Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The National Security Council (NSC) office says a competent government delegation has started investigations into the Friday’s protest in Hese Awal district of Maidan Wardak province.
Hashmatullah Nateq, head of media publications at the NSC office, said that the delegation’s aircraft which departed for the Wardak province yesterday, returned back due to the unfavorable condition to land and it arrived in Behsud district this morning.
Mr. Nateq added that the members of this delegation are currently investigating how the incident happened and meeting with the people and the injured.
Yesterday, the office of the National Security Council announced that the delegation will be chaired by General Ebadullah Ebad, the deputy head of the NSC office.
It was also stated that the deputy members of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, the Deputy Director General of National Directorate of Security, a member of the Maidan Wardak Provincial Council, the President’s Adviser on Public Affairs and an influential figure of Maidan Wardak are members of the delegation.
NSC cited that the delegation has been tasked to thoroughly and comprehensively investigate the incident and to act in the light of the country’s applicable laws.
A statement from the NSC office said that the incident in Hese Awal Behsud district was caused by clashes between security forces and a uprising forces commander’s men in which a number of people were killed and wounded.
The statement did not provide specific casualties, but the Interior Ministry had previously said that nine gunmen related to Ali Poor, an uprising forces commander were killed and seven others were wounded” in clashes between them and security forces.
However, Mahdi Rasikh, a member of the House of Representatives, said two days ago that 11 civilians, including children, had been killed, 25 wounded and more than 150 civilians and elderly people had been taken hostages following shootings by security forces at protesters.
The high-level talks with participation of heads of key international financial institutions will be held on February 2 in Tashkent on construction of Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway.
Construction of the given railway is expected to reduce the time and cost of transportation of cargoes between the countries of South Asia and Europe through Central Asia.
The railway will enhance transit capacity of Central Asia and will link it with Pakistan’s sea ports Karachi, Kasem, Gwadar.
The roadmap for construction of the railway is expected to be signed following multilateral talks.
President Ashraf Ghani had a telephone conversation with Sweden Prime Minister Sfefan Löfven today, the Presidential Palace (Arg) said.
Arg in a statement on Monday said that President Ghani thanked Sweden for its assistance to Afghanistan over the years, especially in the field of education and health, as well as its support within the framework of the Resolute Support Mission.
According to the statement, the President called Sweden a longtime friend of Afghanistan and spoke of the progress made in the peace process and the common vision of Afghanistan and the international community for a peace process that would ensure a democratic, sovereign, and united Afghanistan.
The Swedish PM, in turn, assured of his country’s continued development and economic cooperation, as well as the support of the Afghan security and defense forces.
Sfefan Löfven added that establishing a ceasefire and ending the war and bloodshed in Afghanistan is a priority for his country, and that Sweden supports a peace process that will lead to the preservation and continuation of the achievements of the past two decades and an independent, democratic and united Afghanistan.
Iranian negotiations with Taliban were held on prior knowledge of Afghan Government, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.
Khatibzadeh made the remarks speaking during his weekly press conference.
Noting that Taliban is part of Afghanistan’s reality, the Iranian FM spokesman said that Taliban political offices are officially working in Doha and Pakistan and the group is currently involved in official negotiations with the Afghan government as well.
Iran has always expressed support for intra-Afghan talks, Khatibzadeh said, adding that the recent visit to Iran by the Taliban delegation was in line with Taliban’s negotiations with the Afghan Government.
Asked to comment on reports which claim that a Taliban call for the resignation of the Afghanistan’s incumbent government has been discussed during the visit of the Taliban group to Tehran, the spokesman said that only news published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are credible.
He said that Foreign Minister Zarif has stressed in the meeting that no government can be formed in the country unless it is based on national resolve and votes of the Afghan people.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 62 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 2,025 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 1 deaths and 44 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,121 the number of total reported deaths is 2,405 and the total number of recoveries is 47,723.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Takhar, Kunduz, Bamyan, Badakhshan, Badghis, Kapisa, Laghman, Kunar, Ghor and Sar-e-Pul provinces.
The Taliban group has reacted to a joint statement by the EU, NATO and the diplomatic missions over escalation of violence in Afghanistan, calling it baseless.
The Taliban said in a statement issued on Monday that the group had no involvement in the killing of civilians and had not destroyed any public facilities.
The group also said it considers itself responsible for the reconstruction and maintenance of utility facilities.
According to the Taliban statement, the presence of foreigners is a major factor in the current crisis in Afghanistan, which has resulted in the deaths of many Afghans for the past 20 years.
The group stressed the implementation of the US agreement with the Taliban in Doha, adding that it has focused on resolving issues through dialogue from the beginning.
The EU Delegation and the diplomatic missions of Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States in a joint statement strongly condemn the continuation of assassinations, kidnappings, and destruction of vital infrastructure – all which directly harm the Afghan people.
The statement stated that the Taliban bears responsibility for the majority of this targeted violence, and its attacks undermine state institutions and contribute to an insecure environment in which terrorist and criminal groups are able to freely operate.
An IED explosion targeted an armored vehicle belonged to Khushnood Nabizada, head of the office of the State Minister for Peace Affairs, in Kabul on Monday morning but had no casualties, security officials said.
The incident took place at around 07:26am (local time) in the Shaheed square of PD10 in Kabul city after Nabizada’s vehicle hit by an IED, the security forces said.
Kabul police confirmed the blast but did not provide further information regarding it.
Nabizada and two of his children were in the vehicle when the blast occurred, but no one including his driver was hurt, his relatives said.
So far, no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the explosion.
The Government of Japan has announced its upcoming disbursement of 122.2 million USD for the support of humanitarian and development programs in Afghanistan.
The Japanese embassy in Kabul in a statement said that this assistance marks a big step forward in ensuring Japan’s commitment as conveyed at the Geneva Conference in November 2020, where Foreign Minister Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu acknowledged the long-lasting friendship between Japan and Afghanistan, and pledged financial assistance up to 180 million USD per year from 2021 to 2024.
“Specifically, this new assistance will enable implementation of 17 humanitarian and development assistance projects, to be conducted by FAO, ICRC, IOM, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Japan Platform (JPF), OCHA, OSCE, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMAS, UNODC, WFP, WHO and World Bank, all aiming for the betterment of livelihoods through multiple approaches,” the statement said.
Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, agriculture, rural development, human capacity development, education, health, infrastructure, culture and humanitarian assistance.
With the upcoming 122.2 million USD disbursement, the cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 will amount to 6.9 billion USD.
Iranian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts (CHTH) Ali Asghar Mounesan has expressed Iran’s readiness for reconstruction of al-Biruni tomb in Afghanistan.
Mounesan said that due to the fact that al-Biruni tomb has been destroyed and is not in satisfactory situation, he had urged his deputy Mohammad Hassan Talebian to accelerate the reconstruction process.
Iran enjoys good knowledge for reconstruction of historical monuments and has prominent experts in this field, he added.
As one of the greatest scholars of the medieval Islamic era, Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad Biruni was born on September 4, 973 in Kath, Khwarezm where he studied Islamic jurisprudence, theology, grammar, mathematics and medics.
He was known as the most important analyst of Indian science to the Islamic world given his journeys to the Indian subcontinent which later led him to be recognized as the ‘founder of Indology’. He was an impartial writer on custom and creeds of various nations, and was given the title ‘The Master’ for his remarkable description of the 11th-century India.