreach effort to facilitate dialogue at the community level.
During the radio programmes in Panjshir, Parwan and Kapisa provinces, speakers representing religious institutions, civil society, women councils, academia, and youth groups stressed that there is no justification for violence, armed conflict and loss of lives. They asserted that the wellbeing of all Afghans should be central to and the goal of peace talks.
“Women and youth are the main victims of war and must stand up against it,” said a rights activist, Shayesta Mehraban, in Panjshir. “The youth must convince each other that war is not the solution – we are all suffering and being killed in the war. If the youth stop fighting, the war inevitably ends.”
At a radio roundtable in Kapisa, Najibullah Rahimi, a former member of the Kapisa Provincial Council, said that waging war is “forbidden by the Sharia and international laws – because it is killing people, destroying houses and public facilities”. “It is the religious and moral responsibility of every Afghan to play their role in stopping the war because war cannot be won with war, it must end, Afghans are no longer able to tolerate it,” she added.
Another speaker, Shamela Begi, stressed that tolerance and respect for each other views is key to disputes through reason and peaceful means. “There is no alternative to peace, and Afghans are in dire need of peace, they should multiply efforts to establish peace and end the war by combating all ethnic, religious and regional differences,” Shamela Begi argued. In Parwan, Roya Sabet, a women’s rights activist, reminded that “war has devastating effects on our individual, family, and social life, especially more grievous for women.” Roya Sabet called on the warring parties to refrain from killing each other, avoid civilian casualties and end the war to have a progressive and prosperous Afghanistan.
Maulavi Ahmadullah Hasheminajad, a religious scholar in Panjshir, sustained that “if war could bring development and prosperity, the people of Afghanistan would have the most prosperous life in the world, but unfortunately, because of the longstanding conflict we are staying behind”. “Peace is the guarantor of any progress,” stressed Hashminajad.
Participants unanimously reiterated the need to end the conflict which they said had caused devastation and untold suffering to millions of Afghans for decades. The UNAMA facilitated radio series was organized and aired out by Radio Kechken in Panjshir, Radio Dunya Naween in Parwan and Radio Sada-e-Nijrab in Kapisa.
Kabul: The defense and security forces repulsed the enemy’s offensive attacks in Shir Darwaza, Purak and Poza Niazi areas of Mohammad Agha district of Logar province on Sunday night and were completely defeated.
As a result, 14 Taliban terrorists were killed and three others were wounded. Weapons and ammunition of the enemy were also destroyed.
Also, as per the 215 Maiwand Corps, the Afghan Air Force once again launched airstrikes on the Taliban offensive in Helmand provincial police headquarters on Monday morning. As a result of initial reports, 45 Taliban terrorists were killed and wounded during the strikes. The operation to clear the city of Lashkargah of terrorists continues successfully.
However, sources in Samangan told Salamwatandar that the Taliban had captured the provincial capital, Aibak ciyu, without any clashes. According to sources, government forces retreated to a village near the Dara Suf Bala and Dara Suf Payeen districts.
Sources add that the Taliban are now in the city of Aibak and have moved to the governor’s office; but they have not yet entered the provincial building.
Also, security sources in Ghazni province confirm that Taliban fighters have killed two abducted policewomen in the provincial capital. The source, who did not want to be named in the news, told Etilaat roz daily on Monday that the Taliban had killed the two policewomen on Sunday evening in Ghazni.
According to him, the Taliban had dumped their bodies in the “Kashk” area of Ghazni city. The bodies of the two female police officers have now been transferred to Ghazni Civil Hospital by the Red Cross. The Taliban abducted the two policewomen two days before from Sai Ganj in PD1 of Ghazni city. The policewomen, named “Ozra” and “Maryam”, belonged to the PD3 of Ghazni city. The Taliban abducted them on their way home from work.
And, Taliban insurgents wanted to target civilians, and security forces with a car bomb in the Abdullah Qala area of Paktia’s provincial center on Sunday night. However, by identifying and targeting the car bomb before reaching the target, the defense forces prevented a deadly terrorist incident and saved the lives of dozens of people, said the Ministry of Defense.
In other news, Minister Fazl Ahmad Manavi, Minister of the Justice, emphasized on the need to provide services to the people at a meeting of the Ministry’s Leadership Council, saying that the general situation should not be neglected.
