Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: Over 1,500 troops from Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will take part in joint drills at the Kharb-Maidon training ground, 20 km from the border with Afghanistan, on August 5-10, the press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported on Tuesday. “Overall, more than 1,500 troops and about 300 items of armament and military hardware from the three countries will be involved in the tactical drills,” the press office said in a statement.
The troops will practice thwarting an intrusion by outlawed armed gangs and eliminating “radical terrorist groups,” the statement says. At all stages of the drills, the troops will focus on tactical measures, employing reconnaissance/fire and reconnaissance/strike systems, the press office specified.
The Russian military contingent in the drills would mostly comprise units of Russia’s 201st military base stationed in Tajikistan, including mountain motor rifle, tank and artillery troops, and also groups of a special operations force of the Central Military District. Also, Russian radiation, chemical and biological protection troops and mobile electronic warfare groups will be involved in the drills. The 201st military base stationed in Tajikistan is Russia’s largest military facility outside its borders. The military base is stationed in the cities of Dushanbe and Bokhtar. The military base comprises motor rifle, armored, artillery and reconnaissance units, air defense forces, radiation, chemical and biological protection and signal troops. Under an agreement signed in October 2012, Russia’s military base in Tajikistan will remain until 2042.
Meanwhile, in other news, in a report released at a news conference in Dushanbe, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin noted on July 27 that Dushanbe has always considered “official Kabul as a legitimate government in Afghanistan ad has never conducted meetings or negotiations with representatives of the Taliban Movement.
“The situation in Afghanistan’s districts bordering Tajikistan has seriously deteriorated lately, but Tajikistan’s common border with Afghanistan is securely guarded,” the minister said. He further noted that Tajikistan has not been conducting negotiations with the Russian Federation on return of Russian border guards to the Tajik-Afghan border and does not plan to increase the number of Russian military advisors in Dushanbe due to tensions along the border with Afghanistan.
He also noted that today it is impossible to specifically talk about how many Afghans seeking refuge Tajikistan can accept. “I disagree with the views of some colleagues and the government of Tajikistan that Tajikistan can accept up to 100,000 refugees from Afghanistan. We need to take into account the pandemic situation in this matter, preparedness of camps for refugees and are whether we ready for terrorists to enter our country disguised as refugees,” Muhriddin stressed.
Kabul: The Afghanistan National Food and Drug Administration says the agency’s study shows that most of the medicines needed by Afghan citizens are smuggled.
Ebrahim Shinwari, the head of the administration, said that about $50 million worth of medicine was legally imported into Afghanistan in 2019, while according to him, the annual need for medicine in this country was $800 to $1 billion. Shinwari estimates that only about five percent of Afghanistan’s medicine are legally imported into the country each year.
The smuggling of large quantities of drugs means that the necessary quality control is not carried out. The National Food and Drug Administration says the medicine that are imported legally are of good quality, but do not know about other medicines.
Meanwhile, a number of Afghan doctors consider the arrival of substandard medicine to mean “playing with human lives.” Given that the authorities admit the existence of drug trafficking, but say they have no information about the traffickers and where they enter Afghanistan.
The National Food and Drug Administration says it is trying to identify these people and stop drug smuggling. According to some reports, most of the medicine are smuggled to Afghanistan from Pakistan. “Most of Afghanistan’s medicine are likely to come through smuggling. We have not received accurate evidence, but the need for Afghan drugs is about $ 800 million to $ 1 billion a year, and the documents we have are in our possession,” said Shinwari. “There are 47.5 million medicines that have been legalized in the solar year alone.”
He said that the agency is trying to find out where other medicines have entered Afghanistan. Imports of illicit medicines, bureaucracy, corruption in government offices and evasion of customs duties are the main causes of medicine smuggling into Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, in other news, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced that Afghanistan exported $776 million worth of goods to foreign countries last year. According to the Ministry, the highest value of Afghan exports is registered in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Tajikistan, Russia, Italy, the United States, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Spain, Kazakhstan, the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia.
According to the Ministry, Saudi Arabia has recorded the highest value of Afghanistan’s exports with $6,797,000. The Ministry of Industry has not provided information on Afghanistan’s exports to neighboring countries, especially Iran and Pakistan. According to the data, the export of Afghan products from May 2020 to May 2021 shows a 28% increase.
In recent years, the Afghan government has been trying to increase exports relative to imports. Establishing air corridors is one way to increase Afghanistan’s exports, but it has been described as costly.
