Newsfeed; Saturday, June 5 2021

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…


  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Ban On 42 Private Companies From Participating In Bidding Process Of Contracts Lifted

    Kabul: The National Procurement Authority said on Saturday that it has lifted the ban on 42 private companies in the bidding process of contracts.

    Ramin Ayaz, spokesperson for the National Procurement Authority, said that the decision to lift the ban on these private companies was officially announced at a ceremony at the Presidential Palace and added that these companies had been suspended for a long time. “After a thorough review it has been decided that these companies will not be suspended,” he stressed.

    On the other hand, he said that the exclusion of various companies in the bidding process of contracts due to the provision of transparency and healthy competition among bidders is a common practice in the procurement system of countries.

    According to the Procurement Law, companies that commit violations of this law will be barred from participating in bidding for two to five years, depending on the severity of their violation.

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    Introduction Ceremony Of New Governor Of Maidan Wardak Mired In Controversy

    Kabul: Local sources in Maidan Wardak province said that the introduction ceremony of the new governor of the province was mired in controversy and participants left the ceremony halfway. The Office of Local Authorities announced on Friday that Loong Faizan has been appointed as the new governor of the province to replace Abdul Rahman Tariq.

    Eyewitnesses said that a number of elders in the district quarreled on Saturday, during the inauguration of the new governor of the province. According to them, the controversy started when Akhtar Mohammad Taheri, the chairman of Maidan Wardak Provincial Council, did not mention the province’s full name during his speech and only referred to it as “Wardak”.

    They said that the elders of Maidan Shahr, Behsud, Nimak and Jalriz districts protested against Taheri’s remarks and got up and left the party in protest.

    He said that for months now, there has been controversy over the name of Maidan Wardak province, and despite the fact that President Ghani and the first vice-president have indicated that the name of the province is Maidan Wardak; but still in the electronic identity card, license plate number and passport, this province is mentioned only as “Wardak”.

    The elders of a number of Maidan Wardak districts say that there are different ethnic groups living in the province and they are not the only Wardak ethnic group. The elders of Behsud, Nima, Jalriz and the central districts of the province have closed the electronic ID distribution offices and asked the central government to include the province’s full name in the electronic ID cards; but the elders of the Wardak tribe say that the historical and official name of this province is “Wardak”.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Ariana Airlines’ Flight Returns To Kabul After 100-Day Stoppage In Russia

    Kabul: The Civil Aviation Authority announced on Saturday that the Boeing 737 belonging to Ariana Airlines, which had stopped in Russia 100 days ago, landed at Hamid Karzai International Airport on June 5.

    According to the Civil Aviation Authority, the plane was acquitted by a court in Russia following the efforts of the agency and diplomatic authorities.

    The agency added that under Russian customs law, unlicensed flights from that country’s airports could result in millions of dollars in fines. The plane had been stopped on suspicion of leaving Russian airspace without permission.

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    Ministry of Refugees: 3,897 Displaced Families In 15 Provinces Receive Assistance

    Kabul: The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations on Saturday said that 3,897 displaced families received aid in 15 provinces last week.

    Most of these families had been displaced due to the war from their original neighborhoods and relocated to city centers and safe havens. According to the statement, the families received aid packages in Ghor, Sar-e-Pul, Laghman, Badghis, Kunduz, Faryab, Badakhshan, Parwan, Helmand, Ghazni, Kandahar, Kapisa, Nangarhar, Panjshir and Farah provinces.

    The Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations said the aid packages included food, household and kitchen utensils, cash and toiletries. According to the ministry, the aid was provided in coordination with international aid agencies.

    Meanwhile, Reza Baher, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, said that the ministry’s programs to help displaced families last week included the construction of two schools and five clinics for these families and returning families in the Kandahar province.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Foreign Ministers Of Afghanistan-Turkmenistan Meet In Herat

    Kabul: A joint meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan was held in Herat on Saturday. In addition to Hanif Atmar and Rashid Mardov, the foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; Ajmal Ahmadi, acting head of the Central Bank; Harun Chaghansuri, the minister of mines and petroleum; Davood Noorzai, the head of the Afghan Electricity Company and a number of other Afghan and Turkmenistan government officials attended the meeting.

    At the beginning of the meeting, Atmar said that Mardov’s visit to Afghanistan is scheduled for two days and important bilateral issues, including peace and security in Afghanistan, will be discussed during separate meetings.

