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Clashes between Afghan, Pakistani troops leave 15 dead, 80 wounded – Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: July 31, 2020)

Fifteen civilians have been killed and 80 others wounded in clashes between Afghan and Pakistani forces in Kandahar province on Thursday evening.

The Spin Boldak-Chaman friendship gate witnessed a bloody clash between Afghan and Pakistani troops on Thursday evening.

The clashes erupted after Pakistani militias shot dead a number of passengers across the supposed Durand Line. Officials say that 15 people, including women and children, were killed and 80 others were injured in the clashes.

“Pakistani troops opened fire on civilians in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province. The Afghan military responded to the Pakistani forces. 15 civilians were killed and about 80 others were wounded,” said Kandahar governor’s spokesman Baheer Ahmadi.

The Pakistani government opened the Spin Boldak Gate to passengers three days ago. But on Thursday, Pakistani troops re-blocked the Spin Boldak gate, despite a government decision, prompting a backlash from a number of passengers across the supposed Durand Line.

Those injured in the incident also said that first, the Pakistani military fired on the civilians, and then the Afghan military in response to this, fired on the Pakistani military.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement that the army chief of staff had ordered the air and border forces to be on high alert. The Afghan Ministry of Defense said in a statement that if the Pakistani military attacks, Afghan forces would retaliate.

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Afghan civil society appeals to EU to push for a ceasefire

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

Four key recommendations were presented to the European Parliament in a meeting with Afghan civil society members under the umbrella of Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP) this week.

In its role as a “transfer mechanism for the peace talks”, AMIP facilitated the meeting that was aimed at highlighting the role of civil society in the Afghan peace process and called on the European Union and its member states to encourage the parties to the conflict to “immediately implement a comprehensive, nationwide and unconditional ceasefire.”

AMIP also asked the EU to call on all regional actors to “support a ceasefire agreement unequivocally, and to refrain from interference in the Afghan conflict.”

“We ask the European Union and its member states to continue their commitment and active support to an inclusive, Afghan peace process, that preserves and builds on the political, economic and social accomplishments of the citizens of Afghanistan. 

“All Afghans have suffered from the consequences of conflict, and deserve to live in a peaceful and prosperous country.

AMIP also called on the EU to “continue their commitment and support of Afghan civil society and especially that of women groups, and their participation in all processes that lead to stability and peace in Afghanistan.”

Their fourth recommendation was on the EU’s support in a post-war scenario. 

“We are grateful for the European Union’s consistent support to Afghanistan, and urge the EU and its member states to maintain its support for stability and development in the post-peace phase.”

In a tweet after the meeting, the Head of EU Delegation in Kabul ambassador Andreas von Brandt said he stated at the meeting that there was a “need to bring all Afghan voices to the negotiating table but also seek societal consensus for compromise.”

The discussion was held between the Chair of the EU Parliament Delegation for relations with Afghanistan Petras Austrevicus; the Head of EU Delegation in Kabul ambassador Andreas von Brandt; and Afghan civil society members. Also attending the meeting was representatives from the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, Afghanistan Justice Organization, Afghanistan Policy Group and the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organizations.

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MoI reports 261 civilians killed in past 50 days in Taliban attacks

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

At least 261 civilians have been killed and 602 wounded in Taliban offensives in the past 50 days, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed Saturday.

“The Taliban have increased violence in some provinces in recent months. In the past 50 days, the Taliban have conducted close to 2,000 offensives that left 863 civilians killed or wounded,” Tariq Arian, an MoI spokesperson said.

The Afghan security and defense forces stated that the Taliban have also sustained heavy casualties. 

The Defense Ministry said a key Taliban commander was killed in an airstrike by the Afghan forces in Helmand province.

According to the ministry, the deputy Taliban military commissioner Mullah Amanullah was killed along with his eight fighters in the Nawa district of Helmand on Friday.

In a reaction to the report, the Taliban blamed airstrikes conducted by the Afghan and the US forces for civilian casualties.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that their attacks are focused on military centers, from where he claimed that the Afghan forces are coordinating operations against the Taliban.

 

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Erdogan’s spokesman, interior minister test positive for COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman and interior minister both announced Saturday that they had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kolin tweeted that he had reached “the final stage of coronavirus treatment” but did not say how long he had been sick.

Kolin’s announcement came just hours after Erdogan’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said he was hospitalized Friday after testing positive for the virus. 

Turkish media reports that both men routinely meet with Erdogan, who was traveling on Saturday to Izmir to inspect the damage from an earthquake that killed more than 30 people in Turkey and Greece.

However, al-Arabiya reports that Erdogan has exhibited no signs of illness and keeps a punishing schedule that often includes several daily televised speeches.

Turkey, which this week surpassed 10,000 coronavirus deaths, has so far refrained from reintroducing the lockdown measures being unveiled by countries such as France and Greece.

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