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37 killed in Taliban attack on Kandahar airport

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Kabul: At least 37 people, including children, were killed in a Taliban attack on a heavily fortified civilian and military airfield in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

BBC quoted Afghan defense ministry while confirming the casualties here on Wednesday, At least nine militants were also killed, the minister added.

A number of hostages were seized in the 26-hour attack before Afghan forces retook the airport.

Final “mopping up operations” was under way, military officials said.

The Taliban said a number of suicide fighters managed to enter the base with weapons. They said “martyrdom seekers” launched “thunderous attacks on foreign and hireling personnel”.

The defense ministry statement said that a total of 11 insurgents took part in the attack. At least nine were killed and another was injured. Reports said the final gunman held out on his own for several hours before being killed late Wednesday.

At least 37 people were injured in the attack, the defense ministry said.

The raid was the latest in a series of battlefield victories by the Taliban, who briefly seized the northern city of Kunduz in September.

The airport compound houses Afghan military and civilian sections as well as a NATO base.

Officials said the attackers initially managed to breach the first gate of the complex.

Kandahar army commander Sher Shah told reporters that radio intercepts had found that some militants were speaking in Urdu – a language more commonly used in neighboring Pakistan.

Afghan officials frequently blame Pakistan for unrest.

The statement by the Taliban claimed that they killed up to 80 soldiers. However, this figure could not be verified.

The latest violence came as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called for help to defeat terrorism, at a regional conference in Pakistan.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, speaking at the conference, called on Pakistan to help restart stalled peace talks with the Taliban.

(IANS)

(Photo: www.stripes.com)

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About 2M Children in Afghanistan Suffer Acute Malnutrition: UNICEF

But UNICEF is struggling to fund its operation. The agency needs an immediate injection of $7 million, Boulierac said

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malnutrition
FILE - A boy walks inside what is left of a home in Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, March, 3, 2019. The U.N. Children's Fund is appealing for money to treat Afghanistan's malnourished children. VOA

About two million children in Afghanistan are acutely malnourished. Of those, 600,000 face severe acute malnutrition, the most dangerous form of undernutrition in children, said Christophe Boulierac, a spokesman for the U.N. Children’s Fund.

“Any child suffering from severe acute malnutrition is a crisis and needs to be treated to survive,” he said. “We cannot tell you how many children will die, but we can tell you that a child with severe acute malnutrition is 11 times more likely to die than their healthy peers.”

Afghanistan, alongside Yemen and South Sudan, is among the countries with the highest numbers of children under age five suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Severe drought in 2018 has worsened the situation.

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But UNICEF is struggling to fund its operation. The agency needs an immediate injection of $7 million, Boulierac said. Pixabay

Recent nutrition surveys across Afghanistan find 22 out of 34 provinces are above the emergency threshold of acute malnutrition. Last year, UNICEF provided life-saving assistance to nearly half of the country’s most nutritionally deprived children. It is aiming to reach 60 percent, or 375,000, of those children this year. But UNICEF is struggling to fund its operation. The agency needs an immediate injection of $7 million, Boulierac said.

“We are the sole provider of this treatment against severe acutely malnourished children,” he told VOA. “We need urgent funding in three weeks, otherwise, we will not send the necessary ready-to-use therapeutic food treatment to the 1,300 health facilities that are waiting for that.”

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This year, UNICEF has provided treatment to more than 73,000 severely malnourished children. Boulierac said plans are in place to immediately scale up the operation to reach more children as soon as more money is available.

He also warned that the nutritional status of Afghanistan’s children is likely to worsen without more secure funding in the pipeline. (VOA)