Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: Local sources in Ghazni province confirmed that eight Taliban insurgents have been killed in operations by security and defense forces in Jaghori district of the province.
Zulfiqar Khedmati, logistics director of Jaghori police headquarters, told Etilaat roz daily on Wednesday that the defense and security forces launched the operation by air and ground in the village of Al-Ghazar in the district on Tuesday night.
He added that of the eight Taliban fighters killed in the operation, five were killed in the airstrikes and three were killed in clashes with Jaghori security and defense forces.
According to him, three other Taliban fighters were also wounded during clashes with Jaghori security and defense forces.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Ehsan Sharifi, Jaghori district governor, told Etilaat roz daily that all the Taliban fighters killed had been transferred to the Rasana area of Gilan district. Khidmati also said that one vehicle and two Taliban motorcycles were destroyed during the operation by government forces. He emphasized that the security and defense forces were not harmed during the operation.
Also, Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, the governor of Nangarhar in the east of the country, announced that a child had been abducted and rescued four days later from the kidnappers who was the child’s uncle. The governor of Nangarhar said in a tweet on Wednesday that the girl had been abducted four days ago in the PD4 of Jalalabad and was rescued by NDS forces in a special operation in the Butkhak area of Kabul city. According to governor, the kidnapper was the child’s uncle and his name was Noor Hakim.
The governor of Nangarhar said that this person had been arrested in the city of Jalalabad and had confessed to his crime. Uncle of the five-year-old Sana demanded $30,000 from his brother in exchange for her release.
This comes even as the US conducted three airstrikes in Lashkargah in Helmand province, including a targeted attack on Taliban weapons and ammunition caches and their vehicles in the outskirts of the city. Clearing operation was being carried out in Lashkargah slowly and accurately because the Taliban used people’s homes as strongholds and civilians as shield, as per the Ministry of Defense.
Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani has said that 11 billion afghanis have been cut from the civilian budget and transferred to the military budget. Ghani raised the issue in a meeting with generals and other officials on Wednesday.
The president has said that in order to defend the country, 11 billion afghanis will be reduced from the civilian budget and the focus will be on better and more efficient use of resources. According to President Ghani, recruiting members of the security and defense forces is one of the most important priorities of the government; because the people do not want militarization, but the strengthening of the security and defense forces.
In this meeting, Ashraf Ghani heard the analysis and suggestions of the officials present. Ghani added that advisory boards are being set up at the Ministry of National Defense to make the most of the experience, analysis and knowledge of the retired personnel. Earlier, the Ministry of Finance announced that the cost of (optional) development projects would be suspended due to budget cuts. The decision comes as Taliban attacks have escalated. The government has decided to increase the salaries of the security forces.
In other news, Abul Hussein Yasser, leader of the United Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan and military-defense adviser to President Ghani, said that the money spent in the name of the peace project is inefficient and should be spent on strengthening the defense and security forces.
Yasser said on Wednesday, at a conference entitled “Peace is a priority, resistance is the only option!” That the fate of peace will be determined on the battlefield. He called on the Taliban to return to the peace talks, otherwise, they cannot use the option of war to impose their will on the people of Afghanistan.
“If the Taliban want to forcibly ignore the people’s identity, religion and citizenship rights, the people will stand up to them and resist,” Yasser added. According to him, the United Islamic Movement of Afghanistan party has a popular base and is ready to mobilize its supporters to preserve the system, territorial integrity and constitutional values. Yasir also called on the Afghan government to take an active role in providing security and defending the lives and property of the people, especially in the central regions, and to take immediate action.
He said, “In areas where the government is in trouble, it must support popular uprisings so that the bloody incident in Malistan, Nangarhar, Takhar and other parts of Afghanistan are not repeated.” Yasser also called on the Afghan government to implement a security plan west of Kabul as soon as possible to address security concerns in the region.
Meanwhile, Noor Mohammad Ismaili, Baharak district police chief, was killed and several others were wounded in a clash in the northern part of the village of Blak Orta Boz in Takhar on Wednesday. Four Taliban insurgents were also killed in the clashes. Takhar police confirm attack on the area and killing of Ismaili commander. Local sources said that the battle line is located in the northwestern part of the village of Shah Talqan Jan and the village of Barchab is under Taliban control. The fierce resistance of the popular security and defense forces and commandos still holds the Taloqan city strong, but the battle lines are very close. Local sources say the airstrikes have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban and prevented the group from advancing.
This comes as hundreds of athletes and representatives of sports federations representing the country’s sports community at a gathering at the Government Information and Media Center of the Public Relations and Strategic Administration chanted “Allah Akbar” for their continued support of the republic and the defense forces.
Khoshhal Sarwari, Master of Sports and President of the Five Federations, said that the country’s sports community supports the republican system and the country’s defense and security forces until the last moment of their lives, who are currently fighting against the enemies of the system and the people. At the gathering, Wahid Omar, Senior Advisor to the President, emphasized on the slogan that “our diversity is our strength”.
