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Defense Ministry confirms at least 10 Daesh militants killed in prison battle

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2020)

At least 10 attackers were killed in the almost day-long battle between Afghan security forces and Daesh militants in Jalalabad city.

The attack carried out against the city’s prison and a building opposite the facility, lasted for almost 24 hours before the area was declared clear of militants.

According to Nangarhar officials, five prisoners were also killed in the attack, and six more wounded while 40 families were rescued from the building opposite the prison, the ministry of defense confirmed on Monday night.

Nangarhar governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, meanwhile said the death toll was 30 and 50 wounded. This included civilians, security forces, and prisoners.

The rampage started on Sunday evening just after 6.30 pm when Daesh militants detonated a car bomb outside the prison.

After blasting the gates open, they stormed the facility. In the chaos, hundreds of prisoners escaped.

An estimated 1,700 prisoners were being held in the facility at the time of the attack – many of the Daesh fighters.

The gunbattle between militants and security forces lasted about 20 hours. Added to this, security manpower had to be diverted in order to round up the escapees.

Some prisoners who had been arrested told Ariana News that six attackers entered the prison and ordered them to leave. The prisoners were told that if they did not leave they would be killed by the assailants.

A security source said that the prisoners who escaped included Taliban members, Daesh militants, and criminals.

Earlier in the day, Zahir Adil, a spokesman for the provincial health directorate, told Ariana News that 13 of those wounded were in a critical condition.

This attack started just a day after Afghanistan’s intelligence services announced the Afghan special forces had killed a high-ranking Daesh member in an operation in eastern Afghanistan.
A statement late Saturday by the National Directorate of Security said the slain militant was Assadullah Orakzai, an intelligence leader for the IS affiliate (Daesh) in Afghanistan. The statement said he was killed near Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. IS has its headquarters in the province.
Orakzai was suspected of being involved in several deadly attacks against both military and civilian targets in Afghanistan.

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Two pilots killed in military helicopter crash in Baghlan

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2020)

Two pilots were killed as a result of a military helicopter crash on Thursday in Baghlan province, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The MD-530 helicopter belonging to the Afghan Air Force crashed in the Kaparak area of Pul-e-Khumri in the province.

The crash was caused by a technical failure, killing two pilots on board.

The ministry said the incident will be investigated.

“An Air Force MD-530 helicopter crashed in the Kaprak area of Pul-e-Khumri city in Baghlan province due to technical issues at around 4:30 pm today (Thursday). Unfortunately, two pilots of the Afghan Air Force were killed in the incident,” the statement said.

The ministry held a funeral for the pilots – Major Bismillah and Lieutenant Faisal – on Friday.

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Khalilzad ‘would welcome’ talks with Iran to help end conflict

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said Thursday Washington had offered to meet with Iran in a bid to garner their assistance to end the war in Afghanistan. 

Speaking at a virtual discussion by the US Institute of Peace, Khalilzad said he would welcome talks with Afghanistan’s neighbor but said Tehran wanted to keep the US “entangled” in the conflict. 

“Iran would like to keep us entangled in a conflict without winning or losing but paying a high price in Afghanistan until there is an agreement between the US and Iran,” Khalilzad said.

“But we have offered to meet with Iranians on this issue, that they should join various forums where we are there and they are there, to discuss the future of Afghanistan,” he said.

However, Khalilzad warned that the US would target any Iran-backed groups that took “action against” America and that Washington is monitoring them closely. 

Khalilzad also said that there was “no viable path” to a military victory in Afghanistan.

But Khalilzad noted that plans to downsize the number of US troops in Afghanistan, before a complete withdrawal, was all conditional.

Iran has denounced the agreement negotiated by Khalilzad between the US and the Taliban, which envisions a US troops withdrawal by April next year. Iran has accused Washington of legitimizing the Taliban.

 

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Security chiefs discuss surging levels of violence in the country

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

Security leaders from the Ministries of Defense and Interior and Resolute Support Mission met on Wednesday in Kandahar to discuss the security situation across Afghanistan. 

Resolute Support Commander, General Scott Miller stated Thursday that the level of violence in the country at the moment was too high. 

“Taliban violence has to slow down – it has to stop. What it is driving is an increase in violence across the country,” he said. 

As he stated the world is watching Afghanistan at the moment – specifically due to current peace negotiations between the Afghan government team and the Taliban. 

“We have an opportunity for peace, which is what the people of Afghanistan are looking for,” Miller said. 

He stated that during the visit to Kandahar, the officials all agreed on the need for close cooperation between all security entities in the country. 

“..we stressed and talked about the need for work amongst the security pillars, cooperation amongst the security pillars. The police and the army are very important to the people of Afghanistan,” he said. 

“But it’s the cooperation between the different security forces that are making a difference here in Kandahar. It has to – it has to be better. And then just lastly, for the people of Afghanistan, as I watch the fighting on a daily and nightly basis, I ask the people of Afghanistan, and [Kandahar’s] governor you as well, is make sure that we say ‘thank you’ and remain very proud of the security forces who are sacrificing every single day.”

The visit comes amid rising concerns about increased violence across the country since the start of the Afghan peace negotiations with the Taliban in Doha. 

 

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