Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: After three electricity hubs were destroyed in a mine explosion in Kabul’s Kalkan district on Friday night, the Afghanistan Electricity Company (Breshna) announced on Sunday that the imported power line in the Talayee township of PD17 Kabul city, has been temporarily connected.
Breshna said that over 13 power stations in different provinces had been destroyed or partially destroyed by “enemies of the light” in the past two weeks.
The company also said that with the destruction of these power towers, electricity was cut off in Kabul and eight other provinces along the imported power line. Now, the reconstruction of the power bases has begun.
Breshna also called on security agencies to protect power towers and facilities and to arrest perpetrators of power outages and bring them to justice.
Following that, the Ministry of Interior announced on Friday, four people were arrested in connection with the destruction of power towers, and further investigations are underway. The Taliban group has denied any involvement in the destruction of power bases.
However, Amrullah Saleh, the first vice-president, has said that no one has been arrested so far in connection with the explosion and destruction of the power poles.
Saleh on his official Facebook page that serious preventive measures have been taken to protect the electricity poles. He called the destruction of electricity poles a “crime and sedition.”
The destruction of power poles come as USAID has increasingly focused in the past two years on supporting the development of renewable-energy resources in Afghanistan. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says cumulatively, USAID disbursed approximately $2 billion since 2002 to build power plants, substations, and transmission lines, and to provide technical assistance in the power sector in Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, the SIGAR reported that only 30 percent of Afghans had access to electricity. The agency added that limited access to electricity is one of the reasons for Afghanistan’s lack of economic growth.
The first renewable energy project is a 40 megawatt “bifacial” solar plant (consisting of solar modules which produce power from both sides, increasing total energy generation) in Balkh province with a total estimated cost of $42.9 million; USAID’s contribution is $24 million. The project is currently in the pre-award stage with an anticipated award date in April 2021. The second project is a 25 megawatt sun-tracking solar plant in Herat with a total estimated cost of $33.5 million; USAID’s contribution is $17.9 million.
The project is currently in the final pre-award stage with an anticipated award date in April 2021. The contractor, Phelan Energy Group, signed power-purchase agreements for both power plants with DABS in September 2020.
Kabul: During a meeting with the tribal elders in Kandahar, Paktia and Nangarhar, President Ashraf Ghani said that there is a political consensus in Afghanistan and that a “single voice of the republic” was now needed for peace talks, the Presidential Palace reported.
He added that no peace plan is “acceptable without the approval of the Loya Jirga” and called on the tribal elders to pressurize the Taliban to sit in the Jirga to “find a solution to this common pain”.
Ghani added that the Afghan administration has “the strength, the will and the courage [for] peace” and that the Taliban must show that they have the intention of peace.
Ghani emphasized that the announcement of the full withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan had provided “a great opportunity” and that “the peace plan and its management is now in the hands of the Afghan people”.
A few days ago, a Taliban leader said in his Eid message, “Non-removal of names of Taliban leaders from the UN blacklist, prolonging the release of Taliban prisoners and military strikes “pose a problem for peace”.
The Taliban have not yet responded to the Afghan president’s invitation to attend a Loya Jirga.
Kabul: According to local media reports from western Afghanistan, a number of tribal elders from different parts of Herat province attended the funeral of Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, deputy head of a Taliban splinter group, who was recently wounded in an armed attack in Guzara district of Herat and died in a hospital in Kabul.
Mawlavi Nasir Ahmad Niazi, Mullah Niazi’s nephew, spoke about the history of wars since the Soviet era and Mullah’s son Hafez Khalid, was introduced as his successor. There were also reports of presence of Taliban commanders at the funeral.
Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi was known as a violent figure in the Taliban during the group’s rule. Some allege that Mullah Niazi recently collaborated with the Afghan government to counter the mainstream Taliban led by Mullah Hebatullah, but government officials have denied the allegations and declined to comment on how he was killed.
Kabul: Highlighting the misery of those affected by the rising violence in Afghanistan, families of the victims of the attack on the Sayyid al-Shuhada school in Kabul, called on the government and international institutions to recognize the attack as an example of “genocide” on Sunday.
The school was attacked on May 8, and according to the families of the victims, more than 90 students, mostly girls, were killed and 240 others were injured in the blast. The families said that the attack was an “objective example of genocide, a violation of all human values and human rights” because it targeted the “most vulnerable” sections of society.
They released a nine-article resolution and stated that the attack is a continuation of a series of attacks on educational centers, shrines and mosques that continuously target the “Shiite and Hazara community” and must be addressed by the government and international institutions as a genocide.
The families of the victims have also called on the international community, the United Nations, the government and international organizations to investigate the attack through a fact-finding commission so that the “Hazara community” and especially girls, are not deprived of their right to education. They have expressed hope that the world will stand by the families of the victims.
