Newsfeed; Thursday, July 15 2021

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Russia Launches Military Exercises In Tajikistan Even As Violence Rages In Neighboring Afghanistan

    Kabul: Russia on Wednesday launched military exercises in Tajikistan as the Taliban continue their blistering offensive in neighboring Afghanistan. The insurgents in recent weeks have brought huge swathes of the country under their control as foreign troops withdraw, including Afghanistan’s main Shir Khan Bandar border crossing with Tajikistan.

    Moscow is closely watching the offensive, concerned about the security of countries in ex-Soviet Central Asia where it maintains military bases. On Wednesday, about 1,000 troops at Russia’s 201st military base in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe took part in drills, Russian news agency Interfax reported. The agency cited a statement by Russia’s Central Military District as saying the exercises were meant for unit commanders and combat chiefs to get ready for “combat operations in a dynamically changing situation.”

    Interfax reported that the exercises will run until the end of the week. Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement carried by the news agency that servicemen stationed at the military base had “repelled a massive missile strike by a simulated enemy” during the drills on Wednesday. The 201st base is one of Russia’s most important foreign bases and has the aim of helping maintain stability in Central Asia and providing support for Tajik troops. In 2012, Tajikistan gave Russia an extension on the base through 2042 so it could help police its border with Afghanistan.

    On the other hand, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General said that the military alliance is not “running away” from Afghanistan, as international troops leave the country after nearly 20 years. Speaking to DW, Mircea Geoana stressed that NATO wants to continue to help Afghanistan, especially as the alliance is “fully aware” that there are security and political challenges ahead. “We know that putting an end to our mission is also entailing risks, we are lucid about these things,” said Geoana, a Romanian national who has been NATO’s deputy secretary general since October 2019.

    “But the decision to put an end to the certain point of a long, protracted mission was something which was taken by all our allies, by our American friends and allies. And now we’re opening a new chapter,” he added. Geoana, speaking from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, said some of the risks include the possible reversal of reforms, the loss of territory to the Taliban, as well as the impact of NATO’s departure on the morale of Afghan forces.

    But, he stressed, “in the end, it’s up to the Afghan people to really decide what’s their future. It’s not up to us in perpetuity to decide on behalf of the Afghan people.” Responding to these kinds of concerns, Geoana stressed that opening a “new chapter” in Afghanistan does not mean NATO is abandoning the country or ending its support to its military forces.

    The deputy secretary general specifically mentioned a trust fund for Afghanistan’s armed forces which is “fully replenished up to 2024” and said NATO continues to work alongside Afghanistan’s air force and train the country’s special forces. And he placed his hopes on a political solution to Afghanistan’s divisions. Geoana said NATO is encouraging “inter-Afghan peace talks because at a certain moment the room for diplomacy will arrive.”

    This comes even as a military ceremony has been organized upon the completion of the Romanian Army’s mission in Afghanistan, which will take place on July 21, in the Arch of Triumph Square in Bucharest, informs the Romanian Ministry of National Defense (MApN). According to the cited source, on this occasion, pedestrian detachments representing the military structures of the Romanian Army that performed missions in this theater of operations, starting from 2002 until June of this year will march under the Arch of Triumph. The last Romanian detachment from the Afghanistan theater of operations, consisting of 140 soldiers, returned to the country at the end of June.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that peace in Afghanistan is crucial as Pakistan seeks to open trade doors into the Central Asian states, stressing on the Trans Afghan Rail Project as an important component of connectivity and a tool to enhance living standards in the region. The Pakistan prime minister, during his address at the Uzbekistan-Pakistan Business Forum on Thursday, said that the Trans Afghan Railway is the “most important project” for both countries.

