Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: At least 16 Taliban insurgents have been killed in an operation led by security forces in Nasi district of Badakhshan province on Friday night, said Afghan security officials.
Abdul Manaf Nazari, spokesperson of the National Army Brigade in Badakhshan, said that at least three hideouts of the Taliban group were destroyed during the operation.
According to him, the operation will continue till the district is cleared of insurgents.
Meanwhile, Zabiullah Mujahid, Taliban’s spokesperson, in a message to the media confirmed the operation by the Afghan forces in the district. He also added that both the sides suffered casualties, but did not provide the exact number.
Kabul: Haji Gol, son of Juma Khan Hikalzadeh, a member of the provincial council, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near his home at around 1pm on Saturday, said Khalil Asir, Takhar police spokesperson.
Asir said that Haji Gol was brought to the hospital injured, however, he died during treatment.
The incident took place in the Shah Ravan Bridge area in Taloqan city. No arrests have been made in the case so far, added Asir.
Haji Gol Hajizadeh is said to have been one of the activists of the youth movement in Takhar province.
Kabul: The Afghanistan Meteorological Department (AMD) on Saturday issued rain, snow and flash floods warning for 23 provinces of Afghanistan for April 3 and 4.
According to a warning posted on AMD’s website, the department forecast rain between 10mm and 40mm for some provinces including Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Samangan, Baghlan, Balkh, Sar-e Pul, and Bamiyan.
The AMD also warned of the possibility of heavy snow and flash floods in Parwan, Panjshir, Kapisa, Laghman, Nuristan, Kunar, Jawzjan, Faryab, Badghis, Daikundi, Maidan Wardak, Nangarhar, Logar, Paktia, Kabul and the Salang Pass.
Kabul: Hamdullah Mohib, National Security Adviser (NSA), said on Saturday that discussions were underway regarding the Istanbul peace summit, which Afghanistan government will attend.
“The Afghan government’s representatives in Qatar are negotiating with the Taliban and the Americans,” Mohib said at a press conference.
“Discussions regarding the agenda, participants and date of the Istanbul summit is currently underway,” he added. According to him, discussion on these issues have not been fruitful yet and efforts are underway to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
“The agenda, participants and date of the Istanbul meeting have not been agreed upon yet. An agreement may be reached in the coming weeks,” he added.
He also stated that the Afghan government is ready for early elections and that President Ghani will not run in that election. The NSA added that the Taliban had not changed and is trying to seize power through force.
Meanwhile, some media outlets, citing sources, have reported that the Istanbul summit will be held on April 16. The meeting will be held over 10 days and will discuss the future government of Afghanistan, as per these reports.
Kabul: Mohammad Qasem Wafayee Zada, head of the Civil Aviation Authority, has resigned from his post, local media reports said on Saturday.
Media outlets quoting credible sources said that Wafayee Zada submitted his resignation to President Ghani, but it had not received his approval yet. The Presidential Palace has not commented on the matter.
The reason behind Wafayee Zada’s resignation has not been clarified.
Wafaee Zada received his PhD from Kanazawa University, Japan, and had earlier served for five years as the Deputy Director of Civil Aviation Authority.
Kabul: A coalition of political parties, called the “influential political parties”, announced on Saturday that they will participate in Turkey’s peace summit as a singular entity.
The influential political parties include Jamiat-e-Islami; National Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan; National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan; National Islamic Unity of Afghanistan People; Islamic party; Afghan Nation part and the National Front party.
In a press conference held in Kabul, the parties said that they welcome the Turkish Summit and will participate with a common agenda. They expressed hope that the meet will lead to a reasonable solution to end the war. The Turkish Summit is scheduled to take place in Istanbul in April.
“We, the political parties, have made peace, a national priority, and strongly support any attempt to end the war and achieve a lasting stability,” read a statement from the parties.
Homayoun Jarir, a member of Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who spoke at Saturday’s press conference, said that all individuals and political parties attending the Turkish Summit must reach an agreement on key issues before the Summit.
He said that the influential political parties are also trying to negotiate with the Taliban and the Afghan government to find a common vision for ending the war.
The political parties also called on other factions and political figures to align themselves with the influential parties and support the opportunity to bring peace in the country. “We must not allow some circles to challenge the national peace process for their own personal gain,” the statement added.
The statement called on countries of the region and the international community to make every effort to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan. “If this “historic opportunity” of crisis in Afghanistan is missed, it will affect the region and the world,” the statement read.
Jarir added that in the near future, leaders of the parties will hold a meeting related to peace, specifically to discuss Turkey peace summit issues. “The demands and positions of the parties will be the same at the Turkish Summit,” said Jarir but he did not elaborate upon what the parties wanted or agreed on.
The meeting is an initiative of the United States and is chaired and led by the United Nations. The meeting will discuss the political future and transfer of power in Afghanistan.
Kabul: Over 65,000 people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus infection since the COVID19 inoculation drive began in Afghanistan, said the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday.
Dastagir Nazari, MoPH spokesperson, said that currently ten categories of people in the community, including teachers, security personnel and defense forces, healthcare workers, media employees, people over the age of 50, immigrants, displaced people and people with chronic diseases can be vaccinated in the country. In the first phase, 20% of the country’s population is to be vaccinated against the Sars-Cov-2 virus which causes the Covid-19 infection.