Covering the special security for the “Hazara” areas and for the Sayyid al-Shuhada school, through the establishment of checkpoints and patrols is another demand made by the families.
The resolution states that the government should take care of the families of the victims, the injured in the attack on the school and the victims of the incident. The families of the victims have also demanded compensation and treatment for the injured.
A part of the resolution of the families of the victims also states that the May 8 , the day of the attack, should be registered in the national calendar as “Martyrs of Education Day” and the Orphani 40-meter road as “Martyrs of Education Road”.
The families of the victims have asked the Ministry of Martyrs and the Disabled to register the victims of the attack on the school of the martyrs as “martyrs and the disabled” in order to get access to permanent privileges.
Finally, the families of the victims have emphasized that the people are not willing to send their children to the school until the school is secured, and that its administration does not have the right to reopen it until the people’s demands are met. The families of the victims have warned that if the above cases are not addressed, they will seriously pursue their rights and demands.
Kabul: At least three civilians have been killed in a roadside bomb blast on Saturday night in the village of Beh Nehal in Khaja Omari district of the Ghazni province, said Ahmad Zia Yaqoubi, Khawaja Omari district governor, on Sunday.
Yagoubi added that three other people had been injured in the blast.
According to him, the victims of the landmine explosion are all young people and residents of Qala-e Qazi area in Ghazni. They had gone to Khaja Omari district with their friends for Eid days.
Khawaja Omari district governor explained that the incident was caused after their vehicle collided with a roadside mine. He asserted that the bomb had been planted by Taliban militants.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday reported 114 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported three deaths and 23 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 63,598, while the number of reported deaths is 2,745 and the total number of recoveries is 54,686.
MoPH added that the new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Helmand, Bamiyan, Kapisa, Logar, Ghazni, Uruzgan, and Nuristan provinces.
Kabul: China has listed its concerns about the threats which could emerge from Afghanistan after the international troops withdraw from the country, stating that more cooperation with Central Asian countries on security issues is needed in order to protect the Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects in the region.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated the importance of a safe “silk route” and need to crack down on terrorist forces. Yi, however, believes that the United Nations Organization is capable of ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops, Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
“The hastiness of the US troops withdrawal has caused a significant harm to the process of peaceful settlement in this country. We believe that the UN can play a proper role in this situation,” the Minister said during the phone call with his Pakistani counterpart Mehmood Qureshi.
“Beijing and Islamabad must strengthen their strategic dialogue and play a more active role in the restoration of peace in Afghanistan,” Wang Yi said.
Under such circumstances, China expects the United Nations to play its due role, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to pay more attention to the situation, and Afghanistan’s neighbors to strengthen communication, speak with one voice and take coordinated actions, Wang said.
Kabul: At least 40 people have been killed and wounded in separate Taliban attacks in nearly 10 provinces in the country despite a previous commitment by the group to halt fighting during the three days of Eid ceasefire, said the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Saturday.
“Mullah Hibatullah (Taliban’s supreme leader) has no authority on all factions of the group and his loyalists are not abiding by his orders,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai.
Taliban has rejected the allegations and has blamed the government for not honoring its ceasefire commitments. During the three days of Eid, violence has been reported in Kandahar, Ghazni, Kunduz, Herat, Farah, Uruzgan, Kapisa, Helmand and Maidan Wardak provinces.
“Taliban are not committed to the ceasefire. The group does not follow any other path except shedding the blood of the innocent people,” said Abdul Sattar Hussaini, a member of the Afghan parliament.
According to the data gathered by TOLOnews, Baghlan, Faryab, Takhar, Badakhshan, Kunduz, Balkh, Logar, Kapisa, Farah, Herat, Laghman, Maidan Wardak, Kapisa, Uruzgan, and Helmand witnessed fighting between the government forces and the Taliban.
In the latest incident of violence, one police force member and two civilians were wounded in an explosion in Sarubi district in Kabul on Saturday morning. A police vehicle was targeted by the blast.
Kabul: Based on the proposal of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance and President Ashraf Ghani’s decree, the former seven district governors of Parwan province have been dismissed and new district governors have been appointed to these districts.
Among them, Abdul Qadir Nazir Shinwari is the Shinwari District Governor; Naqibullah Safi is the Kuh-e-Safi district governor; Mohammad Hasher Rufi has been appointed the district governor of Jabal al-Siraj; Seyad Fazl Shah is the new district governor of Sorkhparsa; Sayed Rasool is now the district governor of Sheikh Ali; Lala Shirin is the Bagram district governor and Agha Shirin Nadim has been appointed as the new district governor of Salang district of Parwan province.
The district governors for Sayed Khel and Siahgard districts of Parwan province will continue to operate from their positions.