    “The connection between us and the people of Uzbekistan goes back centuries,” said PM Imran. “But how our business and trade relationships evolve depends on how quickly we connect with each other physically,” he said, referring to the Trans Afghan Railway Project. The Trans Afghan Rail is an ambitious project that seeks to connect Pakistan and Uzbekistan via Afghanistan, and later, other Central Asian countries could also potentially become part. He said that both Uzbekistan and Pakistan are “extremely keen” that there is peace in Afghanistan. “We are all hoping for a political settlement to take place there. Connectivity through Afghanistan would be hugely beneficial for all of us.”

    Meanwhile, the United States will continue to solicit strong support for the Afghan peace process both regionally and internationally, US Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said on Thursday. The White House adviser made the statement during the C5+1 meeting in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. The format includes five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) plus the United States.

    “We will continue to support negotiations to achieve a political solution that brings Afghans the peace they deserve and to build a strong regional and international support base for Afghanistan’s future”, Sherwood-Randall said. She noted that C5+1 members can do more jointly rather than alone or on a bilateral basis to address issues of common interest. “We will continue to provide security assistance to the Afghan National Defense Forces, as well as development and humanitarian aid. We will continue to take aggressive action against terrorist groups that threaten United States and that undermine the security of our allies and partners, including your countries”, Sherwood-Randall said. Also, US State Department is now requiring all contractors in Afghanistan “to ensure” that all their personnel are fully vaccinated for Covid-19, according to a department memo sent to contractors this week that was reviewed by CNN.

    This order is a clear effort to stem rising Covid-19 infections among US personnel in Kabul after a series of recent outbreaks at the embassy there forced a shut down in operations, including visa interviews for Afghans who worked with the US military as interpreters and translators and are now applying to come to the US. The contractors must affirm that their employees are all vaccinated within 45 days of the July 13 decision, the memo says. In addition, any incoming contractors must be fully vaccinated before traveling to the country, the memo says. “The maintenance of a healthy and safe workplace is of the highest concern and mitigating risk to the workforce is of critical importance,” Michael W. Derrios, the department’s senior procurement executive, writes in the memo.

    Also, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik has said that the Taliban’s statements against Turkey’s presence in Afghanistan can be branded as a communication mishap. Speaking to reporters, Çelik said that the Taliban’s statement dated July 13 “has some negative remarks.” “We would like to evaluate this statement as a communication mishap,” Çelik said.

    The Taliban warned Turkey on July 13 against possible plans to keep some troops in Afghanistan to run and guard Kabul’s main airport after the withdrawal of foreign troops, calling the strategy “reprehensible” and warning of “consequences.” Ankara, which has offered to run and guard the airport in the capital after NATO’s withdraws, has been in talks with allies, namely the United States, on aspects of financial, political and logistical support.

    Also, the Presidential Palace stated that Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in a meeting with President Ghani, said that his country is committed to its continued cooperation in various fields. President Ghani, on Thursday morning, on a two-day trip to attend the International Conference on Central and South Asia; traveled to Uzbekistan, where he met with President of Uzbekistan. The two sides discussed greater security on the Afghan-Uzbek border, economic and trade cooperation, electricity transmission, railways, and a regional consensus for peace in Afghanistan.

    The two sides stressed that the conference should encourage everyone, especially the participating countries, to work for the peace process in Afghanistan and to support the system and the people. However, the Presidential Palace stated that Uzbek President has pledged that his country will continue to work with the Afghan people and people in a number of areas.

    President Ghani also met with Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. President Ghani also met with US delegation led by Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall at his residence in Tashkent on Thursday afternoon. Both sides exchanged views on the support for the ANDSF, US’ development and humanitarian assistance, and commitment in accelerating the peace process.

    Sherwood-Randall assured Ghani that the US will implement its aforementioned commitments, and that the U.S. is moving forward strongly with Afghanistan, will make every effort to accelerate the peace process, and intensify its regional diplomacy in this regard. Ghani expressed gratitude for the U.S. cooperation with Afghanistan and called peace an important priority for the Afghan government and the great aspiration of the Afghan people.

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Taliban In Badghis Province Declare Ceasefire

    Kabul: Local officials in Badghis province said that the Taliban have declared a ceasefire in the province.