Afghanistan has so far received nearly one million doses of the vaccine from India and the COVAX facility, which is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Till Saturday, total positive cases in the country stand at 56,676. Total deaths reported is 2,497 and the total number of recoveries is 51,802, as per officials.
Kabul: A water supply project, worth 82-million Afghanis, for 14 villages in Pasaband of Rustaq district was inaugurated on Saturday by Abdullah Qarluq, Governor of Takhar province and Dr. Ahmad Khalid Fahim, Programme Director/ Deputy Country Director, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.
Work on the pipeline project, covering 85 square kilometers, began in 2018 and it will give access to safe drinking water to 3,645 families in remote villages.
“The project has been implemented by SCA’s Rural Development Programme and was completed in two years and six months. It uses solar power to transfer water from two 150-meter-deep wells to reservoirs built along the high hills of 14 villages where the beneficiaries can utilize the supply,” said Engineer Hashmatullah Momand, head of the SCAs Rural Development Programme in Taloqan.
The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), people of Sweden (through fundraising), and World Food Organization. Local families had earlier resorted to using rainwater collected in local reservoirs and streams for daily chores. Many also used this rainwater as a source of drinking water resulting in infections such as diarrhea, sore throat, runny nose.
“It is the biggest project implemented in Takhar by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and it is very important. I appreciate SCA’s honest work,” said Abdullah Qarluq, Takhar’s Governor.
“Maintenance of the project should be done by the people and the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan should continue such important activities in other parts of Takhar province,” he added.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday reported 81 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported no deaths and 2 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 56,676 the number of total reported deaths is 2,497 and the total number of recoveries is 51,802.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Nimroz, Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, and Laghman.
Kabul: Cases of the UK-type coronavirus infection have been stabilized in the country, however, there are concerns about it in neighboring Iran and Pakistan, said Afghan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday.
“We are facing the threat of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, but we cannot confirm the beginning of the third wave yet,” added Mirwais Alizai, deputy spokesperson, MoPH. At least 23 fresh positive cases of the coronavirus infection were reported on Friday in Afghanistan. Two deaths and 10 recoveries were also reported as per official sources.
People continue to participate in public ceremonies, social and political gatherings, and do now observe social distancing norms despite rising coronavirus cases in the country, said sources aware of the developments, adding that the lax behavior can lead to further spike in Covid-19 cases.
Seven cases of the UK-type Covid-19 infection have been recorded in Nangarhar, three in Logar province and one in Surobi district recently. There are a total of 56,595 registered Covid-19 cases, 2,497 deaths due to the infection and 798 recoveries reported in Afghanistan till April 2.
Kabul: Meerwais Nab, Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, and Mohsen Baharvand, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs met on April 1 at Dogharoon-Islam Qala border, northeast of Iran and agreed to accelerate the renovation of cross-border posts.
The two deputy foreign ministers visited the border customs posts renovation sites and reviewed issues related to transit and traffic, as per IRNA reports on Saturday.
The ministers reached a consensus to resolve border questions only via the joint border committee.
Trade, organization of refugees’ commute, action against trafficking of humans and narcotics, international terrorism and sending humanitarian aid for victims of natural disasters were some other issues discussed during the meet.
Kabul: At least 39 civilians were killed on Friday in seven provinces by roadside bombs and Taliban attacks alone, said Afghan government officials.
Tariq Arian, spokesperson, Ministry of Interior Affairs, said, “Six civilians, including a child, were killed and 21 others, including women and children, were injured in IED explosions and Taliban attacks in Laghman, Takhar, Sar-e-Pul, Nangarhar and Khost provinces.”
According to Arian, the incidents took place in Manjan area of Alishing district in Laghman province, Kandahari Gheshlagh area of Khwaja Ghar district in Takhar province; Sayad village of Gosfandi district in Sar-e-Pul province; Sabzabad area of PD7 in Jalalabad city; Hesarak district of Nangarhar province and Nahat Kali area of Sabri district in Khost province.
The spokesperson said that the targeting of civilians is “contrary to the standards of war” and emphasized that the Taliban had always committed “crimes” by continuing to kill people.
Meanwhile, there were also civilian casualties in Herat and Helmand provinces. Local officials from the two provinces confirmed that Herat and Helmand also witnessed civilian casualties on Friday, however, the Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesperson did not comment on the issue.
Omar Zawak, spokesperson for the governor of Helmand, said that at around 10am on Friday, a vehicle with civilians onboard hit a roadside mine on the 601 Kandahar-Helmand highway in Chahargol area.
Zawak added that the car had five passengers and all of them died in the blast.
The office of the governor of Herat also released a statement that at around 8am on Friday, a vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Kashk-e-Kohna district of Herat province. As per the statement, seven women were injured in the incident.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The country has been witnessing more explosions and high-profile clashes recently even as peace are underway in Afghanistan.
Kabul: In a first since 2012, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, is likely to meet his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, next week in Pakistan, as per local media.
According to sources aware of the development, the meeting between the two foreign ministers will focus on Afghan peace process, bilateral ties, economic cooperation and counter terrorism issues.
Russia’s special envoy on Afghanistan Zamir Kaboluv will also be present for the meet.
Moscow has been part of the Afghan peace process after negotiations between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban deadlocked in Doha, Qatar. A peace conference was organized in Russia in March to ensure that a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement is reached.
Lavrov will also visit India before his meeting in Pakistan.