Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
At least seven government forces were killed in an attack by Taliban in Had-e Bakhshi areas of Baghlan Markazi district last night, local officials said.
Ahmad Jawid Besharat, the spokesman of Baghlan Police said at least five Taliban and two security forces were killed and four other Taliban and two of security were wounded in the clashes.
According to him, at least five Taliban and two uprising forces were killed and eight more Taliban with two of uprising forces were wounded in a Taliban attack on Laqayee Ha area at the same night.
At least two people were killed and six more were wounded in two IED explosions in the city of Bamiyan this evening, local officials said on Tuesday.
The local officials said that blasts happened close to a hotel in a local market in the city.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the blasts so far.
The undersigned diaspora Afghanistan civil society organizations, has written a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to draw his attention to the present and escalating threats to the rights and physical security of Shi’a Hazaras and other vulnerable minorities in Afghanistan.
In the letter, it was requested from the office US Secretary General to urge participating states and organizations at the upcoming 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva (henceforth the Geneva Conference) to place the protection and promotion of minority rights at the centre of UN peace efforts and development programs in Afghanistan.
The civil society organizations expressed deep concerns about the growing target attacks on Hazara civilians in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan in recent years.
The letter insists on the request that the UN urge the participating states and organizations at the Geneva Conference to recognize that the intra-Afghan peace process must preserve and advance the security and fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens of Afghanistan, particularly the Shi’a Hazaras and other minorities in the joint political declaration.
For instance, the Taliban delegation in Doha has resisted efforts to recognize the Jafari jurisprudence of Islam within the framework of Hanafi jurisprudence as the primary reference in the code of conduct for the Intra-Afghan Negotiations.
“We fear that this reveals the Taliban’s discriminatory attitudes and the group’s intention to establish a discriminatory political regime based on a sectarian exclusion in Afghanistan. While the Hanafi jurisprudence, which is followed by the majority of the citizens of Afghanistan and is known for its rich history of religious tolerance, is not a source of concern, the Taliban’s interpretation of the jurisprudence and its implications for the fundamental human rights of the citizens of Afghanistan, including the rights of minorities and women, is cause for serious concern,” the letter reads.
They asked the UN and the broader international community to join in urging the Taliban to declare that they are committed to recognising and observing the fundamental human rights of the citizens of Afghanistan, including the religious rights of Shi’a Hazara; and that they reject any discrimination against all groups based on religion, gender, ethnic identity, and other group-based attributes.
They repeated their call on the UN to continue its important role in mobilizing and maintaining strong international support for a democratic and inclusive system of governance to ensure enduring peace, prosperity, and self-reliance in Afghanistan.
President Ashraf Ghani, who spoke via video call at the Geneva conference on Afghanistan, said he had repeatedly called for a ceasefire with the Taliban in recent years, referring to peace talks with the Taliban in Doha.
President pointed to the release of Taliban prisoners after “consulting with the Loya Jirga”.
Ghani told the participants of the Geneva conference that his country wants a peace that should be in accordance with the Constitution of Afghanistan and the values of world human rights.
“Our strategy is based on the three principles; making peace, state-building and creating a market,” Ghani said.
He told representatives of countries and organizations that he expects to set a framework for the assistance to his country for the next four years.
The Afghanistan Donor Conference was attended by representatives of 70 countries and 20 international organizations in Geneva.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) Tuesday reported 290 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1428 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 17 deaths and 1712 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 45,278 the number of total reported deaths is 1,712 and the total number of recoveries is 36,122.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Heart, Nangarhar, Kunduz, Takhar, Baghlan, Parwan, Nimroz, Ghazni, Logar and Maidan Wardak.
The Ministry of Higher Education of Afghanistan and the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Education of Uzbekistan has signed a memorandum of understanding in Tashkent, Uzbek authorities said.
Students from Afghanistan will study in Uzbekistan under this memorandum.
According to Uzbek officials, the signed MoU defines order and conditions of cooperation between higher educational institutions of two countries, including exchange of learning materials, mutual participation of specialists in educational events, cooperation in research projects, joint preparation of publications and articles in scientific magazines.
The agreement on further expansion of cooperation in education between higher educational institutions was reached during visit of the delegation of the government of Uzbekistan to Afghanistan in October 2020.
