Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Following the announcement of the presidential elections final results, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell has called President Ashraf Ghani and congratulated him on the outcome of the electoral process.
EU in a press release said that it pays tribute to the work of the Election Management Bodies under the challenges they were confronted with.
Mr. Borrell recalled that the European Union has always supported the constitutional and institutional framework of Afghanistan.
“EU therefore takes good note of the final results of the electoral process. On this basis, the European Union looks forward to continuing the work with the new administration under President Ghani,” the press release said.
Mr. Borrell has welcomed President Ghani’s commitment to form an inclusive government where all the people of Afghanistan feel represented and stressed that the priority will now be to ensure unity in support of an inclusive peace process.
“The European Union stands ready to support the peace process, which is an opportunity not to be missed,” the press release added.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on Wednesday reviewed the third periodic report of Afghanistan on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Committee Experts urged Afghanistan to build on the progress and achievements in gender equality, adding that hard-earned gains must not be lost in the future peace agreement.
Commending the adoption of the second national action plan on Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in 2019, the Experts noted that women’s participation in the peace process so far had been negligible.
“Afghanistan should ensure that the rights of women were preserved in the future peace agreement.”
The Experts discussed, among other issues, child marriage, “honour killings” and other forms of violence against women.
The “systematic impunity” for perpetrators of gender-based violence, especially influential persons, sent a very bad signal to the whole society that crimes against women were tolerated, they said.
China has planned to provide aid medical equipment worth $ 250,000 to Afghan refugees in Pakistan this year for improving their living conditions, reports Gwadar Pro, quoting ambassador Yao Jing, as having said at the Refugees’ summit.
As a responsible leading power and an important neighbor of Afghanistan, China has been cooperating with the United Nations, Pakistan, Iran and other countries to provide assistance to Afghan refugees.
In 2019, China donated about US $ 350,000 to the Afghanistan Red Crescent. Through the multilateral channels, China has provided US $ 1.3 million goods to Afghan refugees in Pakistan through the Pakistani government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).”
The issue of Afghan refugee, ambassador Yao Jing said, was one of the largest and longest-running refugee crises in history.
“As a result of more than 40 years of war and conflict, 2.7 million Afghan refugees are currently scattered in more than 70 countries around the world.
The long-serving auditor of the U.S. war in Afghanistan said that administration after administration has swapped out top officials so often that it amounts to an “annual lobotomy” of institutional knowledge.
“If we cannot end the annual lobotomy, we should at least mitigate its impact,” said John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.
“I assumed my current post in 2012. I’m now working with my fifth U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, my sixth NATO and U.S. commanding general, and eighth head of the U.S. train, advise, and assist command. Some 80% of the U.S. embassy departs each summer, and most of the U.S. military assigned to Afghanistan is deployed for a year or less,” he told a hearing led by Republican war critic, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
As per the Washington Examiner report, some diplomats are ignorant of the area. One example: The United States sent in officials “who did not know the difference between al Qaeda and the Taliban,” he said, speaking before this week’s latest news that the U.S. is newly hopeful for a peace deal with the Taliban.
His audits have become famous inside some Washington circles for detailing corruption in the war-torn nation. Paul called Sopko “great.”
While he wouldn’t comment on leaving Afghanistan, Sopko did suggest that, short of a permanent U.S. staff, “we should listen” to Afghan officials “who have greater institutional and historical knowledge than their U.S. counterparts.”
After the announcement of the final results of the Presidential elections, the former President, Hamid Karzai said the election was not a nation-wide process and that it was imposed on the country’s people.
Releasing a statement regarding the Presidential elections, Karzai said, “Considering the situation in past five months, it has been anticipatable that the results will not be acceptable.”
According to the statement, Karzai asked all the political and social forces of be united and contribute to the peace and its realization as the most fundemental national issue.
The statement further added that currently, the Afghan people need more unity than ever before that with the nationalization of the peace process witness a lasting peace and secure environment in the country.
The US Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Molly Phee, at the US Institute of Peace, said: “We will not prejudge the outcome of intra-Afghan negotiations.”
“But we are prepared to support whatever consensus the Afghans are able to reach about their future political and governing arrangements,” Phee said.
“We believe we have established the conditions that can transform the trajectory of the conflict… It is high time for the parties to begin moving off the battlefield into a political process,” she said.
“Importantly, a US-Taliban agreement will open the door to negotiations among the Afghan government, the Taliban, and other key Afghan leaders,” she added.
