News Updates

19 July - 31 July, 2019
  • Afghan 'insider attack' kills two US soldiers in Kandahar
    Two US service members have been killed by an Afghan soldier in an apparent insider attack in Afghanistan, local police say. The soldier opened fire on the Americans in Shawalikot district, Kandahar, the office of the province's police chief confirmed to the BBC. US officials have only confirmed that two soldiers were killed on Monday. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would reduce the number of US troops in Afghanistan by 2020. A news release by Nato stated only that the soldiers had been killed, and that in accordance with department of defence policy, their names would not be released until 24 hours after the soldiers' families had been notified. It is believed the Afghan soldier was wounded. Earlier on Monday, Mr Pompeo said President Donald Trump had directed him to decrease the number of US troops in the region by the 2020 presidential election next November. (BBC News, 29 July, 2019)
  • Afghan, American troops killed more civilians than insurgents: UN
    KABUL: More Afghan civilians were killed by Afghan and NATO coalition forces than the Taliban and other militants across the country in the first half of 2019, the UN mission in Afghanistan said in its latest report released Tuesday.
    The conflict in Afghanistan continues to have a devastating impact on civilians, with the latest UN update released Tuesday documenting 3,812 civilian casualties (1,366 deaths and 2,446 injured) in the first half of 2019.
    While the number of civilians killed and injured is 27 percent down from the same period in 2018 –the year that saw record high numbers of recorded civilian casualties– the UN notes with concern disturbing patterns such as the 27 per cent increase in civilian deaths in the second quarter of 2019 compared with the first, the report added.
    The UN welcomes the reduction in civilian casualties in the 1 January-30 June 2019 period, but continues to regard the level of harm done to civilians as shocking and unacceptable. UNAMA acknowledges that parties have announced efforts to reduce civilian casualties, but they are insufficient. More must be done (Kabul Times, 31 July, 2019 )
  • Imran Khan soon in Kabul for peace push
    KABUL: Pakistan Premier Imran Khan is anticipated to visit Afghanistan in an effort to push the ongoing peace process, a Pakistani newspaper reported on Monday.
    Khan’s close aides told The Nation that he had promised to play a ‘more positive’ role in the Afghan peace process during his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington. “Khan is planning to visit Kabul, however no date and schedule have been finalized yet.”
    “Islamabad is already doing whatever it can to ensure peace in Afghanistan. We are ready to enhance efforts to achieve the goal. Peace in Afghanistan is vital to the regional stability,” the PM’s aide was quoted as saying.
    Khan, after meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, said his country would do everything within its power to facilitate the ongoing peace process.
    Ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan have remained frosty in recent decades with both accusing each other of patronizing militants. However, another senior official said the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s recent visit to Pakistan had improved the ties between the two countries.
    He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan will remain in contact at the highest level for the sake of regional stability. (Kabul Times, 31 July, 2019)
1 July - 18 July, 2019
  • Taliban Shuts 42 Swedish-Run Health Clinics in Afghanistan
    An International relief agency says the Taliban has forced them to close dozens of clinics in an embattled central - eastern region of Afghanistan, depriving hundreds of thousands of people, particularly women and children, of receiving medical treatment and health services. The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) said in a statement issued Wednesday the insurgents’ action in the Wardak province had stemmed from last week’s deadly attack by Afghan security forces against one of the agency’s health clinics. It noted that the condemnable raid killed four people, including SCA doctors, and one employee is still missing. “The Taliban forced SCA to close 42 out of 77 health facilities in six out of nine districts of Wardak province so far, and due to this closure, an estimated number of over 5,700 patients are affected on daily basis,” the aid agency lamented. (Voice of America, 18 July, 2019)
  • Afghan radio station shuts down after threats by suspected Taliban
    A private radio station in Afghanistan has shut down after numerous threats from a suspected Taliban commander who objected to women working as presenters, officials at the radio station said. (Reuters, 15 July, 2019)
  • Afghanistan: Roadside bomb kills 11 pilgrims in Kandahar
    Explosion in southern province injures at least 35 other pilgrims on their way to a shrine, officials say. A roadside bomb in Afghanistan has killed at least 11 pilgrims riding a truck in the southern province of Kandahar, provincial officials said. At least 35 others were also wounded after their truck set off a landmine in the Khakrez district of the province on Monday afternoon, said Ahmad Sadeq Essa, an army spokesperson for the southern region. Those wounded were transferred to a nearby military base and some critically injured in the incident were being transported to hospitals in the provincial capital, Essa added. "The army only has a mobile clinic in Khakrez, and right now they are trying to transfer the wounded people to the regional hospital in Kandahar city for further treatment," he said. (Al Jazeera: 15 July, 2019)
  • Afghan forces, US service member killed in Taliban attacks
    Four killed in Taliban attack on a hotel in Badghis province, while a US service member died in action in Wardak. At least four Afghan security forces and a US service member have been killed in two separate attacks claimed by the Taliban as violence continues across Afghanistan despite efforts to end the 18-year war.An attack on a commercial building housing a hotel and shops in Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis province in western Afghanistan, killed four security personnel and wounded 20 others, including civilians, officials said on Saturday. "The attackers took over a building near the governor's office and police headquarters," Badghis Governor Abdul Ghafoor Malikzai told the AFP news agency. Afghanistan's Defence Ministry said at least three Taliban attackers were also killed in the attack and two others arrested. In a separate incident, NATO said a US service member was killed in action on Saturday in Sayed Abad district of central Wardak province, some 70km south of the Afghan capital, Kabul. (Al Jazeera: 13 Jul 2019)
  • Air, ground attacks kill civilians hours after Afghans talk peace
    Children among a dozen killed in twin attacks as Afghan leaders and Taliban commit to 'zero' civilian deaths in Qatar. (Al Jazeera: 9 Jul 2019)
  • Afghan talks: Rival sides agree on 'road map for peace'
    Afghan leaders and the Taliban call to reduce civilian casualties to 'zero' in a joint statement after talks in Doha. (AL Jazeera: 9 Jul 2019)
  • Intra-Afghan peace talks under way amid more Taliban attacks:
    Afghan delegates meet the Taliban in Qatar to find peace as yet another attack by armed group kills 14 people in Ghazni. (Al Jazeera: 8 Jul 2019)
  • Intra-Afghan talks with Taliban under way in Qatar:
    Afghans from across the political and social spectrum to meet Taliban representatives in bid to end the 18-year war. (Al Jazeera: 7 Jul 2019)