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U.S. Pressure on Pakistan, Taliban ‘Escalated’ Violence in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2017)

The Afghan Defense Ministry says the Taliban attempts to show influence and presence by launching deadly terror attacks across the country, following the U.S. new strategy that calls for more pressure on the group.

The sharp rise in violence since last week that left at least 208 people killed and about 300 more injured in different parts of the country,  voices serious concern among the Afghan people.

“[The U.S.] pressure on Pakistan and Taliban has caused these deadly attacks to take place [in Afghanistan],” said Afghan Defense Ministry Spokesman Dawlat Waziri.  “Terrorists want to show their presence and take credit for the attacks.”

The deadly incidents in Paktia, Ghazni, Kandahar, and a day earlier in capital Kabul, successively occur after the Quadrilateral Cooperation Group (QCG) peace meeting on Afghanistan, held in Oman on Oct 15. It seems the meeting has not convince Pakistan to implement its commitments made towards Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan has not implemented any commitments in fight against terrorism and has not taken any actions against the terrorists’ sanctuaries [in its soil],” said Sebghatullah Ahmadi, the Deputy Spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Affairs Ministry.

 Afghan military analysts, meanwhile, reasoning weak intelligence and government’s poor management for the increased the number of attacks in the country.  

“Pakistan coordinating these attacks in response to the U.S. new strategy,” said Javid Kohistani, a military analyst. “weak intelligence and government’s poor management also caused the attacks to be increased.”  

By Shakib Mahmud & Bais Hayat

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Magnitude 5.6 quake hits western Afghanistan, killing more than 20

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2022)

An earthquake rocked western Afghanistan on Monday, killing more than 20 people and destroying hundreds of homes, local authorities said.

The 5.6 magnitude tremor shook the western province of Badghis, bordering Turkmenistan, in the afternoon, reducing brick homes to rubble, according to photos shared by local authorities, Reuters reported.

“Unfortunately, our initial reports show that 26 people, including five women and four children, have been killed and four others injured,” said Baz Mohammad Sarwari, the director of Information and Culture of the Badghis provincial administration.

“The Mujahideen have reached to some of the affected areas, but Badghis is a mountainous province, the number of casualties might go up,” he added, referring to Taliban fighters, and adding that heavy rain was also lashing the area.

Mullah Janan Saeqe, head of the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of State for Emergency Affairs, confirmed the death toll and said more than 700 houses had been damaged, Reuters reported.

Sanullah Sabit, the head of the nursing unit at the main hospital in Badghis’ capital said they had received five patients injured in the quake, mostly with broken bones and fractures.

The quake was at a depth of 30 km (18.64 miles), according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

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China’s birthrate falls to lowest level in 61 years

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

China’s birthrate has fallen to its lowest level in six decades, barely outnumbering deaths in 2021 despite major government efforts to increase population growth and stave off a demographic crisis.

Across China, 10.62 million babies were born in 2021, a rate of 7.52 per thousand people, the national bureau of statistics said on Monday.

In the same period 10.14 million deaths were recorded, a mortality rate of 7.18 per thousand, producing a population growth rate of just 0.34 per thousand head of population, the Guardian reported.

The rate of growth is the lowest since 1960, and adds to the findings of last May’s once-a-decade census, which found an average annual rise of 0.53%, down from 0.57% reported from 2000 to 2010.

China, like much of east Asia, is in the grip of a population crisis, with lowering birthrates, and predictions of imminent negative population growth and an ageing population. Monday’s figures showed the proportion of over-60s in China rose from 18.7% in 2020 to 18.9%.

Beijing has announced major reforms to address the decline, including raising the retirement age. A three-child policy has replaced the two-child policy that was introduced in 2016 and had sparked a slight increase in births before falling again.

The high cost of living, delayed marriages and lack of social mobility are frequently cited as contributing factors to young Chinese people’s reluctance to have children.

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CSTO to take anti-drug trafficking measures at Afghanistan border

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold a three-phase anti-drug trafficking operation at the border with Afghanistan, the organization’s Secretary General Stanislav Zas told Russia-24 news outlet.

He said the CSTO has a range of activities planned for 2022, including military security and the fight against terrorism, Russia-24 reported.

“These are measures of fighting against the illegal circulation of narcotics. This subject is especially important on the backdrop of the recent events in Afghanistan. Here we plan three stages of anti-drug trafficking measures,” Zas said.

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