Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Education said that private schools that did not provide educational services during the Coronavirus lockdown period in the past five months, were not entitled to receive the quarantine fee.
“Those private schools that have provided educational services during the quarantine period with the consent of the students’ parents can claim fees from students from the start of their distance education programs,” the ministry added.
If any school was found in violation, it would face legal action.
The ministry asked the citizens to inform the officials of the Complaints Department and the Department of Private Schools if they see a fee request from private institutions without the implementation of a distance learning programme.
Security officials in Faryab confirmed that clashes across the province have claimed many lives, including those of six Afghan security forces and 32 Taliban fighters.
Abdul Karim Yurish, spokesperson for Faryab Police said that the incidents took place in Garziwan, Khwaja Sabz Posh, Qaisar and Bilchiragh districts in the past day.
At least 14 Taliban fighters were killed, including five commanders and a security guard, were killed in the Garziwan clashes on Sunday night. Eleven other fighters of the group, including one of their commanders, were wounded.
In Qaisar district, eight Taliban fighters were killed and four others were wounded in a counterattack by government forces. Two policemen and two People’s Uprising Forces were also killed in the clashes and another People’s Uprising Forces member was injued.
Yurish said that another 10 Taliban fighters were also killed as a result of “artillery shelling” by security forces in the Khwaja Sabz Posh district.
A regional army soldier was assassinated by Taliban fighters on Monday morning in the Bilchiragh district, the police spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Ferdows Faramarz, a Kabul Police spokesperson, said no one was injured in an explosion in PD16 of Kabul city at around 7:00 a.m. on Monday.
The Afghan National Army discovered, defused and exploded six IEDs along public roads in Paktika and Wardak provinces through Sunday, said the Ministry of Defence.
Clashes were also reported in areas along the Kunduz-Khanabad highway and the outskirts of Kunduz, the Special Operations Corps said.
They reported that at least 25 Taliban insurgents were killed and 11 wounded in the counterattack along the highway.
Another clash in Baghlan resulted in the deaths of 23 Taliban fighters, including several of the group’s leaders, the Special Operations Corps said.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported 55 new cases of Coronavirus in the past 24 hours from 248 samples tested countrywide, bringing the Afghan tally of confirmed cases to 38,054 so far.
New cases were reported in the province of Herat (22), Daykundi (18), Kabul (6), Nangarhar (4), Ghazni (4) and Kunar (1).
Two people succumbed to the virus in the past day, while 149 recovered.
Afghanistan currently has 8,305 active COVID-19 cases with 28,360 recoveries and 1,389 deaths reported so far.
President Ashraf Ghani called on the people of Afghanistan to work with the defense and security forces to ensure the security of mosques and other religious locations.
The Presidential Palace said that Ghani met with Shiite scholars who raised concern about security measures during Muharram and Ashura ceremony.
Ghani said, “Ashura is an opportunity to strengthen national unity, Islamic brotherhood, a culture of mutual acceptance and good fortune.”
He then called on the cooperation of the people in ensuring the security at the time said that the shortcomings will be examined. He emphasized that providing security for the Ashura ceremony is a priority for all security institutions, and that the command center will be active.
The Office of the National Security Council and other security officials have discussed the proposals and that it should be implemented for the Ashura ceremony.
The President also reminded of the continuous sacrifices of the security and defense forces and wished the martyrs reached paradise.
Abdul Sabur Ghaneh, the senior deputy of security at the Ministry of Interior, said that the security plan for the Muharram and Ashura ceremony has been shared with the relevant institutions.
Officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan will be holding several meetings beginning next week, including the long-delayed Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS).
Media reported that the APAPPS bilateral dialogue framework, which comprises working groups in politico-diplomatic, military-to-military coordination, intelligence cooperation, economy and refugee issues, will be held on Aug. 31.
Several high-level meetings will also be held on the sidelines of the upcoming talks to increase bilateral trade and remove barriers to transit trade.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri had recently called APAPPS the “most comprehensive official framework” between the two nations covering all areas of cooperation and all areas of mutual interest.
Ghazni officials said a Taliban attack and car bombing in Deh Yak district claimed the lives of three security officials and left nine more injured on early Monday morning.
Ghazni governor’s spokesperson Wahidullah Jumazadah said told Reporterly that the Taliban fighters had attacked a number of security checkpoints in the district at around 3 am on Monday.
The clashes lasted for an hour and the Taliban detonated a car full of explosives in the center of the district.
While no civilians were injured during the attack and explosion, 12 casualties were noted among the security forces, along with the death of the commander of army operation.
Jumazadah said that the Taliban had also suffered casualties in the clashes, but no figures were available.
Taliban also mounted offensives in the Rashidan, Jaghato and Qarabagh districts of the province on Sunday night.
He added that two of the People’s Uprising Forces members were wounded and four Taliban were killed in the clashes in the Sai Karu area of Qarabagh district.
An operation by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to arrest former Afghan Football Federation (AFF) chief Keramuddin Karim in Panjshir on Sunday night, ended without any result.
The Deputy Governor of Panjshir, Mohammad Amin Seddiqi told Reporterly, “A special unit of the Ministry of Interior also led by Tutakhel, the director of criminal investigation of the Ministry of Interior, without the coordination of local Panjshir officials, launched air and ground operations to arrest Keramuddin Karim in Sanganeh village.”
Seddiqi added that the “operation was unsuccessful” and ended without any clashes.
Once the incident went viral, information emerged that many residents in the area backed him and did not allow the authorities to detain him.
Karim, the ousted president of the AFF, was charged with a $1 million fine and a lifelong ban for sexually abusing players from the Afghan women’s national football team.
The highest sporting judicial organ, the court of Arbitration for sport (CAS) had upheld the punishment imposed by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Ethics Committee.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock said that Kandahar’s grape yields had increased this year, and they harvested around 290,000 metric tons this year.
The ministry said that the grape harvest had increased after educating farmers, creating training programmes and helping the landowners. Favourable climate has also proved greatly beneficial.
“We had produced 273,060 tons of grapes last year, but this year we have harvested 290,000 tons of grapes,” said Sayeed Hafezullah Sayeedi, director of Kandahar’s agriculture, irrigation and livestock department.
The department said they had over 20,500 hectares of grape orchards in 17 districts of Kandahar province, mostly in Panjwai, Dand, Daman, Shah Wali Kot, Spin Boldak and Arghistan districts.
The department said they were also in the process of setting up raisin facilities where the grapes would be processed further.
A delegation from the Taliban’s political office in Qatar was supposed to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday night to discuss the ongoing peace process with the country’s leaders.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said in a series of tweets that a high-level delegation led by Mullah Baradar, the political chief of the group, had left for Pakistan on Sunday at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry of the country.
“The delegation will hold talks with senior Pakistani officials about recent developments in Afghanistan’s peace process, relaxation and facilitation of peoples’ movement and trade between the two neighbouring countries, issues related to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and other related topics,” Shaheen wrote on Twitter.
He did not offer any further details, including which Pakistani leaders the Taliban delegation would meet and the duration of the visit.
The Taliban delegation is expected to focus on reconciliation among warring factions in Afghanistan.
However, Shaheen said it was part of Taliban’s “political policy” to visit other nations for “furthering positive relations and conveying its views and stance to the world about the peace process.”
The development came after the Afghan government released 80 key Taliban figures but refused to release the 320 more after some nations raised hurdles. The other reason was the government’s demand that the Taliban release some 22 security forces they still had detained.