Tag Archives: conflict

Twenty-three rockets hit the Afghan capital, Kabul, 8 civilians were killed | Asia | Instant News


At least eight civilians were killed in the brazen attack and dozens were injured because the Taliban denied involvement.

The rocket attack hit the heavily fortified Green Zone where embassies and international companies are based in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least eight civilians and injuring dozens on Saturday.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said the “terrorists” mounted a rocket on a small truck and detonated it, adding an investigation was underway to find out how the vehicle got into the city undetected.

“Based on preliminary information, eight people were killed and 31 others injured,” said Arian, noting that the final number of victims would change.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz confirmed the toll and details were similar.

The ISIL (ISIS) affiliate in Afghanistan claimed the rocket attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The armed group has carried out similar attacks in the past and has claimed responsibility for other attacks in Kabul.

Some residents recorded the projectiles being launched and posted them on social media. Several pictures circulating on Facebook show a wrecked car and a hole in the side of a building.

Taliban fighters, who are fighting against the foreign-backed Kabul government, denied involvement in the attack, saying they “did not shoot indiscriminately into public places”.

“The rocket attack in the city of Kabul has nothing to do with the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, using the group’s name for Afghanistan.

The attack sent warning sirens blaring from the embassy compound and came two days before the main donor conference for Afghanistan in Geneva, Switzerland.

The interior ministry also said two small “sticky bomb” explosions had been reported Saturday morning, including one that hit a police car, killing one policeman and injuring three others.

Police officers stand guard after rockets hit a residential area in Kabul on Saturday [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

Since peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban broke down, attacks by him and other armed groups have increased, especially in the capital, which is home to more than five million Afghans.

Officials told the AFP news agency on Friday that a breakthrough in negotiations was expected to be announced in the coming days. The US State Department announced late Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would meet negotiators from the Taliban and the Afghan government in Qatar on Saturday.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to end the “war forever” including in Afghanistan – the United States’ longest running conflict that began with an invasion to expel the Taliban after 11 September 2001 attack.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it would immediately pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, accelerating the timetable laid down in a February agreement between Washington and the Taliban envisioning a full US withdrawal by mid-2021.

In the past six months, the Taliban carried out 53 suicide attacks and 1,250 bombings that killed 1,210 civilians and wounded 2,500 others, Arian said this week.

Earlier this month, several armed men charged Kabul University campus and killed at least 35 people, mostly students, and injured more than 50 others.

The attack was claimed by ISIL (ISIS) but the Afghan government said the Taliban’s ultra-violent Haqqani network was responsible.

US President-elect Joe Biden, on the point of a rare deal with Trump, has also advocated defeating the Afghan war although analysts believe he will not be too tied down to a quick schedule.

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Afghans remember the days when Australians opened their dogs, shot | Asia | Instant News


Herat, Afghanistan – Haji Abdul Baqi has one lasting memory of Australian troops in Afghanistan, the day they killed his two brothers, Saifullah and Bismillah, and two of his cousins, Mohammadullah and Juma Khan.

It was more than nine years ago, but the chaos that occurred as soon as the Australians got off their helicopter near a market in the southern province of Uruzgan is still fresh on his mind.

“They entered the market with dogs and guns at their side,” he recalls.

The 30-year-old described his village in China’s Caher district as a simple desert that the government has not visited in many years, but on that June day, was quickly filled with gunfire and the barking of attack dogs.

From there, they started setting fire to local public offices. Fearing for their lives, the people in the market sought refuge in nearby homes and wheat fields, but that was unsuccessful.

Publishing an investigation is a good step but must be followed up with appropriate demands and compensation and attention to the victim and his family.

Shaharzad Akbar, Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission

My brothers and cousins ​​ran to their motorbikes, but the dogs were already chasing them.

The situation in their family home was no better. The Australians have destroyed the gate and released their dog onto one of the dogs. When his cousin Mohammadullah came into the house, he tried to get the dog from Saifullah.

“He saw the dog tear my brother apart, but before we knew it, they were both shot dead, right at our house.”

Abdul Baqi also blamed the death of his aging father, Haji Abdul Hakim, on the soldiers and their dogs.

“He never recovered from his wounds and died a year later. They did this to him, to my brothers and cousins. “

Australian war crimes

The nightmare scene Abdul Baqi described via a WhatsApp call from a local internet cafe was taken directly from the pages of a four-year investigation into Australia’s war crimes by the Ministry of Defense. the word caused the death of at least 39 Afghan civilians, farmers and prisoners.

Claims of abuses by Australian special forces stationed in Afghanistan have been circulating online and in the media for several years now, but this week’s report, covering abuses since 2005 is the first clear admission of wrongdoing by Canberra. It also marks the first time members of the US-led coalition have publicly released such information about the misbehavior of its troops.

ABC broadcaster in 2017 exposed the role of elite Australian Special Air Service (SAS) forces in the killing of unarmed civilians and children – a potential war crime [Dave Hunt/EPA]

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) broadcaster in 2017 exposed the role of elite Australian Special Air Service (SAS) forces in the killing of unarmed civilians and children – potential war crimes. The report led to a Federal Police raid on the broadcaster and an unsuccessful attempt to prosecute the journalist behind the initial report.

