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By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 1, 2021 KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. and NATO forces officially began their final drawdown from Afghanistan on Saturday after nearly two decades of war and as violence continued to rage across the country. Tensions remained high throughout the day after the Taliban suggested they would launch attacks on coalition troops who remained in the country past the May 1 exit date outlined in a U.S.-Taliban deal signed last year. Militants fired at Kandahar Airfield in the afternoon, but the assault caused no injuries or damage to equipment, Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan said on Twitter.

(Last Updated On: April 25, 2021) US-Forces commander in Afghanistan General Austin Scott Miller said Sunday the evacuation of some bases has already started in Afghanistan. “We will turn over the bases primarily to the Ministry of Defense and other Afghan forces,” Miller told reporters in a press conference in Kabul on Sunday, adding that: “The notification day will be the first of May but at the same time as we start taking local actions, we have already begun that”. The US is expected to hand over three military bases and one airport to the Afghan forces in the next two weeks as part of the US plan for the full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, sources said last week.

The US is expected to hand over three military bases and one airport to the Afghan forces in the next two weeks as part of the US plan for the full troop

From 2005 to 2014, U-T photojournalist Nelvin C. Cepeda traveled regularly to Afghanistan embedded with Marines from Camp Pendleton. He looks back on what it was like seeing the war unfold abroad and at home. President Joe Biden’s announcement last week that all remaining U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, left Horr, now 32, buoyed by the possibility of finality — but with an unavoidable sense of déjà vu. “We’ve been here before,” said Horr, the director of government affairs for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a national organization that provides resources for and advocates on behalf of post-9/11 veterans.

South: Civilians continued to be affected by IED detonations During the reporting period, fighting between Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and a non-state armed group (NSAG) continued with reported air strikes and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonations across the south. In Kandahar province, fighting continued in Arghandab, Panjwaiy and Maywand districts. On 7 April, a woman and a child were reportedly wounded by a rocket that landed next to the provincial governor’s compound in Kandahar city. The presence of IEDs in contested districts continued to hinder civilian movement and access to agriculture-related livelihood activities. On 6 April, four civilians were killed and 13 were injured by a roadside IED which hit a bus along the highway connecting Kandahar and Hirat provinces.

Afghans Make Gains in Infrastructure Despite Economic Trouble Despite the chaotic situation in the country over the past solar year (1399), several development projects were completed or substantially advanced. The Kamal Khan Dam, after decades of planning, reached its final stage of construction over the past solar year, and will be inaugurated on the second day of the new solar year 1400 (Mar 22,  2021). Construction work on several other dams, after nearly a decade of delay, progressed in 1399. These were Shah-Wa-Aros Dam in Shakardara district of Kabul and Shorabak Dam in the northern province of Badakhshan province, said Afghanistan’s National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (NWARA). 

With less U.S. support, Afghanistan elite forces struggle to roll back Taliban advances Susannah George, The Washington Post March 7, 2021 FacebookTwitterEmail 5 1of5Afghan special forces guard an outpost in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province on Feb. 22. Before the U.S.-Taliban deal last year, about half a dozen U.S. partners would be at bases like this one, Afghan officials say.Washington Post photo by Susannah GeorgeShow MoreShow Less 2of5Gen. Haibatullah Alizai, the commander of Afghanistan's Special Operations Corps, prays at the Arghandab outpost. In the valley below, his men were pushing back the Taliban, but with less U.S. air support, progress was slow.Washington Post photo by Susannah GeorgeShow MoreShow Less

By SUSANNAH GEORGE | The Washington Post | Published: March 7, 2021 KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Reduced U.S. military support in battles against the Taliban is frustrating efforts by Afghanistan's elite forces to roll back the militants' advances here, with decreased airstrikes and a shortage of advanced technology slowing their ground operations. Taliban militants have mounted a violent, months-long campaign to expand influence across the country as the United States has withdrawn troops, closed bases and halted offensive operations against the militants in keeping with a peace deal it signed a year ago. The militants have taken control of key highways and conducted operations aimed at choking off Afghan towns and cities. The surge has forced the Afghan government to deploy its most highly trained units to the front lines, a move demonstrating that rank-and-file security forces have struggled to protect key parts of the country from the Taliban's continued violence.

'My Husband and I Fell in Love After Insurgents Stormed Our Camp in Afghanistan' Dee Featherstone On 2/14/21 at 6:38 AM EST I had been in a long term relationship before I joined the military in 2011. I signed up to get away from my life really. I had been feeling a little bit trapped and like I had no purpose, so joining the military was to give me direction. I completed all my training and as soon as I got posted to my first unit, RAF Henlow in England, I entered pre-deployment training and soon after was deployed to what was then called Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Weekly Humanitarian Update (28 December 2020 – 3 January 2021) Format South: 8,898 people recommended to receive humanitarian assistance Fighting between Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and a non-state armed group (NSAG) continued in Hilmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces. Sporadic armed clashes continued in Shah Joi, Tarnak Wa Jaldak, Mizan and Arghandab districts in Zabul province. In Hilmand province, fighting between the ANSF and an NSAG was reported in Nahr-e-Saraj, Lashkargah, Nad-e-Ali and Nawa-e-Barakzaiy districts. Airstrikes were also reported in Nawa-e-Barakzaiy and Nahr-e-Saraj and clearing operations of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the same districts are reportedly ongoing. In Kandahar province, the security situation remained volatile mainly in Zheray, Panjwayi, Arghandab, Shah Wali Kot, Arghestan and Shorabak districts. Several roadside IEDs were reportedly discovered and diffused in the Zala Khan area, Panjwayi district. The overall presence of IEDs continued to hinder civilian movements.

Construction of Shorabak Power Dam To Utter in 3 Months Badakhshan governor’s press office reported, that construction of the Shorabak power dam in Faizabad city has progressed up to 90% and will be finalized within 3 months. Mohammad Zakaria Sawda, the governor of Badakhshan province, visited and monitored the progress of the Shorabak power dam project, Today. In a newsletter published by the Badakhshan governor’s press office, officials of the construction firm informed about the progress in the project and added, that they will complete the construction work in three months. The Governor of Badakhshan embraced the project’s progress, and said, that with the completion of this project, much of the “shortages of electricity” in Faizabad city will be solved.

AT News KABUL: The work of construction of a hydropower dam has been stopped in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, people and civil society say. Construction of the Shorabak dam on the Kokcha River began two years back in the provincial capital of Faizabad city and was expected to produce 7.5 megawatt electricity to enlighten 10,000 houses in the city. Feka, a Turkish construction company contracted for the project had promised to complete it by June this year, but the practical work was stopped, causing criticism of civil society, Radioazadi reported. Ajmal Darwish, a civil society activist, said that the company had decreased its workers and stopped working. “The company told us of its problems in visa issuance and custom duties. We managed to resolve the problems with the help of lawmakers and provincial officials. Now they have no problem and the contracted company is a problem itself,” Darwish said Wednesday.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been investigating strikes in Afghanistan for the past five years. It has been a struggle. Issues from sheer danger on the ground to a near-total lack of transparency from the U.S. and Afghan armed forces have made the job difficult.  There was a cache of 21 strikes in our database that demanded further investigation. They had all reportedly hit buildings, mostly civilian homes, with allegedly devastating results – family members killed in an instant, and a total of roughly 200 people alleged to have died. What could we find out from afar about these strikes? In order to get accurate information, we teamed up with Bellingcat and asked for help from its community of volunteers. More than 150 people answered the call, creating accounts on Check, a collaborative crowdsourcing tool that allows people to contribute information.

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