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MoI says controversial Wardak clash is being investigated

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2021)

The Interior Ministry has refuted claims that unarmed civilians were targeted by police during a protest in Bihsud district in Maidan Wardak province on Friday that left at least eleven people dead.

The incident happened late Friday outside the district government compound and also left at least 25 people wounded.

A number of MPs from Wardak province claimed the residents were targeted by police special forces despite being unarmed.

The Interior Ministry however rejected these claims and said irresponsible gunmen opened fire on police and civilians in the district. They said the incident is being investigated.

The incident happened outside the district government compound after a group of locals embarked on a peaceful protest, said MP Mahdi Rasikh.

Rasikh said a group of about 30 elders had gathered to find out why a “special unit” had been dispatched to Bihsud district.

He said it was then that security forces opened fire on the group, adding that all were civilians and were unarmed.

“Eleven civilians, including children, were killed in the incident, and more than 25 others were wounded, and the wounded remained on the snow for hours,” he said adding that they were not allowed to be removed from the area.

Rasikh also said that security forces prevented about 150 others from leaving the area and that they had since been taken into custody.

“The crime of those who were targeted was because they believe in civilization, and not a single shot was fired by these people, but they were targeted as oppressors; we want to pursue this issue seriously,” said Ali Akbar Qasimi another MP from Ghazni.

Meanwhile, a former deputy interior minister says the attack on civilians in Bihsud district by security forces was unjustifiable.

“This attack is a cruel attack and we warn that as soon as possible, innocent people who have no authority and have been taken hostage in this incident should be released and a decision should be made as soon as possible to resolve this issue, and if the incident is a mistake even, it should not be forgiven,” said Murad Ali Murad, the former deputy minister of interior.

“Yesterday there was a shooting and the government shot at us and I got wounded in my back,” said Ahmad Jawed, a resident of Bihsud district.

However the Interior Ministry rejects these claims and states irresponsible gunmen were responsible for the bloody incident in Bihsud.

“Irresponsible gunmen gathered in Bihsud district and used local residents and shot and killed a number of local residents, injuring and martyring them. This issue is under investigation and a delegation has been sent to Wardak to investigate this incident thoroughly,” said Tairq Arian, the interior ministry’s spokesman.

However, protesters warned that if government does not take the incident seriously and does not release those in custody, they will stage large-scale demonstrations in Wardak and Kabul.

This comes after the MoI said earlier that clashes happened after “irresponsible armed men” loyal to commander Alipoor, an anti-Taliban commander known as Commander Shamshir (Sword), resisted the appointment of police chiefs for Hisa-i-Awal and Hisa-i-Dowom in Bihsud district.

According to the statement by the MoI’s spokesman Tariq Arian, Alipoor’s men, who were armed, gathered outside of the district compound and “opened fire on security forces and people…as a result of this chaos a number of security forces and five civilians were wounded.”

Arian stated police fired in the air to control the situation, adding that 68 irresponsible armed men loyal to Alipoor have been arrested in connection with the clashes.

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Three Russian aircraft with humanitarian aid arrive in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Three Russian aircraft landed in Kabul on Wednesday carrying 36 tonnes of humanitarian aid, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

All three Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, involved in delivering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan would also evacuate Russian citizens, as well as citizens of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states, Russia’s Defense Ministry, said in a statement.

“Some three Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters of the Russian Defense Ministry have delivered humanitarian aid to the Kabul airport and are boarding evacuees for departure from Afghanistan,” the statement read.

A total of over 380 Russians, citizens of the CSTO member states (mainly Kyrgyzstan), and Afghan students from Russian universities will fly out on the departing planes, the ministry said.

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India considers re-opening mission in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

As countries slowly start reopening their embassies in Kabul, India is also reportedly considering the possibility of re-staffing its mission in Afghanistan.

So far, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan all have a diplomatic presence in the country.

Japan and the EU have also discussed the possibility of returning to Afghanistan.

One senior Indian official told The Hindu on Wednesday that “establishing a presence in Afghanistan has nothing to do with recognition [of the IEA government]. It simply means that you would like to have people on the ground dealing with the new regime, to continue engagement with the people.”

He said the Modi government is not convinced about the need to re-open its mission, but that discussions are continuing on what India’s strategy should be, The Hindu reported.

At present, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which was evacuated within two days of the IEA talking control, is intact and being guarded by IEA forces.

While calls from within the country to reopen grow, officials told The Hindu that much depends on what India’s other partners and friendly countries choose to do.

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Saudi Arabia reopens consular section of embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Saudi Arabia announced that it has reopened the consular section of its embassy in Kabul as of Tuesday in order to provide consular services to Afghan citizens.

This latest move has been welcomed by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

“We welcome them, appreciate this profound step by the Saudi government and view it as start of good relations,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry.

According to Balkhi a 14-member diplomatic team from Saudi Arabia returned to Kabul on Tuesday, and resumed consular activities.

This comes after the UAE recently reopened its embassy in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, IEA deputy minister and spokesman announced last week that the reopening of the UAE embassy was a “good step.”

The UAE was one of only a few country’s that recognized the IEA government in the 1990s, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Last week Takashi Okada, Japan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, said his country has also decided to reopen its embassy in Kabul after the new government ensured Tokyo of its security.

Enamullah Samangani, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s deputy spokesman said that Takashi Okada raised the issue during a meeting with Abdul Kabir, the IEA’s political deputy prime minister in Kabul.

According to him, the Japanese ambassador to Afghanistan has said that his country continues to support the Afghan people and is ready to work with the IEA on this issue.

Since taking power in mid-August, the IEA has repeatedly called on foreign countries to reopen their embassies after most missions evacuated staff and closed their doors during the chaos that surrounded the US troops withdrawal process.

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