Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
President Ashraf Ghani says Afghanistan is poised to serve as a roundabout between central, east, south and west Asia and a platform of international and regional cooperation.
Speaking at the 14th ECOSummit which was held virtually on Thursday, President said the people and government of Afghanistan and the international partners, have a true sense of urgency to make and build peace.
“Your support for an comprehensive ceasefire to accelerate the negotiations in Doha is essential,” Ghani said.
President Ghani said, “For forty-two years, we have been denied the foundational right to peace. It is time to stop the violence that has turned our beautiful country into a killing field.”
He stated that Pakistan has an especially significant role to play in supporting a lasting peace process, for it is the country most likely to suffer from the adverse consequences of a failed peace process.
“Internationally managed and monitored elections to elect the next president is the critical criteria for ensuring a balance between constitutional continuity and change,” President added.
The Eurasian Economic Union will consider Uzbekistan’s proposal to build the Trans-Afghan Railway by joint efforts, Aide to the Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Iya Malkina told a press briefing on Wednesday, BelTA has learned.
“Harnessing the transport and logistics potential is a priority for the union, due to our geographical location,” Iya Malkina said. “Measures and mechanisms for the development of transport and logistics infrastructure have been included in the strategy 2025. In 2020, the volume of rail transit through the EAEU states from Asia to Europe and back increased by more than 60%, and the efficiency of transport has improved markedly. This shows that the cooperation in this area holds great promise and needs coordinated efforts. Therefore, the idea of Uzbekistan Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov completely aligns with our goals, including in part of the development of the concept of transport connectivity in Greater Eurasia.”
For the EAEU and Uzbekistan, such a project can improve the competitiveness of enterprises and efficiency of trade, create new jobs. “The commission will definitely work through this proposal with Uzbekistan ,” Iya Malkia added.
The 11th round of the International Ski Competition was held on Thursday in Bamiyan and was attended by dozens of national and international athletes.
The Bamiyan governor’s office in a statement said that on the first day of the competition, a women’s Ski competition was held with the participation of 13 athletes and a wooden Ski competition held with the participation of 60 local skiers in the village of “Chapqolak Khoshkak” in Bamyan province.
The statement added that the 11th round of the Ski competition has been launched by the Ski Club with the participation of dozens of local, national and international athletes in order to grow the tourism industry and strengthen the skiing culture.
Following hours of clashes between security forces and individuals affiliated with Habibullah Ghoriani, officials at the Herat Public Health Department say 41 people, including five security forces, were wounded.
Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai, the spokesman of Herat Public Health Department, said on Thursday that 41 in the Jabriel township of Herat province.
According to Sherzai, three children, a woman and five security forces were among the injured in the incident.
He stated that the health condition of all the injured of the incident is satisfactory and emphasized that based on the request of the patients, 6 injured have been transferred abroad.
Clashes between security forces and individuals affiliated with Habibullah Ghoriani began in Herat around 04:00pm yesterday, and locals say security forces and individuals affiliated with Habibullah Ghoriani used light and heavy weapons during the clashes.
In addition to the casualties, the clashes caused huge financial losses to the local residents.
In the meantime, the Herat Police issued a statement, saying that the clash that had been erupted due to the arrest of Habibullah Ghoriani have now ended.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hezb-e Islami part today announced of a widespread protest in Kabul on Friday.
The protest comes as a ten-day deadline of the party to the government about the release of its prisoners concluded today.
Hekmatyar stated that no excuse remained for the government after the deadline and the supporters of the party will gather tomorrow to stage a large protest in Kabul.
He warned that if their demands not addressed, they would persuade the government officials to resign.
The Supreme Court has announced that anti-terrorism justice center confirmed the death sentence for Adel, one of the culprits of the Kabul University attack.
The court also charged those accused of involving in Kabul University attack to pay three million Afghanis in compensation to Kabul University.
According to the Supreme Court press release published on Thursday, a trial was held to try the perpetrators of the attack on Kabul University, who were also charged with terrorist activities,
kidnapping, membership in IS-K group, assassination of government employees, national treason, fraud and illegal carrying of weapons.
Adel was also sentenced to 21 years in prison in the case of membership in the IS-K group, to three years in prison for forgery of identity cards, and to 12 years in prison in connection with five abduction cases.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday reported 24 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported two deaths and three recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,827 the number of total reported deaths is 2,449 and the total number of recoveries is 49,362.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Helmand, Ghazni, Badghis, Ghor, Farah and Nuristan.
Sarwar Danesh, the second Vice President, says that no peace plan should be considered in the absence of the Afghan government, without considering national interests and based on foreigners’ decision.
Speaking at th 26th death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari in Kabul on Thursday, Danish said, “Any peace plan must be proposed based on continuation of the Afghan constitution and maintaining of the political system.”
According to him, the plan for the formation of an interim government means the collapse of the current system.
Mr Danish said the best mechanism for lasting peace was the fair participation of all parties, including the Taliban, in the system and the holding of elections.
He added that determining the political destiny of the people is not possible in any other way except through public elections.
The second vice president stressed that without elections, Afghanistan will plunge into another deeper crisis and no one will accept an imposed system or a system that is not based on elections and the public will of the people.
“The Taliban have been at war with everyone for more than 27 years,” he added. “This group has shown in the past that it seeks monopoly of power and their practical policy has been based on the policy of exclusion and monopoly. Although the government has taken many steps towards peace; But the Taliban have not shown good faith and have not made a serious decision on peace.”
President’s senior adviser, Muhammad Mohaqiq says the Taliban have called on political leaders to pledge allegiance to the group.
“I have not accepted such demand and will never pledge allegiance to any group,” Mohaqiq said.
