Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced about six more new cases of coronavirus in Afghanistan.
The Health Minister, Ferozuddin Firoz declared that three cases were confirmed in Herat province, two cases in Farah province and one other in Ghor province.
This comes as the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Afghanistan reaches to 40.
Following the increase of positive cases of coronavirus in Afghanistan, the Parliament Members at the Lower House on Sunday’s session decided to hold sessions once a week to prevent the spread of the novel pandemic.
The sessions are scheduled to take place on Wednesdays and MPs will work in parliamentary committees on other days of the week.
“The virus has spread to all across Afghanistan, even in parliament. The pandemic of the coronavirus has raised concerns,” Muhammad Din Hamdard, a Member of Parliament said.
However, the Upper House of Parliament is still working normally.
“At today’s session, we also asked the Senators to hold meetings once a week,” Senator Fawzia Sadat Amini added.
This comes as the total number of confirmed cases in Afghanistan reaches to 34.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) says China will provide medical supplies to Afghanistan to fight against coronavirus in the upcoming week.
The Acting Finance Minister, Homayoun Qayumi has met Wang Yu, the Chinese ambassador for Afghanistan in Kabul.
According to MoF, the acting Finance Minister has called China’s assistances essential and emphaized that Afghanistan needs more humanitarian aids in fight against coronavirus.
During the meeting, the Chinese ambassador said that China will provide two ventilators, two oxygen machines.
He added that the Alibaba group will also assist 1000 masks, 20,000 test kits and thermometers to Afghanistan.
Mr. Yu added that the Chinese experts have also shared their experiences with the Afghan officials through video conferences on how to fight against the coronavirus.
Pakistan-Afghanistan trade fell seven percent to $720.4 million in the first seven months of the current fiscal year of 2019/20 as exports to neighbouring country showed a downward trend, the central bank’s data revealed.
The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) latest data showed exports to Afghanistan declined to $633.1 million in the July-January period of FY2020, compared to $676.2 million in the corresponding period a year earlier. Imports, during the period, slid to $87.2 million from $98.7 million.
In January, exports to Afghanistan sharply fell to $89.9 million compared to $141.5 million in the same month a year earlier and $110.5 million in December last year. Monthly imports also decreased to $9.4 million in January from $13.5 million in the corresponding month a year earlier and $16.6 million in December 2019.
The landlocked Afghanistan depends on products’ inflows from Pakistan to meet its consumer needs. Pakistan is also used as a transit corridor for supply to the neighbouring country, fetching revenues for the tax authorities.
However, the cross-border trade slowed in the recent past due to strict monitoring and increasing cost of transit and bilateral trade, according to a last month’s report by a state-run Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (Tdap).
Unknown gunmen opened fire on vehicle of Zarifa Ghafari, the mayor of Maidan Sher in Maidan Wardak province, in Kabul city on Sunday afternoon, Kabul Police confirmed.
The spokesman of Kabul Police, Ferdaws Faramarz told Reporterly that the armed man opened fire on the Vehicle of Ghafari at around 13:30pm on Sunday in Spin Kalay Square PD5 of Kabul city.
According to Faramarz, Miss Ghafari has survived of the attack and is in a good condition.
Police added that investigations are underway regarding the incident.
President Ashraf Ghani says the government has allocated $300 million for the management and control of Afghanistan’s waters.
While planting a seedling in the Presidential Palace, Ashraf Ghani said, “In the past, 70 percent of Afghanistan’s forests were green but remained with no attention.”
Pointing to the slayed Dr. Nakamura, Ghani declared that Nakamura has instituted a new way of reforestation in Afghanistan; the Afghan people must pursue his ways.
President emphasized that the new practices experienced by the Japanese show that forests can turn into green for 2 and a half years and the most prominent example is the Ganbiri plain in eastern Afghanistan.
In the meantime, Ghani called the coronavirus a global catastrophe, saying: “We have significant forces that can be used to fight against the corona virus disaster.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the U.S. would seek to sanction not only the staff of the ICC, two of whom he cited by name, but also their families, in order to punish the court for its efforts to pursue an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan since 2003, including crimes committed by U.S. forces there.
Pompeo explicitly named the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s chef de cabinet, Sam Shoamanesh, and the court’s Head of Jurisdiction, Complementarity, and Cooperation, Phakiso Mochochoko, for “helping drive ICC prosecutor Bensouda’s effort to use this court to investigate Americans,” claiming that, by doing so, they are “putting Americans at risk.”
