Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The IEC has followed up with the security organisations to ensure that safety and security are properly maintained around the electoral process. The commission has also asked the organisations for help in activities like transfer of resources and counting once the voting is over.
“There are concerns that areas might be reported secure for political reasons, and that areas that are insecure are reported as being secure,” said Maazullah Dawlati, deputy head of the IEC for administration.
Security officials have confirmed that safety provisions are top-notch after they attended a meeting with IEC and NATO officials. “There isn’t any problem in terms of ensuring election safety,” said Ajmal Abidi, deputy head of the National Directorate of Security for policy.
According to the Ministry of Interior, 54,776 members of the Afghan National Security and Defense Force will be deployed to secure 5,100 polling centres five days ahead of the October 20 elections. Additionally, there will be 9,540 reserve forces in place. Moreover, Resolute Support will also be pitching in for security aid
Two officers from the 201 Selab Military Corps in eastern Nangarhar province got sentenced by a Nangarhar court upon being found guilty for operating as spies for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
The officers have been sentenced 20 years in prison. Colonel Shah Mahmoud and Captain Nazir Ahmad have proven to have worked for ISI.
In the proceedings, judge Mujiburrahman Nadim said while passing sentence announced that “based on article 158 of the Penal Code, you are sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.”
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) October 9, 2018
Additionally, state prosecutor Noor Mohammad Saqir also said ” Colonel Shah Mahmoud and Captain Nazirullah took off from their unit and using the opportunity went to Pakistan. In Peshawar city they met with ISI agents.”
The two men also confessed to the crime, as per a footage of the court proceedings. However, outside the proceedings, the officers claim that they were pressured into pleading themselves guilty. “A healthy man with no mental problems will not testify against himself? We made the confession under pressure,” said Mahmoud.
The officers may now appeal their sentences.
Among the 8 people killed in the arrack on an election rally at Lashkargah, Saleh Mohammad Achekzai, the candidate was one.
The suicide attack has so far killed 8 people and wounded 11 others.
The NPC has approved 21 contracts on Tuesday with total value estimated to be AFG 4.9 billion.
Th NPC meeting was held in the Presidential Palace and chaired by President Ghani.
Some notable contract approvals include construction of 7 kilometers between Kabul and Logar, ring road construction of 1.4 kilometers in Mazar Sharif city, road construction from Khoshi to Mohammad Agha district in Logar, and procurement of diesel and petrol fuel for the maintenance Salang highway.
The meeting also approved the update of technical cooperation agreement with the UNESCO for the preservation of historical site Mes Aynak and the construction of the a part of road from Shorabak of Kandahar to Spin Boldak district.
As per the statement by Presidential Palace, the meeting included representatives from
parliamentary commissions for the budget, economy, SIGAR, and Resolute Support Mission.
Local officials have reported that 19 people have been killed and injured in a suicide attack on electoral rally in Lashkargah city of Helmand province.
The Helmand provincial governor office said in a statement that 8 people were killed and 11 others wounded.
Local officials have also said that there is a potential increase in the casualties caused by the attack.
The suicide attack took place in the PD 4 of Lashkargah on the election rally of Saleh Mohammad Achakzai, a candidate for parliamentary elections from Helmand province.
More details to come.
The Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) has announced that it will not count any votes without a special barcode generated by biometric device in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
IEC spokesman, Kobra Rezai, told BBC that the delivery and distribution of 22,000 biometric devices across Afghanistan has begun.
According to her, the transfer of these devices to distant provinces by air has begun in cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Defense and is scheduled to be sent to other provinces also at the earliest opportunity.
Based on the mechanism set for the use of biometric devices, in each polling center, there will be one identity verification officer who will be responsible for using the device and getting the bar codes for each voter printed. The employee is trained by Afghanistan Central Statistics Organization and is required to attached the barcode generated by device to ballot paper and cast it into the ballot box.
In reaction to Taliban’s recent statement on elections, US ambassador to Kabul has called insurgent’s threatening to attack elections in contridiction to a commitment for purusing peace.
US Ambassador John Bass has stressed that “Elections are a civilian process, about the Afghan people getting together to make a choice. When the Taliban say they are going attack the elections, what they’re saying is that they are going to attack the Afghan people. That is fundamentally at odds with a commitment to pursuing peace.”
