Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in a statement said to be shocked and outraged by reports about sexual abuse of over “500 children and youth” from six schools.
According to the statement, AIHRC said the sexual abuse of children is contrary to the principles of Islam and human dignity, and is an outright violation of human rights.
“Under the Convention on children rights and other international human rights standards, governments are committed to protect children from all forms of maltreatment, sexual abuse and physical or psychological abuse,” the statement said.
AIHRC has called on the Ministry of Education to seriously investigate the case and asked the judicial institutions to carry out the necessary investigations into the identification and documentation of child sexual abuse cases and prosecute those accused of child sexual exploitation and pornography.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Education has appointed a team to investigate allegations of sodomy in boys schools in central Logar province.
The ministry appointed the delegation after Guardian newspaper published an investigative report of sexual abuse of “550 children and youth” from six schools in Logar.
Civil society organisation, The Logar Youth, Social and Civil Institution, which has been working in the region for 16 years, revealed the extent of the abuse after discovering more than 100 videos on the social media site.
The institution is investigating other high schools in the region, believing thousands more children may have been abused.
The Taliban can never come back and establish their emirate as the Afghan women would never accept it, Afghanistan’s First Lady Rula Ghani said.
Speaking at the US Institute of Peace Mrs Ghani also emphasized the need to negotiate a durable peace accord. “Peace is a long process,” she said. “Whoever thinks it can happen in one or two months is wrong. Even if happens it will be shortlived.”
The Afghan First Lady disagreed with the assumption that a peace deal would restore the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. “We want peace because the Taliban are Afghans and have the right to be in Afghanistan, but a Taliban rule is not going to happen, not under my watch. Not as long as, my husband and I are there.”
She claimed that the Afghan society was already changing as women played greater roles in both family and national affairs. “Old ways are challenged day after day. The process of change has started and cannot be reversed.”
The First Lady agreed with the suggestion that other Afghan women should hold direct talks with Taliban women as such contacts in the past have produced positive results. “Taliban women are Afghan women. They are not very different,” she said. “Afghan women know that governments come and go but the system that protects their rights should stay.”
The International Peace Institute in a report said that the international community’s role in supporting women as vital stakeholders in an inclusive and enduring peace in Afghanistan was the subject of an October 30th IPI policy forum, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and the NYU Center for Global Affairs.
According to the report, Rina Amiri, Senior Fellow at the NYU center and longtime expert on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, said that while the world’s weariness with the ongoing Afghan war was speeding up people’s eagerness to come up with a way to end it, it was also resulting in concessions being made on earlier promises of inclusion.
“Women’s rights and inclusion has moved from an absolute priority of the international community to something that is relegated just to inter-Afghan talks,” she said.
In the meantime, Storai Tapesh, Deputy Executive Director, Afghan Women’s Network, said that recent peace negotiations between the Taliban and the United States in the Qatari capital Doha allowed for more women’s participation than in past talks but still did not attract the necessary support from the international community.
“We saw the added value of women during the recent dialogues in Doha,” she said. “It was us, the women of Afghanistan, who were putting important issues on the table. As opposed to the men, we were not negotiating out of a position of self-interest but pushing the real issues such as human rights, the red lines of the constitution and the need for an immediate ceasefire.”
The report added that Ms. Tapesh declared the women of Afghanistan are still “very much committed” to them and want to see them resumed and “facilitated” by the international community.
Clarifying the kind of support they needed, she said, “Afghan women do not want you to fight our battles; we need support for our voices and space to advocate for peace.”
The high number of surrenders, which includes women and children, has increased as hundreds of IS-K terrorists and their family members surrendered to Afghan forces in recent weeks.
18 IS-K members accompanied by 24 women and 31 children surrendered to Afghan forces on Friday in Achin district of Nangarhar province, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement on Saturday.
According to the MoD statement, the number of security forces’ operations against the IS-K group in eastern Afghanistan has been unprecedentedly increased.
“Over the last two weeks, 615 IS-K fighters and their family members had surrendered to the army in eastern Nangarhar province,” the statement reads.
