Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president, says the Taliban-Islamic State has warned that if one of their members is executed, they will turn Kabul into Shia massacre ground.
Saleh on Saturday morning said, the Taliban-Islamic State has issued a message that if their prisoners are executed, they will turn Kabul into a “slaughterhouse” for Shiites and behead the captives.
Saleh stressed that he had instructed the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to tell all “Daeshi Taliban” who are under government’s custody to deliver this message to their networks that the Afghan government knows all their “genealogies”.
“The Daeshi Taliban should know that no threat will prevent us from introducing these murderers to our people every day,” the first VP warned.
He called on judicial institutions to publicly prosecute these Daeshi Taliban militants.
However, Saleh’s remarks were followed by reactions and criticisms.
“The authorities must act responsibly in their remarks. The issue of killing Shias in Kabul would would increase the insecure physiological environment of Shia’s society,” said Mohammed Mohaqiq, leader of Hezb-e Wahdat Islami.
In the meantime, a senior advisor for the President of Afghanistan, Shah Hussain Murtazawi, called for calm and responsible reporting, after the first vice president warned that Taliban-Islamic State threatened to turn Kabul into a Shia slaughterhouse.
The presidential advisor tweeted, that “Taliban and Daesh are enemies of humanity and Afghanistan, we should not provoke fear among Shias in our reporting, our method of informing should be professional, and we should not help our enemies in their mental war”.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib, says the remaining stages of peace between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban must be pursued inside Afghanistan.
NSA Mohib wrote on his Twitter account that the government had no regard for the venue of the talks and is ready to accept any venue offered by the Taliban.
The President’s National Security Adviser has emphasized that experiences have shown that peace abroad is influenced by external conditions and is not in Afghanistan’s interest.
He added that advancing the peace process inside Afghanistan would not only reduce additional costs but also enable the Afghan people to own and monitor the process.
Mr. Muhibb’s remarks come as official peace talks between the delegations of Afghan government and the Taliban have reportedly been suspended for 20 days.
The two-day-long talks were scheduled to begin today.
Negotiating delegations have been working in Doha for more than three months to formally begin peace talks.
World Bank on Saturday announced the approval of two grants totaling nearly 85$ million from the International Development Association, as part of a 393-million-dollar financial package to support Afghanistan to alleviate COVID-19 impacts, sanitation, public services, and access to clean water.
The World Bank in a statement said that the grants are part of Two financial packages, this includes aid from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, managed by the world bank on behalf of 34 donors, grant comprise $50 million from IDA for Water, Sanitation Hygiene and Institutional support A-Wash project, the grand will total $200 million, that includes 150-million-dollars from ARTF.
According to the statement, the project will bring improvement to water access and quality of water supply in Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat, it will also build up the capacity of Afghanistan Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Corporation to deliver sustainable services and contribute to efforts for managing the pandemic and other disasters.
“Access to clean water, hygiene, and basic services is essential to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, including COVID-19,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.
“$35 million of funds are for the second additional financing of the Citizen’s Charter Afghanistan Project, according to the statement the grant will total 193-million-dollars, including $158 from ARTF,” the statement said.
World Bank added that the target of the project is to improve the delivery of core infrastructure, emergency support, and social services to strengthened Community Development Councils, under the second additional financing, the Citizens’ Charter Project will improve and expand its service delivery to 10 cities across Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday reported 126 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1060 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 11 deaths and 62 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 48,952 the number of total reported deaths is 1,960 and the total number of recoveries is 38,328.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Balkh, Nangarhar, Takhar, Paktia, Maidan Wardak, Laghman, Kunar, Khost, Uruzgan, Nuristan, Jawzjan, and Sarepul.
A series of rockets struck the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing one person and wounding two more, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said, the second such attack to rock Kabul in less than a month.
“At least 10 rockets were fired from a Saracha type vehicle from Lab-e-Jar area in Kabul on several parts of the city, including areas near the airport, Zanabad area in PD9, and Khwaja Rawash area in PD15,” MoI spokesman, Tariq Arian said in a statement.
Kabul police also confirmed the early morning attack, saying most of the rockets struck the eastern part of the capital.
No group has claimed the attack so far.
Afghan authorities also said that all national and international flights have cancelled at Hamid Karzai International Airport due to rocket attacks this morning.
On Nov.21, eight people were killed when 23 rockets hit Kabul in the same rocket attacks claimed by IS-K group.
The US military confirmed Friday carrying out an airstrike against Taliban militants it said were in the process of attacking an Afghan government checkpoint in Zherai district.
The strike took place on Thursday, Col. Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said, maintaining it is in line with an agreement the US struck with the Taliban to draw down hostilities.
“The Taliban’s claim of civilian casualties are false,” Leggett said on Twitter.
The Afghan Defense Ministry said the US strike resulted in the deaths of 38 Taliban fighters, and wounded an addition dozen.
“Additionally, 30 IEDs were discovered and defused by Afghan National Army, 205 Atalanta Corps during reciprocal attacks,” the ministry said in a statement.
The strike came the same day as the UN General Assembly adopted 130-1 an annual resolution on the situation in Afghanistan.
The State of Qatar is proud of its role in the context of international efforts aimed at helping Afghanistan to reach the desired peace, by playing a mediating role, with the support of friendly countries, led by the United States, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to UN said.
Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani said in a statement that the efforts of Qatar to support the restoration of security, peace and prosperity in Afghanistan reflects its firm foreign policy that attaches importance to promoting the settlement of disputes through peaceful means and mediation, through which we have succeeded in realizing important achievements in cooperation with our international partners.
According to the statement, she noted that Qatar hosted the Afghan peace negotiations last September, and considered them an important step towards achieving the desired comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan, putting an end to the state of violence and human suffering and paving the way for lasting stability and prosperity.
Sheikha Alya continued by saying that this important step came as a result of the continuous efforts by the mediation of the State of Qatar during the past period to bring the parties to the dialogue table, including Doha hosting the Afghan Dialogue Conference in July last year with the participation of representatives of the Afghan sects, political parties and civil society with the distinct participation of women.
She added that the progress represented by the start of the Afghan peace negotiations was based on the important achievement made through a peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban movement in Doha on February 29, and culminated in the many rounds of negotiations between the two sides in Doha, describing it as an important step towards ending the war and opening the door to negotiations between the Afghan parties.
An early morning barrage of mortar shells slammed into the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least one civilian and wounding a second.
Officials said the rockets were fired from the northern edge of the city and mostly landed in eastern areas. Two shells hit the compound of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.
“Four rockets were fired from Labe Jar neighbourhood of Kabul,” Mr Arian told reporters.
He said one person was killed and another wounded.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The United Nations General Assembly’s resolution on the Afghanistan’s situation was adopted on Friday with a majority of 131 votes, calling on the Afghan parties to end violence in the country.
The resolution that was endorsed by more than 70 countries including Germany supported an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, Afghanistan’s permanent envoy to UNSC Adila Raz tweeted.
She thanked all countries that supported the resolution and expressed their thoughts about the future of Afghanistan in their addresses.
The UN members reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan.
The resolution said UN members respected Afghanistan’s multicultural, multi-ethnic and historical heritage and welcomed the efforts by Afghanistan in the framework of the Transformation Decade (2015–2024) to consolidate its sovereignty through strengthening a fully functioning, sustainable State in the service of its people, with the goal of becoming fully self-reliant.
It also reaffirms the long-term partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community based on their strategic consensus and mutual commitments.