Kabul: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that they will continue to support Afghanistan even after the complete withdrawal. Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that he had spoken to Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani via the telephone.
“NATO continues to support Afghanistan with funding, civilian presence and military training abroad,” Stoltenberg said. The NATO Secretary General described the security situation in Afghanistan as “challenging” and said that it needed an agreement to negotiate.
The United States and NATO have previously stated that they will train Afghan troops abroad. The President of Afghanistan did not provide any information about this telephone conversation.
Earlier, in a telephone conversation with President Ghani, US President Joe Biden pledged to continue supporting the Afghan military. The President’s deputy spokesman Mohammad Amiri said on Monday that President Ghani had discussed the details of how to continue providing support to the Afghan military with General McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, in other news, protests of Takhar residents in Kabul entered the seventh day in connection with the fierce fighting in the province. Protesters reported poor security in the province and heavy fighting on the outskirts of Taloqan city.
Mirullah Rouhani, one of the protesters, told Hashte Subh daily on Tuesday, that despite the fact that seven days had elapsed since the sit-in tent was set up, there had been no change in the situation in Takhar. According to him, the fighting around the city of Taloqan has been going on for 15 days now and a large number of people have been displaced from their homes. The protester warned that all districts of Takhar had fallen to the Taliban and that the city of Taloqan, the provincial capital, is in danger of collapsing.
Rouhani added that after the protests in Takhar began in Kabul, a number of officials had promised them that the security situation in the province would soon change and the lost districts would be recaptured. According to him, a week has passed since the promises were made, but no operation has been launched to retake the districts and improve security in the province.
Earlier, Amrullah Saleh had said in response to protests by Takhar residents that instead of protesting, they should form a military unit and fight the Taliban.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Tuesday reported 544 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 62 deaths and 1173 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 145,552, while the number of reported deaths is 6,577.
The Ministry of Health has called on Afghan citizens to follow health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Kabul: The convoy of Sayed Dawood Naderi, a former representative of Kunduz province in the House of Representatives in Doshi district of Baghlan province, was first targeted by a landmine and then ambushed by the Taliban.
Sources told Khama Press that the incident took place on Tuesday. In this incident, three of Naderi’s bodyguards were killed and two others were injured. According to sources, Naderi was not harmed and is fine.
Meanwhile, Sahib Dad Ghafouri, Doshi district governor of Baghlan province, told Khama Press that in addition to Naderi’s bodyguards, four security personnel were wounded and one of them was killed in the incident.
Security agencies have not yet commented on the matter.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior said in response to a statement from media outlets that four journalists detained in Kandahar, that they were campaigning for the Taliban and against the regime. Interior Ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai told Hashte Subh daily on Tuesday that the reporters were trying to cover up the “crime” committed by the Taliban in Kandahar’s Spin Boldak.
Stanekzai added that the journalists were transferred from Kandahar to Kabul and that NDS was investigating their case. Earlier, pro-media organizations called the detention of these journalists illegal and called on the government to release them as soon as possible. It is worth mentioning that Bismillah Watandoost, Qudrat Soltani and Moheb Obaidi, the staff of Saday-e Milat” radio and Sanaullah Siam, the cameraman of Xhinua Agency, had met with one of the commanders of the Taliban. The journalists were detained by national security forces in Kandahar on their return from visiting the commander.
Meanwhile, two suspects were arrested by security forces on charges of attacking government officials and the Afghan military in various provinces, a statement by the First Vice-President’s Office reads. The statement says both suspects are Taliban members. One of them, Agha Mohammad, confessed that he was in prison for four years up until 2020 during which, he met Qari Faigullah, a Taliban member, who asked him to participate in killing government employees, specifically Taj Mohammad, a police officer at Takhar Police Headquarters who was involved in imprisoning the Taliban member, the statement said.
Agha Mohammad also confessed that he planned to travel to Takhar to target the police officer and other government employees but was arrested by security forces, the statement added. Another suspect, Samiullah, confessed that he joined the Taliban one and a half years ago, according to the statement. The statement said that Samiullah also confessed to being involved in four bombing attacks in Kabul with one targeting a police vehicle in Kabul’s District 16, another targeting a police vehicle in the Karte Naw area in Kabul’s District 8, another targeting an army vehicle in Bagrami district and another targeting a police vehicle in Kabul’s District 8. The statement added that Samiullah confessed that his cousin, Nooruddin, carried out six explosions targeting government employees.
