Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
As per multiple statements of the Afghan Ministry of Interior, a total of 12 Taliban insurgents were killed in Uruzgan, Baghlan and Sar-e-Pul
Three Taliban insurgents were killed in a clearance operation carried out by General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) in Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan.
Moreover, Six Taliban insurgents were killed and nine others were injured during a clearance joint operation carried out by Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in Tala-o-Barfak district of Baghlan.
Miraj known as Rasuli, Taliban’s shadow district governor for Tala-o-Barfak district was among those wounded.
Finally, Three Taliban insurgents were killed and 13 others were injured in a clash with General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU).
The clash took place in Sayed Abad village, Sar-e-Pul City of Sar-e-Pul province.
Zarif, Taliban’s shadow governor for Sar-e-Pul province was among those wounded.
As per a statement by Ministry of Interior, the Afghan National Police (ANP) discovered and defused a roadside bomb, placed by terrorists in the vicinity of the Sar-e-Pul City of Sar-e-Pul province.
Ahmad Rashid earned highest marks in the exam with 350.251. He will study medics in Herat province.
Syed Sajad Hussain followed him with 346.84. He will also study medics in Kabul.
Qasim Ali secured third position as he scored 345.164 marks. He will study economics in Kabul.
Syed Shoaib and Elhamullah were fourth and fifth respectively.
A total of 174,871 participated in the exam. Of them, 61,799 secured seats in state higher education institutions while 15,130 succeeded to semi-higher education institutions.
A total of 77,718 were referred to private institutions whereas 20,000 failed.
Afghan women have a fundamental role to play in the ongoing peace process, which must be inclusive for the peace that emerges to be truly sustainable, said the UN’s top envoy to Afghanistan during a human rights symposium this week in the northeast province of Kunduz.
“To build and maintain peace, it is essential that both men and women are equally involved in the formulation of economic and social programmes for the development of communities; that both men and women contribute to advancing policy-making processes and political processes; and that women’s rights are further advanced so that no one in Afghanistan is left behind,” envoy Tadamichi Yamamoto told an audience of hundreds gathered at Kunduz University.
The symposium, organized under the framework of an engagement plan between Kunduz University and UNAMA’s regional office, drew more than 300 participants, including 240 students out of whom 112 were women. Other participants included civil society members, rights activists, provincial officials and journalists.
“Your presence here today symbolizes your interest and commitment in preventing further conflict, in building peace, and in ensuring that the rights of all, women and men, are respected, promoted and fulfilled,” said Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, addressing the audience alongside the head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Sima Samar.
“The United Nations stands for human rights, including the principle of non-discrimination and equality between women and men, which is enshrined in many UN treaties, and Afghanistan is a party to most of them,” said Yamamoto. “We will stand by the people of Afghanistan to ensure that this principle is not compromised.”
As per the UNAMA, a A UN-backed ‘local peace initiative’ has helped two tribes reach agreement on ending a 40-year conflict over land in the eastern province of Kunar.
For almost four decades, the Salarzi and Mamund tribes have feuded over a piece of land in the Lahor Dack area of the Marawara District of Kunar. The conflict has been a source of tension and violence, and has affected the lives of hundreds of people by disrupting social, economic and other activities.
“The conflict often erupts and heightens during the cultivation period,” said Haji Shirzaman, a community elder from the Mamund tribe, adding that past efforts to bring peace to the two tribes have been short-lived and mostly unsuccessful.
UNAMA’s regional office in Jalalabad, as part of its Local Peace Initiative programme helped facilitate a peaceful resolution to the Salarzi-Mamund dispute through collaboration with multiple partners, including tribal and community leaders, women, prominent religious leaders and peace activists in coordination with Kunar’s provincial government, including its Tribal Affairs Department.
After several weeks of UNAMA-arranged meetings, the two tribes agreed to a two-day Jirga, a traditional form of conflict resolution used across Afghanistan to resolve disputes. The Jirga, held in Asadabad, Kunar’s capital, was attended by the Kunar Province and Marawara District governors, led by tribal elders from Marawara district with the support of provincial department of tribal affairs and brought together more than 70 participants, including 15 women.
“We made tireless efforts for more than one year to hold the Jirga,” said Farid Hisam, head of Kunar’s Tribal Affairs Department, “because peace and unity are what will help bring development.”
Over the course of the Jirga, participants highlighted the negative impact of the feud, such as children being prevented from going to school or relatives visiting their families, as well as contributing to general destabilization and underdevelopment of the district.
