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Government to distribute bread to needy through bakeries – Kabul 

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(Last Updated On: April 30, 2020)

The Afghan government has set to distribute bread to most vulnerable families affected by the Coronavirus in the capital Kabul city.

Mohammad Yaqub Haydari, the governor of Kabul, said Sunday that the process would begin by the upcoming Thursday after the survey on the needy families were finalized.

It comes as a large number of people have face poverty and hardship due to the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

“After surveying the needy, the bread will probably be distributed to them through bakeries,” said Haydari. 

The distribution of bread to the majority of the poor, who have become unemployed during this trying time due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the resulting crisis, paves the way for them to stay in their homes. 

Kabul bakers also stand ready to contribute with the government to distribute bread to the needy. 

Meanwhile, civil society activists believe that in such a situation, the government should not hesitate to distribute aid to the affected people. 

“85 percent of Afghans live below the poverty line,” said Aziz Rafii, head of Afghanistan’s Civil Society. 

So far, the government has donated about 4.5 kilograms of wheat per family in Kabul – at least 1,000 families – which were followed by criticism of the citizens.

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UN official warns al-Qaeda still ‘heavily embedded’ with Taliban 

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

A UN official has said despite the Taliban’s pledge in February to cut ties with al-Qaeda, the group is still “heavily embedded” within the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Speaking to the BBC, Edmund Fitton-Brown, co-ordinator of the UN’s Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team, said there has been regular communication between the two groups despite the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February. 

“The Taliban were talking regularly and at a high level with al-Qaeda and reassuring them that they would honor their historic ties,” Fitton-Brown said.

According to him, the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban was “not substantively” changed by the deal struck with the US. 

“Al-Qaeda are heavily embedded with the Taliban and they do a good deal of military action and training action with the Taliban, and that has not changed,” he said.

BBC reported that although al-Qaeda’s strength and ability to strike the West has significantly diminished over the past decade, its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is believed to still be based in Afghanistan along with a number of other senior figures in the group. 

But, Fitton-Brown said despite its lower profile, al-Qaeda remained “resilient” and “dangerous”.

Fitton-Brown also told the BBC that he had noted recent reports about the Taliban requiring some Pakistani foreign fighters in Afghanistan to register with them and abide by a code of conduct forbidding attacks outside Afghanistan. 

He said it was not yet clear whether that agreement applied to al-Qaeda, nor whether it was an “irrevocable” move toward preventing foreign militants posing a threat internationally from Afghanistan.

BBC stated US officials have been vague when questioned as to whether or not they believe the Taliban is fully complying with its commitments on al-Qaeda, and instead have often suggested the information is classified. 

Ambassador Nathan Sales, co-ordinator for counterterrorism at the US state department, told the BBC: “We expect the Taliban to honor the commitments that they made… to end all connections with terrorist organizations in Afghanistan. We intend to continue monitoring the situation very closely to ensure actions are matching words.”

Speaking to the BBC, Rahmatullah Andar, a former Taliban commander and now spokesman for the Afghan government’s National Security Council warned of the threat of a resurgence from al-Qaeda and other global militant groups. “The Americans might think the agreement they have signed with the Taliban will sort everything out,” he said. “But time will prove that’s not the case.”

Fitton-Brown also warned that were the peace process, currently underway in Doha, fall apart, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (Daesh) could attempt to further exploit “ungoverned space” in Afghanistan.

“Both of those groups have an avowed aspiration to pose an international threat,” he said.

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8 killed in Herat prison riot, officials confirm

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(Last Updated On: October 29, 2020)

At least eight prisoners were killed in a prison riot on Wednesday night in Herat Central Prison, local officials said Thursday.

Herat Public Health officials confirmed the deaths, and said 12 others including four prison guards were wounded.

However, the head of Herat ambulance services Ibrahim Mohammadi said early Thursday morning that one police soldier and one prisoner had died and 18 wounded had been taken to hospital.

Further details around the prison riot have not been provided but unconfirmed reports indicate a fight broke out while police were trying to close illegal shops inside the prison – which sparked an angry response from prisoners.

Reports also indicate a part of the prison had been set on fire.

The prison is situated in the heart of Herat city, and for residents in the close vicinity the situation had been a major concern as gunshots rang out through much of the night.

But reports indicate clashes lasted a few hours until the situation was eventually brought under control at about midnight.

Neither police nor prison officials have yet provided further details.

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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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