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Taliban: Prisoner Swap Did Not Take Place

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(Last Updated On: November 16, 2019)

The Taliban militant group confirmed that the exchange of Haqqani network prisoners with the two kidnapped professors from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) did not take place.

In a phone call with Ariana News, the group’s spokesman Zabihulla Mjujaheed said, Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rashid and Mali Khan were expected to be transferred to Qatar and Taliban would hand over the two AUAF professors to Americans inside Afghanistan but for unknown reasons the swap did not happen.

According to the Taliban official, the three top insurgent commanders are still in Bagram Prison.

“[The] Taliban demanded release of 82 prisoners in exchange for [the] two professors but the Afghan government released only three of them,” Abdul Shokur Motmaein, a former Taliban official, said.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s First Lady Rula Ghani, on Thursday, admitted that the prisoners swap for two AUAF professors “did not work.” 

Speaking at US Institute of Peace in Washington DC, Rula Ghani said,“I am not quite sure why, but probably some party did not do what they promised they are going to do, so, unfortunately, the two professors may not be released.”

President Ashraf  Ghani, in a televised press conference on Tuesday, confirmed that Anas Haqqani, Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, three top Haqqani Network commanders, have been “conditionally released” in exchange for the release of two foreign university professors who were kidnapped by the Haqqani Network in 2016.

Ghani added that the negotiation was made in close cooperation with the U.S. in order to pave the way for face-to-face negotiations with the Taliban.

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Mastermind behind deadly ANDSF base attack in Ghazni killed

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

The Afghan Ministry of Defense said Monday that the mastermind behind Sunday’s attack on an ANDSF base in Dah-Yak in Ghazni province was killed in an airstrike in the Giro district.

“Hamza Waziristani, the mastermind behind the attack on ANDSF base in Ghazni province was killed along with seven others in an airstrike in Giro district on Sunday night,” the MoD said in a statement.

According to the statement, during the strike a large amount of weapons and ammunition were also destroyed.

No more details were provided by the ministry.

This comes after a Humvee full of explosives was detonated close to a public protection unit in PD3 of Ghazni city.

Ghazni governor’s spokesman Wahidullah Jumazadah said that at least 10 soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the bombing.

According to him, no civilians were injured in the incident.

But health officials reported that at least 21 security force members have been killed and 17 others wounded.

Meanwhile, citing public health department officials from Ghazni, CNN reported Monday that at least 40 Afghan soldiers had been killed.

Health officials also said the blast targeted a compound of the public protection force, a wing of the Afghan security forces, which damaged civilian residences around the compound. They said there could be more casualties from there.

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Sweet rewards for Nangarhar’s beekeepers

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

Nangarhar beekeepers have so far this year produced about 500 tons of honey, making it the province with the highest yield across the country.

With its favorable climate, where temperatures seldom drop below freezing, about 600 Nangarhar honey farmers have in total between 35,000 and 40,000 bee colonies collectively.

Not only does this sector produce about 500 tons of honey a year currently but it also provides job opportunities to around 2,000 people.

Nangarhar agriculture department officials say between 22 and 30 different types of bees are used to produce honey in the province.

Honey farming has become increasingly popular in the province over the past few years and beekeepers say the sweet treat helps provide them with a fairly decent wage which covers their basic needs.

One kilogram of Nangarhar honey sells on local markets for between 250 and 500 Afghanis – but it’s also sold in other provinces around the country.

In a bid to support and boost the sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAIL) has established the Association of Honey Producers, which aims to connect industry stakeholders including government, institutions, beekeepers and other supply chain entities.

The association also aims to help beekeepers increase production so as to further develop the sector.

According to officials of the Nangarhar Honey Producers Association, the province’s honey is sold in different provinces of the country, and currently there are active representatives in Helmand, Balkh, Kabul and Herat provinces.

The Association of Honey Producers of Nangarhar Province has also created five honey processing plants in the province.

Apart from Nangarhar, other honey producing provinces include Badakhshan, Takhar, Balkh, Helmand, Panjshir, Parwan, Kapisa, Ghazni and Herat provinces.

Mountainous areas, with clean air, covered with natural plants and flowers, are considered suitable places for beekeepers and honey farmers.

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Obe district police chief killed in Taliban attack

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

The district police chief for Obe was killed in a Taliban attack on Monday morning, local officials confirmed.

Police said that Mohammad Rafiq Alokozai, police chief of Obe district in Herat province, was killed in a Taliban ambush in the district.

So far no further details have been released.

Meanwhile, Abdul Basir Nuristani, head of the ANA’s 3rd infantry brigade in Badghis, was also killed last night in a Taliban mortar attack.

Local officials said that a mortar landed in the army compound and that 11 other soldiers were also wounded.

No group including the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

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