Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Kabul: Days away from the Istanbul Summit, major criticisms have come to fore regarding the republic’s peace plan for the Turkish Summit, as a number of senators say that due to differences among the country’s politicians, the plan has not been determined yet.
The draft plan of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) was prepared by the drafting and unification committee six days ago and it was decided that the plan would be finalized during the leadership committee of the HCNR, but this meeting has not been held yet.
The Turkish summit is scheduled to take place in six days on April 24.
Mohammad Alam Izdiar, the first deputy speaker of the Senate, said, “There is still no news of the formation of the High Council of for National Reconciliation to finalize this plan within the framework of the republic, and this has caused concern among the people.”
On the other hand, the HCNR, while announcing the early formation of the leadership committee of the HCNR says that the draft of the Republic plan and the list of those who will attend the Istanbul meeting will be finalized.
At the same time, a number of senators, while accusing the United States of not being honest with the Afghan government and people, say that a number of politicians are worried about the US leaving the country because of the loss of their contracts with the Americans.
Kabul: In the amidst of military troops of the US and NATO withdrawing from Afghanistan by September 11, the German defense minister has stated that help will be provided to potentially endangered Afghan employees of her country’s military as it prepares to leave Afghanistan after nearly 20 years.
Germany currently has approximately 1,000 troops participating in the mission there, and at least 300 local employees.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that she wants to get employees who may face danger if they remain in Afghanistan to Germany quickly. “We are talking here about people who in some cases have worked for years by our side, at danger to their own safety, also have fought with us and made their personal contribution,” she said. “I see it as a deep obligation for … Germany not to leave these people behind unprotected now that we are finally leaving the country.”
Germany plans to set up an office in Kabul and probably also one in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan to help process cases. Germany already has a procedure to allow in some Afghan employees, under which the Defense Ministry reports 781 have been taken in since 2013. However, there have been some disputed cases.
“From my point of view, we have a changed situation because we are not talking about the rearrangement of a mission but about the end,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said. “And that possibly means a different security situation and a different evaluation.”
Kabul: As per a New York times report, the notification for the US troop withdrawal could be issued in the next few days, American officials said on Saturday.
As per the report, if the forces face threats from the Taliban, the troop withdrawal may end well before the deadline of September 11, said officials aware of the developments.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that all US troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. However, the Taliban released a statement saying that the extension of the deadline is a violation of the Doha agreement and that US will have to face consequences if the troops are not withdrawn by May 1.
The Taliban made clear that, with US troops leaving, they believed victory was in hand. They opposed any form of constitutional democracy or elections in favor of harsh Islamic rule.
There is growing concern that a hasty exit from Afghanistan could leave the country in disarray and that a civil war could take place. There is increase in violence as the Afghan government and the Taliban are involved in clashes and counter-clashes ahead of the Istanbul Summit. There are increasing concerns from human rights group about civilian casualties in the country.
A former top Pentagon official David Sadney was quoted as saying: “There is a humanitarian disaster coming. The Taliban are taking names, and they will start taking vengeance on women and young people, teachers and their families, who believed in US values. They will be killed and tortured because they bought into a vision the US supported and encouraged, ideas of democracy and free speech. I know Afghans who have and will die.”
The US, UN, Qatar are scheduled to meet to discuss the peace roadmap for Afghanistan in Istanbul from April 24 at the peace summit. Taliban, however, has refused to be a participant of any peace talks before troop withdrawal takes place.
Kabul: Gunmen assassinated an air force officer in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province on Sunday at 3:10pm in the Karte-e-Zaraat area of the PD9 of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Hanif Rezaei, spokesperson for 209th Shaheen Corps, identified the officer as “Abdul Sabur”.
Witnesses present at the scene of the incident said that two motorcyclists shot at Abdul Sabur. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the assassination.
Kabul: In a grim reminder of the attacks last November, local media sources said that a rocket hit the Kabul University campus on Sunday.
According to reports, the rocket hit the Kabul University’s Faculty of Sharia at around 1:00am on Sunday.
Reports suggest that the attack did not cause any casualties and the location from where it originated has not been confirmed yet.
Kabul University was attacked by two members of the IS-K group in November last year, killing 22 people and wounding 27 others. Most of the victims were students.
Kabul: A local Islamic State (IS) leader has been killed by Afghan Special Forces in eastern Nangarhar province on Saturday night, said National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s national intelligence agency on Sunday.
“Acting on a tip-off, the NDS Special Operations Forces conducted an operation in Kuz Kunar district, Nangarhar province, to arrest Kamin, known as Hakimullah, one of the IS’s newly designated local leaders,” NDS said.