Speaking at the 26th death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari, Mohaqiq said, “Taliban suggested us three options; allegiance, covenant or neutrality. We have not accepted any of it.”
According to him, the people of Afghanistan do not want peace at the cost of losing all achievements and values.
“We want a peace in which the values of the Afghan people, the republican system, the values of the constitution, women’s rights and human rights are preserved,” Mr Mohaqiq said.
He added that the people of Afghanistan want a peace in which the dignity and authority of the country is preserved and also not mean the collapse of the current system.
After 35 years of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have reconfirmed their commitment to continue jointly providing lifesaving assistance to communities affected by war and violence.
ICRC in a press release on Wednesday said that over the past several decades, the Movement has reconnected 1000s of families separated by disasters or violence; provided vital health care particularly for communities living in remote part of the country.
“Although the shape of conflict and violence may have changed over the last decades, our commitment to protect civilians and promote respect for international humanitarian law has been constant. We’re proud of this and honoured to continue to work with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provide humanitarian assistance,” said Juan Pedro Schaerer, Head of Delegation for ICRC in Afghanistan.
“In the face of protracted vulnerabilities, including to climate change, the magnitude and intensity of the needs across the country call for enhanced cooperation of Red Cross Red Crescent partners to deepen our support to ARCS’ principled and nation-wide footprint, and to maximise our collective contribution and impact” say Pierre Kremer, Head of Delegation for IFRC.
The ICRC and ARCS have worked in partnership since 1986 in addressing the conflict-related needs of the Afghan population.
Moscow is looking at a possibility to supply a free batch of the Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine to Afghanistan to vaccinate members of the Afghan parliament’s lower house, Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan and director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s second Asia department, Zamir Kabulov said in an interview with TASS.
“Currently, we are considering a request from the lower house of Afghanistan’s National Council on the supply of a limited Sputnik V batch on a free basis to vaccine members of the Afghan parliament,” he said.
“No concrete agreements have been reached as of yet,” he noted.
Previously, Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar said in an interview with TASS that Russia’s and Afghanistan’s Health Ministries planned to discuss the volume and timeframes for Sputnik V supplies to Afghanistan.
A member of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations Team Fatima Gailani has attended an online meeting organized by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the Atlantic Council and discussed the Afghanistan Peace Process.
IRA Peace Team in a statement on Thursday said that Ms. Gailani stated that a good opportunity has been created for peace in Afghanistan and now efforts should be made to move it forward.
She noted that Afghanistan is now in a different political stage, and has introduced a new image to the other side during the negotiations.
She said the negotiations team’s inclusivity and diversity was one of the strengths of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the peace negotiations.
Fatima Gailani added that the Constitution of Afghanistan guarantees the rights of the country’s citizens, and emphasized the preservation of the values and achievements of recent years.
Ms. Gailani cited that the Negotiation Team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is making every effort to make the peace negotiations a success, adding that both parties’ commitment and efforts are important and necessary for the success of this process.
The “Chabahar day” will be celebrated on the last day of the mega India maritime summit that was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
Ministers from 6 countries- Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Armenia will take part in India hosted “Chabahar day” on Thursday.
Transport minister of Afghanistan Qudratullah Zaki, will be present at the virtual meeting.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) says at least 27 Taliban insurgents including two of their commanders and three Pakistani nationals were killed in Kapisa province.
MoD in a statement on Thursday said that Afghan security forces, commandos and Air Forces have launched a joint operation in Dare Afghania area of Nijrab district.
According to the statement, the two Taliban commanders identified as Hezbollah Bader and Waliullah Hazifa were among the killed.
“36 IEDs, 6 tunnels and some amount of their weapons and ammunition were discovered and destroyed by Afghan forces,” the statement added.
The Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and his team just concluded a productive three days of consultations in Kabul with government officials, civil society leaders, and other afghan political figures, the US embassy in Kabul said in a statement.
According to the statement, ambassador khalilzad outlined US focus on Afghanistan, diplomacy, and garnering wider international support in order to help Afghans make more rapid progress on the peace process.
“He noted that the Islamic republic and the Taliban must find a path to a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” the statement said.
The US embassy stated, khalilzad and his team discussed various options to propel the process forward and was encouraged by what they heard.
“There is widespread support for the need to move more quickly and deliver a just and durable peace that afghans demand and deserve.”
With civil society leaders, ambassador khalilzad was particularly heartened to see their commitment to peace has not wavered under the duress of increased targeted violence, the statement reads.
“Khalilzad also stated that leaders representing the advancement of women’s rights, provincial peace activists, and others are all committed to the gains of the last 20 years. We stand with them,” the embassy added.
The European Union (EU) has called for transparent and thorough investigations of all attacks and assassinations in Afghanistan.
The European External Action Service in a press release on Wednesday night said the Taliban remain responsible for the majority of civilian casualties and targeted assassinations, either directly or by opposing a ceasefire.
“killing of three female media workers, Mursal Wahedi, Shahnaz Raofi and Sadya Sadat in Jalalabad, in atrocious, planned assassinations deprives three young individuals of their future, and their families, friends and colleagues of loved ones,” the press release said.
The three media workers were killed by unidentified gunmen in Jalalabad on Tuesday in two separate but nearly simultaneous attacks and were buried on Wednesday, relatives confirmed.
EU stated that following the killing of Malalai Maiwand in December, these attacks further illustrate the vulnerable and dangerous situation that media workers, especially women, face.
“It also continues a worrying trend of systematic, targeted attacks and killings of journalists, human rights defenders, civil society representatives and civil servants, which cost the lives of 1,200 civilians in 2020, a 45% increase compared to 2019,” the press release reads.
“We mourn together with those affected and reiterate the European Union’s resolve to support media and the freedom of speech in Afghanistan,” EU added.