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Badakhshan Displaced Residents Living In Dire Conditions

KABUL (Tolo News): Many war-displaced people in Badakhshan continue to live in dire conditions on the mountain slopes of Fizabad.

They said that due to war in Police Districts eight and nine of Fizabad city of Badakhshan leave their homes and came to the mountains but the lack of facilities for living, especially food, makes life difficult for them.

During the last six months clashes in Badakhshan have left hundreds of families without shelter and forced them to leave their entire livelihoods behind them to take refuge in other parts of the province.

“We don’t have food or clothes and no-one is helping us. We are living in a tent,” said Zarmina, a displaced woman.

“We are now in a bad situation and the government must help us,” said Halima, another displaced woman.

The displaced people complain of a lack of facilities for their daily needs.

“We left everything we own in the village. We escaped with our children. The government must help us. We are living in bad economic and health conditions,” said Qudratullah a displaced man.

“In past six months government only gave us $200 dollars and a tent. How are we expected to live with so few means?” said Qodos a displace man.

Meanwhile officials in Badakhshan have raised concerns over the matter and said that soon they will address the problems of displaced people.

“Undoubtedly, our refugee numbers are on the rise every day. They have many problems. Since we gave each family $200 dollars and a tent and we have been trying to help them further with the assistance of partner offices,” said Abdul Wahid Taibi Head of Badakhshan Refugees and Repatriates Department.

Badakhshan residents said that war and insecurity as well as poverty and unemployment are spreading every day. Currently two districts in the province are under the control of the Taliban and have been for past two years.

Residents said a number of other districts are also under security threats and if the government did not take action to solve problems the crisis will create more challenges for the residents.

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Concerns Raised Over Increasing Security Threats In Jawzjan

KABUL (Tolo News): Local officials in Jawzjan have said that they are concerned about an increasing security threats in parts of the northern province, adding that a number of villages have fallen to insurgents in the past few days.

Member of Jawzjan Provincial Council, Sher Mohammad Noor, said the Bala Mardiyan village in Faiz Abad district in the province was fallen to the Taliban on Friday evening.

He said that in the meantime, the center of Jawzjan’s Mardiyan district was under Taliban siege and that it will fall to the militants if military operation is not conducted in the area.

The provincial council member said roads to Mardiyan district are closed to traffic due to an increasing threat by militants.

Meanwhile, Jawzjan governor’s office said the Taliban has suffered losses in recent clashes with government forces in parts of the province.

Mohamamd Reza Ghafoori, spokesman for Jawzjan governor, said they are not aware about the collapse of the village to militants.

However, he said that a local people outpost in Jangal Aregh in Mardiyan district and two other check posts in Kala Shakh village in Aqcha district have fallen to the Taliban recently.

The spokesman said that Obaidullah, designated district governor of Taliban for Qarqeen district in Jawzjan was killed during a clash with Afghan forces.

Ghafoori said reinforcements have arrived at the province to clear the insecure areas of Taliban.

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NDS Seizes Over 16,000 Kgs of Bomb-Making Material

KABUL (Tolo News): The National Directorate of Security (NDS) has seized 16,500 kilograms of ammonium nitrate hidden in a long truck from the PD9 of the Kabul city.

The truck had entered the country from across the Durand Line – the de facto border between Afghanistan and Pakistan – and then was taken to Kabul to be used for subversive activities in the capital of the war-ravaged country.

The bomb-making material, the NDS said, was hidden beneath chicken feed in the truck – which had a Pakistani number plate.

The material was placed in 50 bags with a capacity of 50 kilograms each, the NDS said, adding that the material would have been used in making suicide vests and conducting terror acts in the city.

The statement listed five names of people who have been arrested in connected to the case. The names are Nasir Ahmad, Aziz Ahmad, Hazrat Omar, Seddiqullah and Omar.

This comes after Kabul has witnessed deadly blasts in the past two months, which have claimed dozens of lives.

The government has announced that it would take a number of measures to boost the safety of the citizens across the country.

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Kabul Hosts 13th Round Of National Level Karate Competition

KABUL (ToloNews): More than 400 athletes from 17 provinces are taking part in a national level karate competition which started on Saturday to select the best athletes for the national teams.

The athletes are from different weight and age categories.

“We have an event in Kazakhstan within the next three months. It is an international event of the International Ashihara Karate Organization,” said Wahid Ahmad Joya, head coach of the National Ashihara Karate Team. 

“At least 15 athletes will be sent to the international competition by the General Directorate of Physical Education and Sport. We are selecting those 15 best fighters from national level competitions,” he added.

Athletes said they are well prepared to compete in the national competition and find their way to the national team and also to the international events on behalf of Afghanistan.

