Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Afghan law enforcement agencies have arrested 29 drug traffickers within the past seven days, officials said.
“The Counter-Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) and detective security organizations arrested 29 suspects linked to 20 cases of transportation or keeping of narcotics from various provinces,” Counter-Narcotics Criminal Justice Task Force of Afghanistan (CJTF) said in a statement.
A woman was among those detainees, according to the statement.
After initial investigations, the CNPA has handed over the cases to the Central Narcotics Tribunal or CNT, a special Afghan court for jurisdiction of major drug cases, the statement said.
In 2018, some 6,400 tons of poppy opium were produced in western and southern parts of the country, where the government security forces have little presence, much lesser compared with 9,000 tons in 2017, according to official figures.
Afghan local officials say at least three civilians have been killed in a road-side bomb explosion in Zabul province.
The spokesman of Zabul governor, Gul Islam Seyal told Reporterly that a Saracha type vehicle hit a road-side bomb in Mirano area of Mizan district this morning.
According to him, three civilians including a woman were killed in the incident.
He further added that the vehicle was on its way from Qalat city toward the center of the province which faced the bomb planted by the Taliban group.
At least seven civilians were wounded in an explosion in Kandahar province, local officials said.
The chief district of Spin Boldak, Sayed Ali told Reporterly that the blast was triggered by explosive-laden motorbike at the main market of Spin Boldak district.
He added that seven civilians including a woman were wounded in the incident.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion.
Peace is the greatest need for the people of Afghanistan, said religious scholars and civil society activists gathered at a UN-backed event in Nili, the provincial capital of Daikundi.
The symposium, organized by UNAMA’s Bamyan office in Afghanistan’s central highlands region, brought together more than 100 religious scholars, civil society members, women’s rights activists and youth advocates to discuss ways to promote community support for national peace efforts.
“The people of Afghanistan have suffered too much and for too long; they cannot afford bloodshed any longer,” said Ali Mohammad Ahmadi, the head of Daikundi’s religious scholars’ council. “Peace is the greatest and most urgent need of Afghanistan.”
In the wide-ranging discussion, many participants underscored the importance of involving religious scholars and other community leaders in helping raise awareness about the importance of building social cohesion as one of the foundations for lasting peace.
Others exchanged ideas about the main factors contributing to the conflict and strategized on the best ways to advance peace efforts.
At the conclusion of the symposium, participants jointly expressed support for all efforts to end conflict in Afghanistan and resolved to carry the conversation forward among their respective communities in future events and engagements.
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad discussed the current status of the Afghan peace process with Pakistani officials in his two-day trip to Islamabad, the US Embassy in Pakistan said in a statement.
“In his meetings with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, and other government officials, Ambassador Khalilzad discussed the current status of the Afghan peace process and the importance of reducing violence,” the statement said.
He also underscored the economic and security benefits peace can bring to the region, the statement said.
US President Donald Trump halted peace talks with the Taliban last month citing a deadly attack in Kabul.
The delegation of 23 European Union parliamentarians visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday said that they do not want Kashmir to become another Afghanistan.
“Terrorism in Kashmir is not only the matter of India but also for the international community. We do not want Kashmir to become another Afghanistan,” they said.
Addressing a press conference on the last day of their two-day visit to the Valley, the group of 23 members of European Parliament highlighted terrorism as the major factor for instability in Kashmir which is accounting for the lives of innocent people in the Valley.
The Former President, Hamid Karzai strongly condemned shelling and rocket attacks by Pakistani army on the eastern province of Kunar.
At least seven civilians including women and children were killed an injured in the attack carried out on Monday.
“Pakistan military’s attacks on Kunar which killed women and children are acts of aggression and violence against our soil and people,” he said.
Karzai denounced the attacks as a clear violation of international norms and violation of Afghanistan’s national sovereignty.
“I call on Pakistan to immediately stop these attacks and to adopt a peaceful and civilized approach towards Afghanistan,” he added.
Afghan authorities has said at least three women were killed and four injured in alleged cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops.
