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AFGHANISTAN, Jan 20, 2017: The Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan has staged a major overnight battlefield assault in a southern province, killing at least 16 police personnel and capturing two outposts.
A local security official told VOA on Friday the fighting erupted in the district of Maiwand in Kandahar, saying Afghan forces also inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban in ensuing clashes.
He said the assailants also seized three U.S.-made military vehicles, commonly known as Humvees. The official requested anonymity.
A provincial police spokesman, Zia Durrani, told VOA 27 Taliban fighters, including four key commanders, were killed.
A provincial government spokesman, Samim Khpolwak, confirmed the fighting but declined to discuss further details.
Kandahar is known as the birthplace of the Taliban. It was the de-facto capital of Afghanistan when the insurgent group was ruling most of the country before its ouster from power in late 2001 by a U.S.-led military coalition.
Most of the districts in neighboring Helmand, the largest of all the 34 Afghan provinces, are under the control of the Taliban and fighting also is underway in the nearby Uruzgan province.
Afghan security forces suffered unprecedented casualties in the 2016 fighting season and U.S. military commanders anticipate more insurgent violence this year.
“The insidious combination of corruption and poor leadership is the root cause of this problem,” said John Sopko, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR.
He made the remarks last week while announcing his list of key security challenges facing the new U.S. administration as it inherits America’s second-longest war after Vietnam.
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No winter lull
Since the withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces more than two years ago, there has been no lull in the Afghan fighting. Harsh winter and heavy snowfall in previous years would force Taliban fighters to retreat to their traditional sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan to rest and regroup before returning to the battlefield for the summer fighting.
“The spring offensive/winter lull is an outdated concept now, the main reason being that the Taliban hold large swaths of territory year-round and so the fighting continues,” said Ted Callahan, a Western security expert based in northeastern Afghanistan.
The Taliban have captured about 10 percent of Afghan territory since with the withdrawal of most international forces two years ago, the Afghan government controls two-thirds of the population while the rest is strongly contested, according to latest U.S. military assessments.
The territorial control offers the insurgents more of a revenue base they can use to sustain themselves through the winter, mainly in terms of food and shelter, but also in terms of munitions captured from Afghan forces, Callahan told VOA.
“They [the Taliban] can easily keep their momentum going throughout the winter, and so you no longer see Taliban commanders go back to Pakistan for the winter, as they often did in the past, and then they’d come back in the spring to kick off the spring offensive,” he observed.
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In his detailed report that Sopko released last week, he cited leadership and corruption as among the biggest challenges facing the Afghan National Defense and Security Force, or ANDSF.
“Afghan commanders often pocket the paychecks of ghost soldiers for whom the U.S. is paying the salary. The number of ghost soldiers is not insignificant, it likely reaches into the tens of thousands of soldiers and police,” he noted.
Citing “credible information,” Sopko said some Afghan commanders are not going on patrols or are not coming to the assistance of other units when they are in trouble because they want to preserve fuel that they later sell in open markets.
“Multiple credible sources have told SIGAR staff in Afghanistan that a significant portion, perhaps as much as 50 percent, of U.S.-purchased fuel is siphoned off at various stages of this compromised system,” he said.
In his report, Sopko agreed with the U.S. military assessment that the Afghan government controls roughly 64 percent of the country’s territory.
Afghan Defense Ministry officials strongly disputed most of SIGAR’s findings, however, saying the government, with the help of foreign partners, has made progress in addressing corruption and issues related to ANDSF leadership.
They insist that ANDSF’s improved capacity and sacrifices prevented the Taliban from capturing any major population center in Afghanistan in 2016, and they assert they now are better prepared to battle the insurgency this year. (VOA)
There will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year also as the plan to host state heads of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- seems to have been cancelled due to the Covid situation in India as well as in the respective nations. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to confirm this officially.
If the guests arrive, then this would be the second time when India hosts a group of state heads as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2018, state heads of ASEAN countries graced the occasion with their presence. Apart from Kazakhstan, none of these countries' state heads had been invited as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2009, Kazakhstan's then president Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Chief Guest.
The Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest. Mitul Gajera / Unsplash
As per sources, due to the corona situation, the Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest, so the plan seems to have been cancelled. Last year, British Prime minister Boris Johnson was invited for the same, but later cancelled due to rising corona cases in the UK.