Omar said that now there is an understanding that this society as a whole is in danger and preventing this danger is everyone’s duty and responsibility, and the athletes in this gathering conveyed this message of unity and integrity.
Also, Jowzjan Governor Mohammad Hashem Raees, who is on the battlefield, said it is time for the people to stand up to the Taliban with the weapons and facilities at their disposal. According to the governor of Jowzjan, fighting is currently taking place on the outskirts of Sheberghan, the provincial capital, and security forces have so far resisted. The governor of Jowzjan added that the defense of the homeland does not belong to any language, race or ethnic group and everyone is working to save Afghanistan. The remarks came as the Taliban set up trenches three kilometers from the city of Sheberghan and clashed with security forces.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Salamwatandar, a senior US diplomat said that despite Taliban advances in districts and villages, Washington is not giving up its efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan. Ross Wilson, charge’d Affaires at US embassy in Kabul, said that a meeting will be held in Doha, Qatar, next week to expedite the intra-Afghan peace talks.
“The purpose of this meeting is to refocus on dialogue and win negotiations in a situation where success and progress can be achieved, we will not give up and we do not intend to,” said the US diplomat. The intra-Afghan talks that resumed last month were fruitless, and the Afghan government and the Taliban issued a joint statement promising to continue high-level talks in Doha, Qatar. The statement, released after two days of talks, said the two sides were committed to protecting the lives of civilians, infrastructure and services.
“We are trying to speed up the process of providing helicopters and ammunition, we have carried out several air strikes against the Taliban that have been very effective and we intend to do so,” Wilson said. Asked about the Doha agreement signed between the Taliban and the United States, the US diplomat said the main purpose of the Doha agreement was to start talks to reach a political agreement to end decades of war in Afghanistan.
According to him, this is an important achievement, and the agreement raised high hopes throughout Afghanistan, which was the goal of the United States. He says that supporting Afghanistan’s security sector is one of Washington’s top priorities, and that humanitarian and economic aid is next. “It is clear that our immediate priority is the security sector, which is to support and provide the equipment needed by the Afghan Air Force, to train pilots, to help sustain the Air Force, to keep it operational and effective, and to equip them,” Wilson said.
He added that US airstrikes are a clear sign that Afghan soldiers are not alone in their fight against terrorism.
Kabul: At least 13 Taliban insurgents, including five of their leaders, were killed in Andkhoy and two of their Humvee bombers were destroyed.
Defense and security forces with the slogan “Allah Akbar” thwarted the Taliban offensive in Andkhoy district of Faryab province. Taliban attacked the checkpoints of the defense and security forces in Andkhoy district of Faryab province at 1am. In this clash, seven other insurgents were wounded and the attack was repulsed.
Also, Mawlawi Anas, the Taliban’s unnamed governor for Bamyan province, was killed in an airstrike in Dara-e-Suf district of Samangan province, the Ministry of Defense said. Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, tweeted on Wednesday that 40 other Taliban insurgents had been killed and 13 others wounded in the attack.
Aman also said that 15 vehicles and a large quantity of Taliban weapons had been destroyed in the airstrikes. The Taliban group has denied the allegations. The airstrikes were carried out in the Dar-e-Suf district of Samangan province as the district regained control of security and defense forces late last month after falling to the Taliban.
Meanwhile, two people were arrested in Nangarhar on charges of assassinating three female vaccinators. Local sources in Nangarhar province said that two people have been arrested on charges of assassinating three female vaccinators in the province.
Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar, told Subhe kabul daily that the men were detained by NDS forces in Behsud district of the province on Tuesday night. According to him, one of these people is the main perpetrator of the assassination of three female vaccinators in the first month of the current solar year in the city of Jalalabad, and during the initial investigation, he confessed to his crime.
The spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar said the detainees were members of the IS-K group that carried out targeted killings in the province. It is worth mentioning that in two separate incidents the three female vaccinators were assassinated in the PDs of 4 and 7 of Jalalabad city, the capital of Nangarhar province. After the incident, four male vaccinators were killed and three others were injured in four separate incidents.
Also, the media office of the Takhar Police Command said that Noor Mohammad Ismaili, the police chief of Baharak district of the province, was killed on Tuesday night in a battle with the Taliban in the village of “Blak Werthabooz” in Taloqan city. And Kabul police announced that a IED detonated at around 08:15am on Wednesday in the Blokhay Hawayee area of PD10 of Kabul city. Two people were injured in the blast, according to police.
In fact, police of PD3 of Herat arrested two people from PDs of 9 and 14 in connection with illegal carrying and smuggling of weapons. The mentioned individuals are currently under the supervision of the police and their relative files have been prepared and handed over to the relevant body.
