|'Taliban Conducted 32 Attacks in 24 Hours': MoI|
|[ToloNews] As the Afghan forces maintain a defense-only stance towards the following the official reduction in violence period, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Tuesday said the Taliban conducted 32 attacks in 15 provinces over the last 24 hours.|
The Interior Ministry Nusrat Rahimi said the attacks were conducted on civilians and security forces members.
"Two civilians and five security force members were killed in the attacks," Rahimi said. He added that 16 civilians and 12 security force members were in the attacks.
According to Rahimi, the security forces conducted defensive operations in which eight Taliban fighters were killed and a would-be was killed in Kandahar before reaching his target.
governor Yasin Khan said that the Taliban have continued their attacks after the end of the weeklong reduction in violence. But he added the violence has been slightly reduced in Helmand compared to the past.
"When they started the attacks, we also decided to respond," he said.
The Taliban has not commented on the Interior Ministry’s statement.
|Afghan Govt: Taliban Attacks Decreasing|
|[ToloNews] Although official numbers are not in from the Afghan government or military, TOLOnews' Whatsapp reporting line only received notifications of three attacks, in Kapisa, and Farah, on Thursday, March 5.|
For the previous day, Wednesday, March 4, the reported attacks were down to 11, according to Nusrat Rahimi, a for the Ministry of Interior. Rahimi said there were 11 fatalities--both Afghan forces and civilians--in that time.
And the above numbers are a dramatic decrease from March 1-3, which was 76 reported attacks, with 30 Afghan soldiers and four civilians killed, as reported by Jawed Faisal, a spokesperson from the National Security Adviser's office.
"The Taliban had attacked 76 in the first three days of March--that is in contradiction with the deal," said Jawed Faisal, for the Office of National Security Advisor.
|US Targets Taliban, 30 Afghan Forces Killed in Afghanistan|
|[ToloNews] The US forces conducted an airstrike against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, a district of the southern province of Helmand on Wednesday, a spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan, Col Sonny Leggett, tweeted on Wednesday.|
The airstrike is the first in 11 days, said Leggett. All sides had agreed to a Reduction in Violence (RIV) plan starting on February 22 that was aimed to create conditions for peace and a permanent ceasefire.
The attack took place one day after Gen. Scott Miller, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, warned the Taliban to keep their commitments.
“It is fragile--if the Taliban are not going to lower violence.” said Miller, “that causes a risk to the agreement.”
He said there is a need for the Taliban to lower violence in Afghanistan “otherwise, it’s hard to have an agreement.”
The Taliban resumed attacks on Afghan forces as President Ashraf Ghani at the same time refused to release 5,000 prisoners before the beginning of the intra-Afghan talks, which were planned for March 10.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump had a telephone conversation with the Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Tuesday evening, Qatar time, said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.
Trump said: "The relationship is very good that I have with the Mullah, and we had a good long conversation today. And you know they want to cease the violence--they'd like to cease the violence also."
But as Trump and the Taliban hold civil talks, 30 Afghan forces and four civilians have been reported killed in 15 provinces of the country.
16 out of 30 Afghan forces were killed in Kunduz province and six others were killed in Uruzgan province.
“After the Taliban attacks, the Afghan security forces attacked the Taliban to defend themselves and the people of Afghanistan. 17 Taliban were killed and 11 others were wounded,” said Nusrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
Reactions were strong about the Taliban attacks on Afghan security forces, especially following the signing of the peace deal with the US.
“Allah banned the killing of Muslims. The Taliban should talk to the government as they did with the US,” said Mawlawi Siddiqi, a religious scholar.
“The intra-Afghan talks are the only way forward. The problems can be solved like this,” said Sayed Abdul Malik Hashimi, another religious scholar.
The Taliban have not commented about the attacks yet.
The US targeted the Taliban following a successful Reduction in Violence (RIV) week that started on February 22, in which all sides respected the terms and violence was greatly lessened, even in the most dangerous and volatile areas like Sangin, Helmand; Andar district, Ghazni; and Chak in Maidan Wardak.
