Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Provincial officials confirmed that an army helicopter that was flying to Rustaq district of Takhar crashed on Tuesday afternoon.
Spokesperson for the Takhar governor, Mohammad Javad Hijri, told Reporterly, that the helicopter was transporting wounded defence and security forces to the district.
There were 12 people on board when the helicopter crashed while landing, due to technical problems.
Due to its short distance from the ground, only two of the people onboard were superficially injured.
The Ministry of Defence has not commented on the crash yet.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said that 31 cases of Coronavirus had been found positive in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, bringing the tally to 38,200 confirmed so far.
The laboratories tested 162 samples during the past day.
The MoPH said that new samples were found positive in the provinces of Daykundi (10), Ghazni (5), Kabul (4), Baghlan (4), Balkh (3), Paktia (2), Takhar (2) and Kunduz (1).
Four people had succumbed to the virus while 142 had recovered in the past day, bringing those figures to 1,406 deaths and 29,254 recoveries.
The British Embassy in Kabul condemned the continued violence and targeted attacks across Afghanistan and called for the immediate start of the intra-Afghan talks.
In a statement on Tuesday, the embassy said that the perpetrators of violence must be brought to justice.
“By their actions the perpetrators show their intent to intimidate through violence and terror – they must be held accountable for their actions.”
They said that the leaders and people of Afghanistan “have shown their desire for peace and to exercise their full rights, including the fundamental right to live in safety and security.”
U.K. commended the bravery of the leaders, activists, security forces and citizens of the country for facing dangers in their daily lives but continuing to defend and uphold the values and principles of the Republic in the search for peace.
“We remain your partners in the fight against terrorism and the search for a peaceful future for all Afghanistan’s citizens.”
They called the current time a “historic opportunity” to bring an end to the conflict through a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.
“To realise this, the violence must stop, the targeted killing of civilians must stop and all parties must demonstrate their commitment to a negotiated solution and to peace by agreeing to the start of intra-Afghan negotiations without further delay,” the statement concluded.
Within the past few days, other nations such as the U.S. and Pakistan too have urged the Afghan government to start the intra-Afghan negotiations with the Taliban soon.
Former president Hamid Karzai supported Abdullah Abdullah’s decision regarding the appointment of members to the High Council for National Reconciliation on Tuesday.
On Monday, Abdullah, the chairman of the council, had said that President Ashraf Ghani did not have the authority to appoint members to the council which was tasked with leading the peace talks with the Taliban.
Previously, Karzai had also rejected his membership to the council as appointed by the presidential decree on Sunday.
In a statement from Karzai on Tuesday, he welcomed the decision of Abdullah to “elect members of the council in consultation with political leaders, heads of both National Assembly, tribal elders, religious scholars, civil society, and the country’s elite.”
Karzai’s office said he was “confident that comprehensive consultations with all sections of society will lead to the establishment of a comprehensive and credible national council, and that its decisions will be acceptable to all the people of Afghanistan.”
Abdullah had said he was holding consultations about the formation of the council and they would conclude soon.
The State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs said that the toll from last week’s floods in Afghanistan has risen to 190 killed and 172 injured across 13 provinces.
Nearly a week after the floods, Ghulam Bahauddin Jilani, the State Minister of Disaster Management, said in a press conference on Tuesday, that the statistics may change with an addition to the casualties.
According to the people, around 12 to 15 victims are still missing, he said and search for them will continue till every person is accounted for.
He added that the floods hit Bamyan, Ghazni, Kabul, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Paktia, Panjshir, Parwan and Wardak provinces.
He added that 1,055 homes were destroyed completely, while 2,960 were partially destroyed.
More than 3,000 families had received assistance so far, the minister said.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said that 2,049 families were displaced by the floods across 11 provinces.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) noted several Taliban attacks in Faryab and Kandahar provinces where at least 21 Taliban fighters were killed over the past day.
The MoD said that at least 13 Taliban fighters were killed and 12 wounded in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar on Monday.
The statement said that the militants were planning to attack and harass passengers along “Highway 18” when the security forces took action.
Some Taliban vehicles, weapons and munitions were also destroyed, along with 33 mines that had been laid along the road.
Offensives and airstrikes in Faryab also killed several dozen Taliban fighters, the 209th Shaheen Corps said.
At least eight Taliban fighters were killed and three wounded in an airstrike in the Chahar Shanghoy village of Dawlat Abad district on Monday afternoon, at around 2:30 pm.
There were three more airstrikes in the evening on Taliban positions where they had been planning to attack the sec
Officials at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) said that the work on the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline will start by early 2021 after the land acquisition process has been completed.
On Monday, Haroon Chakhansuri, acting head of the MoMP, signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mahmoud Karzai, acting Minister for Urban Development and Land, and Mohammad Murad Amanov, Director of TAPI Pipeline Company Ltd.
Chakhansuri said that the TAPI pipeline was one of the most important economic projects for the region and plays and important role in the economic development of Afghanistan.
“A memorandum will be signed to acquire land based on the route of the TAPI project and the plan of action will soon take its practical phase,” the minister said.
He said that a technical survey, mine clearance and ground surveys had already been completed for the implementation of the project.
Amanov, the director of TAPI, said that implementation will begin in the early months of 2021.
He also noted that work on the gas pipeline has been completed in Turkmenistan’s territory and will soon reach the Afghan border in Herat.
According to the current plans, 60% of the gas pipeline will be installed on government lands, and about 40% will be installed on local lands.
Chakhansuri said that a committee consisting of employees of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the Ministry of Urban Development and Land, and the TAPI Pipeline Company Ltd. will be set up to oversee the implementation of land acquisition.
The TAPI gas pipeline will pass through Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces before reaching the border of Pakistan near Quetta.
Taliban insurgents launched a complex attack on a military base in Gardiz city, the capital of Paktia on Tuesday morning.
Paktia Police Command spokesperson Hayatullah Nezami told Reporterly that at least three members of the Public Protection Force were killed and five more were wounded in the attack.
A suicide car bomber first targeted the entrance to the base at around 5:30 am on Tuesday, following two gunmen stormed in.
Nezami added that the assailants were killed within 10 minutes after clashing with the police and the area was quickly secured.
Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.