Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a statement to note the announcement by Afghan electoral authorities for the presidential election to be held in July 2019. The statement confirms that UNAMA welcomes the clarity in the electoral calendar by IEC.
The statement added “The United Nations understands that the new date announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) follows consultations with a broad range of political actors, civil society organizations, and the Government of Afghanistan, all of whom have expressed the strong desire for a credible and transparent presidential election”.
The United Nations thus acknowledged the IEC’s assessment for the additional time needed in order to learn from the experience of 2018 parliamentary elections and prepare better.
United Nations has encouraged the IEC to publish the detailed election calendar and provide regular public updates throughout the process.
The United Nations also expressed that the presidential election is critical to the future of Afghanistan, and its mismanagement would be unacceptable.
Finally the statement said “The United Nations urges the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) to focus on its mandated role of investigating and adjudicating complaints arising from the parliamentary elections. All actors with credible and grounded concerns about irregularities and fraud should submit complaints to the ECC in keeping with Afghanistan’s electoral laws and constitution. No one has the right to disrupt the electoral process and the country’s stability through incitement or threats”.
Iran’s Foreign ministry spokesperson on Sunday announced that a Taliban delegation traveled to the country and met with Iranian officials led by deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.
The meeting, according to the spokesperson was aimed at facilitating the peace process between Afghan Government and Taliban.
Zahid Hamdard, the deputy minister of finance announced on his social media account that the 2019 national budget just got approved on Monday by the Afghan national parliament.
He added that the budget was approved by a larger consensus through the first submission itself.
He stated “the result of wider engagement with MPs and sticking to our budget reform plans. Thanks to all MPs and colleagues at MoF”.
Afghanistan has so far received around 120,000 tons of products through Iran’s Port of Chabahar over the last fourteen months.
The majority of commodities to the southeastern Iranian Port of Chabahar have been wheat and cereal, stated Iran’s deputy head of Ports and Maritime Organization Mohammad-Ali Hassanzadeh.
Using the Iranian port, India trades almost 15 million tons of goods with Russia and commonwealth of independent states (CIS).
The Chabahar port has been of strategic economic importance to India and Afghanistan, as a key alternative to Pakistan’s Gwadar port. Recently, the US also exempted India from sanctions put on Iran for the exception of Iran’s Chabahar port.
Local authorities in Nangarhar have reported the death of a head of ISK intelligence and 27 other militants in the province.
Nangarhar’s press office said in a statement that as a result of a night raid launched by security forces and backed by air forces in parts of Achin District, 27 IS-K members, including the head of intelligence of the group in the district, Siddiq Yar Orakzai, were killed.
In the operation, the four major centers of this group were also destroyed and the security forces and civilians were not harmed, according to the statement.
Media sources have reported that a magnetic bomb improvised in a vehicle detonated near the Takhar Provincual Building.
3 people have been reported to be injured in the incident. It was also reported to TOLONews that the police chief of Takhar’s Rustaq district was killed in the explosion.
Ministry of Defense has reported in multiple statements that a total of 43 insurgents were killed across the provinces of Wardak, Badakhshan, Uruzgan and Helmand.
In Wardak, 25 insurgents including 4 Taliban local commanders namely Qari Farhad, Hashim, Sayed Naim and Mahmoud were killed. Additionally 6 vehicles and 3 motorbikes were destroyed in ANA airstrikes in Sayed Abad district of Wardak Province.
8 insurgents including Qari Shir Ahmad, the Taliban shadow district governor for Tishkan district were killed, and 9 others were wounded in ANA clearing operations in Tishkan district of Badakhshan Province.
Furthermore, in Uruzgan 8 insurgents were killed, 9 others were wounded and some weapons and ammunition were destroyed in ANA airstrikes in Khas-Uruzgan district.
Finally, 2 insurgents were killed and 2 motorbikes were destroyed in ANA airstrikes in Nahar Saraj district of Helmand Province.
The Chairman of Independent Election Commission (IEC) Abdul Badi Sayyad on Sunday announced that IEC has decided to hold the presidential elections on July 20, 2019 instead of the previously decided date April 20, 2019. This is a 3 month delay.
“Presidential elections will be held on 20 Saratan 1398 (July 20, 2019),” said Sayyad.
The President and government have welcomed the decision.
“There is no doubt that timely elections has been the demand of the Afghan government, but the independent election commission of Afghanistan as a sovereign institution has decided to conduct the presidential elections in the month of Saratan 1398 (July 20, 2019) and the IEC decided the new date after consultations with all stakeholders in the election process such as the political parties, possible candidates, civil society institutions and election monitoring groups, and the move comes in view of technical problems and to avoid past mistakes repeated,” the Presidential Palace ARG said in a statement.
“The Afghan government respects the decision made by the independent election commission and in view of the reservations expressed by the election commission, the government is ready to cooperate with the commission to hold the elections in Saratan 1398,” the statement added.
President Ghani has appointed the deputy foreign minister, Adela Raz as Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Ms Raz replaces Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal.
Ms. Adela Raz holds an MA degree in Law and Diplomacy with a focus on Economic Development from the Fletcher School/Tufts University and a BA with honors with triple majors in International Relations, Political Science, and Economics from Simmons College in Boston, USA.
She started her career with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). In 2013, Ms. Adela Raz was appointed as a -first female- Deputy Spokesperson and Director of Communications for the President. She moved into a new position as the Chief of Staff at the Administrative Office of the President in November 2014, and in March 2016, she assumed her current post as the new Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Cooperation.