This comes as heavy fighting has been going on for several days inside the city of Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province. Some Lashkargah residents say that Taliban fighters are using people’s homes to protect themselves from airstrikes by security forces. Hayatullah, a resident of Helmand province, said the government should evict the Taliban from their homes and withdraw the war from the city so that they could live in peace. According to Hayatullah, all the exit routes of the city are closed to the people. He said that if the government sends new forces to the province and launches operations, the city will be cleansed of the Taliban.
Currently, the war inside the city of Lashkargah is in full swing. Telecommunication networks are inactive in this province. The only network in the province that is operating poorly is Afghan Wireless. People are worried that broadcasting will be cut off completely and that they will not be able to find out about their families.
Meanwhile, Helmand Governor Mohammad Wali Alizai says he is working hard to save the city of Lashkargah from collapse. Alizai added that airstrikes on the Taliban had increased and that a large number of the insurgents had been killed. According to him, the war between the security forces and the Taliban is intensifying. “The war in Helmand is not with the Taliban, but with Pakistan. Large numbers of Pakistanis have been killed in the past few days and their bodies have been transported to Pakistan. We have assured the president that Helmand will become a slaughterhouse for Pakistani fighters and that the Taliban and Pakistanis will be destroyed in Helmand and the entire southern region,” said the governor of Helmand. Even, the Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMA) on Tuesday described the increase in civilian casualties in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, as worrying.
Meanwhile, Afghan asylum seekers in Germany are increasingly succeeding in their appeals to German courts to be allowed to remain in the country, according to government data. The data pertaining to the success rate of appeals against scheduled deportations to Afghanistan was recently made public in response to a question for information from a member of Die Linke, The Left party in German parliament. Of 4,212 asylum decisions for Afghan nationals made between January and May this year, 3,203 applicants were granted protection in Germany, while 1,009 claims were rejected. That’s according to a reply by Germany’s Interior Ministry to a question from Ulla Jelpke, a Left Party lawmaker. The rate means claimants succeeded in some 76% of lawsuits that were formally accepted. The information provided by the ministry also shows an uptick in the success rate of Afghan applicants in appeals against German asylum decisions. Between January and May last year, some 55% of substantive claims succeeded, with the figure rising to 60% for the year as a whole.
Despite the numbers, the German government has continued to state it is pressing ahead with the deportation of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan, even as the militant Islamist Taliban advances, following the withdrawal of international troops from the country.
In other news, Turkey will not accept the “irresponsible decision taken by the US” regarding Afghan refugees, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. The statement came after the US State Department announced a US Refugee Admissions Program Priority 2 Designation for Afghan nationals who worked for the US government, US-based non-governmental organizations and press organizations.
“The US Department of State statement said on August 2 that the immigration applications of Afghans to the US will be received from third countries through their affiliated organizations, also referring to our country,” said Tanju Bilgic. Bilgic said the US statement will cause a great migration crisis in the region and increase the suffering of Afghan people on migration routes. He said “it is unacceptable to seek a solution in our country without our consent, instead of finding a solution among the countries in the region.”
Bilgic said that Turkey, which has hosted the largest number of refugees in the world for the past seven years, “does not have the capacity to undertake a new migration crisis on behalf of a third country.” Turkey will not take over the international responsibilities of third countries in any case and will not allow its laws to be abused by third countries for their own purposes, he added. “No one should expect the Turkish nation to bear the burden of the migration crises caused by the decisions of third countries in our region,” he said.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday reported 428 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 28 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 149,361, while the number of reported deaths is 6,864. The Ministry of Health has called on Afghan citizens to follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Kabul: President Ghani has condemned a terrorist attack in Kabul’s Sher Pur area, saying the Taliban were the perpetrators.
“The Taliban have committed such a crime to silence the voice of Allah Akbar of the citizens of Afghanistan,” Ghani said in a message on Wednesday. According to him, the Taliban’s war is sedition and corruption, and we must stand up to seditionists and corrupt people.
Meanwhile, sources in Jowzjan province report the possibility of the fall of Sheberghan, the capital of the province, to Taliban fighters.
Jowzjan provincial council chairman Babar Ishchi told Subhe Kabul newspaper that Taliban fighters had been besieging the provincial capital, Sheberghan, for two months and that it might fall if reinforcements are not sent as soon as possible. According to him, at present, Taliban fighters have reached one kilometer from the Jowzjan-Sar-e Pul highway to the city of Sheberghan.
Ishchi said security forces based in the province had been fighting Taliban fighters incessantly for two months. Meanwhile, on Monday night Taliban fighters attacked the security belts of Sheberghan city, the capital of Jowzjan province, from two directions. According to security officials, the Taliban’s attack on Sheberghan was repulsed by the resistance of the defense and security forces and popular mobilization and army airstrikes.
