Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
As clashes continue in the cities and districts of Helmand, local officials in the province confirmed that PD4 of Lashkar Gah has fallen to the Taliban.
Helman Provincial Council Member Abdul Majid Akhundzadah told Reporterly on Sunday, that the clashes had been ongoing for the past two days in the security belts of Lashkar Gah city and had intensified today.
Active fights were reported on Highway 601 and the Babaji area, with casualties still unknown, Akhundzadah said.
However, Omar Zwak, spokesperson for the Helmand governor, denied that Taliban had gained control over PD4 of Lashkar Gah and explained that two security checkpoints had retreated from the Babaji area.
He said the security forces are countering to retake the checkpoints.
Clashes in Helmand
The Helmand governor’s office said on Sunday, that the Taliban had attacked Nahr-e-Siraj, Nad Ali, Nawa and Highway 601 of the province.
The Afghan security forces launched a combined air and ground attack killing 26 Taliban fighters and wounding 4, the provincial officials said.
Media has also reported that four Afghan security forces were killed and eight were wounded in the clashes.
Afghanistan saw a spike of 96 new Coronavirus cases within a single day, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported.
The government laboratories were able to test 475 samples in the past day.
The MoPH reported new cases in the provinces of Herat (61), Daykundi (11), Parwan (11), Bamiyan (4), Baghlan (3), Badghia (3), Kabul (1), Paktia (1) and Zabul (1).
Over the past day, there were four deaths due to COVID-19 and 50 people who recovered from the disease.
Afghanistan has confirmed 39,799 cases so far, of which 5,209 are active, 1,477 have died and 33,114 have recovered.
At least 10 Afghan army soldiers and three civilians were killed in a roadside explosion in the Baghawi area of Sar-i-Pul on Saturday, media reports.
The explosion occurred when a military convoy was moving from Sozma Qala district toward the centre of Sar-i-Pul, crossing through the Baghawi area of Baghlan in the province.
A Humvee hit a mine causing the explosion, media reported. Three security forces were also injured in the explosion.
Another media outlet claims that after the explosion, the convoy was attacked by the Taliban and several of the militants were also killed.
So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the explosion.
With an increase in robbery, murders and targeted assassinations in the capital, acting Interior Minister Masoud Andarabi instructed the police to crack down on criminals and those who resist the law.
Andarabi, who visited PD5 of Kabul Police on Saturday night, directed law enforcement that if they are facing armed resistance, they can take action.
“[If] someone has a gun and is resisting the police, the police can confront them and shoot them. No one has the right to report the police to the prosecutor’s office,” he said.
He said he had instructed the Department of Internal Security not to report any police officer to the prosecutor’s office until he has not reported about his mission in person.
Andrabi added that when they were facing criminals, the police can hit them and take decisive action if they met resistance.
The government has implemented the Security Pact programme in Kabul in a bid to improve citizen’s relations with the security forces and lower crime levels.
The Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah concluded his visit to India on Saturday and tweeted his appreciation.
“I successfully concluded a four days official visit to India,” Abdullah said and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, among others, for their hospitality.
He also thanked India for their support of the peace negotiations.
“I thank the neighbours of Afghanistan for expressing their full support for the Afghan Peace Process. Regional consensus and cooperation is pivotal for peace in our country.”
Abdullah met Doval on Wednesday, Modi on Thursday and Jaishankar on Friday, where they reaffirmed their long-term commitment to Afghanistan.
This was Abdullah’s first visit to India in his role as the chairman.