Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Statistics now present that there may be more than 13,000 complaints regarding elections sent to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), elections watchdogs as per a study of TOLONews.
TOLONews reported that “Out of 13,000 complaints, 7,000 have been received by the IECC, 5,000 by TOLOnews and 1,300 complaints by the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan.”
The reasons cited for this alarming figure of complaints vary from poor management, lack of voters’ list in polling centers, absence of any biometric devices in some polling centers, misbehaviour or misconduct by IEC staff members towards voters or observers, and disallowing observers to monitor the vote counting process, to intimidation of voters and observers by candidates to twist the elections in their favour, and government officials overstepping their jurisdiction of work by intervening in electoral process. There were a lot many complaints of fraud and possible rigging. Security threat was another major concern.
“As the only legitimate authority, our provincial offices will assess the complaints for 15 days. After that, they will share the outcome of their investigation with complainers,” said IECC deputy chief Humaira Haqmal.
The IEC right after the elections declared that it has created a task team to investigate the fraud claims (a committee).
IEC officials began counting votes on Wednesday after the elections that took place last weekend, but on Thursday they announced that it is likely that the announcement of results may get delayed. Syed Hafizullah Hashimy, a spokesman for IEC, informed that the results could be delayed.
Preliminary results from the balloting were scheduled to be announced on November 10 and final results on January 19 next year.
Hashimi said that the process of transporting ballot boxes and biometric verification devices to Kabul will end in a week however.
But election watchdogs have opposed this statement as they feel elections should be out in due time.
Mohammad Naeem Ayoub Zada, who is the head of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan, believes that ill-managed elections by IEC and subsequent complaints which now need to be addressed, could be the reason for possible delay in the announcement of election results.
Afghan Defense Minister, Tariq Shah Bahrami, while meeting with the Ambassador of the Republic of the Czech, Petr Stepanek, in Kabul on Thursday afternoon, said that “Following the holding of successful parliamentary elections, terrorist attacks have increased, but we assure that each incident will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate measures will be taken accordingly. ”
During the visit, Czech Ambassador assured the Afghan Minister of Defense that his country’s cooperation continued within the framework of NATO’s Resolute support mission for education and advisory services to the Afghan Armed Forces.
Security officials have reported that 42 terrorists have been killed and wounded across 9 provinces of Afghanistan.
As per Ministry of Defence’s statement, as a result of invasive, cleanup, commando and airborne operations of the Afghan security forces over the past 24 hours in the provinces of Nangarhar, Ghazni, Uruzgan, Helmand, Faryab, Kandahar, Herat, Nimruz, and Balkh, 22 insurgents were killed and 20 others wounded.
Officials from the Ministry of Defense have announced the signing of a new policy to prevent harassment of women in the ministry.
Defense Minister, Tariq Shah Bahrami, in presence of other MoD officials and a number of female ANA personnel, signed a policy on prevention of women sexual harassment in Ministry of defense. MoD statement reads,
“From the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the chief of General Staff until the last ANA soldier, we are all committed to ensuring that our sisters have a safe and secure environment for serving the Afghan people within the framework of the Ministry of Defense, and by signing this policy we will prove our commitment to our sisters. ” said the Minster of defense.
Mr. Bahrami added that the Ministry’s continued and serious struggle against the phenomenon of sexual harassment has raised the credibility of the Ministry of Defense and raised the process of recruiting ANA personnel.
He further emphasized that all departments and detachment units of Ministry of Defense are required to implement this policy, and no procrastination or neglect is acceptable in this regard.
The policy has been prepared by the Directorate of Human Rights and Gender Coherence of the Ministry of Defense in four chapters.
A couple while travelling from Shahrak district to the provincial capital city, Feroz Koh, were stopped by the Taliban militants in Du Laina district and shot dead for eloping by the Taliban. This has been reported by local authorities.
The incident took place on Thursday.
Taliban has yet to make comment on the incident.