— John R. Bass (@USAmbKabul) October 9, 2018
This comes after the Taliban released a statement on Monday threatening to boycott the elections and issuing a warning to attack those who will provide security for elections.
According to a statement released by the GMIC, it has been announced by the Afghan Minister of Telecommunication and Technology as well as Minister of Education that an MoU has been signed which will effectively lead to teacher’s salaries being paid through the mobile system of payments.
The scheme will be tested for employees of MoE in Kandahar, Parwan and Nangarhar before it extends to the entire country as per Minister Aryubi.
According to Minister Balkhi, the idea of this is to prevent any unauthorised payments and make the salary payment system extremely transparent.
For this system to be operational, all teachers will have to submit their biometric details for registration according to Mr Balkhi.
In a press release by the U.S Embassy in Kabul reporting about US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad’s first visit to Afghanistan, it was noted that he met with stakeholders both exterior and interior to the government.
Mr Khalizad met President Ghani in his visit, CEO Abdullah as well as members of political groups and civil society organisations. He also held a meeting with selected journalists.
The broad message of his meeting as per the press release was to ask for cooperation from every side so as to be able to bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.
He also insisted that all Afghans be a part of the reconciliation process.
In his meetings, Mr Khalizad emphasised on the importance of a team in Afghanistan to enforce and implement a reconciliation process.
Mr Khalizad arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday and will also visit some regional partners. He is due to return to Kabul for further consultations with leaders and officials in Afghanistan sometime soon in the year.
A suicide attack targeted a parliamentary elections candidate’s campaign office in Police District one of Lashkargah city.
The blast was targeting Saleh Mohammad Achikzai’s campaign gathering who is a candidate from Helmand for the parliamentary elections.
Casualties feared. More information to follow
Secretary of the Provincial Council of Maidan Wardak, Sharifullah Hotak, told Khabarnama that last night the Taliban attacked the city of Sayedabad in Maidan Wardak province for the second time.
Mr. Hotak added that the conflict is currently taking place in parts of the Shirazi Baba Shrine in this district.
It comes when a few days ago, the district fell into the hands of the Taliban, but the security forces took control of it again.
But the spokesman for the Maidan Wardak Police, Hekmat Durani told Khabarnama that the situation is under control and backup forces are on their way.
He added that 25 Taliban were killed, including one of their leaders, during the last days of the clash in Sayd Abad.
There is still no report on the casualties caused by the recent Taliban attack on Sayed Abad.
As US Special Representative for Reconciliation in Afghanistan reaches Islamabad for his visit, it has been confirmed that US commander of international forces in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller will be accompanying him.
Mr Khalizad, on his visit to Pakistan, is set to meet all senior officials and will discuss the reconciliation process.
Local authorities have reported that the Taliban have destroyed parts of Jawzjan-Faryab highway with an excavator.
This comes when the Taliban had previously destroyed parts of Ghazni-Paktia highway.
“The Taliban destroyed the highway using two excavators. They began yesterday in the afternoon and destroyed four locations of the highway,” said Faryab police spokesman, Abdul Karim Yuresh, this morning to Radio Liberty.
Meanwhile, following this event, a number of Jawzjan-Faryab highway vehicles drivers who were on their way to Jawzjan from Faryab this morning said that they were travelling through unpaved dirt road along the damaged road to reach their destination.
Security officials have reported that 76 insurgents have been killed and wounded in Ghazni province.
Ministry of Defense expressed in a statement that as a result of a cleanup operation by the security forces on Tuesday in Dehyak, Qarabagh, Andar and centre of Ghazni provinces, 40 terrorists were killed and 36 others were wounded.
The statement provides no details on the civilian and Afghan forces causalities.
Officials from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Monday said Islamabad again closed its doors to Afghan apple traders.
The officials have expressed concern that if this continues, thousands of tons of apples will go spoilt.
Pakistan claims that the reason for this ban on apply import from Afghanistan is because they believe they are Iranian apples.
The decision by Pakistan comes just as Afghanistan reaches its apple harvesting season.
The Fresh Fruits Exporters Union officials said if Pakistan routes are not re-opened for Afghan apple trade, farmers in Maidan Wardak, Ghazni and Baghlan provinces will suffer heavy losses.
So far there has not been any comment by any government official from Ministry of Industries and Commerce, or anyone else.