He saw the dog tearing apart my brother, but before we knew it, they were both shot dead, right at our house.

Haji Abdul Baqi, a relative of the victim

As with Abdul Baqi’s own story, none of the abuses in the report occurred during the fighting or with clear reports of Taliban activity in the area. However, the highly edited report details a practice in which some special forces carry weapons and other contraband that they can implant on corpses to later justify the killings.

Soraya Lennie, an Australian journalist reporting from Afghanistan between 2013 and 2016, said the details of the report were in line with what she had heard while in the country.

“I have heard rumors of extrajudicial killings at the hands of the SAS. But given the closed and guarded nature of the regiment, it’s hard to be sure of the truth, “Lennie told Al Jazeera.

Although at the time she was unable to independently verify the stories she had heard, Lennie said reports of similar abuses and tactics of torture by British, US and German forces only added to her belief that the claims were likely true.

Lennie said reading about the practice of “blooding”, in which junior troops are instructed by their commander to kill a prisoner in order to achieve their first kill, further confirming what he heard about Australia’s most elite force in Afghanistan.

“The report seems to suggest a truly toxic culture within the SAS, where arbitrary abuse is the norm for some members, and expected from others,” he said.

‘Blood boils’

Lennie is not the only journalist who feels that his long-held suspicions are proven true by the report.

Bilal Sarwary, a well-known Afghan journalist who spoke to the victims’ families in 2017 said he had heard stories that closely align with the report.

He recalls that one family had been told the SAS was looking for a rogue Afghan soldier, but instead killed their family in a grisly night attack.

The report appears to indicate a truly toxic culture within SAS, where arbitrary abuse was the norm for some members, and expected from others.

Soraya Lennie, journalist

“Most of the victims I spoke to were farmers. Even worse, most of them said their family members were killed by silencer. “

Sarwary, who was employed by the ABC network at the time, said the family described the silencer as “gravel has hit the water”.

A top Afghan security official in Kabul, who did not wish to be named, said reading the report had “his blood boiling”.

On Wednesday, Kabul released an online statement saying President Ashraf Ghani had spoken by telephone with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison prior to the release of the report.

Based on the statement, Morrison “expressed his deepest sorrow at the mistakes committed by some Australian troops in Afghanistan and assured the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan about the investigation and to ensure justice”.

‘Prosecution and compensation’

But others in Afghanistan, including rights workers and security personnel, insist that without proper action Canberra’s reports and promises are not enough.

Shaharzad Akbar, Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, told Al Jazeera that, “Publishing an investigation is a good move but must be followed up with prosecution and proper compensation and attention to the victims and their families”.

International rights groups have also joined the call for justice and compensation for victims.

Patricia Gossman, Associate Asia Director for Human Rights Watch, said Kabul had not done enough to hold Canberra and other coalition forces accountable for years of reports of violations against civilians.

“The Afghan government itself has not expressed its anger over the incident, it has not called for justice or reparations for the victims. Where is the care for the family, ”he said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

Gossman went on to say that Kabul must also look within and provide justice for the offenses they have also accused.

“Worst of all, the Afghan special forces themselves have committed atrocities, but the Afghan government has never investigated this, it has not provided justice to the victims.”

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Joint statement by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany on new crossing points on lines of contact in eastern Ukraine (13 November 20) | Instant News


France and Germany have welcomed the creation of two new crossing points on the line of contact. This increases the number of intersection points along approx. 450km length of the seventh contact line. As such, Ukraine complies with the obligations agreed upon by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany in the conclusion of the Normandy-format summit held in Paris on 9 December 2019. Therefore, Ukraine has taken steps to improve remote conditions at the crossing points before winter arrives. in and to alleviate the suffering of the people in eastern Ukraine. We welcome the support of the European Union in providing infrastructure at the new crossing points at Zolote and Shchastya.

We pay tribute to the involvement of Ambassador Heidi Grau, Special Representative of the Chair of the OSCE in the Trilateral Contact Group, and Ambassador Toni Frisch, Coordinator of the Humanitarian Working Group, in pushing for this Opening.

We call on Russia and the separatists to reopen all existing crossing points on the line of contact in the Donetsk region without delay. Thousands of people seeking to see doctors, withdraw pensions or visit relatives are currently barred from crossing the line of contact. Conflict must not be allowed to continue at the expense of the population, and divisions must not be allowed to widen.

Despite an agreement in the Trilateral Contact Group, the separatists have not fulfilled their obligation to allow the opening of the crossing points at Zolote and Shchastya on November 10 as agreed. We call on Russia to use its influence to ensure that this agreement is implemented. As a member of the Trilateral Contact Group, Russia is also in direct negotiations with Ukraine and bears responsibility for the successful implementation of the conclusions of the Paris Summit.

France and Germany remain committed to fully implementing the agreement reached at the 9 December 2019 Summit.