“Our team trained very hard. We have done our best and we will see what happens in the competition,” said Ahmad Rasheed, a karate fighter from Kabul.

“The level of the competition is high this year. Athletes have done better exercises. We will have better results this time,” said Mohammad Rafee, the coach of Kapisa province team.

After the competition 125 athletes from four age categories will be selected for the national Ashihara karate teams.

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Suicide attack: six NATO soldiers killed

KABUL( KhaamaPress): A suicide bomber targeted the convoy of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Kabul province late on Thursday evening.

At least one NATO soldier lost his life in the attack and six others including five NATO soldiers and one of their interpreters were wounded.

“One Resolute Support Soldier was killed and six personnel (five troops and one interpreter) were wounded Thursday evening when their patrol was attacked by a suicdie bomber in Qarabagha district, Kabul Province,” the alliance said in a statement.

The statement further added “The patrol was conducting a partnered mission with the Afghan National Army when a personnel-borne IED detonated.”

“The RS personnel who were wounded are being treated at the U.S. military hospital at Bagram Airfield. All of them wounded are listed in stable condition,” the alliance added.

No group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident so far.

This comes as at least two US soldiers lost their lives and six others were wounded in a similar attack in southern Kandahar province on Wednesday.

The incident near the Kandahar city took place close to a military base after a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives close to the convoy of the American soldiers.

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Afghan forces repel Taliban attacks in Helmand

HELMAND (Aljazeera): The Afghan security forces have repelled multiple attacks by the Taliban in the southern Helmand province, in a battle that last for hours, local media reported.

Early on Friday, Taliban gunmen were pushed back after 12 hours of clashes with the security forces when the group’s fighters attacked a local market in the centre of Gereshk district, TOLOnews, an Afghan news outlet, reported.

Atleast 40 Taliban fighters were killed in the battle, TOLOnews quoted the provincial governor’s statement.

Late on Thursday, at least five security officials were killed and several wounded in a Taliban claimed car bomb attack near their checkpost also in the Gereshk district.

On Thursday, one NATO soldier was killed and six other personnel – including five soldiers and an interpreter – were wounded in an attack in the Qarabagh district in Kabul province claimed by the Taliban on Thursday night.

The clashes are the latest in a series of attacks to have hit Afghanistan this week.

On Wednesday, two US soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber who targeted a convoy of foreign forces in the southern Kandahar province.

Dozens of people were killed in a suicide attack at a packed Shia mosque in the western province of Herat on Tuesday.

On Monday, a suicide bombing and gun attack claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group on the Iraqi embassy in the capital killed two Afghan employees.

A total of 2,531 Afghan security forces have been killed and 4,238 wounded in the first four months of 2017, according to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR).

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Those shouting today are in fear of the loss of their personal interests: Ghani

KABUL (KhaamaPress): President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said those who are shouting today are in fearing of losing their personal interests, mainly from the imports of the resources.

The President was apparently gesturing towards the growing criticism he has been facing, mainly from the political circles opposing the circumstances involved in his presidency.

He was speaking during a gathering organized in ARG for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing and the newly formed Chamber of Commerce and Mines.

President Ghani thanked the private investors for their efforts and said the industrialists are conveying the message of peace and development while the enemies of the country only convey message of death and destruction.

Calling the industrialists as a main factor to bring unity among the people, President Ghani hailed the industrialists for their efforts and belief in bring peace and stability in the country through investments in domestic production.

He said the industrialists are an example for those who are prepared to compromise with the billions in national interests for pennies of interest for themselves.

Emphasizing on a triangle which he believes could lead to the development and prosperity of the country, President Ghani said one of the angles of the triangle is peoples’ contribution, specifically the women’s role, emphasizing that the government should always remain committed to support the private sector and industrialists to respond to the demands of the people and investors.

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US Accuses Iran of Destabilizing Afghanistan

Tillerson said Washington was working with its allies in the region to minimize Iran’s efforts to destabilize certain countries including Afghanistan.

He also said that the US was working with its allies in the region to curb what he described as Iran’s expansionist efforts to destabilize areas such as Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

“We come on to the scene and say you know, that agreement does not speak to a lot of the problems we have with Iran. So, I don’t want people to think that’s what defines either the relationship or policy with Iran is the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Iran continues these efforts, is persistent in these efforts to exert their influence across the Middle East, and it is our intent working with our allies in the region to push back on Iran’s expansionist efforts to destabilize areas, particularly Yemen, Iraq, Syria — but we also see them in the areas of Afghanistan,” he said.

He said that Iran’s expansionist intention was aimed to increase its influence in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Referring to Tillerson’s remarks, meanwhile, a number of lawmakers in parliament have said that destabilizing efforts against Afghanistan were because of rivalries between certain countries.

