Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: China can play a major role in the regional peace process as the US withdraws from Afghanistan, said Afghan Ambassador to China Javid Qaem on Tuesday.
A prominent advantage that China enjoys is that it has good relations with both Afghanistan and Pakistan and can play a critical role in building trust between these two neighboring countries, and the trust is the real thing that will bring long-lasting peace in the region, said the ambassador.
The ambassador made the remarks at a press conference held at the embassy in Beijing, where he briefed Chinese journalists on the current status of civilian casualties and the US troop’s withdrawal.
Since the US announced its final withdrawal, there have been mounting worries about the security situation in Afghanistan. Violence has escalated across many Afghan provinces.
“Since 2014, we have been fighting by ourselves, except for some air support from the US for our national security forces,” said the ambassador, who is confident about defeating the Taliban. He said around 1,500 Taliban fighters were killed by Afghan forces in May.
“We have 350,000 national security forces, among whom there are special forces. We don’t have any fear of losing ground. I don’t see a lot of changes along with the withdrawal. The withdrawal would be a surprise more to the Taliban than to us. There is no other way for the Taliban except to come back to the peace table. Therefore, we propose we should have cease-fire and the international community should put pressure on the Taliban to accept that,” he said.
The ambassador expects China to play a major role in the process.
In mid-May, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a phone conversation with Hamdullah Mohib, national security advisor to the Afghan president, said that China is ready to facilitate internal negotiations among various parties in Afghanistan, including creating the conditions for negotiations in China.
The ambassador said that Afghanistan is willing to join any sincere initiative that will help facilitate peace in Afghanistan and the region.
“Afghanistan being a stable country is in favor of countries such as the US, China and India. It is more important how we and Pakistan can build trust and how China and India can build trust regarding Afghanistan regardless of other issues. It is about peace in the whole region,” said the ambassador.
Kabul: At least 50 graduates of the Kabul school which was targeted by terrorists on May 8, have been selected for scholarships from the Al-Zahra University in Tehran.
Following the explosion near the girls’ school in Kabul, Al-Zahra University’s board members approved a plan to support the education of talented and influential women and promote the status of women in Afghanistan.
Under the plan, 25 scholarships, called “Scholarship for Erudite Women,” has been allocated to girls graduating from the said high school in all fields covered by Al-Zahra University and five other special scholarships, named “Maryam Mirzakhani Scholarship” after the late Iranian mathematician, were granted to applicants to study mathematics.
The Ministry of Science, Research and Technology had offered 25 scholarships to Al-Zahra University to support the humanitarian move, ISNA reported on Tuesday. The explosion left 85 female students dead and some 150 others injured.
The population of Afghan immigrants residing in Iran is about two to three million, some of whom sometimes have problems with identity cards or do not have identification codes. Some 120,000 refugees residing in Iran are now covered by health insurance.
Despite the challenges, Iran has continued to give refugees access to education and health services.
Kabul: At least three soldiers had been killed and five were wounded in a mine explosion in Charikar, the provincial capital, at 2:30am, said Abdul Qassem Sangin, head of the Parwan District Hospital, on Tuesday.
According to him, the injured have already been transferred to Parwan District Hospital.
The incident was caused by a collision between a vehicle ferrying these forces and a roadside mine. The head of the Parwan District Hospital did not provide further details, but a number of media outlets reported that a car carrying Najibullah Fahim, the deputy of Parwan’s National Directorate of Security, was targeted in the incident.
According to these sources, the victims are also members of the National Security Forces.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kabul: The Anti-corruption department of the Ministry of Interior has arrested three senior officials (current and former) of the Samangan province along with their colleagues on charges of abuse of authority, illegal executions, usurpation of government property and embezzlement.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian said that the men were arrested on Tuesday.
Firuzaldin Tagin, the mayor of Aybak city; Mohammad Haidar Khorami, the former mayor of the city; and Khairullah Anoush, the former governor of Samangan, are said to be among those detained.
According to him, these people are accused of embezzling 600 million Afghanis.
Tariq Arian did not disclose the whereabouts of the accused.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Tuesday reported 1,045 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 33 deaths and 112 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 74,026, while the number of reported deaths is 3,007 and the total number of recoveries is 57,742.
MoPH added that the new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Takhar, Kunduz, Nimroz, Faryab, Helmand, Wardak, Badakhshan, Daikundi, Logar, Laghman, Kapisa, Bamiyan, Ghazni, Kunar, Panjshir, Zabul, Ghor, Uruzgan, Khost, Paktika and Jawzjan provinces.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Embassy in Kabul has announced a new travel advisory for passengers from eight countries including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa and Nepal effective from June 1, 2021.
A statement published on the Turkish Embassy Twitter account says that the passengers from these countries or those who have been to these countries since the last 14 days must travel with a negative PCR test and will be quarantined upon arrival to Turkey for 14 days.
Passengers will be tested by PCR test after 14 days of quarantine time, if the result is negative, quarantine will be lifted, if not, the passengers with a positive PCR test result will be isolated from the same date to another place facilitated by the government and will be tested again in 14 days, Turkish Embassy said in a statement.
Kabul: After the New Kabul Command base was handed over last week to the Afghan forces, there are reports that the largest US military base in Afghanistan, Bagram air base, will now be handed over to the Afghan security forces, as per BBC.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense also confirmed to the BBC that the base will be handed over to Afghan forces as the withdrawal process has now been completed over 25 percent.
Citing top military officials who are aware of the developments, BBC reported that millions of dollars of equipment would be delivered to the Afghan Defense Forces from the base, however, it did not include an advanced missile defense system.
Meanwhile, locals of Bagram district of Parwan province also said that 20-30 trucks of destroyed military equipment are being transported outside the base daily.
