Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Foreign Minister of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin met with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells on Tuesday.
The diplomats discussed current bilateral cooperation and its prospects, exchanged views on security and other relevant issues, the Foreign Ministry of Tajikistan said.
The security situation and peaceful process in the neighboring Afghanistan was discussed among other issues.
A special attention was reportedly paid to further reinforcement of Tajik-Afghan border, consistent efforts on joint fight against terrorism, extremism, radicalism and illicit drug trafficking.
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday that the United States is expected to come back to logical path of friendly relations and fulfill its obligations in Afghanistan.
Hamid Karzai made the remarks on Tuesday on the sidelines of “Tehran Dialogue Forum”.
He extended condolence to Iran the killing of Qasem Soleimani, in the US targeted airstrike at Baghdad airport.
“We extend our deepest condolences to our noble and friendly nation. Iran and Afghanistan are two countries close to each other and close enjoying common language, history, culture and art,” he said.
“Tehran Dialogue Forum” opened in presence of Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi and the former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and several other high-ranking dignitaries from the neighboring states.
At least 32 people have been killed in a stampede that erupted in the Iranian city of Kerman at the funeral procession for a top commander killed in a US air strike, Iran’s state TV said.
Another 190 people were wounded in Tuesday’s stampede, according to local media reports.
Thousands of people had gathered in Kerman for the burial of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, who was assassinated on Friday near the international airport of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.
The industry for beekeeping has been on the rise in northern Badakhshan province as honey production in the relatively peaceful province has reached to 283 tons, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock said.
According to the weekly Dehqan, more than 590 large and small-scale honey farms have been producing honey in Badakhshan province.
Appreciating the booming beekeeping industry in Badakhshan province, Moenudin Aini, the provincial head of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, told the paper that the suitable climate situation, the existence of flowers and awareness of most apiculturists are the factors behind the 60 percent increase in honey production in the province.
Badakhshan provides honey to local market and neighboring provinces at a price from 450 Afghani (5.8 U.S. dollars) per kilogram to 1,200 afghani (15.5 U.S. dollars) per kilogram depending on its quality, the paper added.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has cautioned that escalating tensions in the Middle East following the killing of Iran’s Al-Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani could hit the already fragile reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
“The crisis will have a negative impact on Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s efforts in this regard could be undone,” said Qureshi while delivering a policy statement during the Senate session in Islamabad.
“Some elements, who have long been awaiting for this [kind of] moment, may take advantage and try to derail the Afghan peace process,” he further said without naming any individual, group or the country.
The Afghan peace process, however, is still awaiting a breakthrough.
Three Afghan men have been arrested in Spain over the alleged sexual assault of three sisters from the United States on News Years Eve, the Spanish authorities said.
The alleged victims, aged 23, 20 and 18, who are from Ohio, were reportedly attacked on New Year’s Eve in the southeastern Spanish city of Murcia by three Afghan men aged between 20 and 25.
In a press conference on Jan. 3, Francisco Jiménez, the Spanish Government delegate in Murcia, said the alleged sexual assaults took place in two different homes, one of which was in the Plaza de la Candelaria, where the youngest of the victims lived while she was studying in the city reported Euro Weekly News.
The second location belonged to the three arrested Afghan citizens, he said.
Local newspaper, La Opinión de Murcia, reported that the alleged victims and attackers initially met in a pub during the New Year’s Eve celebrations before one of the sisters left with one of the men to go to his home.
The men were taken to different police stations after spending the night in a station located in Plaza Ceballos, near the neighborhood of Santa Eulalia where the events took place, Jiménez said.
Two of the three men had recently been granted political asylum in Spain and one of them is studying professional training in the country. None of them has a criminal record, he added.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that they will issue five years ‘tourism’ visa for all nationalities including Afghans.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday announced that tourist visas in the UAE will now be issued for five years.
