Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghan health authorities are establishing isolation wards across the country ahead of a potential influx of coronavirus cases, an official said Sunday, as governments worldwide monitor the disease’s spread.
No cases have been recorded in Afghanistan so far, and the war-torn country’s health services have set up screening units at airports and borders, public health minister Ferozuddin Feroz said.
“We have put serious measures in place,” Feroz told reporters.
He said that in Kabul, authorities have created a 100-bed isolation ward, and another 200 or so beds will be made available across the country in Afghanistan’s creaking hospitals.
Feroz said 262 people—including 233 Afghans—who flew into Kabul’s airport from China during the past week had all been screened, and health officials have remained in contact with them to check on their health.
About 40 Afghan students are currently in Wuhan—the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in neighbouring China. Feroz said the Afghan government had a chartered plane at the ready to bring them home if needed.
Coronavirus is similar to the SARS pathogen and has killed more than 300 people in China and spread around the world since emerging in Wuhan.
On Sunday, China’s National Health Commission said more than 14,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus.
Outside mainland China, there have been more than 100 infections reported in more than 20 countries.
The World Health Organization has declared an international emergency over the outbreak.
Despite overtures from the Taliban and declining interest among Americans, it is essential that the United States remain in Afghanistan, retired US Army Gen. Jack Keane said this week at a Heritage Foundation event.
Over the past 18 years, Keane said, the U.S. has made tremendous progress at preventing another attack on the U.S. from al-Qaeda originating from Afghanistan. But military withdrawal now, he said, would have extremely negative consequences.
Keane also said his politically astute sources in Afghanistan say the Taliban, the fundamentalist Islamic military organization that used to control the country, wouldn’t win a single district in the event of an election.
“The people absolutely do not want them because they’re living under their boot,” Keane said of the Taliban. “They’re living under their tyranny. They’re living under the fact that they can’t educate their children.”
The Deputy and Acting Foreign Minister Muhammad Haroon Chakhansouri met Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Raşit Meredow, the Ministry of Foreign said.
MoF in a press release said that the Acting Foreign Minister congratulated the Turkmen Foreign Minister on the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s impartiality.
According to the press release, both sides reflected over extending relations between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and on implementation of regional connectivity projects, including TAPI.
It further added that the meeting was followed with exchanging views on strengthening interministerial cooperation and political consultations, including the road map of cooperation between relevant organizations of both countries.
“They agreed on holding the inter-governmental commission in Kabul in March and to finalize and implement treaties between the two countries enter alia on buying gas and oil,” the press release reads.
They further exchanged views about peace talks where the Turkmen Foreign Minister expressed his government’s support for an Afghan led peace process.
The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has met with US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation at the Sepidar Palace and discussed the recent developments on Afghan peace process.
The Executive Office in a statement said that Khalilzad has briefed CE Abdullah about efforts and talks with the Taliban in Doha to achieve peace, his recent trip to Brussels, talks with NATO members and his visit to Islamabad and discussions with Pakistani officials.
“The United States adheres to the principle of reducing violence by defining and adopting a specific and acceptable mechanism for the US, the Afghan government and the people of Afghanistan as a precondition for signing a peace agreement with the Taliban, and is waiting for the Taliban’s response,” Khalilzad said.
The US peace envoy also noted that the Afghan negotiating delegation in the peace talks with the Taliban should be inclusive and represent all people of Afghanistan.
In the meantime, CE Abdullah praised the efforts of the United States and Khalilzad to achieve peace, saying peace was one of the main demands and needs of the Afghan government and people, and hoped the Taliban would understand the realities of society and seize the opportunity to join the peace process.
The Junbesh party led by General Abdul Rashid Dostum in a statement has called on President Ashraf Ghani to ‘apologize’ for his remarks about Uzbek people.
The party has also announced to declare their official stance over the President’s remarks about Timur Gurkani on Sunday.
Ghani recently delivered a speech to a group of Afghan students on History, Culture, and the National Identity where he taunted Timur Gurkani using the word ‘lame’ – Timur Lang (Persian) – which spread anger among the Turk and Uzbek tribes of Afghanistan.
“Alauddin Jahanzos destroyed Afghanistan’s central irrigation system, Genghis Khan demolished the irrigation system of the northern provinces and the ‘lame’ Timur – Timur-e-Lang wiped-out the irrigation system for Sistan, Farah, and Helmand provinces,” Ghani said.
Some elders and leaders of Uzbeks criticized Ghani and acknowledged the President’s remarks ‘offensive’.
However, the Presidential Palace in a statement urged the political parties to not use people’s emotions to advance their political and electoral goals by spreading irritating and provocative messages.
“Ashraf Ghani as the President of Afghanistan values the culture, history, identities of different ethnic groups living in Afghanistan and has made great efforts to restore the ethnic, historical, cultural and cultural identities,” the statement said.
Timur Gurkani or Amir Timur was one of the first Emperors of the Timur Dynasty ruled in parts of the central Asia from 1370 to 1507.
An official with Iran’s Foreign Ministry stressed the need for expanding governmental relations between Kabul and Tehran in a meeting with the Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib late on Saturday.
Mohib said that Afghanistan has had independent relations with its neighbors based on its interests.
Afghanistan has always favored ties between governments, he said, hoping that neighboring states are expected to determine future of their ties with Afghanistan by keeping the same principle in mind.
Special Representative of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Ebrahim Taherian, for his part, said that Iran supports Afghanistan peace process under leadership of Afghans.
Only Afghan-Afghan talks can bring lasting peace to Afghanistan and more attention needs to be paid to this area, he said.
At least 34 Taliban insurgents have been killed and 11 others wounded in multiple extensive military crackdowns carried out by the Afghan security forces across the country in the last two days, security officials said.
Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a statement said the Afghan National Army (ANA) in collaboration with Afghan National Police (ANP) and National Directorate of Security (NDS) personal conducted joint operations against insurgents in different areas of Helmand, Urzgan, Zabul, Baghlan and Balkh provinces, in which 34 insurgents were killed and 11 others wounded.
Afghan security forces arrested three suspects and handed them over to the judicial organs for further inquiry.
Afghan National Defense and Security Forces shelled and bombed the enemies’ positions and sanctuaries by artilleries and air forces.
Afghan local officials in the northern province of Baghlan say that the Afghan security forces have recaptured the Guzargah-e-Noor district and cleared the district of Taliban fighters. The district was under Taliban control for approximately five months, said local officials.
Security forces said the Afghan national flag replaced the Taliban’s white flag.
A commander of the Afghan National Army (ANA), who participated in the operation, said: “In the winter, we persisted in our operations and retook Dahna-e-Ghori, Dand-e-Ghori and Gazargah-e Noor districts, and the operation will be ongoing.”
The provincial council of Baghlan stressed on keeping further pressure on the Taliban.