Leaders gathered at the virtual Afghanistan donor conference on 23 and 24 November 2020 must put women and girls at the centre of discussions, says CARE International in a press release.
Despite political commitments, women remain largely excluded from meaningful participation in the Afghanistan peace process. Only 22% of the formal and informal Afghanistan peace negotiations and internationally backed consultations conducted between 2005 and 2020 included women.
“Women constitute half of Afghanistan’s population, and it is crucial that the difficult task of peacebuilding be done by men and women in partnership. Women are also the central caretakers of families and everyone is affected when they are excluded from peacebuilding. Women are advocates for peace, as peacekeepers, relief workers and mediators. Women have already been shown to play prominent roles in peace processes in the Horn of Africa such as in Sudan and Burundi, where they have contributed as observers. They could be a real asset to Afghanistan’s peace process if allowed to do so,” CARE’s Deputy Country Director, Marianne O’Grady, said.
According to the press release, CARE spoke to over 6,000 women across 40 countries, including Afghanistan, on the impact of COVID-19. One female respondent from Herat Province said, “Sometimes I feel unsafe. Criminal and gender-based violence incidents are increasing.”
Founded in 1945, CARE is one of the largest and oldest humanitarian aid organisations fighting global poverty. CARE has a special focus on empowering and meeting the needs of women and girls and promoting gender equality and works in 100 countries around the world.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) says Afghan forces rescued a child from kidnappers on Monday night.
MoI in a press release said that the child was abducted six days ago when he was on his way to school in Qalaye Fatullah area of PD10 in Kabul.
According to the press release, the child was kept in a residential house in Baharestan area of PD2.
At least four individuals were arrested in connection with the kidnapping, MoI added.
America’s NATO allies were “dismayed” by President Trump’s decision to draw down American troops in Afghanistan and undercut the mission goal of preventing a return of al Qaeda, said former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Jim Stavridis.
“They are dismayed,” Stavridis told the Washington Examiner after speaking to senior military and civilian NATO leaders following Trump’s call to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan to 2,500 by Jan. 15, 2021.
“And [to] do it with no strategic or tactical rationale and simply ignore the conditions,” he added. “That makes no military sense, no diplomatic sense, and no political sense.”
Stavridis said he does not believe the mission to train the Afghan armed forces, conduct counterterrorism operations, and pressure the Taliban to commit to peace can be achieved with the reduced troop level.
Iranian Parliament Speaker has said that intra-Afghan talks can lead to the establishment of peace and stability.
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf made the remarks in his meeting with Afghanistan Ambassador to Tehran Abdul Ghafoor Liwal.
He reiterated that intra-Afghan talks, regardless of pressure from third countries with the centrality of legal government of Afghanistan, can lead to spread of peace and stability.
He pointed to the longstanding ties and cultural commonalities between Iran and Afghanistan and added, “Iran and Afghanistan have always established friendly and brotherly relations between people of the two countries and this is a strong support for the development and expansion of political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries.”
Ghalibaf expressed his deep regret over the recent terrorist attack in Kabul and stated, “Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized on establishing peace and security in Afghanistan.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, he stressed the need to compile Comprehensive Cooperation Document between the two countries of Iran and Afghanistan and added, “We emphasize all-out cooperation between the two countries and Iranian Parliament will support the Comprehensive Cooperation Document wholeheartedly.”
Afghan envoy to Iran, for his part, appreciated Iran’s support for people of Afghanistan in various historical periods and added, “People of Afghanistan will never forget the material and spiritual support of Iranian people during and after war in backing Afghan Constitution.”
The Afghan envoy then pointed to the outbreak of coronavirus global pandemic, COVID-19, and called for more cooperation between healthcare and treatment centers of the two countries.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said his country has still the tools to fulfill the commitments made by President Donald Trump to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
In an interview with the local newspaper Al-Raya, in the context of his visit to Doha this weekend, the senior official explained the U.S. monitors the conditions on the ground to carry out such a move.
Regarding peace negotiations in Afghanistan, main objective of his passage through the region after a rocket attack on densely populated areas of Kabul, he expressed confidence that substantial progress would be made in the coming weeks.
In this regard, he recognized the important role of Qatar, which, in his view, has been an important partner not only for hosting the talks, but also for participating constructively, increasing the chances of success.
Pompeo, who is touring seven countries in Europe and the Middle East, met separately in this capital with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.