Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
NATO Allies and partners met at the plenary meeting of the Afghan National Army Trust Fund Board on Monday and reviewed the implementation of their financial contributions in support to the Afghan security forces, discussed contributions for 2021 and reiterated their commitment to provide financial support to the Afghan security forces through 2024.
A statement released by NATO said that partners and allies had made contributions of over $3.2 billion since the establishment of the Trust Fund in 2007.
“Today’s commitments help underpin the confidence that our financial support to the Afghan security forces will continue to be strong beyond 2020. International funding support to the Afghan forces is a key pillar of our commitment to Afghan security,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
The NATO-run Afghan National Army Trust Fund was intended to enhance the effectiveness and sustainment of the Afghan security forces by funding activities ranging from installation of donated equipment to training, literacy courses, professional military education, and capacity building.
The Trust Fund is one of three funding streams used by the international community to channel its financial support to Afghanistan’s security forces and institutions. The other two are the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA), administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United States Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF).
The Special Forces of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said they had arrested a secret seven-member Taliban network in Laghman that was targeting provincial and security officials.
On Oct. 6, the network detonated a homemade mine that injured the head of Laghman’s provincial council, Atiqullah Abdul Rahimzai. During that explosion, Rahimzai’s vehicle collided with the IED in the Kharuti village of Qarghaee district.
On Oct. 13, they carried out another magnetic mine explosion that targeted the ranger of the Laghman Police intelligence department chief.
In both attacks four civilians were killed and 16 others including Rahimzai, were wounded, NDS said.
The arrested network was following the orders of Mawlavi Mohibullah who is in charge of organizing terrorist attacks in Laghman province.
The men had been planning to cause an explosion at a large public gathering in the provincial capital of Mehtarlam city where high-ranking government and security officials would have been in attendance.
Acting on intelligence, the network was arrested by NDS before they could reach their target.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) inaugurated the country’s first paediatric cardiac surgery centre that would be able to treat some of the 120,000 children in Afghanistan who are suffering from heart defects.
Acting Health Minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani said that 100 children undergo heart surgery every month at home and abroad.
The centre is the first public sector facility and was established at the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital with the financial support of the Italian government. The doctors at the centre were trained abroad with Italy’s financial support.
Osmani said that the first heart operation at the centre would be free next week.
He added that they MoPH was working on expanding the centre for more complex surgeries.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has arrested at least 2,393 police officers on various charges of crimes in the past two years and reported them to the Office of the Attorney General, said Gen. Dawood Hassas, head of internal security.
Hassas said that reforms were underway at MoI and had resulted in tangible achievements by saving human and material resources.
They had also managed to prevent the infiltration of terrorist and intelligence groups into the ranks of the police and reduced their vulnerability.
At a press conference, the MoI official said that the of the officers detained, around 1,332 were charged with corruption, 86 with criminal offenses and human rights violations such as murder, 32 with robbery, 153 with causing injuries and 31 for crimes against chastity such as adultery and sodomy.
Their ranks ranged from ordinary police soldiers to generals, Hassas said, and added, that all the cases had been reported to the Attorney General for prosecution.
Similarly, the MoI also identified 54 “enemy” infiltrators among the police forces and they were arrested for spying.
In addition, he clarified that 80 others were also suspects, but the MoI did not find any evidence to prove their guilt. However, these people were still moved to passive roles where they did not have access to confidential information or weapons.
In addition, Hassas noted that over the past two years, 647 “ghost” police officers have been identified and removed from the list.
At least 50 Taliban fighters were killed and 87 others were wounded in a clearing operation by the government forces in the Maiwand and Jiri districts of Kandahar in the past day, security officials said on Tuesday.
Kandahar Police spokesperson Jamal Nasser Barakzai told Reporterly that the joint operations were launched by Unit 3 of the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan National Army and the police.
Among those killed, was a Pakistani Taliban member who had been identified as an “adviser” by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Barakzai said.
He did not comment on the casualties incurred by the government forces.
The Ministry of Defence also said that they had defused 15 IEDs panted by the Taliban in Maiwand district.
The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) called on members of the House of Representatives to cast their vote of confidence in favour of accountable and competent candidates, regardless of expediency.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, FEFA said that “introducing the [Cabinet] nominees to the House of Representatives means putting an end to the culture of [“acting”] governance and returning to the constitution and values of the republic in Afghanistan.”
The cabinet nominees were chosen based on the political agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
FEFA They urged the lawmakers to discount narrow-minded ethnic, sectarian, team and linguistic views and vote for those nominees who would serve the nation best and are accountable.
They called on the House of Representatives to carefully review the nominees’ credentials and work, and to ensure that they have the capacity, competence and tact to lead the relevant ministries.
Members of the parliament should evaluate agreed criteria and a clear mechanism to ensure the good reputation of the nominees before voting, the watchdog urged, calling for an end to the terms of “acting” ministers.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported 82 new Coronavirus cases from the 398 samples tested in the government’s laboratories in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan.
They reported two deaths and 30 recoveries, pushing those figures to 1,499 dead and 33,790 recovered from COVID-19.
The MoPH reported new cases in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Takhar, Kunduz, Daykundi, Logar, Parwan, Laghman, Kunar and Panjshir.
Afghanistan currently has 40,369 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
A Wardak lawmaker said that nine civilians were killed in two separate roadside explosions in the Jalrez district of the province on Tuesday morning.
Mehdi Rasekh, a member of the House of Representatives, told Reporterly that the incidents took in the Ab-Basragh area of the district.
The two cars hit roadside bombs planted by the Taliban, he added.
Four civilians were injured in the explosion.
The vehicles were traveling from Waras district of Bamiyan to Kabul.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Monday, condemned the rocket firing across the Durand Line over the Marawara district of Kunar.
The MFA said a civilian was killed while three other children were injured in the attacks when Pakistan fired 25 rockets into residential areas of the district on Sunday.
“The continued rocket fire on Afghan soil, while Afghanistan wants good relations with Pakistan, is severely damaging relations between the two countries,” the ministry said.
Expressing concern, they added that the continuation of these attacks is not in the interest of peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Such attacks also go against the statements of the Pakistani government’s commitments to maintain and strengthen good relations between the two countries.
The Kunar governor’s office had told Reporterly on Monday that a rocket had landed on a civilian and killed a child, while four other people were injured.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday, who said that it was important for Afghans to achieve a real peace and preserve their successes after years of conflict.
Stating that “sustainable peace, stability, and security in Afghanistan as a neighbour and brother country is of special concern for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Rouhani pointed to the friendly relations between Tehran-Kabul.
Highlighting Iran’s support, he said it was important for the people of Afghanistan to gain real peace to maintain their achievements after years of war and clashes, and the solution to this problem lies in political negotiations and the intra-Afghan talks.
Rouhani stressed that the development of the Khaf-Herat railways, which will come on stream in the coming weeks, would strengthen economic and trade collaboration between the two countries.
The Iranian leader also said that they were ready to connect gas and oil product pipelines to Afghanistan.
“We have always stood along with the people of Afghanistan, and we will continue to support this country in all aspects,” he stressed.
Abdullah spoke about the recent developments in the peace efforts and stressed on Afghanistan’s will to achieve a permanent peace with dignity.
He thanked Iran’s “principled” stance and its efforts to establish lasting peace and security in Afghanistan.
Voicing support for the efforts to implement the economic plans, Abdullah said that doing so could provide the foundation for peace and further regional cooperation.
In an interview with Iranian media, he noted that Iran as an influential country has been and will be active in supporting the peace process. “The voice of the neighbouring country is very important to us in consultation at the regional and international level.”