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Contradictory reports emerge over Black Hawk ‘crash’

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(Last Updated On: April 1, 2021)

Conflicting reports have emerged around the apparent Afghan National Army Black Hawk helicopter crash in Helmand province on Wednesday night.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the helicopter made an emergency landing in Nahr-e-Saraj district in the province after experiencing technical problems.

The MoD said in a statement no casualties had been reported but an investigation will be carried out.

However, Attullah Afghan, the head of the Helmand provincial council, said on Wednesday night that the ANA helicopter had crashed.

He said three people on board had died and four were injured.

The Taliban meanwhile claimed that it shot down an ANA Black Hawk over Helmand province – leaving four dead.

According to the Taliban, the helicopter had been preparing to carry out an airstrike when it was targeted.

This comes after an incident last month when the forces of a local militia commander, Alipour, shot down an Afghan Air Force helicopter in Maidan Wardak province.

Nine security personnel, including two pilots and four special forces members, were killed in the incident, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said that based on their investigation and evidence, the Afghan Air Force helicopter “was attacked by Alipour’s militia in Behsud district.”

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Logar police district chief killed in shooting

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2021)

An Afghan security official was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in eastern Logar province on Monday, sources said.

Hasibullah Stanekzai, Head of the Provincial Council told Ariana News that Shahpor Ahmadzai, police chief for PD1 of Logar, was gunned down by unknown armed men in the provincial capital Pul-e-Alam city.

The incident took place at Shahidan square in the city on Monday evening.

Ahmadzai, who was a former spokesman for Logar police, died in hospital from gunshot wounds sustained in the attack, Stanekzai said.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Amnesty International say ‘brutal crimes’ highlight govt failures

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2021)

Responding to the deadly bombing of Sayed-ul-Shuhada High School in Kabul on Saturday afternoon and the Zabul bus bombing on Sunday night, Amnesty International said Monday these two incidents must serve as a wake up call to the world.

Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, said: “The appalling scenes in West Kabul and Zabul Province must serve as a wake-up call to the world.

Officials confirmed Monday that 85 people were killed in the school bombing on Saturday and another 11 were killed in a IED explosion in Zabul on Saturday night.

“These unspeakable crimes brutally highlight the failure of authorities to protect civilians, particularly girls and minority groups. People are being slaughtered on a weekly basis and the bloodshed shows no sign of letting up,” Hamidi said.

“Now is not the time for the international community to turn its back on Afghanistan,” she said.

“Targeting civilians, especially children and schools, is a war crime and violation of international humanitarian law. All parties to the peace negotiations must focus their utmost efforts on protecting civilians, upholding human rights for all, and ending impunity for these crimes.”

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Pakistan’s Bajwa meets with Ghani in Kabul: Sources tell Reuters

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(Last Updated On: May 10, 2021)

Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other leaders in Kabul on Monday, sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The media wing of Pakistan’s military did not immediately respond to a request for comment or confirm the visit.

According to Reuters, it was not immediately clear what was discussed during the meeting.

Neighbouring Pakistan is regarded as a key player in the Afghan peace process. In the past Islamabad has been accused of harbouring the Taliban but in recent years Washington and other Western powers have acknowledged its efforts to push the militant group to take part in peace talks.

Bajwa on Monday also met Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff General Nicholas Patrick Carter for talks on Afghan peacemaking, according to a statement from Pakistan’s military media wing. The venue of the meeting was not given.

In recent weeks, Taliban and diplomatic sources told Reuters, Pakistan has been negotiating with insurgents to try and get them to commit to a ceasefire, agree to an extension of the U.S.-Taliban agreement which stipulated forces should withdraw by May, and to continue to take part in peace talks at a planned conference in Turkey.

Violence has risen starkly in Afghanistan in recent weeks with the Taliban launching attacks throughout the country.

The Taliban announced on Sunday night that they would commit to a three-day ceasefire for the Islamic religious holiday of Eid later this week.

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