On Thursday, 82 IS-K fighters handed over their weapons and surrendered to Afghan security forces in Achin district of Nangarhar, and were accompanied by 51 women and 96 children.
On Wednesday, ‘at least 300’ IS-K members, including women and children, surrendered to Afghan Special Forces in Nangarhar, according to Commander Waliullah, the Army Special Forces commander in Achin district.
At least four Afghan prosecutors were killed and wounded by attackers on the outskirts of the Kabul on Saturday, officials said.
The spokesman of Attorney General Office (AGO), Jamshid Rasouli said the prosecutors were on their ways from Kabul to Parwan that came under attacks in Qara Bagh district.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
This comes as attacks on prosecutors have increased in the recent months.
Three civilians have been confirmed killed as a roadside bombing launched by insurgents struck a car in southern Helmand province on Friday, said an army statement released on Saturday.
According to the statement, the mine planted by the armed insurgents on a road in Nad Ali district of the province struck a civilian car, killing three commuters on the spot and injuring four others.
Taliban insurgents who are operational in parts of Helmand province have yet to make comment.
Civilians often bear the brunt of war in the war-battered Afghanistan as 2,563 civilians had been killed and 5,676 others injured in the first nine months of this year, said a report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released in October.
US President Donald Trump has granted clemency to two Army officers, one of whom is in prison after being convicted in the killing of two men in Afghanistan.
Trump signed an order that gave a full pardon to Lieutenant Clint Lorance, who had ordered soldiers under his command to open fire on three men who were moving toward them on a motorcycle “with unusual speed,” according to a White House statement.
The president also pardoned Major Mathew Golsteyn, a Green Beret who has been charged with an unlawful killing in Afghanistan and was facing a court-martial.
According to the White House statement, Golsteyn had shot a man suspected of making a bomb that had killed two Marines “because he was certain that the terrorist’s bombmaking activities would continue to threaten American troops and their Afghan partners, including Afghan civilians who had helped identify him.”
Trump also ordered the promotion of Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who had been acquitted of killing a prisoner in Afghanistan but was found guilty on another charge because he posed next to the prisoner’s corpse. He was selected for promotion before the prosecution.
Afghan local officials say at least ten civilians have been burned by the Taliban insurgents in Jawzjan province.
The spokesman of Jawzjan province, Abdul Marouf Azar told Reporterly that the Taliban burned four shops in Darzab district of jawzjan on Thusday night.
According to Azar, the shopkeepers along with their fellows were inside the shops and burned and injured with the flames of fire.
He noted that the wounded were transferred to the hospital and four of them are now in good condition.
The Taliban group has not commented regarding the incident so far.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification in a report said that over 10 million people severely food insecure in Afghanistan.
According to the report, between August and October 2019, it is estimated that a total of 10.23 million people (33% of the total population) were in severe acute food insecurity and require urgent humanitarian action.
“These include around 7.79 million people in a Crisis situation and 2.44 million people in an emergency situation. Around 10.37 million people were also in a stressed situation and require livelihood support,” the report said.
The report stated that between November 2019 and March 2020, around 11.3 million people (37% of the total population) are estimated to likely experience severe acute food insecurity, out of which an estimated 8.6 million people will likely be in a Crisis situation and nearly 2.7 million people will likely be in an Emergency situation.
It further added that around 9.45 million people will be in a Stressed situation.
The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed the importance of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan.
“We train and advise Afghan security forces. To help them fight terrorism and to ensure that ISIS does not gain the foothold in Afghanistan that they lost in Iraq and in Syria,” he said.
Stoltenberg participated in a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
Chaired by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the meeting was convened to address the Coalition’s next steps following the death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi, as well as recent developments in northeast Syria.
Stoltenberg stressed that all Allies agree on the need to safeguard the gains made by the Coalition and support UN-led efforts to achieve a sustainable political solution in Syria.
He further pointed to NATO’s training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as important contributions in the fight against international terrorism.