Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Taliban have launched widespread offensives in the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, with the Afghan security forces reporting active clashes.
After the battle in Helmand’s provincial centre last month, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Wednesday that fresh commandos were deployed to Lashkar Gah. Joint clearance operations were also underway along the highway connecting to Kandahar.
Meanwhile in Kandahar, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Yasin Zia visited the embattled districts of Arghandab, Maiwand, Panjwai and Zhari (Jari), a day after the visit of acting Minister of Defence Assadullah Khalid and Abdul Sabur Ghaneh, Deputy Chief of Security at the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
The Taliban have been inching closer to Kandahar city in the past weeks where social media video shows besieged Afghan security forces evacuating an area in in Arghandab.
“Hundreds of Taliban have been killed and wounded in Panjwai and Arghandab districts,” said Fawad Aman, spokesperson for the MoD. He said Afghan security forces have started operations over the past few days, led by Gen. Zia.
At least 20 Taliban militants were also killed in airstrikes in Arghandab on Tuesday afternoon, while 13 insurgents were killed in Panjwai.
Media has also reported casualties among security forces with up to 12 killed and 25 injured according to health officials in Kandahar.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that 13 members of the Kabul Police PD3 who were responsible for security at Kabul University were arrested on Wednesday.
MoI spokesperson Tariq Arian said the men were detained for negligence in implementing the security plan and reported to the prosecutor’s office. Kabul Police spokesperson Ferdows Faramarz said the men included the PD3 police chief, the anti-crime head and the commander of the protection unit of Kabul University.
The attack on the university claimed the lives of 22 people and wounded 27 others, according to official figures.
Afghan students at the University of Tehran and at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Kyrgyzstan held vigils in the memory of the students lost in the attack.
“The world witnessed a huge fall of all ethical and human positions, so it is extremely important to raise an educated and enlightened generation of young leaders who will build a peaceful world,” said AUCA.
The students in Iran called on the Afghan government to ensure the safety of the people and educational institutions. They asked the international community to work with Afghan security forces to equip and train them to deal with such incidents.
“Terrorist and criminal groups such as the Taliban and ISIS should know that by killing the innocent people of Afghanistan, they will not disrupt the will of the Afghan people to acquire knowledge,” their resolution said.
Doctors at Kabul’s Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital successfully operated on a two-and-a-half-year-old child with a perforated heart, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Wednesday.
The centre, which is Afghanistan’s first public sector paediatric cardiac surgery department, was inaugurated on Oct. 20 by acting Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani.
The child was referred to the hospital from Faryab province and their health is now improving. Osmani had announced, at the time of the opening ceremony, that the first operation at the centre would be for free.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, 120,000 children in the country have cardiac problem with many deciding to get operated abroad.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Wednesday that they had decided to ban the use of individual generators in markets and commercial stores.
Saleh, in a detailed Facebook post, said that all markets would be given the opportunity to buy a large and common generator. This will allow pedestrians to reclaim the sidewalks and reduce air and noise pollution.
He said that small stores and restaurants in Qargha have been asked to follow the plans designed by trained experts or they will be demolished.
The work of the Kabul traffic police was criticised as they were not able to maintain order, Saleh said.
He said that Kabul witnessed six criminal and two terrorist events in the past day.
He also said that the plan to manage the gathering of visa applicants at the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul will also be finalised within the next three days.
“I will fulfil my promise and we will not let our people be humiliated for lack of order in getting visas,” he said.
The House of Representatives passed a decision on Wednesday to summon First Vice President Amrullah Saleh and heads of various intelligence and security agencies to the next session of the parliament.
At the session, lawmakers accused security agencies of being understaffed as they missed the information for the Kabul University attack which Saleh had called an “intelligence failure.”
National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, acting head of the National Directorate of Security Ahmad Zia Saraj, acting Minister of Defence Assadullah Khalid and acting Minister of Interior Masoud Andarabi were also called to the next session.
The special session of the House will be held on Saturday.
Kabul University opened on Wednesday, two days after the deadly attack on the Law Faculty, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) said.
Students and the teaching staff were back in classrooms amid heightened security on campus, after armed assailants killed 22 people and wounded 27 others, according to official figures.
The MoHE also announced that a memorial will be built for the victims of the Nov. 2 attack with their names engraved on it. The “dark day” of the attack will also be commemorated in a special ceremony by the university.
The families of the victims and the Kabul University Students’ Union issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening, calling the attack “a violation of all Islamic and human values, as well as a violation of the principles and rules of international humanitarian law and, as a result, a total crime.”
Their declaration said that educational institutions should not be politicised and targeted.
“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is responsible for ensuring the security and fundamental rights of citizens, is obliged to investigate Monday’s terrorist attack and report the results without concealing the facts,” the statement said.
With the addition of 86 cases from 354 samples tested in the past 24 hours, the Afghan tally of confirmed Coronavirus cases reached 41,814, reported the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
The MoPH said four people had succumbed to the infection in the past day, while 49 had recovered.
New cases were reported in the provinces Balkh (33), Baghlan (13), Kabul (11), Nangarhar (11), Parwan (5), Kapisa(5), Kunduz (4), Zabul (3) and Kandahar (1).
There are 5,862 active COVID-19 cases with 1,548 deaths and 34,404 recoveries.
Zabul officials said two teenagers were killed and another was injured in a mine blast in the Shinkai district of Zabul on Tuesday evening.
Zabul governor’s spokesperson Gul Aslam Sial told Reporterly on Wednesday that the dead and injured were all teenagers and the wounded was taken to the Qalat city hospital.
Sial said the mine was planted by the Taliban in the Ghund village of the district.
No grpup has claimed responsibility for the attacبk yet.