In a statement, the provincial administration in Kunar said Pakistani forces began “unprovoked shelling” from across the border on Sunday that continued on Monday.
At least five IS-K fighters were killed during an airstrike in Nangarhar province, local officials said Wednesday.
The Nangarhar provincial governor office in a statement said that a drone strike killed five IS-K fighters in Choni area of Haska Mina district of Nangarhar.
According to the statement, in another drone strike in Shani Mina area of Momand Dara district, four Taliban insurgents were wounded and also a civilian who was the resident of Logar province was also killed.
The spokesman of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) Fawad Aman stated that at least five IS-K fighters were also killed in an airstrike in Deh Bala district of Nangarhar province.
Nangarhar is one of those provinces where, despite several cearling operations, there is still a large presence of IS-K fighters.
Hundreds of Afghan and Pakistani citizens’ passports have been trapped inside the embassy due to the closure of the Afghan consulate in Peshawar.
As per The Express Tribune report, the Afghan authorities have shut down the visa section in Peshawar under protest over the demolition of Afghan Market next to its premises.
The Afghan government claims that it had purchased the land adjacent to the consulate from a Hindu trader before 1947. However, a Pakistani national filed claim to the area and won the case from Peshawar High Court, following which the Afghan Market was demolished.
Incensed, the Afghan officials locked up the consulate and shifted visa section to Islamabad.
Although, the consulate opened up after a week, but the visa section did not. Many people who had applied for passports were left running after Afghan officials to retrieve their passports.
Traders told Tribune that they have to regularly travel to Afghanistan, and the closure of visa section was creating unnecessary problems.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has sponsored the Afghanistan National Young Innovators in Agriculture Competition, an activity aimed at engaging Afghan students in tackling the problem of post-harvest loss in high value crops.
In Afghanistan, farmers lose more than a third of their harvest before it reaches the consumer.
Students from agriculture and veterinary vocational schools participated in an intensive six-month program that included courses in agribusiness, post-harvest science, and technology prototype development and design.
“USAID is excited and proud to support young Afghan innovators in agriculture and provide them with the tools to be part of creating innovative solutions that improve the lives of Afghan farmers,” said USAID Mission Director Peter Natiello.
Since 2002, USAID has supported Afghanistan to become a more self-reliant nation that can better partner with the U.S. Government on our national security goals.
More than 200 killings of journalists are unsolved in 13 countries cited by a media watchdog group for enabling “impunity” for the crimes.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said the countries on its list were home to the majority of journalist killings over the past 10 years.
The New York-based media freedom watchdog described these countries as places “where criminal groups, politicians, government officials, and other powerful actors resort to violence to silence critical and investigative reporting.”
South Sudan, the Philippines, and Afghanistan are among the worst countries where there has been a total of 11 unresolved killings for a population of 37.2 million.
“In the past decade, armed militant groups such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State group have most often targeted journalists with complete impunity,” the CPJ report said.
The police discovered a dozen Afghan and Pakistani unaccompanied minors in Dunajská Streda (Trnava Region) in Slovakia.
“The patrol called to the site found 11 children who had travelled in a wagon,” Police Corps spokesperson Denisa Bárdyová told the TASR newswire.
When a train stopped, minors managed to leave the wagon, she added.
Children travelled through three countries, starting in the city of Subotica, Serbia, and crossing Hungary, in harsh conditions. The police later handed children over to social workers.
The group of 11 children will have to undergo entry interviews and decide if they will apply for asylum in Slovakia. Not Slovakia, but rather Germany and Italy are final destinations for refugee children, said Vladislav Fejo, head of the centre where minors are placed.
Four Other Children In The Centre
The recent case is not the first of its kind in Slovakia, though. Another four teenagers, two from Vietnam and two from Afghanistan, are also living in the Medzilaborce centre.
“All three boys are asylum seekers, the girl has not decided yet,” Fejo said, as quoted by Korzár.
An Afghan boy has begun attending the first year of secondary school and is likely to stay in Slovakia, he added.