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More than 10 died after the Kashmir India-Pakistan clash | Instant News


Indian and Pakistani forces on Friday launched their biggest artillery battle in months that left more than 10 people dead and dozens injured on both sides of the disputed Kashmir border, officials said.

At least five separate clashes – involving shelling and gunfire – were reported along the 740-kilometer (460-mile) ceasefire line that has divided its nuclear-armed rivals over the past seven decades, officials from both sides said.

Hundreds of villagers were displaced from the so-called Line of Control (LoC) in Indian-controlled territory, while Pakistani officials said dozens of homes were burned by Indian shelling on their side.

The new peak in tension comes just five days after three Indian soldiers and three militants were killed in crossfire along the LoC. India has also been involved in border clashes with Chinese troops in the Himalayas.

The latest fighting erupted on Friday morning and bullets were still being fired into the night, according to residents.

The two sides each accused each other of carrying out “unprovoked” attacks.

“Pakistan used mortars and other weapons” and “deliberately targeted civilian areas”, said an Indian military statement.

Three Indian soldiers were killed and three injured in the border sector of Keran. Kashmiri police said three civilians were killed and at least three seriously injured, with one man losing both legs.

On the other side of the border, Raja Farooq Haider, the senior minister in Pakistani Kashmir, said five people were killed and 31 injured in heavy shelling in the Neelum and Jhelum valleys.

“How long do we have to endure such colossal losses?” he said in a Twitter message addressed to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A senior local official in Neelum, Raja Shahid Mehmood, confirmed the casualties and said the shooting continued late Friday.

The Indian officer said the fighting was sparked when militants tried to cross into Indian-controlled territory at the northern tip of the LoC.

The Indian forces “retaliated strongly, causing substantial damage to infrastructure and casualties of the Pakistani army,” said a military statement adding that the ammunition dump and front base had been hit.

The two sides regularly held artillery duels in the LoC, and always blamed each other for the clashes.

Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since their angry separation in 1947. It has been the cause of two of their three wars since then.

Both countries claim the entire Himalayan region, where India is also battling an insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people since 1989.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit troops in the border area on Saturday for Diwali, the biggest Hindu holiday this year, according to media reports. Modi, who describes himself as tough on security matters, has spent every Diwali with the military since becoming leader of the country in 2014.

Modi launched what he called a “surgical attack” inside Pakistani Kashmir in 2016 after militants attacked an Indian base that killed 19 soldiers. Neighbors launched air strikes against each other last year after a suicide bombing in which more than 45 Indian soldiers were killed.

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Rival factions in Libya agree to implementation of ceasefire agreement | the middle East | Instant News


The United Nations says the two sides have agreed on plans to implement a ceasefire agreement reached last month.

Libya’s rival military factions have agreed on plans to implement a ceasefire agreement reached last month, said the acting UN envoy to Libya Stephanie Williams.

The announcement on Tuesday comes one day after a joint military commission meeting to discuss the implementation of the deal opening in the country for the first time.

Talks between rival Libyan factions at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland 20 October 2020 [Fabrice Coffrini/PoolReuters]

The meeting followed a “permanent” ceasefire agreement signed by warring factions in Switzerland last month, which was intended to pave the way to a political solution to the conflict.

Translation: In the presence of the UN secretary general’s acting envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, the joint military commission concluded its meeting in Ghadames and agreed on practical steps towards implementing a permanent ceasefire agreement in Libya.

As a major oil producer, Libya has been wracked by violence since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Since then it has been dominated by armed groups and divided between two very conflicting governments: the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli, and a rival government in the east, which is backed by rebel military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar, backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive in Tripoli in April 2019 but was hit back in June by the GNA with military backing from Turkey.

The warring factions returned to the negotiating table in September in UN-backed talks held in Morocco, Egypt and Switzerland.

The latest talks are taking place in the remote desert oasis of Ghadames, about 465 km (290 miles) southwest of Tripoli and near Libya’s borders with Algeria and Tunisia – away from power bases on either side.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to “form a military subcommittee to oversee the withdrawal of military forces to their respective bases and the departure of foreign troops from the front lines,” Williams said.

The commission also decided to “meet in Sirte as soon as possible” and make the central coastal city its headquarters, Williams added.

Sirte has been at the forefront of the recent conflict since June this year.

Williams said a meeting on the reunification of the Petroleum Facility Guards (PFG) would be held on November 16 at the Brega terminal, while air links would be restored “shortly” with Ghadames and with Sebha in the south.

Libyan oil production, an important source of income, has been repeatedly halted as various groups seized and blocked major installations and export terminals.

The bodyguards, under the control of Libya’s defense ministry prior to the country’s 2011 revolution, have turned into an armed group with shifting loyalties.

The commission also urged the UN Security Council to “immediately adopt a binding resolution to implement the Geneva ceasefire agreement”, Williams added.

The talks at Ghadames are part of a long-term effort to broker peace.

On November 9, Libyan political leaders will hold face-to-face talks in Tunisia to discuss holding national elections.

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