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28.4.2021    Deadly landmines kill 28 civilians in Arghandab in 10 days

KANDAHAR CITY (SW) – An array of landmines placed by the Taliban in Kandahar’s Arghandab district has killed at least 28 civilians and injured 151, officials confirmed. Officials at Kandahar’s Mirwais Regional Hospital have said that most of the victims who were recently taken to the hospital were victims of landmines, most of them Arghandab residents. In the past one and a half weeks alone, 28 dead bodies and 151 injured civilians, all of whom were landmine victims, have been taken to the hospital from Arghandab, officials said. Kandahar security officials also acknowledged the miserable plight of Arghandab residents, but said the security forces’ engineering staff were busy defusing thousands of landmines in different parts of the district. Jamal Nasir Barakzai, a spokesman for the Kandahar police chief, told Salam Watandar that security forces had so far defused about 10,000 landmines and that the process was still ongoing. The Taliban have not yet commented. Residents of Kandahar’s Arghandab district, who fled the province a few months ago, told Salam Watandar that although the Taliban have now moved out of the district following the operations by the Afghan forces, they have left behind deadly landmines planted in fields and even in orchards. Shogofa and Agha Mohammad are two such residents of Arghandab who lost a number of close family relatives to the raging clashes. Mohammad said Taliban militants had planted landmines on every street, road, around canals and fields in Arghandab district. He said residents of the district could not go to their fields and orchards for fear of landmines. Shogofa said she was on her way to her cousin’s house a few days ago when she was struck by a Taliban mine that injured her seriously. According to her, the Taliban had even planted mines in her home and even in the kitchen. She said she was fearful about return to her home. These internally displaced persons want the government to defuse the mines and save their lives. Arghandab; known for its beautiful orchards once attracted scores of local tourists, but the deadly landmines have now turned that into a distant dream.

28.4.2021    US to deploy additional ‘650 Rangers’ to Afghanistan

650 US troops are reportedly scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan soon to provide support and protection to the withdrawal process, CNN reported Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the deployment to facilitate US withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden ordered the U.S pull-out to be completed by September of this year. The infantry is reported to come from the 75th Ranger Regiment, which already has personnel stationed in the region as part of the special forces unit. The Rangers will be transported alongside a dedicated aircraft and close air support such as AC-130 gunships to protect them while providing support to the departing troops. Earlier, US military commanders have asked an aircraft carrier to help protect and provide safety during the US and NATO troops’ withdrawal NBC News reported. The aircraft carrier may be deployed in case the Taliban chooses to launch attacks on NATO troops during the withdrawal process. According to USNI news the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, Carrier Air Wing 3and IKE’s escorts were operating in the Northern parts of the Arabian Sea to support operations against ISIS as part of inherent resolve. General Kenneth McKenzie has sent a request to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to keep the carriers in the area instead of carrying operations in other regions. Lloyd Austin besides approval of aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower warship also approved two B-52 bombers aircraft to carry out airstrikes in case the Taliban attacks the departing troops.

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