KABUL, Afghanistan

An Afghan official says the Taliban ambushed a security convoy, killing nine policemen in western Farah province.

Abdul Samad Salehi, a provincial councilman, says the convoy was heading to defuse a roadside bomb on Wednesday afternoon when the ambush happened in Anardara district.

Saleh says that shortly after the attack on the convoy, other Taliban insurgents targeted and briefly overran the district police headquarters. After a few hours of clashes, reinforcements arrived and wrested back control of the headquarters.

The insurgents did not immediately comment on the Farah attacks. The Taliban have been active in the area and have launched large-scale attacks against Afghan security forces in Farah.

The Taliban stage-near daily attacks even as they hold talks with a U.S. envoy tasked on a peaceful resolution to the war.

Source: Fox News World

The U.N. says Afghan and international forces killed more civilians than insurgents in the first three months of the year, the first time the deaths caused by the government and its allies exceeded their enemies.

Still it was insurgents who were responsible for the majority of dead and wounded civilians combined, according to the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s report, which was released in Kabul. Most of the deaths were the result of airstrikes, most often by international forces.

The report says 1,773 civilians were hurt or died in the first three months, which is a significant drop from the same period last year when 2,305 civilians were killed or wounded. Last year, many brutal suicide bombings were blamed for the high casualties.

Source: Fox News World

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the Afghan president to express disappointment over the indefinite postponement of talks with the Taliban and to condemn the insurgent’s latest “spring offensive.”

The Afghan-to-Afghan talks in Qatar were scheduled to start last week when they were scuttled after a falling out over who should attend. It would have marked the first time that Taliban and Kabul government officials sat together.

The State Department says Pompeo called President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday and condemned the Taliban’s recent announcement of starting another offensive in the spring. The Taliban have, however, managed to keep up a steady tempo of attacks even during the harsh winter months.

Pompeo also encouraged both sides to agree on participants, saying the talks are Afghanistan’s best chance at peace.

Source: Fox News World

An Afghan official says an explosion at a coal mine in the northern province of Samangan has killed at least seven miners.

Hashim Bayan, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, says two other miners were injured in the blast on Monday morning in the remote Dar-i-Suf district.

There has been an increase recently in such incidents in the district as miners work without proper equipment or knowledge of safety measures.

Six miners were killed and another one was injured when an explosion in a nearby coal mine earlier this month caused two tunnels to collapse.

Bayan says people in the area are very poor and have no other options but to work as best as they can in the coal mines to make a living.

Source: Fox News World

The Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate has claimed a suicide attack in the capital that killed seven people.

The group says in a statement Sunday that four “martyrdom seekers” targeted the Telecommunications Ministry the day before. Afghan officials say a suicide bomber struck outside the ministry, clearing the way for four other gunmen to enter the heavily-guarded compound in central Kabul.

All the attackers were killed in an hours-long gunbattle. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy in the number of attackers.

IS has carried out several attacks in Afghanistan in recent years, mainly targeting the country’s Shiite minority. They have also clashed with the larger and more well-established Taliban.

Source: Fox News World

Men carry injured people outside the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in Kabul
Men carry injured people outside the building of Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in Kabul, Afghanistan April 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

April 20, 2019

By Abdul Qadir Sediqi and Rupam Jain

KABUL (Reuters) – An explosion hit the center of the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday and unidentified attackers appeared to have entered a multi-storey building housing the communications ministry where they were battling security forces, officials said.

Gunfire could be clearly heard by witnesses in the city center, but the area around the site was cordoned off by security forces.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi confirmed there had been gunfire around the ministry of communications and information technology but provided no further details.

The attack followed several months of relative calm in Kabul, which coincided with talks between U.S. and Taliban officials aimed at opening the way for formal peace negotiations to end more than 17 years of war in Afghanistan.

One security official, who declined to be identified by name, said the initial blast appeared to have been caused by a suicide bomb at the entry to the ministry. There was no confirmation from Afghan police, and no militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

A witness quoted by the Tolo News television channel said attackers appeared to be fighting security forces on the first floor of the ministry headquarters.

The explosion, in one of the main commercial areas of the city, was also close to the heavily fortified Serena Hotel, one of the very few Kabul hotels still used by foreign visitors.

The attack, just days after a planned meeting between Taliban officials and Afghan politicians and civil society representatives in Qatar was canceled, underlined the hurdles facing efforts to reach a peace settlement.

While heavy fighting has carried on across Afghanistan and Taliban militants have announced their now customary spring offensive, there had been no large-scale attacks on civilian targets in Kabul in recent weeks.

(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Rupam Jain, James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie and Kenneth Maxwell)

Source: OANN

Afghan officials says an explosion has rocked central Kabul, the country’s capital city.

Nasart Rahimi, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said Saturday the blast occurred during an ongoing shootout with security forces outside the telecommunications ministry.

Rahimi did not provide details on any casualties.

No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic state group are active in eastern Afghanistan and have previously claimed attacks in Kabul.

Source: Fox News World

Kabul has announced a list of 250 people — including around 50 women — who are headed for Qatar for talks with the Taliban later this week, a gathering known as intra-Afghan dialogue.

The list was released by the government on Tuesday although the Taliban have refused to talk directly with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government, saying they would recognize participants only as “ordinary” Afghans.

The talks are due to start Friday.

The government’s list includes representatives of political parties, government officials, opposition figures, former warlords, women’s rights activists, war victims’ families, clerics, youth and media groups, as well as tribal elders and members of the independent High Peace Council.

The Qatar gathering could mark a significant step toward finding an end to Afghanistan’s protracted war and U.S. troop withdrawal.

Source: Fox News World

Afghan officials say at least five more people have been killed and 17 are missing as a new wave of heavy rains and flooding swept across the country’s western Herat province.

Hamid Mubarez, disaster and humanitarian affairs director in Herat, says the 17 were last heard of while traveling in a van on Monday in the district of Obey.

The country’s disaster ministry says heavy rains and flooding have hit 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces in the past 24 hours, and that the floods have also destroyed and damaged houses and swept away livestock.

Heavy snowfall across Afghanistan this winter had cut off many areas. So far this year, more than 110 people have died as heavy rains and flooding swept away their homes.

Source: Fox News World

An Afghan official says a police officer in western Farah province opened fire at fellow policemen, killing four before he was taken into custody.

Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, says an investigation is underway into the attack, which occurred on Monday night.

Mohib says it happened at a checkpoint near the city of Farah, the provincial capital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility but the Taliban have been very active in Farah. Mohib says the investigation will show whether there are links to the Taliban.

The attack comes as a resurgent Taliban, who now hold sway over nearly half of Afghanistan, stage near-daily assaults on Afghan military and security forces, government and other installations throughout the country, including in Farah.

Source: Fox News World

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