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50 Taliban perish in Chahardara operation

Monitoring Desk

KUNDUZ: Afghan National Army on Monday claimed up to 50 Taliban gunmen were killed and dozens more wounded during the week-long operation in the Chahardara district of northeastern Kunduz province.

The operation launched in the Chahardara district six days ago was concluded with heavy casualties to the Taliban, Abdul Khalil Khalili, press officer of ANA’s 20th Division in Kunduz province.

He told Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that tens of Taliban hideout, weapons and other equipment seized by the Taliban after the fall of Kunduz city last year were destroyed, adding up to 50 Taliban were killed and tens more wounded during the operation wherein three security men also sustained injuries.

Local residents, meanwhile, said besides casualties to the Taliban gunmen, security forces also suffered loss of life.

The operation displaced more than 2000 families.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the security forces concluded the operation with any major achievement.

He said the Taliban repulsed the Afghan and foreign forces by inflicting heavy casualties on them.

“During the operation, five Americans and 21 government troops were killed and a large number more wounded,” he said. Mujahid conceded that eight Taliban were also killed and 11 wounded.

The troubled Chahardara district is located six kilometers to west of Kunduz city and the Taliban still control most of the areas of the district as the security forces failed to completely restore government writ to district despite repeated operations.


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Balkh governor barred from talking to media

Monitoring Desk

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: The newly-appointed governor for northern Balkh province, Eng. Daud, was not allowed on Sunday to speak to media at the airport in the provincial capital, Mazar-i-Sharif, before returning to Kabul.

Daud, who traveled to Mazar-i-Sharif five days ago to attend his father’s funeral ceremony, returned to Kabul on Sunday. He was expected to talk to journalists at the Balkh airport Monday, but sources close to the governor said he was not allowed despite reporters had been invited to the airport.

Zamir Qayumi, secretary of Daud, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the governor was expected to talk to media at the Jalaluddin Balkhi Airport.

Therefore all media outlets were invited to come to the airport, he said. But Balkh people’s representative in the Wolesi Jirga, Asadullah Sharifi, and the airport’s security chief, Mohammad Khan, did not allow the governor to talk to reporters.

Qayumi said the motive behind not allowing the governor to speak to the media was to weaken his morale in the public.

However, the airport security chief rejected the claim, saying the new governor’s plan of talking to media had not been coordinated with him. “It is a lie, we do not prevent anyone,” he said.

Journalists said they were invited to the airport at 1pm, but they were not allowed to enter until 2:30pm.

Javid Wak, a reporter with Shamshad TV channel, told Pajhwok that he was invited by the new governor’s secretary to the airport.

He said journalists from many media outlets had come to the airport but they were not allowed to enter there.

He said Eng. Daud entered the airport around 2pm and they were informed half an hour later that the governor was not allowed to speak to the media.


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Thousands of Dasht-i-Archi students out of school

Monitoring Desk

KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): A number of schools in the Dash-i-Archi district of northern Kunduz province have been closed due to recent spike in insecurity, affecting thousands of students.

The residents of the district demand the government reopen the closed schools promptly because it is the question of their children’s future. Tribal elder Haji Akhtar Mohammad told Pajhwok Afghan News several schools in Dasht-i-Archi district had been closed due to insecurity.

Without giving details, the elder said some other schools in the district operated without being monitored by the Education Department.

He feared if the situation remained the same thousands of students who were out of school due to insecurity would not be able to return to classes. “This is true that schools cannot be kept open during conflict, but it is unprofessional and wrong to mark absent students as present at schools as done by teachers.”

He said five schools — in Ghiljyan, Shinwaryan and Tahjer Khana areas the Girls Central High School and the Jamhoriat High School — had been closed due to insecurity in the district.

Sharifullah, who lives in the Dasht-i-Archi main bazaar, said no tangible step had been taken for development of education in Dasht-i-Archi. He added: “Some schools are closed during fighting; this problem has been here since long, depriving over 5,000 students of education.”

Mohammadullah, an 8th class student at the Jamhoriat High School, said their school was closed past few months and remained shut. “When the fighting erupted, our schools were closed.”

Nasrin, not real name, a student at the Central Girls High School, said she studied up to sixth class in the school without any redouble but recently her school remained shut most of the time due to violence. “All students are growing as illiterate, sometimes Taliban also say that girls should not study beyond sixth class.”

The residents of Dasht-i-Archi called on the Education Department to address issues facing the vital sector in the district. Islamuddin Taimouri, deputy head of the Education Department, said three schools in Dasht-i-Archi remained closed periodically.

He rejected the closure of five schools and added the Jamhoriat, Tahjir Khana and Central Girls High School were sometimes closed due to conflict and were reopened after a lull in fighting.

Answering a question, he said around 2,500 students studied in the three schools that got closed due to fighting. Taimouri said when a school was closed due to violence, its students could be shifted to another place for study in order to keep the education system going.

Naiamtullah Taimouri, the governor spokesman, said no school had been closed in Kunduz province.

He mentioned as the only problem girl students faced in the province was Taliban’s ban on their education after sixth class. He added efforts had been launched with the help of tribal elders to address problems in Taliban controlled areas.

The Taliban have not yet spoken about the closing of schools in Dasht-i-Archi, but the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban were not against education.

There are 57 schools in Dasht-i-Archi, imparting education to 27,550 students including 9,643 of them girls.



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Stanikzai commends ‘tremendous help’ from BCCI

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive officer (CEO) has commended India’s role in promoting the game in the war-devastated country.

“BCCI’s role has really been immense. Since we moved to India, the team has done well. The support we receive from BCCI has been instrumental,” Shafiq Stanikzai said.

