Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: At least 1,353 cases of corruption have been registered in the first three months of the 1400 fiscal year, announced Jamshid Rasooli, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office, on Tuesday.
Rasooli said that of these, 1,276 cases had been registered in the appellate courts in the center and provinces, and another 77 cases had been referred to the Judicial Center for Combating Serious Crimes. At least 879 cases are related to civil corruption and another 397 cases are related to military corruption in the north.
Rasouli added that in connection with the examination of 1,276 cases, 1,424 people have been identified as suspects, accused, convicts and criminals, of whom 323 have been sentenced to prison and fined. Also, 578 people were released on bail and are being investigated. “At least 298 people are currently in custody and investigations are ongoing.”
The spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office said that due to precautionary measures, of 1,424 people, 30 had been suspended and another 68 had been barred from leaving.
Rasouli added that the cases include bribery, abuse of office, embezzlement, abuse of influence, theft and falsification of documents, obstruction of justice, overstepping of authority, treason, concealment of truth, delay in duty, lack of Observance of behavioral rules, transfer of titles or duties, among others.
Rasouli said that no one is above the law and that those involved in the corruption case, included five generals, three senators, four mayors and two members of the provincial council.
Kabul: US Charge d Affairs in Kabul, Ross Wilson, has asked the Taliban to end the violence in Afghanistan and return to the negotiating table.
“I call on the Taliban to stop their attacks on military forces and violence against civilians and return to the peace negotiating table. I commend the courage of Afghan women who remain committed to their future despite challenges,” Wilson tweeted on Tuesday, citing a recent Amnesty International statement on Afghanistan.
Amnesty International had issued a statement on Monday stating that the prospect of women and girls is at a critical juncture with the complete withdrawal of foreign troops. Amnesty International has called on the Afghan government and its international partners not to exchange women’s rights and their two decades of success in peace talks with the Taliban.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas met in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss various issues, including the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan.
Stoltenberg said, “The drawdown of our troops continues in an orderly and coordinated way. At the same time, NATO remains committed to our partnership with Afghanistan. We will continue to help the Afghan people and contribute to the peace efforts.”
He also said NATO will continue with training and funding of the Afghan security forces.
Kallas in turn said Estonia has more than 100 servicemen deployed to various international operations including Afghanistan.
Kabul: At least 41 prisoners, including 19 soldiers, have been released from a Taliban prison in Herat province after an operation, according to a statement released by the Commando Media Office on Tuesday.
The statement added that the operation was launched in Marwa village of Pashtun Zarghun district of Herat province and during the clashes, seven Taliban insurgents were killed and some ammunition was seized by security forces, and six of their motorcycles were destroyed.
The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter. On Monday, the Ministry of National Defense had announced that eight soldiers had been released from a Taliban prison in Baghlan province as a result of a commando operation. The operation was launched at a Taliban prison in the village of Omar Khel in the Baghlan Markazi district of Baghlan province, the ministry said in a statement.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense also added that 13 members of the al-Qaeda network have been killed in targeted attacks by Afghan forces in Helmand province.
According to the ministry’s statement, the operation was carried out after on Monday with the aim of suppressing terrorists in the Popelzo area of Khanshin district.
The dead included all members of the al-Qaeda network in the Indian subcontinent who were skilled in making mines and training terrorists to use night vision goggles.
Further details on the identities of al-Qaeda members have not been released.
Meanwhile, six people have been injured in a roadside bomb blast in Qarabagh district of Kabul province, said police officials.
The incident took place at 7.35am on Tuesday, said Ferdows Faramarz, spokesperson for the Kabul Police Command. It is said that in this incident, a Humvee tank of the army forces hit a roadside mine.
The wounded included three soldiers and three civilians, including a child. The injured were taken to a hospital for treatment.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kabul: Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), met members of the government’s negotiating team on Tuesday and said that the Taliban has been reluctant to reach a peace agreement and refused to discuss their differences.
Members of the negotiating team had held a meeting with Taliban negotiators in Doha on Tuesday. Sapidar says members of the negotiating team have cited the Taliban’s unilateralism and excuses as the main obstacles to a successful outcome.
Abdullah said at the meeting that the members of the government’s negotiating team represented the Afghan diversity well and demonstrated the will of the Afghan people to end the war and achieve lasting peace. “There is an internal consensus for peace talks, and at the same time there is a popular mobilization in support of the system and the achievements of the last two decades,” he added.
