Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Taliban have escalated violence in some provinces, killing 261 civilians and wounding 602 others in the past 50 days, the Ministry of Interior said.
Tariq Arian, spokesperson of the interior ministry, said in a video clip today that the number of civilians killed and wounded was a result of nearly 2,000 Taliban offensives.
Heavy casualties were also inflicted on the Taliban fighters during the counterattacks by security and defense forces, according to Arian.
He also said that nearly 2,000 Taliban fighters had been killed or wounded in the past 50 days.
Sarwar Danesh, the second Vice President, says the Taliban have failed to meet their commitments to advance peace talks and reduce violence; effectively shutting down the peace process.
Danesh was meeting Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO’s civilian ambassador to Afghanistan.
According to Danesh, the Taliban, despite its claims and commitments in the agreement with the United States, has not cut ties with terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, NATO Civilian Ambassador Stephano Pontecorvo said that the reduction of violence is important for the progress of peace talks, and said that the Taliban must live up to its commitments and reduce violence.
Pontecorvo added that the stalemate in the Doha peace talks could only be resolved through the flexibility of the two sides and the change in the Taliban’s view of the realities in Afghanistan.
The process of registering vehicles without customs-traffic documents has begun.
Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal said that the aim of the process is to increase national revenues, ensure security, and prevent traffic disruptions.
“Starting the process of registering undocumented vehicles is a step towards better security because in the past, most of the illegal work was done by these vehicles,” Arghandiwal said.
The process of registering undocumented vehicles starts on Oct 31 and will continue until the next month. Any vehicle that enters Afghanistan without customs documents will be confiscated.
Earlier, Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president said that there had been complaints of undocumented vehicles for years and it is one of the serious challenges in tracking down criminals.
He called on people to legalize their vehicles as soon as possible by paying taxes or their cars will be handed over to the police or they will be distributed to the martyrs’ heirs.
The Taliban has reiterated that there is no mediator between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in the intra Afghan peace talks.
“The host country [Qatar] can share its views and advice individually, if necessary, without participating in intra Afghan negotiation sessions,” said Mohammad Naeem, a spokesperson for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar.
The peac2e talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban have hit a standstill as disagreement on the procedural rules prevails between both the parties and the host country have urged both the parties to cooperate.
Maulvi Ismail, the former district governor of Qaisar, along with 28 Taliban terrorists were killed in clashes between Afghan national defense security forces and the Taliban near Jarlaq and Ishan villages of of Faryab province.
14 more terrorists were wounded and two of their main bases were destroyed.
These preemptive attacks by the defense and security forces on the enemy bases were carried out as the Taliban had plans to attack the positions of the security forces stationed in Qaisar.
Afghanistan has produced 6,966 metric tonnes of pears this year despite the fluctuation of pear yields in different provinces, the Ministry of Agriculture said.
According to last year’s survey, 6,966 metric tons of pears were produced in the country from the cultivation area of about 2,473 hectares, the ministry said.
Pear yields decreased by 700 metric tonnes in Badakhshan province due to the cold weather, but production increased in Herat by 8% and in Maidan Wardak by 16%.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced that in the past 24 hours, 91 new Coronavirus cases were found positive from the 210 samples tested across Afghanistan, pushing the confirmed cases to 41,425 so far.
According to the MoPH, three people succumbed to the virus while 63 have recovered.
New cases were reported in the provinces of Kandahar(20), Takhar (20), Baghlan(15), Khost (15), Paktya (14), Kundiz (5), Lagman (1), Paktika (1).
Afghanistan has 5,568 active COVID-19 cases with 1,536 deaths and 34,321 recoveries.
Officials said that 74 Taliban fighters were killed in army airstrikes in parts of the Kandahar province.
Jamal Nasser Barakzai, Kandahar police spokesperson said that the attacks took place last night in the Jari, Maiwand and Arghandab districts.
