Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The First Deputy Minister of National Defense said that the armed forces have discovered and defused 4,776 different types of mines across Afghanistan in the past six months.
In a tweet on Thursday, Shahmahmood Miakhel said that if the assumption is made that each mine would kill one person, then the armed forces saved 4,776 lives.
“Planting landmines is against all human laws,” he wrote.
The Ministry of Defence usually attributes mines to the Taliban or “terrorists” and calls it a common tactic used by the militants.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Country Office for Afghanistan and the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) broke ground for a new Counter Narcotics Canine (K9) Centre at the CNPA Headquarters in Kabul.
According to the UNODC statement released on Wednesday, the financial and technical assistance to implement this project were provided by the governments of Russia and Japan.
“The project is a pivotal element in the creation of a dedicated counter narcotics canine capacity within the country,” said the press release.
“Given the fact, that the majority of seizures made by Afghan law enforcement agencies are intelligence based and only 15% of the drugs seized are as a result of interventions using detection equipment and tools, the introduction of specialized working dogs will greatly enhance the interdiction efforts of the Government of Afghanistan,” said Mark Colhoun, UNODC Representative in Afghanistan.
The centre is part of the Trilateral Cooperation Project which started in 2012 as a training programme for Afghan counter-narcotics officers, before evolving to include the five Central Asian Republics.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has decided to establish a trilateral economic commission between Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan, a statement said on Wednesday.
A diplomatic meeting between the representatives of Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan was held at the ministry to form the committee to facilitate economic development.
“Afghanistan is determined to strengthen and expand political, economic and cultural ties with all neighbouring countries, including Iran and Turkmenistan,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab.
Envoys from Iran, Bahador Aminian, and Turkmenistan Ovezov Hoja Sapargeldiyewich, attended the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Nab pointed out the importance of the cooperation in terms of trade and regional integration.
The ambassadors also shared their thoughts and called for the initiative to be implemented soon.
The manner of economic and trade cooperation, regional connection, mechanisms of tripartite cooperation, transportation and transit, formation of working committees, expansion of cultural cooperation, accuracy and how to establish the commission were also discussed.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said they had arrested a Taliban member who was planning a suicide bombing attack.
In a statement on Thursday, the NDS said Atiqullah was arrested by the special forces in an operation in PD 17 of Kabul city.
The militant had received his training in the Shamshato camp in Peshawar, Pakistan and was asked by the religious leaders at the camp’s mosque to “wage jihad against the Afghan government,” the NDS statement said.
After his training, he came back to Afghanistan and had been planning to carry out a suicide attack at one of the centres of the Afghan security forces in either Kabul or Laghman.
Acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid said that the “enemy” should stop thinking that they can destroy the Afghan army on orders from Punjab.
Speaking at the delivery of four new A-29 Super Volcano aircrafts by the NATO Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC), Khalid said violence has remained high despite the start of the intra-Afghan peace talks.
“Unfortunately, violence has increased, there may be different reasons, sometimes, it is for making gains and bargaining better at the table,” he said, adding that the Afghan forces had never gone on the offensive.
The Taliban casualties, Khalid said, were three to four times higher than the Afghan forces, but with little to show for their achievements.
He admitted that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not been reporting all security incidents despite their increase.
“We even, did not publicise every [security] incident so that intra-Afghan talks are not affected,” he said.
Khalid said that while the world, especially NATO, is committed to supporting Afghanistan, the Afghan forces “can defend our country” when foreign troops withdraw.
“We have the ability to do so, the training our air forces, ground forces and special forces received over the past years has been unparalleled in the region,” the minister said.
He also said they “will not allow any deal” that will compromise the values and achievements of the past 19 years.
NATO officials, at the handover ceremony said they will never allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorism again.
Lieutenant General E. John Deedrick, head of CSTC-A said that the Afghan security forces have become professional, better equipped, better commanded, more sustainable as they fight terrorism and create the conditions for peace.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said 17 new Coronavirus cases were detected from 265 tested samples in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 38,872 confirmed infections.