As per media reports, some US bases, helicopters, military vehicles, and weapons will be handed over to the Afghan army.
Kabul: On International Children’s Day, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said that according to the National Strategy for Children, more than six million children are currently at risk in 23 categories.
Ghulam Haidar Jilani, Deputy Minister of Social Affairs at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, said at a Children’s Day celebration in Kabul that the number of children, included orphans, war victims, drug addicts and children in transition from one province to another or from one district to another, children who have returned from abroad, children with mental retardation and children with disabilities, among others.
Jilani also added that about one million children in Afghanistan are addicted to drugs. He said that according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), seven out of ten children in Afghanistan are victims of violence.
Citing statistics from the Human Rights Commission, he said that 80 percent of children in Afghanistan are forced into marriage. The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs also said that currently 77% of children in Afghanistan are being beaten up.
According to Jilani, 66% of children have not grown physically and 36% of children are malnourished.
Jilani added that 196,000 children have disabilities and one in three children on the road is a beggar. However, he said that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is implementing more than 20 national and international instruments on the rights of children and has plans to protect children at risk.
According to him, a child protection network is currently operating in 200 districts and child protection centers have been established in Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh and Nangarhar provinces.
Afghanistan is a country at war, he said, adding that children are at risk of being abducted on the one hand, and large numbers of children are being harmed as a result of the war.
The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs emphasized the cooperation of the people and international institutions with the Ministry and said that the Government of Afghanistan, especially the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, alone could not address the challenges of children.
Statistics from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs show that 490 orphanages provide services to 25,000 to 30,000 children. Of these, more than 10,000 orphans live in 68 public and private orphanages.
Meanwhile, Susan Farahman, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, said that since 2000, 10 million people in Afghanistan have been added to the list of children learning, playing and improving in schools.
Farahman also said that the number of well-grown children has increased by 24% compared to 2004.
Kabul: Ross Wilson, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kabul, said that his country will continue to work together to secure Kabul International Airport. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release that the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kabul raised the issue on Monday during a meeting with Minister of Foreign Mohammad Hanif Atmar.
Referring to the bilateral security agreements between Afghanistan and the United States, he said that his country is committed to cooperating to develop the security sector; in particular, the security of Kabul airport will continue.
Ross Wilson also reassured continued US support for the country’s defense and security forces. Mohammad Hanif Atmar called the continuation of US financial and training support to the defense and security forces and its financial and development assistance after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan important.
The Foreign Ministry said that the two sides also discussed the peace process in Afghanistan.
During the meeting, Atmar spoke about the latest developments in the Afghan peace process, and the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kabul assured that his country would continue to cooperate in the peace talks. He also spoke about the progress made in the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan began on May 1. This process is scheduled to be completed by September 11 this year.
On the other hand, Ross Wilson has given the invitation of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Mohammad Hanif Atmar to attend the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Global Coalition. The meeting will be held in Italy next month.
Kabul: After weeks of deadlock in the intra-Afghan talks, a number of members of the negotiating team of the government are heading to Doha from Kabul to advance the peace talks, said Najiya Anwari, spokesperson for the government ministry for peace.
Anwari added that the rest of the members of the government’s peace negotiating team will join the other members of the delegation soon after receiving permission, visas and other “issues”. Anwari added that the talks are based on the “previous agenda”.
Anwari added that members of the government’s negotiating team are approaching the negotiations with the Taliban with good intentions and full readiness.
According to Najiya Anwari, the intention of the government’s peace negotiating team is to start and seriously advance the negotiations and reach a “tangible result for the people of Afghanistan.”
Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have been stalled for several months. Although the two sides’ negotiating delegations met after Eid and stressed on the need to continue peace talks, the talks did not resume.
Kabul: Iran’s Parliament on Monday passed the Iran-Afghanistan Rail Cooperation Agreement which allows rail connection between the neighboring countries.
Both the countries had agreed to create a direct connection through railroad to transfer passengers and goods. According to the agreement, the two sides have agreed to provide rail vehicles and services and implement sanitary supervision in accordance with international rules, while domestic rules are valid where an issue occurs outside of international conventions.
The agreement also states that the two sides must treat passengers and goods from the other side the way they treat their own. This applies to free access to destination points, providing space for cargos in terminals, unloading and uploading of cargos, onboarding and offboarding passengers, and using international railroad services.
Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and Afghanistan Railway Authority have been chosen in the agreement as qualified authorities to supervise implementing the agreement and to solve disagreements.
Iran and Afghanistan linked their railway through Iran’s Khaf and Afghanistan’s Herat.
Kabul: A car bomb detonated in front of the police headquarters in Baghlan-e-Markazi district in the northern province of Baghlan at 6:30pm on Monday and was followed by a gunfight between the attackers and the security officials, said sources.
A security official who did not wish to be named said that the explosion has caused casualties. Other sources said that the district police chief and some police officers have been wounded in the attack.
According to sources attackers entered the compound and started a gunfight too. Some civilian houses have also been damaged in the attack, local sources said.
The special army forces have arrived at the scene, according to Farid Sayed Khili, an army commander in the province.
Baghlan has been faced with heavy clashes between government forces and the Taliban over the last four weeks. Baghlan-e-Markazi has witnessed most of the clashes during this time.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Nangarhar governor said that the Taliban had set the markets in the Achin district of Nangarhar province on fire.
Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar, said on Tuesday that the Taliban had ransacked shopkeepers’ property in the Dari Pish area of Achin district and set fire to the markets.
He added that huge financial losses have been inflicted on local residents due to the fire. Ataullah Khogyani said that the governor of Nangarhar called the Taliban’s move against Islamic principles and thanked the security forces for clearing the district market of the Taliban.
The Taliban have not yet commented on the Nangarhar governor’s spokesman’s remarks.