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A grim day of assassinations and bombings for Afghans

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2020)

Targeted assassinations and roadside IED blasts rattled Afghanistan Saturday after a number of incidents were reported throughout the day around the country.

Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded in roadside explosions while government employees were targeted in various attacks.

On Saturday night, Ministry of Interior spokesman Tariq Arian posted on Twitter that in the past few hours at least 15 people were killed or wounded in two IED blasts.

The explosions happened in Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province and in Janikhail district of Paktika province.

Arian said among the wounded were civilians, including eight women and two children, and blamed the Taliban for these incidents.

“This criminal approach of the Taliban is condemned,” he said.

In the Mazar-e-Sharif explosion, an IED had been in a cart when detonated in PD1 in the city.

A Balkh official said the IED was detonated as a security vehicle drove by.

However, civilians paid the price. One woman died and five others were taken to hospital.

In an incident in Paktika, a tractor and trailer, transporting a wedding party, hit a roadside bomb on Saturday afternoon injuring 20 women and children.

Shah Mohammad Areen, a spokesman for the Paktika police chief, said the incident took place in the Janikhail district. He said seven of the victims are in critical condition and have been transferred to a Kabul hospital.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In another incident in Paktika, Areen told Ariana News that Dad Mohammad Etemadi, the Yousufkhail district police chief, was gunned down while driving home on Saturday night.

He was shot dead by unknown gunmen, Areen said.

This comes after Ayub Gharwal, the deputy head of the Paktia Provincial Council, was gunned down on Saturday morning in Gardez city.

Paktia officials said the incident happened at about 5.30am in Gardez city while Gharwal was on his way to Gardez University. 

Officials said Gharwal was seriously wounded in the attack and later died in hospital from gunshot wounds. 

In yet another attack on Saturday morning, Colonel Asif Tokhi, the Paktika security chief, was killed in a roadside bomb blast. The incident happened while he was on his way to help security force members thwart an attack on a checkpoint

On Thursday, Afghan acting Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid said the Taliban has stepped up violence to gain leverage around the peace talks tables. 

 

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Renegades signs Afghan teenager for Australia’s Big Bash League

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

Australia’s Melbourne Renegades have signed up 15-year-old Noor Ahmad after a 12-month scouting mission and plan to unleash him on the Big Bash League later this year. 

Earlier this week Renegades confirmed Mohammad Nabi had also signed up and on Thursday, the club announced on its website, 15-year-old Noor Ahmad, from Kabul, will also join their team. 

“We’ve been tracking Noor Ahmad closely for more than a year now and although he’s in the early stages of his career, he’s an exciting prospect and he has a few tricks that’ll make life difficult for batsmen,” Renegades Coach Michael Klinger said. 

Ahmad is a left-arm wrist-spinner who has earned high praise around the globe.

Ahmad earned a contract in the Caribbean Premier League earlier this year and won a T20 trophy under Mohammad Nabi’s captaincy in 2019.

“The Renegades fans and followers of the Big Bash may not know much about Noor at this stage but I can tell you, he is a very exciting talent who I feel has a big future in the game,” Nabi said.

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Khalilzad meets with Taliban’s Baradar, discusses increase in violence

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha on Wednesday night to discuss a range of issues relating to the Afghan peace process, including the high levels of violence. 

In a series of tweets by the Taliban’s Doha spokesman, Mohammad Naeem, Khalilzad was accompanied by US Forces Afghanistan commander General Scott Miller.

Naeem said the discussion centered around a number of issues and talks were held on the full “implementation of the whole articles of the agreement signed between the IEA [Taliban] and the US”.

He also said the release of remaining prisoners was discussed as was removing names of Taliban members from the US’ blacklist. 

According to him, the increase in hostilities was discussed and attributed the high levels of violence to a number of factors. He said the “humiliation of the martyrs’ bodies” was one reason, as was that of raids carried out against released prisoners and “their killing”. 

He also said, “offensives and the violation of the agreement overall were reckoned the causes that don’t lead the circumstances to a good direction.”

Khalilzad returned to Doha earlier this week to meet with negotiating teams in Doha to press both sides to immediately reduce the levels of violence that Afghan civilians are forced to bear. 

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the US State Department: “Too many Afghans are dying. The sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.” 

“Along with international partners, Ambassador Khalilzad will press the two negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts and agree to a political roadmap that ends Afghanistan’s 40-year-long war. The sides must move past procedure and into substantive negotiations. American and international assistance remains available to all sides,” the statement read. 

Khalilzad meanwhile said in a series of tweets on Tuesday night that he returns “to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened.”

“The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said.

“Intransigence and a refusal to abandon animosity, embrace fellow citizens, and agree on a formula for political cooperation/competition underpin the ongoing war.”

Khalilzad said: “Afghans are dying at a high rate, and regional spoilers are using Afghans as cannon fodder for their illegitimate objectives.  Bloodshed must end.

“Afghans need to pivot to development instead of destruction, stability instead of chaos, forgiveness instead of vengeance, compromise instead of inflexibility,” he said.

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Bajwa warns Pakistan and Afghanistan ‘can’t afford chaos’

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Wednesday that Afghanistan and Pakistan could not afford the risk of lawlessness and chaos as such a situation would have catastrophic consequences for both countries.

Speaking during his visit to a hospital in Peshawar to visit victims of Tuesday’s bombing at a madrassa that killed at least seven people, including children, and wounded more than 100, Bajwa said that Afghan refugees in Pakistan should exercise caution about unfavorable elements so that they were not wittingly or unwittingly used in terrorist activities, Dawn News reported. 

He said Pakistan has always wanted peace in Afghanistan and would spare no effort to restore peace and stability in the country.

Bajwa also said Pakistan and Afghanistan had faced terrorism for the past two decades but that peace in both countries was intertwined.

Tuesday’s explosion happened as a prominent religious scholar was giving a special class about the teachings of Islam at the main hall of the Jamia Zubairia madrassa, police confirmed. 

Some Afghan students studying at the seminary were also among the wounded persons, officials said.

 

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