Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
No clear winner determined in lower house election to choose speaker as a runoff is expected between Mir Rahman Rahmani and Kamal Nasir Osoli.
Kamal Nasir Osoli secured 69 votes in lower house speaker election whereas Mir Rahman Rahmani secured 75 votes in lower house speaker election, with 122 votes needed to win.
Mirwais Yasini secured 59 votes in lower house election for speaker, while Omar Naseer Mujaddidi secured 7.
A candidate needs 122 votes to win, and the is counting ongoing.
Security forces reported that India has handed over two Mi-35 combat helicopters to Afghan Air Force
Ministry of Defense said on Thursday that the two Mi-35 combat helicopters were officially handed over to Ministry of Defense with the presence Acting MoD Minister Assadullah Khalid and Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar.
The ministry added that the combat helicopters are delivered to for counter-terrorism. These two helicopters were purchased by India from Belarus and two other combat helicopters will be delivered to Afghanistan in the near future.
In 2015, India had also provided Afghan Army with four Mi- 35 helicopters.
Local officials have reported the killing and wounding of six security forces personnel, including a commander of them in Zabul province.
Speaking to Reporterly on Thursday, Gul Islam Sail spokesperson of Zabul governor said that on Wednesday night, Taliban insurgents attacked on outposts of Army forces and local police in Shinkay district of the province which left 3 police personnel along with a commander of operational battalion killed and 2 others wounded.
In the clash 7 Taliban insurgents were killed and 13 others were wounded, as per Zabul governor spokesman.
He stressed that reinforcement have arrived in the area and the condition is under control of Afghan security forces.
The US Embassy in Kabul released a statement welcoming the the finalization of the Kabul parliamentary election results.
“The completion of this election and the seating of the full parliament is an important achievement for the new IEC and the ECC, and of Afghanistan’s democratic process”, the statement said.
The Embassy also noted the decision of the IEC on May 10 to focus on voting methods that can realistically be implemented this year for the 2019 presidential elections and urged the IEC to turn its attention to preparing for the September presidential election, including putting forward a budget request aligned with an appropriate operational plan, hiring and training sufficient staff to complete voter registration and preparations, and coordinating with the security ministries.
“The Afghan people deserve the opportunity to choose their next leadership through transparent elections in September. We are prepared to continue supporting this process. We now ask that Afghan authorities do their part to take the decisions and actions necessary to give the Afghan people their voice at the ballot box this year”, the statement conceded.
Afghan minister of foreign affairs Salahuddin Rabbani met with the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon on the former’s visit to Dushanbe.
Rabbani tweeted saying “it was great pleasure meeting H.E.@EmomaliRahmon President of the Republic of Tajikistan on the 1st day of my visit to Dushanbe.We deeply value our close& brotherly relations with Tajikistan &appreciate its longstanding support for peace, stability& prosperity in Afghanistan”.
Security officials reported the killing of a key Taliban insurgent group commander in Balkh province.
As a result of the security forces clashes on Wednesday afternoon in Moghol ha and Bula villages, Mullah Khadim one of the most dangerous Taliban commanders was killed and a key member of the Taliban group was arrested, Ministry of Interior spokesperson Nusrat Rahimi said on Thursday.
Rahimi added that as a result of joint operation of security forces in Abdul Rahim, Bangala, Nawarad Bangala, Baba Yousuf, Timor Sarai, Alam Khail, Buka, Bangladesh and Moghol ha villages of Balkh district were also cleared from insurgents.
Pakistan has extended its airspace ban that it began in February this year for flights to India till May 30.
Officials, as per Dawn, have cited the reason for extension as there being no progress between India and Pakistan bilaterally.
The airspace ban began in February following India’s airstrikes in Pakistan’s region and escalation of tensions between the two countries.
The repercussions of Pakistan airspace ban has been felt in Afghanistan as well, apart from hitting Indian airlines.
Famous Afghan filmmaker and director Sahraa Karimi has been appointed as the new General Director of Afghan Film, also known as Afghan Film Organisation, which is a state-run film production company.
Karimi becomes the first woman to head the AFO, and she was selected through a merit-based process that was conducted by the Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission.
Sahraa Karimi has received her PhD degree in the field of Cinema (Fiction Film Directing & Screenwriting) from the Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Film and TV Faculty in Bratislava, Slovakia (FTF- VSMU). She is the first and only woman from Afghanistan to have received a PhD degree in the field of Cinema. She is also the only Afghan film-maker who is an active member of Slovak Film and TV Academy. She has about 30 short fictions and documentary films in her filmography.