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Violence intensifies across the country, despite peace talks

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(Last Updated On: September 21, 2020)

Clashes have intensified between the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and Taliban militants in 14 provinces in the past ten days – inflicting heavy casualties on both sides. 

Government sources said clashes have been recorded in 33 districts in total and that at least 30 members of the ANDSF and 401 Taliban insurgents have been killed in the skirmishes. 

In addition, 126 ANDSF members and 114 militants have been wounded.

Officials said in the past 24 hours, 25 policemen were killed in an Taliban ambush in Uruzgan, 19 Afghan forces were killed in Maidan Wardak, 15 policemen were killed in an explosion at an outpost in Maroof district of Kandahar, six policemen were killed in Tagab district of Kapisa, and nine security personnel were killed in Kunduz.

Sources said the Taliban has over the past 10 days increased attacks against government forces in Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Logar, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Kandahar, Kunduz, Takhar, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Balkh, Helmand and Uruzgan provinces.

Details of civilian casualties were not however released. 

Concerns continue to rise regarding the escalation in violence, with global leaders calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. 

On Monday, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad voiced his concern and called for an immediate reduction in violence. 

In a post on Twitter, Khalilzad said: “Over the last few days, there has been a clear rise in violence in Afghanistan. 

“This escalation is regrettable as Afghans, including many civilians, are losing their lives. 

“Given the recent start of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations, it is imperative all sides reduce violence significantly,” he said.

This comes as Afghan negotiators and the Taliban’s talks team discuss intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha. 

However, a marked increase in violence has been evident over the past ten days – specifically since the start of the peace talks. 

Citing UN figures, EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia said on Friday violence in Afghanistan in the last five weeks has been “the highest in the last five years”. 

 

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Elon Musk begins Twitter poll on reinstating Trump’s account

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(Last Updated On: November 19, 2022)

Twitter owner Elon Musk launched a poll Friday on the social media platform asking if former US President Donald Trump should be allowed back on the platform.

“Reinstate former President Trump,” Musk wrote in a post which garnered more than 4.4 million impressions at the time of publication, Anadolu Agency reported.

More than 55% of users voted “yes,” while 44% said “no.”

Hours earlier, the American billionaire implied that he was mulling whether to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account.

“Trump decision has not yet been made,” tweeted Musk, as he announced three high-profile reinstatements of accounts that were banned by the social media giant.

“Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated,” said Musk.

Trump had about 88.8 million followers when Twitter permanently suspended the former US president’s account in January 2021, citing his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol and the potential for more violence.

Musk had forecast a Trump return in May when he called the expulsion “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”

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IEA says it has eradicated war and corruption in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 17, 2022)

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, said at a meeting on Wednesday with officials from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war and administrative corruption in the country and pave the ground for progress and development.

He said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has created an aid fund for Afghanistan and they will help Afghanistan in health, education, and other fields in addition to humanitarian aid.

An OIC official meanwhile said it will stand by Afghanistan and we will continue its cooperation with Afghanistan in the areas of prosperity, stability, and development.

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, meanwhile welcomed the delegation of the OIC, and said, “You will see the real facts and the efforts of the Islamic Emirate in various sectors.”

He said that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war, insecurity, murder, destruction, and corruption in the country.

In conclusion, the IEA will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan soil against other countries, he said. 

 

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Explosion in busy Istanbul street leaves at least 4 dead

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(Last Updated On: November 13, 2022)

An explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue on Sunday afternoon has left at least four people dead and a number of people injured, a senior official told Associated Press.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the explosion occurred at about 4:20 p.m. Istanbul time and that there were deaths and injuries, but he did not say how many. The cause of the explosion was not clear.

Al Jazeera also reported at least four people were killed and 38 others injured.

However, according to the Associated Press, Turkey’s media watchdog imposed a temporary media ban on reporting of the explosion, which means broadcasters cannot show videos of the moment of the blast or its aftermath. 

The Supreme Board of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks, accidents and some political issues.

Footage on social media showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.

Broadcaster CNN Turk meanwhile reported 11 people were injured. 

The avenue is a crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals, lined by shops and restaurants.

Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by ISIS (Daesh) and outlawed Kurdish groups.

 

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