Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: With an unprecedented rise in fresh positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in India, lack of oxygen supply and crippling health infrastructure there, the Foreign Ministry has urged Afghan citizens to refrain from traveling unnecessarily to India.
The ministry asked Afghan citizens living in India to contact the Afghan embassy in New Delhi and the consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad, if they encounter any problems during this hour of crisis.
The ministry has also sought a COVID-19 negative report from those returning to Afghanistan from India or other countries.
India, meanwhile, saw 394,691 new COVID-19 infections in 24 hours and is currently undergoing a surge in cases across the country.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 210 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported six deaths and 31 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 59,225, while the number of reported deaths is 2,598 and the total number of recoveries is 52,520.
MoPH added that the new cases were reported in Kabul, Balkh, Nangarhar, Takhar, Baghlan, Kunduz, Paktia, Parwan, Bamiyan, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Kunar, Laghman, Panjshir, Khost, and Samangan provinces.
Kabul: In a call to end the violence, a number of women who met at a dialogue, Women’s Concern over Peace Talks, in Herat demanded that the Taliban declare a ceasefire.
They discussed the role of women in the Afghan peace process and the women’s fate after the complete withdrawal of foreign troops on September 11.
Fereshteh Yaghoubi, one of the organizers of the dialogue, said that the continuation of the war is not in the interest of the government and the Taliban, and a ceasefire should be declared. Yaqubi warns that a return to Taliban rule is not acceptable to women at all, and that women will not allow their period of deprivation to be repeated.
She said that the opportunity to hold the Istanbul Peace Summit should be used properly and that this summit would put an end to the war in Afghanistan.
The Istanbul summit was scheduled for April 24, but was postponed as the Taliban refused to participate in any peace talks till all foreign troops withdraw.
During the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, women were deprived of even the slightest right to go to school. Now Afghan women are worried that this period will be repeated with the Taliban gaining power.
Kabul: Regional cooperation is necessary in order to maintain lasting peace in Afghanistan, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai said in a meeting with Bahador Aminian, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Kabul on Monday.
The two sides discussed the Afghan peace process and emphasized that regional cooperation is must for ensuring progress in the peace talks.
Earlier, Hamid Karzai said that his country has always been supported by Iran which has suggested some initiatives to solve the problems of Afghanistan.
Kabul: The Spin Boldak crossing has been closed following a clash between Afghan and Pakistani border forces in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, said Yahya Alavi, spokesperson for the 205th Atal Corps.
The clash started at 9am on Monday in the Laghman area of Spin Boldak district and lasted for an hour.
According to Alavi, the clash took place after Pakistani border guards tried to bring barbed wire to Afghanistan, but were prevented from doing so by Afghan border guards.
He added that one civilian was injured in the clash and did not comment on the details of the casualties of Pakistani forces.
Kabul: Residents of four districts of Andkhoy (Qurghan, Andkhoy, Qarmaqul and Khancharbagh) of Faryab province have sought appointments of the local administration to be done through elections and protested against the appointment of Mohammad Dawood as the new governor of the province on Monday.
Enayatullah Babar Farahmand, deputy of the High Council for National Reconciliation and a member of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan led by Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, said on his social media page that they opposed the “arbitrary” decision of the Presidential Palace to appoint a new governor for Faryab.
Residents of the four districts of Andkhoy, Faryab, have said that governors should be appointed by the people of the provinces and district governors should be appointed by the people of the districts.
Karim Yurish, spokesperson for the Faryab Police, also said that residents of the four districts of Andkhoy had demonstrated in a peaceful protest on Monday.
Three days ago, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance announced that Mohammad Dawood had been appointed as the new governor of Faryab province based on the proposal of this Directorate and the approval of President Ashraf Ghani.
Prior to this, Naqibullah Fayeq was the governor of this province. Fayeq used to be a close associate of Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former Vice-President.
The appointment of Mohammad Dawood as the new governor of Faryab was opposed by a number of residents of the province, including Dostum and Inayatullah Babar Farahmand.