Taliban Kills ‘At Least 16 Afghan Army Soldiers’ in Kunduz
[ToloNews] At least 16 Afghan Army soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack on Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province, Afghan security sources told TOLOnews on Wednesday. Another ten soldiers were taken hostage by the Taliban, said the source.
Also, Fatima Aziz, a PM from Kunduz, said "16 were killed Baghe Shirkat."
|3 Incidents Confirmed on Third Day of RIV|
|[ToloNews] On the third day of the weeklong reduction in violence pact, also called RIV, three incidents were confirmed, one each in Balkh, and Samangan province. These incidents included casualties as well.|
The week-long reduction in violence started on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Eight were reported in the first day of the reduction in violence while two confirmed incidents were reported on the second day.
On the third day, however, the casualties were high. At least four members of public uprising forces and three civilians ‐ including a woman ‐ were killed in an attack by the Taliban on the public uprising forces outpost in Chahar Kint district in the northern Balkh province after midnight on Monday.
Local officials said two members of the public uprising forces were taken by the Taliban. The Taliban has not confirmed this claim.
Over the past three days, Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Balkh, Kapisa and Samangan provinces have witnessed anti-security incidents.
Helmand and Balkh have witnessed attacks twice over the past three days.
"Today, attacks were held by the Taliban in Balkh, Helmand and Samangan provinces and three security force members were martyred and eight others were ," said Nusrat Rahimi, a for the Ministry of Interior.
The reduction in violence was widely welcomed by Afghans in different parts of the country as many hoped this would end the decades of war in the country.
"We want peace. We are tired of war," said Rafiullah Rouhani, a Helmand resident.
"Today, we are witnessing a reduction in violence, and tomorrow, we hope to see peace," said Qais Hashimi, a Helmand resident.
Feroz, a Border Force member in Helmand, said he has lost four members of his family in the war but he hopes that his children will witness a prosperous and peaceful future.
"We are tired of war and the Taliban is also tired of war. We have had enough war," Feroz said.
There are debates about whether this period of reduction in violence will be followed by a similar period.
A former Taliban member, Sayed Akbar Agha, seemed optimistic about the stance of the group in this respect.
"The Taliban has a good stance in this respect because it has not been mentioned in the agreement about what should be done after, and it is not mentioned in the agreement about the period between the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations and their (the Taliban’s) operations (when this round of RIV ends)," he said.
The US and the Taliban will sign a peace deal if the reduction in violence agreement is kept for seven days. This signed peace deal is expected to be followed by the start of intra-Afghan negotiations.
|2019 Was Deadly Year for Civilians: AIHRC|
|[ToloNews] The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in a new report said that 2019, like previous years, once again was a deadly year for Afghan civilians despite ongoing peace efforts to end the 18-year-old war.|
So when was the last good one?... Bueller?
The report indicates that 86,823 civilians, including , were harmed by conflict between 2009-2019 (28,979 killed, and 57,844 injured).
"The high number of civilian causalities indicate all sides’ failure to comply with international humanitarian law," the report said.
In 2019, fewer civilians were harmed by conflict compared to 2018, the report says.
In 2018 there was a total of 11,611 civilian casualties, and during the same period in 2019 there were 10,772 civilian casualties.
The report says that the majority of civilian casualties have occurred in the southwestern zone, harming 3,453 victims, which is 32 percent of all civilian casualties in 2019.
The perpetrators for nine percent of civilian casualties is unknown, according to the report.
But part of this report is in conflict with a recent report by the . In the UN report released last October, it was stated that civilian casualties in s increased by 28 percent in the first nine months of 2019 but the AIHRC report says it was 21 percent.
"All the warring sides are asked not to harm civilians. Killing and harming civilians deliberately and systematically is a war crime based on international and humanitarian laws," the deputy head of AIHRC, Naeem Nazari, said at a in Kabul on Tuesday.
