Tolo News: Yasin Zia was appointed as governor of Takhar province on the proposal of IDLG and the decision of President Ghani last year in October. The reason behind Zia’s move to resign is not clear so far. Click here to read more (external link).
VOA News / May 28, 2017
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — A Taliban infiltrator has gunned down six government forces in southern Afghanistan, raising the number of army and police personnel killed by insurgents in the past week to nearly 100.
Afghan and insurgent officials said Sunday the overnight “insider attack” incident took place at a security outpost in Zabul province where a police guard turned his gun on colleagues.
He shot dead six police, including the commander of the post. Afghan media quoted local officials as saying the shooter later rejoined the Taliban and handed the post over to insurgent control.
The Taliban in the last week has assaulted several Afghan military bases and installations, particularly in volatile southern provinces, killing and wounding scores of security forces.
On Saturday, the first day of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, a Taliban suicide car bomber in the eastern city of Khost struck a convoy of an Afghan elite force providing security to American forces. The blast killed at least 18 personnel and wounded many others.
Afghan Defense Ministry officials say government forces have also inflicted heavy battlefield casualties on the Taliban in retaliation.
The Islamist insurgency on Saturday rejected as “ignorance of religion” U.N.-led calls for halting hostilities during Ramadan to respect the religious obligation.
Hours after staging the suicide car bombing in Khost, a Taliban spokesman insisted it is fighting “jihad” (holy war) and is a religious obligation.
“Our fight is Jihad and an obligatory worship. And every obligatory act of worship has 70 times more reward in Ramadan,” a statement quoted spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as claiming.
Afghan security forces lost more than 150 personnel in a single Taliban attack last month on a military base outside the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The uptick in hostilities has also killed and wounded record numbers of civilians, particularly women and children, since the start of the year.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has convened an international peace conference in Kabul in the first week of June where delegates from Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors, along with other regional countries, will discuss ways to end the increasingly deadly conflict.
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Reuters: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years. Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day’s fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department. Click here to read more (external link).
Al Jazeera: Mohammad Shoaib Hosseini thought he was the luckiest man in Germany. Seven years after fleeing his home in war-torn Afghanistan, he had a full-time job at a timber factory, rented a modest apartment and had friends who were like family. But on March 27, his life imploded. Click here to read more (external link).
DW: The reality TV competition “Afghan Star” is Afghanistan’s most popular television show. The first female finalist so far was a young woman from a Taliban stronghold. Her success has put her life in danger. Click here to read more (external link).
Pakistan cricketers will play their first Twenty20 match in Afghanistan’s capital later this year, officials from the nations said on Saturday, as the neighbours put aside political tensions for two upcoming friendlies. The announcement of the games, the first of which is scheduled for July or August, comes as Islamabad and Kabul face off over border skirmishes and terrorism. Click here to read more (external link).
May 27, 2017
Pakistan’s military says authorities have reopened the main Chaman border crossing on May 27 at Afghanistan’s request after it was shut down earlier this month after bloody clashes broke out, killing 15 people on both sides.
The moves comes on the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan. The military said in a statement that the border was reopened on “humanitarian grounds.”
Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to maintain a cease-fire in the border town of Charman, where nine Pakistanis and six Afghans were killed on May 5, the statement said.
Islamabad says it closed the major crossing after Afghan troops opened fire on a Pakistani census team, sparking a deadly firefight.
Afghanistan claims that some of the villages visited by the Pakistani census-takers fall within their territory. The two countries have agreed to use Google maps to help settle the dispute.
Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of providing sanctuaries for Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network on its soil, while Pakistan accuses Afghanistan of sheltering Pakistani Taliban.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
Tolo News: At a meeting, the Tajik minister of transport signed a number of trade and economic agreements in the hope of further boosting trade between the two counties. Tajikistan’s Minister of Transport Khudoyorzoda Khudoyor, on Friday signed trade and economic agreements with Afghanistan during a two-day visit to the country. Click here to read more (external link).
VOA News / May 27, 2017
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — A suicide car bomber struck a convoy of government forces in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, killing at least 18 people and wounding six others.
Officials said the attack in the eastern city of Khost targeted a special unit of Afghan forces providing security for U.S. troops in the area.
Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the convoy near the city’s busy bus station, mostly harming civilians.
The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the violence, asserted the security convoy was hit in an area where there were no civilians.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack left 22 “enemy forces” dead and many more wounded.
He explained that it took the Taliban several months to plot the attack to punish the special forces, accusing them of committing human rights abuses against Afghans at the behest of American CIA personnel in Khost.
The Afghan province borders Pakistan’s volatile tribal areas and used to be a stronghold of the notorious Haqqani network, which is staging attacks alongside the Taliban against NATO and Afghan forces.
The deadly bombing took place on the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Afghanistan, ignoring U.N. calls for both sides to cease hostilities to respect the religious occasion.
Taliban spokesman Mujahid has rejected as “ignorance of [Islamic] religion” calls for stopping “jihad” (fighting) in the holy month of fasting.
“Our fight is Jihad and obligatory worship, reward for every obligatory act of worship is multiplied x70 in Ramadan,” he said in a statement Saturday.
The spokesman went on to assert that the Taliban places “special attention” to protecting civilian lives while undertaking insurgent activities because hurting civilians “during Ramadan and otherwise is a crime.”
The Taliban has stepped up attacks on Afghan security forces and military installations around the country. The insurgents, in repeated attacks this week in the southern province of Kandahar alone, have killed more than 60 soldiers and wounded dozens more.
The deadliest attack on a military base in Afghanistan took place near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif in April in which more than 150 security forces were killed, though independent sources gave a much higher death toll.
May 26, 2017
Taliban militants have killed at least 15 Afghan soldiers during an attack on an army base in Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar.
Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, said on Friday that the militants “launched a coordinated assault on an army base last night (Thursday) in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province.”
“Fifteen Afghan army soldiers were martyred and five others wounded,” he added.
However, a provincial official, who asked not to be named, put the death toll at 20.
The assault is the second of its kind in less than a week.
At least 10 Afghan soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack on the Achakzai camp of army corps 205 in the same district on May 22.
The number of Taliban attacks across Afghanistan climbs every spring, when the militants increasingly target government officials and US-led foreign forces in the country. Many ordinary people often fall victim to such attacks as well.
Over 1,000 members of Afghan security forces as well as over 700 civilians have been killed so far this year, according to Afghan authorities and figures cited by the US-based Congressional watchdog Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The US military is considering whether to deploy 3,000 to 5,000 more military advisers to help train and assist Afghan security forces battling a 16-year militancy by the Taliban.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001. The invasion did remove the Taliban from power, but has failed to stop its terror campaign to this day.
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