Abdul Rashid Dostum had asked the people of Faryab to prevent the nomination of Mohammad Dawood as the governor of the province and to defend their rights.
Kabul: Abdul Walid, the former head of the General Directorate of Oil and Gas, has been sentenced to three years in prison and fined $574,221 by the primary court of the Anti-Corruption Justice Center.
The trial was held on Sunday, in the absence of the defendant and in the presence of his lawyer.
According to the primary court, in the case of the prosecutor, the case states that the Afghan government had bought 8,000 tons of liquefied natural gas from Turkmenistan to be sold to the departments by the Department of Petroleum Authority during 2015, 2016 and 2017, but 1,066 tons of liquefied natural gas had not been sold by the oil directorate at the time.
Thus, the prosecutor in charge of the case has found that more than 569,950 US dollars in damages have been incurred to the government, excluding losses, deductions and dangers of liquefied gas.
The sentence which was served to the former head is three years of “enforcement imprisonment” for abuse of authority and to pay a fine of $574,221.
Kabul: Stopping flights from India to Afghanistan, imposing travel restrictions on the Pakistan-Iran border, night curfews and preventing gatherings are likely to be the steps included in the Ministry of Public Health’s plan to stop the third wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from spreading in the country.
Acting Minister of Public Health Wahid Majrooh on Monday in a meeting with the director of public health of the provinces, representatives of the private sector and healthcare providers, said that there is proper coordination between all departments concerned and it will be useful in curbing the spread of the infection.
Majroh has instructed provincial public health directors to check production capacity of oxygen companies at the center and provinces, so that measures can be taken accordingly, if needed. He also asked departments to COVID-19 diagnostic kits to private hospitals, pay health workers, use ART teams as clinical teams, and hire new staff in laboratories.
As of Sunday, total number of positive cases now stand at 59,015 while the number of reported deaths is 2,592 and the total number of recoveries is 52,489.
Meanwhile, India is grappling with a severe wave of the pandemic currently and the cases and mortality rate of coronavirus in Iran is also high.
The Ministry of Public Health has not officially confirmed the outbreak of the third wave of the coronavirus. But it has confirmed the prevalence of a new type of the coronavirus in the country.
Kabul: At least 16 people have been wounded after a rocket hit the Kunar governor’s office in the city of Asadabad on Monday morning, Iqbal Saeed, the provincial governor, said.
The incident occurred where an event on the Holy Quran competition was underway, Saeed said. According to him, three of the injured were the governor’s bodyguards and the rest were the reciters and organizers of the ceremony.
Hospital officials in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province, said 16 injured people are undergoing treatment and four of them are in critical condition.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kabul: Recently, the appointment of a new governor in the Faryab province created much uproar among the public and three days later, the Lower House of Parliament said that the government should refrain from making statements that can harm the country’s political situation.
Mohammad Dawood was appointed as the new governor of Faryab based on the proposal of Independent Directorate of Local Governance and the approval of President Ashraf Ghani. Residents of Faryab protested against the appointment, including Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former vice-president and Inayatullah Babar Farahmand, the first deputy of the High Council for National Reconciliation. Abdul Rashid Dostum had asked the people of Faryab to prevent the nomination of Mohammad Dawood as the governor of the province and to defend their rights.
“Appointments, especially at the head of local government departments, should take into account the current situation in the country. The government must separate itself from appointments that make the political situation critical and create sectarian sensitivities, said Mir Rahman Rahmani, Speaker of the House of Representatives, who addressed a plenary session of the House of Representatives on Monday.
Enayatullah Babar Farahmand had also said that change in the administration was an undeniable principle, but that what he said would take place in a sensitive security and historical situation without consultation would “break the stones of the Republicans.”
Residents wanted Naqibullah Fayeq, the previous governor, to retain his position.
Kabul: At least 21 Taliban insurgents have been killed in the Jalriz district of Maidan Wardak province when Afghan national defense and security forces targeted the Taliban in an operation on Sunday, the Ministry of Defense stated in a statement released on Monday.
Fawad Aman, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense tweeted that some weapons and ammunition belonging to the Taliban were also destroyed during the operation.
