Category Archives: Afghanistan

‘Unspeakable numbers’: 10,000 civilians killed or injured in Afghanistan in 2017

Casualties above 10,000 for the fourth consecutive year, despite small drop on 2016 figures, as UN describes ‘appalling human suffering’

More than 10,000 civilians were killed or injured in the violent attacks in the war in Afghanistan last year, the United Nations has said.

The annual report released on 15 February by the UN’s mission in Afghanistan (Unama) showed the figure had dropped by 9% in 2017, compared with the previous year.

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Source: gad

Taliban publish letter calling on US to start Afghan peace talks

‘American people’ and ‘peace-loving congressmen’ urged to press Trump into negotiating

In an unexpected overture at a time of spiralling bloodshed in Afghanistan, the Taliban have published an open letter expressing a desire for peace talks and calling on the “American people” and “peace-loving congressmen” to pressurise the Donald Trump administration into negotiations.

The letter, released by the Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, comes amid deteriorating conditions for US and Afghan coalition forces on the battlefield and after a month in which two major Taliban assaults on Kabul killed 150 civilians.

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Source: gad

Atia Abawi: 'There were lifejackets everywhere. People died trying to live'

Her own experiences as a refugee did little to prepare the Afghan-American young adult novelist for the disturbing realities that greeted her in Lesbos while writing her new book about people fleeing Syria

Atia Abawi, a young adult novelist, was working on a very different book when an epiphany occurred.

Sitting in her apartment with her young son, she was watching news reports of Syrian refugees on the deadly smuggling routes to Europe. Suddenly, she knew she had to write about that experience instead.

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Source: gad

Real patient or suicide bomber? The perils of being a Kabul ambulance driver

Afghan police have increased searches of emergency vehicles since recent attack – a deadly delay in an already dangerous city

As Kabul ambulance driver Zemari Khan raced a bleeding patient to hospital on Thursday, he came to one of the city’s latticework of checkpoints. A long line of vehicles had suddenly been waved through, but Khan was ordered to stop, hand over his ID and open the rear door so a police officer could check if his patient was real.

In the week since the Taliban detonated an explosives-laden ambulance on a busy shopping street, killing 105 people, life has become harder across the Afghan capital – but particularly so for its paramedics.

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Source: gad

Isis killings in Afghanistan leave aid agencies 'hanging on by fingernails'

Charities plan to reassess operations after Isis attack on Save the Children in Jalalabad

Foreign aid agencies operating out of Afghanistan say they are “hanging on by our fingernails” after a deadly attack on the Save the Children office in Jalalabad in which six people were killed.

Humanitarian organisations were on Thursday reassessing their presence in the increasingly volatile region following the latest in a string of attacks targeting foreign charities.

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Source: gad

'Now is not the time': violence forces refugees to flee Afghanistan again

Political rhetoric about country’s safety dismissed after study shows 72% of returnees forced into renewed flight

Almost three-quarters of Afghan refugees who return home are forced to flee again due to violence, according to a survey that found the vast majority of displaced families do not receive aid assistance.

The study, commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, comes after a deadly attack on Save the Children’s office in Jalalabad on Wednesday, which killed three, wounded 26 and forced the organisation to temporarily close its Afghan operations.

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Source: gad

Isis claims attack on Save the Children office in Jalalabad

At least three people killed in attack that began with suicide car bomb outside building in Afghan city

Gunmen have stormed the Save the Children office in Jalalabad, killing at least three people and wounding 26 in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

The latest assault on a foreign charity in Afghanistan began just after 9am when a suicide car bomb was detonated outside the office. The attackers then used rocket-propelled grenades to blast their way inside.

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Source: gad

Directorate S by Steve Coll review – the US v al-Qaida and the Taliban

This sequel to Ghost Wars might well become the definitive account of the CIA and America’s secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

“No man who has read a page of Indian history will ever prophesy about the Frontier. We shall doubtless have trouble there again.” So wrote Lord Curzon, then viceroy, in 1904. The British were by then a little weary of the burdens of empire; they were having trouble with the tribespeople of the Frontier, who seemed uninterested in the sort of governance the colonialists wished for them. The smugly racist Curzon blamed it on the “fanaticism and turbulence” that “ferment in the blood” of the Pashtun. The neocolonialists of today cannot explain things away so easily. As Steve Coll documents in Directorate S, the current war has for ever altered the fates of all three countries involved – the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan – and, after 15 years, there is no end to the “trouble” in sight.

Directorate S, from which the book gets its title, lies buried deep in the bureaucracy of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), Pakistan’s spy agency. Ensconced thus, the directorate works to “enlarge Pakistan’s sphere of influence in Afghanistan”. It goes about this task, Coll explains, by supplying, arming, training and generally seeking to legitimise the Taliban, the AK-47 toting terrorists who took over Afghanistan in 1992, stringing up decapitated corpses in town squares and shoving women into the confines of their homes. Nobody paid much attention then, and perhaps never would have, had the Taliban not become host to Osama bin Laden.

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Source: gad

US military fails to tackle sexual abuse of children by Afghan allies, report finds

Two-thirds of those interviewed by US government watchdog aware of child sexual assaults by Washington-backed Afghan security forces

The US military showed little interest for years in tackling widespread sexual abuse of children by Afghan security forces it still funds and trains, according to a newly declassified report by a US government watchdog.

The exact scale of the problem remains unclear due to a lack of guidance on how to respond to suspected cases, a lack of training on how to report them, and in some cases reluctance to do so for fear of reprisals, said the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (Sigar) in the report.

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Source: gad