Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The governor of Tiwara district of Ghor told Reporterly on Saturday, that the Taliban had blockaded all roads in and out of the district and laid an economic siege for the past two months.
Mohammad Rafiq Alam, the district governor of Tiwara, said that the militants were not allowing goods to be transported to the government-controlled areas and the people were being treated in the worst possible conditions.
He added that the fighters’ actions were affecting the almost 15,000 families who live in a government-controlled area of the district.
The Taliban had set up checkpoints on the roads leading to Tiwara and the fighters were harassing all travellers, Alam said.
The district governor said that provincial and security officials had discussed the blockade and were aware of the Taliban’s actions.
Afghanistan called for new measures to tackle the problem of the indiscriminate use of explosives against civilians, as they presented the draft resolution titled “Countering the Threat Posed by Explosive Devices” to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday.
Diplomat Sayed Musaddeq spoke at the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) General Debate and underscored the alarming trends that continue relating to the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Calling for new measures to tackle the problem, he shared the grim experience of terrorist attacks that have already claimed thousands of citizens’ lives, with perpetrators deploying large‑scale explosions and using a range of weapons, including improvised explosive devices.
Recognizing that the continued flow of conventional arms contributes to many conflicts, he also called for new measures to tackle the problem.
Describing the double threat that terrorism and organized crime pose to international peace and security, Musaddeq warned that unless more effective controls are enforced to prevent the flow of small arms and light weapons, conflicts and other forms of criminal activity will continue, with a spill over effect reaching across borders.
IEDs and roadside mines are one of the leading causes of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and has become a popular tactic for the Taliban.
On Saturday itself, a roadside bombs was discovered and defused in Kabul city, while three security personnel were killed and another was injured when their car hit a mine in the Salang district of Parwan.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said on Saturday, that the pervasive spread of poverty is one of the underlying causes of terrorist recruitment in the country.
Marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the AIHRC said that according to statistics, about one third of the people of Afghanistan live in absolute poverty and are deprived of their basic rights.
The rights commission said poverty was also responsible for the spread of diseases, violence and war, along with being a threat to international and national security.
“Discrimination, lack of justice, abuse of power and corruption have also exacerbated poverty in the country,” the AIHRC noted.
It called on the government to enact measures based on the principles of justice and the right to development.
Although the Central Statistics Office of Afghanistan claims that 54% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, reports by various agencies, including the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have predicted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty may rise up to 72% in Afghanistan.
In July, President Ashraf Ghani had said that 90% of Afghan households live below the poverty line, which is around 4.17 million families.
He had stressed that poverty was “not an event, but a catastrophe.”
In addition to poverty, Afghan citizens also struggle with unemployment. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, there are nearly two million unemployed citizens.
In the past 24 hours, 282 samples suspected of having Coronavirus were tested, of which 53 were positive, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Saturday, pushing the national tally to 40,141 confirmed cases so far.
Positive cases were reported in the provinces of Kabul, Balkh, Nangarhar, Paktia, Laghman, Kunar, Faryab and Paktika.
The MoPH reported that 45 people had recovered while three had succumbed to the illness.
Afghanistan has 5,092 active COVID-19 cases currently with 33,561 recoveries and 1,488 deaths.
Ghazni officials confirmed on Saturday, that Samiullah Hanafi, the executive director of Ghazni governor’s office and an employee of the provincial National Directorate of Security (NDS) were killed by unknown gunmen on Friday.
Wahidullah Jumazada, spokesperson for the Ghazni governor’s office, told Reporterly on Saturday, that the attack took place in the Roza area of PD3 of Ghazni city.
The gunmen fled after shooting the two men.
Investigations are ongoing to arrest the perpetrators, Jumazada said.
In the past day, the Taliban fighters carried out two attacks on security positions in Hairatan township and Bayez area of Chamtal district of Balkh, the 209 Shaheen Corps said on Saturday.
Afghan forces killed 11 Taliban militants, including Qari Shakoor, a Taliban Red Unit commander, and wounded eight more in the clashes.
The army also discovered and defused two mines in the Joy Wakil area of Shortepa districts and the Sar-e Asiab area of Chamtal district.
After several weeks of rising crimes and attacks in the capital, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said he will be directly looking after the security situation in Kabul, on the order of the president.
Attacks in the national capital are a huge blow to the morale of the people and spreads the perception that the government cannot protect its seat of power.
Saleh shared on his Facebook on Friday night, that he has taken control for a “few weeks,” saying he does not have the word “compassion” in his dictionary while dealing with criminals.
Implementing the Security Pact will be part of his responsibilities.
“I know Kabul like the back of my hand,” he added, referring back to his time as the Minister of Interior, head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and as a long-time resident. “All my other duties and responsibilities will be carried out as usual.”
The first vice president urged people to cooperate with the security forces and share information.
Daylight robberies, murders, assassinations, sticky bombs and IEDs have made life difficult for Kabul residents in the past few weeks.
Although the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Kabul Police regularly publish the list of detainees of criminals and thieves, crime rates remain high.
On Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani chaired a security meeting to discuss the security measures in Kabul and the implementation of the Security Pact. He told the city’s security officials to work towards improving the security in the capital urgently.
He also called for the use of better technologies and changed within the Kabul Police.
In the meantime, 300 security cameras were installed in different parts of Kabul.
Pakistani police said unidentified armed men torched four NATO armoured military vehicles that were being sent to the troops in Afghanistan on Friday.
The attack happened on the outskirts of Peshawar in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The gunmen first opened fire at the convoy to stop it, ordered the drivers to step off, and then set alight the two trailers that were carrying the vehicles.
The fire was later put out by firefighters. The armoured vehicles were destroyed while the two trailers were also damaged.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident, but the police have launched a search for the perpetrators.