Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: Providing short-term jobs to hundreds of people, construction of more than 13 km of canals worth USD 425,000 in Badakhshan province is underway, said Mohammad Rafiq Junbesh, spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development on Monday.
He added that 327 permanent jobs would be provided after the canal was put into operation.
He said that the canal is being built by the Agha Khan Development Foundation in the Chehel Gezi village of Kishm district in Badakhshan province and will irrigate 3,470 acres of land and benefit 2,618 families.
Kabul: Two children have been killed and three others have been wounded when a mortar hit their house on Sunday night in Baraki Barak district of Logar province, local media reported.
However, residents in the area said that three civilians were killed and six others wounded in the incident. Afghan forces have not commented on the matter.
This comes after Abdul Zahir, Police Chief of Laghman’s Dawlat Shah District, was killed accidentally by Afghan forces’ artillery fire on Sunday afternoon, Laghman governor said.
Laghman Governor Rahmatullah Yarmal said that the Afghan forces were targeting Taliban strongholds but due to a “technical issue a mortar shell hit the position of the police commander in the area.”
Kabul: Stressing that the government and people of Afghanistan will never surrender to extremisim and the emirate, Sarwar Danesh, the second vice-president, said that the people of the country have chosen the path of education, prosperity, modernity and democracy.
Danesh made these remarks at the appointment ceremony of Zabihullah Ziarmal as head of the National Directorate of Standards on Monday.
“People have discarded the path of destruction and ignorance and extremism. The world knows who are the real proponents and the real opponents of peace,” added Danesh.
The second VP added that the Taliban group has so far shunned the negotiating table and accepted a peaceful political solution under various pretexts, and has insisted on military strikes, assassinations and violence. “They should know that in the last 27 years, they have achieved nothing but bloodshed and crime, and they will not achieve their goals by carrying out suicide attacks and assassinations,” he said.
Danesh emphasized that the government, security forces and the people of Afghanistan can defend the achievements of the past 20 years.
Kabul: At least 10,685 cold storage units, costing 5.6 billion afghanis, for agricultural products will be operational in 34 provinces of Afghanistan this week, as per Akbar Rostami, spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
“These cold storage rooms are for pomegranates, apples, raisins, potatoes and onions. The project was completed within a year,” Rostami said.
These cold stores and warehouses have a storage capacity of 1,065,000 metric tons of fruits and vegetables.
The Afghan Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock says the cold storages were built as most farmers and gardeners had previously complained about the lack of warehouses and cold storages to store their produce.
Kabul: The Pakistan foreign ministry has summoned Afghanistan’s ambassador to Islamabad for what it called “baseless and irresponsible allegations” made by Afghan leaders against Pakistan, as per a Pakistani foreign ministry statement issued on Monday.
The statement added that Islamabad had these raised concerns with the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad, calling it “baseless accusations” which destroy trust and damage the atmosphere of friendship between the two countries.
Pakistan claims that these remarks ignore its constructive role in the peace process. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry has said that Afghanistan has been asked to use the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan mechanism for peace and solidarity to achieve bilateral goals.
Najibullah Ali Khalil, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, has not commented on the matter yet.
While no one was named in the Pakistani foreign ministry statement, recently, President Ghani and his national security adviser, Hamdullah Moheb, have criticized Pakistani support for the Taliban.
President Ghani has repeatedly stressed that Pakistan supports the Taliban and that the group’s leaders have offices in Pakistan. In the past, President Ghani has emphasized that Pakistan has two options, one of which is to choose between enmity and friendship with Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Moheb in Nangarhar, a province bordering Pakistan, said the country was seeking to expand its border with Afghanistan and used the Taliban, whom he described as “power-hungry”.
Kabul: Even though there are widespread protests by residents, Mohammad Dawood Laghmani has been introduced as the governor of the Faryab province on Monday in the First Army Brigade command on the outskirts of Maimana, the capital of Faryab province.
The location was an army base as protests by the National Movement Party’s supporters have grown and the governor’s building in Faryab province has been surrounded by protesters and all roads in Maimana are closed.
Following the protests against the nomination of a new governor for Faryab, the National Movement Party, led by Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, warned that protests by supporters of the movement would continue until the government responded positively to the people’s demands for a new governor.
The protests began 20 days ago against the government’s move to remove Naqibullah Fayeq from Faryab province and appoint Laghmani to the post. Although the protests subsided, they intensified again on Saturday.
Since earlier in the day, the speeches by Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former vice-president and chairman of the Afghanistan National Movement party, were widely circulated in social media along with his supporters and protesters in Faryab.
Marshal Dostum, in a telephone call with his supporters in Faryab, said: “They must be arrested and killed. You have to shoot them in the head.”
After the appointment of Mohammad Daud Laghmani replacing Naqibullah Fayeq as the governor of Faryab, a series of objections have been raised.
Dostum urged supporters not to back down as it is a “historic day” as millions of people support them and said that people must decide their own destiny by electing governors.
Kabul: Responding to criticism from citizens who opposed the conduct of the funeral of Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, the deputy head of the Taliban-led Mullah Mohammad Rasool splinter group in Herat, the governor of the province, Sayed Abdul Wahid Qatali, said the government would not prevent the burial of anyone, including the armed oppositions.
Ghatali at a press conference in Herat on Monday said that the Afghan government did not provide services to bury Mullah Abdul Manan. The governor of Herat emphasized, “We have said for a long time that we do not usually talk behind the dead. If someone wants to bury their dead, we will not stop them.”
