Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Monday announced that the anti-corruption justice center has arrested five individuals on charges of bribery at Kabul Customs Office.
MoI spokesman Tariq Arian wrote on his official Facebook page that these people were arrested today.
However, he did not provide further details on the identities or positions of the detainees.
In the meantime, Arian said that one of the causes of the fire disaster at the Islam Qala border customs office in Herat was corruption, and after the necessary investigations, the perpetrators will be identified and punished.
The huge blaze, which broke out Saturday afternoon at Islam Qala port 120 kilometres (75 miles) from the western city of Herat, has largely been extinguished.
Previously, local officials said that human error was the cause of the fire.
The finance ministry said initial reports were that the fire started in a tanker before quickly spreading, causing “heavy financial losses”, including of fuel, tankers and customs facilities.
A delegation has been despatched from the capital Kabul to investigate the blaze, the ministry added.
The Taliban must break ties with terrorists to meet its peace commitments in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference on Monday.
“We see that there is still a need for the Taliban to do more when it comes to delivering on their commitments … to make sure that they break old ties with international terrorists,” Stoltenberg said.
He urged the Taliban to reduce violence in Afghanistan, adding that any possible withdrawal of troops would rely on the situation on the ground.
“Our common goal is clear: Afghanistan should never again serve as a haven for terrorists to attack our homelands… While no ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary we will not leave before the time is right,” Stoltenberg said.
This comes as Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have been ongoing for months with no agreement reached yet.
US Chargé d’Affaires, Ross Wilson has announced strong support for the human rights defenders and journalists in Afghanistan.
“We applaud the blunt and compelling report by UNAMA on the targeted killing of human rights defenders and journalists. We support its call for the Taliban to investigate, condemn, and prohibit targeted civilian killings such as these,” Mr. Wilson said.
In line with UNAMA’s recommendations, Mr. Wilson called on the government to strengthen protections for these citizens, prosecute attacks transparently and end impunity for murderers.
“We unite with others in condemning increased attacks on those advancing human rights and freedom of speech in Afghanistan,” he added.
the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in it’s new report released on Monday said that the killing of human rights defenders and media professionals has generated a climate of fear among the population in Afghanistan.
UNAMA in its report analyses data and trends connected to the killings from 1 January 2018 to 31 January 2021. It traces the changing patterns of attacks on these key sectors of civil society and provides recommendations.
According to the report, no fewer than 11 human rights defenders and media workers were killed in targeted attacks in Afghanistan from the 12 September 2020 start of peace negotiations through to 31 January 2021.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 4new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported one death and 19 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,518 the number of total reported deaths is 2,428 and the total number of recoveries is 48,433.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, and Helmand.
Kabul Mayor has announced that eight billion afghanis worth of grabbed lands have been retaken from upsurpers.
Daud Sultanzoi, the mayor of Kabul province at the “accountability to nation” program on Monday said that about 55,000 square meters of white land, 173,000 square meters of median and green areas, 18,000 square meters of parking and dozens of other cases of usurpation have been retaken.
Explaining the performance of the Kabul Municipality in implementing the National Security Pact, Sultanzoi said that 8,333 illegal shops located in green areas and public property in different parts of Kabul had been demolished and removed.
He also noted that 100 km of public roads and alleys have been reopened to traffic and citizens, and 276 km of sidewalks have been cleared of obstacles.
According to him, 8,286 wheelbarrows have also been set up in appropriate places.
The mayor of Kabul added that 12,325 grabbed areas by shops, bakeries and butchers were destroyed on the main and secondary roads, and 164 unlicensed buildings, 164 substandard buildings were identified and 124 illegal buildings in the city were completely and partially destroyed.
At least seven members of the uprising force were killed after Taliban stormed their outpost in Imam Saheb district of Kunduz province last night, local officials said.
The head of Kunduz Provincial Council, Muhammad Yousuf Ayoubi said the Taliban attacked uprising forces outposts in Makhmal Kocha and Rawza areas of the district on Sunday night.
According to Ayoubi, three members of the uprising force were also wounded during the clashes.
