Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The second national polio immunization campaign of 2021 has been launched by the Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
According to the health authorities, approximately 9.9 million children under the age of 5 will be targeted for vaccination during the 5 day campaign.
“If vaccinatorandan health workers are able to reach every child, we can control and eradicate polio in a short period of time.” Dr. Wahid Majrooh – Acting Public Health Minister, speaking at the launch of the national polio immunization campaign.
WHO in a statement said that a supplementary dose of vitamin A will also be administered to children aged 6 to 59 months during this campaign.
“This will help build general immunity among susceptible children to protect them from polio and other diseases.”
“Although intense efforts are ongoing to eradicate polio, the continued Taliban-imposed ban on house-to-house polio vaccination campaign in some areas of the country has led to immunity gaps among children, making it difficult to interrupt polio transmission,” said Dr Wahid Majrooh, the acting Minister for Public Health.
“Approximately 3.3 million children in the areas where these bans exist are repeatedly being deprived of the polio vaccine in each round of the campaign, which has caused an increase in polio cases across the country, especially circulating vaccine derived polio virus (cVDPV) type-2. If our vaccinators and health workers are able to reach every child, we can control and eradicate polio in a short period of time,” expressed the acting Minister for Public Health.
“Under the leadership of the Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF is committed to eradicating polio in Afghanistan and giving every child the best start in life,” said Alice Akunga, UNICEF Deputy Representative. “We are pleased that this week, the second polio campaign of 2021 will begin across the country – not only vaccinating children against the scourge of polio but boosting their immunity against other diseases through providing vitamin A supplements,” expressed, UNICEF Deputy Representative
In 2020, a total of 56 polio cases caused by wild poliovirus type 1 and more than 300 cases of cVDPV type 2 were reported. So far, in 2021 one case caused by wild poliovirus type 1 and 23 cases of cVDPV type 2 have been reported in predominantly inaccessible areas of the country.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says the war is now unrestricted and the border between war and non-war has been blurred.
Speaking at the National University of Tajikistan on Monday, Mr Ghani said Afghanistan is experiencing the war on a daily basis and that all institutions under construction are under attack.
“Universities and civil society activists and all the institutions we are building are under attack,” he said. “The method of warfare has changed radically. The type of war is indirect. The use of weapons is not the solution. The limits of the use of weapons are beyond human limits.”
In his speech, Mr. Ghani also referred to climate change, saying that environmental change has now become a disaster.
According to him, if the weather in South Asia becomes 2.5 degrees warmer, 100 cities will be without water and about 100 million people will migrate.
“It is necessary to take the environmental situation seriously,” he said. “The environment fundamentally defines the future of human, and if we reach 4 degrees Celsius, life will become impossible.”
He said the weather in Afghanistan is 12 degrees warmer than average last month, and the mountains, Afghanistan’s largest dam, with snow turning into glaciers, slowly melting and making large irrigation systems possible, now with the speed of water.
In his speech, Mr. Ghani referred to the economic situation in Asia and said that China is likely to become the world’s largest economy in the next five years.
He said that after two hundred years, Asia will again be the center of the world economy.
The president also said that Afghanistan and Tajikistan have no differences of interest and will continue their friendly relationship forever.
He stressed that a stable Afghanistan and a stable Tajikistan provide the best opportunity for international tourism.
It is worth mentioning that at this ceremony, the National University of Tajikistan awarded Mr. Ghani an honorary doctorate.
Shahrzad Akbar, the chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), has called for a strong presence of women at the Istanbul peace summit.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Akbar said that women’s participation in peace efforts would help make the process effective.
“In the Doha talks, we had four women which the number were unsatisfactory. Unfortunately, in Moscow, we were backward and there were less than one woman. When you tell half the population of Afghanistan that your voice will not be heard and your presence will not be facilitated, an important debate about the future of Afghanistan is very frustrating,” she said.
The 20-member delegation of the Afghan government’s peace negotiator in Doha, the capital of Qatar, consists of only four women. But there are no women on the Taliban’s negotiating team.
Only one woman, Habiba Sarabi, a member of the Afghan government’s peace negotiating team, was invited to attend the Moscow meeting on peace in Afghanistan on March 18.
The US-initiated Istanbul Summit on Peace in Afghanistan is scheduled to be held in April.
Afghanistan and Tajikistan on Monday signed a number of memorandum of understandings during President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, the office of Tajikistan’s president said in a statement.
According to the statement, the memorandums was signed between Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon during a ceremony.
Ghani is in Dushanbe to attend the two-day 9th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) meeting.
Foreign Ministers and representatives from around 50 countries are expected to attend the conference, where ways to strengthen regional consensus for peace and development in Afghanistan will be discussed.
