Newsfeed; Saturday: December 5 2020

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…

  • 5 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Malicious Actions Not to Disrupt Kabul-Tehran Relations: Iran

    Following the release of videos attributed to Afghan citizens in social media, Iran Embassy in Kabul stressed that malicious actions will not disrupt Iran-Afghanistan relations.

    The Iranian embassy in Kabul issued a statement following the release of videos in recent days in social media in which a number of people were beaten by several people and attributed to the Afghan citizens.

    Extensive technical investigations were immediately launched by the Iranian police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this regard, and it was determined that, with the utmost regret, some people in Afghanistan aimed at destroying relations and creating cross-cutting tensions in relations between the two countries have tried to broadcast these videos, one of which is related to a country other than Iran and the other is related to five years ago, the statement read.

    There is no doubt that the relations between the two brotherly and neighbouring countries are based on strong principles and foundations, which have not been disrupted by malicious actions, and on the contrary, it will make the officials of the two countries more aware of dealing with psychological warfare and propaganda games in the future, it added.

    Following the release of a video in social media, the Iranian police announced in a statement that technical investigations indicate that the video released in cyberspace did not happen in Iran, and Iran’s police strongly deny that such treatment of Afghan Muslim brothers took place in Iran.

  • 5 Dec 2020 Share this post

    US Congress Moves to Block Troop Withdrawals from Afghanistan

    US lawmakers have announced a bill that would delay the withdrawal of US troops until after President Donald Trump has left office, thus opening a door to a reversal of a decision announced by Trump in the summer.

    Trump called for a partial withdrawal of troops over the summer amid a long-running dispute with Berlin over its defense spending, which is far below the NATO target of 2% of the gross domestic product. Under his plan, nearly 12,000 of the 36,000 American soldiers in Germany would leave the country.

    But the legislation — the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — says a troop pullout can only occur 120 days after the defense secretary submits an analysis to Congress on the impact of the withdrawal. The deadline to withdraw troops is January 15, five days before Trump is set to leave the White House.

    The bill, which was crafted by a group of Republican and Democrat lawmakers, would also complicate Trump’s plans to bring back troops from Afghanistan and South Korea. It still needs to be passed by Congress.

  • 5 Dec 2020 Share this post

    UN Blockchain Tool Aims to Improve Land Registry in Afghanistan’s Cities

    The United Nations has released a blockchain-powered solution to help the Afghan government manage property ownership issues in the country’s urban areas.

    The U.N. Human Settlements Programme, or U.N.-Habitat, will present its new digital land registry solution to the Ministry of Urban Development and Land in Afghanistan in December 2020.

    The U.N. first launched its blockchain project for sustainable urban development in Afghanistan in 2019.

    Now, with its new blockchain-enabled digital land registry tool, the U.N. wants to help Afghanistan address major challenges in urban informal settlements — otherwise known as slums or shanty towns — like land-grabbing, inefficient use of land, and insecure land tenure in informal settlements.

    According to the U.N., more than 80% of properties in Afghan cities “are not registered with municipal or national land authorities, and occupants do not have formal ownership documents.”

  • 5 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Ministry of Health Reports 253 New Cases of COVID-19

    The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday reported 253 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1,400 samples tested in the last 24 hours.

    The ministry also reported 18 deaths and 138 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

    The total reported deaths from COVID-19 is 1,865 and the total number of recoveries is 37,485.

    The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Paktia, Bamyan, Baghlan, Parwan, Nimruz, Ghani, Logar, Helmand, Wardak, Laghman, Khost, Paktika, Uruzgan, Jowzjan and Sar-e Pul provinces.

  • 5 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Afghan New Commission A Major Step Toward Protection of Human Rights Defenders: AI

    The creation of a new government body tasked with protecting human rights defenders is a major victory for human rights in Afghanistan, said Amnesty International, following a decree by President Ghani establishing the Joint Commission for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

    The Commission, which has been established ‘for the purpose of strengthening human rights advocacy and addressing the national and international concerns of human rights related issues in Afghanistan’, will initially determine its priorities and develop a joint plan with NGOs for the protection of human rights defenders.