In other news, Germany will offer more financial help for Afghans who want to escape their country after helping Nato troops fight the Taliban. Under increasing pressure to ensure their safety, Berlin said it would cover the costs of flights to Europe for Afghan staff who could not afford the trip.
But it defended a decision to give them only time-limited visas in Germany, which raises the possibility that they will be returned to Afghanistan in future. “Many people who are now leaving their country, are not doing this because they think Afghanistan is a horrible place,” said Steve Alter, a spokesman for Germany’s Interior Ministry.
“They are doing it because they currently feel threatened there and need protection. We can hope that the situation in Afghanistan will stabilize at some point so that people can go back,” Alter said. About 2,400 German visas were given to Afghan personnel and their families after they helped Nato troops during the 20-year war.
A group of German MPs appealed directly to Chancellor Angela Merkel to take “moral responsibility” for the fate of Afghan staff. Bowing to the pressure, Merkel agreed with her Cabinet that Germany would expand its financial aid to those people. Alter said Berlin would look at organizing charter flights and meeting the costs of commercial flights via Turkey. Details were yet to be finalized but “the basic decision is the important thing… that in a change from the previous policy, the costs will not have to be met independently,” he said.
Kabul: Shah Jahan, the commander of second company of MoI’s 888th unit, said that the Taliban group had gathered forces in the village of Shakarak in the city of Sheberghan, the center of Jowzjan, to attack the city, but their plan failed.
He said that two key Taliban commanders had been killed and nine others wounded in a targeted operation in the past 24 hours. Jahan assured the people of Sheberghan that “all preparations are being made to suppress the Taliban with the joint efforts of other security forces.” The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter. According to officials, this is the second targeted Taliban attack on the city of Sheberghan, which was repulsed before any major offensive.
Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban’s peace negotiating team, has confirmed that Abdul Haq Omari, the youngest son of Mawlavi Mohammad Nabi Omari, another member of the delegation, was killed in a direct clash with the Afghan Defense and Security Forces.
Haqqani announced it on his Twitter page on Tuesday. He did not provide further details on when or where Abdul Haq Omari was killed. The Afghan Ministry of Defense has not yet officially commented on the matter. However, according to some reports, Abdul Haq Omari was the Taliban’s deputy military chief for Paktia province and was killed in a clash with Afghan army forces yesterday.
Also, two wanted robbers in Herat province were arrested on Monday as a result of a police operation. The men were arrested after stealing the car of a resident of Herat. It is noteworthy that one of these thieves was injured during a clash with police forces and was later arrested. The detainees also confessed to the crime and a pistol seized from them.
On the other hand, Mohammad Hashim Modaqiq, the district governor of Hazrat Sultan in Samangan province, told Salam Watandar that a civilian had been killed in a Taliban- roadside mine blast in the district. The district governor added that the incident took place a few minutes ago in Ghazni Gak village when a man was moving towards the district and hit the mine. According to him, this man is called Gulistan and he was over 30-years-old. The Taliban have not yet commented.
Also, a young man in central Parwan threw a hand grenade at home injuring himself and four members of his family. Mohammad Sadeq Hashemi, director of crime control of Parwan Police, told Salam Watandar that a young boy entered his father’s house in the village of Dolana in Charikar on Monday night and threw a hand grenade, wounding himself and four members of his family, including women and children. According to him, the cause of this incident was family problems and the perpetrator has been arrested.
In other news, the Minister for Refugees met with the Special Representative of the German Government for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Minister of Refugees and Repatriations Noor-ul-Rahman Akhlaqi met with Jasper Wieck, Special Representative of the German Government for Afghanistan and Pakistan, to discuss continued cooperation in the management and care of Afghan refugees, implementation of bilateral agreements and opportunities for migration. During the meeting, which took place at the ministry headquarters, the Minister of Refugees gave information about the increase in displacement, citing the current war and Taliban violence. He also called on the German government to increase its humanitarian assistance in this critical time.
The German government official also condemned the continuing violence and pledged that the central government would address the demands of the Ministry of Refugees, especially the issue of assistance to internally displaced people.
Kabul: Security sources in Kapisa province said that four security forces and two civilians were killed as a result of an attack by Taliban fighters in Nijrab district of the province. Abdul Shayeq Shoresh Kohistani, a spokesman for the Kapisa police, told the Etilaat roz daily that the Taliban had launched their attack late on Monday in the Farkhshah and Kalan valleys of Nijrab district.
He added that the clashes between the two sides continued until around 4:00 in the morning. According to him, two civilians were killed in the clash. The spokesman for the Kapisa police said 25 Taliban fighters had been killed and 15 others wounded in the clashes. He stressed that the Taliban attack had already been repulsed. The Taliban have not yet commented.
