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Two policemen killed, four wounded in separate blasts in Kabul 

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2021)

Two explosions targeted police vehicles on Wednesday morning in Kabul city, killing at least two Afghan National Police members and wounding four others, police confirmed.

According to police, the first blast targeted an ANP ranger vehicle in the Daspachri area in PD15 of Kabul at around 8:04am. 

Two policemen sustained minor injuries, police added.

The second explosion also targeted a police ranger in the Salim Karwan area in PD12 of the city at around 9:32, as a result, at least two policemen were killed and two others wounded, police stated.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

COVID-19

China to donate 400,000 vaccines to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 28, 2021)

China has pledged to donate 400,000 doses of the Coronavirus vaccine to Afghanistan, officials confirmed.

Acting Public Health Minister Wahid Majrooh met with the Chinese Ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu on Sunday.

“Chinese vaccines to numerous countries fulfill the Chinese commitment from President Xi Jinping about making the vaccine a global public good,” Wang Yu said.

Wang Yu stated that the Chinese vaccine has been approved for emergency use by more than 30 countries.

“These countries trust in the Chinese vaccine as its development is in strict compliance with international standards and relevant laws and regulations,” Wang Yu tweeted.

This comes after India donated 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Afghanistan earlier this month.

The Public Health Ministry said at the time that 250,000 people – mostly health workers and Afghan security forces and media workers – would be inoculated in the first stage.

The government officially launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign last week.

The Public Health Ministry (MoPH) said that 8,206 health workers have received doses of the Indian vaccine so far.

Health officials stated, so far, no recipient has shown any signs of an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

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Interior ministry claims Taliban still enjoy close ties with al-Qaeda

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(Last Updated On: February 28, 2021)

Masoud Andarabi, Interior Minister says the Taliban have kept up a close relationship with “international terrorists” despite having promised to cut ties with terrorist groups including al-Qaeda.

Andarabi and top security officials visited Arghandab district, in Kandahar, where heavy clashes are ongoing between the Afghan forces and the Taliban – and have intensified over the past two months. 

During his visit to Arghandab, Andarabi stated the Taliban has not fulfilled its Doha commitments – which state the group must break relations with terrorist groups including al-Qaeda.

Andarabi said that foreign militants were fighting alongside the Taliban. This comes after officials stated last week that foreigners had joined the ranks of the Taliban to fight the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF).

“In the operation that is underway in Arghandab, many foreign Taliban and a foreign terrorists have participated in the clashes alongside the Taliban. The commandos witnessed the tactics they (Taliban) used, the way they dug tunnels, and planted mines, all these indicate a strong relation between international terrorism and the Taliban,” Andarabi said.

Meanwhile, security officials claimed that at least 600 militants including foreign nationals have been killed in the clashes over the past two months.

This comes a few days after the Taliban ordered its fighters not to include foreign militants in their ranks, nor shelter them, and stated if fighters fail to adhere to the order they face dismissal.

The group’s military commission said in a statement seen by Ariana News last week that should this happen the responsible cell will also be disbanded.

“All authorities and Mujahidin are directed that no one is allowed to arbitrarily let foreign groups into their ranks or give shelter to them.”

“If anyone commits such an act and the provincial authorities are notified, they (fighters) will be immediately dismissed,” the statement read.

“Their groups will be disbanded and referred to the military commission for further punishment,” the statement concluded.

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Arrival of ‘sticky bombs’ in Indian Kashmir sets off alarm bells

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(Last Updated On: February 28, 2021)

Security forces battling a decades-long insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir have raised concerns about the recent arrival in the disputed region of small, magnetic bombs that have wreaked havoc in Afghanistan.

“Sticky bombs”, which can be attached to vehicles and detonated remotely, have been seized during raids in recent months in the federally administered region of Jammu and Kashmir, three senior security officials told Reuters.

“These are small IEDs and quite powerful,” said Kashmir Valley police chief Vijay Kumar, referring to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). 

“It will certainly impact the present security scenario as volume and frequency of vehicular movements of police and security forces are high in Kashmir Valley,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

The Indian government flooded Kashmir, already one of the world’s most militarised regions, with more troops in August 2019, when it split the country’s only Muslim-majority state into two federally administered territories.

According to Reuters, the arrival of the sticky bombs in India-controlled Kashmir – including 15 seized in a February raid – raises concerns that an unnerving tactic attributed to the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan could be spreading to the India-Pakistan conflict.

Afghanistan in recent months has seen a series of sticky-bomb attacks targeting security forces, judges, government officials, civil society activists and journalists. The attacks – some as victims sat in traffic – have sown fear, while avoiding substantial civilian casualties.

Reuters reported that none of the devices seized in Kashmir was produced there, a senior security official said, suggesting they were being smuggled from Pakistan. “All of them have come via drone drops and tunnels,” he said.

Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan, which each claim all of the Himalayan region but rule only parts of it.

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