In the past, there have been occasions when the Republic Day ceremony was celebrated without any foreign guest. In 1966, there was no foreign chief guest in the Republic Day parade ceremony as the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had passed away in Tashkent in January, and Indira Gandhi took oath as Prime Minister on January 24. (IANS/SP)
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A team of scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found a cure for those suffering from chronic wounds, particularly with diabetic foot ulcers. The team led by Prof Gopal Nath of the department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, said that wounds that took months and years to heal, could now be cured in days or months. The findings of study have been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US.
Prof Nath said that a wound is defined as a breach in the skin or body tissues due to injury. An acute wound is defined as a "recent break that is yet to progress through sequential stages of healing". The wounds where normal healing process is stalled due to underlying pathology (vascular and diabetes) or infection beyond three months is defined as chronic wound. While chronic wounds always get infected, the contaminated wounds are reasonably susceptible to infection.
A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks.Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash
Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilm formation halt healing progress. These wounds cause significant psychological and physical morbidity. The traditional treatment strategies often succeed in healing wounds, he said adding that many wounds have been observed recalcitrant to them, leading to persistence and recurrent infections. Search for alternatives to antibiotics has now become a compulsion. Fortunately, bacteriophage therapy is a re-emerging solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Prof Nath's team carried out phage therapy of acute and chronic infected wounds in animals and clinical studies. It showed efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a mice wound model. Furthermore, they evaluated the efficacy of phage cocktails in animal models' acute and chronic osteomyelitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. They also observed biofilm eradication from K wire in rabbits' wound infection model. Clinical trials of phage therapy initiated by the BHU have reported the efficacy of topical phage in healing chronic wounds in three prospective exploratory studies and no adverse events mimicking the results in vivo animal models.
Scientists have found a cure for those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers. Unsplash
A clinical study by Gupta demonstrated the significant role of bacteriophage therapy in the chronic wounds associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study employed a total of twenty patients with chronic non-healing ulcers for more than six weeks duration. A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks. Another study, employing 48 patients having a minimum of one eligible full-thickness wound that did not heal in six weeks with convention wound management, showed the promising result, and significant improvement was observed in the wound healing.
The study projected that specific phage therapy is equally effective regardless of the diabetic or non-diabetic status of the patient though the healing was relatively delayed in diabetic patients. Another successful study has shown encouraging results on healing process of infected acute traumatic wounds. The average number of days required for complete granulation of wounds and attaining sterility and healing was half compared to conventional therapy. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : scientists, cure, chronic, wound, suffer, ulcer, diabetes, healing, pathology, health, infection, bacteria, study, patient, therapy, successful.)
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By Anna Melnikova
The Indian cricket lovers have been waiting for a ton from Virat Kohli for a long time, and he finally has made it. However, not in the batting as most fans expect, but in catching balls.
The second day of the 3rd Test in Capetown between local Proteas and the Men in Blue was rich for interesting occasions. Thus, South Africa was waiting for a good scoring result after stopping all Indian batters on the first day. Their opponents, however, have been looking for nice bowling not to lose the game just in the first innings. And while Bumrah added five wickets to his score, one of the dismissals should go to Virat Kohli. By the way, if you want more cricket news in India, we recommend subscribing to the specified site using the link.
Also Read : Acts of good sportsmanship
The legendary captain was great in batting but now can not score a ton for more than two years. But the three-digit result came from another side, where he is also quite successful. And while most of his catches came from opponents' misses, he proved he can be effective in the outfield parts of the pitch. According to experts, Kohli has a unique ability to be energetic on the pitch and still be concentrated for long shots by opponents, which rarely come in Test format.
Kohli has a unique ability to be energetic on the pitch. Unsplash
Even a legendary Gavaskar, who was the first Indian with such a result, praised the ability of the recent captain to catch. He admitted the ability to grab slipping balls, which are hard to cope with. Interestingly, Virat became only the sixth Indian to achieve a milestone in this component in the Test format. Kohli needed 99 games to find the needed number, although he is focused on making the 28th century first of all.
Another three-digit achievement can happen just today. He opened the 3rd day of the Test in Capetown along with Pujara and stayed alive at the moment of writing this article. If you are fond of sports betting, we recommend that you go to the rating of sports betting sites in India and choose a reliable bookmaker.
(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article and includes some commercial links.)
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