Also, a number of civilians were injured when a landmine explosion in Tarinkot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan, police said. Maghforullah Salar, spokesman for the Uruzgan Police, told Hashte Subh daily that the incident took place on Tuesday morning, at the Nargahdari Ghala Jat market in the provincial capital.
The blast was caused by a mine placed on a motorcycle that exploded near a tea house. Police say one person was injured in the incident. Officials at Uruzgan Provincial Hospital, however, said that two injured people had been taken to the hospital so far, one of them in critical condition. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, a number of women activists and families of war victims in Bamyan province have issued a resolution calling on the warring parties in the country to put an end to the violence and reach an agreement on a ceasefire as soon as possible. The resolution of women activists and victims of war states that the Taliban must stop violence and “massacre” people and no longer fall into the “hands of foreigners.”
Women and victims of the war in Bamyan have also stressed that establishing a ceasefire and ending the war should be one of the preconditions for continuing peace talks. According to the resolution, one of the consequences of the war in the country has been the victimization of women and civilians and families have lost their members. If the violence continues, the number of victims will increase.
War victims and women activists in Bamyan, while expressing concern about the spread of violence in the country, have called for compensation and healing for the suffering of war survivors. One of the articles of the resolution states that an independent and specialized body should be established to “find and document” the past and current wars in the country. The United Nations and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) have also been called upon to work to document the damage caused by past and current wars.
The other part of the resolution also states that the number of women representatives in peace talks should be increased and that representatives of war victims should be present in the composition of the delegation on both sides of the negotiating table. Issues such as the preservation of the achievements of the last two decades, in particular women’s freedoms, freedom of expression and the security forces, are also emphasized in the resolution. The resolution also adds that if the rights of women and victims of war are ignored, it will never be acceptable to women and victims of war.
Meanwhile, Adela Raz took office as Afghanistan’s new ambassador to Washington. Raz previously served as Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Prior to that, Roya Rahmani was Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States. On her first working day, Raz met with local diplomats and staff of the Afghan Embassy and Consular Section in the United States. The Afghan embassy in Washington said in a press release that Raz “emphasized the teamwork and the important responsibility that the embassy has at this critical time.”
Also, note that the Biden administration has asked Congress for $1 billion to bring Afghans who helped American forces during the two-decade war in their country to the US., and there is bipartisan support to provide the money, according to people familiar with the matter.
The fate of the Afghans who aided US troops in Afghanistan has taken on greater urgency as Taliban militants have seized the momentum in their long campaign to return to power. With the withdrawal of most American forces nearly complete, it is feared that anyone who worked with them in the long conflict could be singled out for retribution by the Taliban or other militant groups.
The $1 billion would be divided between the Defense Department, the State Department, with $25 million going to the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. The funds would cover the cost of temporary shelter, resettlement and other necessities, according to a third person familiar with the matter. The White House made the request last Friday, but it was not accompanied by a detailed plan, one of the people said.
Kabul: Security officials in Kapisa province confirm that five Taliban fighters have been killed in an airstrike in Tagab district of the province. Abdul Shayeq Shoresh Kohistani, a spokesperson for the Kapisa Police, told the Etilaat Roz daily that the airstrike was launched on Monday by foreign forces in the village of Shahid Khel in Tagab district.
Kohistani added that the attack targeted a Russian tank belonging to the Taliban. He stressed that the killed Taliban fighters were inside the tank. The spokesperson for the Kapisa police also said that the Russian tank had also been destroyed in the attack by foreign forces. The Taliban have not yet commented.
Meanwhile, General Bismillah Mohammadi, the Minister of National Defense, arrived in Balkh on Tuesday at the 209th Shaheen Corps. The meeting and review of the security situation is scheduled to be held in the presence of the governor of Balkh province and military officials under the chairmanship of the Minister of National Defense.
In other news, Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar met with Ambassador Jasper Wieck, Germany’s new Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Welcoming Wick and expressing appreciation for Germany’s cooperation with Afghanistan over the past two decades and its support for the country’s defense and security forces, the Foreign Minister welcomed the recent developments in Afghanistan, the importance of regional and global consensus in support of peace and cooperation.
