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Karzai calls on Pakistan to abandon support to terrorism

KABUL (AFP)The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called on Pakistan to abandon nurturing and supporting the terrorist groups after the deadly bombing Lahore city.

The Office of the former Afghan President in a statement said Karzai has expressed deep concerns regarding the casualties of the civilians and the terrorist attack in Lahore.

Calling the attack against the values of humanity and Islam, Karzai said Pakistan must abandon support to terrorist groups so that the region can live peacefully and specifically help Afghanistan and Pakistan to get rid of the menace of the terror, according to local Afghan media.

He called on Pakistan to support Afghanistan and take honest steps to eliminate the menace of terrorism as he insisted on further improving relations with Pakistan. Karzai further added that Pakistanis are the brothers of the Afghan people and the Afghan nation shares the grief and sorrows of the people of Pakistan.

The attack in Lahore city, the provincial capital of Lahore province of Pakistan left at least 26 dead and more than 50 others wounded. The incident took place on Monday afternoon after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the security personnel. The Taliban group in Pakistan, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility behind the deadly attack.

The remarks by Karzai came as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for allowing the Afghan militant groups, specifically the Haqqani terrorist network to use its soil for planning and carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, a claim which has repeatedly been backed by numerous US government reports during the recent years and months.

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26 Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban attack on Kandahar base: MoD

KANDAHAR (AFP): At least 26 Afghan soldiers have been killed and 13 wounded in a Taliban attack on a military base in Kandahar province, the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Wednesday, the latest blow to struggling security forces.

The militants “attacked an army camp in Karzali area of Khakrez district of Kandahar last night,” MoD spokesman General Dawlat Waziri said. Afghan soldiers “bravely resisted”, he said, killing more than 80 insurgents.

Residents in the area described an hours-long attack launched by a 30-strong convoy carrying “hundreds” of Taliban who assaulted the base from multiple directions.

Air support was called in, several residents told AFP, though that was not immediately confirmed by officials. The insurgents claimed the attack via their Twitter account.

The resurgent Taliban have been ramping up their campaign against beleaguered government forces, underscoring rising insecurity in the war-torn country throughout the warmer weather fighting season.

Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and nonexistent “ghost soldiers” on the payroll, have been struggling to beat back insurgents since US-led NATO troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.

According to US watchdog SIGAR, casualties among Afghan security forces soared by 35 percent in 2016, with 6,800 soldiers and police killed. The insurgents have carried out more complex attacks against security forces in 2017.

In April more than 140 soldiers are believed to have been killed on a base outside the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, one of the deadliest ever Taliban attacks on a military installation.

While in early March gunmen disguised as doctors stormed the Sardar Daud Khan hospital — the country´s largest military hospital — in Kabul, killing dozens.

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Hekmatyar-led HIA decides to join government

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Executive Council of the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led Hezb-i-IslamiAfghanistan (HIA) has decided to join the government, an official said on Monday.

Qarib Rahman Saeed, HIA spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News the decision was taken at a meeting of the council chaired by Hekmatyar on Sunday night.

He added a commission had been tasked with working on how to be part of the current system. The level of HIA partnership would be determined later on, explained the spokesman.

According to Saeed, a joint commission was working on how to implement the article of the peace deal between the government and HIA regarding the party’s in the system.

The HIA member said they supported the incumbent administration and the purpose behind HIA’s participation in the system was to enable the government to complete its term.

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Terrorism affecting 2 to 5 million tourists annual visit to Afghanistan: Ghani

KABUL (AFP): President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani says around two to five million tourists will Afghanistan once the country becomes free from the menace of terrorism.

He was speaking during a gathering in Kabul regarding the barriers and issues being faced by the tourism industry in Afghanistan.

President Ghani said tourism is one of the major factors boosting economy and trade in the world besides bringing nations and people closer.

The Afghan president further added that tourism is vital for Afghanistan considering the historic and natural and traditional values of the country.

He mainly pointed towards some of the important sites in the country which could attract global tourism and have remained away from the attention of the world, specifically the river in Ajristan of Ghazni which could be turned into water sports and recreation area.

President Ghani also pointed towards the rich historical value of Ay Khanum town in northern Afghanistan which is rich with the historic Greek values and is unique in whole Central Asia.

According to President Ghani, Afghanistan played a key role in the transfer and migration of ideas, traditions, besides linking the nations and once again can play the same role.

He insisted that tourism could play a key role in reconstruction of the country similar as terrorism is playing a destructive role.

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Taywara district center also falls to Taliban control in Ghor province

KABUL (KHAAMA PRESS):  The control of the district center of Taywara in northeastern Ghor province of Afghanistan also fell to the hands of Taliban after heavy gun battle.

According to the local security officials, the Taliban insurgents managed to seize the control of the district center after launching a coordinated attack on the district center.

Provincial public order police forces commander Mahmood Andarabi confirmed the fall of the district center into the hands of Taliban insurgents.

He said the attack was launched as a small security check post was located near the district center, forcing the security personnel to retreat.

Andarabi further added that clashes are still underway in the vicinity of the district center as a number of the security personnel and public uprising forces are trapped in the area and are responding to the enemy fires.

There are no reports regarding the casualties on the both sides so far.

The security situation in Ghor province has started to deteriorate during the recent months as both the Taliban insurgents and loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group are actively operating in a number of the remote districts of the province.

The ISIS loyalists killed over 30 civilians after abducting them in this province last year and abducted 6 more civilians earlier this year.

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Resurgent Taliban seize Kohistan, Taywara districts

MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Taliban insurgents have overrun the Lowlash area of the Kohistan district centre of northwestern Faryab province, officials acknowledged on Sunday.