Afghan air force had targeted areas near Camp Ahmad Khan in the Jari district, killing 34 Taliban fighters. At least 12 Taliban insurgents were killed in a US airstrike in the Mujahid Camp area between Maiwand and Jerry districts.
In addition, 28 Taliban fighters were killed and three more were wounded in the airstrikes carried out in the Chahar Gholbeh, Khosrow and Joey Lahore areas of Arghandab district.
Security officials reported that the Taliban were relocated to residential houses in Arghandab district and security forces were forced to be more careful during clashes.
Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president said that the experiment with devices that destroy the Taliban’s sniper rifles or Bezbezak weapon have been successful. The devices will be provided to all armed forces and explained to them through a video conference by the office of the National Security Council.
The First Vice President stated that the “methodical and data-based” assessments of the security pact plan show that the level of satisfaction in the last 48 hours of the team has been 76%.
The National Security Pact program was introduced by the Ministry of Interior for upgrading security measures in the country.
Saleh said it was reported in today’s meeting that in the last 48 hours, there were three incidents of violent attacks. He announced that an officer in the Qaley Aroq area of Qarabagh district was assassinated, another was the intimidation of a businessman in the Karte Parwan area by a gang of thieves named Hasib Qoway Markaz, and the theft of a vehicle in PD3.
Saleh added that the office has achieved progress in connection with these cases and said to “wait for the good news” and that “these cases should be reduced to zero.”
Saleh also stated that government departments are directed to support the security program and all obstacles have been removed.
Saleh further pointed out that every problem and academic commentary conveyed to us on social media and that is presented for improvement is appreciated with sincerity. “Only a strong government can protect the dignity of any individual. So work with your government,” he said.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an $18.28 million grant for a project to enhance agricultural productivity in the Panj-Amu river basin in northeast Afghanistan.
The grant will aid the Panj–Amu river basin project to improve access to water and enhance the resilience of watersheds to disaster and climate risks by expanding project activities in the provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Takhar.
It will also improve water access and management in the provinces of Samangan, Baghlan, Bamiyan, Panjshir, Parwan, and Wardak.
According to ADB, the aid will help in the expansion of forestry and rangeland protection from 10,000 hectares to 27,760 hectares, which will support water availability to rural households for irrigation.
“Agriculture remains a major engine of growth for Afghanistan and plays an important role in improving the lives of the Afghan people,” said ADB Senior Project Officer Mohammad Hanif Ayubi.
“This additional financing will help Afghanistan in its recovery from COVID-19 by improving water availability for irrigated agriculture and creating more employment opportunities for rural communities.”
The Panj–Amu River Basin is a major production centre for wheat, rice, vegetables, and fruit. Increasing agricultural productivity in the area is expected to help address food insecurity and increase per capita incomes in rural communities.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto urged the global community to not forget Afghanistan and held stabilise the nation ahead of the 2020 Afghanistan Conference scheduled in Geneva later this month.
“Unfortunately, the aid has not come for all areas in the country,” said Haavisto, who was in Doha after visiting Afghanistan to discuss the peace process and the upcoming international pledging conference in Geneva.
He was giving a lecture organised by the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.
Haavisto said that Finland has so far contributed €385 million euros to the international aid for Afghanistan since 2002.
“As the international donors prepare for the conference in Geneva in November this year, our message to the donors will be not to forget Afghanistan,” he said.
“We all need peace in Afghanistan, particularly the neighbouring countries like Iran, Pakistan and India. Our battle while preparing for the conference is to convince the donors to commit for the development in Afghanistan. There should be no donor fatigue.”
He called Qatar’s role in hosting the ongoing Afghan peace process “appreciable” and expressed hope for the success of the peace talks.
“There are always people who promote cynicism whenever there are peace negotiations. I am however hopeful for the success of the ongoing process,” Haavisto added.
Haavisto paid a two-day visit to Afghanistan on Oct. 26–27 to discuss current issues and the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, co-hosted by Finland, the Afghan Government and the United Nations.