Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) has expressed concern over the failure of the Independent Election Commission (IEC)’s in presenting a plan to amend the election law and bring the electoral reform.
FEFA has said that the continuation of this situation will have a negative impact on the electoral process, public trust in the elections, obtaining global aid and the outcome of the elections.
A statement issued by FEFA on Tuesday stated that (IEC), as the body responsible for conducting and administering the elections, had not taken any significant steps to pave the way for electoral reforms.
According to the statement, the IEC has not been able to finalize its plan to amend the electoral law, which is a significant part of electoral reform and paves the way for legal electoral reform, several months later.
FEFA cited that in the past few months, the Electoral Commissions had not been able to use the opportunity to come up with a comprehensive plan to amend the election law and submit it to the Ministry of Justice.
Recently, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report that the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) has always suffered from weak leadership, unqualified staff, minimal accountability for fraud, and inadequate decision-making structures.
In the meantime, FEFA has said that the IEC, instead of working and focusing on electoral reform, which is a good precondition for elections, focused on holding four elections (Ghazni parliamentary elections, provincial council, district council and municipal elections in major cities).
Though the NATO and US officials have accused the Taliban of not adhering to the Doha agreement, the group insists that it has complied with its obligations under the agreement.
Recently, Mullah Baradar, the political deputy and head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, wrote in an open letter to the American people that the Doha Agreement was signed
on aim to withdrawal all foreign troops, all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, personal security contractors and trainers, advisers from Afghanistan within 14 months.
Mullah Baradar writes that the Taliban have also committed Afghanistan’s soil would not be used against the security of any country after the withdrawal of international troops.
He urged the United States to abide by its commitments to implement the agreement, saying that full implementation was the best way to end the war.
In the letter, Mullah Baradar stressed that the Taliban is committed to securing all the rights of women it has granted, and is taking the necessary steps to reach an agreement with the world and, as a result, an alternative economy, in the fight against narcotics.
This comes as the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha have stalled and the Taliban delegation is traveling abroad.
Senior Afghan security officials have repeatedly stated that the Taliban are preparing for a full-scale war next year and are therefore reluctant to negotiate with the government’s delegation.
An investigation by Germany into a deadly 2009 airstrike near the Afghan city of Kunduz that was ordered by a German commander complied with its right-to-life obligations, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.
As per Reuters report, the ruling by the Strasbourg-based court rejects a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.
In September 2009, the German commander of NATO troops in Kunduz called in a U.S. fighter jet to strike two fuel trucks near the city which NATO believed had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents.
The Afghan government said at the time 99 people, including 30 civilians, were killed. Independent rights groups estimated between 60 and 70 civilians were killed.
The death toll shocked Germans and ultimately forced its defence minister to resign over accusations of covering up the number of civilian casualties in the run-up to Germany’s 2009 election.
Germany’s federal prosecutor general had found that the commander did not incur criminal liability, mainly because he was convinced when he ordered the airstrike that no civilians were present.
For him to be liable under international law, he would have had to be found to have acted with intent to cause excessive civilian casualties.
The European Court of Human Rights considered the effectiveness of Germany’s investigation, including whether it established a justification for lethal use of force. It did not consider the legality of the airstrike.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Tuesday reported 22 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported no death and 81 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,540 the number of total reported deaths is 2,428 and the total number of recoveries is 48,514.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Nangarhar, Badakhshan, Kapisa, Faryab, Laghman and Uruzgan provinces.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) have urged an immediate investigation and measures to ensure the full protection of the head of Faryab’s Journalists Union, Qutbuddin Kohi.
An Afghan journalist Qutbuddin Kohi survived an assassination attempt by armed assailants in Faryab province on February 11.
Journalist Outbuddin Kohi was returning home when he was fired upon just after 7pm in the city of Maimana. “Three bullets were fired. I rushed and as I got back up and I was about to open the car’s door and I saw the gunmen fleeing in a white car,” Kohi said. The injured journalist was taken to the local hospital in Maimana for treatment.
According to the AIJA, the journalist received bullet- injuries, but has since recovered.
No group is yet to claim responsibility for the attack. Police launched an investigation into the attack and the murder attempt has been broadly condemned by the media community.
The AIJA said: “The AIJA is worried for the increased targeted attack on journalists. We call on the Afghan government to prosecute the perpetrators and ensure safety of journalists.”
The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) said: “Despite the government’s assurances and commitment to protecting journalists, the situation for media in Afghanistan is extremely worrying with an escalation in attacks. The IFJ urges stronger dialogue between the Afghanistan government and the media fraternity to resolve this critical issue.”
