Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $ 348.78 million grant to help the development of water resources in Kandahar province through the expansion of Dahla Dam, the ministry said.
MoF in a statement said on Wednesday that the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi Acting Minister of Finance and Narendra Shreenath SINGRU, country director of ADB for Afghanistan.
While signing the MoU the acting finance ministry praised ADB’s assistance to Afghanistan and said that the grand will be financed through ADB’s dedicated fund and would be used in agriculture, natural resources and rural development.
Meanwhile, the country director of ADB for Afghanistan said that signing this MoU reflects the bank’s long-term commitment to help improve the lives of the Afghan people by building the infrastructure and cooperation needed to build technical and management capacity.
He also said that the project will help improve Afghanistan’s agricultural productivity, water resources management, energy generation, and growth outlook.
At least seven people were wounded in an explosion inside the house of a Member of Parliament in Helmand, local officials said on Wednesday.
The spokesman of Helmand governor, Omar Zawak told Reporterly that the incident took place inside the house of a Parliament Member named Gholam Wali in PD1 of Lashkargah city.
Zawak noted that the seven injured were transferred to the hospital.
He added that the type of explosion is not known so far and the area is under the control and investigation of security forces.
The chairperson for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has said that all preparations have been taken for holding a transparent election on 28th September.
The chairperson for IEC, Hawa Alam Noristani in a press conference said that all electoral materials have been sent to the polling centers in provinces across the country in coordination of the security forces.
She urged the Afghan people to have a widespread participation on Election Day and assured that the election process will be transparent.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) emphasized that Afghan security forces have been deployed to all polling stations to provide the security of electoral process in the country.
There’s been an increase in the number of attacks over the last few months leading up to the election and the Taliban has warned people not to vote.
Militants have threatened to target polling stations, but other factors are also discouraging many potential voters.
The former governor of Balkh, Atta Muhammad Noor has said that the first priority is peace in the country and election should not be held at the current time.
Ata Mohammad Noor in an address to a politicians’ meeting in Kabul said that, “Peace will not be achieved with slogans. Now is the time for all political figures and Afghan society to unite together to achieve peace.”
“Afghanistan is in its worst situation and peace is a dire need of people. 60% of Afghans live below the poverty line and more than 60% are unemployed and all these can only be addressed under a peaceful environment,” Noor added.
The ECO of Jamiat-i-Islami party, Noor stated that election is a national process, but it is peace that could pave the way for such processes
“Let’s get together in peace process and take practical actions and then go to the polls. We should solve our problem not the foreigners,” Ata Mohammad Noor said.
This comes as three days remained to the Presidential election and the government is determined to hold it on 28 September.
At least four people including a journalist were killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion near the “State-Builder” campaign office in Kandahar province, security officials said.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesperson, Nasrat Rahimi said on Wednesday that an IED which was embedded by Taliban exploded at around 8:00PM last night in Tank-e-Markaz area in PD4 of Kandahar city.
He added that 4 civilians including a journalist of Radio Hewad and a child were killed and 6 others including a woman were wounded.
Meanwhile, Nai – Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan said that the journalist was injured in the explosion was injured and died after he was transferred to hospital.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has said that Afghan National and Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) will be deployed at all polling stations around the country today.
MoI spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi said that security forces will be deployed at all polling stations across the country at 7:00 am this morning and Security Forces are on alert mode.
The Afghan presidential election is set to be held on Saturday, 28 September.
In the meantime, today (Wednesday) is the last day of the presidential election campaign, and from 00:00 tonight till the Election Day will be silence period. In these two days, people will decide who to vote for.
Earlier, security institutions had assured of providing security for the election and said that that 72,000 security personnel would be deployed for safeguarding the election and people.
The measures have been taken as Taliban have threatened to carry out armed attacks in the upcoming presidential election and said the group will do everything to prevent holding the election.
India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show has been inaugurated by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John R. Bass and representatives of the Indian and Afghan governments and private sector in New Delhi.
The theme of the show is ‘Passage to Prosperity’. The trade show brings together Afghan exporters and Indian buyers for an annual exhibition of Afghanistan’s finest products, such as hand-woven carpets, embroidery, gems and jewellery, as well as fruits, nuts, and spices.
The three-day event is open to businesspeople September 24 – 26 and the general public September 25 – 26.
At the opening ceremony at the J.W. Marriott Hotel – Aerocity, Ambassador Bass noted that the trade show builds on the success of prior events.
“This year’s event is devoted entirely to developing closer relationships between the private sectors of Afghanistan and India,” Bass said. “The U.S. government is committed to supporting Passage to Prosperity because it not only benefits regional economic development, but also promotes private sector development and exports. These factors are key to realizing a larger goal – a stable, prosperous, and self-reliant Afghanistan,” he added.
The India and Afghanistan trade show includes matchmaking events for buyers and sellers to exchange information, network, and negotiate deals. More than 1,000 Indian private sector representatives attended the event. During last year’s “Passage to Prosperity”, contracts worth $71 million were signed between Indian buyers and Afghan vendors.
In addition, a number of Indian buyers and Afghan vendors signed nearly $292 million in pre-contract agreements.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said his country will try to persuade the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government and broker a peace deal to end war in Afghanistan.
As per ANI report, Khan hoped that a proper political solution is achieved to end the conflict else chaos could aggravate in the war-torn country.
“We thought a deal was being signed in Afghanistan. We found out through a tweet that the deal had been called off. I spoke to President Donald Trump in this regard. We will try our best to get the Taliban to talk to the Afghan government,” he told reporters here at the UN headquarters.
“This time round, when the Americans leave Afghanistan we hope there is a transition to a proper political solution otherwise there will again be chaos in Afghanistan,” he said.
The US has been negotiating with the Taliban in the last few months at Doha despite the group’s reluctance to hold direct talks with the Afghan government.