    According to him, Turkmenistan’s electricity exports to Herat; Herat marble exports to Turkmenistan; the TAPI project; the joint railway line between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; the Lapis Lazuli transit route and trade and transit between the two countries are the main topics of talks between senior Afghan government officials and Turkmenistan.

    On the other hand, Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Rashid Murdov said that the purpose of his visit to Herat was to strengthen friendly and fraternal relations with Afghanistan and that seven important issues would be discussed during the joint meetings.

    Over the past few years, the work of the TAPI project, the Turkmenistan gas pipeline through Afghanistan to India and Pakistan, has been slow and has been widely criticized. According to the president’s promise, Tapi gas should have reached Herat last year, but the practical process of this project in Afghanistan has not started yet.

    In addition, the cessation of the transfer of commercial goods after the import and export of a few limited shipments via the Lapis Lazuli route has also drawn criticism. The Lapis Lazuli transit route connects Afghanistan to Turkey and Europe via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia / Georgia.

    Following the Turkmen Foreign Minister’s visit to Herat, joint meetings with businessmen, craftsmen, exporters and Afghan government officials are scheduled for Sunday, June 6.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    7 Soldiers Killed In Jawand District Of Badghis

    Kabul: Seven soldiers have been killed in a Taliban attack on army forces in the Jawand district of the province on Friday night, said Abdul Aziz Beg, chairman of the Badghis Provincial Council.

     

    Meanwhile, Badghis Governor Hussam-Din Shams added that two others were wounded in the district.

    Shams said that 10 Taliban insurgents had been killed and 12 others wounded in the district.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Electricity Pylon In Bagram Partially Destroyed By Mine Explosion

    Kabul: An imported electricity pylon in the Robat area of Bagram district was partially destroyed by a mine explosion, as per local sources.

    Two imported power pylons were targeted at around 9:20pm on Friday by detonating two mines. A third mine was defused by police. It is noteworthy that the electricity supply was not disrupted after these explosions.

    The technical staff of Afghanistan Breshna Company has started the repair work of the mentioned base.

    Leadership of Afghanistan Breshna Company once again urged security forces to cooperate with the President of Breshna Company in the protection of electricity facilities.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    1,273 New Cases Reported In Afghanistan As It Faces Vaccine Delay

    Kabul: Afghanistan is battling a massive increase in COVID-19 infections as health officials plead for vaccines, only to be told by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the three million doses the country expected to receive by April will not be delivered until August.

    “We are in the middle of a crisis,” health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastagir Nazari said this week, expressing deep frustration at the global vaccine distribution that has left poor countries scrambling to find supplies for their people.

    This comes even as the Ministry of Public Health reported 1,273 new positive cases of COVID-19 of the 3,346 samples tested in the last 24 hours. The ministry also reports 41 deaths and 140 recoveries from COVID-19 in the same period.

    Nazari, meanwhile, has knocked on the door of several embassies, and so far, “I’ve gotten diplomatic answers” but no vaccine doses, he said.

    Over the past month, the surge in new cases has threatened to overwhelm Afghanistan’s health system, already struggling under the weight of relentless conflict.

    The third wave of COVID-19 has sent Afghanistan’s infection rate soaring, hitting 16 provinces and the capital, Kabul, the hardest. This week, the rate of registered new cases reached as many as 1,500 a day, compared to 178 a day on May 1.

    Hospital beds are full, and it is feared rapidly dwindling oxygen supplies will run out. Afghan ambassadors have been ordered to seek out emergency oxygen supplies in nearby countries, the foreign minister, Haneef Atmar, said in a tweet on Friday.

    Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani said that 700,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine will arrive from China soon and the necessary measures will be taken to provide the required oxygen.

    The acting minister of Public Health, Vahid Majrooh said that a plan had been drawn up to complete the oxygen shortage in the hospitals, and that a number of hospitals would be connected to the central oxygen system and the rest would be connected.

    Meanwhile, following reports of citizens mistreating health workers at a government hospital in west of Kabul, the Interior Ministry said that “people who insult health workers and damage health funds will be detained”.

    Tariq Arian, a spokesperson for the ministry, wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday, “Patience must be exercised in the hospital setting.”

