Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said at least 134 Civilians Killed in Taliban’s attacks in the country during the past month.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said on Thursday that 476 people had been killed and wounded in Taliban attacks in the past month, including 134 killed and 342 wounded.
Arian stressed that the casualties were the result of Taliban “terrorist attacks” including 16 suicide bombings and 168 landmine explosions.
He called the killing of civilians a “grave crime” and said it is “unjustifiable”.
Although Taliban carried out widespread attack on security forces last month, the spokesman of MoI did not comment on the casualties of security forces.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday approved a $100 million grant to help the government of Afghanistan respond to the coronavirus disease.
“ADB reaffirms its full commitment to supporting Afghanistan in its fight against COVID-19 and reducing the adverse impact of the pandemic on the lives of Afghans and the economy,” said ADB President MasatsuguAsakawa.
“The assistance will help strengthen the health system, expand social protection for the poor and vulnerable population while ensuring gender mainstreaming, and support macroeconomic stabilization and job creation in Afghanistan,” he was quoted as saying in a press release.
Afghanistan’s economic outlook has deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic because of business lockdowns, a sharp drop in household incomes, and a downturn in regional trade and remittances. ADB forecasts Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) to contract by 5.0% this year.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday reported 276 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 2379 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 19 deaths and 276 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total reported deaths from COVID-19 is 1,841 and the total number of recoveries is 37302.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Takhar, Paktia, Kunduz, Baghlan, Parwan, Maidan wardak, Nimroz, Zabul, Laghman, Khost, Samangan, Uruzgan, Helmand and Faryab provinces.
The second Vice-President of Afghanistan has announced the establishment of a commission to protect human rights defenders in the country.
The senior members of this commission are the deputies of the Ministry of Interior, the Directorate of National Security, the competent representatives of the Attorney General, the Supreme Court, the Independent Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Committee of Human Rights Defenders.
According to the official website of the press office of Sarwar Danesh, the second vice president who chairs the commission, the decree to establish the commission was signed three days ago by President Ashraf Ghani.
Danesh had previously said that in order to ensure the immunity and security of human rights defenders, there must be two stages; Plan to take the necessary measures to prevent threats and violence and to prosecute and deal with perpetrators of violence and punishing them.
The commission’s proposal is part of a strategy to protect human rights defenders launched by Amnesty International and Afghan human rights organizations about two weeks ago.
According to Amnesty International officials, human rights activists are groups that fight violence against women, corruption and other anomalies and consist of lawyers, journalists and even teachers who teach children the values of human rights.
The organizers of the strategy for the protection of human rights defenders believe that the lack of a mechanism to support this group has led to the constant threat of threats, assassinations and kidnappings of human rights defenders in Afghanistan.
At least 103 Taliban insurgents have been killed and wounded during the clearance operation in Marouf, Panjwayee and Zheray districts in the past 24 hours, Kandahar Police said.
According to Kandahar Police, the Taliban suffered casualties during the operations of thwarting attacks on security outposts in Char Abb area of Marouf district, Pashmol area of Panjwayee district and Zalkhan area of Zheray district.
Kandahar Police added that the clearance operations are underway in these three districts and they will be cleared of insurgents at the earliest time.
The number of Finnish soldiers in the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan will decrease from about 60 to 20, the Finnish Defense Forces revealed in a press release.
The operation aims to provide training, advice and assistance to Afghan security forces and institutions in their attempts to tackle extremist groups such as the Taliban.
The share of Finnish soldiers involved will be reduced and the Finnish security team will return home, as the operation has been reorganized and certain tasks have ended. The changes will take effect immediately.
Finland’s Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) said in an interview at the beginning of October that the group of about 60 Finnish soldiers could be repatriated sometime in 2021, with Finland’s involvement in the operation likely to end in the spring.
In a breakthrough development, the Afghan government and the Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they had agreed on the procedure for intra-Afghan talks.
Both sides announced the milestone agreement in simultaneous tweets in the Pashto, Dari, Arabic, and English languages from the venue of the talks in Doha.
The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad has said that the two sides overcame a three-month impasse and agreed on rules and procedures for the negotiations.
The development is significant as it means the warring sides are getting closer to actually starting to negotiate the issues that could end decades of fighting in Afghanistan and determine the country’s post-war future.
But first they must decide on the agenda for the negotiations, which is the next step.
In a series of tweets, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on Wednesday there was a signed document and urged both the Taliban and the government to get down to the business of negotiating a “political roadmap and a ceasefire.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated the two sides on “perseverance and willingness to find common ground”, and added that the United States would “work hard with all sides in pursuit of a serious reduction of violence and ceasefire”.
The NATO chief has welcomed the breakthrough deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha.
Speaking at a news conference in Brussels after a defense ministers’ meeting, Jens Stoltenberg said: “This is one step towards lasting political, peaceful resolution of the war in Afghanistan.”
He said that all NATO allies strongly support the peace process, adding that they would like to see more progress on “establishing a political roadmap and a comprehensive cease-fire.”
EU ambassador to Afghanistan, Von Brandt on late Wednesday said that all EU ambassadors had a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and commended the Islamic Republic and the Afghan people on the first milestone in Doha amidst continued violence.
“Albeit procedural, this should pave the way for more substantive agreements An immediate ceasefire will be the utmost priority. We welcomed the progress on the High Council and encouraged for a broad inclusive „Assembly“ to follow. We committed to continue working with the region,” he said.
“We reiterated our Afghanistan2020-consensus on conditionality: peace, governance, anti-corruption and underscored the need to continue channeling large parts of our development assistance through NGOs,” he added.
The three-page document lays out the rules and procedures for the negotiations, which are taking place in Qatar where the Taliban have long maintained a political office.