Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said on Monday that fossilized and dark-minded groups are trying to bring Afghanistan back into the monolithic era.
Marking the International Day for Universal Access to Information, Sediqqi said that as a nation, Afghanistan grants Constitutional rights to protect access to information.
In a series of tweets, he assured the public that the government will continue to protect the freedom of expression and information as a fundamental right of the citizens.
“Our contemporary history constantly refers to the suppression of civil liberties and the prevention of a democratic system in the country,” he pointed, mentioning that threats still exist today that need to be addressed.
However, he added the country has made progress since the citizens enjoy the freedom of directly questioning government officials.
“… [This] can only be imagined in a republican system that has been achieved through our joint efforts,” he said.
Sediqqi added that the government will continue to uphold and work on preserving the values of the past 19 years.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said six new cases of Coronavirus were reported in the past 24 hours after testing 224 samples across Afghanistan, taking the tally to 39,233 confirmed cases so far.
The cases were reported in the provinces of Balkh (2), Kabul (1), Takhar (1), Kunduz (1) and Kunar (1).
The MoPH reported two deaths and no recoveries in the past day.
According to the statistics, there are 5,136 active cases of COVID-19 in Afghanistan with 32,642 recovered and 1,455 deaths.
Acting Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar met with the Kabul-based heads of European Union (EU) missions and head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan on Sunday to discuss the progress in the peace talks in Qatar and the need for a ceasefire.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Atmar thanked the EU member countries for their assistance and cooperation to Afghanistan over the past 19 years.
He then spoke about the latest developments in the Afghan peace negotiations, the establishment of a humanitarian ceasefire and the mechanism for monitoring the reduction of violence.
Atmar also highlighted the role that the EU could play in maintaining international consensus on peace talks in Afghanistan.
Talking about further strengthening the relations between the EU member states and Afghanistan, Atmar asked for EU cooperation post-peace agreement. He spoke of the continuation of mechanisms such as the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.
“Discussed strengthening national unity, the upcoming Geneva Conference, upholding our mutual accountability framework & good governance,” Atmar tweeted.
The EU delegation and its member states called the start of peace talks a good step towards reaching a comprehensive and sustainable peace.
They reiterated the EU’s continued support for the Afghan peace process, strengthening regional consensus and the preservation of the democratic achievements.
Mohammed Umer Daudzai, President Ashraf Ghani’s Special Envoy for Pakistan, accompanied Abdullah Abdullah on his visit to Islamabad, and said he believes the trip will be fruitful and yield results.
Daudzai expressed optimism about the visit of Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, and said the situation has changed in the past years.
With the start of the peace negotiations in Qatar, he said that “Pakistan is showing that they are serious about cooperation with the Afghan peace process.”
He stated that they had seen sufficient evidence that Islamabad is supporting the peace talks.
The purpose of Abdullah’s visit is to improve bilateral relations and facilitate the peace process by building a regional consensus with Pakistani leaders.
Kandahar Police confirmed on Monday that an officer was killed and several others were wounded in separate security incidents in the provincial capital.
Abdul Bashir Khaksar, deputy spokesperson for Kandahar Police Command, said that an officer was killed and three were wounded in a roadside explosion in PD9 of Kandahar city on Sunday night.
The explosion happened when their vehicle collided with a mine during their patrol.
Kandahar Police spokesperson Jamal Nasir Barakzai, also said that two policemen had been wounded in an armed attack in the Liseye Mashreqi area of Kandahar city.
He said the men were police officers in Gizab district of Uruzgan.
No group claimed responsibility for both incidents.
Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah arrived in Islamabad on Monday morning at the head of a high-level government delegation.
“The visit will provide a unique opportunity for the two sides to exchange views on Afghanistan peace talks in Doha and bilateral relations,” Abdullah wrote on his twitter.
“I hope this visit will open a new chapter of mutual cooperation at all levels, especially on achieving a lasting and dignified peace in Afghanistan.”
During his three-day visit, he will meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, Chairman of the Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmooh Qureshi, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, and other dignitaries.
Abdullah’s visit is at the official invitation extended by Imran Khan last month “to visit Pakistan at the earliest to share perspectives on advancing the Afghan peace process and forging closer ties between the two countries.”