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Key Taliban commanders among 16 killed in Baghlan, Badakhshan clashes

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

At least 15 Taliban insurgents were killed in clashes with the Afghan forces in Baghlan-Samangan highway, police said.

In a statement released on Tuesday, police stated that the militants attacked and blocked the highway on Monday.

According to the statement, a combination of army, National Directorate of Security (NDS), police, and the special unit of police and air forces have launched a counterattack in the area.

At least 15 militants including a group’s key command – Qari Juma Gul – were killed in the air and ground raids, the statement said.

The Afghan forces have pushed back the Taliban, the statement noted.

Meanwhile, the insurgents attacked Pahn Dara, Persian name, area in Yaftal district of Badakhshan on Monday, and faced “resistance” by the Afghan security forces, Sanaullah Rohani, the provincial police spokesman said.

Rohani said, the Taliban designated judge for Yaftal was killed and two key commanders of the group were wounded as police pushed back the attack.

No casualties inflicted on the Afghan forces, he added.

The Taliban militant group yet to comment about the incidents.

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Two more explosions rattle Kabul amid growing outcry

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2021)

Kabul was rattled by two explosions on Monday morning, amid a surge in targeted killings and attempted assassinations that have prompted a strong outcry among the international community.

The first explosion on Monday happened at around 8:37 am when an IED was detonated against a vehicle in the Sarak-e-Shura area in PD3 of Kabul city.

Police said the vehicle targeted belonged to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, but that there were no casualties.

The Ministry, however, rejected the report stating that the vehicle belonged to the Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA).

Less than two hours later, a second IED detonated in the Khairkhana area in PD11 in Kabul – also targeting a vehicle.

Police stated there were no casualties and no further details were provided as to who the vehicle belonged to.

This comes a day after two female Supreme Court judges were gunned down in a targeted killing in Kabul city – a move that sparked a wide outcry.

The US condemned Sunday’s targeted killing and called for a prompt investigation.

The US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson blamed the Taliban for the attack stating, “the Taliban should understand that such actions for which it bears responsibility outrage the world and must cease if peace is to come to Afghanistan.”

The UK also spoke out and called for a thorough investigation.

“The continued targeting of Afghan civilians who are working to make the country safer, fairer, and more secure is abhorrent. We must see transparent investigations into the assassination of two female judges in Kabul today and an urgent ceasefire,” the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted.

No group claims responsibility for the ongoing attacks but some government officials repeatedly blame the Taliban. However the Taliban has stated in the past that it is not involved in these attacks.

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20 children die in Balkh amid surge in pneumonia cases

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2021)

More than 20 children in Balkh province died from pneumonia last month, which provincial health officials attribute to the extremely cold weather.

Officials noted a marked increase in pneumonia cases among children this winter, stating that 326 had been hospitalized in December.

“1,679 children were hospitalized in Qaws (December 2020) of which 326 patients suffered from pneumonia; that shows a 20 percent increase in cases,” said Nawroz Seberi, the head of the Children’s Department of the Balkh Public Health Directorate.

Late last month, Save the Children warned that more than 300,000 Afghan children face freezing winter conditions that could lead to illness, in the worst case death, without proper winter clothing and heating.

The organization’s country director in Afghanistan, Chris Nyamandi, said in a statement that while schools are closed until March in the coldest parts of the country, this is a serious blow because often the classroom is the only source of warmth for children during winter – where temperatures can plummet to below minus 27 degrees Celsius in parts of the country.

“The situation is bleak for children forced to live in camps in places like Balkh province. It is already very cold in this northern province with overnight temperatures as low as minus ten. But it will get much colder before March,” said Nyamandi last month.

“Here, and in camps in other parts of Afghanistan, plastic sheeting and the clothes they wear are often all that separates them from the freezing temperatures.

“For thousands of children the Afghan winter is a time of grim survival,” he added.

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Qatar condemns killing of two Supreme Court judges

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2021)

Qatar strongly condemned the killing of two female judges who were targeted while driving to court on Sunday in Kabul. 

In a statement issued by Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Sunday night, Doha reiterated its “firm position of rejecting violence and terrorism, regardless of the motives and reasons.”

Qatar has played a solid role in not only hosting the intra-Afghan negotiations but also helping to mediate where necessary. 

Qatari officials also passed their condolences on to the families of the victims and to the people of Afghanistan. 

The two Supreme Court judges were gunned down in an early morning ambush, which also saw their driver wounded. 

This was the latest attack in a string of targeted killings which have substantially raised the levels of fear among the people in the capital. 

These attacks are targeting government officials, civil society activists and journalists and have increased markedly since the start of peace talks in September. 

On Sunday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning attacks on civilians and said “terror, horror and crime” was not a solution to Afghanistan’s problem and urged the Taliban to accept “a permanent ceasefire”.

No group claims responsibility for the assassinations but some government officials have repeatedly blamed the Taliban. 

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