The meeting of the Leadership Council of the Ministry of Justice was held on Monday, under the chairmanship of the Minister of Justice and the participation of the Deputy Central Directors of the Ministry. Manavi said at the meeting that the situation would change soon and instructed the relevant department officials to implement their plans in order to provide services to the people in any normal way.
The Minister of Justice also emphasized on the digitization of processes in this ministry and said that according to the presidential decree, in the field of simplification of the process and implementation of the license, action should be taken through the “single method” of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. In Monday’s meeting, the fate of provincial employees in insecure provinces was also discussed, and considering that it is a public issue, it was decided that a plan be made and submitted to the cabinet.
On the other hand, President Ashraf Ghani, in a meeting with members of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and a number of entrepreneurs, said that the private sector would be exempt from paying customs duties for one month.
The meeting took place on Sunday at the Presidential Palace and the members of the Federation of Afghan Chambers expressed their demands and problems regarding the import of food raw materials. In response to their demands, President Ghani said that the exemption from paying the customs tariff is a test and after a month, a decision will be made according to the situation.
He considers the private sector as his right hand and added that those who take bribes from the private sector are committing national treason. Ghani has instructed the Ministry of Finance, in consultation with the private sector, to recruit staff through a transparent process and to provide the necessary conditions for exports. Ghani has also instructed the Office of the President, the Ministry of Finance and the Kabul Municipality to work together to solve the private sector problem.
While most of the commercial customs on the border with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Iran have fallen to the Taliban in the past month, members of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce have said that about 10,000 tons of food raw materials have been distributed to markets.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday recorded 235 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and 25 deaths in the past 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 151,013, while the death toll is 6,961.
This comes even as Mahmoud Shah Rasuli, head of the press department of the Herat Police Command, said that on Sunday night unidentified armed robbers entered the COVID-19 Shaidayee hospital in the province and stole the property of doctors and patients in their beds and relatives. According to him, investigations have begun to identify and arrest the thieves.
Kabul: The Interior Ministry said on Monday that the Taliban’s plan to attack Herat, Kandahar and Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province, has been foiled.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai said in a video message that the situation in these cities has returned to normal. Stanekzai added that Taliban fighters in the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Lashkargah had suffered heavy casualties in recent days. He also said that security and defense forces are currently patrolling these cities on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Herat Governor Abdul Sabur Qane told a news conference that Taliban militants had repulsed an attack in the Pul-e Minardar, Imam Shash Noor and Shaidayee areas of Herat city. In recent weeks, the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Lashkargah have witnessed heavy attacks by the Taliban. The Afghan government has also said it has suppressed Taliban militants in various parts of the city.
Simultaneously with the Taliban attacks in the cities of Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital and Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province, an Interior Ministry spokesman said that security belts had been tightened to repel Taliban attacks on these cities. He also said that security and defense forces were still resisting Taliban attacks in the cities of Kunduz, Sar-e Pul and Sheberghan, the center of Jawzjan, and that clashes were ongoing between the two sides. Mirwais Stanekzai also added that government troops are advancing in the city of Kunduz on Monday.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced that the Taliban’s attack on Dehdadi district and the outskirts of Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, has been repulsed by security forces. Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, tweeted on Monday that the Taliban’s attack on Dehdadi district and the outskirts of Mazar-e-Sharif had failed due to resistance from the country’s security and defense forces.
Aman added that the Taliban had suffered heavy casualties in clashes between security forces and the Taliban. He did not give the exact number of Taliban casualties. Meanwhile, the Balkh Police said in a statement that security forces and the popular uprising in the areas of Pul-e Imam Bakri and Tokhta villages in Dehdadi district of Balkh province are fighting the Taliban and repelling the group’s attacks.
Balkh police added that the country’s air force had also bombed Taliban positions in the district, killing and wounding dozens of militants. The Balkh Police said that Taliban fighters had fled the area and that fighting was continuing sporadically in the district.
In the meanwhile, a security source told Salamwatandar that army helicopters had moved local and security officials in Sar-e-Pul, who were under Taliban siege, to Jawzjan and Balkh on Monday morning. “After the transfer of the governor, the police chief, the head of national security and the trapped forces destroyed the weapons and equipment left in the area following several airstrikes,” the source said.