    Arian warned people that those who use threats and coercion against health workers will be arrested and brought to justice. “Doctors in this situation are making every effort to contain the situation and care for the patients of COVID-19. This is a global problem and it does not belong to Afghanistan alone.”

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    5 Policemen Killed By Their Guests In Kandahar

    Kabul: Local media in Kandahar reported that five policemen were killed by their guests at a security checkpoint in PD5 of Kandahar.

    According to the reports, the incident took place on Friday evening at the checkpoint of the security forces in the area between Daman district and PD5 of Kandahar city.

    Official sources have not yet commented on the matter.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Campaign Against “Hazara Genocide” Takes Twitter By Storm

    Kabul: To raise their voice against the targeted killings of a particular community in Afghanistan, civil rights activists, journalists and prominent figures launched a one-day Twitter campaign against Hazara genocide, on Saturday.

    Hashtags like #HazaraLivesMatter and #StopHazaraGenocide were trending throughout the day to raise awareness about the issue. The campaigners cited constant terrorist attacks against educational centers, mosques, a maternity unit, a sports complex, a wedding hall, and multiple passenger vans, that left hundreds of casualties amongst civilians in the Hazara neighborhood in west part of Kabul city, and urged the Afghan government and international community to recognize the attacks as a genocide.

    Journalist Parwiz Shamal stated that Hazara youths, elders and even newborn babies were targeted solely due to their ethnicity. Former Presidential Advisor Torek Farhadi criticized President Ghani’s government for systematically failing to protect Hazaras.

    Member of Parliament (MP) for Ghazni province Shahgul Rezaie stated that the majority of victims of mass killings in recent years have been Hazaras. Rezaie added that silence by the human rights organizations was unjustifiable.

    A teacher and civil rights activist, Ali Reza Yasa, reported that 1,177 Hazaras were killed and 2,281 others were wounded in 33 targeted attacks against the community since President Ghani came to power in 2014.

    Guardian Australia columnist Van Badham urged her followers to join the campaign and raise awareness about the ongoing threat to the persecuted Hazara people in Afghanistan. Campaigners highlighted that recognition of the genocide against Hazaras was not enough, but would respect victims’ rights.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Taliban Conducted 1,455 Attacks Since Withdrawal Of Foreign Troops Began: Andar

    Kabul: The Taliban have turned to war instead of focusing on the Afghan peace talks and carried out 1,455 attacks across Afghanistan since the withdrawal of foreign troops began on May 1,” said Rahmatullah Andar, spokesperson for the National Security Council on his Twitter account on Saturday.

    He added that in addition to destroying public institutions and public facilities, the Taliban do not even care about the death of their fighters. He said that 63 explosive attacks had been prevented as a result of the security forces’ operation.

    On Friday, the Taliban attacked several districts of the country at the same time. “During the Taliban attacks, two or three districts fell and a number of security forces were killed,” he added.

    The Afghan government’s negotiating team has gone to Qatar to resume talks; but it is not yet clear when the talks between the two sides will begin. Many high-ranking Taliban members are reportedly absent in Qatar.

    Meanwhile, security officials in Herat province say the Zandijan district police chief was wounded in an attack by Taliban insurgents in the district of the province.

    Herat police spokesperson Abdul Ahad Valizada said that clashes between security forces and the Taliban took place in Zandijan district on Friday night. He said 15 Taliban insurgents had been killed and wounded in a counterattack by the police.

    He added that the Taliban had been gathering reinforcements from other provinces for some time and were trying to bring down some districts; but with fierce resistance from police forces, all Taliban attacks have been repulsed and heavy casualties have been inflicted on them.

    He said a large cache of weapons and ammunition had fallen into the hands of security forces during Friday night’s Taliban attack. The Taliban have not yet commented.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    5 Dead In Traffic Accident In Daikundi

    Kabul: At least five people have been killed in a traffic accident in Ashtarli district of the Daikundi province at 8:30am on Saturday, said Rahmatullah Ebrahimi, Daikundi traffic director.

    Ebrahimi added that the dead included a child, a woman and three men. He also said several others were injured in the incident. Sources said that seven people were injured in the incident.

    On the other hand, the traffic manager of Daikundi said that the accident was caused by a deviation of a passenger car from the road. The vehicle was traveling from Miramur district to Sangtakht and Bandar districts.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri likely in Afghan-Pak border region: UN report

    Kabul: As per a United Nations report issued on Friday, a significant part of the Al-Qaeda leadership resides in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region, including the group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

    Zawahiri as per the report is “probably alive, but too frail to be featured in propaganda.” It also added that many Al-Qaeda fighters and other foreign extremist elements aligned with the Taliban are located in various parts of Afghanistan.

