Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The World Bank Group has approved a $98.8m financing package, comprising a mix of guarantees, a loan, and swaps, for two gas-to-power energy projects in Afghanistan.
The financing is aimed at increasing domestically generated electricity through the gas-to-power energy projects, whilst leveraging private financing for the energy sector in the country.
World Bank Afghanistan country director Henry Kerali said: “Afghanistan’s energy needs are enormous, and the new package will support a great step forward for the country’s development. Investing in the energy sector is key for the country to achieve its full growth potential.
“Diversifying sources of electricity supply can help more Afghans benefit from reliable grid connections, improve employment generation and economic growth of the country, and reduce poverty. The World Bank Group stands with the Government of Afghanistan throughout the implementation of the projects to ensure their timely and effective completion.”
The $98.8m financing package will support Sheberghan and Mazar-e-Sharif Gas-to-Power Projects
The financing package supporting the Sheberghan project features a $12.8m guarantee from the International Development Association (IDA), a World Bank Group fund, while the rest is for the Mazar-e-Sharif project.
The Afghan government says it has shut down its consulate in Peshawar in protest at a police raid at the northwestern Pakistani city’s Afghan Market.
The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad on October 11 condemned the overnight raid in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province’s capital, and accused the provincial government of making a “unilateral decision” regarding the long-standing dispute over the market’s ownership.
“Afghanistan’s flag was removed from the building,” the embassy said in a statement, adding that such actions were “against diplomatic norms.”
Kabul says the Afghan Market is the property of Afghanistan’s national bank.
However, a Pakistani court this week ruled that a Pakistani citizen, Shaukat Kashmiri, was the owner, and ordered the city authorities to vacate the building and hand it over to Kashmiri.
Local officials say a series of explosions in Jalalabad city including one from a bombing outside a mosque, wounded five people.
The explosions began shortly after 7 a.m. on Friday, first targeting the house of the head of the Nangarhar provincial council.
Ahmad Ali Azrat, a provincial council member, says a councilman’s bodyguard was wounded. A second explosion nearby, minutes later, hurt one civilian.
Provincial police spokesman Mubariz Atal says a bomb planted outside a mosque in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, exploded soon after worshippers had finished their weekly Friday prayers.
All three explosive devises appeared to be remotely detonated.
No group claimed responsibility, but both the Islamic State and the Taliban in the area.
The former general secretary of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) has been banned for five years and fined after FIFA’s ethics committee found him guilty of violations relating to the abuse of female players.
As per Reuters reporter, the world soccer body said in a statement that the investigation into Sayed Aghazada concerned complaints lodged by several female Afghan football players against former AFF president Keramuudin Karim.
Karim was banned for life in June.
The female players’ complaints related to sexual abuse between 2013 and 2018, at a time when Aghazada was the AFF’s general secretary.
“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that Mr Aghazada was aware of this abuse and had the duty to report and prevent it according to the FIFA Code of Ethics,” FIFA said on Friday.
“Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Aghazada had breached … the FIFA Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a ban … for five years. In addition, a fine in the amount of 10,000 Swiss francs (8,009.63 pounds) has been imposed.”
Aghazada was also a FIFA standing committee member and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee member.
Local officials in Kandahar said that National Directorate of Security (NDS) personnel have arrested a 15-memers terrorist group during the past two weeks.
Kandahar provincial governor’s office in a statement on Thursday said that NDS personnel in cooperation of people have arrested the group during the operations carried out in past two weeks.
The detainees have been involved in assassination of government employees, tribal elders and religious scholars, the statement noted.
The statement added that NDS forces seized 5 rifles, 2000 rounds of the rifle, 3 pistols, and several motorcycles in the operations.
The head of IT department of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has been introduced to the Attorney General Office (AGO), officials confirmed.
Officials said that Kabir Panahi was introduced to AGO due to the problems in biometric devices on Election Day, particularly about the missing of voters’ names in the devices.
Panahi was introduced for prosecution by the Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC).
President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah have met with a US Senate delegation in Kabul on Thursday.
The US senators, Margaret Hassan and Chirstopher Van Hollen met with Ghani on Wednesday evening, presidential Palace in a statement said.
The statement noted that the senators congratulated the successful holding of presidential election in Afghanistan, saying the vote was important for strengthening democracy.
They appreciated the Afghan security forces for protecting the vote and said that the US welcomes a peace process which preserves gains made over the last two decades, the statement read.
President Ghani also praised the continued US cooperation and support for Afghanistan, adding that Afghanistan, in cooperation with the international community shaped a new chapter of reconstruction and development since 2001.
In the meantime, in a separate meeting, the senators also met with CE Abdullah this morning and discussed election and peace.
The US senators noted that US senate supports the Afghan peace process and the success of peace talks depend on reduction in violence and Taliban’s acceptance of ceasefire, chief executive office in a statement said.