Atmar emphasized on the importance of continued German support for Afghanistan and the peace process, and said that the escalation of violence, human rights abuses and the group’s failure to live up to its commitments to sever ties with terrorist groups led to the spread of extremism and the presence of international terrorist groups, and IS-K has spread in Afghanistan and the region. Ambassador also expressed his concern about the escalation of violence by the Taliban, assured the Foreign Minister of the continued cooperation and support of his country for the peace process and the preservation of the achievements of the last two decades in Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar also met with Mohammad Ibrahim Taherian, Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Afghanistan, and his accompanying delegation, who visited Kabul. Appreciating the Islamic Republic of Iran’s reasonable stances in support of the peace process, the Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke about the cessation of violence, an end to arbitrary killings, torture of civilians and human rights violations in Taliban-held areas. “The presence of the Taliban and the escalation of violence by them will lead to the spread of extremism and the presence of international terrorist groups, including ISIS, in Afghanistan and the region.”
Atmar called the political, economic, cultural and trade cooperation between Kabul and Tehran an urgent need for the governments and people of the two countries, and called for further cooperation in various fields, especially the peace process. Taherian further assured the Foreign Minister of his country’s support for the Afghan peace process while preserving the achievements of the last two decades, and called for further cooperation between Kabul and Tehran in various fields, including border cooperation and greater coordination between relevant ministries.
Also, Atmar discussed with Cihad Erginay, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Kabul, the latest developments in the Afghan peace process and the expansion of economic relations. The Foreign Minister thanked Turkey for its support over the past two decades, especially its role in the Afghan peace process. Atmar spoke about the importance of the role of the ulema of the Islamic world in condemning the violence, establishing a ceasefire and ensuring lasting peace in Afghanistan, and stressed the role of the ulema of the world, especially Turkish ulema, in the success of the peace process. Referring to the Afghanistan-Turkey-Iran trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomatic Forum, the Foreign Minister stressed the importance of enhancing the level of economic cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador also assured the Foreign Minister of the continuation of Turkey’s cooperation with Afghanistan in various fields, especially in ensuring peace and stability in the country, as well as Ankara’s interest in expanding trade and economic cooperation with Afghanistan. Afterwards, the Foreign Minister and Ambassador discussed the holding of the third meeting of the Joint Economic Commission of Afghanistan and Turkey.
Meanwhile, Nai in a statement on Tuesday said that the fate of the four journalists detained in Kandahar must be clarified. “Although 24 hours have passed since the arrest of four journalists detained by the National Directorate of Security in Kandahar; but it is still unclear what their situation is,” it said.
Bismillah Watandost, Qudrat Soltani and Moheb Obaidi, the staff of Saday-e Milat” radio and Sanaullah Siam, the cameraman of the Xhinua Agency, were arrested on Monday by the NDS in the Shur Andam area of Kandahar. The National Security directorate in Kandahar said the journalists had been detained on the orders of the Security Council and would be released soon; but now, more than 24 hours after their detention, their fate is unknown and their families are deeply concerned about their unclear situation.
Nai, Supporting open media in Afghanistan, called the detention of the journalists illegal and called for the immediate release of the journalists, and called for investigation of any legal issues. “Illegal arrests and detentions of journalists will prevent them from going to war zones and reporting on the situation of those trapped in war zones. This is against the principles of freedom of expression and human rights. Any journalistic error must be investigated by the Media Complaints and Violations Commission in accordance with Article 43 of the Public Media Law,” it stated.
In fact, Amnesty International South Asia, also tweeted on Tuesday, stating, “We are concerned about the detention of four journalists in Kandahar by National Security Directorate since yesterday. These journalists were returning from Spin Boldak district after investigating about civilian casualties. We call for their release.”
Kabul: Statistics from the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations show that in the last 15 days alone, more than 14,000 families have fled their homes due to the war and moved to safer areas. According to the ministry, most of the displaced were from Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar, Jawzjan, Helmand, Laghman, Paktia and Ghazni provinces. The Ministry of Refugees states that the Ministry has provided food and non-food assistance packages to displaced families and addressed their problems. As the Taliban escalates and the situation worsens, the US government is considering a $100 million aid package to address the situation of the displaced.
Although many families have fled their homes in recent years due to the war, the problem has increased since the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban intensified their attacks and took control of some districts as foreign troops began withdrawing in May this year. As the Taliban took control and the fighting intensified in different parts of the country, people migrated and left their homes. The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations says that since the beginning of the month, more than 72,000 families have left their home areas and settled in relatively safe places. Reza Baher, the ministry’s deputy spokesman, told Hashte Subh daily that the number of displaced people had increased over the past two months.
