Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
At least 14 Afghan security forces’ members were killed in a Taliban attack in Uruzgan on Monday night.
Zargi Ebadi, Uzruzgan governor’s spokesperson, told Reporterly on Tuesday, that the Taliban had launched an attack on Gizab district from three fronts.
He said that security forces had now made a “tactical retreat” to the district centre to form a new line of defence.
Five security forces were killed in the first clash and nine more in the second one.
Ebadi said that local telecommunications had been disrupted by the Taliban and they were not able to receive updated information.
He added that soldiers from other security checkpoints in the district had also withdrawn.
He added that the Taliban fighters had also suffered casualties in the attack.
The Ministry of Urban Development and Lands (MUDL) signed a contract with Chinese state-owned MCC 19 to start construction on housing units in Kabul.
The Presidential Palace said on Tuesday, that a contract to start the first phase of construction of 1,400 housing units in the Nila Bagh area of Darulaman, was signed between the acting head of the MUDL and the MCC 19 director.
China had committed to build 10,000 housing units in the township under a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Afghanistan.
Work will now start on 56 residential blocks.
President Ashraf Ghani also met Chinese Special Representative for Afghanistan Liu Jian, earlier on Tuesday.
Liu expressed support for a comprehensive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
“We support Afghanistan’s approach to peace, development and regional cooperation, and we hope that all parties will take advantage of this opportunity,” he added.
They also spoke about strengthening regional cooperation, regional integration and economic programs, calling for closer bilateral cooperation between Afghanistan and China.
Ghani said that Afghanistan’s relations with China are friendly and focused on common interests.
“We hope that China’s vision for Afghanistan will be based on regional stability, economic cooperation and trade development,” the president said.
He said Afghanistan was interested in developing relations with other regional partners, especially China, and especially for economic cooperation.
He stressed that the Taliban should renounce violence, call for a ceasefire and accept that a military solution to the conflict is not possible.
At the end of his speech, Ghani said that a strong regional consensus, like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), is important for Afghanistan and China could provide support for that.
New head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Afghanistan, Andreas von Brandt, met President Ashraf Ghani and acting Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar on Tuesday.
The Presidential Palace statement said that Ghani thanked the EU for their “financial and political and pan-EU support for a free and self-reliant Afghanistan whose people live in security.”
“I am glad to be in Afghanistan,” said Brandt, adding, “The EU’s 19-year-old deep ties with Afghanistan remain. The European Union is committed to providing political support to Afghanistan, and member states will continue their efforts to bring peace and tranquillity to the Afghan people.”
Ghani also thanked the EU for its principled stance on the Afghan peace process.
“Afghanistan’s relations with the EU are meaningful, strategic and sustainable, which is very important to the people of Afghanistan,” the president said.
Atmar commended the EU’s continued assistance and partnership with Afghanistan and assured Brandt of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ close cooperation with the EU delegation in Kabul.
Brandt stated that he would work to further strengthen relations between Afghanistan and the European Union during his tenure as EU Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, spoke to ambassadors of various countries and international organisations in an online discussion coordinated with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Monday.
In a statement released by his press office, Abdullah spoke to ambassadors from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, U.K. and U.S, along with NATO and European Union (EU) envoys.
“I shared my views on the initial steps taken during and since the Doha intra-Afghan peace process,” Abdullah said.
He explained that with the beginning of the talks “hopes for peace and stability have increased in the country.”
He stressed the importance of pursuing a “durable and dignified peace.”
“We collectively stressed on reduction of violence across the country,” Abdullah recounted.
All ambassadors emphasized the end of war and violence in the country by welcoming and supporting the start of the peace negotiations.
Nangarhar officials said four security forces members were killed and four were wounded in clashes in Khogyani district on Tuesday.
Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the Nangarhar governor’s office, said a joint security operation by Afghan and foreign troops took place at around 1:30 a.m. in the Sangani Sargundi area.
He added that eight Taliban militants were also killed while six others were wounded in the operation.
The 201st Selab Corps said that at least 60 Taliban insurgents were killed and 40 wounded during military operations in Nangarhar’s Sherzad district on Monday night.
The Nangarhar governor’s office also claimed that villages had been cleared in security operations in the district.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said 22 new cases of Coronavirus were reported in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, pushing the tally of confirmed cases to 39,096.
The new cases were reported in the provinces of Daykundi (8), Balkh (7), Kabul (6) and Nangarhar (1).
The MoPH said one person had succumbed to COVID-19 while no new recoveries were reported.
There are currently 5,075 active cases in Afghanistan with 1,445 dead and 32,576 recovered.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said they had arrested the perpetrator who was captured on video, beating two women at a traffic intersection in Kabul city.
MoI spokesperson Tariq Arian tweeted on Tuesday, that the accused was a member of the security forces.
He added that two more police officer who had been “negligent and irresponsible” and failed to prevent the incident had also been identified.
Arian said all three had been reported to the military prosecutor’s office.
A video shared over the weekend showed two women being physically assaulted in broad daylight at an intersection in Kabul city in the presence of police officers.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on Tuesday, that in the past six months, Taliban attacks have killed and injured nearly 3,500 civilians in Afghanistan.
MoI spokesperson Tariq Arian said that the Taliban had carried out nearly 7,000 offensive attacks in the same time period.
He also said that 1,140 Taliban-planted mines and bombs had exploded in the past six months, while over 10,000 explosives had been seized by Afghan security forces.
The forces of the MoI had also discovered and defused, or safely detonated, over 1,300 bombs planted by the Taliban during this time period.
Last week, the First Deputy Minister of Defense Shahmahmood Miakhel said that the Afghan army had defused 4,776 IEDs in the past six months placed by the Taliban along public roads, residential areas and highways.
In the opening ceremony of the peace talks in Doha, Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, had said that over 12,000 Afghans had been killed and 15,000 had been wounded since the end of February 2020, when the U.S. and Taliban signed the peace deal.
Provincial officials in Badakhshan said that the deputy head of the Taliban’s military commission for Kohistan, Ragh and Yawan districts was killed in clashes with security forces.
Badakhshan police spokesperson Sanaullah Rouhani said that the Taliban had attacked security checkpoints in Badakhshan’s Raghistan district on Monday night, which was repulsed by the security forces.
Rouhani said that Maulawi Ataullah, known as Ibrahim, was killed in the clash.
The Taliban has yet to comment.
The government of Saudi Arabia said on Monday expressed support for the reconciliation process and the peace talks taking place between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The state news agency, Saudi Press Agency, released a short statement which stated:
“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has followed up the recent reconciliation between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban movement, and expresses its support for the reconciliation process and everything that would achieve security, stability and reduce violence in Afghanistan.”
The statement also said that the Kingdom “was and remains with Afghanistan and the Afghan people to achieve all their hopes and aspirations.”
The peace delegations of the government and the Taliban have been negotiating in Qatar since Sep. 12 with the talks aimed at ending decades of war.