For the past two months, fighting between government forces and Taliban fighters has been going on in Jowzjan province. During this period, Taliban fighters managed to capture nine districts and reached the gates of Sheberghan city, the capital of the province.
On the other hand, Mullah Saboor, Taliban’s recruitment in-charge for Faizabad district of Jowzjan province has been arrested. On Wednesday morning, as a result of the operative and intelligence work of the reconnaissance and intelligence department of the 209th Shaheen Corps, Sabour, arrested in Balkh and handed over to the judicial authorities for prosecution.
Also, local officials in Badghis province said that a young woman was shot dead by the Taliban on the Herat-Badghis highway. Badghis provincial council member Munesa Qaderi told Hashte Subh daily that the incident took place on Tuesday afternoon. Lailuma Noorzad, director general of human rights at the Department of Women’s Affairs, said that the Taliban shot a young woman on Tuesday on her way back to Badghis. She emphasized that the motive for the murder is still unknown, but the victim had no government duties. The Taliban have not yet commented. Another young woman was killed by the Taliban two months ago on the Herat-Badghis highway.
Meanwhile, 54 terrorists were killed in Helmand, including two prominent commanders and a member of the al-Qaeda network, as per the Ministry of Defense. On Tuesday night, the air force targeted Taliban gatherings in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province.
As a result, 54 Taliban insurgents including Ahmadi, an al-Qaeda Network member who was a Pakistani national, along with two key Taliban commanders named Hijrat and Haji Momin were killed and 16 others were wounded. Also, five vehicles, a large amount of various weapons, ammunition and equipment were destroyed.
This comes even as the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has released a report stating that in the first three months of this solar year, 158,392 families in 26 provinces were displaced due to increased war and insecurity. According to the report, if the average of each family is six, the number of IDPs in the first three months of this year will reach more than 938,000 people.
Nangarhar is at the top with 22,790 displaced families and Uruzgan is at the bottom of the list with 100 displaced families. This report was published on Wednesday under the title “Human Rights Situation of Internally Displaced people”. The report is based on field studies and library studies that interviewed 2,903 IDPs in 19 provinces (current residences of IDPs). At least 55.1% of the interviewees were men and 44.9% were women.
The Human Rights Commission, citing statistics from the State Ministry of Disaster Management, said that about five million people across the country had been displaced in the past two years due to insecurity and violence by opposition groups. This number has increased by 74.8% compared to 2015. Of these, in the last six months alone, 62,480 families and in just one month, 32,284 families in 25 provinces have been displaced due to increased war and violence.
In this report, the AIHRC called on the Government of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the international community to work together to support and strengthen the justice-oriented peace process, the establishment of a ceasefire and an end to war and violence. The commission called on the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, the Ministry of State for Disaster Management and other stakeholders to take urgent measures to provide temporary accommodation and basic needs for IDPs and recent insecurity. The Commission on Human Rights has further called on active national and international institutions to work on developing programs and establishing or strengthening the structures needed to provide IDPs with access to housing, education, health, social participation and psychosocial support.
Kabul: According to the Faryab police press office, two car bombs were prevented in Faryab and heavy casualties were inflicted on the Taliban.
Last night, the Taliban loaded two Humvees with explosives, which they had previously seized from the security and defense forces, with explosives and intended to detonate them at the joint security and defense forces on the front line in an area near Aqina port belonging to Khan Charbagh district, which fortunately with the resistance of the joint security and defense forces was repulsed.
A car bomb was destroyed and another one was obtained with explosives, which is full of explosives and defused by the ANA engineering team. Fifteen attackers were killed and 12 others were wounded and fled the scene. Meanwhile, the clashes lasted from 11pm to 4am on Wednesday morning, and the Taliban were forced to retreat from the area to the Andkhoy entrance belt. Security and defense forces and civilians were not harmed in any way.
Also, chairing a meeting, Sarwar Danesh, Second Vice-President, attended by deputies of the Ministry of Interior and the Kabul NDS, Chief of Staff to 1st Vice President, representatives of Kabul’s 111 Division, members of the Shiite Ulema Council of Afghanistan, the Supreme Council for the Regulation of Religious Affairs and the High Commission for Security Coordination of Religious Ceremonies, reviewed the security measures for the 10 days of Muharram.
The meeting was held in accordance with the decision of the special meeting of the National Security Council, in which the security agencies were instructed to take the necessary measures to ensure the security during Muharram in Kabul and the provinces. During the meeting, Vice-President Danesh stressed on the need for serious coordination between security agencies and non-governmental organizations to ensure security during Muharram.
The Vice-President also said that the Ministry of Interior should establish the necessary coordination in all provinces of the country and hold meetings with security officials and public institutions of the provinces and share relevant plans with them. At the meeting, security officials announced that they were fully prepared to provide security.
