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Thousands of Afghans flee their homes as fighting erupts



(Last Updated On: May 5, 2021)

Thousands of Afghans have fled their homes in Helmand province as fierce fighting between government forces and the Taliban erupted after the US military began withdrawing its remaining troops.

AFP reports Afghan forces pushed back a string of insurgent attacks on checkpoints across the southern province, where the US military on Sunday handed over a base to government forces as part of its formal pullout that began on 1 May.

About 1,000 families have fled their homes to escape the fighting that erupted on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, and some other parts of the province, Sayed Mohammad Ramin, the region’s director for refugees told AFP.

He said the families had taken refuge in Lashkar Gah and had come from areas where fighting was intense in the past two days.

“We will survey their needs tomorrow, but many who still have not found shelter in the city need urgent assistance,” Ramin told AFP.

The defence ministry said government forces had killed more than 100 Taliban fighters in Helmand in the past 24 hours when the insurgents attacked some checkpoints on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah.

Another 22 al-Qaida fighters from Pakistan were also killed in the fighting, the ministry said.

Officials said the Taliban fighters initially captured some checkpoints but they were retaken by government forces who pushed back the insurgents, AFP reported.

“The enemy has now lost all the areas it had captured and suffered heavy casualties,” Attaullah Afghan, head of the Helmand provincial council, told AFP.

The Taliban said dozens of Afghan troops were killed in the fighting. Both sides are known to exaggerate casualties inflicted on the other.

UK-based medical care provider Emergency said it is receiving large numbers of “war wounded patients” at its surgical centre in Lashkar Gah due to widespread fighting in the area since 1 May.

It said the hospital received 106 patients, of which 65 had to be admitted.

“These are very difficult days in Lashkar Gah … We have also put beds in the physiotherapy room to accommodate all the injured patients,” Viktor Urosevic, medical coordinator at the hospital, said in a statement issued by Emergency.

Emergency’s Afghanistan coordinator, Marco Puntin, said fighting in Helmand was not an isolated event.

“We have witnessed an escalation of conflict across Afghanistan,” he said.

Fighting was also reported in several other provinces since the US military formally began pulling out its remaining 2,500 troops, AFP reported.

The Pentagon has downplayed the fighting.

“We’ve seen nothing thus far that has affected the drawdown, or had any significant impact on the mission at hand in Afghanistan,” US Department of Defence spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday.

Nearly 20 years after US and allied Natotroops invaded Afghanistan and ousted the Taliban government as they pursued al-Qaida after the September 11, 2001 attacks, President Joe Biden ordered in April the final withdrawal.

On Tuesday, US officials said the military has completed two to six percent of the withdrawal.

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Woman imprisoned by brother for 25 years dies just five months after rescue



(Last Updated On: February 26, 2024)

A woman who was imprisoned in a dark room for 25 years in Kabul died on Monday, just five months after being rescued by police.

The woman, Nikbakht, had been held by her brother in appalling conditions but was rescued after neighbors in district 10 tipped off the authorities about her plight in September last year.

After being rescued, she was hospitalized and treated for malnutrition and anemia.

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said on Monday that Nikbakht spent a month in hospital after being rescued and once well enough to leave she was moved to a place of safety.

At the insistence of acting interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, Nikbakhta had regular medical check ups.

But on Sunday her health deteriorated. She passed away on Monday at about 6.30am, Zadran said.

According to him, Nikbakht was buried later the same day on Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan hill after a burial ceremony conducted by Haqqani.

In September, police arrested four of Nikbakht’s relatives, including her brother, for having forcibly imprisoned, abused and neglected her.

Police said at the time she had been subjected to years of abuse after separating from her husband. Other problems that plagued her included infertility, having a brother who was allegedly a criminal and a dispute over inheritance.

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Murderer publicly executed in Jowzjan



(Last Updated On: February 26, 2024)

The Supreme Court has announced that a man, convicted of murder, was executed in northern Jowzjan province on Monday.

The court said in a statement that Nazar Mohammad had killed Khal Mohammad with a knife.

Nazar Mohammad was publicly executed in a stadium in Sheberghan, the capital of Jowzjan province.

This comes four days after two other murderers were executed in Ghazni province.

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UN Security Council to discuss appointment of special envoy for Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: February 26, 2024)

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet on Afghanistan on Monday to discuss the appointment of a special envoy for Afghanistan and the results of a recent international meeting on Afghanistan in Doha.

Naseer Ahmed Faiq, Chargé d’Affaires of the Afghanistan Permanent Mission to the UN, said that in this meeting, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will present a report about the appointment of special envoy for Afghanistan and the recent international meeting on Afghanistan in Doha.

Security Council Resolution 2721 in December last year requested that the Secretary-General brief the Security Council on the outcome of consultations within 60 days.

But the Islamic Emirate emphasizes that Afghanistan is not in crisis and with the presence of the United Nations Assistance Mission in the country, there is no need to appoint a new representative.

“As for the special representative, the position of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is very clear and there is no need to appoint a special representative for Afghanistan,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, said.

“Afghanistan is a secure country and does not suffer from any crisis and needs international cooperation, but within the framework of the cooperation that existed before. In the presence of UNAMA, all issues between the United Nations and Afghanistan will be resolved.”

“There is no need for a special representative. They should cooperate with the people of Afghanistan. They should not prevent Afghanistan’s progress in the diplomatic field and should not consider Afghanistan a country facing a crisis,” Mujahid added.

The UN Doha meeting on Afghanistan was held last week. IEA declined an invitation to attend the meeting.

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