Taliban have not yet commented on the incident.
Meanwhile, seven public protection forces were killed in a Taliban ambush at Mes Aynak (copper mine) in Logar province on Sunday. It has been reported that three other members of the unit were also wounded in the attack.
Moreover, Sharifullah Hotak, a provincial council member on Sunday told the media that eight members of a family were killed in an airstrike in Zorlang village of Jalriz district.
He added in another incident four members of one family were killed when a mortar hit their house in Sayed Abad district.
Three people are reported wounded when a Mortar shell landed in a resident area.
The rise in violence comes when there is a global effort to bring peace to the war-ravaged country.
Kabul: At least seven public protection force members have been killed in a Taliban ambush at Mes Aynak copper mine in Logar province on Sunday, local police announced on Monday.
The incident occurred at 2pm in Sayed Abad area of Mohammad Agha district when a police Ranger, which was on its way to a meeting, was targeted.
Three security personnel were also injured in the attack, Logar police said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
This comes after seven security guards from Mes Aynak copper mine were killed and five others wounded in a Taliban attack on the same district last year.
Kabul: At least five people have been wounded after a rocket hit the Kunar governor’s office in the city of Asadabad on Monday morning, Iqbal Saeed, the provincial governor, said.
The incident occurred where an event on the Holy Quran competition was underway, Saeed said and three students and two employees of the compound were wounded.
Security official have not released an official statement and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kabul: At a time when many experts have come out to critize US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11, US Vice-President Kamala Harris on Sunday said that she was the last person in the room before President Joe Biden made final decision.
Biden’s own top generals had advised against a complete troop pullout, but Harris said in an interview with CNN that Biden “is acutely aware that it may not be politically popular, or advantageous for him personally; it’s really something to see. I have seen him over and over again make decisions based exactly on what he believes is right.”
Biden has always said that it is important for him to work in close coordination with his vice-president. Harris confirmed that was the case regarding the move to pull US troops out of Afghanistan by September 11.
“This is a president who has an extraordinary amount of courage,” she said, regarding the decision.
US President Joe Biden had announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan ending the 20-year war. Even his top generals, as per reports, had advised against the decision and sought a residual force to be kept in the war-ravaged country in order to help stabilize the country. Experts opined that a hasty withdrawal would cause chaos in the country and lead to a civil war.
Kabul: When Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq arrived in Kabul with a high-level delegation, the country clearly implied its support to Afghanistan during the peace process.
Sadiq met Afghan leaders including, Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan President’s Special Envoy for Pakistan Umer Daudzai and Deputy and Acting Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab, in Kabul on Sunday and assured Pakistan’s support for peace and stability.
The Afghan foreign ministry statement also added that ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation, enhance economic cooperation in the region and the Afghan peace process were also discussed.
Recently, Foreign Ministries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey had met at a trilateral conference.
On the economic front, especially ways of revising the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement (APTTA) and making the best use of the capacity and structures contained in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) and utilizing the trade, investments were also discussed.
Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Khan tweeted that the Pakistani delegation had “constructive discussions” on the peace process and bilateral engagement with the Afghan acting foreign minister.
Kabul: Afghanistan government has extended its support and solidarity with the people and government of India as it sees a fresh record surge in COVID-19 infections.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Mohammed Haneef Atmar, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan expressed their solidarity and their support.
“Our hearts go out to the Indian people and government as they fight the horrendous outbreak of COVID. On behalf of the Afghan people and government, we send our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and wish a quick recovery to those who are suffering from the virus,” Ghani tweeted.
“Our hearts and prayers go to all the great people of India at this time of national struggle against COVID-19. India has the prayers and support of all those nations that it has assisted generously with COVID vaccines. India will come out of it even stronger,” Atmar tweeted.
India recorded 3,49,691 fresh COVID-19 positive cases on Sunday, the highest single-day spike since the pandemic broke out last year. According to their Union Health Ministry, the country has recorded 2,767 new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) also said that it will support India when it is grappling with the pandemic and dealing with shortage of hospital beds and medical-grade oxygen in some parts of the country.