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Peace talks negotiator questions whether ‘talking’ whilst ‘fighting’ is viable

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(Last Updated On: October 14, 2020)

As violence continues to grip Helmand province and reports regularly emerge of other clashes breaking out around the country, Afghan peace negotiator Nader Nadery said from Doha that if the bloodshed continues, Afghanistan might have to reassess whether “talking” whilst “fighting” is viable or not. 

In an interview with BBC on Tuesday, Nadery said: “If the violence goes higher and continues for a longer period of time the level of pressure from the public on us – the team of negotiators from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – will increase and then we will have to do consultation with our people, back, that could this two path of talking and fighting would work or not.” 

“It is unacceptable for our people to be suffering the way they have suffered these past three weeks with increased violence,” Nadery said. 

When asked if he hoped the negotiating teams would have made more progress by now he said they are trying to strike a balance between the “urgency” of a need for a solution, and attempting to ensure the process is not rushed, undermining “a sustainable peace”.

Nadery’s comments come as calls continue to mount for a ceasefire – or at least a reduction in violence. 

As clashes continue to break out around the country, Helmand has been gripped in the clutches of ongoing battles since Saturday night after the Taliban launched coordinated attacks against a number of areas in the province. 

Since then fighting has escalated – resulting in tens of thousands of Helmand residents fleeing their homes.

Casualties have been reported, including civilians, but exact details have not been released.

COVID-19

Brazilian volunteer in COVID-19 vaccine trial dies 

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2020)

Brazilian health authority Anvisa confirmed a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University had died but said the trial would continue.

Oxford confirmed the plan to keep testing, saying in a statement that after careful assessment “there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial,” Reuters reported.

A source told Reuters the trial would have been suspended if the volunteer who died had received the COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting the person was part of the control group that was given a meningitis vaccination.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo, which confirmed the volunteer was Brazilian, said a review committee had suggested the trial continue. 

The university is helping to coordinate phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil.

 

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Saleh rejects claims of civilians killed in Takhar airstrike

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2020)

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Thursday rejected claims of civilian casualties, including children, following an airstrike in Takhar province on Wednesday night. 

In a message on Facebook, Saleh said: “The news of the killing of children in the mosque in Takhar is baseless.”

Referring to Tuesday night’s attack by the Taliban in the same province – which left more than 50 Afghan national security force members dead – Saleh said: “Those who buried our forces yesterday have been destroyed and we have undeniable proof.”

Earlier, security sources stated at least 12 people were killed and 14 wounded in the airstrike which they stated had targeted a mosque in Taloqan city.

Security sources said among the victims were children and the mosque’s imam.

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Two Romanian soldiers wounded in Kandahar IED explosion

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2020)

Two Romanian soldiers were wounded on Wednesday evening when the vehicle they were patrolling in hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar. 

In a Twitter post on Thursday, NATO’s Resolute Support mission stated: “On 21 Oct, a NATO Ground Defense Area patrol in Kandahar Province struck an IED injuring two Romanian soldiers. Coalition forces regularly conduct GDA patrols in the immediate areas surrounding bases.”

The Romanian Defense Ministry said a convoy of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles had been on patrol.

“The Romanian military was traveling with a convoy of MRAP vehicles in the Kandahar region. The explosive device went off when the last vehicle in the column passed. Sergeant Adrian Ioan Czifrak and Second Class Corporal Iosif Ioan Reman were injured as a result of the explosion,” the ministry reported.

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