Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Alberto Cairo, an Italian lawyer-turned-physiotherapist who has been serving Afghanistan ever since he arrived in Kabul in 1990, is set to receive the Afghan citizenship from President Ghani.
“The beloved “Mr. Alberto” has fixed limbs and given hope through a war that never ceased entirely, and continues to kill and maim in record numbers”, a New York Times report by Mujib Mashal explained.
On Wednesday, the physical rehabilitation program of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which Mr. Cairo has led through several governments, commemorated its 30th anniversary.
The program has cared for nearly 180,000 patients and built about 200,000 artificial limbs — numbers Mr. Cairo tallies with a deep breath.
TOLO News interviewed Ms Robaba, a talented artist who is differently-abled girl. Ms Robaba has created wonders with her paintings by sketching them with her mouth, and has now started performing concerts for her fans to “raise a new hope for Afghanistan”.
Robaba, who has attended few international events, including Turkeys’ Mersin International Accessible Art Festival in October 2018, joined a singing class and a music group in May.
Her fellows in the music group said they have joined the team almost a year ago.
Her first performance was in front of a number of audience at her own Arts and Culture Center in Kabul on July 19.
Robaba, who was born in the central province of Ghazni with partial paralysis of her limbs, said she wants to be the voice of the Afghan people, women in particular, who are stills suffering from violence.
“I was encouraged by my friends. I want to experience new challenges except painting,” Robaba said. “I want to follow whatever I like. Despite painting, I want to be the voice of the Afghan people. My songs are mostly about Afghan women as I want to be their voice.”
Members of the group, titled “the Voice of Afghan People”, said they support peace in the country through music.
“I joined the group a year ago. Supporting peace is our main goal,” a member of the group, Huma Mohammadi, said.
“We want to be a platform for the women who want to raise their voices,” said Sadaf Hamidi, a member of the group.
Robaba’s first song, composed by head of their group, is about prosperity and peace in Afghanistan which is the dream of every Afghan.
120-day operation by Delhi Police’s special cell tracked down an Af-Pak narcotics cartel controlled by a Taliban leader and his Pakistani counterpart, leading to the biggest ever contraband haul in Delhi till date with the police stumbling upon a consignment of 150kg of heroin worth over Rs 600 crore, as reported by Times of India.
The drugs were embedded in jute strings that would be made into bags, which were then filled with spices and dry fruits to be exported to India. These bags were prepared at clandestine locations near Khogyani and others places around Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan.
A clandestine lab at Zakir Nagar in south Delhi, where the heroin was extracted from the jute threads, has also been busted. A Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Corolla Altis and other vehicles have been seized.
As per rough estimates, the cartel pushes heroin worth over Rs 5,000 crore into India. The module was cracked after cops tracked down a convoy of six cars plying on various routes around Delhi and Amritsar. While five of these cars carried the contraband, the sixth was driven by the kingpin who worked as the spotter for the cartel.
Police initially arrested five smugglers, including two-Afghan origin chemical experts, and then detained a sixth suspect on Friday. The arrested men were identified as Shinwari Rehmat Gul and Akhtar Mohammad Shinwari from Jalalabad, Vakeel Ahmed from Batla House, Dheeraj from Faridabad and Raees Khan from Maharani Bagh in south Delhi.
The Afghan Army in the north has announced that in the last one month, 21 Taliban commanders and a total of 481 insurgents of the group were killed as a result of Afghan security forces operations in Faryab.
209th Shahin Corps in a statement said on Saturday that, as a result of night raids, targeted operations of special forces and airstrike conducted over the past month in Ghormach, Khwaja Sabz Posh, Shirin Tagap, Pashtun Kot, Belcheragh, Dawlat Abad and Andkhoy districts of the province, 21 Taliban commanders were killed along with 481 members of the group.
The statement further added that, 273 Taliban insurgents including 13 commanders were injured in the operations and 56 others were detained.
