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Foreign troops targeted in rocket attack in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: May 2, 2021)

US Forces Afghanistan hit back at insurgents on Saturday night after foreign forces were targeted in a rocket attack at the Kandahar Airfield.

According to Colonel Sonny Leggett, USFOR-A spokesman: “US Forces conducted a precision strike this evening, destroying additional rockets aimed at the airfield.”

He said Kandahar Airfield received “ineffective indirect fire this afternoon” but added no injuries to personnel had been reported nor had there been any damage caused to equipment.

He also said US commander General Scot Miller has been clear about the Coalition’s intent to protect the force.

“A return to violence would be one senseless & tragic. But make no mistake, we have the military means to respond forcefully to any type of attacks against the coalition and the military means to support the Afghan security forces. That would be a mistake to move in that direction.”

On Saturday, security was ramped up in cities across Afghanistan, including Kabul, ahead of possible attacks by the Taliban due to the presence of foreign troops in the country after the May 1 withdrawal deadline.

On Saturday morning, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted that the US troops presence was in violation of the agreement and that the group reserved the right to take action against the “occupying forces”.

“As withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by agreed upon May 1st deadline has passed, this violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces,” Mujahid tweeted.

“The Mujahidin of IEA (Taliban) will now await what decision the leadership of Islamic Emirate takes in light of the sovereignty, values and higher interests of the country, and will then take action accordingly, Allah willing,” he said.

Under the Trump administration’s February 2020 deal with the Taliban, foreign forces were to withdraw from the country by May 1 while the Taliban held off on attacking foreign troops and bases.

But US President Joe Biden announced last month after reviewing the situation that forces would stay in the country for months beyond May, withdrawing by September 11.

While the Taliban did not attack foreign forces in the year following the signing of the agreement, the group continued to carry out attacks against the Afghan security forces and Afghan civilians.

In recent weeks, more than 100 Afghan security force personnel have been killed. On Friday alone, a massive truck bomb in Logar killed dozens of people.

Washington has however warned that if foreign forces were attacked while carrying out the withdrawal they would defend themselves “with all the tools at our disposal”.

Experts said the Taliban threats should be taken seriously, but a number of factors meant that full-scale attacks against foreign targets could be averted, as the Taliban continued negotiations.

“We can’t rule out attacks,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Programme at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington told Reuters.

“That said, the Taliban is less likely to attack foreign forces now that it knows there is a specific date when they will be leaving.”

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UN official appeals foreign greater int’l aid after visit to quake-hit region

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

A top UN official in Afghanistan appealed on Sunday for greater international aid for the country, after he visited communities affected by last week’s devastating earthquake.

“Yesterday’s visit reaffirmed to me both the extreme suffering of people in Afghanistan and their tremendous resolve in the face of great adversity,” said Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan.

The UN and its partners have developed a three-month emergency appeal, included within their humanitarian plan for Afghanistan this year, to respond to the catastrophe.

The goal is to scale up and expedite the delivery of humanitarian and resilience assistance to nearly 362,000 people in the two provinces, Paktika and Khost, that were most affected.

“Notwithstanding the phenomenal generosity that donors have already displayed to Afghanistan over these past tumultuous ten months, I urge the international community to dig deep at this time, as the population confronts yet another emergency, and to pledge support to these life-saving and life-sustaining efforts,” he said.

On Saturday, Alakbarov, accompanied by representatives from other UN agencies, travelled to the villages of Mir Sahib and Khanadin, located in Gayan district, Paktika province – one of the areas worst affected by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

More than 1,000 people are reported killed and another 2,000 injured in the earthquake in east Afghanistan. According to UN data, 235 people were killed and 600 others were injured in Gayan district alone.

The delegation met with residents, many of whom had lost family members and friends, including several orphaned and separated children, and whose homes are now uninhabitable.

“In addition to food assistance and emergency shelter and repair, interventions such as the restoration of damaged water pipes and cholera prevention and preparedness activities are absolutely vital, as are the restoration of communication lines, road access, and basic livelihoods,” said Alakbarov.

“Without such transitional support, women, men, and children will continue to endure unnecessary and unimaginable hardship,” he added.

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Former commander of Faryab’s uprising forces returns to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

A well-known commander of former uprising forces in Faryab province, Nizamuddin Qaisari, returned to Afghanistan on Sunday after fleeing the country.

Qaisari’s returns comes after efforts were made by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Contact Commission with Afghan Personalities.

Speaking at a meeting after his arrival, Qaisari said the reason for his return is so he can serve his country. He also called on the IEA to form an inclusive government that represents all ethnic groups in the country

“I came for my people; now we have Islamic government; I want to help and work for the government if they want [me] to; I am ready to serve,” Qaisari said. “I am here to unify people, Pashtun, Hazara, Tajik and others.”

The IEA meanwhile welcomes the return of political figures, even those who were once opposed to the Islamic Emirate, the IEA has said.

Experts believe that Afghanistan is the shared home of all Afghans, and the return of political figures and experts in various fields can provide the basis for lasting stability as well as growth and prosperity of Afghanistan.

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Polio vaccination campaign rolls out in western Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

More than one million Afghan children are expected to be vaccinated over the next few days in the latest polio vaccination campaign that was launched in western Afghanistan on Sunday.

Officials said the campaign will run for four days and be conducted across four provinces in the western region.

Waheed Rahmani, head of the vaccination campaign, said that 1.1 million children under the age of five are expected to receive the polio drops, including 720,000 in Herat province.

He said that so far there are no obstacles in the way of rolling out the campaign.

Volunteers said that they hope to reach all the children who need to be vaccinated.

“I along with my team will work honestly to make Afghanistan free from polio virus,” said Fina Nezami, a volunteer.

“I hope that Afghanistan becomes polio-free and we are happy to go door to door for vaccinations,” said Yagana Nabizada, another volunteer.

Local health officials have assured the public that all areas will be covered by the campaign.

“We have not forgotten areas, and while planning vaccination programs, all the areas are reviewed and if any area is left out, it will be immediately covered,” said Mohammad Asif Kabir, provincial deputy health director.

Around 728,000 children received polio drops in the previous campaign in Herat. Around 5,000 volunteers are involved in the current campaign in Herat.

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