He states that in the last one month alone, 19,000 families have been displaced, of which 14,000 have left their homes in the last 15 days. The deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations said most of those displaced were from Kunduz, Jawzjan, Nangarhar, Laghman, Paktika, Farah, Helmand and Ghazni provinces. Baher added that with the Taliban taking control of the area, people had fled their homes and taken refuge in government-controlled areas.
According to him, in the last one month alone, 3,511 families in Kunduz, 2,353 families in Uruzgan, 2,082 families in Jawzjan, 1,882 families in Nangarhar, 1,670 families in Laghman, 1,400 families have been displaced in Paktika, 1,094 families in Farah, 945 families in Helmand and 765 families in Ghazni. The people of Ghazni, however, have provided the media with larger statistics on the displaced. In the past two weeks alone, 3,000 families have reportedly been displaced from Malistan district to Ghazni and Kabul cities. Malistan residents told a news conference in Kabul two days ago that the Taliban had harassed people and stormed a number of people as soon as they entered the district. Residents of the district stated that with this approach of the Taliban, people were forced to migrate and about 3,000 families left their areas. Residents of Malistan called on the war-torn parties to provide as soon as possible for the return of the displaced and the opportunity to harvest the people’s crops so that life can return to normal. They also called on charities to address the plight of IDPs in the district.
However, Reza Baher says the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations has provided assistance to more than 51,000 families this year. According to him, the aid included food and non-food packages. According to him, cash was distributed in places where it was not possible to transport food due to the war. The amount of money distributed to war refugees varied. Baher emphasizes that the cash donation was between 7,000 and 22,000 afghanis. It should be noted that these aids are distributed based on the needs of families. The Deputy Spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations also states that this year, IDPs have taken refuge in places where they felt safe, regardless of their type or occupation. According to the ministry, war refugees were previously housed in large cities such as Kabul, Herat and Balkh, where more jobs are available.
Meanwhile, Turkey on Monday criticized Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz’s remarks that Turkey is a “more suitable place” for Afghan refugees. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement that they read his statement with “astonishment.” “First of all, Turkey is not a country neighboring Afghanistan, as Chancellor Kurz stated,” the statement said.
“Instead of emphasizing joint efforts and cooperation to solve the problem of irregular migration, which affects the whole world and is a common issue for everyone, the attitude that ‘migrants should not come here, go elsewhere’ is both selfish and unhelpful,” it added. Emphasizing that “Turkey will not take in a new wave of migration,” the statement added: “We convey this stance to our interlocutors on every occasion and at every level, emphasizing that Turkey will not be a border guard or a refugee camp of the EU.”
In an interview with the German newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, Kurz said Turkey is “a more suitable place” for Afghan refugees than Germany, Austria, or Sweden.
In other news, Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, governor of Nangarhar, clarified on Monday night that the bodies of 39 Pakistani militants were handed over to the Afghan Red Crescent Society and not the ICRC. This comes even as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a statement saying that their teams have not received any such request from any party to the conflict, and therefore were not involved in any transfer.
“In Afghanistan, ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) are supporting all parties to the conflict to fulfill their obligations towards the deceased and their families. The ICRC and the ARCS are temporarily substituting for the parties to the conflict, which cannot fully accomplish these obligations due to security risks, passing of front lines, and at times parties are simply overwhelmed with increasing numbers and complexity of evacuations. The support includes the dignified return and transfer of mortal remains of fighters and civilians to their families and authorized representatives. It is important to note that this program is exclusively implemented within the borders of Afghanistan. During the first six months of 2021, the ICRC and the ARCS returned and transferred the mortal remains of 2,449 fighters and civilians to their families. International Humanitarian Law (IHL) foresees that the mortal remains of persons who have lost their lives in relation to the armed conflict must be respected. Respect is not only for the dignity of the dead but also respect towards the family and the community of the deceased. The families have the right to know the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones and to mourn those who died. The Human Remains Transfer Program (HRTP) of the ICRC is focused on ensuring that respect and on assisting the parties to the conflict to fulfill their obligations towards the deceased and their families,” the statement read.
