Newsfeed; Thursday, December 10 2020

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…


  • 10 Dec 2020 Share this post

    NAI Denounces Lack of Investigations Into Killing of Journalists

    Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan-Nai has denounced lack of investigations into the killing of journalists in Afghanistan, saying the government is not serious regarding the matter.

    Nai officials and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in a press conference on Thursday called on the Afghan government to identify and punish the perpetrators of Malalai Maiwand’s murder and other journalists. They also told the Taliban to prove they were not involved in killing the journalists.

    Mujib Khalwatgar, the executive director of Nai, said that 10 journalists and media workers had been killed in the country, including Malalai Maiwand and his driver since last winter.

    Afghan female journalist Malalai Maiwand was killed with her driver after gunmen attacked her vehicle today in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province.

    According to Khalwatgar, the government, especially the security and intelligence agencies in Nangarhar, should respond to why Ms. Malalai was killed despite all the threats; Threats that everyone was aware of; “They must respond and those who did not do their job must be prosecuted.”

    He cited that the female journalist community in Afghanistan is more affected by such crimes than men. According to him, there are no female media workers in eight provinces of Afghanistan, and now the killing of Ms. Maiwand is narrowing the space for female journalists even more.

    However, CEO of Nai called on the government to seriously investigate the murder cases of journalists and to expose and punish the perpetrators.

  • 10 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Afghan Anti-Corruption Strategy Poorly Designed: IW

    On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, Integrity Watch (IW) launched its Progress Review of the National Strategy for Combatting Corruption (2017–2019).

    “The Afghan government and its international partners have come up with a plethora of new anti-corruption laws, regulations and institutions over the past 15 years, but corruption in Afghanistan remains widespread, adversely affecting the ability of the government to maintain security for, and deliver basic public services to, its citizens,” Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch said.

    He explained that the reason these efforts have not resulted in reducing corruption in the country is because there is a weak and at times no political will on the part of the Afghan government and politicians and the international community has had a inconsistent approach to state-building in Afghanistan.

    According to the press release, The lack of progress in the fight against corruption, coupled with increasing pressure from Afghanistan´s international partners, led the Afghan government to make a series of high-level anti-corruption commitments in international summits, including the London Conference on Afghanistan in 2014, the London Summit in 2016, the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in 2016, and the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan in 2018.

    “A significant number of these commitments were incorporated into Afghanistan´s National Strategy for Combating Corruption (NSCC) 2017-2019,” the press release reads.

    Sayed Ziafatullah Saeedi, one of the researchers of this report, stated, “Overall, a clear pattern has emerged: While benchmarks typically received good scores for diagnoses of the underlying problems and relevance to the core functions of the implementing institutions, they scored poorly with regards to consultation and monitoring and most crucially of all, the majority benchmarks received very low scores for achieving meaningful results.

    Mr. Afzali stated that while weak political will and state-capture by corrupt political elite are major drivers of the failure in anti-corruption, operational and implementation level reasons and causes that led to the failure of the strategy including limited consultations with stakeholders including civil society, poor diagnoses, a continued lack of focus and prioritization, limited resources being allocated for implementation of reforms, little attention to international best practices, and limited focus on public participation in the fight against corruption and protection of civic space.

    Integrity Watch in a press release revealed its research which has found that the Afghan anti-corruption strategy was poorly designed and faced weak political will and under-resourced in its implementation that therefore led to very few tangible results.

  • 10 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Ministry of Health Reports 213 New Cases of COVID-19

    The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on thursday reported 213 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1,401 samples tested in the last 24 hours.

    The ministry also reported 18 deaths and 71 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

    The total reported deaths from COVID-19 is 1,939 and the total number of recoveries is 38,221.

    The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Paktia, Bamyan, Baghlan, Parwan, Nimruz, Daikundi, Logar, Helmand, Laghman, Ghor, Kunar, Kapisa and Zabul provinces.

  • 10 Dec 2020 Share this post

    New Report Explores COVID-19’s Impact on Internet in Afghanistan

    The Internet Society in a report said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have shifted their day-to-day activities to online.

    According to the new report of Internet Society, the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Internet Performance in Afghanistan, examines the impact of this fall in the performance and quality of Internet services in the country on online users.

     

    Informed by an online survey, taken by two hundred Internet users – predominantly tech-savvy city dwellers with access to the Internet – the report reveals there is a decline in Internet performance in Afghanistan.

    It shows that though the performance decline frustrated online users, more are increasingly spending on high-speed Internet.

    The research advocates for government and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take advantage of the situation and accelerate efforts to increase network capacity and reliability to address the performance gaps.

  • 10 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Pakistan’s Exports to Afghanistan Decline by 12pc in 4 Months of FY 2020-21

    Pakistan’s exports of goods and services to Afghanistan witnessed a decrease of 12.55 percent during the first four months of current financial year (2020-21) compared to the corresponding period of last year.

    The overall exports to Afghanistan were recorded at $296.463 million during July-October (2020-21) against exports of $339.033 million during July-October (2019-20), showing negative growth of 12.55 percent, according to the data of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

    On year-to-year basis, the exports to Afghanistan in October 2020 also decreased by 8.89 percent from $95.054 million (last year) to $86.595 million.

    However, on month-on-month basis the exports to of Afghanistan witnessed an increase of 0.59 percent during October 2020 when compared to $86.083 million in September 2020.

  • 10 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Unknown Gunmen Killed Afghan Female Journalist, Driver in Nangarhar

    Afghan female journalist at Enikass Radio and TV, Malalai Maiwand was killed with her driver on Thursday morning in an attack by unidentified armed men on their vehicle in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province, local officials confirmed.

    The incident took place at around 07:10am local time in the Golaye Araban area in PD3 of Jalalabad, saidthe provincial governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani.

    “She was on her way to the office when the incident occurred,” Khogyani said, adding that “her driver was also shot and killed in the attack.”

    According to Khogyani, Maiwand was also an activist in Nangarhar province.

    No group, including the Taliban, has immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.

  • 10 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Afghan Women Arrive in Kazakhstan as Part of EU-funded Educational Project

    A second group of ten Afghan women, recipients of the scholarships funded by the European Union, arrived in Kazakhstan to pursue education, the press-service of regional point of OSCE said on December 9.

    The students will begin their academic journey with online English language classes at Almaty Management University (AlmaU) Language School.

    After its completion, they will enroll at one of the top universities in Kazakhstan – Kazakh-British Technical University, to study mining.

    “The project runs under a €2 million grant provided by the EU to support Afghan women in their strive for higher education. In total, 50 Afghan women will obtain higher, technical, and vocational education at various universities across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan by 2025,” the OSCE said.

    “Empowering women via education creates vast personal as well as economic impact, such as it generates opportunities to realise one’s potential and ability to contribute to their communities upon returning to Afghanistan,” it added.

    “Women are central to economic growth and sustainable development and their economic empowerment is crucial to the progress of any country. According to the new EU Strategy for Central Asia, it is in the joint interest of the EU and of Central Asian states to intensify cooperation to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. In other words, without a peaceful Afghanistan, there will be no prosperous Central Asia. Connecting Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan by an ‘educational bridge’ strengthen the social and economic linkages among them, thus contributing to address security challenges, and helping ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future for the region, the press service said, quoting EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Sven-Olov Carlsson.

    The first group of 30 Afghan women arrived in Almaty in October 2019.