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Early morning IED blasts and armed attack continue to rattle Kabul 

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(Last Updated On: August 22, 2020)

An Afghan National Army colonel who served for the logistics department of the Defense Ministry and his driver were killed in an attack by unknown armed men in Kart-e-Naw in Kabul’s PD8 on Saturday morning, defense ministry officials confirmed. 

In addition to this, three explosions were reported in Kabul city early Saturday morning, leaving one person dead and four others wounded, Kabul police confirmed.

Police said in a statement the first explosion happened at about 6.30am in Sarak-e-Naw in PD5 when an IED was detonated against a private vehicle.

The second incident took place in Hangarha Circle in PD15 at 7.20am. The target was a police vehicle. 

The third explosion was in Company area in PD5. 

The latest explosions come just hours after President Ashraf Ghani met with Kabul police officials and ordered them to take steps to improve the security situation in the capital. 

According to the Presidential Palace, security officials were told by the president that he had “visited police stations, the situation is not acceptable to me and there is immediate need for administrative changes.”

Ghani also called out police chiefs and said they need to pay more attention to their duties and ensure individuals who break the law are dealt with according to the law. 

Kabul has seen a sharp rise in IED explosions – specifically magnetic devices against targeted vehicles – in the past few weeks. 

In addition, at least three people were killed last week when a rocket attack was launched against the city center. 

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Key Taliban fighter killed in Helmand operation

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(Last Updated On: October 28, 2020)

At least 38 Taliban militants, including the group’s shadow district governor for Nad Ali were killed in an operation by the Afghan forces in battle-weary Helmand province.

The provincial media office said in a statement on Wednesday night that Mullah Shawali, the Taliban’s shadow district governor for Nad Ali, was killed during a clearance operation on the Lashkargah-Nad Ali road.

The Defense Ministry (MoD), however, stated that Shawali was killed in an airstrike in the Nad Ali district of Helmand on Wednesday.

According to the ministry, Shawali was leading the clashes against the Afghan forces in Chah Anjir and Babaji area in the province.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry stated that the route was cleared of the Taliban.

The Taliban has not yet commented on the death of Shawali. 

The clearance operation was launched on Monday to push back the Taliban who had taken control of a number of areas in the past two weeks.

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EU says ‘killings and peace talks cannot go hand in hand’

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(Last Updated On: October 28, 2020)

The European Union said Wednesday the high level of civilian casualties in the conflict in Afghanistan is “unacceptable.”

According to a statement, the EU repeated its stance on “the central role of International Humanitarian Law in an armed conflict to protect civilians.”

The EU said that despite the high levels of violence taking place against the backdrop of ongoing peace negotiations, “killings and peace talks cannot go hand in hand.”

“Therefore, the European Union joins the Afghan people longing for peace by reiterating its call for an immediate, comprehensive, nationwide and unconditional ceasefire respected by both parties.”

The EU’s statement comes in response to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) new report published on Tuesday that documented 5,939 civilian casualties (2,117 killed and 3,822 injured) from 1 January to 30 September 2020.

In its report, the mission said: “High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian.”

UNAMA stated that while the number of civilian casualties documented is the lowest in the first nine months of any year since 2012, “the harm done to civilians remains inordinate and shocking.”

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Afghans protest in Kabul against Macron’s Islamaphobic remarks

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(Last Updated On: October 28, 2020)

Kabul residents took to the streets of Kabul on Wednesday in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial remarks about Islam. 

The protest, outside the French Cultural Center in Kabul city drew cries such as “death to France” and “death to Macron”.

Kabul high school students also protested against Macron’s remarks. 

Wednesday’s demonstration comes amid a standoff between France and Muslim countries after Macron reacted to the beheading of a French schoolteacher who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a lesson about freedom of speech. 

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added his voice to calls for a boycott of French goods.

Erdogan has led the charge against  Macron and said on Monday: “Never give credit to French-labelled goods, don’t buy them.”

French goods have already been pulled from supermarket shelves in Qatar and Kuwait, among other Gulf states, and in Syria people have burned pictures of Macron and French flags have been torched in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meanwhile has called on France to revise its separatist policies that target Islam and offend over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. In a statement, the OIC has said: “We condemn the constant systematic attack on the feelings of Muslims by insulting the religious symbols represented by the person of the Prophet Muhammad.”

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