On the other hand, as the night curfew begins in the city of Herat, the people of Herat have called this plan “ill-considered and wrong” and insist that it is impossible to implement it in big cities like Herat. Members of Herat Provincial Council also believe that the imposition of night curfew has a negative effect on the morale of the people and causes them to distrust the ability of the security forces. The Herat Police says that according to the order of the Provincial Military Council, the plan to restrict the night movement has been implemented since Sunday night. The Herat local administration also emphasizes that the “implementation phase” of the plan has already been announced and that security forces are required to implement it.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) recently announced the implementation of restrictions on night in 31 provinces, including Herat. Accordingly, public traffic is prohibited from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am. The Afghan government has said the plan is aimed at preventing the Taliban from infiltrating cities. The ministry began restricting night curfew in all provinces except Kabul, Panjshir and Nangarhar on Sunday. Accordingly, night curfew has been imposed in 31 provinces of the country, including large cities such as Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.
Ahmad Zia Zia, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, told Hashte Subh daily that the restrictions were imposed to ensure the safety of citizens, prevent civilian casualties and thwart the Taliban overnight. He added that the restrictions have been imposed temporarily. The Ministry of Interior has asked the citizens of the country to cooperate with the police in enforcing the night patrol. But, residents of Herat have sharply criticized the implementation of the plan, calling it unwise and impractical.
Ahmad Karkhi, a member of the Herat Provincial Council, believes that the night curfew plan shows the extreme weakness and inability of senior security officials, and that security forces should provide security through routes that feel “enemy” enters Herat. Jilani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat, told Hashte Subh daily that the night curfew implementation was carried out under the direction of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces to ensure the safety of citizens, and that the aim was to prevent the enemy from abusing and infiltrating. The spokesperson for the governor of Herat, in response to public criticism of the curfew and plan, said, “order has been sent through the central administration and the Herat Military Council has discussed how to implement it, and we consider ourselves obliged to implement this plan.
Kabul: China and Pakistan have decided to launch “joint actions” in Afghanistan to stop the war-torn country from becoming a “hotbed for terrorism” and drive out terrorist forces from there, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
The decision was taken during a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the southwestern the Chinese city of Chengdu. During the meeting, Wang and Qureshi “decided to launch joint actions on Afghan issue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here.
Also, a press release posted on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wang in his talks with Qureshi “emphasized that as Afghanistan’s neighbors, China and Pakistan are directly impacted by the Afghan situation. It is necessary for the two countries to strengthen cooperation and respond to changes”.
This was “one important agenda during Qureshi’s visit to China,” said the press release titled ‘China and Pakistan Decide to Launch Joint Actions on Afghan Issue’. “After in-depth communication, we decided to launch joint actions,” which included making “every effort to pursue peace, give top priority to avoiding the spread of war, and prevent Afghanistan from spiraling into a full-scale civil war,” Wang said.
“We will work together to combat terrorism and push all major forces in Afghanistan to draw a clear line against terrorism, firmly combat the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other terrorist forces, and resolutely stop Afghanistan from becoming a hotbed of terrorism,” Wang said.
China and Pakistan will actively promote peace through talks, advance effective intra-Afghan talks, and take substantive steps towards political reconciliation and building a broad-based and inclusive political framework, he said. He said both nations will promote coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, explore the building of Afghanistan-related cooperation platforms, and help Afghanistan achieve peaceful reconstruction and live with amity with all its neighbors.
Meanwhile, India has appreciated the United Nations Security Council’s role in countering transnational threats like terrorism along with preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention. “Appreciate role in preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention, counter transnational threats like terrorism,” tweeted Pratik Mathur, Counsellor in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN. The counsellor also expressed his concern over the instability in Afghanistan and its impact on the neighboring countries at the United Nations Security Council on UN regional center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia in New York.
“Instability in Afghanistan affects neighbors, India and Central ASIA connected by history,” the counsellor at UN tweeted. As the drawdown of US and NATO troops is on the verge of completion, there has been a surge in violence in Afghanistan with the Taliban now claiming of controlling about half of the country’s roughly 400 districts.
Amid the turmoil in Afghanistan, President-elect of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the current Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid called “terrorism” a “scourge”, and said that the Security Council needs to address it soon. “Terrorism is a scourge that has been in this region, in many parts of the world and has taken the lives of many civilians. It doesn’t know any religion, borders or humanity. It’s evil. We need to address it comprehensively. UN has been slow in coming with the definition, I hope that the definition would be reached soon,” Abdulla Shahid, who is on a visit to India, told news agency ANI.
Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Afghanistan has pledged to let Iran have its share of water from the Hirmand River and the supply for feeding Hamoon wetlands. The Afghan government has promised to provide Iran with the share of water from the Hirmand River and has also pledged to supply the water for Hamoon wetlands, the top Iranian diplomat said at a parliamentary session on Sunday.
