Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The 209 Shaheen Corps said that at least 53 Taliban militants had been killed by the army in the past 24 hours in operations across Faryab and Balkh provinces.
The operations took place in the Sholgar, Chamtal and Chahar Bolak districts of Balkh and the districts of Dawlat Abad, Shirin Tagab and Kohestan of Faryab, the military force said on Wednesday.
Taliban commanders were also killed in the attacks, along with 14 militants who were wounded.
Nine vehicles of the group were also destroyed.
The security forces said that two soldiers had been killed during the operations.
The Taliban has not commented on the report yet.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) said that in the first seven months of this year, the various ministries and budget units have only spent 35% of their development budgets.
Shamroz Khan Masjidi, spokesperson for the MoF, said that even the 35% mark has been achieved in the past two days.
Official statistics from the MoF showed that there are departments whose budget expenditures are zero in this period – meaning they have started no development projects at all.
Masjidi said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has spent most of its budget, however, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation has failed to spend its 50 million AFN development funds.
The Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs, Defense, Industry and Trade, and Hajj have spent less than 20% of their budgets.
Spending on development projects not only creates jobs, but also boosts economic growth. The spendings this year were far less than in previous years.
The MoF also said that revenues had declined by nearly 25%, and were 92 billion AFN, when compared to the same time period in 2019.
Acting Minister of Public Health (MoPH) Ahmad Jawad Osmani said an online group has been set up where a number of specialists share their experiences of treating Coronavirus patients with other doctors in remote provinces.
On Wednesday, Osmani inaugurated a COVID-19 isolation ward at the Rabia Balkhi Hospital in Kabul for treating obstetric patients, pregnant mothers, who had contracted the virus.
He added that the ward with the capacity of 20-beds, is equipped with advanced medical equipment and supplies.
This comes as the total number of people infected with Coronavirus in Afghanistan has reached 35,727.
A mine blast on Wednesday morning killed seven security personnel in the Khas Uruzgan district, confirmed the Uruzgan governor’s office.
Zargi Ebadi, a spokesperson for the Uruzgan governor, said the roadside mine blast took place at 9 am, and killed a total of seven security personnel, including the Khas Uruzgan police chief, the local police commander of the district and the commander of the 3rd Army Brigade.
Ebadi said the mine was planted by the Taliban.
The Taliban is yet to comment on the incident.
The Ministry of Public Health reported 112 new cases of Coronavirus, along with four fatalities and 168 recoveries, in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan.
The Ministry was able to test 377 samples through the day.
The country’s tally is currently 35,727 confirmed cases to date, with 1,190 deaths and 23,907 recoveries.
New cases were reported in the provinces of Kabul (43), Herat (32), Ghor (20), Ghazni (7), Laghman (5), Badghis (3), Nangarhar (1) and Kunar (1).
Officials confirmed that two security forces were killed and six were injured in car bombings in the Lashkar Gah and Nahri Saraj districts of Helmand on Tuesday night.
Security sources have told local media of three consecutive bomb attacks in the province and have said the initial casualties may be up to 20 dead and wounded.
Omar Zwak, spokesperson for the Helmand governor, said that the Taliban carried out a car bombing attack near the military base in the Shahra area of the Lashkar Gah district.
The attackers also clashed with security forces after the explosion. Zwak said several Taliban members were killed in the attack, before it was repulsed by the security forces.
Another car detonated near a security checkpoint along the Kandahar-Lashkar Gah highway in the Greshk district, Zaman Hamdard, spokesperson for the Helmand Police Command said.
Clashes continued till 1am as the Taliban wanted to plant a mine on the highway to stop traffic, but met armed opposition from the Afghan security forces, Hamdard said.
He added that five Taliban were killed and 10 were injured in the attacks in Helmand.
The Taliban have not yet commented.
Kandahar police said 36 Taliban members were killed in an airstrike by foreign forces in the Khakrez district of the province on Tuesday night.
Jamal Barakzai, spokesperson for the Kandahar Police Command, said that the strike was carried out after Taliban attacked police forces in the Dervishan area of the district.
After the airstrike, only four Taliban bodies had been left behind on the battlefield, Barakzai said.
None of the foreign forces have commented on the airstrike yet.
On Tuesday, the Kandahar police had announced that airstrikes in the Takht-e-Pol district had killed 25 members of the Taliban, including several Pakistani nationals.
Acting Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar spoke to the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson on Tuesday to discuss the Afghan peace process, regional cooperation, and the importance of strengthening international consensus on the peace talks.
The two sides discussed the joint efforts of the government of Afghanistan and the U.S. to release prisoners, reduce the level of violence and start urgent negotiations with the Taliban.
Wilson praised the important results of the recent regional and international meetings on strengthening the consensus for peace.
In addition, they spoke about the importance of regional connectivity, expanding trade and strengthening multilateral cooperation, especially between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asian countries.
Finally, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan.
India will be facilitating the return of over 700 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus due to increased attacks on minorities in Afghanistan, Indian media reported on Wednesday.
India Today, a national news organisation, said that sources from the Ministry of Home Affairs had cited “several terror attacks an persecution by Pakistan-based terror groups” on minorities in Afghanistan.
The Ministry said they would also be facilitating the travel of the community members to India.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had already announced that they would be facilitating the return of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs who were facing “security threats in Afghanistan” to India.
The Special Representative of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev held online discussion with the Special Representative of Japan for Afghanistan, Katsuhito Takahashi, on Tuesday.
The Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the two sides discussed the peaceful settlement of the Afghan crisis and launch of the intra-Afghan talks as soon as possible.
The Japanese side highly appreciated Uzbekistan’s policy to peacefully resolve the long-standing Afghan crisis and integrate the country into the regional political and economic process.
Taking into account the high authority and role of Uzbekistan in promoting peaceful intra-Afghan negotiations, as well as in economic dimension, ambassador Takahashi suggested creating Japan – Uzbekistan – Afghanistan trilateral format of consultations.
Views were also exchanged on the priority areas of Uzbekistan – Japan interaction in reconstruction of Afghanistan’s national economy, and the implementation of various infrastructure projects in the country.
At least nine Taliban were killed and three others wounded in an attack on security forces in the Arzu village of Ghazni on Tuesday night, Afghan special forces said.
The statement said that Taliban attacked security forces checkpoints in Arzu.
“The Taliban’s attack was pushed back by the commandos,” the statement said, adding that Abu Jandal, a Taliban group leader, was among those killed.
However, the statement did not provide further details.
The Taliban has not commented on the clashes.
At least seven security forces were killed in a Taliban attack in Kandahar on Tuesday, the provincial police confirmed.
The Taliban attacked security checkpoints in the Takht-e-Pol district of the province, the statement said.
The Taliban has not yet commented on the attack.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence also said that they had killed Mullah Manan Akhshai, Taliban shadow governor and Mawlawi Qiyam, Taliban’s military commander in Daman district along with other fighters in a pre-emptive attack by the Afghan army.