While no deaths were reported, there were two patients who recovered in the past day.
The MoPH reported new cases in the Balkh (7), Kabul (5), Daykundi (3), Laghman (1) and Nuristan (1).
There are 93 cases which are critical across the country.
Afghanistan has 4,931 active cases while 32,505 have recovered and 1,436 had succumbed to the virus.
A man stabbed his former wife to death in Zaranj city, the Nimruz provincial centre, officials said.
Bahram Haqmal, Nimruz governor’s spokesperson said the incident took place on Wednesday in the PD2 area.
Tribal elders had been present to witness the divorce and had been trying to mediate between the couple.
However, a fight broke out and the man stabbed the woman and then escaped. Their daughter and another elderly man were also injured.
Police are now on the look-out for the man.
Following media coverage of the gang rape of a teenage girl in Balkh, President Ashraf Ghani issued an “urgent order” to investigate the case.
Presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi wrote on Twitter on Thursday, that Ghani had instructed the Office of the Attorney General and the National Directorate of Security to start the investigations.
The president expressed “his deep concern over this issue” Sediqqi said.
The government is also taking other practical measures to help the girl by taking care of her health and she is being treated at the Ghazi Amanullah Khan Hospital in Kabul.
“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is committed to ensuring the justice and human rights of all its citizens, including women and children, and will spare no effort against violators of the law,” Sediqqi said.
TOLOnews had reported that a teenage girl, identified as Khadija, said she had been raped by a man along with his five sons and his son-in-law, after being abducted from Kabul and being taken to Balkh.
She told TOLO news, she was tortured and repeatedly raped by the seven men for a month and a half.
She is now paralyzed and threatened self-immolation if the perpetrators were not punished.
Pakistani leaders inaugurated the Badini trade terminal in Balochistan on Wednesday, to reduce the strain on the Chaman border crossing and expand Afghan transit trade.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani inaugurated the trade terminal which connects to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Speaking at the ceremony, Alyani said the opening such initiatives would boost economic activities and create job opportunities for the local people.
“The Balochistan government will play its role in the success of the new trade terminal,” he assured.
Commander of Southern Command Lt. Gen. Wasim Ashraf said the opening of Badini trade terminal was a good initiative and would increase trade activities between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said they will support Afghanistan’s “peaceful” reconstruction and orderly withdrawal of foreign military troops in a “responsible” manner to ensure the stability in the conflict-torn country,.
Speaking to Xinhua News agency, Wang said, “Being a sincere friend of Afghanistan, China wholeheartedly hopes that all parties to the Afghan talks will set the national interests as a priority and will manage to find an effective solution of the Afghan problem as soon as possible.”
He stressed that the fundamental direction of political settlement, the basic principle of the Afghan-led approach, and the framework goal of broad inclusiveness should be adhered to during the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Wang stressed that the quick end of the military chaos in Afghanistan was not just a hope of the Afghan people, but an important interest of the region and the whole international community.
“As earlier, China will support the reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” he said.
“We are calling on the international community and regional countries to respect the principle of fairness, jointly support the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, [to ensure] responsible and well-ordered withdrawal of foreign troops to secure the gradual transit.”
He hoped that the new decided upon Afghan governmental system would “unswervingly” combat terrorism, pursue peaceful and friendly foreign policy, and push Afghanistan onto a path of peace, stability and development.
Acting Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar on Thursday, led a high-level delegation for a two-day visit to Dushanbe at the official invitation of Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin.
The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its press release said, Atmar will be meeting his Tajik counterpart and also President Emomali Rahmon, Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda, chairman of the State Committee For National Security Saimumin Yatimov.
Discussions between the officials will focus on further strengthening bilateral relations in the security and border sectors, transport, investment, trade and transit, and energy.
Atmar is accompanied by a number of government officials, governors, members of the parliament.