He also unveiled plans for the legal regime of the Hari (Heray) Rud River, saying the two neighbors have for the first time reached agreements on the river. Although there are various options to receive Iran’s share of water for Hamoon -such as adopting strict policies towards Afghanistan in certain areas- the relations between Tehran and Kabul are always brotherly and friendly, the top diplomat added. Highlighting the efforts by Iran’s Foreign Ministry to protect the country’s right to the share of water from Hirmand and Hamoon, Zarif said the two neighbors have agreed to set up five committees to handle various bilateral issues, including disputes over the water share.
The Foreign Ministry sent two protest letters to Afghanistan in March and April to remind Kabul of Iran’s rights under a 1973 treaty, Zarif went on to say, noting that the Afghan ambassador to Tehran has been also informed of Iran’s stances. Iran and Afghanistan have a disagreement over allocation of water from the Hirmand River, as both sides suffer from droughts and climate change.
Kabul: The Helmand-based 215th Maiwand Corps has announced that an Air Force helicopter has made an emergency landing in the Nad Ali district of the province. A statement from the corps said, “As a result of this emergency landing, the flight crew was not harmed and they were evacuated from the area by other air forces.”
According to the statement, the helicopter was forced to hold an emergency landing due to a technical problem at the end of the defense and security forces’ operation in Nad Ali district. The operation was launched on Monday night. The type of this helicopter is called M17 and after the emergency landing, it was destroyed by the air force in the operational area.
The 215th Maiwand Corps also said that according to preliminary figures, about 30 Taliban fighters were killed and wounded during the operation. The Taliban claimed that the helicopter had been shot down by its fighters. The group has not commented on the casualties.
This comes even as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has placed new restrictions banning US civilian flights from flying below 26,000 feet over most of Afghanistan due to the changing security situation in the country, Reuters reported.
“The FAA put flight restrictions in place over Afghanistan for US airlines and other US operators, including those holding US pilot certificates. Flights operating below 26,000 feet are prohibited in the Kabul Flight Information Region, which largely covers the country of Afghanistan, unless operating in and out of Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the agency said on Monday. The FAA said the restrictions do not apply to US military flights. A copy of the FAA’s notice specifically states that the new restrictions are due to the risk posed by terrorist activity in the country.
Meanwhile, it has been about three weeks since the Taliban took control of seven trade routes in Herat, Farah, Takhar, Kunduz, Kandahar and Paktia provinces. For the first time, Sher Khan Bandar, the most important border crossing in the north, fell to the Taliban recently. Located in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province, this port is one of the good ports in terms of infrastructure.
The Ministry of Finance says that they do not currently have any customs activity at the Islam Qala, Torghundi, Abu Nasr Farahi, Spin Boldak, Ay Khanum, Dand-e Patan and Sher Khan Bandar crossings. Ministry spokesman Mohammad Rafi Tabe told Hashte Subh daily that this had a negative impact on government revenues and trade. According to him, the Ministry of Finance earned 7.3 billion afghanis from trade crossings two months ago this year, but this figure has dropped to 4.6 billion afghanis last month. According to these statistics, the Ministry of Finance has lost 2.7 billion Afghanis through these seven crossings during this period.
Statistics from the Ministry of Finance show that during the first six months of the current fiscal year, 41 billion afghanis of revenue was collected. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance said that by the beginning of June, about 3.5 billion afghanis had been collected from Islam Qala and 2.48 billion afghanis from the port of Abu Nasr Farahi. According to him, the Ministry of Finance intends to collect about 216.5 billion afghanis in revenue from about 30 customs and commercial ports this fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Ajmal Omar Shinwari, a joint spokesman for the security services, said that in areas where security threats are high, our forces are on the defensive. Shinwari added, “In the first step, we will strengthen our defensive mode and after the renewal of forces, we will assume a state of offensive.” Shinwari added that in strategic ports, strategic points and strategic cities where the threats are high, the situation will return to normal as soon as possible.
According to a joint plan of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, representatives of the private sector and the Presidential Palace, special operations were to begin soon to retake the ports, but have not yet been implemented. The plan was finalized about two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce says that according to this plan, it will provide raw materials in the private sector market and there is no need to worry. Ahmad Fawad Ahmadi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, told Hashte Subh daily that the private sector is currently providing the raw materials needed by the people. “Oil prices have risen around the world, and this has affected prices and innovation in Afghanistan,” he said of rising market prices. An increase in the dollar rate and a decrease in the Afghani rate have caused us to face the problem of rising prices. Security challenges in ports have also pushed up prices.”