Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
A complex attack on Kabul University ended after six hours with all three attackers killed, the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoI) said on Monday.
MoI spokesperson Tariq Arian said that the attack left 19 dead, including 10 women, and 12 others wounded. Akmal Samsor, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said that 22 injured people were taken to the hospital.
The attack began at around 11 a.m. when an explosion was reported near the north gate of the university, which is one the largest educational institutions in Afghanistan. The attackers then entered the Law Faculty building which was apparently their target.
It is to be noted that the university was also hosting several dignitaries who were there for the inauguration of the joint Afghanistan-Iran book exhibition being held in the Faculty of Arts.
The gunmen entered classrooms and opened fire at the students and professors.
Many students were seen escaping by jumping over the walls.
Videos on social media showed people fleeing and some bloodied students being escorted by the police to receive medical attention. Most of the victims were civilians.
The attack has been widely condemned with Saleh calling it an “intelligence failure” for the government and blamed the Taliban and “satanic allies next door” (Pakistan) even as the militant group said they were not responsible for the attack.
Presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said the perpetrators were the factions who were defeated in Helmand.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said the targeting of educational institutions, the second in the past 10 days after the attack on Kowsar-e Danesh in Dasht-e-Barchi, was a “heinous crime.”
“Students have the right to study in peace and security… We will prevail over the forces of darkness.”
Acting Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani reported an increase in Coronavirus cases in the country in the past week, but said compared to neighbours, Afghanistan was doing much better.
Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on Monday, Osmani asked the people to not worry about the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that fear can stress the body which could lead to reduced immunity.
He urged people to follow health advice and wear masks to prevent further spread of the virus.
Osmani assured Afghans that the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) had taken measures to prevent the second wave of the virus infections and had set up quarantine and treatment wards in all hospitals of Kabul. Other provinces have also been equipped with better tools.
Talking about Iran and Pakistan which are seeing much higher daily infection rates, Osmani urged the people to refrain from unnecessary travel to the two nations.
The Paktia Police Command said in a statement that a Taliban car bomb explosion in the Rohani Baba district of the province killed and wounded over 40 people, including security personnel and civilians on Monday.
Police said that the Taliban car bomb was trying to target a People’s Uprising Forces checkpoint but was identified by the security forces before it could reach them.
After the explosion, clashes took place between the Uprising forces members and the Taliban, as a result of which three militants were killed and five were wounded.
According to Paktia Police, the car bomb killed two members of the Uprising forces and wounded another one. However, 40 civilians, including women and children, were wounded while two mosques and around 50 nearby homes were damaged.
Helmand officials said at least seven civilians were killed in a roadside blast in Lashkar Gah on Monday.
Omar Zwak, spokesperson for the Helmand governor’s office, said that the civilians’ car hit a mine in the Bolan area of PD3 of the provincial capital.
Seven members of the family were killed while five others were injured.
There are active clashes in parts of Lashkar Gah city as Taliban members continue to attack security forces and plant mines.
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) said on Monday that Hanif Siddiqi, a Wardak military prosecutor was killed in Kabul.
Siddiqi was stabbed and killed in PD15 of Kabul city on Monday morning, the AGO said.
They reported that he was attacked by “enemies of peace” of the Afghan people while on duty.
They called on the government to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
A group of Afghan activists and students in the British city of Oxford held a vigil at the university for the suicide attack victims of the Kawsar-e Danesh education centre in Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul.
The lslamic State (Daesh)-claimed attack has claimed the lives of 42 victims so far, with Malika, an 18-year-old, finally succumbing to her injuries on Monday. Over 50 others were injured initially. Most of the victims of the attack were Hazara students of the educational centre.
Demonstrators at the University of Oxford lit candles and chanted slogans saying that “education is not a crime” and demanded an end to the violence against Hazara people.
One of the organisers of the memorial service, Anis Rezaei, said a series of talks on Hazaras and their plight in Afghanistan will also be held at the university in the coming days.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced that in the past 24 hours, 132 new Coronavirus cases were found positive from the 453 samples tested across Afghanistan, pushing the confirmed cases to 41,633 so far.
According to the MoPH, five patients have succumbed to the virus in the past day while 16 have recovered.
New cases were reported in the provinces of Kandahar (26), Balkh (21), Zabul (16), Takhar (15), Baghlan (15), Kabul (13), Helmand (9), Nangarhar (7), Kunduz (4), Daykundi (3), Kunar (2) and Panjshir (1).
Afghanistan has 5,750 active cases with 34,342 recovered and 1,541 deaths.
The Pak-Afghan Youth Forum organised a three-day media workshop in Islamabad to bring together youth of both countries and enhance contacts between professionals across the border.
The first of its kind Pak-Afghan Youth Media Workshop, saw the participation of renowned journalists and media people, academic circle and students of both countries as they worked out ways to address issues in public diplomacy, lobbying and media ventures.
It involved activities like interactive lectures, talks, exposure visits and other various hands-on exercises, enabling the youth of both nations to interact with each other physically rather than virtually.
The participants also went on a hike and made a documentary as a part of the workshop to emphasise the importance of peace between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region.
Taliban denied responsibility for the attack on Kabul University on Monday morning as multiple gunmen were reported inside the campus.
Faisal Amin, Vice-Chancellor for Students Affairs, said the shooters were still inside the Law Faculty building.
Tariq Arian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior (MoI), said police have surrounded the university campus.
Students were also seen fleeing from the scene.
Social media reports indicate at least three people have been injured so far.
Witnesses said an explosion was heard at the northern gate first.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh was supposed to inaugurate a joint Iran-Afghanistan book exhibition at the university today.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack yet.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the Global Islamic Unity Forum (GIUF) in Malaysia has joined global Islamic organisations that condemned the ongoing war in Afghanistan and called for a ceasefire.
GIUF, a renowned Malaysian organisation that promoted unity, peace and trade between Islamic nations, shared its message with the Afghan Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 28.
Condemning the escalation of violence, they appealed to all warring parties to end hostilities and avail themselves of the “historic opportunity” to advance an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process in line with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) 2018 Makkah Declaration.
“Keeping unity and resolving the problems and conflicts through dialogue and negotiation is the only right way to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the GIUF said.
This comes after Afghan religious scholars and Bangladeshi ulema also issued fatwas denouncing the war and calling it against Sharia.
Security officials confirmed that four people were killed and eight were wounded after a mortar shell targeted the Kunduz governor’s compound on Sunday evening.
Kunduz Police spokesperson Enamuddin Rahmani told Reporterly on Monday that the Taliban-fired mortar landed in a sports field where the governor’s bodyguards and some civilian employees were playing volleyball at around 5 p.m.
However, the attack has raised concerns abut whether it was carried out by a drone or a missile in what would be the group’s first-known drone attack.
Fazal Karim Aimaq, a member of the parliament from Kunduz, wrote on his Facebook that he had been informed about the attack and it was a “new method of assault” without providing any further details.
The Taliban has used drones, but it has been limited to filming videos for reconnaissance purposes, as Faryab Gov. Naqibullah Faiq wrote on Twitter. He attributed the use of drones equipped to shoot videos at night to foreign Islamic State (Daesh) fighters among the Taliban ranks.
The Taliban have not commented on the attack.