The source added that except for Balkhab district of Sar-e-Pul province, all other areas of the province have been captured by the Taliban.
In other news, sources in Samangan said that a number of prisoners in the province’s public prison have been released by order of the governor. According to sources, the number of detainees was more than 100, who were arrested in connection with criminal offenses, including women and children. Sources added that several Taliban members were among the detainees.
Samangan Governor Mohammad Dawood Kalkani also confirmed to Salamwatandar that a number of prisoners in the province’s public prison who had been detained in connection with criminal offenses had been released on their own terms. According to him, no Taliban fighters are among the released prisoners.
Kabul: Security forces and popular uprising forces after a counter-terrorism operation were able to clear the Warsaj district of Taliban terrorists. Police forces are currently stationed in the district headquarters of Takhar province.
Also, the Taliban abducted Nematullah Hemmat, head of Bost local radio broadcasts, in the Nawa district of Helmand. Abdul Sami Ghairatmal, head of Nai or Supporting open Media in Afghanistan Office in the south, told RFE / RL that Hemmat had gone to his home in Nawa district and that the Taliban had taken him out of the house on Sunday.
“Hemmat has been arrested by the Taliban and is with them. Based on their understanding and commitment to the media, our demand and wish is that Nematullah Hemmat be released as soon as possible,” Ghairatmal added. All private media outlets in Helmand have stopped broadcasting following the recent Taliban attacks on Lashkargah.
However, security and public sources in Kunduz told Salamwatandar that the Taliban, after seizing the police headquarters, the provincial building, the National Security Department and the siege of the province on Sunday, on Monday morning, the General Raziq circle, one of the areas near Kunduz airport has also collapsed to the group.
According to sources, the Taliban are now on the road to the Hajj and religious Affairs Department in Sardawra township, and security forces are further away in the Estiqlal Park area of the township. Kunduz security officials have not commented on the matter.
Also, police in PD7 of Herat Police headquarters discovered a 10-liter barrel (IED) ring set by armed opposition attached to a cord at the Hawze Karbas. The mentioned mine ring was defused by the Engineering Directorate of Criminal Management of Herat Police Command, as per the Herat Press and Public Relations Department.
Meanwhile, on Monday morning, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with Mohammad Younis Qanuni, former Vice-President at the Presidential Palace. In this meeting, in addition to discussing the general security situation in the country, Mohammad Younes Qanuni announced his full support for the system, security and defense forces, strengthening the voice and united front against the enemy and protecting the achievements of the last two decades
Ghani also met with Dr. Sadeq Mudaber, Chairman of the National Cohesion Party, at the Presidential Palace. During the meeting, in addition to discussing the general security situation, Dr. Sadegh Mudaber expressed his full support for the republican system, security and defense forces, and the preservation of the values of the past two decades as a result of the efforts and sacrifices of Afghans.
Ghani also met with prominent political and jihadi leaders and figures and the Speakers of the National Assembly, the lower and Upper houses in the Presidential Palace this morning. In this meeting, while supporting the security and defense forces and the survival and continuity of the republic, a decision was made regarding the cohesion, strengthening and rapid equipping of the popular uprisings within the government against the enemy’s invasion.
Kabul: Local sources in Balkh, Samangan and Baghlan provinces confirm that Taliban fighters have attacked the provincial capitals.
Adel Shah Adel, a spokesman for the Balkh Police, told Etilaat Roz daily that Taliban fighters had attacked the Pul-e Imam Bakri area in Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital, last night. Adel added that the Taliban attack was met with resistance from security and defense forces, and that Taliban fighters did not advance from the area to the city center. He stressed that there is currently a clash between the two sides in the region.
But Mohammad Afzal Hadid, chairman of the Balkh Provincial Council said that the Taliban had been active in several areas around the city. According to him, the Taliban movements in these areas have faced resistance from government forces and as a result the Taliban have been defeated. Hadid stressed that the clashes in Mazar-e-Sharif have now stopped.
The Taliban claimed, however, on Monday morning that its fighters had attacked the city of Mazar-e-Sharif from four directions. The group said its fighters had entered the city of Mazar-e-Sharif from Kota Barq front.