“Undoubtedly it is not our war, it is a war between Iran and the US, the war between Iran and the Arabs, the war between Indians and the Pakistanis, our officials should focus on this,” said MP Farhad Majidi.

“There are two important factors, first the countries have been pursuing their own long term strategies, they want to reach their strategic objectives through pressure and influence; secondly, Iran tries to put pressure on its strategic rival the United States and its partner the Afghan government,” said legal expert Nasrullah Stanekzai.
Courtesy: Tolo News

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Bridge detonated by Taliban in North of Afghanistan sparks furor

KABUL (KhamaaPress): A key bridge was detonated with explosives by the anti-government armed militant groups in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan.

According to the Afghan government officials, the incident took place late on Wednesday night in the area located between Chamtal and Chahar Bolak districts.

The officials are saying that the bride was a key connective point between the two districts and the destruction of it will have a negative impact on the transportation.

The Government Media and Information Center (GMIC) released the photos which purportedly shows the destruction of the bride.

“Taliban, the terrorist group destroyed the bridge between Chimtal and Charbulak districts of Balkh by emplaced IED, took place last night,” GMIC said.

GMIC said “Taliban, the terrorist group, the mercenary of foreigners, the bloody enemy of AFG people and reconstructing.”

This comes as the Taliban insurgents detonated a water dam in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan last week, blocking the supply of water to scores of acres of land and local residents in Shorabak district.

The Taliban insurgents frequently use explosives materials for the roadside bombings and car bombings to target the government staff and security personnel.

However, in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted besides such bombings incur casualties to the security personnel, public welfare sites and in some cases the Taliban militants themselves are killed or wounded.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)  in its latest reported highlighted that 40 per cent of all civilian casualties during the six-month period were killed or injured by anti-government forces using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices, which were responsible for the deaths of 596 civilians and injured 1,483.

 

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Funerals, protests for Heart mosque victims

 

HEART (Aljazeera): Public faith in Afghanistan’s police and security services has been shaken again after a pair of suicide attackers killed at least 29 Shia worshippers in the western province of Herat.

“Around 50 Shias killed and 80 wounded in an attack by Islamic State fighters yesterday on a mosque in western Afghanistan’s Herat,” the group’s propaganda outlet Amaq said.

Tuesday’s blast, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group on Wednesday, comes amid a spate of nationwide assaults over 48 hours.

Most recently, a Taliban attack on Wednesday against NATO troops in Kandahar killed two US soldiers.

Deadly violence was also reported on Tuesday in Helmand province and Paktia.

On Monday, fighters belonging to ISIL, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for a suicide blast at the Iraqi embassy in Kabul that killed at least two Afghan guards.

Protesters took to Herat’s streets on Wednesday after funerals for some of the victims of Tuesday’s attack at the popular Jawadya mosque.

Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat’s governor, said he feared the death toll could rise, given the gravity of some of the injuries sustained by more than 60 people.

Before blowing themselves up, two attackers fired on private guards outside the mosque in Herat city and then shot at crowds of worshippers.

‘Screaming and running’

Police and the guard did not “shoot back”, witness and activist Mohammed Jawad Amid told Al Jazeera.

“People started screaming and running out. All eyes were on the police and the security guards who did not shoot back when asked. They said they were not authorised to do so,” he said.

There were four attackers, two of whom managed to escape, Amid said.

“The police also escaped from the scene.”

Angry locals clashed with the police and set a checkpoint on fire after the attack, venting their frustrations over what they said was a weak police response.

Security was heightened in Herat in advance of the rallies, in which protesters are demanding better protection.

Funerals took place in the afternoon.

Jawad, the protest organiser, said both Shia and Sunni Muslims are attending the rally.

“Herat is united. When the injured were brought to the hospital, many Sunnis volunteered to donate blood,” he said.

“Everyone is angry. It’s not about Shia or Sunni. No one cares about this at the moment. We are all a target for these terrorists.”

‘May God punish them’

Ismail Mohammadi, a shopkeeper, spent Tuesday evening in Herat searching for his nephew as he received calls from family members asking about Ali’s whereabouts.

“I was at my shop at the time of the blast. When I heard a loud bang, I closed my shop and walked towards the area where the attack took place,” Mohammadi told Al Jazeera.

“I knew my nephew used to go to that mosque every Wednesday as there are special prayers on that day. While I walked towards the mosque, my niece called me saying that Ali’s phone was switched off.”

Mohammadi searched hospitals only to discover that his nephew had died.

“The mosque is God’s home and we think it’s the safest place in the world, but people were butchered there as well.”

Mohammadi said he believed more than 70 people were killed, and that officials were covering up the death toll.

“I protest today to hold our government and security officials responsible for the deaths. As for the terrorists who killed my nephew, may God punish them and take my revenge,” Mohammadi said.