Women representatives from both tribes played critical roles as organizers and participants, holding a separate discussion during the Jirga, with the inputs subsequently covered in the final agreement.
The Jirga culminated in a jointly-written peace resolution, a comprehensive pact on how to end the dispute with representatives of both tribes announcing that they would work with their communities to implement the decisions.
Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani met with German Special Envoy on Afghanistan Markus Potzel on Wednesday and thanked him for the latter’s efforts in facilitating intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha.
“The dialogue marked a basis to strengthen common understanding which is key to achieving a lasting peace. We look forward to an early start of formal talks”, Rabbani wrote on Twitter.
The intra-Afghan conference on peace took place in Doha was cohosted by Germany and Qatar, had a positive outcome and declaration of a common shared goal of sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the US-Taliban talks also concluded in Doha.
Security officials reported the arrest of three Taliban’s charity collector in Balkh province.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said on Wednesday that Sardar Wali, Allahdad and Khair Mohammad who were involved in collecting Zakat (Charity) for Taliban in Koh-e Alburz, Sholgara, and Chatmal districts.
The ministry of interior did not provide details about how these individuals were arrested.
Security forces have reported that an important compound of Taliban has been destroyed in Helmand province.
As a result of special forces operation that was carried out late on Tuesday night in Tor Abu area in Kajaki district, a Taliban compound was destroyed, 215th Maiwand Corps said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement added that, the special forces seized 2 weapons, 2 computers, 3 radio sets, a Pakistani national identity card, 2 vehicle, 4 motorcycles, and some other ammunitions.
During the operation, 4 suspected insurgents were detained, as per statement.
The Ministry of Higher Education has announced that the Kankor exams result (Afghanistan’s nationwide university entrance exam) for year 2019 will be announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The Ministry further added that, the results of individuals who attain first to fifth positions in the exam will be announced at the conference in the ministry.
In the general, the Kankor of year 2019 had participation of more than 200000 people. Recently, National Kankor Examination Department had said that, with the announcement of the result of the exam, more than 80000 applicants will be accepted in government higher education institutions, 49000 other applicants to government mid-higher education institutes and 126596 students will be introduced to private higher education institutes.
Pakistan is facing “significant economic challenges” due to a weak and unbalanced growth and that its economy is at a critical juncture where it needs an ambitious and bold set of reforms, the IMF has said.
Cash-strapped Pakistan, which currently has a currency reserve of less than USD 8 billion, enough to cover only 1.7 months of imports, approached the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August 2018 for a bailout package after the Imran Khan government took over.
The global lender last week formally approved the USD 6 billion loan to Pakistan, which is facing “significant” economic challenges on the back of “large” fiscal and financial needs and “weak and unbalanced” growth.
“Pakistan is facing significant economic challenges on the back of large fiscal and financial needs and weak and unbalanced growth,” David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF Executive Board said.
Last week, the IMF approved the 13th bailout package for Pakistan since the late 1980s.
The latest bailout package is worth USD 6 billion, of which USD 1 billion is to be disbursed immediately and the rest in the next three years.
In an accompanying report, the IMF said that Pakistan’s economy is at a critical juncture.
The legacy of misaligned economic policies, including large fiscal deficits, loose monetary policy and defence of an overvalued exchange rate, fuelled consumption and short-term growth in recent years, but steadily eroded macroeconomic buffers, increased external and public debt, and depleted international reserves.
Structural weaknesses remained largely unaddressed, including a chronically weak tax administration, a difficult business environment, inefficient and loss making state-owned enterprises, amid a large informal economy.
“Without urgent policy action, economic and financial stability could be at risk, and growth prospects will be insufficient to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population,” the IMF said.
The Fund-supported programme is expected to coalesce broader support from multilateral and bilateral creditors in excess of USD 38 billion, which is crucial for Pakistan to meet its large financing needs in the coming years, it added.
Pakistan has so far received billions in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the current fiscal year.
The United States has shown interest to enlist allies over the next two weeks or so in a military coalition to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, where Washington blames Iran and Iran-aligned fighters for attacks, the top U.S. general said on Tuesday, as per Reuters.
Under the plan, which has been finalized in recent days, the United States would provide command ships and lead surveillance efforts for the military coalition. Allies would patrol waters near those U.S. command ships and escort commercial vessels with their nation’s flags.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, articulated those details to reporters following meetings on Tuesday about it with acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,” Dunford said.
“And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks we’ll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we’ll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that’ll support that.”
Iran has long threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s oil passes, if it was unable to export its oil, something U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has sought as a way to pressure Tehran to renegotiate a deal on its nuclear program.