In a naked act of coercion, Pompeo explicitly threatened both these staff members and their family members, citing travel bans as an example of the punishment they would face: “We want to identify those responsible for this partisan investigation and their family members who may want to travel to the United States or engage in activity that’s inconsistent with making sure we protect Americans.”
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) says at least 26 Taliban insurgents have been killed and Wounded in Kandahar province.
MoD in a statement said that the Taliban insurgents attacked the security outposts of Khakriz District of Kandahar on Saturday night.
According to the statement, at least 12 Taliban insurgents were killed and 14 others were wounded during clashes with Afghan security forces.
This comes as the security forces have ramped up the offensives against the Taliban insurgents in their spring operations.
The Afghan Special Forces repulsed a Taliban attack in southern Zabul province, killing at least 4 militants during the clash, the Afghan military said.
The Special Operations Corps in a statement said the Taliban militants were looking to launch an attack on security posts in Bariha area located in the provincial capital of Zabul.
The statement further added that the Special Forces responded to the attack and killed 4 militants during the clash and seized 2 vehicles and some weapons together with munitions.
The Special Forces also arrested six Taliban militants following the clash, the Special Operations Corps added.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) killed 27 Taliban militants in northern Kunduz province, the Afghan military said.
MoD in a statement said the security forces responded killed the militants while reacting to Taliban Taliban attacks in Khanabad and Dasht-e Archi districts.
The statement further added that a large number of Taliban militants had also gathered in Imam Saheb district where they were planning a large scale attack against the security forces.
The 217th Pamir Corps also added that a local commander of Taliban, Qari Hafiz, was also among those killed and 19 other militants sustained injuries.
The Taliban group has not commented in this regard so far.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) says ten new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Afghanistan during the past 24 hours.
The Minister of Health, Ferozuddin Firoz said that for the first time two cases of coronavirus have been reported in Kabul.
Mr. Firuz in a press conference said that the ten cases include three in Herat, two in Kabul, one in Kandahar, one in Balkh, one in Ghazni and two others in Zabul.
The health minister cited that 220 suspected cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Kabul which two Members of the Lower House are among them.
Firuz stated that Herat province should go to a lockdown and urban buses should stop working in Kabul. He urged those who are more than 65 years of age should be quarantined at home.
He added that there is the possibility that the number of cases increase in the upcoming weeks.
President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said that the first cabinet meeting of the new solar year of 1399 was held and the main topic of the session was fighting against the coronavirus.
President declared that the new cabinet session had been delayed for two weeks because of consultations with the politicians, sqying the cabinet meeting had introduced the first deputy, the second deputy, as well as President’s special envoy for economic development and poverty reduction.
Ghani noted that the government is fully prepared to manage the crisis and control the situation caused by the spread of the Corona virus.
He added that preserving people’s lives, stabilizing the market and the economy, maintaining prices and ensuring that basic and medical care is the top priorities of the government.
Kabul Police have confirmed that at least two people have been wounded as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in PD19.
The spokesman of Kabul Police, Ferdaws Faramarz said, “An explosion occurred near KMTC camp at around 06:40am on Sunday.
According to Faramarz, the IED was emplaced in a median which two civilians were wounded in the incident.
He added that the wounded were transferred to the hospital.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.
The Afghan ambassador to Iran, Abdul Ghafoor Liwal says the Iranian officials cover up the information about the coronavirus cases of Afghan citizens.
Liwal in an interview with BBC said that the Iranian officials refuse to give the statistics of coronavirus cases of Afghans to the embassy.
According to Liwal, the exact death toll of Afghan citizens from coronavirus is not clear.
He added that he shared the complaints of Afghan citizens to Iranian authorities about the rejection of hospitals over Afghan citizens cases and the Iranian officials have assured that they will address the issue.
The official Iranian number is almost certainly an undercount, probably due to the Iranian government’s attempt to hide a desperate situation for which it is partially responsible.
Reports suggest that the Iranian number is much higher than currently disclosed tells the rest of the world that the epidemic is even further along than official statistics indicate.
Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives have announced their contributions to the Saarc Covid-19 Emergency Fund, which was proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 15, to fight spread of the deadly virus under a common regional strategy.
Afghanistan and Nepal pledged $1 million each, the Maldives pledged $200,000 and Bhutan $100,000.
Bangladesh is also working on the making contribution to the fund, which will be finalised today, said a foreign ministry official.
The development comes amid rising cases of Covid-19 that has triggered lockdowns in many countries worldwide, especially in Europe. Experts warn that it may turn serious if immediate and effective measures are not taken now, especially in the countries that are highly populated.
Saarc leaders too voiced similar concerns during a videoconference on March 15. On that day, the Indian PM had made an initial offer of $10 million.