Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Chief Executive of the Government and the Indonesian Ulama Council have called for a small committee of religious scholars from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia to pursue and effectively organize the ulama’s efforts to achieve peace in Afghanistan.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who traveled to Indonesia, has discussed the formation of the committee on Friday’s meeting with the leader of the Ulama Council, the press office of the Chief Executive stated on on Saturday.
The Indonesian scholars have pledged cooperation to bring peace in Afghanistan.
Bamyan witnessed the 40 and 60-km Road cycling race for girls and boys.
In the girls’ section of the race, 12 participants from Kabul and Bamiyan competed in the 40-km distance which was won by Tahera Shaygan.
Also in a men’s race, 30 male athletes competed in 60-kilometers format, with Rohullah Nazari gaining the first place.
Bamyan is considered one of the safest provinces in Afghanistan, and bicycling races are held annually for familiarising tourists with the province.
Deals for developing gold and copper mines in northern Badakhshan and Sar-i-Pul provinces have been signed in the US according to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
Turkish Afghan Mining Company will invest a sum of $22 million in Badakhshan gold mine in the first three years of exploration, while Afghan Gold and Minerals Company will invest around $56 million on Balkhab copper during the same period, as per the spokesman.
The partners of this company is British mining and exploration investment company Centar.
In the signing ceremony, acting ministers of finance and mines were present in Washington.
This investment will be transformative for Afghanistan,” said Sadat Mansoor Naderi, Chairman and President of Afghanistan Gold and Minerals and Vice President of Turkish Afghan Mining Company.
Security officials have reported that 65 terrorists have been killed or wounded across 15 provinces of Afghanistan.
As a result of the invasive, airborne and cleanup operations of the security forces over the past 24 hours in the provinces of Kunar, Helmand, Baghlan, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Paktia, Faryab, Khost, Sar-e-Pul, Ghazni, Kandahar, Logar, Herat, Badakhshan and Uruzgan, 57 terrorists were killed and eight others wounded.
The statement added that during these operations, a significant amount of ammunition and explosives belonging to the terrorists were destroyed.
Afghan Intelligence agency NDS has gotten hold of 3 men in Nangarhar’s Torkham port.
The men were trying to steal more than 4000 electoral stickers that are utilised for voting purpose in the UD cards.
As per a video of one of the accused which was uploaded by Hasht-e Subh Daily, it was being admitted by one of the three men that they got the stickers printed from Peshawar Pakistan.
Bringing yet another laurel to Afghanistan, Sakena Yacoobi an Afghan teacher, has won the World Citizen Award in Istanbul.
Ms Yacoobi taught her student against all odds-facing the risks of Taliban’s threat to education for girls.
The Afghan teacher set up 80 schools with 3000 girls secretly to impart education to them. “I was happy to be invited here because the world doesn’t know what is going on with the children who are in war zones, who are in refugee camps, who lost their parents, who lost their homes, who don’t have the environment to quietly sit and read and write or draw a picture … who every time they hear a sound think a bomb is exploding,” Yacoobi said in her speech at the event.
Yacoobi also thanked her dedicated staff at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), the organisation that is the founder and director of. Established in 1995, AIL now serves 350,000 people each year – 70% of them being girls and women.
President Ghani, who traveled to Balkh province on Friday, during a meeting with the elders and influential of the province, emphasized that Balkh province is among the priorities of the government’s economic plans.
President Ghani inaugurated the 360-bed Abu Ali Sina Balkhi hospital on a trip to Mazar-e-Sharif. The 5-floored hospital costed €15 million and was aided by the German government.
The president called the economic importance of Balkh as vital, adding that Balkh province is among the top priorities of government’s economic plans. He also encouraged traders and investors in this province to focus more on exports.
The president also insisted on the security of the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, saying that the he does not allow rebels to undermine the security of Mazar-i-Sharif city, and a Special Unit is being assigned to secure the city.
He called the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections as important for the future of Afghanistan and urged elders to ensure enforcement of the process by participating in the elections.
Ashraf Ghani promised in the meeting that the Turkmen community will soon have an appointed Senator in the Senate.
With the completion of the fourth review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Christoph Duenwald met with Afghan authorities in Tashkent to put forward some pointers regarding the Afghan economy.
In a statement issued by Mr Duenwald, “SDR 4.5 million (about US$ 6.1 million) will be made available to Afghanistan, bringing total disbursements to SDR 22.5 million.”
However, Afghanistan GDP growth rate for 2018 has been estimated at 2.3% which is lower than the 2017 rate. The reasons ascribed to this decline were the perpetual drought and political uncertainty-led insecurity in the country.
Fortunately, growth is expected to pick up in 2019. Some other indicators were mentioned in the statement, for instance, “inflation is expected to average 3% in 2018. Donor grants continue to finance large budget and trade deficits allowing treasury cash balances and international reserves to remain at comfortable levels.”
The IMF statement concluded that IMF remains to be a key partner of Afghanistan when it comes to reforming the economy and for technical training.
US Central Command Chief Gen. Joseph Votel in an interview to Voice of America expressed that Russia may be contending for influence in Afghanistan.
Gen Votel accused Russia of trying to gain some kind of influence in the matter of reconciliation in Afghanistan and added that “Russia was using disinformation to create the narrative they wanted, not just in Afghanistan, but in Iraq and Syria as well,” to blame “the US for aiding ISIS.”