"The Taliban is the main reason behind civilian casualties," Interior Affairs Ministry Nusrat Rahimi said. "The Afghan defense and security forces have targeted most of the perpetrators of such attacks and have eliminated them."
Some war victims’ families in Kabul said that they want a durable peace to be established in the country.
"If there was peace, if there was security, why this would have happened," said Gul Rahman, the father of a child who lost one of his legs in a mortar attack.
|IED Blast Kills 1 Civilian in Kabul City|
|[ToloNews] One civilian was killed in an improvised (IED) blast in Kabul city on Saturday evening, Kabul police said.|
Nusrat Rahimi, the Ministry of Interior , said that an Afghan police vehicle hit an IED in PD3 of Kabul city, killing at least one civilian.
Four others were in the blast, Rahimi added.
According to Rahimi, a police vehicle was destroyed in the blast and investigations are underway.
No group has yet .
|Nearly 7,400 Afghan Civilians Killed, Wounded Last Year: MoI|
|[ToloNews] Nearly 7,400 Afghan and as a result of s and explosions last year, the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on Friday.|
The MoI released a report saying 2,219 another 5,170 were in 2019.
The Interior Ministry in the report blamed the for the fatalities; however, two days ago the Taliban said that the Afghan government forces and their foreign counterparts were responsible for the casualties.
According to the report, August, September and October 2019 were the most deadly months for the Afghan civilians during last year.
"The majority of the casualties occurred as a result of terrorist attacks and roadside mine explosions (IEDs)," said Nusrat Rahimi, a for the Ministry of Interior.
But the Taliban said that 94 percent of the casualties were carried out by the and their foreign colleagues.
"They must work on the so that we can have a nationwide ceasefire in place in Afghanistan and reduce the number of casualties among the civilians," said Sayed Hassan Paktiawal, a member of the Afghan parliament.
"The warring sides of the conflict have been responsible for the casualties, but, overall, there is a reduction in civilian casualties from the government side," said Shukrullah Mashkoor, a for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).
"They must try to reach to some sort of conclusion with this group (Taliban) to decrease the toll on civilians," said Ramish, a resident in Kabul.
"Casualties are increasing day by day, the ministry of interior is responsible to prevent casualties," said Tamim, a resident in Kabul.
the Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a an earlier report said that over 8,000 Afghan and in the first three quarters of 2019.
|ANA Not Meeting Target Enlistment Numbers: MoD|
|[ToloNews] “When there is money, but there is no feeling for the country—and weak leadership—it’s natural, it will never be complete.”|
The Ministry of Defense on Friday said that the number of soldiers in the ranks of the Afghan National Army (ANA) is supposed to be around 234,000 officers, however, currently there are about 200,000 soldiers serving in the force.
Afghanistan started reshaping its security institutions after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, a move that is considered one of the major achievements of state-building programs in the country in the post-Taliban democracy.
“The size of the army should be about 234,000, but currently there are around 200,000 soldiers serving,” confirmed Rohullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, but he downplayed the significance of the difference: “But the recruitment process is normal for a national army.”
Toofan Mahdavi, a former officer of the Afghan National Army who served in the force for three years and was wounded during one of the battles, said that a lack of troops has serious consequences. He left the military because he was personally threatened by armed groups because he served in the ANDSF, but another reason he gave for leaving was “challenges on the battlefield.” Mahdavi cites a lack of troops as one of the challenges:
“When we asked ‘why didn’t you send us reinforcements?’ they said that they didn’t hear our voice on the line. We did not have sufficient personnel. When the checkpoints are taken by the Taliban and you come tomorrow, what is the benefit of that?” said Mahdavi.
The high number of casualties among Afghan forces is also one of the factors that has been hindering the ability to meet target numbers of enlistment.
“When there is money, but there is no feeling for the country—and weak leadership—it’s natural, it will never be complete,” said military expert Atiqullah Amarkhel.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has said they are trying to build up the force to its target numbers.
