As many as 17 people have died in Kabul due to respiratory infection and related health conditions. In the past week, the pollution levels at the Afghan Capital have skyrocketed according to the Ministry of Public Health. In the past week over 8,800 patients have visited government hospitals.
Of all those who visited the government hospitals, the majority complained of respiratory conditions including the common cold and lung problems. The Ministry of Public Health began its anti-pollution campaign on Monday. According to figures provided by the Ministry of Health, 1,600 more people visited government hospitals this week than the same time last year. According to reports, the air in Kabul has been classified as hazardous for the past month. The reason behind such poor air quality is due to the use of low-quality fuel by businesses and buildings for the purposes of heating.
In related news, a Taliban attack in northern Afghanistan targetting a pro-government militia compound reportedly killed at least 14 members of the Afghan security forces on December 30. According to international media reports, out of the 14 fatalities in the attack in Jawzjan province, 13 members were of pro-government militia and one was a policeman. Five others were also reportedly wounded and two are still missing.
Abdul Maroof Azer, the government's spokesman told a local media outlet that the reinforcements later managed to reach the area and the compound is now firmly back under government control. However, the attack was immediately claimed by Taliban and just hours before it was also reported that a temporary nationwide cease-fire had been agreed upon among their council leaders, although, it wasn't clear when the cease-fire would go into effect. The Taliban have also intensified their attacks in northern Afghanistan in recent days as they recently also targeted a local militiamen compound in northern Takhar province which reportedly killed at least 17 Afghan militiamen.