Meanwhile, Haji Razmohammad, head of the Samangan provincial council, said that the Taliban had attacked the Aibak city, the provincial capital, from several directions last night. According to him, the Taliban attack has already been repulsed by government forces. On the other hand, another member of Samangan Provincial Council said that security forces were transferred from Hazrat Sultan district of this province to Aibak “protect the city of Aibak”. He said the Sultan district was now under Taliban control.
However, Samangan National Security Chief Sayed Amir Shah Sadat has assured that government troops are fully prepared to protect the city of Aibak. He said that the new commando forces have left the Hazrat Sultan district and are stationed in the security belts of Aibak city.
The Taliban also attacked the Pul-e-Khumri city the capital of Baghlan in the northeast of the country, on Monday morning. Ahmad Javid Besharat, spokesman for the Baghlan Police, said that clashes between the two sides are ongoing in parts of Pul-e-Khumri. He stressed, however, that the Taliban attack in parts of the suburbs had been repulsed by government forces and popular resistance forces. Besharat added that the group’s fighters had suffered heavy casualties during the clashes in the Taliban attack. However, he did not provide a figure in this regard.
Meanwhile, Taliban fighters attacked the cities of Sar-e-Pul, Kunduz and Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, on Sunday and took control of these cities. Also, Nangarhar police spokesman Farid Khan told Subhe Kabul daily that two civilians were wounded this morning in a roadside bomb blast in PD7 of Jalalabad, the provincial capital.
This comes even as local sources in Samangan province said that Mohammad Asif Azimi, a former member of the Senate, has joined the Taliban. Mohammad Hashim Sarwari, deputy head of the Samangan provincial council, told subhe Kabul daily that Mohammad Asif Azimi had joined the Taliban on Sunday night along with more than 80 people under his command. According to him, Mohammad Asif Azimi has been in contact with the Taliban for a week, and since he joined, the Taliban have launched attacks on the city of Aibak. “Mohammad Asif Azimi was the group’s military commander during the Taliban regime, after which he ran for a Senate term,” said Sarwari. Even, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that Mohammad Asif Azimi, joined the group with 252 of his gunmen.
Also, local officials in Balkh province said that clashes between security forces and Taliban fighters are taking place in the security belts of Mazar-e-Sharif. Sayed Abdullah Masroor, deputy head of the Balkh provincial council, told Subhe Kabul daily that security forces had advanced several kilometers around Mazar-e-Sharif and that clashes are currently taking place in the city’s belts.
According to him, Taliban fighters have not yet been able to enter the city. Atta Mohammad Noor, former governor of Balkh, wrote on his Facebook page that the security forces and the popular uprising would not allow the Taliban to enter Mazar-e-Sharif.
Kabul: Security sources in Baghlan province said that one civilian was killed and five others were wounded in a mortar shell fired by Taliban fighters on Pul-e-Khumri city, the provincial capital. Baghlan police spokesman Javed Besharat told Subhe Kabul daily that the incident took place on Monday morning.
However, Besharat said that the offensive of Taliban fighters on the city of Pul-e-Khumri began at 02:00 on Monday morning, and that clashes are still ongoing in the city. Besharat added that the security forces and the popular uprising did not allow the Taliban to enter the city of Pul-e-Khumri.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced that the Taliban in charge of suicide attacks and car bombs along with 62 Taliban insurgents have been killed in Helmand province.
A statement from the Ministry of Defense stated that Bashir Anas was responsible for the suicide attacks and the Taliban car bombings. The Ministry of Defense said that he was killed as a result of an operation by security forces with the support of the Air Force in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province.
According to the ministry, 63 other Taliban fighters were killed and 17 others were wounded in the operation. The Ministry of Defense said that two vehicles and a large amount of weapons and ammunition of the Taliban were destroyed. The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter.
Also, Ferdaws Faramarz, a spokesperson for the Kabul Police, said that a civilian was killed and two security forces were wounded in an explosion at a government Hilux type vehicle in Mirwais township area of Bagrami district at around 7:30 a.m. this morning.
Meanwhile, U.S. military aircraft have been hitting ground targets in Afghanistan in an effort to protect allies, according to U.S. Central Command, as the Taliban makes rapid advances in the void left by withdrawing U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops.