Abdullah Abdullah has stressed that with the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, there is no excuse left for the Taliban to continue the war.
Kabul: A technical cooperation agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Justice and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Afghanistan on Tuesday to increase access to justice, raise the legal awareness of citizens, especially women, and improve the state of justice in the war-torn nation.
Justice Minister Fazl Ahmed Manawi and Brand Miser Schmidt, Project Manager of supporting the rule of law Office (GIZ) were the signatories of the agreement under which the German government has pledged €4.5 million to the Afghan government for the rule of law, access to justice for citizens, raising the legal awareness of citizens, especially women, in the northern provinces, strengthening the effectiveness of the Ministry of Justice and improving the situation of the judiciary and the police, according to the constitution. The agreement will last till 2023.
Manawi said, “This agreement signifies that international community continues to work with the Afghan government despite the troop withdrawal. Afghanistan is now making good progress in various sectors, especially the military sector. We have to be more serious in providing services to the people, and that is why we are working harder than ever before, especially in the area of rule of law.”
“We hope to act more decisively after this and increase the people’s access to justice,” he added.
Meanwhile, Head of the Rule of Law Office of GIZ, referring to the German cooperation with Afghanistan, said that Afghanistan is now witnessing military and political developments and the decision of the German Foreign Ministry was to withdraw foreign troops and continue its cooperation with Afghanistan in various fields.
“We also work in the field of women’s rights, especially in remote parts of Afghanistan, and the agreement will establish bilateral cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and the GIZ, which we hope will be implemented,” Schmidt said.
The GIZ agreement with the Ministry of Justice includes a 30% increase in the handling of legal cases involving women, the preparation and implementation of development plans for the directorates of justice, the preparation and publication of legislation on women and capacity building for law enforcement officials. The purpose of better handling of cases is set as an indicator.
Kabul: Hayatullah Dayani, the former head of the Pashtany Bank and three other officials of the bank have been sentenced to five years and one month in prison for the embezzlement of USD 900,000, announced the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Ahmad Fahim Qawim, head of legal and judicial studies and spokesperson for the Supreme Court, said that all parties to the case were present at the hearing, and the appellate court eventually sentenced each of the defendants to imprisonment.
The Court of Appeals for Combating Serious Crimes has sentenced the defendants for the corruption charges.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Tuesday reported 840 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 19 deaths and 223 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 67,743, while the number of reported deaths is 2,855 and the total number of recoveries is 56,518.
MoPH added that the new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Takhar, Kunduz, Paktia, Parwan, Nimroz, Faryab, Helmand, Wardak, Badakhshan, Kapisa, Logar, Ghazni, Kunar, Laghman, Panjshir, Zabul, Ghor and Farah provinces.
Kabul: At least four people have been killed and 13 others have been injured in two traffic accidents in Herat province, said health officials.
Ebrahim Mohammadi, the head of Herat-Ambulance, said that on Monday night, a passenger bus collided with a Corolla on the Herat-Kandahar highway which resulted in the death of four people, including women and children, and two others were injured in the incident.
According to him, the injured were taken to the Herat District Hospital for treatment.
On the other hand, the Herat-Ambulance official said that nine people were injured as a result of a collision between two high-speed vehicles on the Herat-Turghandi highway in Kashk Robat Sangi district.
Mohammadi added that the condition of one of the injured was critical.
Kabul: Due to rising concerns regarding the security situation in Afghanistan, Australia’s embassy in the war-ravaged country will soon be closed even as international troops prepare for their withdrawal.
“It is Australia’s expectation that this measure will be temporary and that we will resume a permanent presence in Kabul once circumstances permit,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday. The embassy in Kabul will close on Friday, May 28. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials will instead visit Afghanistan from other residential posts in the region.
“This form of diplomatic representation is common practice around the world. It does not alter our commitment to Afghanistan or its people,” Morrison added, saying that the departure of Australian and allied forces over the next few months brought with it an increasingly uncertain security environment.
“The government has been advised that security arrangements could not be provided to support our ongoing diplomatic presence,” he said.
A similar move had been adopted by Australia from 1969 until 2006, wherein the model consists of visiting accreditation for diplomatic representation to Afghanistan.
