Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Chinese experts, in a video conference with envoys from 15 regional countries including Afghanistan, shared their experience of containing the spread of the coronavirus, which has wreaked havoc globally, killing over 100,000 people worldwide.
Afghan authorities joined the conference from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, as Chinese officials vowed to provide technical support for the campaign against the spread of COVID-19 in Afghanistan.
The deputy minister of foreign affairs for economy, Mirwais Nayab, who also attended the conference, said a flight carrying technical equipment for the prevention of the coronavirus will arrive in Afghanistan from China in the near future.
The President’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi says the Afghan government has strongly condemns recent ‘terrorist attack by the Taliban’ on the country’s security and defense forces in Zabul province.
Sediqqi declared that the Taliban’s continued attacks reflect the group’s commitment to continuing violence and opposition to the peace process in the country.
At least 24 Afghan security forces were killed Friday in Taliban’s infiltrators’ attack on security forces’ base in southern Zabul province.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday directed authorities to open the Chaman-Spinboldak border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and said Islamabad would continue to support Kabul during the global coronavirus pandemic.
“Despite the global pandemic of COVID-19, we remain committed to supporting our Afghan brothers and sisters. I have given instructions to open the Chaman-Spinboldak border and let trucks crossover into Afghanistan. In this time of crisis, we remain steadfast with Afghanistan,” PM Imran said in a tweet.
Earlier, Abdullah Abdullah had thanked PM Imran for keeping the Chaman-Boldak border open.
Two civilians and six Taliban militants were killed and 22 people injured following an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in northern province of Takhar, a provincial government spokesman confirmed on Friday.
“The explosion occurred in Chinzayee, an area on outskirts of provincial capital Taluqan roughly at 6:30 p.m. local time on Thursday,” spokesman Abdul Khalil Aser said.
The blast occurred after a group of Taliban militants were carrying the IED before planting the device on a busy main road in the area.
Among the wounded, 10 were passing-by civilians, including children, he added.
Militants in Afghanistan have been using home-made IEDs to make roadside bombs and landmines to target security forces, but the lethal weapons also inflict casualties on civilians.
At least two dozen Afghan security forces were killed Friday in an insider attack on their base in southern Zabul province, two officials said.
Several “infiltrators” opened fire on their comrades as they slept, Zabul governor Rahmatullah Yarmal said, in one of the deadliest attacks since the US signed a withdrawal deal with the Taliban last month.
The pre-dawn raid targeted a joint police and army headquarters near Qalat, the provincial capital, long considered a Taliban stronghold.
“In the attack, 14 Afghan army forces and 10 policemen were killed,” Zabul provincial council chief Ata Jan Haq Bayan said.
He added that four other Afghan security forces were missing.
“The attackers had connections with the Taliban insurgents,” Bayan said.
They fled in two military Humvee vehicles, along with a pickup truck, weapons and ammunition.
Afghanistan has said it was ordering its forces to switch to an “active defence posture” as the Taliban continued to attack even after the militant group signed a deal with the United States.
“The Taliban continued high level of violence despite the peace agreement,” acting defence minister Asadullah Kalid said in a video statement.
“An active defence posture will reduce the restrictions on ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) and it will allow them to carry out operations against the Taliban plotting attacks against ANDSF,” he added. Afghan government forces had previously been able to fight back only when under direct attack.
The United States in February signed a deal with the Taliban aimed at paving the way for them to negotiate with the Afghan government, including an agreement on withdrawing foreign troops.
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in his Nawroz message urged Afghan leaders to reach an agreement on an inclusive government to end the political crisis.
Khalilzad stated that the best gift for Afghan leaders to give the country on the occasion of the new year is that they take the needed steps to take advantage of historic opportunity for peace.
He stressed that they should work together including the Taliban to contain and take care of the people from the scourge of the Coronavirus.
President Ashraf Ghani in a recorded video has wished the country a happy solar new year and called for unity among the people to achieve peace.
Ghani said the government dubs 1399 the “year of unity and reform.”
“Now that we are hopeful for peace more than ever, there is a need for unity more than ever,” Ghani said.
“Peace requires unity and cooperation from all of us,” he said. “Therefore, a real peace and stability require us to be more serious in reforms.”
Ghani called on Afghan politicians to come together to overcome the political crisis in the country.
“The country’s political elites should join hands together and move forward towards implementing the wishes and demands of the people of Afghanistan, who are the real owners of this land,” Ghani said.
The First Lady Rula Ghani also sent a message to the people on the solar new year and said she wishes that the country will overcome the health crisis of coronavirus in the near future.