According to the UN’s report on ‘ Killing of human rights defenders, journalists and media workers in Afghanistan’, at least 11 human rights defenders and journalists have been killed in targeted attack in Afghanistan since peace talks started between the Taliban and Afghan government last September.
At least six policemen were killed and two more were wounded in an attack by the Taliban in Zabul province on Monday night, local media said on Tuesday.
The incident took place after Taliban militants stormed a security outpost in the city of Qalat, the center of Zabul on Monday.
Reports suggest that the Taliban have taken captive three more policemen.
“The Taliban has taken two military vehicles and weapons with them,” the reports said.
Local officials and the Taliban so far have not commented on the incident.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations Team has held a virtual meeting with Afghans living in 13 European countries and the United States about the Afghanistan peace process.
The IRA Peace Team in a statement said that the chief of the negotiation team of Afghanistan, Masoum Stanikzai appreciated the participation of Afghans living abroad in the meeting, saying the main victims of the current war in the country are Afghans.
According to the statement, Stanekzai, while emphasizing the strengthening of consensus among Afghans and having a unified voice to ensure sustainable peace & stability, said that Afghanistan must not go back to the dark past; instead, through unity and solidarity, we must strengthen the foundation laid.
In the meantime, the participants shared their questions and views about the status of the peace process, the women, youth and minorities’ rights and their role in the peace process, the ongoing violence in the country and the reasons for the suspension of the negotiations.
The participants called ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan as a collective responsibility and said that all the people of Afghanistan should work in this regard in the light of the national interests of the country.
Afghan local officials say at least one Policeman was killed and three more were wounded after unidentified armed men opened fire on a ranger type vehicle in Nangarhar province this morning.
The spokesman of Nangarhar Police, Farid Khan told Reporterly that a ranger of Police came under armed attack in PD7 of Jalalabad city at around 07:00am (local time) on Tuesday.
In a separate incident in the same city, unknown gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in Nasrat High School area of PD4 at around 08:00am, killing three people.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the incidents so far.
Afghan local officials say at least seven Police personnel were killed in a roadside bomb blast in Faryab province yesterday.
The spokesman of Faryab Police, Abdul Karim Yourish said a supply convoy of Police was on it’s way from Maimana city to Almar district which hit a roadside bomb in the bazaar of the Almar district.
According to Yourish, A Humvee tank was destroyed in the incident.
He added that after the blast, a clash erupted between Police and Taliban militants which as a result, ten insurgents were killed and wounded.
German Ambassador Bernhard Schlagheck and Pakistan’s Federal Minister of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan have inaugurated the ‘Urban Cohesion Hub’ for Afghan refugees in Rawalpindi on Monday.
According to Pakistani media, the Hub is a community centre which will serve as a place for encounters between urban Afghan refugees and Pakistani host communities residing in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and will thereby help to foster social cohesion.
Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Hub is set to support more than 30,000 refugees and host community members with integrated services in health, education, skills training, legal support, and recreational activities.
While welcoming all community members, the initiative emphasises supporting vulnerable groups including people with disabilities, working children, elderly people, youth, and women.
At least seven Taliban insurgents were killed, six others were wounded and one more was arrested during joint operations by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and Commandos in Kandahar province on Monday, security officials said.
The Special Operations Corps in a statement said that the operations were conducted in Naso Kariz and Kalankicha areas of Maiwand district.
According to the statement, a bomb-making factory, 70 IEDs and a number of ammunitions were eliminated during the operations.
Commandos also seized a sniper of Taliban, the statement added.
The Chairman of the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan (SCNS), Saimumin Yatimov, has met with the Chairman Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar to discuss regional security issues.
Dr. Abdullah discussed ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks in Qatar’s capital, Doha, bilateral security cooperation, and the situation along the Afghan-Tajik border.
The sides discussed issues related to bilateral security cooperation between the two countries.
“Highly appreciating the principal and constant support of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon for peace efforts in Afghanistan, we underlined the significance of continuation of work of regional community on achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan,” Abdullah noted.
“Authorities in Central Asia, including Tajikistan, are concerned about the unclarity in the ongoing Afghan peace talks, the continuation of violence in Afghanistan, the activation of terrorist groups in Afghanistan’s north, and the growing illegal drugs smuggling via the Afghan-Tajik border,” Rahimi said.
On the eve of Tajik security chief’s visit to Kabul, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon had phone talks with his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, to discuss regional issues and bilateral ties, according to the Tajik president’s official website.