“We have a two percent shortage. But the recruitment process is underway in the center and in the provinces,” said Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
In July 2019, John Sopko, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), in a report said that the size of Afghanistan’s National Defense and Security Forces reported the lowest numbers since the Resolute Support mission began in January 2015.
According to the report, there were 180,869 Afghan National Army (ANA) and 91,596 Afghan National Police (ANP) personnel enrolled and accounted for as of May 25, 2019, which is roughly 10,000 ANA fewer and 25,000 ANP fewer than the numbers reported to SIGAR in the previous quarter.
Part of the drop was attributed to different standards of counting, in this case counting only biometrically-validated soldiers.
|France kills 33 militants in Mali raid: president|
|ABIDJAN/BAMAKO (Reuters) - French forces killed 33 Islamist militants in Mali on Saturday using attack helicopters, ground troops and a drone, near the border with Mauritania where a group linked to al Qaeda operates, French authorities said.|
The raid about 150 km (90 miles) northwest of Mopti in Mali targeted the same forest area where France wrongly claimed last year it had killed Amadou Koufa,
A spokesman for the French army’s chief of staff declined to say at this stage whether Koufa was the target this time.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the operation in a speech to the French community in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan, describing it as a major success.
"This morning ... we were able to neutralize 33 terrorists, take one prisoner and free two Malian gendarmes who had been held hostage," Macron said, a day after visiting French troops stationed in Ivory Coast.
In Saturday’s raid, soldiers aboard Tiger attack helicopters used a Reaper drone to guide them to the forest area where Koufa’s group Katiba Macina operates, French army command said.
Koufa is one of the top deputies to Iyad Ag Ghali, the leader of Mali’s most prominent jihadi group, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), which has repeatedly attacked soldiers and civilians in Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso.
The United Nations, France and the United States have poured billions of dollars into stabilizing the Sahel, an arid region of West Africa south of the Sahara desert, but with little success.
France, the former colonial power in a number of West African countries, has more than 4,000 soldiers in the region in its counter-terrorism taskforce Operation Barkhane. The United Nations has a 13,000-strong peacekeeping operation in Mali.
|2 killed, 73 Wounded in Taliban Attack near Bagram Base|
At least two civilians have been killed and 73 people have been --mostly civilians--in in the Bagram district of northern Parwan province close to Bagram airbase on Wednesday morning. A involving seven followed the blasts but was ended this evening by airstrikes.
Earlier on Wednesday MoI Nusrat Rahimi said that three had been killed, one had been arrested, and three were still active.
A Resolute Support on Wednesday evening that the remaining Taliban fighters were killed in a series of airstrikes.
Residents said earlier that a "big explosion" happened in the area and it also damaged nearby houses.
"The explosion was very heavy and surprised the people as it was very early," said Qudousi. He added that "the attackers were hidden in a non-active hospital building and clashed with security forces."
"The target was Bagram airbase," he added.
Resolute Support in a statement said that "Enemy forces conducted an attack on Bagram airfield this morning, targeting a medical facility being constructed to help the Afghan people who live near the base."
The Taliban has for the attack.
The powerful explosion has totally destroyed a large clinic which was built by the Korean Development funds and was in active since 2016.
According to Nasrat Rahimi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior Affairs, 7 militants entered in to the clinic building after the explosion.
Taliban have taken the responsibility of the attack and have claimed that their militants have succeeded to enter in to the U.S military base in Bagram.
A Resolute Support Spokesperson told Khaama Press that the Taliban fighters who remained after an unsuccessful attempt to breach Bagram airfield were killed in a series of airstrikes this evening.
The fighters barricaded themselves inside the medical facility building they attacked early Wednesday morning, RS spokesperson said.
|UK Parliament may See Record Number Of British-Pakistainers|
|[GeoTV] LONDON: A record number of British-Pakistanis could become a part of the Parliament after the general elections on December 13. |
For the first time Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have given tickets to more than 70 candidates of British Pakistani origin for the elections ‐ the highest number of candidates. Many are also contesting the election as independent candidates.
