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Clashes intensify around the country in past 24 hours

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2021)

A major Taliban attack in Baghlan province has been pushed back by Afghan security forces, local officials confirmed Tuesday.

According to them, at least 25 militants were killed and 10 were wounded.

Provincial officials said the Taliban attacked the Baghlan-e-Markazi district from four directions but faced serious resistance from the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

A clearance operation is still underway but officials have said the Taliban was pushed back and ANDSF forces are advancing.

“There is no need for anxiety. We are just slowing our operations because the enemy has laid a lot of mines and they are using people’s houses, and we want to move forward carefully to prevent civilian casualties,” said Safiullah Mohammadi, a military commander in Baghlan province.

“We assure all our people, especially the people of central Baghlan, that central Baghlan is under the control of the security forces and the enemy has suffered many casualties, and we assure you that we are moving forward,” said Sayed Kamal Wardak, district governor of Baghlan-e-Markazi district.

The ministry of defense said at least 143 Taliban were killed and 66 others were wounded in Nangarhar, Zabul, Herat, Badghis, Faryab, Balkh, Helmand, and Baghlan provinces as a result of ANDSF operations during the past 24 past hours.

Also, 52 IEDs were discovered and defused safely by the Afghan National Army.

According to the MoD, an airstrike by Afghan forces was carried out on a key Taliban stronghold in Faryab province, killing 19 Taliban members, including four commanders. Among the dead are three Pakistanis, officials said adding a number of vehicles had also been destroyed.

The 209th Shaheen Corps says an attack took place on Monday in Pashtun Kot district, where the Taliban shadow district governor for Almar district, the Taliban shadow district governor for Bala Murghab district, the Taliban military commission for Andkhoy district, a Taliban local commander and three Pakistani citizens were killed.

The Ministry of Defense meanwhile said 26 Taliban members were killed and 16 others were wounded in another airstrike that targeted a Taliban gathering in Shahjoa district of Zabul province, on Tuesday.

In addition, sources indicated that heavy clashes are ongoing between security forces and the Taliban in the Dawlatshah district of Laghman province, adding that “the Taliban attacked the district governor’s office”.

Local security forces have called for reinforcements from the Laghman provincial capital.

Local residents told Ariana News that heavy and light weapons were fired at Dawlatshah district this morning.

According to officials the director of operations at the Ministry of Defense has joined ANDSF forces in the area to help prevent the district from collapsing to the Taliban.

The Taliban meanwhile also launched an attack on the Obe district in the western province of Herat, the provincial governor Waheed Qatali said.

He said the attack started with the “destruction” of a bridge by the Taliban. The bridge, he said, connected the Obe district with other parts of the province.

“Three Taliban fighters, including their commander, were killed in the ongoing clashes,” Qatali said. “This is their first group attack in the province after the three-day Eid ceasefire.”

Nik Mohammad Nazari, a spokesman for the Badakhshan governor, said in turn the Taliban had attacked the Tashkan district of the province from “several directions” on Monday night, but they faced “heavy resistance from security forces and were pushed back”. He said the group had sustained casualties.

According to him, there had been no casualties among the ANDSF troops.

Meanwhile, Feroz Ahmad Achakzai, a security officer at a police outpost in Turghundi border town in Herat, was killed in a Taliban attack on Monday, police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walizada said.

Four Taliban were also killed in the attack, he added.

But the Taliban says Afghan forces targeted a civilian clinic in Shar-e-Kohna bazar in the central Baghlan district of Baghlan province, killing one patient and injuring eight civilians including two doctors.

The clinic, along with an ambulance and a number of other vehicles were destroyed, the group said.

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Four polio vaccinators killed, four wounded in Nangarhar

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(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Four polio vaccinators were killed and four others wounded in four separate attacks by unknown gunmen in Nangarhar province on Tuesday morning, confirmed local officials.

Officials said one vaccinator was killed and another wounded at 7:30am in Chamtala area of Khoqyani district on Tuesday.

According to the officials one other vaccinator was killed and one wounded at 8:30 am in another attack in PD3 of Jalalabad city on Tuesday.

One volunteer vaccinator was killed and one wounded in a third attack in Khoqyani district of the province.

In the fourth attack one volunteer vaccinator was killed and one wounded in Sra-Road district of the province.

Attaullah Khoqyani, spokesman for Nangarhar governor confirmed that vaccinators were attacked in several areas but he did not provide details.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks so far.

This comes after at least three members of a polio vaccination team, all of them women, were shot dead by unknown gunmen in Nangarhar province in March, local officials said.

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NATO to provide provisional funding to help run Kabul airport

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

NATO has not yet decided on who would run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once foreign troops have withdrawn, the organization’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Monday night. 

Stoltenberg said however that Turkey would play a “key role” in running the airport and that NATO is committed to providing transitional funding for the key facility. 

This comes after Turkey offered to run and guard the airport after the withdrawal of troops. 

However, the Taliban issued a warning and said such a move would be a “mistake” and that any country doing so would be considered invaders. 

“The presence of foreign forces under whatever name or by whichever country in our homeland is unacceptable for the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate (Taliban),” the group cautioned in a statement.

The Taliban insisted that the security of airports, foreign embassies, and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of Afghans, saying that “no one should hold out hope of keeping military or security presence” in Afghanistan.   

In a communique issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the NATO Summit, it was stated that NATO will retain a Senior Civilian Representative’s Office in Kabul to continue diplomatic engagement and enhance its partnership with Afghanistan.

“Recognising its importance to an enduring diplomatic and international presence, as well as to Afghanistan’s connectivity with the world, NATO will provide transitional funding to ensure the continued functioning of Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the communique read.  

“We will also step up dialogue on Afghanistan with relevant international and regional partners. We continue to support the ongoing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, and call on all stakeholders to help Afghanistan foster a lasting inclusive political settlement that puts an end to violence; safeguards the human rights of Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; upholds the rule of law; and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.”

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Khalilzad in Kazakhstan to discuss Afghanistan peace process

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan on Sunday to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan media reports stated the two discussed prospects for the development of the Kazakh-US relations in the context of ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan especially once foreign troops have withdrawn.

Reports stated Khalilzad and Tokayev also discussed the coordination of bilateral and multilateral efforts for the stabilization and socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Tokayev said: “This year we are marking the 30th anniversary of our Independence. During this period, we managed to build relations of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

“The United States is a strong partner of Kazakhstan. We are good partners in so many areas, including trade and economic cooperation,” he said.

Tokayev also said the Afghan issue was always a focal point in his talks with the leaders of Afghanistan, Russia, China, Central Asian states and international organizations.

Kazakh media reported that during the meeting, Khalilzad shared his assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan, and the vision of American diplomacy regarding the further development of the intra-Afghan peace process.

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