    “To ensure that this isn’t just an empty promise, the Commission must be provided with full backing by the government and deliver on its objectives, including a mechanism that provides effective protection to those at risk,” Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Campaigner said.

    Amnesty International called for the prompt establishment of the mechanism to ensure that it thoroughly, impartially and transparently investigates threats and attacks against human rights defenders, and, where necessary, provides adequate protection measures that should include relocation, relief and psychosocial support.

  • 5 Dec 2020 Share this post

    First Meeting of National Reconciliation Council Attended by Political Leaders

    The first meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation held on Saturday with the participation of Afghan political leaders.

    The members of the Reconciliation Council emphasized the need for unity among Afghan people and consensus between the political leaders to move the peace process forward.

    Addressing the meeting, President Ghani said that the peace negotiations have entered the second phase in which there is a need for more consultations.

    “Your presence is a clear message to our partners in the region and the world and our reconciliation team,” the president said. “The first phase showed that it is not an easy task, but it worked out,” he added.

    He said the peace negotiations have entered the second phase in which there is a need for more consultations.

    “The peace negotiations have reached the second phase. The first phase showed that the task was not easy, but it succeeded,” Ghani said.

    In the meantime, the chairman of HCNR Abdullah Abdullah said that Afghanistan needs consensus more than ever.

    “The first meeting of the reconciliation council is a big step for building consensus in the peace talks. We have to agree on what is the roadmap for peace?” said Abdullah. “violence is the main barrier in the peace process and ceasefire is the main demand of the Afghan people,” he stressed.

    Mr Abdullah continued that the Afghan people are the owner of the peace process and entering the second phase of the peace process was a key step.

    “There is a political will for ending the war. The majority of the Afghan people demands a stable and dignified peace. Peace does not mean returning to the past,” he underlined.

    On the Afghan government’s peace negotiation team, Abdullah Abdullah said that the team proved two things: commitment to peace and commitment to the people of Afghanistan.

    According to him, Afghanistan needs the international community’s support in pursuit of a stable and comprehensive peace.

    Former President Hamid Karzai also said that the meeting is a good step for peace, which is the demand of every Afghan.

    “Unity among Afghans will ensure the success of peace efforts and it is necessary for all the politicians of the country to work together to achieve peace,” Karzai said.

    During the meeting, former Jihadi leader, Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayaf noted that peace is a necessity, but this is more necessary for us than the Taliban, because the responsibility of security of the nation is on our shoulders, not on the Taliban.

    “”The peace negotiating team has shown its toughness and we must show our support for them too,” Sayaf said.

    Former Vice-President Younes Qanouni cited that achieving peace is a national issue and must belong to all Afghan people.

    “The roadmap for achieving peace and unity of different views will be part of the next meetings of the council. There is a need for the voice of the people to be properly reflected in the design and management of peace,” Qanouni added.

  • 5 Dec 2020 Share this post

    Durand Line Fence Nearly Complete, Says Pakistan

    Pakistan’s military says it will have fenced off the 2,600-kilometer Durand line with Afghanistan within the next two months.

    As per VoA report, the Pakistan’s army’s media wing Friday shared the latest assessment with VOA on the massive unilateral construction effort that was launched in early 2017 to block militant infiltration, smuggling and other illegal crossings on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

    Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations, or ISPR, said the barrier has already been installed along “about 83 percent” of the western Pakistani frontier. Additionally, hundreds of new outposts and forts have been built under the roughly $500 million program.

    The pair of three-meter-high mesh fences, a couple of meters apart, are filled and topped with coils of razor wire, running through rugged terrain and snow-covered, treacherous mountains at elevations as high as 4,000 meters.