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Foreign troops targeted in rocket attack in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: May 2, 2021)

US Forces Afghanistan hit back at insurgents on Saturday night after foreign forces were targeted in a rocket attack at the Kandahar Airfield.

According to Colonel Sonny Leggett, USFOR-A spokesman: “US Forces conducted a precision strike this evening, destroying additional rockets aimed at the airfield.”

He said Kandahar Airfield received “ineffective indirect fire this afternoon” but added no injuries to personnel had been reported nor had there been any damage caused to equipment.

He also said US commander General Scot Miller has been clear about the Coalition’s intent to protect the force.

“A return to violence would be one senseless & tragic. But make no mistake, we have the military means to respond forcefully to any type of attacks against the coalition and the military means to support the Afghan security forces. That would be a mistake to move in that direction.”

On Saturday, security was ramped up in cities across Afghanistan, including Kabul, ahead of possible attacks by the Taliban due to the presence of foreign troops in the country after the May 1 withdrawal deadline.

On Saturday morning, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted that the US troops presence was in violation of the agreement and that the group reserved the right to take action against the “occupying forces”.

“As withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by agreed upon May 1st deadline has passed, this violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces,” Mujahid tweeted.

“The Mujahidin of IEA (Taliban) will now await what decision the leadership of Islamic Emirate takes in light of the sovereignty, values and higher interests of the country, and will then take action accordingly, Allah willing,” he said.

Under the Trump administration’s February 2020 deal with the Taliban, foreign forces were to withdraw from the country by May 1 while the Taliban held off on attacking foreign troops and bases.

But US President Joe Biden announced last month after reviewing the situation that forces would stay in the country for months beyond May, withdrawing by September 11.

While the Taliban did not attack foreign forces in the year following the signing of the agreement, the group continued to carry out attacks against the Afghan security forces and Afghan civilians.

In recent weeks, more than 100 Afghan security force personnel have been killed. On Friday alone, a massive truck bomb in Logar killed dozens of people.

Washington has however warned that if foreign forces were attacked while carrying out the withdrawal they would defend themselves “with all the tools at our disposal”.

Experts said the Taliban threats should be taken seriously, but a number of factors meant that full-scale attacks against foreign targets could be averted, as the Taliban continued negotiations.

“We can’t rule out attacks,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Programme at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington told Reuters.

“That said, the Taliban is less likely to attack foreign forces now that it knows there is a specific date when they will be leaving.”

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CSTO ready to ensure its security given situation at borders

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is prepared to ensure the security of its borders amid growing insecurity in Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to a joint statement by the CSTO leaders that was adopted at the organization’s summit in Moscow on Monday and posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“The situation in Afghanistan and on other external frontiers of the CSTO member-states is alarming,” the statement said.

“In connection with this, we express readiness to maintain security at the borders within the CSTO’s zone of responsibility.”

The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon – the leaders of all six member states of the group.

The Collective Security Treaty was signed on May 15, 1992 in Tashkent.

Despite CSTO members’ concerns, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, says that security is ensured throughout Afghanistan and that no opposition group is active enough to be considered a threat to the security of other countries.

According to the Deputy Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan’s borders are more secure than ever and countries should not worry about this.

“Afghanistan’s borders are now more secure than ever, and Afghan territory will not be used against any country,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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