Most British-Pakistani candidates are from the Conservative Party but candidates on the Labour ticket have a greater chance of winning.
The Conservative Party has fielded 20 candidates of Pakistani origin. The list includes current chancellor Sajid Javid who has been part of the Parliament since 2010 from Bromsgrove in Warwickshire. Other notable candidates include Nusrat Ghani, Rehman Chishti and Saqib Bhatti.
Ghani has served as the Minister for Transport and was elected first in 2015 from Wealde in Southeast. She was the first female of Pakistani origin to represent Conservatives in the House of Commons.
Chishti, who is prime minister's special envoy for religious freedom, was first elected from Gillingham and Rainham in 2010. The most interesting candidate in the list is Bhatti who is from Birmingham but has been awarded ticket in these elections from one of the safest Conservative seats ‐ Meriden in Warwickshire. An accountant by profession, Bhatti is also the current president of Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. He is the first Muslim and youngest Pakistani to hold this position.
Others contesting from Conservative Party’s platform are Iftikhar Ahmed (Barnsley Central), Mohammad Afzal (Bradford West), Ex MEP Amjad Bashir (Leeds North-East), Kashif Ali (Halifax), Imran Ahmad-Khan (Wakefield).
From Greater London region Tamkeen Sheikh (Barking), Noshaba Khilji (Leyton & Wanstead) and Ali Azeem (Ilford South) will be taking on their Labour rivals. From Greater Manchester region Atiffa Shah (Rochdale), Attika Chaudhary (Salford & Eccles), Tayyab Amjad (Stalybridge & Hyde) and Mussadak Mirza (Stretford & Urmston) are standing on Tory tickets.
Also in the Conservative list are Wass (Wasim) Mughal (Sefton Central, Lancashire), Ahmed Ejaz (Wolverhampton South East), Pervaiz Akhtar (Luton South) and Haroun Malik (Inverclyde, Scotland).
Gawd ! Why don't they just shift the HoC to Bloody Karachi ? For more Abdul names and faces, go to the proud Pak GeoTV link
|Afghan Forces Operations Have Increased: Officials|
|[ToloNews] The Ministry of Interior says 2,331 joint military operations were conducted over the past eight months. |
With the arrival of the cold season and typically reduced activity, the Ministry of Defense, or MoD, said on Sunday that operations against have risen over the past two months.
The Ministry of Interior said the number of joint operations in the past eight months was higher than the total number of operations last year.
But the Afghan security agencies said the has not reduced the level of violence, even with the arrival of the cold season.
"The operations by National Defense and Security Forces are underway and they have inflicted high casualties on the enemy," MoD Rohullah Ahmadzai said.
A recent report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR), indicates that Afghan forces’ casualties have increased by five percent amid a rise in violence in the first quarter of 2019.
"They cannot defeat the government. The conflict and calamity will continue, but nothing will come of it. But, ultimately, peace will come," military affairs analyst Atiqullah Amarkhil said.
According to the Ministry of Interior, 2,331 joint military operations were conducted in the past eight months while last year it was less than 2,000 operations.
"The security and defense forces operations have increased this year. This year, the enemy has been suppressed and weakened more than any year," Interior Ministry Nusrat Rahimi said.
The SIGAR report, citing TAAC-Air, says the Afghan Air Forces’ average monthly flight hours this quarter (July 1 through September 30, 2019) increased by about 19 percent compared to the last reporting period (April 1 through June 30, 2019).
"The National Defense and Security Forces in Kunduz decided to launch a large-scale operation in Kunduz to suppress the enemy," said Nabiullah Mirzaee, Commander of 207 Pamir Corps.
Others await clearing operations: " requires a widespread operation to help displaced families to go back to their homes," said Attaullah Afghan, the head of Helmand Provincial Council.