Elsewhere in the north, the militants captured Taywara district after fierce clashes in Ghorprovince early Sunday morning. The town had only one check -post manned by the security forces.

Faryab police spokesman Abdul Karim Yourish said hundreds of militants attacked the area late on Saturday night. Security forces and public uprising group members retreated to Khairabad village.

He said the security personnel were trying to send reinforcements to Kohistan to reclaim the neighbourhood. Four security officials suffered causalities during the heavy clashes, he added.

A public uprising group commander, Mohammad Nasir, said all areas of the district barring Khairabad and Yak Qala villages had fallen into the hands of the militants.

He warned the lives of about 200 security personnel and uprising group members were under threat if the government did not take urgent measures for rescuing them.

Noor Ahmad, one security official, said there were many weapons, ammunition and other equipment in the security compound. If urgent action was not taken to remove them from the site, the weapons would be destroyed, he added.

The district has been under siege for about a year, and its links with the provincial capital have been cut off. The pressure from the Taliban has also risen over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban’s spokesman, said the district centre, police station and a number of security check-posts had fallen to the fighters.

He said dozens of security personnel had suffered casualties and a huge amount of weapons had been captured by their fighters. Only three Talban were injured in the clashes.

In Ghor, Public Order Police Commander Mahmood Andarabi said several security officials and residents supporting them had been surrounded by the Taliban.

Abdul Hai Khatibi, the governor’s spokesman, confirmed the commander of a local uprising and lawmaker Ibrahim Malikzada were among the people under siege.

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Friendly fire by US missile kills 16 Afghan policemen

KANDAHAR (AFP) – A US airstrike killed 16 Afghan police and wounded two others in Helmand province, officials said Saturday.

The incident took place Friday 5 pm as Afghan security forces were clearing a village of Taliban elements, Salam Afghan, Helmand police spokesman, told AFP.

“In the strike, 16 Afghan policemen were killed including two commanders. Two other policemen were wounded,” he said.

Omar Zwak, Helmand provincial governor spokesman, confirmed the strike and gave the same account.

It occurred in Gereshk district in Helmand, large parts of which are under Taliban control.

NATO’s mission in Afghanistan issued a statement.

“During a US-supported (Afghan security) operation, aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound,” it said.

“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families affected by this unfortunate incident,” the statement said, adding there would be a probe into what happened.

The US is the only foreign force in the coalition conducting airstrikes in Afghanistan.

Acting interior ministry spokesman Najeeb Danish gave a lower death toll than the provincial officials.

“The toll we have received is that unfortunately as a result of the strike, we have 12 police forces martyred and no one wounded,” Danish told AFP.

He said a ministry delegation had been sent to the area to investigate the incident and help families of the victims.

There have been a series of incidents involving US airstrikes and Afghans.

In February, a US airstrike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children.

Last November 32 Afghan civilians were killed in a US airstrike in the northeastern province of Kunduz.

In October 2015, a US air strike during fighting hit a hospital operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres, killing 42 people and sparking international outrage.

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16 Afghan policemen killed in US airstrike

HELMAND (AFP): A US airstrike killed 16 Afghan police and wounded two others in Helmand province, officials said Saturday.

The incident took place Friday as Afghan security forces were clearing a village of Taliban elements, Salam Afghan, Helmand police spokesman, told AFP.

“In the strike, 16 Afghan policemen were killed including two commanders,” he said.

“Two other policemen were wounded,” he added.

Omar Zwak, Helmand provincial governor spokesman, confirmed the strike and gave the same account.

It occurred in Gereshk district in Helmand, large parts of which are under Taliban control.

“During a US-supported (Afghan security) operation, aerial fires resulted in the deaths of the friendly Afghan forces who were gathered in a compound,” a Nato mission in Afghanistan said in a statement..

“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families affected by this unfortunate incident,” it said, adding there would be a probe into what happened.

The US is the only foreign force in the coalition conducting airstrikes in Afghanistan.

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4 dead, 23 wounded in traffic accidents

PUL-I-KHUMRI/MAIMANA (Pajhwok): At least four individuals have been killed and 23 others wounded in three separate traffic accidents in northern Baghlan and Faryab provinces, officials said on Saturday.

Faryab Traffic Management head Karimullah said five people were injured on Friday when a car bumped into two vehicles parked in the Chahar Samawar Square area of Lodin Street.

“In a second accident, a police pick-up collided with a car in the limits of the second police district, resulting in the death of a 60-year-old salesman and injuries to a young man,” he added.

Karimullah linked the accidents to recklessness driving. Zabihullah Shuja, Baghlan police spokesman, said three people including a woman were killed and 17 others wounded in the Silo neighbourhood of Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan.

He said the accident took place when a Corolla car heading from Shamraq to Pul-i-Kumri veered off the road and collided with a truck.

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Afghan forces seize 1,400 kgs of Ammonium Nitrate from Torkham-Jalalabad highway

JALALABAD (NNI): The Afghan national defense and security forces have seized around one thousand and four hundred kilograms of Ammonium Nitrate from the main highway between Torkham and Jalalabad city.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the chemicals were placed inside a lorry and the militants were looking to transport it to an unknown location for the manufacturing of explosives, mainly the Improvised Explosive Devices used in roadside bombings.

“Afghan National Police (ANP) seized 1400 kilos of Ammonium Nitrate, a key component used to make Improvised Explosive Devices,” the statement by MoI said, adding that the Ammonium Nitrate was placed in a truck transporting goods to Afghanistan.

MoI also added that the police searched the truck and found the Ammonium Nitrate hidden under the goods in Torkham port, eastern Nangarhar province. One suspect was arrested on accusation of this case and an investigation was underway into the case, MoI added. The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to other insurgent groups frequently use improvised explosive devices as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government personnel but in majority of such attacks the ordinary civilians are targeted.