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Fighting Has Intensified Across Many Afghan Provinces

The insurgents had tried to capture the city in August but were beaten back by Afghan forces with the help of American special forces and airstrikes. Most of the districts in the province are controlled or contested by the Taliban.

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Afghanistan
Fighting Spikes Across Many Afghan Provinces. VOA

A mortar attack on a school Saturday in the volatile southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan killed at least four school students and injured more than a dozen. The assault comes on the heels of the Taliban capturing a strategically important northeastern district in Afghanistan and inflicting fresh casualties on government forces elsewhere in the country.

A provincial government spokesman, Arif Noori, told VOA that two teachers also were among 15 other people injured in the incident. It was not known immediately whether Afghan forces or Taliban rebels fired the mortar shell on the school in the Andar district.

Noori said a government investigation has been launched into the incident.

Afghanistan
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for what he described as an “infiltrator operation” that killed eight pro-government forces and detained another. Pixabay

Fighting has intensified across many Afghan provinces with the advent of spring amid U.S.-led efforts to find a negotiated settlement with the Taliban to end the 18-year-old Afghan war.

Within the past week, about 35 Afghan civilians, including 20 children and six women, have died in conflict-related incidents across the country.

The United Nations has confirmed that almost 90 percent of the casualties were caused by Afghan security forces and U.S. airstrikes. The world body says the armed conflict last year killed more than 3,800 civilians, including 927 children, the highest number of civilian deaths recorded in the past 10 years.

Officials confirmed Saturday that Afghan security forces retreated overnight from the Arghanj Khwa district center in Badakhshan province following fierce clashes with Taliban assailants.

A provincial government spokesman told VOA the fighting killed at least four police personnel. A provincial council member, Tahira Alamyar, said clashes Friday night killed about a dozen Afghan forces. She told VOA Taliban insurgents also captured at least five security forces.

FILE - Afghan border police walk the Afghanistan side of the border with Tajikistan, in Ishkashim, Badakhshan province, far northeastern Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2016.
Afghan border police walk the Afghanistan side of the border with Tajikistan, in Ishkashim, Badakhshan province, far northeastern Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2016. VOA

An insurgent spokesman said the Taliban has consolidated its control over the district after overrunning the district police headquarters, seizing several military vehicles and a “huge quantity of weapons-equipment.”

Separately, officials in southern Zabul province confirmed that at least eight police officers were killed Saturday morning at a security outpost in the Shahr-e-Safa district when one of their colleagues with suspected links to the Taliban turned his gun on them.

A provincial police official told VOA on condition of anonymity that the whereabouts of eight other Afghan forces were not immediately known. A provincial police spokesman, Asif Tokhi, confirmed the incident to VOA but would not share further details immediately.

The post is located on the main highway linking the national capital, Kabul, to southern Afghan provinces.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for what he described as an “infiltrator operation” that killed eight pro-government forces and detained another.

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Afghan officials also confirmed a Thursday night Taliban attack on the provincial capital, Ghazni, killed at least 15 security forces, including a district police chief.

The insurgents had tried to capture the city in August but were beaten back by Afghan forces with the help of American special forces and airstrikes. Most of the districts in the province are controlled or contested by the Taliban. (VOA)

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Sleep Disturbances can Trigger Migraine Attacks: Study

Sleep disturbance linked to migraine risk

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sleep migraine
A disturbed sleep can affect patients with Migraine. Pixabay

Researchers have found that nearly half of all patients who suffer migraines report sleep disturbance as a trigger for their headaches.

The research team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in US conducted a study using objective measures of sleep to date to evaluate the relationship between sleep and migraine headaches.

The study’s findings, published in the journal Neurology, generally support patients’ reports of sleep disturbance as a trigger for migraines.

In the assessments and actigraphy measurements, the research team observed that sleep fragmentation — time spent in bed, but not asleep — was linked to migraine onset not on the next day but rather the day after that.

“Sleep is multi-dimensional, and when we look at certain aspects such as sleep, we found that low sleep efficiency, which is the amount of time you’re awake in bed when you’re trying to sleep, was associated with migraines not on the day immediately following, but on the day after that,” said study researcher Suzanne Bertisch from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in US.

Migraine
Time spent in bed, but not being asleep is linked to migraine onset not on the next day but a day after that. Pixabay

For the results, Bertisch and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of 98 adults with episodic migraines, who reported at least two headaches, but had fewer than 15 days each month with a headache.

The participants completed electronic diaries twice a day, recording details about their sleep, headaches and health habits for six weeks.

During that time, they also wore a wrist actigraph to bed to objectively capture their sleep patterns.

The team adjusted data for other migraine triggers, including daily caffeine intake, alcohol intake, physical activity, stress and more.

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Over the course of six weeks, participants reported 870 headaches. Nightly sleep duration of 6.5 hours or less and poor sleep quality were not associated with migraines the day immediately following (Day Zero) or the day after that (Day One).

However, sleep fragmentation measured by both diary and actigraphy were associated with higher odds of having a migraine on Day One, the study said. (IANS)