Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: At least three security forces have been killed and 12 others have been wounded in a car bomb explosion in Kabul on Sunday evening, said security officials.
Ferdaws Faramarz, Kabul Police spokesperson, said that a sedan loaded with explosives detonated in Panja Chinar area of Paghman district.
He added that investigations are underway.
Kabul: Afghan trucker drivers, who suffered massive losses in a fire at Islam Qala customs office last month, blocked Herat-Islam Qala and Herat-Turgandi highways and staged a sit-in protest on Sunday.
The protesters seek compensation from the government and the governor of Herat province assured protesters that “all aspects of the incident will be addressed”, and asked them to not block the highways.
Hundreds of trucks carrying gas, oil and commercial goods were gutted in a fire at Islam Qala Customs office last month and the customs infrastructure was severely damaged. “At least 1,254 vehicles worth $50 million were destroyed in the fire. We will not stop the protest at Islam Qala customs and Herat-Turghandi highway until the government compensates the losses,” said protest representative Basir Arian.
Meanwhile, Herat Governor Wahid Qatali said that the delegation had assessed the damage and shared the result of its investigation with the Afghan government leadership. The governor of Herat claimed that the government had rushed to the aid of the victims since the incident was first reported.
Qatali called the protest a right of the victims, but said that traffic on these roads should not be affected. “Due to the Islam Qala customs fire, enough of Afghanistan has been damaged and people should not suffer from road closures again,” he added. The governor of Herat promised that the results of the cabinet’s assessment would be announced “as soon as possible”.
However, some protesters said they had struggled for years to buy a truck which had been destroyed in the fire. They alleged that corruption was the reason behind the fire at Islam Qala Customs. Arian added that the victims have not received a “single Afghani in compensation” since the delegation from Kabul visited them last month.
Recently, Mohammad Khalid Payenda, acting Minister of the Ministry of Finance, said that Amrullah Saleh, the first vice-president, had taken responsibility for addressing the incident. He added that the government delegation that went to Herat had also submitted its final report to the presidency and that they would take a decision soon.
Kabul: A three-phase peace plan for Afghanistan will be presented by President Ashraf Ghani during the Istanbul peace summit, which seeks to ensure a ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban before the elections, reported Reuters on Sunday.
As per the report by Reuters, the three phases of Ghani’s peace roadmap include an internationally-monitored ceasefire and consensus on political settlement in the first phase; establishing a “government of peace” through elections in the second phase and building a “constitutional framework, reintegration of refugees and development” for Afghanistan in the third phase.
According to High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Afghanistan is expected to participate in the next peace meeting in Turkey with a unified plan. There are reports that the Istanbul Summit will be held on April 16 and the meeting will last for ten days. With the May 1 deadline for withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan round the corner, sources aware of the developments, emphasize that “time is running out” as the Taliban had earlier threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops if the deadline is not met.
Ghani’s proposal is an alternative to the plan put forth by the US which was rejected by Afghan government. The US proposed to establish a new legal structure for an interim administration including Taliban representatives.
Meanwhile, disclosing some details about Ghani’s proposal Sarwar Danesh, second vice-president (VP), on Sunday, too said that the main axis of President Ashraf Ghani’s roadmap for peace is preservation of the constitution and its continuation in order to prevent the system from disruption and collapse.
Kabul: Rise in civilian casualties in Afghanistan has once again brought in focus how important it is to ensure peace in the region to protect civilians, said the Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Sunday.
AIHRC in a statement said at least 21 people, including eight women and 10 children, were injured as a result of clashes between security forces and Taliban militants in The Kotaly area of Alishang district of Laghman Province. AIHRC said that such clashes are not only causing loss of life, but are also the reason behind the financial losses for the people of the area.
The independent body has called upon the warring factions to jointly work together to intensify peace talks and negotiate a permanent ceasefire. The country has been witnessing more explosions and high-profile clashes recently even as peace are underway in Afghanistan.
“The Commission regrets the casualties and calls on the warring parties to pay serious attention to the lives of civilians and to refrain from fighting in residential areas,” AIHRC said.
“The Commission also reiterates its call for an end to the war and for the acceleration of peace talks and a universal ceasefire to protect human rights,” AIHRC added.
As per Afghan government officials, at least 39 civilians were killed on Friday in seven provinces by roadside bombs and Taliban attacks alone, said Afghan government officials.
