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Taliban attacks undermining intra-Afghan negotiation prospect: EU

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(Last Updated On: June 28, 2020)

The European Union said that the high level of violence by the Taliban following the signing of the agreement with the US in Qatar is “unacceptable”.

Roland Kobia, the EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan citing the EU Foreign Ministers and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell Fontelles’ joint statement said that the continued violence undermining the intra-Afghan talks. 

“The unacceptably high level of violence and continued terrorist attacks by the Taliban after Doha is running contrary to the expectations and undermining the prospect for IAN.” Kobia tweeted.

In the past 24 hours, parts of the country have witnessed breathtaking clashes between security forces and the Taliban. Clashes between the Afghan government and the Taliban have escalated, But a Taliban spokesman said all of the group’s fighters are defensive, and the number of attacks had dropped by 60 percent.

In the meantime, people are very concerned about this situation.

“It is the responsibility of the United States to manage the situation and prevent disaster,” said Iqbal Khyber, head of the Helmand peace movement.

At the same time, the NATO SCR to Afghanistan considers the escalation of violence in the country a matter of concern and an obstacle to the start of negotiations between Afghans.

“I’m very concerned about the increase in violence, as the leaders of resolute support are and we all are. The level of violence is simply unacceptable. This level of violence is incompatible with creating a condition trust conducive to good Intra-Afghan negotiations,” said Stefano Pontecorvo, a NATO SCR to Afghanistan.

EU foreign ministers, meanwhile, have said in a joint statement that the increase in Taliban attacks following the Doha agreement is disappointing, stressing that this would weaken the possibility of negotiations between Afghans.

“Operations have been stepped up on both sides. Confidence must be built and the process of releasing prisoners must be accelerated,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.

Nearly 4,000 Taliban by the government and Taliban have released nearly 700 government prisoners on the eve of talks between the Afghans. But the Afghan government sees progress in this area as dependent on the Taliban to reduce violence

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Afghan security forces able to defend the country on their own: MPs

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

With the withdrawal of foreign forces underway, members of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said on Thursday that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are able to defend their country on their own.

MPs said however that reforms need to be brought on a leadership level within the ANDSF.

“After the withdrawal of foreign forces some challenges will exist, but it is related to the leadership of the ANDSF and how they manage the war,” said Khan Agha Rezayee, the head of parliament’s security commission.

“We have a national army, national police, and NDS that can defend the country independently, and they have proven that they can defend the country.”

The Ministry of Defense (MoD), meanwhile, stated that Afghan forces are able to defend the country and people on their own.

“ANDSF are willing to defend the country in every situation; 96% of the operations including night operations and airstrikes are conducted by the Afghan forces. We assure people they need not worry as ANDSF have proven that they can defend the country and people,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for the MoD.

Some Kabul residents said that supporting the ANDSF in this time will empower them to ensure security.

“Our security forces are strong, and we believe that they can ensure security. We are proud of them that they can thwart Taliban plans,” said Yasin Shinwari, a resident of Kabul city.

“We believe in the capabilities of the security forces, but the forces need better equipment to go on the offensive,” said Sayed Ali Sena Sadat, another resident of Kabul city.

This comes as reports emerged this week that the Taliban is advancing on key cities in Baghlan, Helmand and Ghazni provinces.

According to reports a number of soldiers have been killed in clashes with the Taliban in Ghazni and Baghlan provinces and in Helmand – while an unknown number have surrendered to the Taliban.

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Taliban capture key dam in Kandahar province

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

The Taliban has captured Afghanistan’s second-biggest dam after months of fierce fighting in its former bastion of Kandahar, the group and officials said, as the US forces have begun the withdrawal of its troops from the country after 20 years, AFP reported.

The Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers via a network of canals as well as drinking water for the provincial capital, was now under Taliban control, local officials told AFP news agency on Thursday.

A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf also confirmed this and said: “We have seized the Dahla Dam in Arghandab.”

Haji Gulbuddin, governor of an adjacent district, confirmed the dam “is now in the control of the Taliban”, AFP reported.

“Our security forces … asked for reinforcements but they failed to get it,” he said.

Kandahar water department chief Tooryalay Mahboobi told AFP the Taliban recently warned Dahla employees not to go to work.

Last month the armed fighters blew up a bridge that connected the dam to adjacent districts, AFP reported.

Dahla was built by the US nearly 70 years ago to provide water for irrigating land in about seven districts of Kandahar.

In 2019, the Asian Development Bank approved a grant of nearly $350m to be used partly to expand the reservoir-style project.

The surrounding district has seen intense fighting in the past six months, but officials announced in April that the area had been cleared.

Before retreating, the Taliban planted explosives across the area – including in residential complexes – officials said.

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China says its rocket debris unlikely to cause any harm

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

Most debris from a Chinese rocket will be burned up on reentry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

Debris from the Long March 5B that sent part of a planned space station into orbit last week is likely to fall in international waters, China’s Global Times reported on Wednesday, amid concerns it could cause damage on re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

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