Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Commission for the Commemoration of Martyr’s Week said carrying weapons and forming convoys that disrupt security and public order is prohibited.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesperson Tariq Arian said on Monday that the security forces have been told to deal with such people, during the Marty’s Week and Martyr’s Day ceremonies, strictly.
The committee also said that with the exception of security forces, no one will be allowed to dress in military uniforms and carry weapons.
The MoI also referred to the Security Pact programme and said they had begun the process of removing cement barriers from the ministry’s compound and will progress to do the same from other government institutions and public roads.
He also shared statistics of “achievements” in the Kabul Security Pact.
In the past month, 43 roadside bombs were detected in Kabul and 127 “terrorists” were arrested, including 18 for planting mines.
Two groups of terrorists were apprehended a day before Ashura, thus leading to no security instances during the 10-days of Muharram, Arian said.
There have also been 172 arrests for criminal offenses in Kabul, along with 131 people who were detained in connection with drug trafficking.
A joint committee on transport meeting by officials of Iran and Afghanistan discussed the development of trade infrastructure and removal of transport barriers, said the Afghan Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) on Monday.
MoIC spokesperson Jawad Dabir said that during the meeting hosted by Iran, they discussed transit issues and removal of border challenges with the aim to develop trade.
They also agreed on convening such meetings annually.
Development of railways, construction of border customs and road infrastructure were also discussed.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported 96 new cases of Coronavirus over the past 24 hours, pushing the Afghan figure to 38, 494 confirmed so far.
The ministry said that 478 samples were tested over the past day.
Positive cases were reported in the provinces of Balkh (56), Kabul (8), Herat (7), Kandahar (2), Nangarhar (2), Baghlan (2), Daykundi (7), Ghazni (7), Nimroz (1), Ghor (5) and Helmand (2).
The MoPH also reported three deaths and 20 recoveries overnight from COVID-19.
Afghanistan currently has 6,522 active cases with 1,415 deaths and 30,557 recoveries.
The Presidential Palace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) welcomed the statement issued by the European Union (EU) Heads of Missions and Canada in Kabul, and reiterated their call for a Taliban ceasefire.
“The Afghan government strongly welcomes the EU latest statement and principle position on the Afghan Peace Process. It is time for the Taliban to come forward and take part in the negotiation,” said Presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi.
The MFA also welcomed the statement on the imminent peace talks between the government and the Taliban.
The EU and Canadian envoys had released a joint statement on Sunday evening, calling for the start of the peace talks, an inclusive negotiation, and also urged the Taliban to call for an immediate ceasefire.
“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is fully intending to seize the opportunity to end the conflict through negotiations,” said the MFA.
The Foreign Ministry said the government was entering into the talks with a “spirit of goodwill and constructive intent” which was shown in the prisoner exchange process.
“Reiterating the call made the statement, the Afghan Government urges the Taliban to reciprocate by agreeing on a ceasefire and agree to an immediate reduction of violence.”
They concluded by saying that the Afghan government shared the vision for an end state of peace talks where all Afghans, women and men, would continue to thrive with their fundamental rights intact.
A team from India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) will leave for Kabul to investigate the attack on Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib in March 2020 that was claimed by IS-K.
The Kabul gurudwara attack was one of the deadliest on the Afghan Sikh community that killed 27 people, including an Indian national.
The NIA team will consist of three to four members, led by a Deputy Inspector General.
Indian media reported that this would be the agency’s first international case following amendments that allow it to investigate terrorist activities against Indians and Indian interests abroad.
The team’s on-ground investigations have been hampered by the COVID-19 lockdown, but with the Air Bubble arrangements in place, they are set to arrive in Afghanistan soon.
The investigation will be kept under wraps due to security concerns.
The European Union (EU) Heads of Missions in Kabul and the Ambassador of Canada urged Afghans to seize the “historic opportunity” for lasting peace on Sunday.
In a statement posted on their social media, the envoys called for start of direct intra-Afghan negotiations “without further delay” at a time when both negotiating teams are preparing to sit across the table.
“Afghanistan deserves a durable, just and inclusive peace.”
They also emphasized that the talks must preserve the “democratic and human rights” of people in the country and be inclusive of all parts of Afghan society, including women.
The achievements of the past 19 years are “human rights, rule of law and democratic freedoms, including the increased respect for the rights and freedoms of women and girls” that should be considered during the peace negotiations.
“We especially urge for the full participation of women in all aspects of the negotiations,” the statement said.
“There is no military solution to the conflict and the still unacceptable high level of violence is contrary to expectations of a meaningful peace process and the principles of the UN Charter,” the envoys said.
They called on the Taliban to heed the call for an “immediate unconditional, comprehensive and nationwide ceasefire.”
Following the escalation of insecurity in Ghazni and widespread people’s protests, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that new commandos had been deployed to the province.
The MoD said in a press release on Sunday that the Afghan Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) have a large presence in Ghazni, especially in and around the provincial capital.
The new troops are setting up more checkpoints, the MoD said. They will be stationed in and around Ghazni city, especially in the Arzoo area.
The ministry said that the Taliban had planted a number of roadside bombs in Arzoo which the ANDSF were working on clearing.
Increased insecurity in Ghazni
The ANDSF were deployed to Ghazni due to an uptick in Taliban attacks.
Citizens of Ghazni had also protested for four days and blocked the Kabul-Kandahar highway to traffic.
According to the head of the Ghazni Provincial Council, the protests ended with the promises of the central government to ensure more security.