Tajikistan President’s office said that the following documents were signed between the two leaders:
Program of practical actions (Roadmap) between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the basis of political, security, trade, transport, transit, energy, and cultural cooperation;
Action Plan for the implementation of the Agreement on cooperation between the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Ministry of Interior Affairs of the
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism, transnational and organized crime, drug trafficking, and other crimes in 2021-2022.
US Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, the leader of Hezb-e Junbish Mili Afghanistan in Ankara on Sunday night.
The Deputy of High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Enayatullah Babur Farahmand has said that the two sides discussed Moscow peace summit, the current process of peace talks in Moscow, the current process of peace talks and joint efforts to ensure lasting peace in the country.
According to Farhahmand, progress in the peace process and the holding of a peace summit in Afghanistan hosted by Turkey have also been the focus of talks between the two sides.
Khalilzad, meanwhile, began a new round of regional trips since last week and is currently in Turkey.
Afghan local officials say a traffic accident took place in Sorkh Diwar area on Torkham-Jalalabad highway in a wedding ceremony in Nangarhar province today.
Ataullah Khogyani, the spokesman of Nangarhar governor said the incident happened when the bride’s vehicle collided with a Corolla type vehicle.
He added that two persons including a child were killed and seven more including the groom and bride were wounded in the incident.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday reported 62 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported four deaths and 653 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 56,384 the number of total reported deaths is 2,476 and the total number of recoveries is 50,666.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Maidan Wardak, Kunar, and Laghman.
Dushanbe is hosting the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) that will that will continue for two days.
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process is an initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey, which was officially launched at a conference hosted by Turkey in Istanbul on November 2, 2011.
On the first day of the conference that was attended by senior officials of member nations, the Deputy Afghan Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab said international terrorist groups and drug traffickers undermine efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
He called on Afghanistan’s regional and international partners to exercise their influence on Taliban for a ceasefire.
He noted that the Afghan peace process is a chance for all to vision a new future for regional cooperation and connectivity.
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process aims at promoting and strengthening peace, security, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and in the region through confidence building and enhancing regional cooperation among 15 countries of the Heart of Asia Region. The HoA-IP has become one of the most interactive voluntary state-groupings in the HoA Region.
It brings Afghanistan’s immediate and extended neighbors as well as international supporters together through the following focus areas: 1) political consultations; 2) implementation of the CBMs; and 3) cooperation with regional organizations.
The Iranian foreign minister says Tehran aims to help establish lasting peace and end hostilities in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comment upon arrival in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe where he is to participate in a ministerial meeting of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process initiative and also hold talks with senior Tajik authorities.
“I’m very pleased to have found an opportunity to travel to Tajikistan, which is a friendly and neighbouring country where people speak the same language and have the same religion as Iranians, in order to attend the Heart of Asia conference, have a bilateral trip and also sit down for talks with officials from Tajikistan and other countries, so that we can work together on Afghanistan, which is also a neighbouring country where people have the same religion and language as we do, so that we can help our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan establish lasting peace and end fighting in their country,” said Zarif.
In addition to attending and delivering a speech at the conference and holding talks with Tajik officials, Zarif will also meet officials from Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Azerbaijan.
Amrullah Saleh, the first Vice President, says the Taliban have laid food siege to the Jawand district of Badghis province.
Saleh wrote on his Facebook page on Monday, that the Taliban have been torturing and even killing people for transporting food since a while ago.
The first vice president has promised to break the siege soon.
Amrullah Saleh has said that the Taliban’s “lie” slogan is “religion and Sharia”, but this time they have imitated from Genghis and the Mongol army.
Welcoming the resistance of the people of the Jawand district, the first vice president said that efforts have been made to deliver food to the people of the district.
Saleh also said that some simplistic people think that the current Taliban are not the ones who set fire on farms during their rule and have changed.
According to him, the Taliban have not only not changed, but have become “more savage, ignorant and complex.”
Amrullah Saleh described the food siege of Jawand district as another “shameful” shame on the Taliban’s record.
After a number of Ghor residents have protested against Noor Mohammad Kooh Naward, the former governor of the province, the IDLG announced that Abdul Zahir Faiz Zada has been appointed as the new governor of Ghor.
Abdul Zahir Faiz Zada has been appointed as the new governor of Ghor province based on the proposal of the IDLG and the approval of the presidential decree.
A number of Ghor residents have been holding protest rallies for several weeks calling for the removal of Noor Mohammad Kooh Naward.
Noor Mohammad Kuhnvard was appointed governor of Ghor last year. He previously served as the chief of NDS provincial director in Ghor for two years.