The funeral of the deputy head of the Taliban splinter group, led by Mullah Mohammad Rasool, was held on Sunday in the presence of more than 100 people at the Herat Guzar Gah area. A number of gunmen from the group also attended the ceremony.
The governor of Herat said that no more than six weapons were seen during the ceremony.
Holding this ceremony in the city of Herat was criticized as they said the Herat local government should not have allowed him to be buried inside the city with the participation of fighters and Taliban commanders.
Also at the ceremony, the Taliban group selected Mohammad Khalid, the 23-year-old son of Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, as his successor. He told reporters that he would continue his father’s path.
Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi was wounded in the head by unknown gunmen in an ambush on the border between Guzara and Adraskan districts of Herat last Wednesday. He died in a hospital in Kabul.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi was the deputy head of the Taliban’s splinter branch led by Mullah Mohammad Rasool and a staunch opponent of the Taliban led by Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzadeh.
Kabul: Strengthening bilateral relations was on the agenda when Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar met with Qatari Ambassador to Kabul Saeed bin Mubarak Al-Khayarin ul-Hajar on Monday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the importance of strengthening constructive cooperation between the two countries in the fields of investment, trade, economic growth, education, and infrastructure for peace and prosperity in the region, were discussed.
The Qatari ambassador assured the FM of comprehensive cooperation and exchanged views on practical plans for drafting and signing memoranda of understandings between the relevant sectors of both countries.
Qatar is the host of the Taliban political office and the inter-Afghan negotiations.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 221 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported six deaths and 323 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 63,819, while the number of reported deaths is 2,751 and the total number of recoveries is 55,009.
MoPH added that the new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Helmand, Faryab, Wardak, Badakhshan, Kunar, Laghman, Khost, and Samangan provinces.
Kabul: Members of the Lower House of Parliament in unison asked US and NATO troops to critically review the security situation of the country before the withdrawal process is complete.
US and NATO forces plan to completely withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11 and as of now at least 12 percent of the withdrawal process has been completed with the handover of major bases.
Mir Haidar Afzali, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Defense and Territorial Integrity, at a plenary session of the House of Representatives read out a joint statement, “We respect and demand the unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops. Until this is achieved, the security situation in the country will be clarified in accordance with the security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States and NATO member states.”
Afzali added that while there is no doubt about the ability, courage and sacrifice of the country’s security and defense forces to defend the threats, the unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops is concerning given the existing capacity of the Afghan military.
According to him, given the current sensitive situation in Afghanistan, the international community should cooperate fully with the country’s defense and security forces to combat the threat of terrorism. Afzali said the threat of terrorism in the country is still a challenge for Afghanistan and the international community.
He emphasized that the international community’s assistance to the Afghan defense and security forces should include equipment and training in various areas, including reconnaissance, intelligence, air strike capabilities, and the maintenance of combat equipment.
The statement from the House of Representatives also said that the aid should be provided to the Afghan defense and security forces on an ongoing basis.
“While emphasizing the preservation of the country’s achievements and values over the past 20 years and women’s rights, we believe that the Armed Forces, with the support of US and international assistance, is capable of defending independence, territorial integrity and They have the national honor and in this area they need comprehensive military and technical assistance and the serious support of international partners.”
The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Defense and Territorial Integrity also stressed that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan should be responsible.
Referring to the release of more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners under an agreement signed between the group and the United States, he said that although there was no guarantee that the Taliban would return to the battlefields and reduce violence against the Afghan people, citizens expected the United States to commit to reducing violence in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Mir Haidar Afzali called on the parties to the war in the country to come together in the national interest and away from any prejudices to reach a nationwide peace agreement and reach an agreement based on the will of the people and the supreme interests of the country.
Following the start of the withdrawal process, US forces handed over control of Kandahar airport to Afghan forces last week. Earlier, two US military bases and a German military base in Helmand, Balkh and Kabul provinces were handed over to Afghan forces.
US Forces Commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller has also said they are closely watching what the Taliban will do following the three-day Eid ceasefire that ended at midnight on Saturday, but said he expects violence to increase.
In an interview with BBC, Miller said, “Ideally they would continue with the reduced violence because it is something that the Afghan people want. But the expectation is that they will pick up violence in the nearer term.”
He also said he expects the Taliban will increase pressure on different provincial capitals but stated it is now the time for the Afghan security forces to stand on their own. However, coalition forces are still helping the Afghan security forces – even during their withdrawal.
He said the Afghan forces have the capability to keep the Taliban at bay, adding that “they have to hold”. He said there is an “emotional aspect” attached to withdrawing from Afghanistan but that the US military has to stay focused on the withdrawal process, which must be done “in accordance with our orders”.
“Our obligations are wanting to make sure our force is protected and that we are able to withdraw coalition forces as safely and as orderly as possible. And at the same time ensure that we leave our Afghan security partners in a position that they are able to pick this up and carry it on.”
He said this was “an obligation that we feel, not just (to) the security forces, but also to the people of Afghanistan.”
On the overall situation after 20 years in the country, and asked if the US had failed, Miller said, “Certainly there were some victories along the way, but I think history will judge this and the future will tell the rest of the story.”
Kabul: At least 25 Taliban insurgents have been killed in airstrikes in Baghlan-e Markazi district of Baghlan province, said the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a statement on Monday.
The Ministry added that at least 31 Taliban insurgents were wounded in the airstrike.
The statement added that at least seven hideouts and a large number of arms and weapons were destroyed during the operation.
Taliban have not yet commented on the matter.