SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Afghan hospital burns after attack; Taliban seize border post in north

Afghan’s government officials said that suspected Taliban fighters launched a rocket into a hospital on Wednesday, sparking a blaze that caused extensive damage and destroyed vaccines, but casualties were reported.

In northern Afghanistan, the Taliban captured the town of Shir Khan Bandar, a dry port on the border with Tajikistan, sending customs worker and members of the security forces fleeing to safety over the border.

Battles between government forces and the insurgents has increased in recent weeks, with the militants gaining control of more territory as the last U.S.-led international forces prepare to leave after two decades of fighting.

Taliban spokesmen Zabihullah Mujahid denied responsibility for the attack on the hospital in the eastern province of Kunar, which a provincial health director said resulted in the loss of crucial supplies.

“Different types of vaccine, including doses meant to fight polio and COVID-19 were destroyed in the fire,” said Kunar health official Aziz Safai.

Tajikistan’s border guard service said in a statement late on Tuesday it had allowed 134 Afghan servicemen to retreat into Tajikistan from Shir Khan Bandar, about 50 km (30 miles) from the city of Kunduz.

The Taliban seized ammunition and armoured vehicles in the town after Afghan authorities surrendered it to the advancing insurgents, Afghan officials said.

The loss of the trading town will be a blow to the U.S.-backed government as it struggles to stop Taliban advances in different parts of the country.

    Source:
  • Reuters