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Hundreds of Taliban fighters, including key commanders killed: MoD

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(Last Updated On: November 7, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that 10 Taliban fighters including, a key member of the group have been killed and the group’s shadow governor for Helmand province was wounded during airstrikes in Nad Ali district.

According to the MoD the Taliban intelligence chief for Nad Ali is among the 10 people killed in the airstrikes.
Taliban did not comment about the airstrikes so far.

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces said that they have cleared Arghandab district from Taliban presence during special operations.

More than 500 Taliban have been killed and dozens others were wounded in the operation, said the Afghan Chief of Army Staff Gen. Yasin Zia who is currently visiting the province.

According to the MoD the Arghandab district is now fully under control of the Afghan forces.

Forces are now demining areas in the district, MoD said.

The MoD said that they have launched the operation in response to the Taliban attack on Afghan forces’ check-posts in Maiwand, Zharay, and Panjwayee districts and 10 vehicles of the Taliban have been destroyed in the operation.

The local residents in Arghandab said that they want to return to their homes.

Local officials said that displaced people can return home.

Meanwhile, Gen. Abdul Saboor Qani, deputy interior minister, said that Taliban has intensified fighting to use as leverage in the peace talks, but Afghan

forces neutralized their plans.
According to Qani, after the Arghandab district, they will launch operations to retake some areas in Panjwayee and Zharay districts of Kandahar.

On the other hand, Gen. Tadin Khan, Kandahar police chief, said that some figures in government, especially in Kandahar seek to defame him and some areas surrendered to the Taliban without any resistance.

According to Tadin Khan there is some evidence that shows foreign fighters participated in the Arghandab war.

Ahmad Bahir Ahmadi, spokesman for Kandahar governor, however, said that more than 400 Taliban have been killed in the operations and Taliban have been defeated.

Afghan officials have not commented about the Afghan forces’ casualties in the operations so far.

Taliban had also not yet commented about MoD’s claims.

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Russia-led bloc concludes drills near Afghan border to boost Tajik security

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(Last Updated On: October 24, 2021)

A Russia-led military exercise held over six days near the Tajik-Afghan border, designed to demonstrate Moscow stands ready to protect Dushanbe in the event of an incursion from the south, reached its conclusion on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Tajikistan’s relations with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [IEA] leadership in Kabul have been strained from the start and reports of troop build-up on both sides of the border have alarmed Moscow, which operates a military base in the former Soviet republic.

According to the report the exercise, carried out by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which also includes Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, involved over 4,000 troops as well as tanks, artillery and assault aircraft.

“This is the first time an event of this scale is being held,” Tajik Defence Minister Sherali Mirzo told reporters at the site.

CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas said the war games were aimed at showing “that no incursions into Tajikistan’s territory will be allowed,” adding “we will not leave Tajikistan alone in the face of danger.”

Millions of Tajiks live in Afghanistan, comprising its second largest ethnic group, and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon has criticised the predominantly IEA for failing to set up an ethnically diverse cabinet.

The IEA has forged an alliance with an ethnic Tajik militant group seeking to overthrow Rakhmon, according to Russian media reports.

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Despite Doha deal mistrust between US and IEA still exists: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: October 23, 2021)

Zalmay Khalilzad, former US special envoy for Afghanistan, says that despite the signing of the February 2020 Doha agreement between the US and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), there is still an “atmosphere of mistrust” between the two sides.

In an interview with an American media outlet, Khalilzad said that because of America’s distrust, they still need to monitor the IEA’s performance, despite their assurances.

“Well, as I have mentioned before, the main problem right now is that we don’t trust them [IEA]. So the important thing is that what they say should not be trusted. Because of American disbelief in what the Taliban (Islamic Emirate) say and do, especially in relation to terrorism, they need to monitor the group’s work.”

In response to the possibility of the IE not adhering to the principles of women’s rights and girls education, Khalilzad said that there could be a difference of opinion among the leaders of the Islamic Emirate on this matter.

“I think there is disagreement among the leaders of the Taliban (Islamic Emirate) regarding the education of girls; we cannot say that all the Taliban (Islamic Emirate) are of the same opinion. Currently, in three to four provinces of Afghanistan, school gates are open to girls above the sixth grade,” Khalilzad added.

His comments come just days after he stepped down as special envoy after leading the US team through the peace process with the IEA and the former government.

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Biden approves $976 million for refugees in US including Afghans

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(Last Updated On: October 23, 2021)

US President Joe Biden on Friday approved the use of up to $976.1 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to meet unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs, including for additional relecations of individuals at risk “as a result of the situation in Afghanistan”.

In a memorandum to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden said it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance of an amount not to exceed $976.1 million for the purpose of meeting unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs to support Operation Allies Welcome and related efforts by the Department of State.

He said it is also to include additional relocations of individuals at risk as a result of the situation in Afghanistan and related expenses.

“Such assistance may be provided on a bilateral or multilateral basis as appropriate, including through contributions to international organizations and through funding to other nongovernmental organizations, governments, and United States departments and agencies.” he said.

The US evacuated at least 65,000 Afghans at the end of August, according to numbers provided by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

The White House earlier said however that it was expecting to resettle up to 95,000 Afghans in the US, the majority of whom arrived by the end of September after spending time in third countries while being processed.

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