Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Italian authorities have reported more cases of Afghan minors entering the country hidden inside cargo trucks coming from the Balkans.
As per Info Migrants report, Italian Police said they apprehended youths in two separate cases in Ravenna and in Caserta this week.
Italian police continue to report cases of underage Afghans discovered squeezed into trucks coming from the Balkans.
After youths were discovered in northern Italian province of Monza and Brianza at the end of January, two similar incidents were reported by police in the area of Ravenna, in the north, and in the southern city of Caserta.
Five minors from Afghanistan, along with a 21-year-old, were discovered by traffic police during the night between February 3 and 4 at a gas station on the A/1 highway near the southern city of Caserta.
Four minors were found inside the semi-trailer of a truck with a Macedonian license plate, shortly after midnight. The lorry was parked in the service area ‘San Nicola Sud’. The 21-year-old was found close to the truck.
The five, with the help of an interpreter, told Neapolitan police officers that they boarded the truck, which was transporting wheels, in Serbia. They said that their trip lasted three days and that they travelled squeezed between the wheels with only a bottle of water and some cookies as sustenance.
The Polstrada officers gave them food and then identified them. The minors were then taken to a shelter called “Comete” in Casoria, Naples. The 21-year-old, who intends to apply for asylum, was taken to a hosting center in the province of Caserta.
Former adviser to United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Barnett Rubin called on Pakistan to play its role again in restarting the Afghan peace talks between the Taliban and the US.
As per Geo News report, Rubin, who is a senior fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, spoke about the expected new policy for South Asia under US President Joe Biden in a seminar in Lahore.
He also spoke about the repatriation of US troops from Afghanistan, the release of Afghan prisoners of war, a ceasefire in the country and a political roadmap for Afghanistan’s future.
Last month, a fresh round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban took place in Qatar although months of deliberations between the two sides have yielded little so far.
Three employees of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) were sentenced to jail in a public hearing by the primary court of the Anti-Corruption Justice Center on charges of accepting $80,000 in bribe money, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) said on Monday.
According to AGO, Gholam Sakhi Nazar, head of the central stock directorate, Gholam Mostafa, the reporting director of the central stock unit, were sentenced to five years in prison each and Ahmad Fawad, the technical director of the Ministry to three years in jail.
The Attorney General Office added that the court also ordered the dismissal of the three employees and the re-payment of $ 80,000.
This comes as the three suspects were arrested five months ago by the control unit of AGO in acussation of accepting $80,000 in bribe money.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) says the Police chief of Maidan Wardak province has been suspended over the protest incident in Behsud district.
MoI in a press release on Monday said that the Ministry has made its comprehensive assessment in the light of the findings of the Behsud protest.
The press release said that based on the findings of the report, the people who took part in the protest were unarmed.
“After the protest turned violent, 11 civilians were killed and 31 were injured during the protest,” MoI said in the press release.
MoI stated that the case of Maidan Wardak Police chief has submitted to the Attorney General’s Office in order to investigate the case thoroughly and fairly in the light of the law.
The Ministry of Interior also expressed its deep condolences and sympathy for the killed and hope for recovery of injured.
A magnetic IED explosion targeted a vehicle carrying Abdul Hadi Rafiee, the deputy minister of agriculture for administration and finance in Omid-e Sabz township of PD6 in Kabul city on Monday.
The Kabul Police spokesman, Ferdaws Faramarz said the explosion caused no casualties, but a security source said that two people were wounded in the blast.
Police said the explosion took place at around 11:20am.
This comes as targeted killings and IED explosions have in the Afghan provinces, particularly the capital, Kabul.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 27 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1,900 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported one death and one recovery from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,386 the number of total reported deaths is 2,414 and the total number of recoveries is 48,042.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Badghis, Kapisa, Laghman and Ghor.
Local media reported that an explosion occurred in Charikar city of Parwan province this morning.
Reports suggest that a Police vehicle was targeted by an IED blast in in the center of Charikar city.
Head of civilians hospital in Parwan, Abdul Qasim Sangin the explosion happened in front of the province’s University.
According to Sangin, one killed and five wounded have been transferred to the hospital so far.
However, security officials have not yet commented on the incident.
Afghan security officials say at least four civilians were killed and five more were wounded by the Taliban militants in Balkh province on Sunday evening.
The spokesman of 209 Shahin Corps, Hanif Rezai said that the Taliban encountered resistance of civilian people when they attempted to take their livestock in Chahar Kent district of Balkh province.
According to Rezai, the Taliban insurgents then opened fire on the people, detonating a remote-controlled mine over a crowd, killing four civilians and wounding five others.
He added that the Taliban failed to take the livestock of people with them.
Afghan First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh says the Afghan people are tired of war but not ready to sell their souls.
“The Afghan people, of which I am one of them, they are tired of war. But they are not ready to sell their soul,” Saleh said in an interview with PBS NewsHour Special Correspondent Jane Ferguson.
In respons to the agreement signed between US and Taliban in Qatar, Saleh said, “When the United States bypassed us and reached out to the Taliban directly it was both a surprise for us and also a dream for the Taliban. What is this? I think that was a mistake.”
“They brought President Trump over the phone to speak for 45 minutes with who? I couldn’t imagine that. I could not imagine. I don’t think bringing the United States president to the level of a non-entity insurgent group was a good idea,” VP said.
Amrullah Saleh stated that there have been moments over the past few years that the U.S. diplomacy hurt the U.S. more than Afghanistan.
The first Vice President cited that he supports any effort to lead to a peaceful political settlement but not political surrender.
“My hopes for President elect Joe Biden is ‘define the American interest’. Define the interest of the Trans-Atlantic alliance, define the interests of the global institutions which have been created primarily with the United States leadership, championship and resources. Because if United States backs off from some of its responsibilities it will be a political earthquake for the whole world,” he added.
US Senator Lindsey Graham in an interview with CBS has said that the American troops will not leave Afghanistan in May.
“I’m very pleased with what the Biden administration is proposing for Afghanistan. We’re going to keep troops there on a conditions-based approach,” Graham said.
In response to a question that will the US troops leave Afghanistan post may, Graham said, “I think we’re not going to leave in May. We’re going to leave when the conditions are right. The the Taliban have been cheating. They haven’t been complying. And so I like what Secretary Blinken and the Biden administration is doing.”
This comes as a study group appointed by US Congress calls on the Biden administration to slow the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, remove the May 1 exit deadline and instead reduce the number of troops only as security conditions improve in the country.