    Badghis Governor Hesamuddin Shams said that the ceasefire had been accepted by the Taliban with the mediation of tribal elders. According to him, the ceasefire started at 12:00pm on Thursday.

    In the past few weeks, Badghis province has seen intense clashes. A few days ago, Taliban fighters attacked the town of Qala-e-Naw in the provincial capital after capturing Badghis district. Security forces, however, were able to repel a Taliban attack on the provincial capital. Until yesterday, army operations continued around the areas of Badghis.

    Meanwhile, the Taliban carried out their offensive attacks on the defense forces, security forces and popular uprisings in the Dahan-e Ab Spingal, along the Fayzabad to Baharak district highway, which met with strong resistance from forces and were repulsed from the area with heavy casualties. As a result, 10 people, including Zabih Tajik, were killed and 13 others were wounded. Also, as a result of the enemy’s offensive attacks, two members of the security forces were killed and four others were wounded.

    Also, Taliban launched its offensive on Wednesday night in three strongholds of Sar-e-Pul province, which was repulsed by the strong resistance of the brave defense and security forces. As a result, four of them were killed and seven others were seriously wounded.

    Meanwhile, Kunduz police spokesman Enamuddin Rahmani said that armed Taliban insurgents attacked Aliabad district police headquarters on Wednesday night, which resulted in heavy resistance from security and defense forces, who fled the area with casualties. Rahmani added that the security and defense forces had dealt a heavy blow to the enemy. The Taliban have been pushed back by security and defense forces with heavy casualties, as per the press office of Kunduz police.

    Also, Baghlan Governor Mohammad Akbar Barikzai and Laghman Governor Abdul Wali Zahedi briefed the media on the situation of the provinces via separate video conferences on Thursday. Barakzai, who was connected to the government’s information and media center via video conference, described the security situation in Baghlan as “relatively good” compared to recent weeks, adding that the province’s police chief and security chief had just been introduced.

    He added that of the total number of districts in Baghlan province, five districts are under the control of the government and in these districts, public services and local government are running normally. Barakzai emphasized that the defense and security forces in Baghlan province have high morale, adding, “People have been mobilized in every corner of the province to support the system and the defense and security forces of the country.”

    Laghman Governor Abdul Wali Wahedzai also explained the situation in the province to the media in a video conference and said that there is the necessary coordination between the defense and security institutions and the leadership of the province. He added that a comprehensive plan has been made to strengthen the security belts of the province. According to the governor of Laghman, Alishang district, which has been under siege by the enemy for two months now, was broken as a result of a nine-day operation by the defense and security forces.

    As a result of the nine-day operation, several prominent Taliban commanders were killed and the governor of the province was severely wounded. The governor of Laghman stated that the administrative units of Laghman province are active and provide services to the people normally.

    Meanwhile, in Nangarhar, National Directorate of Security (NDS) personnel captured alive a Taliban militant named Raees Khan in Jalalabad who had recently killed two soldiers in two separate incidents near Farm Hada area. He admitted that he had been active in the Taliban for the past seven years and had planted landmines in addition to fighting. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) also arrested another Taliban insurgent in the Momandara district of the province. Also, Nangarhar’s security officials reported that an IED attached to the vehicle of head of a private tourist company detonated in Jalalabad’s PD1 at about 02:00pm on Thursday and killed him.

    However, a group of Kapisa ulema came to the governor and in a meeting with the governor of Kapisa province called for security. The governor of Kapisa province met with the province’s ulema while the police chief, deputy director of national security and head of the Kapisa Green Process were also present. Abdul Latif Murad, the governor of Kapisa province said that they played a very big and valuable role and assured them that the mentioned issues will be comprehensively reviewed by the relevant departments and demands will be met as soon as possible.

    On the other hand, family of Yama Siawash, a journalist and former public relations consultant for the Central Bank (Da Afghanistan Bank), has sent the case file of his assassination to the International Criminal Court and to the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights and Freedom of Expression. Mohammad Davood Siawash, the father of Yama Siawash, has expressed hope that these institutions will investigate the case of his son’s murder and punish the perpetrators.