Tariq Arian, spokesperson, Ministry of Interior Affairs, had said on Saturday, that the targeting of civilians is “contrary to the standards of war” and emphasized that the Taliban had always committed “crimes” by continuing to kill people.
Kabul: At least 71,558 people have received the coronavirus (COVID19) vaccine since the inoculation drive began in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Health announced on Sunday.
In the last two days alone, 10,705 people were beneficiaries of the COVID19 vaccine, as per a statement from the ministry released on April 4.
As per the statement, 56,411 healthcare workers; 10,870 teachers; 1,864 media employees; 423 prisoners and 227 government employees over the age of 18 have received the vaccine so far.
Internally displaced people, those over the age of 50, those with implicit illness, nomads, those living in IDP camps and returnees from abroad are others who have received the coronavirus vaccine, bringing the total of such beneficiaries to 1,763.
Kabul: Efforts are underway to legalize non-judicial justice through councils and jirgas, said Justice Minister Fazl Ahmad Manavi on Sunday.
During a meeting with Yana Zamp, Deputy Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Afghanistan, Manavi referred to the people’s access to justice in remote areas. “The Ministry of Justice is working on the law of jirgas and councils in order to legalize non-judicial justice as this method is close to the spirit of the people,” Manavi added.
At present, law firms are doing this through compromise and if there is more cooperation, there will be more grounds for the implementation of non-judicial justice, Manavi added.
The Minister of Justice emphasized that existence of councils and jirgas alongwith formal institutions is important for resolving legal problems and cooperating with law firms. It should be properly managed and should not violate the rights of individuals, he added.
Yana Zamp during the meeting said that access to justice in remote areas and bringing councils and jirgas closer to the formal justice system are among the issues that the Swiss Development Assistance Office in Afghanistan is addressing.
Kabul: The Afghan Post Company on Sunday launched an online system of facilitating government services to the people.
Currently, the department is only providing online certification services offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but soon it will include all services of government departments, said Wahid Wais, head, Afghan Post Company. According to him, the company has identified 150 types of public services wherein people face problems and their goal is to resolve these issues.
In the new system, people can refer to the website designed by Afghan Post and input necessary information to request the services they need, and then, visit the nearest post office. With a code, users of this system can easily identify the stage of their work and if, they have a problem with the Internet.
Afghan Post officials say that after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, services of the Ministries of Justice, Interior/Home Affairs and Education will be included in the first phase.
Obtaining government services has always been a problem for Afghan citizens as they have complained about the paperwork and time-consuming nature of these services. Officials at Afghan Post now say that preventing wastage of clients’ time and creating transparency will be the main focus of the online government services.
The designers of the new Afghan Post website say that their system is an open system which is easy to use and has the ability to connect to the online system of other government departments.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday reported 41 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Bachman, Kunduz and Ghazni.
The ministry also reported eleven deaths due to the infection. At least 63 people recovered from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, as per the ministry report.
The total COVID19 reported till now stand at 56,717, while the cumulative death toll is 2,508 and total number of recoveries is 51,865.
Kabul: The entrance exam in the year 1,400 will probably be held in three rounds from April 28, announced the National Examination Authority (NEA) on Saturday.
As per the schedule, the first round of the entrance exam for high school and university will be held from April 28 to April 30 in Samangan, Sar-e-Pul, Ghor, Nimroz, Badghis, Farah, Nuristan, Paktika, Daikundi, Zabul, Uruzgan, Hamland, Kandahar, Bamyan, Maidan Wardak, Logar, Paktia, Khost, Kapisa, Panjshir, Laghman, Kunar, Parwan, Nangarhar and Baghlan provinces.
According to the NEA, the second round will be held in Faryab, Balkh, Badakhshan, Ghazni, Jawzjan, Takhar, Herat and Kunduz provinces from May 20-21 while the third round of the entrance exam will be held in Kabul between June 4 and 5.
The NEA has stressed that the plan is dependent on a favorable security situation and if the forms are received timely.
Kabul: The main axis of President Ashraf Ghani’s roadmap for peace is preservation of the constitution and its continuation in order to prevent the system from disruption and collapse, said Sarwar Danesh, second vice-president (VP), on Sunday.
The VP, who was speaking at the introductory ceremony of Zabihullah Kaleem, the new acting attorney general, said that Afghanistan has had nine to ten constitutions throughout history as whenever there was a collapse, the constitution was also repealed and replaced by a new law.
Danesh argued that repealing the constitution itself meant a rupture, and that the government’s leadership emphasized on the need to preserve it.