    “Member states reported that a significant part of Al-Qaeda leadership remains based in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the core is joined by and works closely with Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent,” the twelfth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team said.

    Previous reports of Zawahiri’s death due to ill health have not been confirmed. “One member state reports that he is probably alive but too frail to be featured in propaganda,” the report said, without identifying the country.

    It said Al-Qaeda’s strategy in the near term is assessed as maintaining its traditional safe haven in Afghanistan for the Al-Qaeda core leadership. The Monitoring Team noted assessments that have suggested a longer-term Al-Qaeda core strategy of “strategic patience” for a period of time before it would seek to plan attacks against international targets again.

    Al-Qaeda, including Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, is reported to number in the range of several dozen to 500 persons. “Member states assess that formal communication between senior Al-Qaeda and Taliban officials is currently infrequent, one member state reported that there is regular communication between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda on issues related to the peace process,” the report said.

    The report said Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent operates under the Taliban umbrella from Kandahar, Helmand (notably Baramcha) and Nimruz Provinces. “The group reportedly consists of primarily Afghan and Pakistani nationals, but also individuals from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar.”

    It said the current leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent is Osama Mahmood, who is not listed, and succeeded the late Asim Umar. “The group is reported to be such an ‘organic’ or essential part of the insurgency that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to separate it from its Taliban allies. Several member states characterized this relationship by noting that the wife of the former leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, Asim Umar, was among 5,000 Taliban prisoners freed by the Afghan Government in 2020 as part of the Doha agreement,” it said.

    The report added that Al-Qaeda continued to suffer attrition during the period under review – between May 2020 and April 2021 – with a number of senior figures killed, often alongside Taliban associates while co-located with them.

    “The primary component of the Taliban in dealing with Al-Qaeda is the Haqqani Network. Ties between the two groups remain close, based on ideological alignment, relationships forged through common struggle and intermarriage,” the report said. It added that the Taliban has begun to tighten its control over Al-Qaeda by gathering information on foreign terrorist fighters and registering and restricting them.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    On World Environment Day, NEPA Asks Citizens To Use Natural Resources Judiciously

    Kabul: On the occasion of World Environment Day (June 5), the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), has called on the citizens of the country to use land, water, air and all other natural resources that are entrusted to human beings in a judicious way and protect them.

    “The environment is a legacy for humans from the past and should be inherited properly for future generations. Natural resources have been created for balanced use and must be used sustainably. It has also been said that animal and plant organisms are links in the ecological cycle that should not be destroyed,” statement issued by the agency said.

    The agency stated that the world is currently facing many environmental problems, and that Afghanistan’s environment is no exception. In addition to war and insecurity, air, water and soil pollution, climate change, destruction of green areas and natural resources, desertification, plastic pollution, noise and visual pollution and unplanned urban development are some of the most serious environmental problems in Afghanistan.

    The National Environmental Protection Agency has said that it is trying to manage environmental problems by developing comprehensive programs and policies, but alone it has not been able to meet all these environmental challenges.

    It has emphasized that all relevant government agencies, national and international institutions, the private sector and all segments of society must fulfill their legal obligations in this regard. It added that one of the main causes of environmental degradation in Afghanistan is the low level of public awareness of environmental issues and the lack of respect for their values.

    To this end, the United Nations has chosen this year’s World Environment Day slogan as “an effort to revitalize the ecosystem”, and with this slogan, World Environment Day is celebrated in most countries of the world.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Atmar Holds Meet to Gain Support For Fight Against 3rd Wave Of COVID-19

    Kabul: Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar in a virtual meet with Afghan Ambassadors and Consul Generals to the neighboring and regional countries, and Directors General of the Political Divisions in MoFA, underscored the need for emergency health support.

    Minister Atmar instructed all of them to contact the host countries, international organizations, and foreign missions in Kabul and coordinate prompt supply of oxygen and other health services. He said that the Afghan government and people are grateful to the friendly countries for their support in the fight against coronavirus so far, and expects that the neighboring and regional countries will continue their support to Afghanistan in the fight against the third wave of COVID-19.

