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Taliban strongholds in Pakistan give group platform to wage war: NDS

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(Last Updated On: November 23, 2020)

Ahmad Zia Saraj, the acting head of the national directorate of security (NDS), said Monday that because the Taliban has active and secure strongholds in Pakistani cities, the group has been able to intensify the conflict in Afghanistan.

Saraj said this was enabling the Taliban to continue a proxy war.

Saraj stressed that the region’s intelligence policy towards Afghanistan has not changed and that regional countries are trying to achieve a system that the Taliban want.

“Taliban safe havens in Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar are safely plotting every day to challenge us, and in their plans our people are killed, and if the Taliban leadership did not have safe places in these cities they [Taliban] would be facing a bad fate,” Saraj said.

Meanwhile, the acting NDS chief stressed that the Taliban had not cut contact with al-Qaeda and that many terrorist groups were colluding with the group to pursue one goal – which is to destabilize Afghanistan and kill people.

“The Taliban’s relationship with foreign terrorists continues on a regular basis, and terrorist groups are using each other’s capabilities, which has led to an increase in the conflict, and these groups are buying and selling suicide bombers, and all groups are pursuing the same goal, killing people, destroying values and establishing a system,” Saraj added.

Saraj also said that the Taliban does not believe in the peace process.

“If the Taliban was committed to peace, we should have seen results from the talks, and it can be seen that they are not interested in peace and they only want a regime according to their wishes, and if they were committed, they would not increase the violence,” Saraj said.

However, the NDS emphasizes that the only way to reduce the level of violence in Afghanistan is to create and cooperate on a “real” regional consensus basis.

He said conflict of interest among regional countries has resulted in a more widespread war in Afghanistan.

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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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