Reiterating the need to revise old laws, the second vice-president referred to the amendment of the current constitution and how everyone has a positive opinion about the amendment. “At least 18 years have passed since the current constitution, and naturally this law needs to be revised, and especially for peace, the acceptance of a constitutional amendment is of special value,” he added.
The amendment to the constitution, Danesh added, should be based on mechanism and methods set out in the law itself. He stressed that in order to amend the constitution, the people’s vote and especially the holding of the Loya Jirga should be taken into account.
According to Danesh, in a state of peace or war, elections are a key element of the political system, and that is why the government leadership emphasizes on holding elections. He also said that as per Ghani’s roadmap for peace, the government leadership is ready to hold early elections under the auspices of the international community, whenever an agreement is reached.
Kabul: Taliban’s shadow district governor for Sabri district of Khost province and the group’s military-in-charge have been arrested, said Afghan local officials on Sunday.
Ahmad Jawid Besharat, Baghlan Police spokesperson, said that the two key members of Taliban’s laser unit were arrested during a special operation of the police in Khenjan district.
As per Besharat, the detainees have been involved in terrorist activities on Baghlan-Kunduz and Baghlan-Samangan highways many years ago. The detainees are residents of Khost province.
Kabul: The Taliban plans to increase violence in major cities of Afghanistan like Nangarhar, Herat, Mazar, among others, said Hayatullah Hayat, Acting Interior Minister, at a press conference in Kabul on Sunday.
“On Friday alone, six civilians, including children, were killed in Nangarhar, Laghman, Khost and Sar-e-Pul and 21 people were injured,” said Hayat. He added that delegations have been sent to various provinces to review the security situation in the cities.
The Taliban, which vowed to not attack the country’s cities in a February 29 agreement between the group and the US in Doha, is yet to comment on the matter.
Kabul: With the Biden administration likely to announce the outcome of the Doha Agreement revision soon, sources in the High Council National Reconciliation (HCNR) say that a decision-making meeting for the government’s peace plan will be held on April 6. Once approved, the plan will be presented by an “all-inclusive” delegation at the Istanbul Summit.
HCNR has accelerated the process of gathering and consolidating views on the US plan. So far, 35 members of the leadership committee of the HCNR have shared their views on the US peace plan. However, President Ashraf Ghani has not submitted his views to the HCNR.
With the May 1 deadline for withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan round the corner, sources aware of the developments, emphasize that “time is running out”.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of State for Peace Affairs is likely to share the views of the members of the leadership committee of HCNR with a 15-member committee on Sunday. Among the views presented, the discussion of the future government is the main agenda and the role of people’s vote in determining the future government has been called “valuable”. The views also call for balance in “ethnic, provincial, gender and other proportions”, given the Taliban’s involvement in the next government. It is stated in the views that the Taliban should also pay attention to this balance in their share.
Kabul: The Istanbul peace summit will be organized on April 16, said an official of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) on Saturday. This development was confirmed by a member of the government’s peace negotiating team.
“The Istanbul Summit, which is an extremely vital, historic and crucial meeting for the people of Afghanistan, will be held on April 16. They are entering the process looking for strong solutions to end the war and conflict,” Sayyed Zahir Motahari, a member of the Advisory Board of the HCNR, informed RFE/RL on Saturday evening.
A member of the Afghan government’s peace negotiating team in Doha, Qatar, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, also confirmed in an interview with RFE/RL that an agreement had been reached to hold the Istanbul Summit on April 16.
However, Mohammad Naeem, spokesperson for Taliban’s political office in Doha, said that a date had not yet been agreed upon. Earlier, even Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib announced during a joint news conference of senior security officials in Kabul that preparations were underway for the Istanbul summit, but that a date had not yet been set.
Mohib added that as the agenda and participants of the meeting had not been finalized, the date of the Summit has not been decided.
Kabul: The government of Pakistan should consult the business community to draw up a new Pak-Afghan trade policy which aligns with modern requirements in order to increase their bilateral trade, said Shahid Hussain Shinwari, Convener of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Central Standing Committee on Trade Afghanistan and Central Asian States.
Shinwari’s comments come during FPCCI meeting held at the Regional Office Peshawar on Saturday. They have pledged to increase trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian states.
Afghanistan currently uses Pakistan’s route for transit trade, hence, Afghanistan too should allow Pakistan to use its route to Central Asian States to enhance commerce. This move will also help in increasing trade ties and exports between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics, said members of the committee.