“U.S. forces have conducted several airstrikes in defense of our Afghan partners in recent days,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Nicole Ferrara, a U.S. Central Command spokesperson, said by email. She declined to provide specifics on the aircraft involved. President Joe Biden ordered B-52 bombers and AC-130 Spectre gunships to strike enemy fighters advancing toward Kandahar and other cities, the Daily Mail reported earlier on Saturday.
This comes even as a former top UK general said that withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is a strategic mistake that risks a resurgence of terrorism. Gen Sir Richard Barrons, who was head of UK Joint Forces Command, told the BBC the UK and Western allies have “sold the future of Afghanistan”. Gen Barrons said, “The withdrawal now is a strategic mistake. I don’t believe it’s in our own interest.” It suggests “we don’t have the stomach to see these things through, and we would rather leave than ensure that a humanitarian or political crisis doesn’t occur”, Gen Barrons said.
“We will run the risk of terrorist entities re-establishing in Afghanistan, to bring harm in Europe and elsewhere,” he said. “I think this is a very poor strategic outcome.” The UK government advised all British citizens to leave this week because of the worsening security situation. But Gen Barrons said an exodus of the international community “as fair-weather friends”, followed by the Afghan elite, could undermine the government and its military, accelerating the crisis.
He said he feared the country could split in two or be plunged into a decades-long civil war unless political discussions could resume. Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the House of Commons Defense Committee, wrote in the Mail on Sunday that the UK was making a “shabby withdrawal” and “abandoning the country to the very insurgency that drew us there in the first place”.
“Unless we wake up to the reality of what is taking place, Afghanistan might once again become a terror state. This, remember, is the country that brought us 9/11,” he said. The UK and its allies should retain an assistance force of 5,000 troops to give ground, air and intelligence support to the Afghan army in their fight against the Taliban, Ellwood said.
By withdrawing, the UK was also giving up a “strategically crucial space to an expansionist China”, he said. But Gen Barrons suggested China would be key to any political resolution, because of its influence on Pakistan – which was one of the few countries to recognize the Taliban when it last held power. He said because China shared a border with Afghanistan it would want to avoid any instability that could mean refugees – or militants – flowing over the border.
Also, former Nato chief and Labour defense secretary, Lord Robertson, said that western allies must not halt air support to the Afghan government or risk a resurgent Taliban sweeping back into power. Lord Robertson said, “Air support is clearly what the Afghan national army really requires. The Americans are clearly still supporting them from bases elsewhere in the Middle East and I hope that continues. We can’t afford to wash our hands of the people of Afghanistan because our own security is at risk. The short-term danger is a very violent civil war, which we have seen in Afghanistan before but the longer-term danger is that Taliban take control and become a host to Al-Qaeda again.”
Even, a former American envoy to Kabul said that Afghanistan is likely to slide into a long civil war after US ground troops leave by the end of the month. Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Afghanistan during the Obama administration, said he did not foresee any chance that US troops would return.
The criticism comes even as UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the Mail that Britain tried desperately to form a military coalition to support Afghan forces after America pulled out – but Nato allies refused to take part. The UK had urged ‘like-minded’ nations to stay on after US troops withdrew. but after they declined, he decided that Britain could not go it alone, he revealed. On Friday, the Foreign Office advised all British nationals to ‘leave now’ due to the worsening security situation.
Speaking to the Mail, Wallace condemned the United States’s ‘rotten deal’ with the Taliban, signed last year, which was supposed to end more than 18 years of conflict in Afghanistan. He said it could lead to the Taliban taking over again – and Britain having to return for another military campaign. He said the option of a unilateral UK presence was considered, adding, “We could have put a force there but we would have had to take ourselves out of a lot of other places around the world. The possibility… was not viable.”
Taliban fighters took control of much of the capital of Kunduz province on Sunday, including the governor’s office and police headquarters, AP reported. The Taliban has been gaining territory and taking over customs posts at Afghan border crossings, seizing much of the government’s revenue.
Kabul: Some members of Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said on Sunday that more than 60% of customs revenue is now being collected by the Taliban after they captured border crossings.
MPs said this amounts to about 200 million afghanis a day. The financial and budget commission of the Wolesi Jirga said that government should take serious measures to recapture the border crossings, otherwise government will lose more revenue.