    “Now that the case of the killing of Yama Siawash is on the table of the International Criminal Court and the rapporteur of human rights and freedom of expression, I hope these are the highest international authorities on justice,” he said in a short video clip. Yama Siawash’s family is filing a lawsuit to investigate the murder of their son through a London-based law firm Bedford.

    “It is alleged that the assassination of Yama Siawash was part of a targeted attack on members of the media in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, which escalated during the presidency of Ashraf Ghani,” the Bedford Legal Institute said in a press release issued on Thursday. The statement also said that the targeted killing of Yama Siawash was, in accordance with accepted standards, a crime against humanity and a war crime. Yama Siawash’s father appealed to the UN Security Council last year for what he called the Afghan government’s lack of attention to Yama Siawash’s case. The letter also stated that President Ashraf Ghani and Central Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmadi did not want to identify and arrest the killer of Yama Siawash for reasons that have not yet been clarified.

    Yama Siawash and two other colleagues were killed in a magnetic mine explosion in the Macrorian area of the PD1 of Kabul last year.

    In other news, there are reports that Pakistan guards used tear gas on Thursday to disperse hundreds of people who tried to breach a border crossing into Afghanistan, a day after the Taliban seized control of the Afghan side of the frontier, officials said. “This morning a mob of some 400 unruly commuters tried to cross the gate forcefully. They threw stones, which forced us to use tear gas,” said a security official at the southwest Chaman border, who asked not to be named.

    “We had to baton charge because people were getting unruly,” said a second border official, who also did not want to be named. Jumadad Khan, a senior government official in Chaman, said the situation was now “under control”. The Taliban captured the strategic border crossing of Spin Boldak district on the frontier with Pakistan on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan will evacuate Kyrgyz refugees who fled from Afghanistan to Tajikistan, the Foreign Ministry of Kyrgyzstan said. The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said that the first report about crossing of the border of Tajikistan by ethnic Kyrgyz from Little Pamir of Afghanistan was received from the Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Kabul on July 12. The Embassy contacted representatives of ethnic Kyrgyz and confirmed Afghanistan’s Kyrgyz indeed headed to Kyzyl-Rabat village of Murgab district of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan.

    It was reported earlier that 347 refugees, including 91 men, 77 women and 177 minors, all of them are natives of Andemin village, Wakhan district of Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan, fled to Tajikistan escaping from Taliban. The Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Regional Office of the UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees in Central Asia and UNHCR Office in Kyrgyzstan concerning the situation with Afghan Kyrgyz, who were sheltered in Tajikistan, asked UNHCR’s assistance in organization of their evacuation to Kyrgyzstan.

    The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said the note was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan with request to provide unimpeded travel of Afghan Kyrgyz until the crossing point into Kyrgyzstan. The respective request was voiced on July 13 by First Deputy Foreign Minister Nuran Niyazaliev on the sidelines of the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Foreign Ministers Council in Dushanbe.

    Also, as per the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 11,200 people in Kandahar displaced by conflict according to initial reports, over 17,000 people affected by conflict provided with aid in the north-east provinces and almost 10,000 people displaced by conflict receive aid in the northern provinces.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) too said that it has temporarily suspended operations in the Spin Boldak area of Kandahar and Islam Qala in Herat. The organization said in a statement that the rapid escalation of clashes across Afghanistan has had a significant impact on border crossings. “The activities of the International Organization for Migration in Spin Boldak and Islam Qala have been affected by the recent wars and have been temporarily suspended,” the statement said. But the organization has said it is investigating the resumption of activities to provide timely humanitarian assistance to refugees returning to Afghanistan.

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Reinforcements Arrive In Ghazni

    Kabul: Hundreds of new soldiers from the National Directorate of Security arrived in Ghazni on Thursday to bolster the security situation.

