Newsfeed; Wednesday, December 23 2020

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…


  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Afghan Foreign Ministry Criticizes Zarif’s Remarks After Taliban Warning

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Afghan House of Representatives have stated that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s statement that the Islamic Republic supports some 2,000 Afghan refugees in the Syrian war is against Afghanistan’s foreign policy and in clear violation of international conventions.

    In a recent interview with TOLOnews, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he was unaware of the number of casualties of Afghan nationals sent to Syria and that the Iranian government was giving concessions to their families.

    Mr. Zarif had stated: “Those who went to Syria joined the anti-IS-K forces in Syria to fight ISIL. We also unequivocally supported the forces that resist terrorism and extremism.”

    Mr. Zarif’s remarks have provoked a backlash from the Afghan Foreign Ministry. “Afghanistan’s foreign policy does not allow Afghan citizens to engage in regional wars and conflicts in countries other than under the Afghan flag,” said Gran Hivad, a spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry.

    “This (sending Afghan refugees to the war in Syria) is against international conventions and the rights of refugees,” said Atiq Ramin, head of the Afghan parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

    Mr. Ramin called on the government to protect the rights of the country’s displaced citizens in accordance with international law.

    However, the Iranian Foreign Minister claimed that the Afghan citizens present in the Fatimiyoun army “went voluntarily” to the war in Syria and that Iran only supported them. “These forces, with a history of fighting terrorists and ISIS, can help the Afghan government,” Zarif said.

    The Taliban also issued a statement yesterday calling Mr. Zarif’s statements about calling the group terrorist “irresponsible” and “far from the truth” and urging Iranian officials not to hurt Afghan sentiment with such irresponsible remarks and to not interfere in this country’s affairs.

    On the other hand, Abdul Rahman Wardak, a member of the Afghan House of Representatives, implicitly called Mr. Zarif’s stance against the Taliban untrue and told TOLOnews: “Reports from our intelligence and security agencies have always shown that Iranian weapons were found from the Taliban on the battlefield.
    Iran has not yet responded to remarks by Afghan officials about the foreign minister’s remarks.

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Abdullah Says Reduction in Violence to be in Focus of Next Round of Talks

    The High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) on Wednesday said that the meeting of the leadership committee of the council will be convened in the near future where it will clarify its main demands for the agenda of the peace negotiations.

    Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR), on Wednesday said in meeting the escalation of violence will lead the country in an ambiguous direction and the main focus of the second round of peace talks should be to reduce the violence in the country.

    Mr. Abdullah also expressed hope that in the second round of talks, progress would be made on the ceasefire.

    The chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation did not name the Taliban or any other group, but said that with more killings, no political concessions would be gained.

    However, on the eve of the New Year and the US President’s promise to withdraw a large number of US troops from Afghanistan, three senior Pentagon officials visited Kabul last week, but did not comment on the withdrawal troops from the country.

    The US Acting Defense Secretary called the escalation of violence in Afghanistan a matter of concern and called for a lasting ceasefire in Afghanistan.

    The second round of peace talks between Afghan government delegations and the Taliban is scheduled to be held on January 5 of the next year.

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Suspect in Police Uniform Arrested for Beating a Citizen in Kabul: MoI

    The Ministry of Interior (MoI) says it has arrested a suspect in a police uniform who is accused of beating a citizen in Kabul and investigation has begun.

    The spokesman of MoI, Tariq Arian said that a man in a police uniform was arrested in PD5 of Kabul Kabul, who beat a citizen, an hour after its video was posted on social media.

    A 12-second video posted on social media shows a man in police uniform violently abusing and beating a person who claims to be a transgender.

    The suspect forcibly cuts the hair of the young man who fell to the ground.

    The release of the video provoked strong reactions, with many condemning the man’s behavior, citing the deplorable situation and violation of transgender rights in Afghanistan.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said that abuse under any name and by any means is not justifiable and that the perpetrator would be dealt with in accordance with the law. Authorities have started an investigation about the exact time and place of the incident and whether the victims is a transgender or not.

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Afghan Lawmakers Suggest Govt. to Review Security Strategy for Country

    Following the increase in targeted assassinations and terrorist attacks in the country, especially in Kabul, the Speaker of the House of Representatives called on the President to review the country’s security strategy on Wednesday’s session.

    “These attacks have severely damaged the psyche of the people of Kabul,” said Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of the House of Representatives.

    A number of other lawmakers say there is no government currently and that people themselves must work to ensure and provide their security.

    “Unfortunately, every day we witness an explosion in the early morning,” said Mehdi Rasekh, a member of the House of Representatives.