The senators termed the election a step towards consolidating democracy in Afghanistan and noted that it was up to the election commissions to ensure transparency and credibility of the vote.
Abdullah further added that national unity, political consensus and consensus on peace efforts, security, and fight against corruption, preserving balanced and active foreign policy and addressing people’s real needs were his priorities.
Afghan local officials have said that more than 6,000 families have reportedly fled the conflicts in Takhar province.
Provincial government Spokesman Mohammad Jawad Hejri stated that thousands of households have left their residences due to fierce clashes between government security forces and Taliban militants in some districts in northern part of Takhar.
“Some 2,500 families sought asylums in the provincial capital Taluqan and some adjacent areas with satisfactory security, while a rough figure left to neighboring Kunduz province, as clashes engulfed some other districts in Takhar,” said Hejri, adding that up to 600 families have been covered by the aid agencies.
Some displaced families were also provided with assistance in Kunduz province, according to Hejri.
The province has witnessed heavy clashes since early this year.
At least eleven Taliban insurgents have been killed in Nehr Saraj district of Helmand province, Ministry of Interior (MoI) said.
MoI in a statement on Thursday said that 11 Taliban militants were killed in two separate operations carried out by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in Yakhchal region, Nehr Saraj district of Helmand and Wazir Manda region, on the Helmand highway.
The statement noted that several Taliban hideouts, a bomb making factory of the group were also destroyed during the operations.
At least 12 Taliban insurgents have been killed a series of airstrike and armed clash in Balkh province, army officials said.
209 Shaheen Corps in a statement said, “Afghan Security Forces conducted airstrikes targeting a Taliban gathering at around 07:00 PM Wednesday in Kohna Chatmal district.
The security forces also clashed with Taliban insurgents in Balkh district of the province, the statement read.
The statement added that security forces and civilians were not harmed in the incidents.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) forces have targeted a hideout of Taliban insurgents in Ab Band district of Ghazni province, local officials said.
Ghazni provincial governor’s office in a statement on Thursday said, “703 Unit of NDS backed by Air Force carried out an operation at a hideout of Taliban group on Wednesday night in Chori village of Ab Band district.”
The statement noted that 1 rifle, 1 pistol, 3 shotguns, 3 combat vests, 2 cameras, 3 phones and 1 military uniform were seized by the security forces during the operation.
NDS forces also destroyed 3 motorcycles, 10kg of explosive material and some documents in the raid, the statement added.
National Security Advisor (NSA) said that there is skepticism about the Taliban’s intention for peace and that the group lacks a common view on war and peace.
NSA Hamdullah Mohib made the remarks in a meeting with NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, Sir Nicholas Kay, Office of National Security Advisor said in a statement.
While discussing issues of war and peace, NSA clarified the government’s position and stressed on ceasefire as precondition to talks with the Taliban, the statement said.
At the meeting, the NATO civilian representative also said that the solutions to any crisis are talks and agreement.
He also reaffirmed NATO’s support for Afghanistan National and Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and intra-Afghan settlement, the statement added.
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan have completed their annual conference in British Columbia and launched their new project called Gender Equity in Teacher Training to Improve Girls’ Education in Afghanistan.
This $1.3 million project will train women teachers.
Canadian women emphasized the importance of Afghan women’s participation in Afghanistan’s peace process.
Marzia Nawrozi, Feminist Majority Foundation staff member and Afghan women’s rights advocate, described FMF’s outreach to the Afghan Women Network in Afghanistan, and to members of Congress, as well as FMF’s work to continue U.S. support for the inclusion of Afghan women and Afghan government in the peace process.
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan goals are to advance education and educational opportunities for Afghan women and their families, and to educate Canadians about human rights in Afghanistan.
Their current project portfolio includes schools and school equipment, teacher training, educational resources, literacy classes and libraries in eight provinces.
At least three people have been killed and injured in a roadside bomb blast in Helmand province, local officials said.
A spokesperson of Helmand governor, Omer Zwak said that a policeman was killed and 2 others injured when a roadside bomb exploded near a police vehicle.
He added that the incident took place in Greshak district of Helmand province.
The Afghan government has refused to keep the Torkham border crossing open round the clock on the pretext of lack of necessary facilities on their side of the frontier, officials said.
According to the fresh schedule, Afghan border security officials permit the trailers to cross only between 9am and 7pm.
Border officials from both the countries held a meeting on Tuesday evening wherein Pakistani authorities apprised their Afghan counterparts of slow pace of clearing process at the crossing point.
The Afghan officials responded that the clearing procedure is slow due to lack of relevant staff.
They said as counting process of votes is in progress after the presidential election in Afghanistan, they have been directed by the Kabul government not to clear trucks carrying retails commodities.
On Tuesday, Afghan officials only cleared the trucks loaded with cement.