    These new forces will be deployed in the areas that are most in need of reinforcements. The defense and security forces will join them and begin the clearing operation, as per the press office of the Ghazni governor.

    Upon arrival, the soldiers assured the public that they would use all their efforts for lasting peace and tranquility in Ghazni province. The leadership of Ghazni province, given the high morale, courage and love of the security forces for the country, assured the people of Ghazni that the enemies of the country and the people will never achieve their nefarious goals.

    Meanwhile, a mortar round impacted a home in Khalil area of Nurgaram district, Nuristan province, on Wednesday evening, which killed five individuals and wounded 12 others. Spokesman for Laghman’s Provincial Governor Asadullah Dawlatzai told Hashte Soubh daily that the Taliban had fired the mortar, which landed close to Laghman’s Alingar district.

    Eyewitnesses said that five of the family members, including women and children, were killed and five others were wounded in the attack. The Taliban rejected being responsible for the attack.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations has said the escalation of violence in the country has led to a humanitarian catastrophe. Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, told the BBC that the country’s humanitarian aid needs had never been greater, but that there was no way to respond to the crisis.

    Describing the humanitarian situation in the country as critical, he called it the worst in the world. He said that the war, the increase in internally displaced people due to violence, and the drought in the country had left 18 million people, who make up more than half of the country’s population, in need of humanitarian assistance. According to him, 10 million people are at risk of starvation and half of children under the age of five in this country suffer from hunger. According to him, only 40% of the $1.3 billion requested by the United Nations to help these people has been provided.

    Violence in Afghanistan has escalated in recent months with the withdrawal of foreign troops, and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes. The United Nations has warned that the continuation of this process could affect regional and global security. Earlier, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies announced that by 2021, one-third of Afghanistan’s population would be without food due to the drought, and urgent action was needed.

    On the other hand, for the first time, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has confirmed that the Taliban have imposed restrictions on women in areas under their control in Takhar, Kunduz, Faryab and Badakhshan provinces.

    Unofficial reports have surfaced in recent days of Taliban restrictions on men and women in areas the group has just taken control of in those provinces, but no official authorities have yet confirmed this. The Independent Human Rights Commission released its report on Wednesday, entitled “Intensifying Armed Conflict and Increasing Incidents of Human Rights Violations.”

    According to the report, the findings of the Independent Human Rights Commission show that the Taliban, after gaining control of districts in a number of provinces, including Faryab, Kunduz, Badakhshan and Takhar, imposed restrictions contrary to human rights standards and applicable laws. According to the Independent Human Rights Commission, the restrictions include banning women from leaving the house without hijab and, restricting schooling of girls, banning healthcare for women without a male guardian, banning the use of television, and not shaving the beard.

    “After the complete fall of Shirin Tagab district to the Taliban, members of the group imposed a series of restrictions on women and banned all doctors, drivers and rickshaws,” a resident of Shirin Tagab district in Faryab province told observers. “Shopkeepers have warned that they will be punished if they cooperate with women without a male guardian.”

    The Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) also reported that the Taliban had issued several letters to women in Kishm, Baharak, Jurm, Jargo, Argo, Khash, Sheghnan and Ishkashim districts, stating that they were not allowed to leave their homes without a male guardian. Young people should grow beards and attend congregational prayers. According to the Independent Human Rights Commission, the group sent letters to mosques urging families with two or three children to include one of them in the Taliban.

    The report by the Independent Human Rights Commission states, “Following the escalation of violence in the country, the human rights situation during the first 15 days of the current solar month has faced more serious challenges and concerns. Access to basic human rights and freedoms has been restricted in a number of provinces. “The widespread displacement of people in different parts of the country, limited access to health services and the increase in poverty and economic problems are among the most important issues that indicate the deterioration of the human rights situation.”

    The Taliban has not yet responded to the report by the Independent Human Rights Commission. The group, however, had previously denied issuing declarations and imposing restrictions on women in its territory.

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Ministry of Health Reports 1,198 New Cases of COVID-19

    Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday reported 1,198 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.

