Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation has been given a lifetime ban after “sexually abusing” players in the women’s national team.
Keramuddin Keram was also fined 1m Swiss Francs (£794,849) after the investigation carried out by world football’s governing body Fifa.
An independent ethics committee said he was guilty of “abusing his position” as AFF president.nComplaints lodged had accused him of “repeated” sexual abuse from 2013-18.
Fifa said the allegations had been made by “at least” five Afghani players. In December, Keram was suspended from his post by Afghanistan’s attorney general’s office following allegations made by former players and Kelly Lindsey, the American former head coach of the team.
At the time, the AFF called the allegations “groundless”.
Afghan official says the Taliban have killed at least 14 members of a pro-government militant group in an attack on checkpoints in the western Ghor province according to TRT World.
Abdul Hai Khateby, spokesman for the provincial governor, said in a statement that seven other pro-government militants were wounded in the attack late Friday, with two of them in critical condition.
Khateby said that reinforcements pushed the Taliban back and inflicted casualties, without giving exact figures.
This comes after Washington has held several rounds of talks with the insurgents in recent months aimed at ending the nearly 18-year war that kicked off with the US invasion in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
At the sidelines of the ‘Berlin Climate and Security Conference’, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mr. Idrees Zaman attended a lunch reception hosted by the Special Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Markus Potzel, as informed in a statement released by Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Deputy Minister Zaman provided a brief on the political situation, the peace process & inter-Afghan talks, Kabul Process III Meeting, the upcoming Presidential Elections, and the outcome of the Consultative Loya Jirga on Peace, and called for international community’s support for peace in the country.
The reception was also attended by: the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, the British Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Mr. Gareth Bayley, European Union Special Envoy for Afghanistan Mr. Roland Kobia and Norwegian Special Representative for Afghanistan Ms. Liza Goldien. They expressed their firm support for holding transparent and fair elections and for the peace process led and owned by the people and government of Afghanistan.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) filed a request on Friday seeking to overturn the rejection of her planned investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan allegedly committed by both Taliban insurgents and U.S. troops.
In April, the court refused lead prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open an investigation into alleged atrocities by all sides during the nearly two-decade conflict.
Bensouda’s new filing, which will be heard by a trial court, was the first step in the legal process to appeal the refusal.
ICC prosecutors had identified the Taliban and its affiliates, the Afghan authorities, and members of the U.S. armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as potential perpetrators of crimes under the court’s statute.
The court’s decision to block an investigation “affects not only the outcome of any trial but also the very possibility of a trial occurring,” the filing said.
Prosecutors had said there were preliminary grounds to believe U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan and at CIA detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004.
The alleged atrocities took place in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces, with a smaller number of crimes alleged in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, where suspected members of the Taliban or al Qaeda were held for questioning.
An explosion in western Farah province killed a famous Taliban commander Shah Maqsood who was also famous as Dentist.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said Shah Maqsood and one was his accomplices were killed in an explosion triggered by a roadside bomb.
The statement further added that the two men were planting a roadside bomb in Pashtun Kot district when the incident took place.
The Ministry of Interior also added that Shah Maqsood was in charge of a group of 30 militants in Farah province.
He was involved in various terrorist related activities in various parts of Farah province, the Ministry of Interior added.
Voter registration process has begun across the country on Saturday as per officials from the Independent Election Commission confirmed.
The registration process is taking place for the upcoming presidential elections which are due to take place in the month of September. The date was finalised after two postponements.
The candidates include: incumbent Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah, and former national security adviser, Muhammad Hanif Atmar.
Almost half of these 18 candidates had run in at least one previous presidential election. Apart from the incumbent (who had run unsuccessfully in 2009) and the 2009 and 2014 runner-up Chief Executive Abdullah, there are: Zalmai Rassul (2014), Latif Pedram (2005), and Hakim Tursan.
The US Congress has asked the US State Department now to make sure that Afghan women are included in the ongoing peace process in which Taliban is involved.
In a letter signed by several US Congress members, they have asked the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make sure the achievements of the Afghan women in the past 18 years should be protected.
A copy of the letter has also been sent to the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
In part of the letter, the US lawmakers expressed that the Afghan women were excluded from the peace talks during the February and May peace negotiations between the US negotiators and the Taliban members in Doha.
“During the February and May talks in Doha between American diplomates and the Taliban, Afghan women were not represented. Afghan women voices need to be heard – not just on women’s rights, but on the future of their country. We urge the State Department to protect Afghan women’s negotiation position and hard-won gains in all discussions with the Taliban,” the letter reads.