The statement released by Australian authorities added, “On the Foreign Minister’s recent visit to Kabul, we reaffirmed Australia’s support for the Afghanistan Government during this time of change for the country. Australia remains committed to the bilateral relationship with Afghanistan, and we will continue to support the stability and development of Afghanistan in concert with other nations.”
Meanwhile, in response closure of the Australian Embassy in Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Afghanistan said that Kabul was aware of Australia’s decision to temporarily close its embassy in Afghanistan due to security concerns.
“We hope that, as stated by the Australian Government, this interim measure will be reviewed soon and that the Australian Embassy in Kabul will continue to have a permanent presence,” the statement said.
Kabul: A part of the fact-finding delegation report on the crash of an Afghan army helicopter in Behsud district was revealed during a plenary session on Monday by Mursal Nabizadeh, a member of the House of Representatives.
Nabizadeh read out some parts of the text, but refused to make the report public and did not say who fired the missile. The report states that the type of rocket that shot down an Afghan army helicopter had previously been fired at an air force helicopter in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, and according to information from Afghanistan’s intelligence services, Iran had given this type of rocket to the insurgents.
The report also states that the rocket resembles a Russian Konkurs missile and which is copied by China, Japan and Iran. Abdul Ghani Alipour, commander of a non-governmental armed group known as the “Commander Shamshir”, confirmed a day after the news of the Afghan Army helicopter crash that his men had shot it down.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had also said he would “severely punish” the perpetrators of the helicopter crash, but Alipour later denied responsibility for the crash.
Local media reported that during the operation to arrest Alipour, government forces in Behsud launched a night raid on homes and destroyed some property. Yassin Zia, the acting Afghan defense minister, had said no one had witnessed the incident.
“Operations are underway to arrest Abdul Ghani Alipour. He has now left the area, but will be detained by security forces wherever he is,” he had said.
About two months ago (April 10, 1400), the Afghan House of Representatives decided that a delegation from the House of Representatives Committee on Defense and Territorial Integrity, headed by Engineer Mir Haidar Afzali, would look into the matter and look into how the Afghan Army helicopter crashed.
“The investigation of the International Technical Team shows that the rocket fired at the Afghan Army helicopter is an ATGM or one of the guided missiles that follows the path of the aircraft by frequency heat and is approximately has a range of one and a half to five kilometers,” the report added.
The report also states that the House of Representatives reviewed the black box of the helicopter. Only helicopter pilot conversations are recorded in the black box.
Kabul: Seeking broader bilateral and strategic ties that extend beyond the cooperation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and US National Security Advisers (NSA), Moeed Yusuf and Jake Sullivan, met for the first time in Geneva on Sunday.
Islamabad and Washington committed to continue the conversation to advance cooperation in Pak-US bilateral relations. This is the first such high level non-military meeting in person between the two sides after the Biden administration took over in January.
Moeed Yusuf was notified as the NSA a few days ago after a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, and now will have the status of a federal minister.
“Both sides had a positive conversation on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and agreed to advance practical cooperation on these issues,” said a statement from the office of Pakistan’s NSA.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that senior members from the ministry also accompanied NSA Moeed Yusuf and it was not just an NSA to NSA meeting, but a broader Pak-US bilateral meeting.
However, neither the Foreign Office nor the NSA office gave further details about this important meeting which comes in the wake of withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan and with Pakistan agreeing to allow US to use ground and air routes but only for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The reason for choosing a third country like Geneva for the meeting has also not been explained by any side. “Pleased to meet US NSA yesterday. Pakistan and the US delegation held positive discussions on bilateral, regional and global issue of mutual interest. Both sides agreed to continue the conversation to advance cooperation in Pak-US bilateral relations,” said Moeed Yusuf in a Tweet, after returning to Islamabad with his delegation.
The White House soon after also released a statement similar to the one from Islamabad saying, “The NSAs of US and Pakistan met in Geneva. Both sides discussed a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and discussed ways to advance practical cooperation. Both sides agreed to continue the conversation.”
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that his country supports a comprehensive political government in Afghanistan. In an interview with VOA, Qureshi said that peace in Afghanistan will be ensured if all parties are involved in this process.
According to him, Pakistan has always tried to persuade all parties involved in Afghanistan to make peace; but these aspects are independent, Afghanistan is independent and Islamabad can only convince them.
Qureshi has said that Pakistan does not want to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs; but if Kabul wants, Islamabad is ready for any kind of cooperation. He added that the people of Afghanistan must decide their own future.