    The ministry also reported 89 deaths and 1,613 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

    The total number of cases now stand at 139,051, while the number of reported deaths is 6,072.

    The Ministry of Health has called on Afghan citizens to follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

    Meanwhile, Mohammad Shafiq Mirzazada, Deputy Minister for Policy and Planning of the Ministry of Public Health, spoke via video conference with provincial health directors and representatives of healthcare providers about the process of accelerating and implementing the coronavirus vaccination drive.

    At this meeting, the Deputy Minister expressed his gratitude and appreciation for healthcare workers who are at the service of their compatriots in the most difficult days, and called on health officials to urge the Ministry of Health to speed up the coronavirus vaccine implementation process and prevent vaccine wastage.

    In addition, Mirzazada spoke about addressing the needs of provinces that need the coronavirus vaccine, continuing to administer daily vaccines normally, not depriving women of the vaccine implementation process, setting up monitoring committees in the center and provinces, and creating teams. He spoke to participants about the implementation of the coronavirus vaccination drive during Eid and gave the necessary instructions to the authorities.

    On the other hand, the heads of public health of the provinces and the representatives of the institutions implementing health services presented their ideas and suggestions in the cases mentioned and promised more cooperation under the leadership of the Ministry of Public Health.

    Also, as per the WHO’s strategic situation report for July 15, the number of cases remain at alarming levels over the post-Eid al-Fitr period in Afghanistan. “Overseas testing has confirmed the presence of the variants in Afghanistan. While Afghanistan lacks in-country facilities to test for the Delta variant, concern over the variant’s spread remains high. Afghanistan now has a daily test-positivity rate of 48 per cent as of 14 July, suggesting overall under-testing of potential cases. With a testing capacity of 8,700 tests per day, 35 laboratories are now operating in and there are plans to establish 9 more by the end of August. Due to limited public health resources, lack of people coming forward for testing, as well as the absence of a national death register, confirmed cases of and deaths from COVID-19 are likely to be under-reported overall in Afghanistan,” stated the WHO.

    WHO warns that despite the new surge, widespread complacency and failure to follow public health advice in Afghanistan is creating grave risks in the community with people generally not observing physical distancing or mask-wearing protocols. There is particular concern about the upcoming Eid al-Adha period and the need to promote personal protection measures during this holiday.

    Given the rapid rise in cases, the Government of Afghanistan has extended closure of all schools, universities and training courses that started on 29 May. The school closure will be in effect across 16 provinces, including Kabul. Most government offices have moved to essential staff because of the outbreak. The Government has also announced other preventative measures across these 16 provinces, including the banning of mass gatherings and weddings. On vaccination, since 8 March, Afghanistan has received 3,068,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines – 468,000 from the COVAX facility, 500,000 directly from the Government of India, 700,000 from the government of the People’s Republic of China and 1,400,000 from USA. Some 2,192,000 additional doses of vaccines are expected to arrive to the country this month as well.

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    First Shipment Of Chinese Goods Arrives At Hairatan Port

    Kabul: The Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced on Thursday that China’s first shipment of commercial and transit goods arrived at the Hairatan commercial port on Sunday.

    The ministry said in a that the consignment included 51 containers of commercial and transit goods from China, which arrived in the country via railroad for the first time this solar year. According to the ministry, the cargo was shipped from the Chinese city of Urumqi and imported by Afghan Cargo via the railway.

    Officials at the port said that the shipment includes electrical appliances, toiletries, women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, children’s toys and other commercial goods. It should be noted that the port of Hairatan is one of the connecting points of the country with Central Asia and connects Afghanistan with the Republic of Uzbekistan. According to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, most of the country’s commercial goods currently enter Afghanistan through Uzbekistan and through the port of Hairatan.

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    3-Month Ceasefire In Exchange For Release Of 7,000 Prisoners Is Taliban’s Demand, Says Naderi

    Kabul: Nader Naderi, a member of the government’s negotiating team, said that the Taliban had proposed a three-month ceasefire, but had demanded the release of 7,000 prisoners by the Afghan government.

