Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
President Ashraf Ghani had a phone conversation with the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday, the Presdential Palace (Arg) said.
Arg in a press release said that during the conversation, the two sides discussed the ongoing relations between Afghanistan and Australia and the peace process.
According to the press release, the two sides discussed the ongoing Taliban violence in Afghanistan and emphasized on an immediate ceasefire in the country.
The Australian Prime Minister has said that the Taliban must accept the ceasefire that the Afghan people demand.
Australian PM also condemned targeted assassinations in the country.
Scott Morrison added that Australia supports the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in which the values and achievements of the past two decades are preserved and strengthened.
This comes as the ceasefire is one of the important agendas proposed by the government in the ongoing Doha talks.
Following the recent controversy between the Afghan government and the Lower House of Parliament over the draft budget for the fiscal year of 1,400, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has stated that the equalization of government employees’ salaries is not feasible without considering the financial possibilities and practical financial analysis.
The Ministry of Finance issued a statement on Monday, acknowledging the House of Representatives’ proposal for the draft budget for the 1,400-solar fiscal year, saying that three months ago, President Ghani raised the issue of equalizing the salaries of government employees at a cabinet meeting.
According to the statement, the Cabinet of the Government of Afghanistan, this year, presented a plan to MoF to eqaulize the salaries of government employees, emphasizing that the budget should be saved from unnecessary and luxurious expenses for the welfare of employees sector.
“The standardization and increase of the salaries of teachers and other government employees are legitimate demands; But it is not feasible without considering the financial possibilities and practical financial analysis,” the statement said quoting MoF.
The statment said that under the instruction of the president, a joint committee has been tasked with assessing the feasibility of the pay rise plan and presenting its practical proposals to the cabinet meeting on identifying and providing the necessary resources.
The first draft budget for the 1,400 fiscal year was projected at more than 452 billion Afghanis which had been rejected by the House of Representatives.
Subsequently, a few days ago, the second draft budget for the 1400 solar fiscal year, in which an increase of 20 billion afghanis was made, was rejected by a majority of votes in the House of Representatives for the second time.
Mir Rahman Rahmani, the speaker of the House of Representatives, has previously warned that the equalization of government employees’ salaries is the Parliament’s red line.
Afghan local officials say the Taliban militants attacked security outposts in Qaramqul district of Faryab province on Sunday night.
Abdul Karim Yourish, the spokesman of Faryab Police said at least ten Taliban insurgents were killed and eight more including Mawlavi Shamsullah, the group’s head of military commission were wounded after their attacks thwarted by Afghan forces.
According to Yourish, Afghan forces arrested seven of the militants after the clashes.
He noted that one security force was killed and another one was wounded in the clashes.
Yourish added that Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum has left for Qarmqul district after the clashes and took the lead of war in the district.
Following the proposal of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) submitted to the presidency to hold three elections next year, the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) says the conditions are not suitable for holding the elections.
TEFA in a statement on Monday called the decision of IEC to hold elections “alarming”, saying holding of the elections next year is a matter of concern for democracy, the achievements of the past 20 years and the future of Afghanistan.
According to the statement, TEFA considers holding the elections is not suitable due to the security challenges, the uncertainty of the sources of funding for the elections and the non-implementation of key reforms.
TEFA stressed that Afghanistan is currently in a difficult security situation; “even as citizens in the capital and other major cities are not relatively safe.”
TEFA cited that the budget for the elections that would make it possible is not available and the sources are not clear.
In the meantime, the statement said, the conditions for the presence of women, which has always been a serious challenge, are also “impossible” in the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan has suggested that electoral reform should be incorporated into the structure and legal framework of the elections, taking into account the experiences learned from previous elections, and that the monitoring findings of the institutions involved in the elections should be amended to validate future elections.
It also said that the Afghan government should implement a realistic security plan for the upcoming elections; first ensuring the security of citizens and then presenting its security plans for the elections.
The statement added that the election commission should be held accountable for the expenses of previous elections and specify a transparent mechanism for spending the budget in the upcoming elections.
This comes as (IEC) has proposed to the government to hold the parliamentary elections in Ghazni province, the provincial councils and a number of municipalities elections in the next solar year of 1,400.
The speaker of the Lower House Parliament Mir Rahman Rahmani says that based on the Afghan constitution, the lawmakers will not be able to go on leave until the draft budget for the fiscal year of 1400 is approved.
Speaking at Monday’s session, Rahmani said, “No one has the right to go on winter break until the (budget plan for FY1400) is approved.”
He also said that all the committees of Lower House will work on the budget plan for the 1400 fiscal year starting next Saturday.
The duration of winter recess of the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin on Wednesday for 45 days.
However, the Article 99 of the Constitution states that if the important issues such as the annual budget or development program or the issue of public security, territorial integrity and independence of the country remain uncompleted, the National Assembly’s session cannot be ended before finalization and approval.
This comes as the draft budget for the 1,400 fiscal year was rejected by the Parliament Members for the second time on Saturday.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 79 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1,849 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 3 deaths and 543 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 54,141 the number of total reported deaths is 2,346 and the total number of recoveries is 46,411.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Baghlan, Nimroz, Badakhshan, Logar, Laghman, Kunar, Panjshir, Zabul and Nurastan provinces.
At least four uprising forces were killed after Taliban attacked their checkpoint in Yawan district of Badakhshan province last night, local officials said.
Abdullah Naji Nazari, a provincial council member in Badakhshan said the incident happened in Safid Khak area of Yawan district.
According to Nazari, at least six members of the uprising forces were wounded in Taliban’s attack.
He added that the Taliban also set fire the checkpoint and seized all of their equipments.
However, the Taliban group has not commented on the incident so far.
After kicking off pan-India coronavirus vaccination drive, the Indian government plans to ship off doses of Covid-19 vaccine to neighbouring countries including Afghanistan as part of vaccine diplomacy in a couple of weeks.
According to Indian authorities, Afghanistan is among the first countries to benefit from India’s vaccine shipment and begin vaccination programme in the country.
While the initial shipments would be a goodwill gesture, the concerned countries subsequently would get the vaccine on a payment basis from either Bharat Biotech or the Serum Institute of India.
The foreign countries, however, need export clearance from the Indian’s Government’s National Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) headed by Dr VK Paul of Niti Aayog.
Kabul police say a Prado type vehicle was targeted by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Kabul’s PD6 but had no casualties.
Ferdaws Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul Police said that the incident took place at around 08:37a.m. this morning on Sarak Shorw area of PD6.
According to Faramarz, the car belonged to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT).
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, the explosion of IEDs on military vehicles and targeted killings of journalists, civil activists and judges have recently increased in major cities of Afghanistan, particularly Kabul.