It has been reported by local officials that the IED blast in Herat city has wounded at least 4 children on Thursday.
The local officials have reported to have said “children were taken to hospital and are in a stable condition.”
On Thursday, Abdul Hanan Fehrdus, the Discus player from Afghanistan competed for the first time ever at Invictus games and came at 6th position out of 15.
A statement by Presidential Palace (ARG) on details of the Cabinet meeting reads: “the acting minister of Finance presented the national draft budget for 1398/2019 financial year, and after extensive discussions, the Cabinet approved the draft budget for FY 1398/2019, and assigned the Ministry of finance to review and process the budget in accordance with the meeting’s remarks, in coordination with the ministers and heads of government departments.”
At the meeting it has been reported that there was an increase of 1 billion and 43. 679 (approx) AFN allotted to FY 1397/2018 budget which was approved by the cabinet for the next fiscal year.
Thereafter, the adjustments to the national budget for fiscal year 1397/2018 were presented by the acting minister of Finance and the deputy Ministry of Finance, which was approved by the cabinet.
Chief Executive Abdullah on Thursday left for Kandahar for a visit. He was welcomed by the elders on his arrival at the province.
Dr Abdullah visited the grave of Late Gen Raziq who was martyred last week in an attack by Taliban.
It has been reported by officials that a magnetic bomb blast has occurred in Kabul earlier this morning. The blast was supposedly targeted at a vehicle of Attorney General Protection Unit in Mirwais township of Bagrami district.
So far 2 have been injured.
More details to follow. No information on claims of responsibility yet.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Moscow Summit on the Afghanistan peace with the presence of Taliban group members will be held on November 1, 2018.
The Izvestia newspaper quoted the diplomatic sources in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that the Taliban have confirmed their participation at the Moscow Summit.
It had previously been reported that talks between Afghan and Russian officials on the date of the Afghan Peace Summit in Moscow had ended without a conclusion.
The Moscow summit on Afghanistan was scheduled to take place on September 4, but was postponed due to the lack of involvement of the Afghan government and at the request of the country; now, the Foreign Ministry officials are working to jointly hold the summit.
After an American newspaper made claims that the US might be looking its own way to interact with Taliban with respect to US envoy Khalizad meeting with Taliban, Jens Stoltenberg the NATO chief made it clear that the US is going to continue the peace efforts with the Afghan government.
“For us, the important thing is it is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process and I am absolutely certain that the US coordinates that efforts closely with Kabul and the Ghani government and I know that they have discussed this several times,” Stoltenberg told a news conference.
He added that direct links between Taliban and US is crucial so as to find a peaceful solution to Afghan stability and peace. “Our most important contribution to the peace process is to send a clear message to the Taliban and to the other insurgents that they cannot win on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said ahead of Trident Juncture, NATO’s biggest exercise.
He also added “So we have to train, assist and advise the Afghan forces in a way that enables them to make clear for the Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield, they have to sit down at the negotiating table.”
Finally the chief confirmed that a meeting would be held in Resolute Support format in NATO headquarter later in the day to discuss Afghan peace efforts.
Islamabad came out with a statement on Wednesday to shun any claims for the Kandahar attack calling the allegations ‘baseless’.
On Tuesday President Ashraf Ghani while addressing a press conference in his Kandahar visit said that the conspiracy of Kandahar attack might have been plotted in Pakistan, asking Pakistan to hand over the terrorists and those who are guilty.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, “No hard evidence or intelligence related information has been shared to date with Pakistan to substantiate such claims. In the presence of elaborate mechanisms under Afghanistan -Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS) to mutually and effectively address and investigate any such unfortunate incidents, it would have been more appropriate to invoke the relevant arrangement instead of resorting to media blame game which is contrary to the seven principles of cooperation agreed between the two sides, earlier this year.”
Afghanistan’s spy chief has claimed that the attacker received call from across the border minutes before he launched the assault.