    He said that removing the group’s leaders from the UN blacklist was another precondition for the group’s three-month ceasefire plan. “We saw that the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners did not help the situation and even escalated the violence,” he said.

    In fact, as the chairman of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, Naderi said that the Taliban have intensified their attacks in the provinces, demolishing 260 administrative buildings and depriving 13 million people of public services.

    He told a news conference on Thursday that national service personnel had neutralized the current situation and prepared a report on the destruction of public places as Taliban attacks increased. According to Naderi, public service buildings have been severely damaged by the resumption of Taliban attacks. He added that the Taliban had destroyed or set fire to 260 buildings in 29 provinces of the country, which could no longer be used. He estimated the total value of the buildings at $500 million.

    He stated that the facility is the property of the Afghan people. Naderi noted that places and property have also been looted during Taliban attacks. According to him, in 82 districts the looting rate was 100%, in 80 districts it was 90%, in 14 districts it was 60% and in 35 districts the looting rate was more than 50%. He added that the offices were looted while providing services to the people in the fields of education, health and agriculture.

    Naderi also said that with the Taliban attacks, more than 4,000 civilian employees and their families have been displaced for fear of Taliban oppression and have taken refuge in major urban centers. He added that with this situation, more than 13 million citizens of the country have been deprived of public services. According to him, water supply, agriculture, health, education and construction services are limited in war-torn areas. He also added that as the Taliban escalated the war, more than 50,000 civil servants had been injured and are now at home.

    Naderi also noted that in places where the Taliban have taken control, women service workers have been restricted and not allowed to work in government offices. He clarified, however, that only female health workers are allowed to work, subject to the hijab and the presence of a male guardian with them. He criticized the Taliban’s practice, saying that in accordance with international law, civil service institutions are safe from any attack. He added that perpetrators of demolition of public facilities are subject to legal prosecution under international humanitarian law and should be brought to justice.

    Meanwhile, Mohammad Mohaqiq, a senior adviser to the presidency, said that a larger delegation from the Afghan government and political figures is scheduled to visit Qatar soon to hold talks with the Taliban delegation. “A delegation from Afghanistan is heading to Qatar,” said Mohaqiq, speaking at a meeting in Kabul on Thursday. “Representatives of the countries of the world are also gathered there,” he added.

    According to him, the main topic of the meeting between the government and political figures with the Taliban in Qatar is achieving peace. Mohaqiq said that if peace is agreed on at the Qatar summit, Afghanistan would calm down and the war would end; but if no peace deal is reached this time, the country is likely to fall into a precipice from which neither the Taliban nor the government and politicians will benefit.

    “We will go to a vicious circle of civil war,” he added. “We will face massive casualties that are unprecedented in the world. Eid al-Adha is an opportunity for a ceasefire, and after that, we may go to peace or to a very unusual war,” he said.

    The senior adviser to the president said that it is not possible for the Taliban to win militarily and that even if the group is assumed to succeed, the world would not accept their rule. According to reports, a delegation headed by Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, is scheduled to travel to Qatar on Friday to resume peace talks. It is said that Hamid Karzai, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Younis Qanuni and some other political figures will be included in the delegation.

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Lashkar-e-Taiba Network Member Killed In Kunar

    Kabul: A key member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist network, a Pakistani national who played a key role in planning and organizing terrorist attacks in Kunar province, was killed, announced the Ministry of Interior.

    The deceased has been identified as Saifullah and was killed on Wednesday in a clash with security and defense forces in Asmar district of Kunar province.

    Meanwhile, Fazlullah Irfan, a spokesman for Radio Sada-e Islah, was injured in a roadside bomb explosion in Nangarhar province. Mohammad Gulab Tawhidyar, the head of Sada-e-Islah radio station in Nangarhar, said that Irfan was injured in a landmine explosion in the Talaki area of Jalalabad city at around 4:00 am on Wednesday. However, officials at Nangarhar Hospital said that Irfan was seriously injured and taken to Kabul for treatment.