In an interview with the Press Trust India (PTI), he acknowledged: “In Pakistan we trained a lot in initial stages. Their (PCB) support was also tremendous.” But after moving to India, the Afghans had been performing well and had reached a stage where they were playing with the best, the ACB CEO added.

“So, comparatively, it is bigger. Financially, it is helping us quite a lot. It is cost-effective in comparison to playing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he said.

Convincing other boards to come and play in India was easier, argued Stanikzai, who said BCCI had agreed to support Afghanistan’s U-17 squad. A year after becoming a full ICC member, Afghanistan are scheduled to play their maiden Test match against India in Bangalore in June.

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Massoud supports Noor, slams govt for failures

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The head of Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation Ahmad Wali Massoud on Monday declared his support to Ata Mohammad Noor regarding the ongoing controversies surrounding the Balkh province political leadership.

Speaking during a press conference in Mazar-e-Sharif city, Massoud said the deadlock over the Balkh government leadership can only be resolved with the implementation of the political pact regarding the national unity government.

He also accused the government leaders for hatching conspiracies to eliminate their political rivals and said the government leaders have failed to implement the unity government political pact.

Massoud also added that the government has no intention to organize the upcoming elections on time and warned that the ongoing political deadlock will negatively impact the unity of the people. Tensions remain high between Jamiat-e-Islami and the government after President Ashraf Ghani approved the resignation of Ata Mohammad Noor as the Balkh governor almost a month ago.

Noor says he had submitted his resignation as a guarantee to the government that he will step down if the demands of Jamiat-e-Islami are met by the government.

However, he says the government has approved his resignation as negotiations were underway insisting that none of the conditions and demands of the party have been met.

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Taliban kill seven police in Helmand

Monitoring Desk

LASHKARGAH: Taliban gunmen killed seven police after an attack in the Garamser district of Helmand province of Afghanistan, sources said Monday.

The Taliban gunmen attacked a police post in the Choghako area of Garamser district, killing seven police and wounding another, informed sources told Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).

The source said a cop went missing after the attack, adding the Taliban briefly seized the post and retreated on the arrival of security forces.

Helmand police confirmed clash between security forces and Taliban but did not disclose further details.

Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousaf Ahmadi, meanwhile, claimed that eight police were killed and five more wounded in the attack.

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Key Daesh terrorist killed in airstrike

Monitoring Desk

NANGARHAR: Senior member of Daesh terror group was killed in an airstrike in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan conducted by US forces.

Local Security officials told that the airstrike was conducted in the vicinity of Haska Mina district and it was not clear that which aerial vehicle conducted the strike.

Police officials told media the killed terrorist had been involved in major terror plots.

However, the anti-government armed militant groups including Daesh insurgents have yet to comment on the report.

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in East of Afghanistan where fewer incidents have been reported since the fall of the Taliban regime.

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More than 30 dead in overnight battle at Kabul hotel

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: More than 30 people were killed and dozens others were injured in an overnight battle after the militants in army uniforms who stormed Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel late on Saturday and battled Afghan Special Forces.

Security official told International news outlet that all the five attackers were also killed in the battle and he said there is still no exact figure of killed people but he confirmed that more than 30 people have been killed in the attack.

He added that many foreigners including five citizens of Ukraine were also among the killed and adding that the dead included hotel staff and guests as well as members of the security forces who fought the attackers.

Local airline Kam Air said around 40 of its pilots and air crew, many of whom are foreigners, were staying in the hotel and as many as 10 had been killed.

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman of the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, which attacked the same hotel in 2011.

However, the Afghan interior ministry put the blame on the Haqqani network, a group affiliated with the Taliban that is notorious for its attacks on urban targets.

Even after officials said the attack was over, sporadic gunshots and explosions could be heard from the site.

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Several killed in a deadly clash in Balkh province of Afghanistan

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Several people were killed in a deadly clash in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan as the Taliban claim that security personnel were killed in an operation of the Red Unit of the group.

However, the local officials are saying that a member of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces and 16 public uprising forces were killed during the clashes in Sholgar district.

On the other hand, a security source in Mazar-e-Sharif city said preliminary reports indicate the attack was carried out by a militant who had infiltrated among the uprising and local police forces.

The source further added that the victims were apparently poisoned before the militants stormed their check post and killed at least 17 people.

The Taliban group spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid however claims that a group of the Special Forces of their Red Unit stormed the check post and killed at least 18 policemen.

This comes as seven militants were killed and five others were wounded during the clashes that took place in the vicinity Salbaroon, Khwajah Roshnayi, and Samochak villages during the similar clashes in Chahar Bolak district last week.

Balkh is among the relatively calm provinces in North of Afghanistan where fewer insurgency related incidents have been reported since the fall of the Taliban regime and during the recent years.

But the anti-government armed militant groups are attempting to expand their insurgency in this province as the security situation in certain Northern provinces has started to deteriorate.

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Taliban and their supporters attempting to avenge recent losses: Abdullah

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Chief Executive of the government of national unity Abdullah Abdullah slammed the Taliban group and supporters for the heinous Kabul Hotel attack.

Abdullah in a statement said the Taliban group has been hardly suppressed in the battlefield by the national defense and security forces and their supporters are under immense international pressure.

According to Abdullah, the terror groups and their supporters carry out indiscriminate attacks targeting the civilians in a bid to avenge their recent losses and international pressures.

group of insurgents launched a coordinated attack on Kabul Intercontinental Hotel late on Saturday night, sparking clashes that continued for almost 15 hours.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement claimed that the attack was carried out by a group of at least five insurgents who stormed into the hotel and managed to resist the security forces for almost 14 hours.

Mujahid also claimed that several people were killed in the attack including the foreigners, accusing all the victims of the attack as invaders.

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan confirmed that five people including a foreigner were killed and six others were wounded during the clashes.