    Atmar emphasized that Afghanistan needed oxygen, machinery to produce oxygen, tanker trucks, and cylinders to transport oxygen.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Taliban Claims Rejected; Ghazni’s Deh-e Yak District Not Collapsed Say Provincial Council Members

    Kabul: Members of the Ghazni provincial council said that the Deh-e Yak district of Ghazni province has not fallen to the Taliban, rejecting the group’s claims.

    Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, head of the Ghazni Provincial Council, said that the center of Deh-e Yak district had been relocated 100 meters away by decision and at the request of the people.

    However, the chairman of the Ghazni Provincial Council admits that clashes between forces and the Taliban took place on Friday; but he said that the group’s attacks had been repulsed. Earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had said that the district center of Deh-e Yak, the district police command, had been completely captured.

    Meanwhile, local officials in Nuristan province have confirmed the collapse of Du Ab district to the Taliban, but did not provide further details. The district is located west of Parun, the center of Nuristan. Du Ab is bordered by the Dawlatshah district of Laghman, which recently fell to the Taliban. This is the second district to fall to the Taliban in the past two days. The Taliban seized government facilities in Shinkai district of Zabul province on Friday.

    In Badakhshan province too, the governor’s office reported that two ANA soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Argo district. The governor’s spokesperson, Nik Mohammad Nazari, said that the blast also left two people injured.

    He added, “The convoy of the 2nd Brigade Commander hit a landmine planted on the road in the Abb Barik area of Argo district on the way back from Dream district at noon on Friday.” Nazari added that the commander of the 2nd Brigade was not injured in the incident. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    On the other hand, a number of members of the House of Representatives said that 13 uprising forces were killed in a mistaken airstrike by army forces in Badakhshan province.

    Zabihullah Atiq, Badakhshan MP in the House of Representatives, claimed that the incident took place on Friday night in Kohistan district. “Clashes between security forces and the Taliban have been going on in Raghistan district for the past three days. On Friday night, the forces of the popular uprising in the mountains, under the command of the Mohammad Ashour, went to Raghistan with more than twenty people with the help of the security forces and retreated from a trench,” Atiq said.

    According to the member of parliament, the insurgents were targeted by army airstrikes on their way back to the border between Kohistan and Raghistan districts in the Yalga area. Atiq stated that as a result of this incident, 13 popular uprising forces, including Mohammad Ashour, were killed and 8 others were injured. The Ministry of Defense and local officials in Badakhshan province have not yet commented.

    Meanwhile, Sang-e-Atash village in Farkhar district of the Takhar province has been completely cleared of Taliban on Saturday morning after two days of fighting, said Khalil Asir, a spokesperson for the Takhar Police.

    According to Asir, the Taliban insurgents suffered heavy casualties during the operation. He added that Ikramuddin Sari, the Takhar police chief, was currently present in the area and was clearing out suspicious houses and neighborhoods in and around Sangat-e Atash village.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Afghan FM Lauds Iran’s Role In Afghanistan Foreign Policy

    Kabul: Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar reiterated Iran’s important role in Afghanistan’s foreign policy, saying that Tehran plays a vital part in reinforcing regional consensus.

    During a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Kabul Bahador Aminian, Atmar discussed the importance of developing ties between Iran and Afghanistan. Both sides reviewed strengthening relations in trade, investment and infrastructural fields.

    They also conferred on holding joint economic commission and finalizing comprehensive cooperation document.

    Meanwhile, Aminian referred to historical and cultural relations between Iran and Afghanistan.

    He stressed on Iran’s support for Afghanistan in various fields, especially with regard to peace talks which will result in establishing permanent peace.

    Iran as a responsive neighbor has always supported Afghanistan and has stood by Afghan people.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Biden Urged To Evacuate Afghans Who Helped US Forces

    Kabul: A group of lawmakers on Friday urged the Biden administration to “immediately” evacuate Afghan citizens who helped US forces before the military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    The lawmakers said they are “increasingly concerned” that the administration has not helped the Afghans, who would almost certainly face punishment from the Taliban and while the US is processing special immigrant visa (SIV) applications, the group said that process is too slow.

    “We appreciate the complexity of ending the war in Afghanistan, but we are increasingly concerned that you have not yet directed the Department of Defense be mobilized as part of a concrete and workable whole of government plan to protect our Afghan partners,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Biden, which was headed by Republican Seth Moulton, himself a combat veteran.