    Meanwhile, local officials in Ghazni province confirm that Taliban fighters’ attacks on the center of Nawur district and parts of Jaghori district of the province have failed. Taher Zahedi, Nawur district governor, told the Etilaat roz daily on Thursday that the Taliban had launched an attack on the center of Nawur district on Wednesday evening from the Sai Tabib and Gorg Koshta strongholds.

    Clashes between the two sides continued until around 4:00am, when Taliban fighters eventually retreated from the area, he said. According to Zahedi, one security guard was killed and two others were wounded during the clashes. At the same time, another government source in Nawur said that the soldier killed was a member of the popular uprising and was killed in front of the Nawur’s security gate. The source also added that three other soldiers of the security forces were injured during the clash.

    On the other hand, the district governor of Nawur said that Taliban fighters also suffered heavy casualties in the clash, but the exact number has not been determined yet. He also assured that the situation in Nawur is under the control of government troops. On the other hand, Taher Zahedi said that some equipment was handed over to the district from the center. Also, 105 people have been newly recruited in the security and defense forces of Nawur district.

    At the same time, Aref Bahonar, Jaghori district governor, told the Etilaat Roz daily that the Taliban attack on border checkpoints in the Hotqul and Tang-e-Ghazar areas in Anguri had also been repulsed. Bahonar explained that the Taliban had attacked Hotqul from Gilan district and Al-Ghazar from Moqor district. He stressed that no government troops were killed during the clashes during the Taliban attacks. The Taliban have attacked Nawur and Jaghori districts several times in recent days, but have not been able to advance.

  • 15 Jul 2021 Share this post

    Atmar Address SCO Meet; Highlights Taliban’s Violation Of Doha Agreement

    Kabul: The fourth meeting of the Afghanistan-Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Contact Group was held on Wednesday afternoon in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with the participation of eight members of the SCO and Afghanistan.

    The issues discussed in the meeting were focused on Afghanistan’s membership in SCO, the roadmap for the organization’s cooperation with Afghanistan in three areas, including – security; economic; cultural-humanitarian, and the situation in Afghanistan and its effects on regional stability and development.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Hanif Atmar highlighted the Taliban’s violation of Doha agreement, calling the group’s escalating violence in collusion with foreign fighters, regional and international terrorist networks a major threat to regional stability and development.

    Atmar reiterated the commitment of the Afghan Government to a political settlement, resuming meaningful negotiations to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the people and the Government of Afghanistan to preserve the achievements of the last two decades, including the state and lasting peace in the Afghanistan. Referring to the excessive threat posed by terrorist groups alongside the Taliban in the region, the Foreign Minister stressed the need to jointly fight against this threat. He went on to say that ensuring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, was a viable solution to the menace of terrorism, extremism, and restoration of stability in the region.

    Atmar also expressed the demands of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in three areas. First, given the unprecedented violence perpetrated by the Taliban in collusion with terrorist outfits, it is imperative that all countries maintain their consensus to end the bloodshed, find a political solution, and ensure peace in Afghanistan. Second, call on the Taliban to implement the provisions of the Doha Agreement, the UN Security Council Resolution 2513, and the Declaration of the Moscow Extended Troika. Third, to overcome the common threat of terrorism, SCO member states need to provide immediate security assistance to Afghanistan.

    The foreign ministers of eight members of the SCO emphasized the need to resolve Afghanistan’s crisis through political means, take practical steps to cooperate with Afghanistan, prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists, and provide economic and humanitarian cooperation with Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani with high-level government delegation headed to Uzbekistan for a two-day visit to attend the Central and South Asia Conference: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities conference. The President will separately exchange views with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and a number of representatives of the participating countries on friendly relations and expanding cooperation in various fields with Afghanistan within the new chapter, as per the Presidential Palace.