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Afghan Forces Suffer ‘Heavy Casualties’ in Sar-i-Pul Clashes

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2019)

At least eight Afghan forces were killed and 33 others wounded in clashes with the Taliban militants in northern Sar-i-Pul province, local officials confirmed.

Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of the provincial council told Ariana News that the Taliban fighters launched coordinated attacks at Qashqari area, Takhta outpost on Sar-i-Pul-Jawzjan highway and in Sozma Qala district of the province late on Sunday night.

According to Rahmani, the Taliban militants attacked the area at around 12 am on Sunday night and battles continued until early Monday morning.

At least four Afghan soldiers have been killed and 33 others wounded during hours of battles with the insurgents, he added.

Four tanks of security forces were also destroyed in the incident, Rahmani said.

Meanwhile, a source from the provincial hospital told Ariana News that at least eight dead bodies and 30 injured were transferred to the hospital.

During the clashes, nine Taliban insurgents were killed and 13 others also injured, the group’s local sources confirmed.

The local officials yet to make a comment about the incident.

Sar-i-Pul is among the insecure provinces in northern Afghanistan where the Taliban militants are actively operating in a number of its districts.

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Afghanistan to transit trade via Pakistan’s Gwadar port

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2020)

The Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) enables Afghanistan to transit trade through Pakistan’s Gwadar port under the OPTA agreement.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce says that Afghanistan is trying to improve its economic relations with all neighboring countries and the region, pointing at the Pakistani port of Gwadar as the closest and cheapest transit route for Afghanistan’s trade.

In the meantime, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s senior advisor of economy, Abdul Razzaq Daud, has said that trade with Afghanistan is set to begin through the Gwadar port, starting with 16,000 tons of fertilizer to be shipped to Afghanistan.

In addition, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment considers the Gwadar port as less expensive than any others; however, it criticizes that the neighboring countries are not honest enough in their economic relations with Afghanistan.

On the other hand, experts point out that if Pakistan complies with international economic and transit laws, Afghan traders will be able to import and export goods via Gwadar port at lower costs.

This comes as economic relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been often strained due to political tensions, and the country has severally closed its ports to Afghan traders.

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Covid19 update; cases hike to 14,525 in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2020)

With 866 new cases of the Coronavirus, the number of infections has reached 14,525 in Afghanistan.

In the past 24 hours, 866 new cases of the virus have been reported in the country as follows:

Kabul 411, Herat 177, Balkh 39, Nangarhar 35, Takhar 29, Paktia 28, Parwan 27, Badghis 26, Baghlan 19, Logar 19, Kunduz 16, Kapisa 15, Ghazni 10, Panjshir six, Badakhshan four, Kunar four, Maidan Wardak three, and Faryab two cases.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, three patients have just died of the virus, bringing the death toll to 249 in Afghanistan.

In the meantime, 44 patients of the virus have been cured and discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of the recoveries to 1,303.

The MOPH warns of the dire consequences as nearly 900 new cases of the Coronavirus were reported in a single day.

It adds that the number of new cases and deaths in the country would increase significantly if people keep a reluctance to fight the virus, highlighting that the main reason for the rapid spread of the virus is people’s indifference to the pandemic and non-compliance with the health guidelines.

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EU reaffirms commitment to support Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2020)

The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) has adopted conclusions reaffirming the EU’s political commitment to support the people of Afghanistan on their path towards peace, security, stability, democracy, prosperity, and self-reliance.

The council said in a statement that the EU will condition its future political and financial support to ensure that the republican, democratic, and values-based principles are protected and further promoted. 

“The conclusions also reiterate the EU’s support for a negotiated political settlement leading to lasting peace and reconciliation, which must build on the democratic and human rights achievements of the past 19 years,” the statement said.

In its conclusions, the Council calls on the Taliban to build trust and confidence allowing the prompt start of intra-Afghan negotiations based on the sufficient numbers of prisoners already released. 

“The Taliban should respect both the spirit and letter of their bilateral agreement with the government of the United States signed in Doha on 29 February 2020. In this regard, the EU strongly condemns attacks on humanitarian and medical personnel and facilities, including the horrific attack at the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Kabul of 12 May,” the statement noted.

The conclusions stress that the EU stands ready to provide political and financial support for the people of Afghanistan by:

  1. Supporting the Geneva Ministerial Pledging Conference
  2. Strengthening EU assistance for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. Using all instruments available in full cooperation and complementarity with the UN, NATO and regional partners, to contribute to the stabilization of the country
  4. Supporting institutional reform and capacity-building, including in the sectors of security and defense, based on the principles of democratic governance and human rights
  5. Assisting with the reintegration of former fighters as well as their families, the victims of conflict and the most vulnerable, including through specialized child protection programs
  6. Promoting regional cooperation, stability, peace, trade and sustainable connectivity in line with “Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy” as adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council in October 2018
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