“Taliban captured about 65 percent of customs and they earn up to 200 million AFN from the customs. Government should take practical action,” said Mir Afghan Safi, head of the financial and budget commission of the Wolesi Jirga.
MPs have urged government on numerous occasions to conduct operations to retake control of these border crossings, but government has not taken a any action so far, MPs said.
“Most of our ports including Pol-e- Abrashim, Sheikh Abu Nasr Farahi, Torghundi, and other ports in the north have been captured by Taliban recently. Unfortunately, Taliban collects government income and is transferring it to Pakistan. The Afghan nation should be united and support security forces in order to change the situation,” said Abdul Satar Hussaini, an MP.
Meanwhile, Afghan Ministry of Finance (MoF) stated that seven border crossings have fallen to the Taliban and have had a negative impact on government revenue collection. “Unfortunately, the MoF is not active in Islam Qala, Torghundi, Abu Nasr Farahi, Spin Boldak, Ay-Khanum, Dand-e-Patan, and Sher Khan Port, and without any doubt, direct trade has impacted on income. The current problems have a negative impact on income,” said Mohammad Rafi Tabi, a spokesman for the MoF.
The MP said that running customs by Taliban is not acceptable and will have a negative impact on the country’s national revenue income.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office has announced that the Anti-corruption Judicial center has upheld the ruling of the center’s primary court for two employees of the National Directorate of Security. According to the verdict, General Sayed Mohammad Azim, active precautionary staff of the “020” Department, and Mohammad Nazem, Director of Investigation of the Department of NDS, were sentenced to five and ten years in prison, respectively, for receiving $ 25,000 in bribery.
According to the Attorney General’s statement, the trial of the two men was held in public on Sunday. According to the statement, the two NDS employees colluded to demand the release of $30,000 in exchange for the release of a man accused of collaborating with the Taliban to assassinate government employees, who were detained upon receiving $25,000. The appeals court also sentenced them to pay $25,000, equivalent to the bribe, as fine.
Kabul: According to the announcement of the Ministry of Higher Education, on Saturday, universities, including Balkh University, officially began attending in-person classes; but yesterday, according to a government decision and a decree issued by the Balkh local government, the university in the province was closed for another week.
Ghulam Farooq Khaplwak, Balkh’s deputy governor for finance and administration, blamed the closure on recent insecurity in the province and the fall of Jowzjan, Sar-e-Pul and Kunduz provinces, and said that classes would continue in absentia or online for another week after the security improvement.
Also, as clashes continue in the city of Lashkargah, Helmand’s capital, a health clinic and a school were destroyed in airstrikes and officials said that at least 20 civilians were killed in the fighting in the last 48 hours. Helmand residents said most of the civilians, including women and children, were killed in rocket attacks and airstrikes.
The clashes were mostly focused on districts 1 and 2 of Lashkargah. These two districts have been cleared of the Taliban, security officials said. Security sources said that the Taliban were hidden in those two areas and were targeted by US airstrikes, probably B-52 bombers.
“It was 10pm at night when the airstrike was carried out. Then the school caught fire,” said Mohammad Nabi, a guard at the school. Lashkargah has witnessed street-by-street fighting between government forces and the Taliban for the past 10 days. Health officials said many of the civilians killed were caught in the fighting.
“Most of them were killed or wounded in the crossfire,” said Sher Mohammad Shakir, head of the public health directorate of Helmand. All departments of Bost Hospital in Lashkargah have been allocated to treat war victims. Local officials said Taliban attacks continue to be launched against the police headquarters and the NDS facility in Lashkargah, but security forces have managed to make some progress in the last few days. “Our forces are trying to clear Lashkargah of the Taliban,” said Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.
Meanwhile, fighting intensified between the Taliban and government forces on the outskirts of Herat, however, some residential areas around the city of Herat were liberated on Sunday. Areas south and west of Herat, including Qafsalan, the “Se Pulakha” and parts of the Karta area, witnessed heavy fighting between the Taliban and security forces. As airstrikes and ground attacks by government forces intensified on the outskirts of Herat, the Taliban retreated from the Aseya-Kulukhi and Qafsalan areas, and commandos managed to enter the area; but just hours later, the Taliban recaptured the lost areas.
