Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan has rejected the reports that its members have been tested positive for coronavirus.
“Reports that any member of Resolute Support has tested positive for COVID-19 are inaccurate,” RS said.
“The health and welfare of the force is paramount, we continue to implement all precautionary measures, as appropriate,” it added.
This comes as Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Sunday that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country had jumped to 16.
Following the increase of positive coronavirus cases in the country, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has called on Taliban to take preventive and protective measures for the spread of coronavirus in areas under their control.
AIHRC in a press release urged the Taliban group to allow the Ministry of Public Health to have health services in their under control areas and make the people aware of the viral virus.
This comes as the total number of confirmed cases in Afghanistan reaches to 16.
A potential list of peace negotiating team delegates has been shared by US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad with a number of politicians.
As the media outlets recieved the list, the delegation consists of 15 includes Batoor Dustom, Karim Amin, Zarar Ahmad Muqbel, Muhammad Nateqi, Rasoul Talib, Habiba Sorabi, Kalimullah Naqibi, Gen. Ayoub Ansari, Orzela Nemat, Nader Naderi, Matin Big, Zaynab Muhaid, Enayatullah Baligh, Sharifa Zarmati and Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal.
This comes as the President’s top advisor Wahid Omar also told reporters that the list of negotiation team has been finalised and the details will be shared with the date of the meeting in the near future.
Afghan Parliament Members have refused the health minister’s suggestion to shut the Lower House for preventing spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Public Health, Ferozuddin Firoz who summoned to Sunday’s session at the Parliament warned the possibility of coronavirus spread inside the Lower House.
Mr. Firoz declared that the cause of the coronavirus transmission is the distance between people and to prevent the spread of the virus, the distance between people should be at least two meters which is not possible at the Lower House.
He also called on lawmakers to close all educational institutions for at least one month.
This comes as earlier in the day, the MoPH announced the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country had jumped to 16.
The Ministry also expressed concern about the vulnerability of Afghanistan’s border with Iran and the return of Afghan refugees.
Millions of Afghans live and work in the neighbouring country and many are facing increasing political and economic pressure to return.
The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) has said that the Afghan citezens’ death toll in Iran from coronavirus reaches to 10 people.
The Minister of Refugees, Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi at the Lower House of Parliament on Sunday’s session said, “Those who died of coronavirus will be buried in quarantin.”
He noted that the Iranian media refuses to give information about the deaths or infected Afghan refugees.
Mr. Balkhi expressed ignorance about the number of infected Afghan citizens in Iran, saying Afghan refugees are widespreadly returning to the country due to the virus.
He added that around 15 thousand Afghan refugees return from Iran every day.
In the meantime, the Afghan lawmakers complained about the lack of facilities for recognizing the virus and preventing of it.
Two loaded containers were transported successfully from India’s Mumbai to Iran’s Chabahar, which exited through Dogharoun Border crossing to Afghanistan under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention).
According to Mostafa Ayati, an official with the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, the corridor had been launched from Afghanistan to Chabahar to India, but this was the first TIR Carnets transport operation from India to Afghanistan via Chabahar, Fars News Agency reported.
TIR enables goods to be shipped from a country of origin, through transit countries, to a country of destination in sealed load compartments that are controlled by customs via a multilateral, mutually recognized system. It is said to be the easiest, safest and most reliable way to move goods across multiple international borders, saving time and money for transport operators and customs authorities.
President Ashraf Ghani has met with US peace envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, tweeted Presidential Palace spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
According to Sediqqi, “both discussed the latest development in Afghan peace, the reduction in violence and the future steps in the process.”
This comes as the Afghan government has postponed the release of Taliban prisoners.
An Afghan local policeman in Kandahar province has opened fire on his colleagues, killing four of them before fleeing the scene, local officials confirmed.
Deputy of Kandahar Police, Abdul Basir Khaksar told Reporterly that an infiltrator soldier killed four of his colleagues in Charkhana area of Zheray district at around 06:00am on Sunday.
According to Khaksar, the soldier joins Taliban after killing the colleagues and fleeing the area.
This comes as four local police also joined Taliban in Mir Hazar area of the same district on Saturday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) says the ministry has cancelled all of its bilateral meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During Sunday’s session at the Lower House of Parliament, the acting foreign minister, Haroon Chakhansuri said that all foreign trips have been cancelled and the issuance of visas for foreign citizens have been limited and the conferences will be held through video conferences.
