Chabahar Port Phase One launched

President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, inaugurated the first phase of the Chabahar port on December 3rd. This advantageous port will provide an alternative route to the land-locked boundaries of Afghanistan and allow it open doors to global markets. It is also an important passage between India and Afghanistan, detouring the hindrances triggered by Pakistan. According to Hindu, the capacity of this new leeway extends from 2.5 million tons to 8 million tons. Through the construction of this port in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran; India, Afghanistan and Iran have reconfirmed their allegiance in ensuring peaceful bilateral trade and economic development. The Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that the three countries are committed to solving disputes regarding regional connectivity.

Reports from The Times of India recognized the Chabahar port as a challenge to the Gwadar port of Pakistan, located 80 km away. This port developed by China is crucial to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. One of the key benefits of Chabahar port is that it will equip India is guarding Chinese activities in the Arabian Sea.

The first phase of the Chabahar port project – Shahid Beheshti port, will not only enhance India’s entry to Iran, but will also act as a chief pathway to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), the water, railway and road links shared by Europe, India, Iran Russia and whole of Central Asia.

Sources: The Hindu, The Times of India 

U.S forces conducts airstrike, kill 11 Taliban insurgents

In the airstrike carried by US troops, at least eleven insurgents of Taliban have been killed in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According the reports from the office of the provincial government media, the airstrike was carried out in the territory of Bati Kot district in which weapons belonging to the Taliban insurgents were also destroyed.  As reported by Khama press, the official statement quoted, “The militants were hanging out in the area when they were targeted, leaving eleven of them dead and one more wounded.” Taliban has not commented on the deaths so far.

Earlier on tuesday, airstrikes conducted by the U.S. forces in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar, in Haska Mina District, targeted the militants operating under the command of ISIS leader Tariq Afridi, killed at least fourteen militants affiliated with the ISIS-K.

Afghanistan is carrying out an Anti-ISIS as well as anti- Taliban operation with the prime objective of eradicating presence of ISIS affiliates in Nangarhar province and the U.S. forces are providing airstrikes support to the Afghan forces to achieve the targeted. After 9/11 attacks, it had been the principle objective of U.S policy ensure that the country does not become a haven  for radical anti-Western jihadi  terrorist groups.

 

Sources: ANI, Business Standard

13 killed, several wounded in bomb attack in Afghanistan

According to Reuters, 13 people which include both civilians, as well as Afghan army soldiers, were killed in Helmand by a car bomb attack on Sunday.Omar Zwak, the Helmand governor’s spokesman confirmed the casualties and added that 18 people were also wounded during the same. The attack occurred in a market in Nawa, a central district of the province. This area has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks due to the fight for control between the government forces and the Taliban insurgents.

Omar Zwak, the Helmand governor’s spokesman confirmed the casualties and added that 18 people were also wounded during the same. The attack occurred in a market in Nawa, a central district of the province. This area has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks due to the fight for control between the government forces and the Taliban insurgents.

The hospitals nearby which include Bost Hospital confirmed that they had received 10 wounded where as the Italian aid run hospital said they had received 3 dead and 19 wounded. The current situation of the wounded is still not clear.

This attack has come just days after a suicide bomber in Lashkar Gah killed 7 people and wounded 40 as the Taliban continued to try to restore strict Islamic rule in Afghanistan and to drive out each foreign force that has been backing the government in Kabul.

There has been no claim of responsibility by anyone as of now and nothing from the Taliban either. Helmand has seen a lot of attacks in the recent past by the Taliban as they control a majority of the area outside the provincial capital Lashkar Gah.

Ever since the Taliban has launched its so called spring offensive there has been a series of attacks in the country. The Central Kabul attack which was carried out on the 31st of May remains to be the deadliest attack ever since the US-led forces overthrew the Taliban from power in 2001.

Sources – BBC, EURO news

 

No exit for US troops: Trump on Afghanistan

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, on Monday, unveiled his plan and strategy for South East Asia. In his address in Fort Myer, Virginia, he has decided to increase the number of US troops in Afghanistan and there is no timeline for exit. He also added that Pakistan has to stop being the home to terrorism. 