“A gunfight occurred when the targeted man tried to flee from the area. As a result, Kamin, who served as IS military chief for Pachir Wa Agam and Haska Mina districts of Nangarhar was killed,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Afghan army personnel discovered and destroyed an attack tunnel of Taliban terrorists and arrested four terrorists in Sharsharak village of northern Balkh province on Friday night, the army’s 209 Shaheen Corps confirmed on Sunday.
The arrested militants tried to target an army operating base in the area by digging the tunnel, according to the source.
Kabul: In a bid to end violence against women and girl and to enable women-led civial society organizations to provide critical services to women and girls, the Germany embassy in Afghanistan contributed €500,000 to the Women Protection Center Trust Fund.
The UN Women Afghanistan in a series of tweets on Sunday quoted the German embassy as saying, “Women and girls in remote areas are not only at greater risk of experiencing violence, they are also less likely to receive assistance”.
Since the start of COVID19, women-led and women’s rights organizations are first responders to the needs of women and girl survivors of violence. Availing resources to help them maintain and sustain critical services for women and girl survivors is essential.
“Before COVID19, nearly 90% of women reported experiencing at least one form of intimate partner violence, and violence against women has further increased as a result of COVID19. This is why important initiatives like these are support,” the embassy to Kabul said.
“I look forward to growing the Afghanistan Women Protection Center Trust Fund into an initiative to provide quality and critical services with the support of donor community, women-led CSOs and under the leadership of Ministry of Women’s Affairs,” said Aleta Miller, UN Women Representative, Afghanistan.
Kabul: Over a telephone conversation, the Pakistani and Afghan foreign ministers on Sunday discussed the Afghan peace talks and said that the Istanbul Summit can help make the ongoing peace process “result-oriented”.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar discussed ways to bring an end to the decades-long conflict in the war-torn country, according to a statement by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.
Qureshi, who is currently on a three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, hoped that the Istanbul Conference will contribute to bring durable peace in Afghanistan, and make the 2020 Doha peace deal result-oriented.
Atmar, for his part, hailed Islamabad’s continuous “diplomatic, political and moral” contributions vis-a-vis Afghan peace dialogue. The two top diplomats agreed to meet during the conference, the statement added.
Islamabad-brokered peace talks in Doha, Qatar meant to end decades of war and carve out a path for a post-war Afghan society have made little headway since last September.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has stated that it is up to Pakistan to either choose friendship or enmity with Afghanistan. Pakistan has been repeatedly accused by Afghan government officials of hosting Taliban leaders and equipping the group’s fighters in Afghanistan, which is an accusation that has always been denied by that country.
Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Sunday reported 105 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-190 infection in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported six deaths due to the virus and 52 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of cases now stand at 57,898 while the number of reported deaths is 2,545 and the total number of recoveries is 52,168.
The Ministry of Public Health has warned of a third wave of the pandemic of the coronavirus in the country.
Kabul: Four police officers in Balkh province have been arrested on charges of corruption in contracts for “fuel and oil wastes”.
A security source confirmed the news, saying that the deputy director of security, logistics director, livelihood director and director of oil supply of the Balkh Police have been accused of corruption and abuse of authority in the contract for “fuel and oil subsistence materials” for the 1,400 fiscal year.
The men were detained by the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Corruption Police.
Kabul: At least two civilians have been killed in a roadside bomb blast in Qarabagh district of Ghazni province on Saturday evening, local sources said.
Fahim Amarkhail, spokesperson for Ghazni Police said that the incident took place in the village of Layeq in Qarabagh district.
Amarkhail added that the dead included a man and a woman. Another civilian was also injured in the blast, he said.
The spokesperson for the Ghazni police command explained that the incident was caused after the vehicle ferrying the victims hit the roadside mine.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Khairkhah, Qarabagh district governor, said that the mine had been planted by Taliban insurgents. Khairkhah added that Taliban insurgents have planted mines at most of the public roads leading to the district market after launching a heavy operation in the center of Qarabagh.
Referring to the Taliban attack, he said government forces had countered Taliban attacks in central Qarabagh.
The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter.
Kabul: Pakistan has to decide if it wants friendship with us or enmity, said Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday at a ceremony to hand over medals to 16 members of the Kabul Police and National Directorate of Security at the Presidential Palace.
“If Afghanistan is unstable, Pakistan will also be unstable,” added Ghani, following the decision of the United States and NATO to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Ghani said that they are fully prepared to protect the territory of Afghanistan and it is time to prove the national sovereignty of Afghanistan in a fully practical and neutral way. ”If Pakistan chooses friendship, Afghanistan is ready to cooperate with Pakistan by increasing regional and global cooperation,” he stressed.
President Ghani added that the Taliban have no religious legitimacy to continue the war, and that religious scholars in the Muslim world have called the war in Afghanistan illegal.
