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US admits killing 12 civilians in 2021, all in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2022)

The US military killed 12 civilians in 2021, all in Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon report released Tuesday.

The Department of Defense “assesses that there were approximately 12 civilians killed and approximately five civilians injured during 2021 as a result of US military operations,” said the report, which Congress has required to be produced annually since 2018, and part of which is classified.

All of the civilian deaths occurred in Afghanistan, AFP reported.

The Pentagon has already acknowledged its responsibility for the deaths of 10 members of the same family, including seven children, during the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of August 2021.

The public document specifies that a civilian was killed in a US strike on January 8 in Herat, and another on August 11 in Kandahar. Two civilians were also wounded on January 18 in Kandahar, AFP reported.

In addition, the US military admitted having wounded three civilians on January 1 in a strike in Qunyo Barrow, Somalia.

The Pentagon also reassessed its counts from the years 2018 to 2020, recognizing 10 more dead and 18 wounded, all in Syria.

NGOs regularly publish much higher assessments of deaths and injuries from US strikes in conflict zones.

The organization Airwars, which lists the civilian victims of air strikes around the world, estimated in its annual report published in May that between 15 and 27 civilians had been killed in US operations in Syria alone, AFP reported.

In January 2022, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urged the military to do more to avoid civilian casualties in airstrikes, after several deadly blunders that tarnished the reputation of the military.

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US envoy stresses importance of Japan’s contributions to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has held talks with Japanese officials on humanitarian needs, human rights and political dialogue during his two-day visit to the country.

“Japan has been a friend of the Afghan people and our partner there for over 20 yrs, and we deeply appreciate Japan’s active diplomacy and continued generosity today,” West said on Twitter on Saturday.

“We are always stronger, on every challenge, when we act together with allies. True in Afghanistan – we’ll continue to need Japan’s expertise and diverse contributions,” West said.

The envoy also said that he got “sage advice” from Tadamichi Yamamoto, a Japanese who served as UN envoy for Afghanistan during 2016-2020.

He also discussed the economic strategy with Japan International Cooperation Agency.

West’s Japan visit was part of his tour to the region that includes India and the United Arab Emirates.

West is expected to consult with partners and Afghans regarding the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, protection of Afghans’ rights, and shared security concerns, according to a statement from the US State Department.

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In phone call, Muttaqi assures Zardari of bringing Pakistan embassy attackers to justice

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

Foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Amir Khan Muttaqi, phoned his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and assured that IEA will make utmost efforts to bring perpetrators of Friday’s attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul to justice.

A security guard was injured in firing on the compound the embassy in Kart-e-Parwan area of Kabul on Friday. Police said the firing was from a building and a suspect was arrested.

Condemning the attack, Muttaqi also assured Zardari that IEA will pay special attention to the security of the embassy, according to a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry.

For his part, the Pakistani foreign minister thanked IEA for its strong expression of solidarity and underscored that safety and security of Pakistan’s diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan was of utmost importance, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Afghan government must prevent the terrorists from undermining relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Zardari also reiterated “Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to fight terrorism and said that Pakistan will be undeterred by such cowardly attacks.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign ministry’s spokesperson stated that there are no plans to close the embassy or withdraw diplomats from Kabul.

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More tourists visiting Hairatan border town in Balkh

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Officials of the trade and port town of Hairatan border town in the center of Balkh province say that with the arrival of the fishing season and security improvement in the country, dozens of people come to this town every day for tourism and recreation.

Khalilullah Farooqi, the head of Hairatan border town, said that people can come to this recreational area without any worries.

“People can visit and have fun in this town without worrying under Islamic Sharia law,” said Farooqi.

The citizens meanwhile consider the improvement of security as the reason for the increase in the number of visitors to this town and express their satisfaction, calling on the government to expand recreational places in the country.

Hairatan border town is one of the largest commercial ports in the north of the country, which connects Afghanistan with Uzbekistan and other countries in the region.

According to experts, the more attention is paid to the country’s ports and the more infrastructure is built, the higher the government’s revenue will be.

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