    “It would be a moral failure to transfer the responsibility to protect our Afghan partners onto the shoulders of the Afghan Government. If we fail to protect our allies in Afghanistan, it will have a lasting impact on our future partnerships and global reputation, which will then be a great detriment to our troops and the future of our national security,” the letter stated.

    The Biden administration has said that it is implementing changes to expedite the processing of SIV applications; however, the lawmakers noted that the sheer quantity of the applications that need to be processed mandates that further action be taken.

    The group noted that the withdrawal is expected to be completed in under 100 days and that the average approval time is 800 days. With 18,000 applications left to be processed, the lawmakers warned that the amount of time the Afghan allies have before they lose their US protection is shrinking.

    The group of 22 lawmakers, which includes several veterans who served overseas alongside foreign interpreters and security volunteers, recommended that the White House form an interagency task force to oversee the evacuations, and proposed that the territory of Guam be used to temporarily house Afghans whose visa applications are not processed before the withdrawal.

    Meanwhile, the US announced that it is providing more than $266 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help the people of Afghanistan, whose lives are being impacted by ongoing conflict and who now are facing extreme food insecurity. This funding includes $157.5 million through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Total US humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan is more than $543 million since fiscal year 2020.

    The increased funding comes at a critical moment of rising humanitarian needs, as people continue to flee their homes due to conflict, and as COVID-19 has triggered an economic downturn that has led to rising food prices.

    On the other hand, the European Union’s new special envoy Tomas Niklasson said on Friday that violence must stop and peace talks should move from procedures to substantial negotiations. “As the troops are withdrawing, the EU’s intention is to stay in Afghanistan – continuing our support to the people,” he said.

    “I would be happy the day sanctions on the Taliban could be lifted. For that to happen we need to see significant progress in the peace process and a stop to violence,” he said while talking to TOLOnews, adding that he has grave concerns over a dramatic surge in the level of civilian casualties. “Our first call is on a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire and that is not because it is in our interest, it is because we see Afghans—all Afghans suffering. The second thing is that by reducing the level of violence, by agreeing on a ceasefire, you signal a commitment, you signal that you are serious, you show to the people that you care about them and you care about the future,” he said.

    The EU envoy said that he will travel to Pakistan and Qatar to garner support for the Afghan peace process. “The EU is ready to continue its engagement with the Afghan people and with the Afghan government, but it is an opportunity for the Afghan people now to come together to leadership, to leave narrow interests behind them and to raise up to the occasion,” he said.

    He asked the Afghan government to fight against corruption and deliver on its promises towards human rights and children’s rights. “The EU is ready to continue its cooperation as a reliable partner, but we expect that the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will respect its international commitments, its commitments to the rights of women, its commitments to the rights of children and to continue to fight corruption,” he said.

  • 5 Jun 2021 Share this post

    Western Kabul Security Plan Rejected By NDS: Mohaqiq

    Kabul: Following the escalation of targeted terrorist attacks in western Kabul, President Ghani recently directed the second vice-president to present a plan to secure western Kabul. Mohammad Mohqiq, the president’s political-security adviser, however, said that the plan has been rejected by the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

    Mohaqiq said that the elders of western Kabul, who had worked on the plan, had met him to discuss the issue. “People are very worried about why it was not accepted to take the measure as everyday people are killed. Whatever plan is implemented, we accept it. The goal is to stop the bloodshed of the people,” he said.

    Mohammad Hedayat, a spokesperson for the Office of the Second Vice-President, had said that the plan was sent to the presidency last week. Hedayat is unaware of whether the proposed plan has been rejected or approved.

    “The plan that has been prepared is a very comprehensive plan aimed at strengthening security institutions in western Kabul,” he added. “The capacity of security agencies in western Kabul is very low. For the 1.6 million people living in western Kabul, there are only 1,000 security personnel.”

    According to the information of the second vice president, improving the capacity of security institutions and involving the people in providing security is one of the most important axes of the plan submitted to the presidency.

    Hedayat said that in this plan, six sources of security threats have been identified for the residents of western Kabul and its immediate parts are being implemented under the guidance of the President.

    In response to Mr. Mohaqiq’s recent remarks about the rejection of the plan, he said, “I do not know exactly what he said about national security; because the target of this plan is all security institutions. “The plan has already been submitted to the National Security Council. National security is part of the security institutions, and the plan has not gone directly to this body,” he said.