During this month, Belcheragh district wasn’t under the control of Taliban group, the route from Maimana to Becheragh which contains over 60 villages was cleared, as per 209th Shahin Corps.
Apart from the above, the weapon and explosive cache of insurgents and strategic compounds of Taliban have been destroyed by security forces, as per 209th Shahin Corps.
However, the 209th Shahin Corps emphasized that over the past month in Faryab province, 17 security forces personnel were killed and 23 others were injured in the clashes.
US Central Command Chief General Kenneth McKenzie has said and assured that the US Army will continue to collaborate with Afghan armed forces.
The Office of Afghan Chief Executive in a statement said that General McKenzie made the remark while visiting CE Abdullah Abdullah.
In the meeting, Dr. Abdullah considered General McKenzie’s visit to Afghanistan as a sign of friendship and joint military cooperation between the two countries to fight against enemies and common threats, and praised the United States for its assistance and sacrifices in Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and the revival of Afghanistan.
Taliban not only failed to expand control of territories and seize of provincial capitals, but suffered massive casualty toll, CE Abdullah told in the meeting with US central command chief in Kabul.
Chief Executive of the Government urged international allies of Afghanistan to pay more attention to the safe havens of insurgents in Afghan war.
While praising the sacrifices of Afghan armed forces in combat against common enemy of Afghanistan and America, General McKenzie expressed satisfaction for the progress and capacity building of the Afghan Armed Forces.
He also reassured the continuation of United States army’s support with Afghan forces.
In the meeting both sides discussed about peace talks, holding presidential election and regional issues.
On the final day of the “National Coordination Conference among EVAW Entities” the Attorney General of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said that Presidential Palace has approved the plan of establishing a new directorate called General Directorate Of Combatting Violence Against Women At Offices and work is underway to form this directorate.
Mr. Farid Hamidi added that the AGO has prepared a plan for effective combating against harassment and annoying of women in offices, which has been approved by the President. He considers this as an important step toward Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) at public and private office and said, “Through this directorate, we can restore the trust and confidence of families that public and private offices have secured environment for working and serving Afghan public.”
The Attorney General also emphasized on closed coordination and cooperation among related entities for effective combat against violence against women. According to Hamidi, violence destroy the foundation of a family and to eliminate this phenomenon, it needs a decisive incentive and will of the entities to create an environment free of violence.
During the final day of this conference, Mr. Hamidi said that violence against women is existed in every society, but decreasing this phenomenon in Afghanistan needs a multi-dimensional and multi-entity approach. According to his belief, families, educational centers, Ulema, and Afghan media must give hand in hand and work along with the judicial sector of the country to enforce the law, ensure justice and eliminate the roots of violence against women in the country.
While expressing concern over the increase of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the AIHRC has called on the government, national and security forces to try more towards protecting the residents of the country.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in a statement condemned the suicide attack that took place in front of the southern entry gate of Kabul university on Friday and expressed concern over the surge in civilian causalities.
The statement further added that, harming the civilians, and in particular children, is an explicit violation of human rights, international human rights conventions, international humanitarian law and national law and indication of war crimes.
The commission called on government and ANDSF to try more for providing security for the citizens and said that the preparators of these incidents should be prosecuted.
The Independent Human Rights Commission also called on armed opposition to not hurt civilians, respect international humanitarian law, and implement its provisions in an inclusive manner.
This statement of AIHRC comes after a car bomb blast occurred on Friday near the southern entry gate of Kabul university, and 8 individuals lost their lives and more than 30 others were injured.
However, Taliban group in a statement rejected involvement in the attack. So far, no group has claimed the responsibility of the incident.
Afghan Security forces reported that three Taliban mine planters were killed by own bomb blast in Paktia province.
The statement by Ministry of Interior added that the insurgents were killed while they were planting a roadside bomb in Afzalkhi region, Ahmad Abad district of Paktia province.
Meanwhile, the General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) launched a security operation in Asad Abad City of Kunar province. As a result, two men were arrested as they were accused of helping Taliban insurgents.
