Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghan former Vice President Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum met with the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in the capital Ankara on Thursday.
“Discussed with Marshall Abdul Rashid Dostum, former First Vice President of Afghanistan the peace process and the situation of Turkic people in Afghanistan,” said Mevlut Cavusoglu on Twitter.
“Will continue to support brotherly Afghan people in their quest for peace and stability,” he added.
The meeting was held at the Turkish Foreign Ministry Headquarters.
The intra-Afghan talks began after a February 2020 agreement between the Taliban and the US that sets a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees.
Security officials in Khost province say seven members of a family have been injured in a second Taliban rocket attack on a joint Afghan-foreign military base in the province.
Khost police chief Daud Amin said the Taliban had fired rockets at the Khost Protection Force base at the old airport of Khost province around 7pm last night.
Amin added that the rockets fired at residential houses caused that 7 members of a family were injured.
According to him, women and children were also injured in the incident.
Khost police chief stressed that the rockets were fired from Ismail Khel Mandozi district of the province.
The KPF press office in Khost province said in a statement that the attacks took place around 7:00 pm on Wednesday and that rockets hit residential houses near the KPF base.
The statement added that national damage had also been inflicted on the people following the attacks.
The Taliban have not yet commented.
The Acting Minister of Finance Mohammad Khalid Payende says the World Bank’s $ 113 million commitment and the ADB’s $ 50 million commitment to provide the corona vaccine to 60 percent of Afghanistan’s population had been finalized.
Payendeh in a press conference on Thursday said that the increase in the salaries of teachers and civil employees by 2,000 afghanis will be implemented from the current month, but the practical payment process will take place from the mid year.
In the meantime, Abdul Habib Zadran, Deputy Minister of Finance, emphasized at the conference that 56.8 billion Afghanis have been spent out of the total national budget for the 1,400 fiscal year, which is 12% of the total national budget.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has rejected Taliban’s claim of downing a military helicopter in Helmand province, saying the chopper had an emergency landing due to the technical problems.
Fawad Aman, the deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said on Thursday that the Taliban’s claim about the downing of an army helicopter in Helmand province is incorrect.
Aman noted that the helicopter had an emergency landing last night in Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province due to technical problems.
According to him, the Ministry of Defense is investigating how the helicopter made an emergency landing.
Earlier, Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban, said that the group had downed an army chopper when it tried to target the group.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense announced yesterday evening that an army “Black Hawk” type helicopter had an emergency meeting in Nahr-e Saraj district at around 6:35 PM.
MoD said in a statement that no one was injured in the incident, but Ataullah Afghan, chairman of the Helmand Provincial Council, told Reporterly today that three people were killed and four others were injured in the incident.
According to the head of Helmand Provincial Council, the killed of the incident include two soldiers of Greshk district and a soldier of Nawa district of Helmand province.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday reported 55 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 6 deaths and 195 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 56,572 the number of total reported deaths is 2,495 and the total number of recoveries is 51,788.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nimroz, Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan.
The US State Department has said that in the year 2020, human rights violations had a significant increase around the world, including in Afghanistan.
VOA in a report said, the US Department of State’s annual human rights survey shows that despite the start of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the armed opposition has carried out numerous attacks on government troops, public places and civilians since 2020.
According to the report, the US State Department has said that the killings by insurgents, illegal killings by security forces, and brutal, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment have been highlights of human rights violations by parties in Afghanistan.
Arbitrary detention, killing of civilians, kidnapping, torture and physical abuse have also been the highlights of human rights violations in Afghanistan.
The US State Department has said that widespread corruption, failure to address violence against women, especially those accused of moral crimes, recruitment and use of children as soldiers, and sexual abuse of children are other human rights violations in Afghanistan.
The State Department has noted an increase in violent threats and targeted killings of women, journalists and civil society activists.
The report says that disregard for the rule of law and impunity for human rights violators have been serious challenges in 2020.
The World Bank today approved the allocation of an additional $25 million in financing from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to increase equitable access to primary and secondary education in Afghanistan, particularly for girls.
WB in a statement on Thursday said that the new grant will help build 100 additional schools, further improve learning and access to education for girls, support teachers’ training, and promote community-based education.
“Afghanistan has made much progress in improving education in the last two decades, but 3.5 million children remain out of school, and half of the country’s schools still have minimal infrastructure,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.
“This additional financing will help the Afghan government create a better learning environment and enroll more children in schools,” Henry Kerali.
“Girls’ education is one of the smartest investments a country can make: it boosts economic growth, curbs infant mortality and improves child nutrition,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of GPE.
Following a mild winter with rain and snowfall below normal, the livelihood of large parts of the rural population is severely impacted, the European Union said.
EU in a statement said that the European Union is mobilizing additional humanitarian funds for immediate action, in the areas most affected in Afghanistan.
“The support, amounting to EUR 200 000, will target the provinces of Badghis, Baghlan and Faryab and will provide emergency food assistance,” the statement said.
“The EU stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, who for far too long have suffered the consequences of war, further exacerbated by recurrent natural disasters and Covid-19. The shortage of rainfall has a direct impact on the agriculture, as well as the availability of water for drinking, washing and sanitation. The humanitarian support announced today is therefore a quick and efficient response from the EU with the aim of providing lifesaving relief to the most vulnerable people,” said Arnout Pauwels, Deputy Head of the EU delegation.
According to the statement, the support is channeled through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, covering rural and remote areas which are already in critical food-insecure conditions.
“In 2021, the convergence of conflict and climate risks increases immediate needs and vulnerabilities, by exacerbating food and economic insecurity and health disparities, and by limiting access to support services.”
“In addition to humanitarian assistance as a rapid response to the upcoming drought, the EU, through its development cooperation with Afghanistan, is providing support to address challenges related to climate change, targeting the water and agriculture sector. The support also contributes to enhancing resilience to climate change and to improving rural livelihoods,” the statement added.
Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is implementing its Warm Winter 2020-2021 project in Afghanistan, distributing food and nonfood aid packages (at a total cost of $181,756) to the poorest families worst hit by conflict and natural disasters in Paktika and Logar Provinces.
QRCS in a statement on Wednesday said that the project aims to help the needy families to withstand the extremely cold weather in their underserved areas. “Special focus is given to the vulnerable groups such as patients, persons with disability, children, and women.”
According to the statement, both the Afghan Education and Aid Organisation and the district offices of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs were engaged in the distribution.
“Under an agreement with the Afghan Education and Aid Organisation, all the logistic and technical procedures were carried out. The food and nonfood items were procured, supplied, and distributed over two phases, each covering 625 families in the two districts,” the statement added.
Russia will look to address some of India’s concerns about the peace process in Afghanistan with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visiting India next week, accompanied by Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov.
As per the Times of India report, Lavrov will hold talks with his counterpart S Jaishankar and is expected to call on PM Narendra Modi.
His visit is expected to prepare the ground for President Putin’s summit meeting with Modi later this year.
Indian sources said the visit will see another round of “sincere and forward-looking” dialogue between the 2 countries on Afghanistan.
Kabulov is expected to brief Indian authorities about the progress made in the March 18 meeting hosted by Russia of the extended troika – Russia, US, China and Pakistan – which focused on making progress in the intra-Afghan process to reach a negotiated settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
At least two Policemen were killed and two more were wounded in Kamar Kalagh area on Herat-Robat Sangi highway today, Muhammad Rafiq Shirzai, the spokesman of Herat Public Health department said.
Police in Herat confirmed the blast but did not provide further details regarding the incident.
The blast reportedly targeted a Police outpost in the area.