Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
US Army Rangers Matthew Griffin and Donald Lee served two tours together in Afghanistan where they saw brutal combat and crushing poverty.
“I had a son at that time, and I’m like, ‘God, these kids will never have the opportunities that my kids can have,'” Lee said.
As per CBS, after they left the Army, Griffin had an idea.
“I got that call in the middle of the night, saying ‘Hey, we’re gonna make flip flops in Afghanistan,'” Lee said.
The mission was to make sturdy military-themed flip flops and footwear and use the profits to support education for Afghan girls. They call the company Combat Flip Flops.
“For every product that we sell, we donate to put a girl in school for a day in Afghanistan,” Griffin said.
In 2016, they presented their business plan on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Three panel members invested $100,000 each. But it’s in Afghanistan that their success is most important, where Hassina Sherjan runs schools for over 3,000 girls.
“We have at least 85% illiteracy. We have the highest illiteracy rate in the world,” Sherjan said.
To support her schools, Sherjan also runs a small business where her employees make scarves for Combat Flip Flops.
“They’re all woven, dyed, sewn, stitched, and tasseled in Afghanistan in a woman-owned factory,” Griffin said.
“We lost six friends during our time in service and is it worth it? And now I can look at something and go, ‘Yeah, it’s worth it,'” Griffin said.
“I think we’re definitely serving their memory,” Lee said.
Perhaps flip flops can accomplish something boots on the ground have not.
The Germany Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has called for the announcement of Afghanistan Presidential election results.
Speaking in a joint press conference with President Ashraf Ghani in the Presidential Palace, Karrenbauer declared that she hopes the Afghan election results to be announced at the earliest time and that the results will be accepted to all Presidential contenders.
“Afghanistan’s international partners are long-term partners and the election results should lead to an inclusive national government,” she said.
President Ghani also welcomed German assistance in rebuilding the country, saying that in addition to direct assistance, Germany has made great efforts within the framework of the European Union and NATO as an extremely good partner and supporter of a stable Afghanistan in the region.
The Upper House of Parliament, Senate on Tuesday approved the draft for 428 billion AFN national budget for the solar year 1399.
The plan includes 289 billion AFN for ordinary expenditures and 139 billion AFN for development purposes.
The Senate House also added that based on the 98th article of the constitution, the draft of national budget for the 1399 solar year will be submitted to the Lower House of Parliament for approval.
Kabul has marked the top of the world’s polluted city, said the Assessment by Air Visual, a US and Swiss based air measuring company, adding that the city “has reached hazardous level of polluted weather.”
The National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) has said that air pollution in Kabul increases during the night and in the morning.
“In Wazir Akbar Khan area also show that yesterday the level of air pollution was the worst in recent years,” said Ezatullah Sediqqi, the deputy head of NEPA.
He called on the government to take preemptive measure in regards to avoid the weather from further pollution.
According to Air Visual, air pollution levels in some parts of the city have risen to a standard of 247 micrograms per cubic meter.
The supporters of “Stability and Partnership” electoral team staged a protest in Sar-e Pul province on Tuesday, local officials said.
The spokesman of Sar-e Pul governor, Zabiullah Amani told Reporterly that a number of the supporters of the “Stability and Partnership” electoral team started their protest on Tuesday in the province.
According to Amani, the protesters are demanding the recount of biometric votes and the announcement of the primary result of the Presidential election.
This comes as the supporters of the “Stability and Partnership” electoral team have staged massive protests in Kabul, Baghlan, Takhar and Faryab in the last three days and are demanding the invalidation of 300 thousands votes which they believe are fraudulent.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Tadamichi Yamamoto has met with President Ashraf Ghani to discuss safety of UN personnel after a deadly attack in Kabul.
In a statement, UNAMA said that during the meeting with President Ghani, head of the mission was briefed by Afghan security chiefs on the state of their investigations.
Both sides emphasized their determination to bring the perpetrators to account and discussed measures to enhance the safety and security of UN personnel, the statement said.
“The attack on UN civilians and the killing of Anil Raj is an outrage deserving the strongest condemnation,” said Yamamoto, who is also the head of UNAMA. “No stone will be left unturned in order for the attackers to be identified and for justice to be served.”
On November 24, a UN staff member from the United States was killed and two others were wounded when a blast targeted their vehicle in Kabul.
The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has spoken over phone with the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Afghanistan election, the CE’s office said.
The Chief Executive Office in a press release on Monday said that the CE Abdullah talked on phone with Mike Pompeo about the Afghan election process.
According to the press release, both sides discussed about the recent trip of US President Donald Trump to Afghanistan, peace negotiation process and Afghan election process.
The talks come as currently the electoral tensions in Afghanistan are increasing.
The US State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells has called on Afghan authorities, including the Attorney General’s Office, to take decisive action on deeply troubling reports of sexual abuse in Logar schools.
“We call on Afghan authorities, including the Attorney General’s Office, to take decisive action on deeply troubling reports of sexual abuse in Logar schools. Sexual violence and practices like bacha bazi have no place in any society,” the US Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) said in a tweet.
In the meantime, the President’s spokesman, Sediq Sediqi said that the Afghan government is strongly committed to taking decisive actions after a thorough report of investigations by the Attorney General’s Office and AIHRC is presented to the government. “Afghanistan law enforcement entities will hold the perpetrators accountable,” Sediqi said.
The ancient practice of “bacha bazi” literally, dancing boys is common in Afghanistan among wealthy and powerful men who exploit underage boys as sexual partners.
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said that she supported an extension of German participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
Over 1,000 German troops are currently stationed there.
Germany wants to extend its participation mandate in the current NATO mission in Afghanistan, the German defense minister said on Monday.
CDU party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is widely tipped as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor, made the announcement as she visited German troops in Mazar-e Sharif.
“As things stand today, I would say that there is a great deal to suggest that the work we have begun, and which has not yet been completed, can be continued,” she said during her visit.
“It’s a long road. It’s a difficult road, but we can still see that progress is being made today,” she added.
US President Donald Trump has said his maiden trip to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day was very successful.
“I loved going to Afghanistan. It was great — as you know — we had some good meetings with a lot of people including (Afghanistan President Ashraf) Ghani, you know that, right? And he was terrific. It was great meeting with him,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawns of the White House.
“But my trip to Afghanistan was very successful,” he said responding to a question on his unannounced trip to Afghanistan last week to meet US soldiers stationed in the war-torn country and thank them for their service.
During the unannounced visit on Thursday, Trump had a hastily-arranged bilateral meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially called on Iran to explain the killing of a number of Afghan citizens by Iranian security forces in the course of the protests in November, Radio Free Europe’s Afghan Service reported.
The REFE/RL Afghan service has quoted a spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry as having said that the Ministry is following up the case and Iranian officials have promised to offer explanations.
The spokesman also told an Afghan newspaper that 9 Afghan immigrants have been killed by security forces during protests when security forces opened fire on demonstrators.
The families of three of the victims have called on the Afghan Foreign Ministry for help regarding the repatriation of the victims’ bodies.