The areas of Hawz-e Karbas, Payan Ab and Shalbafan in the west of Herat city also witnessed intense clashes between the warring parties. Taliban forces attacked a security checkpoint in Herat’s Firuzabad district on Sunday morning and clashed with police for some time. Local sources say that after a few minutes of fighting, the fighting ended with the Taliban retreating.
Herat governor Abdul Sabor Qane, Herat Police Chief Sayed Mirajuddin Sadat and Herat NDS Chief Hasibaullah Siddiqui briefed on the security situation during the press conference. The governor of Herat stressed at the press conference that Taliban movements and attacks had sharply decreased overnight and that government forces had prevented more Taliban movements. According to him, the security forces have launched targeted operations to eliminate “terrorist elements” and the initiative is in the hands of the security and defense forces. On the other hand, Herat Police Chief Sayed Mirajuddin Sadat assured that the security forces would suppress the “enemy” with high morale and continue the purge operations. Herat National Security Chief Hasibaullah Siddiqui also claims that 300 to 350 Taliban fighters have been killed in fighting in the suburbs of Herat over the past week, but the Taliban deny the figures.
A number of Herat MPs in the House of Representatives met with First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh on Sunday to discuss the security situation in Herat. The first vice-president is said to have promised at the meeting that combat facilities and ammunition would be sent to Herat in the coming days.
This comes as the escalation of the war and it’s spread to cities has increased the number of displaced people. In the past five months alone, 57,000 families have been displaced by the escalation of fighting and violence by the Taliban, according to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations. Ministry officials emphasized that the number of displaced people may be higher than this and may be deregistered due to the war. However, most displaced families need immediate help. Although the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations has provided assistance to a number of families, this process has been challenged as the war has expanded.
Officials at the Ministry of Refugees say that with the escalation of the war into several cities, the activities of aid agencies have also stopped. The Taliban are currently present in the capitals of Nimroz, Helmand, Kunduz, Jowzjan and Takhar provinces, and the activities of aid agencies for the displaced in these provinces have been suspended. On the other hand, a number of families who have left their areas due to the war say that they are in a bad situation and that the relevant institutions should take care of their situation.
Reza Baher, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, told Hashte Subh daily that families had fled the Taliban’s attacks on districts and cities and taken refuge in areas where the government was relatively safe. According to him, this statistic has increased in recent months as the Taliban attacks have increased and the war has spread to the cities. According to Baher, in the last 15 days alone, 5,300 families have been displaced from their main areas and relocated to safer parts of the country.
Institutions such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Program (WFP) and others are currently assisting the displaced, with the Ministry of Refugees acting as coordinator and overseer. Earlier, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said in a report that the number of people displaced by the war had risen this year. According to the commission, 62,480 families have been displaced by the Taliban in the past six months due to continuing fighting and violence.
However, security forces have retreated from the provincial capital, Takhar, following Taliban’s attack. Popular forces, however, are fighting the Taliban on the outskirts of the city. Ruhollah Rufi, a member of the Takhar Provincial Council, told Hashte Subh daily that government forces had withdrawn from the center of Takhar province after noon on Sunday, to prevent civilian casualties and prevent the destruction of public facilities. Government forces are said to have retreated to Farkhar district. Ruhollah Rufi did not say anything about this.
On the other hand, this member of Takhar Provincial Council says that although government forces have withdrawn from the center of Takhar province, the Taliban have not entered the city yet. Earlier, popular sources called for air support and the deployment of new troops. The Taliban have also seized the capitals of Jowzjan, Kunduz, Nimroz and Sar-e-Pul provinces.
Following the fall of the provincial capitals of Jowzjan, Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul and Takhar in the north and northeast of the country, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, leader of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, said the situation would soon change and they would witness a “disgraceful defeat of the enemy”.
Dostum made these remarks on Sunday in a telephone call with the leadership of Faryab province, security officials and commanders of political parties in the province. According to a statement from the Faryab governor’s media office, Dostum stressed on the need to strengthen the atmosphere of unity and mutual acceptance among commanders and said that he would never leave the people of Faryab alone.
The United States has condemned Taliban attacks on cities, and President Joe Biden has said that now is the time for leadership and determination to confront the Taliban’s atrocities and violence.