Representatives of the Council of Shiite Ulema, the Supreme Council for the Regulation of Religious Affairs, and the High Commission for Security Coordination of Religious Ceremonies also announced that they are cooperating with the country’s security institutions. They also announced that they had held meetings with the board of mullahs, and officials of mosques. Security measures will be reviewed in the 6:30am meetings under the supervision of the First Vice-President.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Afghan affiliates, the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA) and Afghanistan’s National Journalists Union (ANJU) are gravely concerned by the increased security threat on journalists and urge both Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban to not target civilians and adhere to international humanitarian law.
Taliban shot at a car carrying Shakib Shams, a reporter of Salam Watandar and his journalist wife Storay Karimi of Pajhwok Afghan News, on August 1 in Pol-e Malan area of Herat Province. According to the AIJA, on August 1, the Taliban fired on the car of Shams and Karimi as they were reporting in the Pol-e Malan area, where fighting between Afghan National Security Forces and Taliban militants has escalated. Fortunately, the journalists were unharmed as the bullets hit a part of the gate and the guide mirror of the car. Following the firing, the journalists were briefly abducted by the Taliban militants and were taken to the militant’s self-proclaimed district governor.
The Taliban leadership questioned the journalists, checked their contacts and recent calls on their mobile phones and released them after 20 minutes. The AIJA said, “The leadership of the AIJA, while appreciating the non-harassment and early release of journalists by the Taliban, called on the parties involved to provide accurate and timely guidance to journalists enter their area for news- reporting.”
The ANJU said, “ANJU is concerned for the increased insecurity of the journalists amid the escalating violence in Afghanistan.” The IFJ said, “The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) remains gravely concerned about the safety of the local and international journalists amid the escalation of violence in Afghanistan. The attack, abduction and violence on civilians, including media workers, during this time of war is an affront to international humanitarian law. We therefore urge all combatants in Afghanistan to refrain from targeting journalists and media workers.”
Also, the Afghan Independent Journalists Association in a statement said, “Maiwand Merani, a reporter for Sabawoon Private Radio and TV in Helmand, was arrested and taken away by the Taliban on Monday. Since Sabawoon Radio and TV is a private media outlet and always broadcasts impartially, the Taliban promise that they will not say anything to journalists and are committed to the freedom of expression, so the administration of Sabawoon Radio and TV expects the Taliban to release the journalist to be reunited with his family.”
This comes even as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urged greater international support for millions of people in Afghanistan who are suffering due to worsening drought, COVID-19 and armed conflict. Dr Nilab Mobarez, the Afghan Red Crescent Society Acting President, said, “We are seeing the devastating impacts of this drought on millions of people who are suffering from severe food and water shortages in most areas of Afghanistan. Food crops are depleted and withered in the fields, and many people have lost their incomes. Afghan Red Crescent response teams are urgently delivering relief, including food and cash assistance, for thousands of drought-affected families across bone-dry provinces.”
The IFRC is appealing for 15 million Swiss francs to support the Afghan Red Crescent Society to deliver cash grants to buy food supplies, restore livelihoods and crops for 280,000 people in 13 of the provinces worst affected by drought. Necephor Mghendi, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said, “Urgent international action is needed to support more than 18 million people who will need humanitarian support in Afghanistan this year due to this drought and food crisis, compounding impacts of record COVID-19 and many years of armed conflict.”
Kabul: The Ministry of Education has announced that all schools in the country will be connected to the Internet. The ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the acting Minister of Education, Rangina Hamidi, had discussed with Mansour Ansari, head of the Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority or ATRA, how to connect schools to the Internet.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Education, the head of the Atra office said that the organization is ready to provide facilities for connecting schools to the Internet, and that the technical teams of both institutions would begin practical work on this issue.
However, the Ministry of Education states that the purpose of connecting schools to the Internet is for students to use the latest scientific resources and use it in education, exchange ideas, participate in scientific competitions and discussions with other students across the country, and provide more learning opportunities. The Ministry of Education has said it is connecting schools to the internet, which is currently facing a shortage of school and electricity repairs in most provinces. In 2013, the Ministry of Information Technology and the Ministry of Education agreed to connect schools to the Internet. The program was to be completed within three years, but it has not been implemented yet.
Meanwhile, according to information received by Hashte Subh daily, the Taliban have banned the import of “TC-1 fuel” for airplanes. A document leaked to the daily shows that an official of the Taliban sent a letter to the Turkmen government urging it not to allow such fuel to enter Afghanistan through the Torghundi border customs in Herat.
The document does not specify why the Taliban banned the import of aircraft fuel. The Taliban have confirmed the ban on the fuel, but have not commented on a document leaked to the daily. Meanwhile, an Afghan government official, who did not want to be named, said that the TC-1 fuel enters the country through the Hairatan border crossing and that there has been no problem in importing it so far. Fuel importers also say that jet fuel is not sold in the market, and that importers provide it to airlines on a contract basis.
