Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of Russia Vladimir Putin have held a meeting where they stressed the need to strengthen defense of the Tajik-Afghan border.
The meeting was held in St. Petersburg on the sidelines of an extraordinary meeting of the heads of state of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), press service of the leader of Tajikistan said on Saturday.
According to the press service, the parties “emphasized the need to strengthen border protection between Tajikistan and Afghanistan in the light of the alarming situation in Afghanistan.”
Rakhmon arrived in St. Petersburg to participate in an extraordinary meeting of the heads of state of the CIS member states, which was held on December 20. At the meeting, the current situation and prospects of interstate integration within the framework of the commonwealth were discussed, including plans for further development and strengthening of security in the territory of the CIS countries.
Police say the shadow district chief for Posht-e Koh district of Herat province has been killed.
Head of Herat Police press command, Abdul Ahad Wali Zada said that Mullah Saifullah, Taliban’s shadow chief district for Posht-e Koh has been killed by the highway Police.
According to Wali Zada, the killed shadow district chief was killed on Saturday morning after attempting to storm the security outpost of “Karwangah” which is located on the highway of Shindand.
He noted that at least one of the men of Mullah Saifullah was also killed and two others of them were wounded.
Wali Zada further added that at least one of the Afghan national Police was also killed during the clashes.
The commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces – Afghanistan, General Austin Scott Miller, has thanked Croatia and its troops for serving in Afghanistan.
Miller met Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krstičević at the mission’s HQ in Kabul, the Croatian Defensee Ministry said in a press release.
Krstičević, on an official visit, and Miller talked about Croatia’s contribution to the Mission, NATO’s plans for the Mission’s future and the security situation in Afghanistan.
Krstičević and Miller extended greetings to the 11th Croatian contingent in Afghanistan and their families for the upcoming holidays.
The European Parliament in a press release issued has condemned sexual abuse against children in Afghanistan and calls on the Afghan government to eradicate such practices.
The European Parliament’s statement follows an article published last month by the UK’s Guardian alleging that hundreds of schoolchildren were sexually abused in Logar province, which is southeast of Kabul.
The European Parliament, which also highlighted human rights breaches in Russia and Burkina Faso, said it deplores the “widespread ongoing sexual abuse of thousands of boys and young men in Afghanistan, a practice locally known as Bacha Bazi, which constitutes child slavery and is prevalent in several provinces in the country.”
The statement added that members of the European Parliament urge the Afghan authorities to eradicate such practices and to set up a national victim support helpline dedicated to children’s rights abuses.
Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib has met with members of Afghanistan’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi.
Mohib has underlined that foundational works need to be done to display the genuine Afghan culture.
In the meantime, NSA Mohib on Friday held a meeting with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, where they discussed key issues and security cooperation between the two countries.
During the meeting, NSA Mohib said that there’re potentials for both countries to work together in various fronts. “They extended discussion on counter-terrorism efforts and peace,” the National Security Council Office said in a statement.
He stated that terrorism is a common threat for the region and joint efforts are needed to contain it, the statement added.
In his part, the Indian NSA welcomed Dr. Mohib and stressed collective commitment by all countries to fight terrorism. He iterated India is willing to cooperate in this regard.
NATO Forces Commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller has visited southern Kandahar to assess the security situation, a statement from the governor office said.
Gen. Miller arrived in Kandahar on Friday and held a meeting with Governor Hayatullah Hayat and other officials, the statement said.
Hayat briefed the NATO commander on overall security situation of Kandahar and said that with the support of Resolute Support mission heavy losses had been inflicted on the enemy and their designs had been foiled in time.
He said during military council meetings discussion over security plans of districts and cities are underway. He shared the achievement and gains of ongoing winter offensive with the NATO commander.
The second meeting of the Follow-up Committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran at the level of Joint Secretary/ Director General has been held in New Delhi.
“All the three countries welcomed steady progress in port operations by India Ports Global Ltd company since the taking over of the port operations at Shaheed Beheshti Port at Chabahar in December 2018. It was recognised that over 5 lakh tons of cargo has been handled successfully. This includes exports from Afghanistan through Chabahar Port which began in February 2019,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
As per Ani report, the MEA statement informed that it was also agreed to include Mormugoa and New Mangalore port from India in addition to JNPT, Mundra, Kandla and Cochin as part of the designated route under the Chabahar Agreement.
“A study will be conducted by Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) to streamline cargo transit through Shahid Beheshti Port, Chabahar,” MEA said.
It was also agreed to finalize the protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs and consular matters. Till that time, the TIR Convention will continue to be used for cargo movement.
The MEA in its statement said it was agreed to organize promotional and business events in Afghanistan and India to popularize Chabahar port and to hold the third Follow-up Committee meeting in India in the first half of 2020 followed by the second Coordination Council meeting.
The Estonian organization, Garage 48, has held an Empowering Women hackathon in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
According to Garage48, 1,150 women entrepreneurs have invested in different businesses in Afghanistan over the past 18 years.
“The figures show that investments by women reach more than USD77 million and this investment has provided jobs for more than 77,000 individuals across the country,” the organization said in a blog post.
“According to the statistics, 300 women entrepreneurs have started their businesses last year alone. Many of the female-owned companies have grown out of the country’s borders and are now exporting their products to various parts of the world.”
The project, Empowering Women Kabul, got initiated more than a year ago when Garage48 started to do more thorough research about the local business-ecosystem and found a partner that would provide post-hackathon support to the teams that would like to continue working after the 48-hour prototyping-marathon.
Special Representative of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev has visited Hairatan and Mazar-e Sharif.
Meetings were organized with the Governor of Balkh Province Mohammad Ishaq Rahguzar, Mayor of Hairatan Abdul Rauf Amiri, leadership of the Customs Administration of Balkh Province and Border Service of Hairatan checkpoint.
The sides discussed the implementation of agreements reached in November during the first meeting of the Joint Working Commission between Balkh Province and Surkhandarya region.
A meeting was held with the Balkh’s Head of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries Arash Younis with participation of heads of large Afghan companies.
The sides discussed the issues of expanding trade-economic cooperation between the two countries, development of cross-border trade, as well as the identification and elimination of existing barriers.
The US military noted a sharp reduction in the number of munitions employed in Afghanistan during November although numbers remain historically high, figures released by Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) show.
According to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) 2013-2019 Airpower Statistics released for November, 519 missions flown in Afghanistan during that month resulted in weapons being released, although the numbers to do not note the numbers or types of weapons released during each sortie. This compared to 777 for the previous month and 948 for September, the most active month this year.
While airstrikes have traditionally tailed-off from November through to the re-commencement of the Afghan ‘fighting season’ in April, in November 2018 airstrikes actually rose compared to the previous month – from 769 to 841.
The reduction this year brings 2019 into roughly the same pattern as every year since records were first published in 2009.