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Taliban suffer heavy casualties in Herat, Kandahar provinces

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(Last Updated On: July 22, 2020)

At least 40 Taliban militants were killed and 30 others wounded after a gathering of the group came under an airstrike in Adraskan district of Herat province, sources said. 

Herat’s provincial official said that preliminary information indicates that Taliban key commanders including Abdullah Akbari, Mawlawi Haidar, Mullah Rahmatullah, Zabihullah Akbari, Mullah Mohammad known as Idris and Mullah Abdul Haq known as Osama were among the deaths.

So far, it was not cleared whether the Afghan or foreign forces have carried out the air raid.

Meanwhile, local officials in Kandahar said that at least 36 Taliban insurgents were killed in an airstrike by the US forces in Khakriz district of the province.

Meanwhile, sources in Baghlan also said that a woman and a child were killed and eight others were injured in an airstrike by Afghan forces in Dand Ghori.

This comes as the Paktia Police chief said that in the last 15 days, 65 Taliban fighters have been killed and 25 others have been wounded. 

This comes as clashes between Taliban and Afghan forces inched Kabul city. 

Last night in Surobi district of Kabul province, a group of Taliban attacked Afghan military checkpoints from three points on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway in the Mahipar area of Kabul’s Surobi district. According to sources, the Red Crescent Taliban, who came from Kuh-e-Safi district, first closed the road and then launched their attacks, which lasted 13 hours.

In this clash, three Taliban fighters were killed and four others were wounded.

The Taliban militant group yet comment about the incidents.

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Saleh rejects SIGAR claims of cash being smuggled out through airport

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

Amrullah Saleh, First Vice President has rejected the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) report over the smuggling of cash from the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

In his daily 6:30 am meeting, Saleh stated: “However a massive amount of foreign currency does exit Afghanistan’s porous land borders by cross-border networks.

“The report on the flight of foreign currency from Kabul airport is not correct and substantiated,” said Saleh.

Saleh added that a large amount of cash was flowing out of the country to Pakistan.

“The strict anti-money laundering regulations have created a dark parallel market. Let’s be real,” he emphasized.

Last week, SIGAR reported that the unchecked flow of cash out of Afghanistan still exits at the Kabul airport due to poor screening procedures.

According to the report, cash counting machines, which were funded by the US government, are not being used for the purposes intended and the only cash counting machine confirmed to be working is in the arrival entrance, instead of the departure area where strict cash controls are most needed to help prevent cash smuggling.

In addition, the machines lack connectivity to the Internet, which in turn prevents Afghan investigative authorities from tracking currency suspected of being laundered.

“The absence of fully functional and strategically positioned cash counting machines, and declaration forms in the VIP section along with the limited screening of VIP passengers – who are most likely to have large amounts of cash – severely limits the Afghan government’s ability to fully implement its anti-money laundering laws at the airport,” John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction stated in the report.

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Taliban delegation in Iran for ‘talks’

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

The Taliban’s head of its political office, Mullah Baradar Akhand and an accompanying delegation arrived in Iran on Monday for talks with Iranian officials.

The Taliban’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem said they would discuss relations between the two countries; the issue of Afghan refugees in Iran; and the current political and security situation in Afghanistan.

Iran’s foreign ministry also confirmed the trip and said in a statement that a Taliban political delegation had arrived in Tehran.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the trip was a pre-arranged visit.

“This delegation arrived in Tehran this morning based on arrangements already made and upon the invitation of the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and was welcomed by foreign ministry officials,” he said.

“During their stay in Tehran, the Taliban’s political delegation will have meetings with Iranian officials, including the respected foreign minister and Iran’s special envoy for Afghanistan, and discuss the peace trend in Afghanistan as well as relevant issues and topics,” he said.

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COVID-19

EU provides another 35 million euros in fight against COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

The EU-Delegation in Kabul announced additional support in the form of 35 million euros to tackle the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and mitigate its socioeconomic impacts in Afghanistan.

The EU said in a statement on Tuesday that since the start of the pandemic it has mobilised almost 147 million euros to address the immediate health crisis and provide humanitarian assistance to the people in need.

“The pandemic has exacerbated an already grim situation in Afghanistan, creating even
bigger needs in a country for decades plagued by war.

“Together with partners and in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, the EU’s contribution aims to support those who suffer the most from this crisis. The three projects launched today will contribute to this further,” said EU Ambassador Andreas Von Brandt.

The 35 million euros announced today will contribute to strengthening the response capacity of health systems, to test and treat patients, to improve infection prevention, to raise awareness and to reduce nutritional risks through three projects implemented by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and a consortium led by the Aga Khan Foundation.

“ As preparation for vaccine rollout signals new hope in Afghanistan’s fight against COVID19, continued investment in testing, surveillance, clinical care, protection of health workers and essential health services remains vital for containing the spread of the virus in addition to offering quality medical care,” said David Lai, Officer in Charge at the WHO.

The EU stated that import restrictions and widespread unemployment have worsened food insecurity, and through the support of the EU and its partners 300 000 children and their mothers will also receive community nutrition services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put additional strain on the already weak health system and worsened underlying health and gender vulnerabilities. This generous EU funding will allow UNICEF to respond quickly to this secondary wave of challenges which profoundly affects the health and safety of children and women,” said Sheema Sen Gupta, Representative of UNICEF Afghanistan.

The projects implemented by UNICEF and the Aga Khan led consortium includes actions to mitigate women’s, children’s and teenager’s vulnerability to various forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence.

“With the support of the EU, the Aga Khan Foundation led consortium with Cordaid will
reach 8.4 million direct and indirect beneficiaries in 16 provinces,” said Sheherazade Hirji, Aga Khan Development Network Diplomatic Representative.

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