Also, Kabul Municipality said that according to the sewerage department’s plan, towns and high-rise buildings should demolish their septic tanks and build sewage treatment plants. Speaking to Hashte Subh daily, Kabul Municipality spokeswoman Samira Rasa said that standardized wastewater treatment plants for high-rise buildings and towns have been designed by the Sewerage Department, and every high-rise and town is obliged to implement them.
She added that all high-rises and towns should demolish the septic tank and build a treatment plant instead. She stated that she has informed this issue to many high-ranking officials in different parts of Kabul city through inquiries. A spokesman for the Kabul municipality said that according to the design of the treatment plant, the wastewater is largely treated and can later be connected to ditches to avoid environmental odors. According to the municipality, 500 high-rise buildings in Kabul have set up their treatment plants. However, a number of Kabul residents say that some houses connect their sewage to the ditches inside the alley. Akbar is a resident of Kabul who has a shop in the PD6. There is a ravine in front of Akbar shop where dirt and rotten water are standing. He says the water is released from houses and high-rises buildings inside the ditches.
In other news, officials at the Ministry of Urban development and land said more than 17,000 land grabbers had been identified and that details of the usurpation and the amount of land seized by them had been recorded. The Ministry of Justice announced that the meeting of the Supreme Board of Government Cases was held on Tuesday. The meeting was chaired by Fazl Ahmad Manavi, Acting Minister of Justice.
According to the Ministry of Justice, a representative of the Ministry of Urban Development and Lands and a member of the Supreme Board of Government Cases at the meeting announced the identification of more than 17,000 land grabbers and said that the details of the usurpation and the amount of land seized by them. The Ministry of Justice said that the members of the board discussed the coordination between government departments to prevent the usurpation of public property, how to implement the provisions of the regulation on informal urban property, practical challenges in implementing the return of government cases and the board’s activities and meetings.
Fazl Ahmad Manawi said at the meeting that the Office of Presidential Affairs is expected to cooperate in this regard. According to him, the challenges should be addressed in the understanding between the departments, especially through the technical committee of the Supreme Board of Government Cases. The Minister of Justice says that although the country is in a critical situation; it is important to continue to provide services and not be affected by the current situation. On the other hand, in the meeting of the Supreme Board of Government Cases, the working schedule of the meetings and activities of this board and its technical committee has also been approved.
Kabul: As war escalates in the cities, sources report the progress of peace talks in Doha. A source in the government’s negotiating team said that the Taliban has agreed to restart discussions on key issues.
A source in the government’s negotiating team, who did not want to be named, told Hashte Subh daily that discussions are under way and that the two sides had agreed to discuss key issues such as political participation, the constitution and the establishment of a ceasefire. He added that an agreement has been reached to speed up peace talks and start discussions on key issues. The source stressed that discussions should begin on these issues in order to prevent further civilian casualties in the country.
The source, however, criticized the Taliban negotiating team, saying that instead of starting to discuss key issues, the team has increased its focus on the battlefield and the violence. According to the source, this shows the Taliban’s lack of commitment to advancing peace talks in the country. He said the Taliban had so far shown less flexibility and expected the government’s negotiating team to give in to their demands. According to him, the Taliban’s goal at the negotiating table was for everything to go their way. The source, however, noted that the government’s negotiating team has not yet complied with the Taliban’s demands and defended the values of the people. Meanwhile, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani convened an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on Monday, urging the Taliban and its supporters to choose between peace or war. The president called on members of the National Assembly to support the government’s policies and mobilize the people against the Taliban.
Although the government has repeatedly called on the Taliban to start discussions on key issues, the group has so far refused to comply. The government recently sent a high-level delegation headed by High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Abdullah Abdullah to Doha to discuss key issues such as political participation, mediation and a ceasefire. The talks, which took place behind closed doors for two days, were unsuccessful. The two sides only agreed not to damage infrastructure on the battlefield and to allow health workers to provide health services to COVID-19 patients under their control. Sources in Doha now say they have just agreed with the Taliban to restart discussing key issues.
The peace talks come even as the Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday that Taliban forces advancing in Ghazni, Kandahar, and other Afghan provinces have summarily executed detained soldiers, police, and civilians with alleged ties to the Afghan government.
Residents from various provinces told Human Rights Watch that Taliban forces have in areas they enter, apparently identify residents who worked for the Afghan National Security Forces. They require former police and military personnel to register with them and provide a document purportedly guaranteeing their safety. However, the Taliban have later detained some of these people incommunicado and, in cases reported to Human Rights Watch, summarily executed them.
“Summarily executing anyone in custody, whether a civilian or combatant, is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director. “Taliban commanders with oversight over such atrocities are also responsible for war crimes.”
