Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
In a major crackdown on drug menace, over 1 Kg of high-quality heroin was seized after India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has busted an international drug syndicate which was being operated from Afghanistan and Delhi NCR.
As per India Today report quoting an Indian official, nine Afghan nationals were also arrested in this connection.
A special drive was launched after the agency received information that few Afghanistan nationals are trying to get heroin trafficked in India via body concealment.
The official stated that on the spot interrogation of the two apprehended passengers – Yusufzai Rahamatullah and Faiz Mohammad -revealed that they were sent by a person based in Afghanistan and were supposed to meet India-based Afghan person named Hayatullah.
Following the information, Hayatullah was apprehended from the airport itself and his examination and interrogation led the team to further follow up action which resulted in the apprehension Masood Mohammad, who was based in Lajpat Nagar.
A detailed probe is on to identify other linked persons of this syndicate, the official added.
Afghan second Vice-President Sarwar Danish says the Afghan government is fully prepared to become a member of the Media Freedom Coalition for various reasons.
The VP’s office in a press release on Sunday said that Mr. Danish has made the remarks in a meeting with the UK Ambassador Alison Blake.
According to the press release, Danish welcomed Britain’s invitation to Afghanistan to become a member of the Media Freedom Coalition.
“VP Danish has stressed that one of the issues that the Afghan government and people have unanimously emphasized in the peace process is the freedom of expression and media. Experience has shown that groups such as the Taliban fear these two values,” the press release reads.
He also urged Afghanistan’s international partners to emphasize the protection of freedom of expression and media in any peace deal, and to stand with the Afghan government and people.
In the meantime, the UK Ambassador Alison Blake called Afghanistan a serious supporter for the freedom of expression and media, adding that now is a good opportunity for Afghanistan to become a member of this global coalition.
The spokesperson for the Afghan President, Sediq Sediqi says the government’s plan for the start of peace negotiations is a “ceasefire”.
“The Afghan government’s plan to start the peace talks is a ceasefire. Reducing violence does not have the exact military, legal and practical meaning,” Sediqi said in a tweet.
“For us, the real meaning of peace is the end of fighting–there is a need for clarification in plans,” he asserted.
President’s spokesman has emphasized that the ceasefire initiative has been experienced internationally.
“For us, peace means the end of war. The incidence of all forms of violence depends on war,” he added.
This comes as the escalation between the United States and Iran over the killing of an Iranian commander now has sparked deep concerns about prospects for the peace process in Afghanistan, with officials and experts warning that Iran could collaborate with the Taliban to thwart American efforts in the country.
The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Idrees Zaman and the Iranian Ambassador to Kabul Bahador Aminian have reviewed issues related to recent Ukrainian plane crash in Tehran in which 13 Afghan passengers were killed.
Minister Zaman has expressed condolences and regret over the sad occasion.
He also elaborated on forming a special international working group aiming to coordinate issues and to respond to families of the victims.
Meanwhile, Aminian has also condoled with Afghan victims and expressed Iran’s readiness to address the accident.
The plane of Ukrainian airlines crashed near Tehran minutes after the take-off from Imam Khomeini Airport.
All the 167 passengers and nine crew members were killed in the incident.
Afghan local officials have confirmed that at least three people including a woman have been killed and three others have been wounded after flash floods hit the Helmand province.
“At least three people including a woman have been killed and three others wounded, as a result of flash floods in Kajaki district of Helmand province,” the office of Helmand governor said in a statement.
According to the statement, the health officials are trying to address the casualties.
“The roofs of two houses in Kharabi area of Nawa district have also collapsed due to the heavy rains and there are no details about the casualties so far,” the statement said.
In the meantime, the heavy rains also caused floods in Lashkar Gah city, the capital of Helmand province, and no casualties have been reported so far.
The governor’s office added that the flooding has not created any problem for the highways so far and the highways are still open to traffic.
A Pakistani national who was financing the Taliban group in northeastern Afghanistan has been killed in an airstrike while traveling in a vehicle, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.
MoD in a press release on Sunday the financial in charge of Taliban has been killed in an airstrike in Imam Saheb district of Kunduz province.
MoD has identified the Pakistani national as Muhibullah who was activating in northeastern zone of the country.
“Muhibullah has been killed by an airstrike while he was in a Corolla type vehicle,” the press release added.
Afghan security officials in Herat province say all highway routes to the province have been closed due to the heavy snowfalls.
The spokesman of Herat Police, Abdul Ahad Walizada told Reporterly, “All the highway routes to the Herat province have been closed due to the continuation of heavy snowfalls.”
Walizada added that Police efforts are underway for the reopening of the highways and they will be opened to traffic at the earliest time.
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai met ailing Nawaz Sharif at his Avenfield apartments in London on Saturday.
He was received by two sons of the former Prime Minister – Hassan and Hussain Nawaz – upon his arrival at their swanky British address.
Addressing the media following the meeting, Karzai said he visited the three-time Pakistani premier to inquire after his health. “It’s good to see him in good health,” said the former Afghan president, who was accompanied by PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif at the presser.
“During my visits to Pakistan and Mian Sahib’s (Nawaz) visits to Afghanistan, I found him extremely kind … it’s good to see him in good health [again],” said Karzai.
Nawaz had left for London on November 19 in an air ambulance to seek medical treatment, a month after he was released on bail from a seven-year prison sentence for corruption
A U.S. soldier from Aurora was one of the two U.S. service members killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan, city officials said.
As per abc News, the City of Aurora announced Saturday night that 21-year-old Miguel Villalon has died.
Villalon, a graduate of East Aurora High School, was serving in Afghanistan when he was fatally struck by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province, Aurora officials said.
The Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack.
“Our prayers and condolences are with the Villalon family during this tragic time,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin, a veteran of the United States Army.
The U.S. military did not identify the service members killed, in keeping with Defense Department rules.
The Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has transferred 878 million Afghanis ($11.3mn) to the special account of the Ministry of Finance to be spent through the national budget.
As per Wasdam report, these revenues come from a 2.5% on the net incomes of the telecommunication company sales and will be spent on certain project including ATRA’s development projects.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers have expressed concerns over lack of transparency and accountability in the transfer of money from the government institutions to the Ministry of Finance.
Last week, lawmakers agreed to form a commission to probe into the reports of alleged embezzlement of the two emergency funds (Code 91 and Code 92), the transfer of 15bn Afghanis from Afghanistan’s central bank to Ministry of Finance, and the lack of transparency in the collection of 10% levied on telecom services.