He added that the Afghan political representatives of in other countries have been instructed to pay serious attention to the health care of Afghan citizens and take the necessary measures.
Chakhansuri noted that the UAE has assisted Afghanistan with 500 kits for fighting against the virus and 500 more will be assisted in the near future.
President Ashraf Ghani will participate in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed video conference of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation member nations on ways to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“President Ghani will talks about ways to fight the viral coronavirus in SAARC conference,” President’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.
Modi had reached out to leaders of SAARC member nations on Friday and suggested a video conference to come up with a strategy to contain the rapidly-spreading disease.
SAARC nations consist eight members including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
A Turkish man has stabbed an Afghan immigrant in Turkey’s central Konya province, accusing the man of bringing the coronavirus to Turkey, İhlas News Agency reported.
The Afghan man identified only with his first name, Habibullah, was fishing at a lake when a man, identified with his initials U.G., approached him and picked a fight, shouting, “Are you bringing the coronavirus here?”
Suffering three stab wounds in total, Habibullah was hospitalised and remains in critical condition.
U.G. was detained by the police, who announced later that the attacker had mental health issues.
Turkey on Friday confirmed the fifth case of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus in the country. Authorities say four of the five cases were diagnosed while under isolation for coming into contact with the first man who had been confirmed last week, but have not made public where the infection first spread, leading to speculation.
A top U.S. general has said that the Taliban had to significantly reduce the number of attacks it is carrying out, after an accord it signed with the United States earlier this month.
“I would not consider what the Taliban is doing as consistent with any path to going forward to come to a final end state agreement with the current government of Afghanistan,” U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the military’s Central Command, said.
“Those attacks are going to have to come off considerably… we need to get way below where we are now,” he added.
National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (NWARA) has signed contracts with the private sectors to construct 26 small water reservation dams in different provinces.
According to a statement issued by NWARA, Eng. Khan Mohammad Takal Head of NWARA signed the project with private sectors, which will be implemented in Herat, Badghis, Panjshir, Kabul, Helmand, Faryab, Ghazni, Logar and Farah provinces. These projects will cost over 138 million Afs.
Calling water management one of the important agenda for the NWARA, Mr. Takal said that these projects run to manage water.
By implementing of these projects one million cubic surface waters will be controlled and over 1,000 acres lands will be irrigated, he added.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Sunday that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country had jumped to 16.
The spokesman of MoPH, Wahidullah Mayar declared that four new positive cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Herat province and one other in Daikundi province.
According to Mayar, around 206 suspected cases have been checked in the central laboratories of the Ministry which 16 of them are positive and the 190 remaining are negative.
Herat borders neighbouring Iran, which is one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus outside of China, with more than hundreds of deaths.
Mr Mayar expressed concern about the vulnerability of Afghanistan’s border with Iran. Millions of Afghans live and work in the neighbouring country and many are facing increasing political and economic pressure to return.
Despite decades of international aid and investment, Afghans still struggle to access basic and emergency medical care due to insecurity, distance, cost and the fact that many health facilities lack the staff and equipment they need, said Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on the release of a new report.
MSF staff have revealed that many Afghans face significant barriers getting medical care – a situation that has seen no improvement since MSF last released a report on it in 2014.
“dangerous journeys to bring malnourished babies, pregnant relatives, or injured loved-ones to hospita,” Julian Rickman MSF representative in Afghanistan said.
“We are scared to leave at night, so we always have to wait until daytime to go to the hospital,” said a patient’s caretaker in the maternity ward of Boost hospital. “With everyone in our family, when they are sick, we wait, even if the person is dying.”
During the first six months of 2019, 44 per cent of the children who died within 24 hours of arriving at the paediatric intensive care unit in Boost hospital came too late and at a very advanced stage of illness.
More than 300 paratroopers assigned to 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division began a 14-day quarantine upon their return to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from Afghanistan, unit officials said Saturday.
As per Army Times, roughly 1,200 paratroopers are returning from deployment in total, and some from 3rd Brigade did prior to the quarantine policy being implemented. Those quarantined Saturday were returning from a 9-month rotation to Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission to the country.
Soldiers who live off-post or in privatized housing will be quarantined at their residence. Those normally assigned to the barracks, or do not have a local residence, will be quarantined on Fort Bragg. Officials are exploring what services can be provided to soldiers who will be confined to base facilities, said division spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Burns.