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Taliban offensives intensify in Ghazni, Baghlan and Helmand

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(Last Updated On: May 6, 2021)

While heavy clashes are ongoing in various parts of the country, reports indicate that the Taliban is advancing on key cities in Baghlan and Ghazni provinces.

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

Baghlan

Officials reported that Shahr-e Kohna region of Baghlan-e Markazi district of Baghlan province has fallen to the Taliban.

Local officials confirmed and said there had been no clashes between government forces who carried out a tactical retreat.

Meanwhile, sources said that last night troops from two checkpoints in this district surrendered to the Taliban.

Although the district governor has denied the surrender of security forces from two army checkpoints in the district, Mohammad Safdar Mohseni, head of the provincial council, told Ariana News that at least 60 soldiers, equipped with weapons and equipment from two checkpoints have surrendered to the Taliban.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said most of the areas in Baghlan-e-Markazi district had been captured by the group.

He also said more than 200 security forces had joined the group and taken their military hardware with them.

Ghazni

Local officials from Ghazni province reported that four army check posts have fallen to the Taliban in the province.

According to officials, two security check posts in Arezo village of the province have fallen to the Taliban.

Abdul Jame Jami, a member of the Ghazni Provincial Council said the fate of 24 security force members from the checkpoints is unknown.

The official added that with the fall of these two checkpoints, the Taliban are now close to Ghazni city.

He warned that if the security forces are not managed properly, the city of Ghazni will fall to the Taliban.

Meanwhile, a credible source told Ariana News that two check posts fell to the Taliban on Wednesday night in Khowaja Omari district.

According to the source at least 15 policemen were killed in the incident.

The Ministry of Defense has not yet commented on the allegations.

Clashes around the country

Clashes intensified in parts of the country after the US forces officially started withdrawing troops on Saturday.

A number of experts believe that the Taliban have increased the number of attacks ahead of the Istanbul Conference in a bid to gain more leverage in talks.

Currently, intense fighting is underway in Helman province, which has resulted in thousands of people fleeing their homes.

The US also reportedly assisted Afghan security forces overnight by carrying out airstrikes against the Taliban in the province.

On Wednesday, General Sami Sadat, commander of Maiwand Corps, said that the Taliban had carried out 89 attacks in different parts of Helmand province, and that all of the attacks were met by force from the Afghan security forces. He said the Taliban sustained heavy casualties.

“The morale of the Afghan forces is high and they have access to good equipment and with the available equipment they can defeat the Taliban,” Sadat added.

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NATO to provide provisional funding to help run Kabul airport

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

NATO has not yet decided on who would run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once foreign troops have withdrawn, the organization’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Monday night. 

Stoltenberg said however that Turkey would play a “key role” in running the airport and that NATO is committed to providing transitional funding for the key facility. 

This comes after Turkey offered to run and guard the airport after the withdrawal of troops. 

However, the Taliban issued a warning and said such a move would be a “mistake” and that any country doing so would be considered invaders. 

“The presence of foreign forces under whatever name or by whichever country in our homeland is unacceptable for the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate (Taliban),” the group cautioned in a statement.

The Taliban insisted that the security of airports, foreign embassies, and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of Afghans, saying that “no one should hold out hope of keeping military or security presence” in Afghanistan.   

In a communique issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the NATO Summit, it was stated that NATO will retain a Senior Civilian Representative’s Office in Kabul to continue diplomatic engagement and enhance its partnership with Afghanistan.

“Recognising its importance to an enduring diplomatic and international presence, as well as to Afghanistan’s connectivity with the world, NATO will provide transitional funding to ensure the continued functioning of Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the communique read.  

“We will also step up dialogue on Afghanistan with relevant international and regional partners. We continue to support the ongoing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, and call on all stakeholders to help Afghanistan foster a lasting inclusive political settlement that puts an end to violence; safeguards the human rights of Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; upholds the rule of law; and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.”

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Khalilzad in Kazakhstan to discuss Afghanistan peace process

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan on Sunday to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan media reports stated the two discussed prospects for the development of the Kazakh-US relations in the context of ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan especially once foreign troops have withdrawn.

Reports stated Khalilzad and Tokayev also discussed the coordination of bilateral and multilateral efforts for the stabilization and socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Tokayev said: “This year we are marking the 30th anniversary of our Independence. During this period, we managed to build relations of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

“The United States is a strong partner of Kazakhstan. We are good partners in so many areas, including trade and economic cooperation,” he said.

Tokayev also said the Afghan issue was always a focal point in his talks with the leaders of Afghanistan, Russia, China, Central Asian states and international organizations.

Kazakh media reported that during the meeting, Khalilzad shared his assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan, and the vision of American diplomacy regarding the further development of the intra-Afghan peace process.

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Taliban ‘paths’ into districts will become mass graveyards: Saleh

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said Monday the Taliban have advanced in a number of areas but warned that the narrow paths into the districts will be turned into a mass graveyard for the militants.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saleh said: “Those who know how to fight with the Taliban, know that this narrow line will become the mass graveyard of this group of terror and ignorance.”

The statement comes as the Taliban militants have captured at least 30 districts since May 1.

In the most recent incidents, the Sayad district in Sar-e-Pul province; the Awba district in Herat province; and the Khanabad district in Kunduz province fell to the insurgents in the past 24 hours.

Provincial sources have told Ariana News that through government’s neglect, at least 18 more districts are on the verge of collapse.

Saleh, meanwhile, stated that the Taliban militants have not changed the way they treat the people of Afghanistan.

“Do not be deceived by [Taliban’s] propaganda. Resisting the Taliban is defending human values and dignity. Taliban has no message for the people of this country other than demanding obedience as a slave life,” Saleh said.

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