She mentioned that if “this test period is implemented successfully; it should lead to the signing of a US-Taliban agreement.”
The second Vice-President Sarwar Danish has called on all electoral teams to respect the final legal decision of the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Danish at a gathering to mark the 31st anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet Union troops from the country called the announcement of the final results of Presidential election the victory of democracy.
“Time for election campaigns and rivalries has passed and now is the time for empathy and acceptance for a new season,” Danish said.
The second vice president expressed hope that the State Builder team as the winner of the Presidential elections would form a comprehensive and inclusive government.
“Peace must be inclusive and acceptable to all the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
Danish added that unless the Taliban cut ties with the terrorist groups, a lasting peace would not be possible.
Afghan first Vice-President, General Abdul Rashid Dostum has said that all Northern Province should take preparations for appointment of the new governors.
Gen. Dostum also announced support to the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s decision regarding the formation of an ‘Inclusive-Government’.
Speaking at a gathering in Jawzjan province, Gen. Dostum declared that CE Abdullah will soon “form a government that will include all ethnic groups.”
“The results of Presidential election are not acceptable and we accept Abdullah’s decision regarding the elections,” he said.
He stressed that the people’s votes have been ignored, but the people do not recognize the fake results announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
“The team that lost the election has been announced as the winner. No one can ignore our rights,” Gen. Dostum asserted.
He noted that they will have a meeting with the US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad and other Afghan officials in Jawzjan.
Dostum also instructed the supporters of the “Stability and Partnership” team to come to streets and celebrate the victory of Abdullah Abdullah.
Chief of Police of Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan has said that Afghan intelligence services have evidence Iran is supplying the Taliban with Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS).
In an exclusive interview with Radio Azadi (Afghan Service of Radio Liberty/Radio Azadi ) on February 18 General Muhammed Haya said that the Taliban in Farah Province who have received the weapons are trying to transfer them to Uruzgan to attack Afghan military planes in the region.
General Haya also alleged that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is funding the Taliban to fight Afghan and American forces and their allies.
Afghanistan’s Interior and Defense Ministry officials have not made any comments about Iran’s provision of anti-aircraft missiles to the Taliban.
US President Donald Trump has told reporters there is a chance that the United States will soon conclude a peace deal with the Taliban movement.
“We are negotiating with the Taliban, we’ve been negotiating with them for a while, we will see what happens, there’s a chance of making a deal”, Trump said.
Trump said he could end the conflict in Afghanistan, but added that he does not want to kill millions of people to do so. He emphasized that he was not talking about using nuclear weapons.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in a report has claimed confirmation of the involvement of several teachers and school officials in the sexual abuse of children in Logar province.
According to AIHRC, “credible evidence” shows that a number of students who became the victims of sexual abuse either left the schools or were dropped from their schools.
The AIHRC report also stated that the children in Logar are still faced with the threat of sexual abuse in the workshops, kilns, sports clubs and tailoring shops.
Mousa Mahmoudi and Ehsanullah Hamidi, told the Guardian months ago that they had videos proving that school boys are sexually harassed in Logar.
The commission’s report includes interviews with the victims of abuse, local residents and videos that confirm the child abusing people there.
The report says a delegation sent to Logar had interviewed with locals and school in charges who have confirmed children were abused at schools, but had not introduce the “child abusing circle”. The report has also interviewed with victim children, their relatives and other people aware about the incident.
Admitting international support to Afghan refugees is getting thinner, a senior official from the United Nations’ refugee agency has said that the Refugee Summit Islamabad held on Feb. 17-18 will evoke more investment for the displaced population.
Indrika Ratwatte, director of regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told Xinhua on the sidelines of the international refugee conference that host countries like Pakistan and Iran need continuous support from international donors to make lives of the Afghan refugees easier.
Apart from the conventional donor organizations, the conference may also succeed in engaging non-traditional partners to come in for the support of the refugees, he said.
“To be fair for Pakistan, they have many challenges of their own development. So when refugee children would have access to school, there must be additional support for the schools. This is something that’s strongly encouraging and requiring donors to come in,” said Ratwatte.
Currently, the UNHCR is implementing a dignified repatriation of the Afghan refugees back to their homeland. He said the UN agency planned to enable the Afghan government to create conditions that would enable refugees to voluntarily repatriate and reintegrate sustainably in Afghanistan.