He also called out Iran for “hedging their bets” on the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, saying “They [Iranian leaders] don’t have any love for us here, but I do think Iran shares concerns along their eastern border, which the western part of Afghanistan.”
Finally, Gen Votel refuted the “ridiculous” idea that the US may have been promoting the Daesh in Afghanistan or anywhere else.
This may have come to light as Russia recently tried to hold the peace talks with a seemingly strong presence of the Taliban. It was only after Afghanistan refused to attend the Moscow-led peace talks that Russia agreed on holding the now postponed talks on the condition of Afghanistan that any reconciliation based process will be Afghanistan government-led and Afghan-owned.
Local officials in Ghor province have reported an attack by security forces on a famous people’s uprisings commander, “Commander Ali Poor”, in the central highland of Afghanistan.
The spokesman for Ghor Governor, Abdullahi Khatibi has confirmed the attack.
According to unconfirmed reports, at least 6 people, including 2 women, have been killed in the clash.
Meanwhile, sources close to the commander have told Khabarnama on Saturday that at 4 am, the special forces attacked the commander in Asad Abad area Lal-o-Sarjangal district, and so far two of his bodyguards have been killed.
Meanwhile, attempts to arrest commander Ali Poor faced a massive negative reaction.
For what might be the biggest defence deal for the two countries yet, India and Russia signed the S-400 deal and announced the same in a joint statement after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in New Delhi.
As a part of the India-Russia Summit of 2018, the latest defence deal will seal the agreement for India receiving S-400 long-range, surface-to-air missile starting 2020.
However, a challenge for India still looms over transactional issues. The deal is valued at $5.43 billion for the contract
15% of which has to be paid up in advance by India.
A former Iranian-American coach and athlete, with the launch of a campaign, provided the equipment needed to rebuild the Maiwand Wrestling Club in western Kabul as per Afghan Voice Agency (AVA).
Following the ISIL terrorist attack on Maiwand Wrestling Club in western Kabul in which 26 were killed and 91 wounded, including Afghan children, teenage and young wrestlers, an Iranian-American coach, philanthropist, former wrestler and member of United World Wrestling, Hooman Tavakolian, With the launch of a global campaign, has been working to revive the Afghan wrestling club.
Following the launch of this big campaign, wrestling fans around the world and some prominent champions such as Jordan Burroughs, Freestyle World and US Olympic champion joined the campaign, and soon their donations including wrestling mattresses along with other equipment will be sent to Kabul.
Hooman Tavakolian is the third Iranian who succeeded in gaining the membership of The National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He is also considered one of the 50 influential Iranian-Americans in the United States.
Shahbaz Sharif, former Punjab chief minister and the younger brother of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been arrested National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Lahore for allegedly being involved in the Rs 14 billion Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.
As per Pakistan’s Dawn news, Shahbaz Sharif, who happens to be the leader of opposition in national assembly of Pakistan has been found guilty of charges of corruption in the housing scam.
Nawaz Sharif condemned the arrest of his younger brother, saying it was “not just regrettable, but also ridiculous”.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) had confirmed that all the biometric devices that the government had promised have been handed over.
The commission spokesman said that the transfer of these devices to seventy-four districts today began and they plan to finish the process within a week.
Electoral observers and political parties say that the electoral process may be disrupted if there are technical shortcomings on election day.
But the IEC has assured that security forces are helping to deliver all the equipment to polling centers located in remote areas of Afghanistan and shall will be no significant issues on election day which would impact the integrity and safety of the elections.
Local officials in Ghazni province confirm that the Taliban have destroyed several culverts on the Kabul-Kandahar highway on Friday using mines.
Ghazni governor spokesman Arif Noori told Khabarnama that armed insurgents destroyed three culverts in the Ab Band district of Ghazni province, causing traffic problems in this highway. Mr Noori says that the passengers are currently crossing off-road.
According to local authorities in Ghazni, the Taliban also tried to destroy the culverts in Qara Bagh area of Ghazni province, but the mine exploded before it embedded, which resulted in the deaths of four insurgents.
Destruction of culverts on the Kabul-Kandahar highway is taking place in areas of Ghazni province, while according to local authorities, clean-up operations in these areas continue.
Security officials have confirmed that no casualties have been reported as of now as a result of the blast in Kabul.
On Saturday morning, it was reported that a magnetic blast took place in Pul-e Shina region PD 12 of Kabul.
Farah security officials have reported in a statement 30 rebels were killed and wounded in a Resolute Support airstrike on different areas of the province.
The statement also confirms the death of a famous Taliban commanders, Haji Bari Jan, as well as wounding of several other commanders as a result of the airstrike.
According to the statement, the joint operation by security and defense forces in assistance with Resolute Support Forces are going on in Khak-e-Safid district of Farah province.
The European Union has asked Afghanistan’s election commission to be more proactive regarding transparency of the elections in October.
Pierre Mayaudon, the EU Ambassador to Kabul said “Biometric has been gained, recently discussed, and might be some progress on that front. But this must come in addition to so many other verification measures, actions that are meant to bring transparency to the elections to make them acceptable by 35 million Afghans.”
But a lot of political parties in Afghanistan are not satisfied still, with the current electoral preparations.
In defence, the IEC’s deputy spokesperson said, “We have trained 250 employees and these employees will train teams of 20individuals in province.”
An explosion is reported in Pul-e-Mahmud khan area, PD 12 of Kabul.
According to Kabul police, the explosion is caused by a magnetic bomb.
No details of casualties yet. More details to follow.