Human Rights Watch obtained a list of 44 men from Spin Boldak, Kandahar, whom the Taliban have allegedly killed since July 16. All had registered with the Taliban before being summarily executed. Waheedullah, a police commander from Spin Boldak, had obtained a “forgiveness” letter from the Taliban, but Taliban fighters took him from his house and executed him on August 2, activists and media monitoring these detentions in Kandahar said. Ghazni residents said that Taliban forces entered their neighborhoods on July 11, after Afghan government forces withdrew from the city. Taliban forces then searched house-to-house, apparently to identify residents who had worked for the provincial or district government or security forces. They took into custody dozens of residents, some of whom were later released after being compelled to provide assurances they would not cooperate with the government. Human Rights Watch could not confirm the status or whereabouts of those not released.
International humanitarian law prohibits detaining civilians unless absolutely necessary for imperative security reasons, said the HRW. Retaliatory detentions are a form of collective punishment and are also prohibited, it said. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently investigating allegations of war crimes and serious human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict, including the Taliban. “Taliban forces need to recognize that in new areas under their authority, they are obligated to ensure that all civilians are protected,” Gossman said.
Even, the governor of Kandahar claims that the Taliban have arrested hundreds of people in Spin Boldak district and transferred them to prisons across the border in retaliatory attacks. Ruhollah Khanzada told Afghan National Television on Tuesday night that more than 40 bodies had been found so far.
“Hundreds have disappeared but not all of them have been found. Only 40 to 45 bodies have been found. In my opinion, the detainees have been transferred across the border and are being held there. Most of them are soldiers and government employees,” he said. Earlier, the US and British embassies in Kabul said in a joint statement on Monday that the Taliban had killed dozens of civilians en masse in retaliatory attacks. According to the declaration, such killings could be considered war crimes.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) says the Taliban have arrested or killed about 400 civilians since capturing the Spin Boldak district. The Taliban have denied the allegations.
In other news, Supporting open media in Afghanistan Nai, released a statement asking the Taliban to find a journalist who was abducted in an area under their control and release the journalist.
“Information obtained by Nai office shows that Maiwand Mirani, a radio and television reporter, was dragged out of the vehicle he was travelling in along the Helmand to Kandahar highway in a Taliban-controlled area on Tuesday and was taken to an unknown location,” the statement read. Nai urged the Taliban not to deal with journalists and media workers, as promised by their leaders, and to find and release him as soon as possible. It also called on the Afghan government to release four journalists detained.
In another report released by the UN, it said that stepping up ongoing efforts to address corruption in Afghanistan remains critical. UNAMA’s fifth annual anti-corruption report, titled “Afghanistan’s Fight against Corruption: Stepping up integrity, transparency and accountability,” finds that Afghanistan has taken positive steps towards establishing solid anti-corruption legal and institutional frameworks but that numerous shortcomings remain, including the need to further increase transparency, integrity, and accountability.
To its credit, during the period covered by the report, from January 2020 to May 2021, the Government has continued supporting anti-corruption reforms. The worsening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing peace talks and increased violence after the announcement of international troops’ withdrawal, have however slowed down the pace of reforms.
The report acknowledges positive developments such as the establishment in November 2020 of the Anti-Corruption Commission in line with the UN Convention Against Corruption. Such an entity has the potential to advance anti-corruption reforms, provided its independence is ensured and it is enabled to fully perform its functions. It also refers to the adoption of new legislation on whistle-blowers protection during the reporting period, which should also strengthen, if effectively implemented, the fight against corruption.
The report further acknowledges an increase in the number of cases processed by the specialized anti-corruption tribunal (Anti-Corruption Justice Center) and the important role of the Supreme Court in increasing accountability, which should reduce corruption-related crimes. It recommends enhancing the capacity of law enforcement to detect corruption crimes and arrest alleged perpetrators regardless of their status. “Effectively fighting corruption goes hand in hand with increasing State legitimacy, prosperity and stability,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
While progress is being made in strengthening legal and institutional frameworks in particular, ongoing efforts to enhance monitoring and oversight mechanisms; streamline public funding and revenue management; and increasing transparency, integrity and impunity, need to be stepped up. UNAMA stands ready to continue supporting Afghanistan to advance anti-corruption reforms to address remaining challenges. Considering the critical role of civil society and media in fostering transparency and exposing corruption, the report recommends that anti-corruption stakeholders continue engaging and supporting civil society and media. It also encourages the Government to protect media given the alarming increase of attacks targeting journalists.
Kabul: A powerful car bomb explosion rocked an upscale neighborhood of Afghanistan’s capital on Tuesday in an attack that apparently targeted the country’s acting defense minister.