    Several cities, especially Kabul, have witnessed a growing number of targeted killings in recent months. But no group has claimed responsibility for the killings.

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Ministry of Health Reports 271 New Cases of COVID-19

    The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday reported 271 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 2,057 samples tested in the last 24 hours.

    The ministry also reported 21 deaths and 136 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

    The cumulative number of total cases is now 51,360 the number of total reported deaths is 2,126 and the total number of recoveries is 39,920.

    The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Takhar, Nangarhar, Daykundi, Laghman, Kunar and Khost provinces.

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    UAE to Contribute AED1 Million to UNICEF’s Response to Congenital Anomalies in Afghanistan

    The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) will contribute AED1 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s response to neonatal congenital anomalies in Afghanistan.

    This came as Fahad Abdurrahman bin Sultan, ERC Deputy Secretary-General for Development and International Cooperation, and UNICEF Representative in the Gulf Area, Eltayeb Adam, yesterday signed an agreement via video conference, whereby AED1 million in proceeds of Ataya (giving in Arabic), a charity exhibition organised by ERC to raise funds and spread awareness about the development of underprivileged communities, will be allocated to the international organisation’s response to congenital malformations at birth among live-born infants in Afghanistan.

    The agreement identifies the obligations of each party to ensure improved levels of prevention and treatment of congenital anomalies, through the engagement of several Afghan hospitals.

    Commenting on the development, Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC, underlined the importance of the agreements and partnerships the UAE’s humanitarian arm signs with international organisations, highlighting the significant role of the Ataya expo in supporting vulnerable communities.

    “The agreement is set to strengthen the robust partnership between the two sides in enhancing the health services provided to children,” he added, describing the agreement as leapfrog development in the ongoing cooperation between the UAE and UNICEF in Afghanistan.

    For his part, Eltayeb Adam commended the UAE’s significant humanitarian and development role and noted the ERC’s international initiatives aimed at improving the conditions of children, through supporting UNICEF’s regional and international projects.

    Congenital anomalies are a leading cause of death among children under the age of five in Afghanistan and poses social and financial burdens on families and communities, due to the presence of related disabilities and chronic diseases, he added.

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Explosive Materials from Pakistan, ‘Root Cause of Terrorist Attacks in Afghanistan’: First VP

    Amrullah Saleh, the first Vice President, said on Wednesday at 6:30 am meeting that the root cause of the increase in explosions and suicides in Kabul and other provinces is the smuggled exports of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of ammonium nitrate from Pakistan, the chemical material that plays a key role in making improvised explosive devices.

    Saleh said that improvised explosive devices use less industrial explosives and most of the materials use ammonium nitrite, which Pakistan exports to Afghanistan.

    Saleh noted that ammonium nitrite is a type of chemical fertilizer that has been banned in Afghanistan for decades and its neighbors do not send it to Afghanistan except Pakistan.

    The first vice president said that he had mentioned this issue during the talks with Pakistan many times, but in 2020, between 15,000 and 20,000 tons of ammonium nitrite were given to the Taliban in various ways.

    In the meantime, Amrullah Saleh thanked those who posted the video of Mullah Baradar’s visit to a hospital in Karachi and stressed that about 30 percent of all hospital in Quetta are full of terrorist wounded who are being treated there.

    He stated that significant Taliban wounded were being transported to Karachi.

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Head of FEFA Killed By Armed Men in Kabul

    The Executive Director of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA), Yousuf Rashid was killed by unidentified armed men in Kabul city on Wednesday morning, his relatives confirmed.

    The incident took place at around 8:30am (local time) in the Tani Koot area in PD7 of Kabul city while he was on his way to the office when armed opened fire at his vehicle, Abdul Baqi Rashid, his brother said.

    His driver was also wounded in the shooting and both were transferred to the Emergency hospital, but Yousuf Rashid died, his brother said.

    Kabul police also confirmed the death of Yousuf Rashsid.

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

  • 23 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Marshal Dostum Hold Talks with Deputy FM of Turkmenistan

    The leader of National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan V.Hajiyev have held phone talks upon the initiative of the Afghan side, Trend reports via Turkmen Foreign Ministry.

    During the conversation, an exchange of views took place on the agenda of Turkmen-Afghan cooperation.

    The parties underlined the active development of bilateral ties in view of the agreements between the heads of state of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

    Dostum highly appraised the initiatives of the president of Turkmenistan aimed at strengthening of peace and stability in the region, as well as stressed the necessity of promoting the ideas of neutralism in addressing the regional issues.

    In addition, during the talks special accent was made on the importance of implementing the infrastructural projects aimed at further socio-economic development of Afghanistan and the region in general.