Pakistan has been repeatedly accused by Afghan government officials of hosting Taliban leaders and equipping the group’s fighters in Afghanistan, which is an accusation that has always been denied by that country.
Kabul: At least 28 Taliban insurgents have been killed and 28 others have been wounded in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement released on Sunday.
The Taliban suffered heavy casualties across the country including Nangarhar, Laghman, Ghazni, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Farah and Balkh during the past 24 hours.
The ministry added, that ANDSF discovered and defused 34 IEDs placed by the Taliban on public roads.
The Ministry of Defense also added that three Taliban insurgents were killed and two others were wounded in an ANA operation in the Zherai district of Kandahar province on Saturday.
According to the report, vast areas were cleared of Taliban influence and some weapons belonging to the militant group were also seized.
This comes even as three policemen were killed in an insider attack at Senjedak checkpoint in Muqur district of Badghis province, media reported.
Kabul: There is an urgent need of teachers in Bamyan province to promote education in the province, say officials at the Bamyan Department of Education.
The province is facing a serious shortage of teachers, a lack of classrooms and a lack of teaching materials in schools this solar year, said Mohammad Ayub Amiri, director of education in Bamyan.
The Bamyan Department of Education has named these shortcomings as its most pressing needs and called for an immediate response to these problems.
According to Amiri, there are currently 1,752 teachers in Bamyan, and this problem has significantly reduced the quality of teaching in schools.
The director of education in Bamyan adds that in this case, the existing teachers have to teach without interruption from the beginning till the end of the day; while acceptable teaching, he says, requires energy, preparation and a regular curriculum, the quality of the lesson automatically declines as there is no opportunity for preparation for teachers.
The director of education in Bamyan added that if the problem of lack of teachers in Bamyan schools is not addressed, the department will face very serious problems. Shortage of teachers in Bamyan has been alleviated by receiving a “fee”; but in the 1,400 academic year, tuition fees for teachers in the province have been cut.
Amiri says that the Ministry of Education has not yet made a decision in this regard and it is not clear whether this problem will be solved or not. Some institutions have organized local classes for children in remote villages, however, this has not happened this year.
Kabul: Four people were wounded in celebratory gunfire on Saturday night, say local officials in Herat province.
Jilani Farhad, spokesperson for the governor of Herat, said that one of the injured in this incident is a 13-year-old girl.
Farhad says that several people have been arrested by the provincial police in connection with the shootings in Herat.
Meanwhile, Herat police spokesperson Abdul Ahad Valizada said that five people had been arrested in connection with the shootings in Herat.
According to him, some other people involved in the shooting have also been identified and are being pursued by the police.
Celebratory gunfire was on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the fall of the former President Dr. Najibullah’s government in Herat.
Kabul: Eight members of a family were shot dead, two others were injured in Jalalabad, said local officials in Nangarhar province.
The incident took place at 9pm on Saturday in PD9 of Jalalabad city, Nangarhar Governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhail said.
Amarkhail also said that members of the family had been shot while performing Tarawih prayers. According to him, preliminary information shows that the incident took place in the house of a person named Haji Abdul Wahab, as a result of which five of his sons and three nephews were killed.
The governor of Nangarhar further said that the incident happened due to personal animosities.
Amarkhail stressed that efforts have begun to arrest the perpetrators of the massacre.
Kabul: The Taliban should take the opportunity to attend the Istanbul Summit seriously in order to gain support of the international community, said Andreas von Brandt, European Union ambassador in Afghanistan, on Saturday.
The envoy said that the Afghan peace process, led by the United Nations, has never been as talked about as it has been in the last few weeks. “I still hope that the Taliban will not miss this opportunity offered to them in Istanbul. Never I would say in the last five years has Afghanistan been again high on the agenda as it has been in recent weeks,” said the EU envoy.
The Taliban has not confirmed their attendance for the conference. US President Joe Biden earlier this week announced withdrawal of troops from the war-ravaged country by September 11. The US, UN and Qatar are planning a peace summit in Istanbul with the Afghan government and the Taliban to chalk out a future roadmap for the country. Taliban has refused to participate in any peace talks till the troops have been withdrawn, while the Afghan government is ready with a unified peace plan for the April 24 summit.
Kabul: India exports 48 percent of its sugar to Afghanistan and Indonesia according to statistics released by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).
Indonesia imported 11.5 lakh tons while Afghanistan imported 4.7 lakh tons of sugar. Indian sugar exports have seen an increase as Thailand’s sugar production has gone down giving India the opportunity to enter the market, Director General of ISMA Abhinash Verma said.
Thailand has been the largest exporter of sugar to Indonesia, a major importer of raw sugar along with China.