In addition, five suspected insurgents were arrested in an overnight operation carried out by General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) in Chahar Bolak District of Balkh.
A brother of the Taliban’s shadow district governor for Chahar Bolak district was among those arrested.
The Ministry of Higher Education has urged all armed groups to observe the principle of impartiality, saying these groups shouldn’t change the academic centers into their political battlefields.
In reaction to the suicide attack that took place near Kabul university on Friday, the Ministry of Higher Education said in a statement that: “the explosion in front of the southern gate of Kabul university happened while a number of young people were waiting outside the university for taking an exam.”
While condemning the attack, the Ministry of Higher Education added that attacking academic centers, especially against education seekers who have nothing to do with the political and military issues of the country, is an inhuman act contrary to humanitarian norms.
The ministry also called on security institutions to cooperate in identifying the perpetrators of the attack with the Ministry of Higher Education.
Meanwhile, the car bomb blast occurred on Friday near the southern entry gate of Kabul university and claimed lives of 8 individuals and injured more than 30 others. Most of the victims of the incident are students and young people.
The Taliban group in a statement rejected the involvement of this attack.
The Afghan bodybuilding athlete Imam Ali Nabizada won the Bronze medal in the South Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship.
Nabizada secured the third spot to win the bronze medal in the category of Senior Men’s Bodybuilding 70Kg.
Nepal hosted the 12th South Asian Bodybuilding and Physcique Sports Championship 2019 in Kathmandu city.
The competition began on 8th of July and will continue until 21st of the month.
The acting U.S. defense secretary has authorized the deployment of U.S. military personnel and resources to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said on Friday, adding the move would provide “an additional deterrent” in the face of “emergent, credible threats.”
Over the coming weeks the deployment to Prince Sultan Air Base, intended to counter the threat from Iran, will grow to include fighter jets and Patriot long-range missile defense systems, the officials said. The Patriots have already arrived at the base and should be operational in mid-July, while the aircraft are expected to arrive in August.
Several hundred U.S. service members are already on site preparing the facility south of Riyadh, which is controlled by the Royal Saudi Air Force, a number that will grown to more than 500 after the arrival of an air squadron.
The officials told NBC that the deployment focuses on defensive capabilities, with Patriot batteries for missile defense and the fighter jets intended to defend U.S. forces on the ground. But they acknowledged the aircraft could be used offensively as well.
Riyadh had previously said it had approved hosting U.S. forces to boost regional security and stability.
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham remarked on Twitter that he hopes the Trump Administration will not give into “absurd Taliban demands” for US withdrawal within 18 months,
regardless of conditions on the ground, saying “We need a good deal, not a fake deal”.
”We now have a small US military footprint, along with our allies, that is an insurance policy against the reemergence of al-Qaeda/ISIS types and help hold Afghanistan together ”, Graham added.
He emphasised that how Afghanistan turns out is vitally important to US’s own national security interests as Afghanistan is the “place it all started on 9/11”.
Taliban officials and U.S. negotiators last week agreed on a draft peace pact setting out the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan within 18 months, potentially ending the United States’ longest war.
The details of the draft were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the war, more than 17 years since American-led forces invaded Afghanistan.
It stipulates that troops would leave within 18 months of the agreement being signed.
While no joint statement was issued, Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made “significant progress” and would resume shortly, adding that he planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials.
The officials of Ministry of Health announced on Saturday that 42 health facilities of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan in Maidan Wardak province have finally reopened after a couple of days of being forced to be shut by Taliban.
Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesperson at the Ministry of Health said in a tweet that: “all the 42 health facilities that were closed in Maidan Wardak province, have resumed their normal activities on Friday”.
Previously, the Swedish Committee had announced that 42 health facilities of the organization had been closed in six districts of Maidan Wardak due to threats posed by Taliban group.
The health facilities reopen in Maidan Wardak at a time when in an airstrike of the security forces was carried out in Day Mirdad district of the province that killed four civilians and demolished a health center of the Swedish Committee.