The MoI has confirmed to the local media that eight individuals including a woman was killed and over 20 others were wounded in the incident. Several smaller explosions could be heard as well as small arms fire.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the complex attack against Acting Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi’s residence. The attack came as Taliban insurgents have been pressing ahead with an offensive that is putting pressure on the provincial capitals in the south and west of the country. Interior Ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai said the blast happened in the Sherpur neighbourhood, which is in a deeply secure section of the capital known as the green zone. It is home to several senior government officials.
Stanekzai said it appeared the guesthouse of acting Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi was targeted in the attack. His Jamiat-e-Islami party was told the minister was not in the guesthouse and his family had been safely evacuated. However, Mohammadi said in a tweet on Tuesday, “Do not worry, everything is fine!”
A party leader and former vice-president, Younus Qanooni, reassured the party in a message shared on social media that the minister and his family were safe. The defence ministry released a video in which Mohammadi says that his guards had been wounded in a suicide attack. “I assure my beloved countrymen that such attacks cannot have any impact on my willingness to defend my countrymen and my country,” he says.
Details of the attack were sketchy even as it ended but it appeared that gunmen had entered the area after the explosion. Stanekzai said all four attackers were eventually killed by security personnel and a clean-up operation was conducted by police. All roads leading to the minister’s house and guesthouse were closed, he said.
Hundreds of residents in the area were moved to safety, said Ferdaws Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief. He said security personnel had also carried out house-to-house searches. The wounded were taken to hospitals in the capital, said Health Ministry spokesman Dastgir Nazari. As per the Ministry of Interior, the attack began with a car bomb at 8pm on Tuesday, and continued until 11:43pm.
A security source said that two attackers entered a building near to the office of Azim Mohseni, an MP from Baghlan, in the neighborhood of Bismillah Mohammadi’s house following the attack. Mohseni confirmed that he was not in his office.
Tuesday was also the day when the anti-Taliban rallying calls, which were first chanted by people in Herat province on Monday night, spread to the Afghan capital Kabul, Khost, Nangarhar, and Kunar provinces. In Kabul, thousands of people took to the streets chanting ALLAH AKBAR (God is Great) to oppose the Taliban offensive and support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
Vice-president Amrullah Saleh was among those who were chanting the slogans opposing the Taliban. While thousands were protesting on the streets in Kabul, thousands of others including women and children were supporting them from their rooftops. Kunar and Nangarhar provinces in eastern Afghanistan and Khost in southeastern also witnessed wide rallies. President Ghani on Tuesday said that the chants imply who is respecting the sacred call and who is fulfilling the commandments of Allah. He accused the Taliban of killing innocent Afghans.
The First Vice-President condemned the terrorist attack on the house of General Bismillah Mohammadi and said, “We are pleased that the Minister of National Defense and his family members were not harmed; but the lives and property of some of our compatriots have been severely affected. The Minister of National Defense reaffirmed that terrorists cannot weaken our will, and that the national defense and security forces, with the support of the people, will continue to fight resolutely, while Manzoor Pashteen, Founder & Head of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, said, “Get silence out of the city with loud chants. Today, the sacred slogan of Allah_Akbar is used by Afghans for peace, life, construction and humanity, and to build a strong peaceful Afghanistan.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he spoke with President Ashraf Ghani to reiterate the strong and enduring U.S. commitment to Afghanistan. We discussed the need to accelerate peace negotiations toward an inclusive political settlement that respects the rights of all Afghans, including women and girls. US State department spokesperson Ned Price added that both leaders condemned the ongoing Taliban attacks, which show little regard for human life and human rights, and deplored the loss of innocent Afghan lives and displacement of the civilian population.
This comes even as the United Nations Security Council also released a statement on the escalating violence in the country. “The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the deplorable attack against the United Nations compound in Herat. The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about the high levels of violence in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s military offensive, and called for an immediate reduction of violence. They also expressed deep concern about the number of reported serious human rights abuses and violations in communities affected by the ongoing armed conflict across the country. They recalled that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians.”
The members of the Security Council reiterated their support to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and in this regard, emphasized the importance of the safety and security of UN personnel. The members of the Security Council called on both the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to engage meaningfully in an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in order to make urgent progress towards a political settlement and a ceasefire. The members of the Security Council recalled UNSC resolution 2513 (2020), reaffirmed that there is no military solution to the conflict, and declared that they do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomed the announcement of the Security Council and calls for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to address the situation in Afghanistan and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe caused by Taliban violence.
And with India holding the Presidency of UN Security Council this month, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is travelling to New York on August 18-19 with key focus on Afghanistan. The key issue on the agenda will be UNSC role in the stability of Afghanistan with Pakistan supported Taliban trying to conquer the Islamic Republic through force while mouthing peace and negotiations to the international community. Despite initial confusion, the Taliban still resembles a heavily armed militia with medieval ideology and scant respect for minorities and women. Incidentally, Sunni Pashtuns comprises 30 per cent of population in Afghanistan and many among them oppose the barbaric practices of the insurgent force on innocent population.