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Violence intensifies across the country, despite peace talks

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(Last Updated On: September 21, 2020)

Clashes have intensified between the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and Taliban militants in 14 provinces in the past ten days – inflicting heavy casualties on both sides. 

Government sources said clashes have been recorded in 33 districts in total and that at least 30 members of the ANDSF and 401 Taliban insurgents have been killed in the skirmishes. 

In addition, 126 ANDSF members and 114 militants have been wounded.

Officials said in the past 24 hours, 25 policemen were killed in an Taliban ambush in Uruzgan, 19 Afghan forces were killed in Maidan Wardak, 15 policemen were killed in an explosion at an outpost in Maroof district of Kandahar, six policemen were killed in Tagab district of Kapisa, and nine security personnel were killed in Kunduz.

Sources said the Taliban has over the past 10 days increased attacks against government forces in Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Logar, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Kandahar, Kunduz, Takhar, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Balkh, Helmand and Uruzgan provinces.

Details of civilian casualties were not however released. 

Concerns continue to rise regarding the escalation in violence, with global leaders calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. 

On Monday, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad voiced his concern and called for an immediate reduction in violence. 

In a post on Twitter, Khalilzad said: “Over the last few days, there has been a clear rise in violence in Afghanistan. 

“This escalation is regrettable as Afghans, including many civilians, are losing their lives. 

“Given the recent start of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations, it is imperative all sides reduce violence significantly,” he said.

This comes as Afghan negotiators and the Taliban’s talks team discuss intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha. 

However, a marked increase in violence has been evident over the past ten days – specifically since the start of the peace talks. 

Citing UN figures, EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia said on Friday violence in Afghanistan in the last five weeks has been “the highest in the last five years”. 

 

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Uzbekistan’s Samarkand city named 2023 World Tourism Capital

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

Uzbekistan’s historic city of Samarkand was chosen as the 2023 World Tourism Capital at the 24th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Spain, Uzbekistan’s Tourism and Sports Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Samarkand will host the 25th General Assembly of the UNWTO, which will be a “historic event” as it marks the first time in history that the gathering will be held in Uzbekistan, read the statement.

The summit in Madrid was attended by a delegation led by Uzbekistan’s Tourism and Sports Minister Aziz Abdukhakimov, who is also the country’s deputy prime minister.

The opportunity to host a UN organization meeting for the first time is the result of the Uzbek government’s policies and efforts to develop tourism in the country, the statement added.

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Pakistan seal semi-final T20 World Cup spot after beating Namibia 

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(Last Updated On: November 2, 2021)

Pakistan defeated Namibia by 45 runs on Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi to become the first side to qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021.

Chasing a formidable target of 190, Namibia gave a good account of their ability and promise and eventually finished with 144-5 as Pakistan collected the two points they needed to go through to the next round.

Pakistan’s total is the second-highest in this tournament, behind Afghanistan’s 190-4 against Scotland in Sharjah.

Afghanistan’s next T20 World Cup match is on Wednesday against India.

 

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US administers over 420 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

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(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

The United States has administered 420,657,683 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 518,701,225 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The agency said 221,221,467 people had received at least one dose, while 192,244,927 people were fully vaccinated as of 6am on Saturday.

The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, Reuters reported.

About 17.7 million people have received a booster dose of either Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On November 8, the United States is lifting the extraordinary travel restrictions that have barred most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. 

It is also imposing new rules requiring nearly all foreign adult air visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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