He noted that the Taliban’s attacks were pushed back after hours of clashes and the areas are now under the control of government forces.
In the meantime, the spokesman of Pamir 217 Corps, Abdul Hadi Nazari confirmed the Taliban’s attacks, saying Afghan forces had no casualties during the clashes.
He added that at least five Taliban insurgents were also killed in the incident.
Afghan first Vice President Amrullah Saleh called Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s warning about the fall of the government and the siege of the Presidential Palace as a “political joke.”
Hekmatyar on Sunday warned that if the agreement between Hezb-e-Islami and the government not implemented, he would surround the Presidential Palace with mass demonstrations and would lead the Arg officials with the fate of People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA).
Hekmatyar accused the government of stoning the peace process, saying it was importing arms from regional countries and distributing them to anti-Taliban commanders to prepare for war.
Reacting to the remarks, Amrullah Saleh said that the government did not need to smuggle weapons.
According to Saleh, the government has always met and continues to meet its weapons needs in a clear and legitimate manner.
Saleh added that arms procurement is the responsibility of the president, and he determines the final interest from which authority to buy.
Referring to another part of Hekmatyar’s speech, the first Vice President said Hekmatyar had put most of his efforts to engage with anti-Afghan circles but still failed to reach the Presidential Palace.
The State Ministry for Peace Affairs has introduced the newly appointed heads and advisers of the Ministry in a ceremony with the presence peace officials.
SMP in a press release said that the newly appointed heads and advisers spoke about their education, previous background and experience.
In the meantime, Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, the State Minister for Peace, welcomed the new heads and advisers and said that the appointments were made on the basis of merit and are great human capital for the ministry.
He said, the State Ministry for Peace is proudly working to end a decades long war and replace it with peace, unity and reconciliation.
The State Minister for Peace expressed hope that the peace agreement would be signed and that all citizens would work in a peaceful environment on the country’s economic, social and cultural development.
Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar has met with the US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson in Kabul, and discussed the expansion of bilateral relations and the latest developments and challenges in the peace process.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a press release on Monday said that FM Atmar congratulated Mr. Wilson on the approval of Mr. Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State by the US Congress and expressed hope that he would meet with his US counterpart in the near future to discuss issues of interest.
According to the press release, Mr. Atmar also welcomed the decision of the new US administration to review the US peace agreement with the Taliban, calling it a good step towards strengthening the peace process and the Taliban’s commitment to its commitments.
Atmar praised the United States’ efforts to end the current crisis in Afghanistan through dialogue and stressed the importance of mobilizing regional and international support and consensus on the peace process.
Mr. Atmar spoke about the activities of the Afghanistan-US-Uzbekistan Working Group, and stressed the importance of planning a US-Afghanistan-Tajikistan tripartite meeting.
In the meantime, the US Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Afghanistan, Mr. Wilson, reassured Atmar of the full support of the United States for the peace process, as well as Washington’s commitment to long-term cooperation and cooperation with Kabul in various fields.
Unidentified armed men have abducted 11 workers of the Pashdan Dam in Karkh district of Herat from their workplace on Sunday.
Mohammad Arif Achakzai, the head of the Pashdan Dam project, confirmed the abduction of the dam’s workers.
Achakzai said that four of his colleagues have been released and the fate of the other seven is still unknown.
Pashdan Dam is located 20 km east of Herat city.
Officials at the Pashdan Dam say the dam’s water intake will begin in the next three months.
According to authorities, with the completion of dam’s construction,
13,000 hectares of land will be irrigated and two megawatts of electricity will be provided.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says millions of Afghans will face famine due to the drought this year.
“Afghanistan’s agriculture is heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture and snowmelt,” Nicholas Bishop, emergency response officer at IOM explained, “so the humanitarian response plan for this year is suggesting that as many as 17 million Afghans, or about 42% of the total population, will be impacted by drought and famine.”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report last month that 18.4 million Afghans were in need of humanitarian assistance, more than double last year.
This comes as peace negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan officials have stalled. Violence across the country is on the rise and experts predict a possible drought on the way.