Over the past week, the Afghan Peace Watch (APW) recorded 36 incidents of violence entailing an overall 111 casualties – including 11 assassinations and nine armed clashes. A suicide bombing in the heart of capital Kabul on September 30 killed at least 25 students and injured another 31 belonging to the Hazara ethnic group at the Kaaj educational center – a highlight of the violent events of the week.
As part of armed clashes, the Taliban and NRF launched offensives against each other in northern Afghanistan. Fierce combat between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front (NRF) forces took place in the Chal district of Takhar this week; the resulting casualties couldn’t be confirmed. Following a National Resistance Front (NRF) attack on a Taliban outpost in Khafdara village in the Farkhar district, one Taliban fighter was killed. At least 10 Taliban fighters suffered casualties after the National Resistance Front (NRF) attacked a Taliban post in Khwaja Ghar district of northern Takhar province on September 26, sources told APW, adding that NRF also seized some weapons and ammunition. NRF also attacked a Taliban border battalion in Shahr Bozorg district of the province, local sources in Badakhshan province reported, adding the attack was carried out on October 02, as a result of which the commander of the Taliban battalion and one of his soldiers were killed and two others were injured.
Assassinations by unknown armed groups took a severe toll on civilians. Unknown shooters stabbed a young man named Muslim to death in Farah province, local sources told APW, adding he had gone to a park with his fiancé. In Herat, three corpses stuffed in large bags were found in the areas of Tirpol and Qudoos Abad of the Kehsan district. In Takhar, two individuals were mysteriously killed in two separate incidents in the Rostaq district of Takhar province. A person named Mullah Zakir was strangled to death by a rope. Another person named Abdul Basir was shot dead.
As for attacks on civilians, the Taliban forces continue to attack civilians, especially in Panjshir and NRF-active areas. In Hese Awal district of Panjshir, two elderly civilians were severely tortured and beaten. In Baghlan, more than ten women were beaten and insulted by the Taliban in separate incidents over the past week, APW sources in the Khost district of Baghlan province reported. These women were beaten and humiliated by Mawlavi Azizullah, the director of prevention of vice, for not wearing Hijab. Meanwhile, in Baghlan province’s Kilgi district, the Taliban destroyed ten local residents’ residential houses.
A total of six protests were recorded across the country; all staged by Afghan women, who rose to express support to the Iranian women after the killing of a girl by the country’s morality police, against the Taliban restrictions and violence against women, as well as the suicide attack in the Dasht Barchi area of Kabul. In response to the suicide bomb blast in Dasht Barchi-Pul Surkh area of PD 13 of Kabul, hundreds of women protested in Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh, and Herat provinces with slogans such as “Genocide must be stopped, genocide is a crime, and silence is treason.”
Regarding violence against women, two incidents were reported this week: The first occurred in Badakhshan province, where a man shot two women in Kohistan district, and the second occurred in Bamyan province, where an unknown armed suspect shot a young woman in Bamyan’s capital.
Additionally, several women and female students protested in a closed space in Takhar province against the Taliban’s decision to remove the Persian word “Danishgah” from several public universities throughout the country.
The suicide attack on Kaj educational center drew ringing denunciation inside the country and from the international community. Members of the UNSC condemned the attack and demanded that those responsible be held accountable. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the attack “heinous” in a tweet. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted: “They were students, many of them young women, taking an examination to gain a better future for Afghanistan. This was a horrific, cowardly, and shameful act.” Immediately following the attack, UNAMA tweeted: “The UN family condemns the outrage, extending its deep condolences to all those in mourning.” U.S. Charge d’Affaires Karen Decker tweeted: “The U.S. strongly condemns the attack.”
Meanwhile, Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, condemned the attack as against human values and principles. Abdullah Abdullah, former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), condemned the explosion in a tweet, saying the perpetrators are enemies of peace and development.
On the other hand, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called on the international community, particularly the United States, to assist Afghanistan in fighting foreign fighters and resolving the economic crisis.
According to the deputy head of UNAMA, Markus Potzel, who spoke at the UN Security Council session on Afghanistan, “It is unclear what would follow if the Islamic Emirate does not respond to the needs of all elements of Afghan society and engage constructively with the international community within the very limited window of opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Afghan women’s access to education and employment was discussed at the 77th UNGA. Furthermore, in a meeting with the Executive Chairman of Tapi Gas Pipeline Company and the Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Afghanistan, the Taliban Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Taliban were fully prepared for the start of the TAPI project.
This week, a new development came regarding the long-running issue of frozen Afghan assets in the US. In a report, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) said the U.S. and Swiss governments unveiled the “Fund for the Afghan People” as a Geneva-based foundation with its account at the Bank for International Settlements. The Fund will preserve, protect and selectively disburse this money.
In response, Anna Vestinian, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the UNSC, expressed criticism of the freezing of assets. “This money is said to be unavailable to the Afghan authorities and will be used for some ephemeral socioeconomic and humanitarian projects. It is imperative that the stolen assets are returned to the Afghan people as soon as possible.”
Regarding the food security crisis, the World Food Program (WFP) stated that it urgently needed US$1.1 billion to provide food and nutrition assistance to 15 million acutely food-insecure Afghans for the next six months. According to WFP officials, 80,000 tons of wheat were purchased from Ukraine, and 30,000 tons are expected to reach Afghanistan by November.
Meanwhile, with the assistance of the World Food Organization, food aid was distributed to 4,830 needy families in the Musa Kala district of Helmand. Separately, in Nahr Siraj district of Helmand, a young volunteer Abdul Qadir Pasoon built a private school which provides free religious and modern education to 200 boys and girls.
During the same period, food aid was distributed to 1,300 needy families in the Jani Khel district in Paktia.