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Taliban attack security outposts in Nangarhar, killing 20

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(Last Updated On: September 17, 2020)

The Taliban attacked the Afghan security outposts in eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday night, killing at least 20 Afghan forces, a local official confirmed.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor told Ariana News, the clashes between the Afghan forces and the insurgents started after a large number of Taliban fighters stormed several security outposts in Sherzad, Khogyani, and Hisarak districts of the province.

At least 20 Afghan forces – including 12 policemen, three local policemen, and five members of public uprising forces – were killed and 30 others wounded in the battle, Khogyani said.

Khogyani, however, stated that the Taliban have also sustained heavy casualties.

He added that in the counter-attacks at least 30 Taliban insurgents were also killed and several more wounded.

The Taliban has not commented yet in this regard.

It comes as the Afghan government and the Taliban delegations are in Doha to negotiate a political resolution for ending the long-term war in the country.

The two sides held their first formal session on Tuesday evening and reached a consensus over the code of conduct and on moving forward to complete the working principals pertaining to talks going forward.

Meanwhile, the Afghan peace negotiating team leader, Masoom Stanekzai at his opening speech called on the Taliban to put an end to violence.

“The biggest and most important priority of our people is to stop the bloodshed in the country,” Stanekzai said.

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Rescue operations underway for Vietnam landslides victims

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(Last Updated On: October 30, 2020)

Rescue teams continue searching for more signs of life under the rubbles after landslides triggered by heavy rains from Typhoon Molave in Quang Nam province of Vietnam, local news agencies reported.

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported that the Vietnam army with heavy machinery, specialized equipment, and sniffer dogs have been mobilized to search victims of the landslides.

Three villages were hit by the landslide that buried dozens of people. 

The exact death toll yet to be determined, but according to the reports at least 19 people were killed and dozens of people were wounded in the tragedy.

The VNA reported that at least 33 people were rescued, and operations underway to find the remaining 14.

According to the reports, Typhoon Molave made landfall in the morning on Wednesday between Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces. So far, 374,000 people have been evacuated.

Meanwhile, millions of people were left without electricity, and at least 56,000 houses have been damaged.

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Boosting regional cooperation priority of Afghanistan’s foreign policy: Atmar

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(Last Updated On: October 30, 2020)

Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar said Thursday that Boosting cooperation with the regional countries including Iran is one of the priorities of Afghan foreign policy.

Atmar spoke to Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardekanian via a video conference late on Thursday. 

Referring to the status of Iran in Afghan foreign policy and his recent meetings with the senior Iranian officials, Atmar stated that promoting and strengthening bilateral cooperation in the economic, trade, security fields, and exchanging technical experiences between the two countries’ experts is a priority of Afghanistan’s foreign policy.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the two sides discussed plans to expand cooperation in the field of energy transmission, trade and transit development, the inauguration of the Khaf-Herat railway, proposals for joint investments, preparations for holding the Joint cooperation commission meeting, finalization of a memorandum of understanding as well as the comprehensive document of cooperation between Kabul and Tehran.

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Contracts signed to improve services at Afghan airports

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(Last Updated On: October 30, 2020)

Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority and Group 42 of the United Arab Emirates signed three contracts in the areas of security services, operation management, ground handling, and aviation systems and technology on Thursday.

The contract was signed by Mohammad Qasim Wafayezada, Head of Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority, and Mansoor Al-Mansoori, Chief Operating Officer of Group 42 of the UAE in the presence of President Ashraf Ghani, the national security advisor Hamdullah Mohib, and Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal at the Presidential Palace on Thursday afternoon.

The Presidential Palace said in a statement that Ataullah Nasib, Head of Investment Facilitation Unit of Office of the President said UAE’s Group 42 develop and deploy high-impact industry solutions in the sectors of aviation, energy, healthcare, oil and gas, and extractive industry, adding that the company showed willingness and commitment to enter into cooperation with Afghanistan in areas related to civil aviation, mainly for Afghanistan’s four international airports.

Terming the contracts ‘truly strategic, President Ashraf Ghani said, “We celebrated the birth of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) this morning and signed strategic cooperation agreement with the UAE company in the afternoon.”

He added that historical and political relations between Afghanistan and UAE can be named as ‘comprehensive economic partnership’.

President Ghani said, unfortunately, the great potentials at Afghanistan international airports haven’t been utilized. He stressed that the government has entered into cooperation with G42 as the company has great experiences in the fields of security services, ground handling, and aviation systems and technology.

“I am confident that officials, service personnel of airports, clients, and our people will feel the tangible changes upon implementation of these contracts,” Ghani added.

“Our airports are our vital infrastructures so we need to ensure standard service delivery which is essential in terms of operation management and ground handling,” added the president while underlining that export of Afghan products through air corridor should meet those standards. 

President Ghani highlighted that Hamid Karzai International Airport has great potentials to turn into a cargo platform.

He added that international airports of Kandahar and Herat can serve as connection points with UAE and Mawlana Jalaluddin Balkhi airport can link Afghanistan to Central Asia, which altogether create a suitable network of airports.

Meanwhile, Mansoor Al-Mansoori stated that the contracts would create more opportunities for cooperation between Afghan and UAE institutions.

He noted that Afghanistan and UAE enjoy historical and friendly ties that have been further consolidated within recent years.

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