According to a report by The Hindu, the US President has taken a U-turn from his promise of exiting Afghanistan, which he did before the presidential elections in 2016, after studying the situation there. 

Trump has not specified any number of troops that would go to Afghanistan and also made it clear that nothing will be further announced regarding their plans and military activities. However, reports suggest that U.S. will send around 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan adding to 8,500 present already, reported The Atlantic.

Trump has also asked India to keep providing financial aids to Afghanistan in order stabilise the country. Trump who in November 2016, tweeted, “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let’s get out!” , in his speech on Monday said, “We will fight to win.”, reported the International Business Times.

Sources – The Hindu, The Atlantic, International Business Times

NATO coalition forces attacked in Afghanistan, leaving 2 U.S soldiers dead

A suicide bomber rammed an explosives laden truck into a NATO convoy killing two U.S soldiers in the southern province of Kandahar. While Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, maintaining the death toll of 15 soldiers and two destroyed vehicles; the claim was not verified by Pentagon. It was taken as an exaggeration by Taliban.  Kandahar province was a Taliban stronghold for five years until US invasion in 2001. So far, this is the longest war fought over 16 years by U.S. against Taliban. The Kandahar airport is also home to a major military base of 13,000 troops from 39 countries who are part of the coalition to train, advise and assist Afghan troops against the insurgency.  According to the Time, currently, soldiers from U.S., Australia, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania are deployed in Afghanistan, said U.S. military spokesperson Lt. Damien E. Horvath.

The Trump administration in Washington is still deciding on whether to send 4,000 troops to fight Taliban, as requested by the U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan. The attack on the coalition happened on the next day to the twin suicide bombing of a Shiite mosque in Herat that killed 32 people and injured 66 others, where Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility.

Sources – The Guardian, Time 

India to attend ‘Peace in Afghanistan’ conference hosted by Russia

 

Two months after Russia hosted the latest regional conference on Afghanistan, a similar conference will be held next in Moscow.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan declared that representatives from six countries will discuss the issue of peace in Afghanistan and the discussion will not be an alternative for peace talks between government and the Taliban.

India, Iran and Afghanistan are the new entrants in the conference after India and Iran objected about being excluded from the previous discussion.

In the last meeting, only three countries- Russia, China and Pakistan- were members and had announced their intention of removal of few Taliban members from the sanction list in order to bring peace in Afghanistan.

Foreign Secretary of India, S. Jaishankar had expressed the disappointment of being excluded from the last conference during his talks with the Russian delegation at the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar in early December last year, as reported by The Hindu.

This statement was followed by Ajit Doval’s visit to Moscow on January 31 to meet the Russian Security Council, where he laid out India’s interest for strategic and counter-terrorism talks on the situation in Afghanistan.

A Ministry of External Affairs delegation led by Joint Secretary, Gopal Baglay will represent India at the conference that will again witness Russia’s interest on Afghan issues, decades after the Soviets had left Kabul.

Sources: The Hindu, Times of India, Tolo News

Five Working Women Shot Dead In Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN:  Highlighting the risk to employed women in Afghanistan, five female airport workers along with their driver were shot dead by Gunmen in the southern part of the country on Saturday.
As told to AFP by provincial spokesman Samim Kheplwak, the women were driving towards the airport in Kandahar province when around three gunmen on motorcycles started firing at them.
He stated, “All the women and their driver aboard the van were killed. The attackers fled the area and we have launched an investigation.”

Ahmadullah Faizi, Kandahar International Airport Director, in his report mentioned that these women were the employees of a private company who would look into providing luggage and body search services for female passengers. He further added, that the now deceased were worried for their lives after receiving death threats from those who disapproved of them working.

None of the groups claimed responsibility but the Taliban terrorists and other insurgent groups have been targeting women who work outside their homes for a long while now.
Afghani women have crossed great lengths since 2001 when the Taliban regime was ousted, however they still go through immense oppression, abuse and violence and are inhibited from having a public life.
More than 3,700 cases of violence against women have been registered in the Afghan attorney general’s office in the first eight months of 2016.

SOURCES:

NDTV , Reuters

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