” We change the system of issuing tourist visas in the country, to make the duration of the tourist visa for five-years, multiple uses, for all nationalities.”, Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.
We received more than 21 million tourists annually, and we want to establish the UAE as an international tourist destination, he added.
The Lower House of parliament has approved two presidential decrees on obtaining $100 million loan for construction of Kabul ring road and Armak-Sabszak-Qala-i-Naw road in northwestern Badghis province.
The Kabul ring road will start from Kabul square in Pul-i-Charkhai and will cover Kabul-Parwan square in Dehsabz district of Kabul, MaidanWardak, Qala-i-Haidar Khan area of Paghman and Kabul-Logar square on the outskirt of Chaharasiab district of Kabul and around Kabul city.
According to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Kabul ring road cost will be around $70 million and the Armak-Qala-i-Naw road in Badghis will cost $30 million.
The Ministry of Mines and Oil has announced that President Ghani ordered the termination of contracts with the two companies at the Gold Mine in Badakhshan and the Balkhab copper mine in Sar-ePul at the National Senior Economic Council meeting (High Economic Council meeting).
Mutfi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Oil, said that the operating contracts for the two gold and copper mines were terminated because they were unable to meet the commitments they had made in the bid, mainly because the companies had failed to meet their financial commitments, and the two companies were supposed to invest $87 million in these projects.
In 2012, a former government minister was a major shareholder in a Turkish-Afghan mining joint venture and a British mining company that won the rights to exploit the Badakhshan gold mine and the Balhab copper mine.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) says at least 69 Taliban insurgents have surrendered to the security forces in Ghor province.
MoD in a press release has said that 55 Taliban fighters surrendered to security forces in Kamenj area of Shahrak district of Ghor province on early Monday morning.
The press release added that 14 Taliban fighters under the leadership of the commander Abdul Baghi also surrendered to security forces on late Monday.
This comes as the operation “Toofan Harirod” is still underway for clearing the insurgents from the villages of the Shahrak district of Ghor.
All members of the Atlantic alliance stood behind the United States in the Middle East after it briefed NATO on its drone attack that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.
Speaking after a rare NATO meeting on Iran and Iraq in which the United States briefed its allies about last Friday’s drone attack, Stoltenberg also called for a de-escalation of tensions, echoing the statements of some European leaders.
“We are united in condemning Iran’s support of a variety of different terrorist groups,” Stoltenberg said. “At the meeting, allies called for restraint and de-escalation. A new conflict would be in no one’s interest. So, Iran must refrain from further violence and provocations.”
Despite anger last year among European NATO allies over US strategy in the Middle East under President Donald Trump, two diplomats present confirmed that the two-hour meeting at NATO headquarters went smoothly.
The Presidential Palace says that President Ghani has met with the family of Amer Abdul Sattar, a former Mujahideen commander who was killed in a security forces’ operation in Kabul on Sunday.
Elders from the provinces of Kapisa, Panjshir and Parwan were also present at the meeting in which Ghani extended his condolences to Amer Abdul Sattar’s family and ordered an investigation into the incident.
Amer Abdul Sattar was a former Mujahideen leader who was killed with four others in an operation by the security forces in the north of Kabul.
Amer Satar was from Ghorband valley of Parwan province.
The death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani may mark the beginning of a Middle Eastern war that will make previous wars in the region look like “a picnic,” the 2020 US presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard told Fox News.
Appearing in an exclusive interview on “The Story,” Gabbard slammed Trump for escalating tensions in the Middle East and questioned the “goal” of taking out Iran’s top military commander.
“We’ve got to be clear-eyed about the situation that we are in,” Gabbard said.
“Speeding towards an all-out war with Iran will make the wars that we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan look like a picnic,” she added. “It will be far more costly in American lives and American taxpayer dollars … [and] all toward accomplishing what goal? What objective? I think that’s really at the crux at this decision that President Trump made to take out Soleimani.”
Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force has been killed in a US air raid in Baghdad.