    However, Mohaqiq said, “The NDS has rejected this plan and said that it should be considered more.”

    All this comes at a time when two explosions took place in western Kabul on Thursday killing eight people and injuring more than 10 others.

    Meanwhile, Sarwar Danesh, the second vice-president, said that security agencies and those directly responsible for providing security in the government are obliged to respond to the “killings and genocides” taking place in western Kabul as soon as possible, also take action and be accountable to the people.

    Danesh posted a note on his Facebook page on Friday saying that the security plan in western Kabul, which had been sent to the presidency and security agencies, had been reviewed and not rejected. Sarwar Danesh went on to say that residents of western Kabul are under organized threat and are making sacrifices every day.

    Danesh emphasized that any plan taken by the security agencies to ensure the security of the people of western Kabul will be supported not only by him, but by all sections of the people.

    “Unlike a number of adventurous and opportunistic people who seek only their own personal interests and negative rivalries, the people of Afghanistan know the facts and the problems and accept the logic,” Danish said. “The people of western Kabul are also ready to defend the republic and the system, and have always defended and supported it,” he said.

    Referring to the current peace talks, the second vice-president said in part of his memo that peace has become a mirage that all thirsty people are looking for and begging against the enemies of the people. Danesh stressed that the residents of western Kabul can resist any security group and “foreign mercenaries” and ensure their security.

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    World Knows About “Spoilers”: Afghan MoFA to Pakistani Officials

    Kabul: Responding to recent remarks by Pakistani officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Friday said that the world knows who has really continued the war in Afghanistan and added that a blame-game will not prove to be helpful at this critical juncture.

    Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a virtual speech to the European parliament this week said that there are people within Afghanistan who want to disrupt the peace process in the country and even during this meet with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon this week in Islamabad, Qureshi repeated his allegation.

    The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the spoilers of peace are those who have rejected the Afghan people and the international community’s call by continuing violence. “Blaming will not prove to be constructive at this sensitive juncture and peace in Afghanistan that is in favor of countries in the region, especially Pakistan, cannot be ensured by issuing statements and remarks,” the ministry said.

    The Afghan people and the international community seek practical steps by Pakistan for starting meaningful peace negotiations, the foreign ministry said.

    This comes even as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that their country is pushing for a political settlement in Afghanistan before foreign troops leave, to reduce the risk of civil war in its western neighbor.

    “There is a lot of fear right now in Pakistan and I assure you that we are trying our level best that there is some sort of political settlement before the Americans leave,” Khan told Reuters on Friday at his official residence in Islamabad.

    “Since the moment the Americans gave a date, of when they were going to leave Afghanistan … the Taliban feel they have won the war,” Khan said, adding it was not going to be easy to get concessions from the Taliban after the US decision.

    The Pakistan PM said that Pakistan would suffer the most, after Afghanistan itself, if there was civil war and a refugee crisis. He said that his government had changed Pakistan’s decades-long policy of pushing for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan to ensure that there was a friendly government there.

    “Any Afghan government chosen by the people is who Pakistan should deal with,” Khan said. Khan said a lot depended on US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, with Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s help, to carve out a settlement to avoid more bloodshed.

    Meanwhile, on Thursday China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted the fourth trilateral dialogue via video link with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

    According to the Chinese Foreign Minister, the three foreign ministers held a harmonious and friendly dialogue with in-depth and fruitful discussions and reached eight-point consensus. First, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan agree to firmly push forward the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan; call on all parties in Afghanistan to implement the ceasefire; advance inter-Afghan negotiations, and welcome the Taliban back to the political mainstream. Foreign military forces should withdraw in a responsible and orderly manner. Countries in the region should play a bigger and constructive role in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan.

    They also agreed to strengthen political mutual trust, increase exchanges and communication and develop good-neighborly friendship. China will continue to play a positive role in improving and developing relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. China and Pakistan also reaffirmed their support for peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, apart from deepening high-quality cooperation on the Belt and Road cooperation and promoting trilateral cooperation and explore new space for cooperation in such areas as health care and education. China also said it is ready to provide more support to Afghanistan and Pakistan in fighting and defeating the pandemic.

    The triad also agreed to strengthen counter-terrorism and security cooperation, oppose “double standards” in fighting terrorism.