Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
An innovative new EU-funded scheme designed to empower Afghan girls and women has been formally launched.
The scheme has launched at a ceremony in Brussels, aims to give address stark disparities between males and females in the war-weary country.
Under the programme, women from Afghanistan will receive vital education and training in two neighbouring countries; Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
While women constitute nearly half of the estimated 35 million population of Afghanistan, their formal contribution to the country’s development remains low. The country ranks 168th out of 189 countries in the UNDP 2018 Human Development Report, and 153rd on its Gender Inequality Index.
The “Economic Empowerment of Afghan Women through Education and Training in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan” aims to address such issues.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Roman Vassilenko, deputy foreign minister in Kazakhstan outlined the “unique” features of the scheme, telling this website, “It is the first time the EU has financed the education of Afghan women in my country and Uzbekistan.”
He added, “This is significant because it shows the level of cooperation between the various parties and the opportunities that can be obtained by working together for the sake of Afghanistan’s future.
Initially, about 50 women and girls will be involved in the training and education programme but this is likely to be enlarged over time, he told EU Reporter.
Afghan security forces launched an overnight operation in northern Badakhshan province, killing at least 12 militants including a local commander, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement.
During the operations backed by fighting planes, the security forces targeted a Taliban hideout in Nusay district’s Lawakha area, killing 12 armed militants including their commander Qari Samiullah on the spot, the statement asserted.
Seven more militants were wounded in the raid, the statement added.
The Taliban group has not commented regarding the incident so far.
Afghan Railway Authorities has signed a contract with a Kazakhstani company to build a 43-kilometer rail track in western Herat province.
The Minister of Transport, Yama Yari in a press conference in Kabul on Thursday said, “It is part of last phase of a four-phase 225-km railway project that that connects Afghanistan with Herat.”
The projects begin from Iran’s Khaf city and ends in industrial park of Afghanistan’s Herat city. Two phases of the project, covering 76 km have been completed inside Iran and the third, covering 62 km, has been completed 95 percent inside Afghanistan.
The contract signed with Inkon KZ to build 43 km of the project is valued 58.5 million US dollars, which will be funded by the Afghan government.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced a ten percent decrease in Afghan security forces’ casualties in war against Taliban.
The Acting Interior Minister, Masoud Andarabi in a session of women’s presence in Afghan security forces’ ranks on Thursday said, “Although the Taliban have increased their attacks by 12 percent compared to last year, but as a result of effective measures taken by security agencies, the number of casualties dropped by 10 percent this year.”
According to Andarabi, the security forces operations have increased 26 percent this year which caused nine districts to be out of Taliban’s control.
However, the acting Interior Minister did not say further details about the number of security forces’ casualties, but emphasized on security forces’ success in defeating Taliban insurgents.
This comes as the Washington Post in a report citied that Afghan security forces had more casualties than the Taliban fighters in the past 18 years of conflict in the country.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has strongly condemned Taliban’s coordinated attack near military base in Afghanistan’s Bagram district on Wednesday.
“The attacks seriously damaged a hospital that was being rebuilt for the Afghan people,” Pompeo said in his statement. “This is precisely the kind of activity that we’re working to reduce through the efforts that we’re undertaking. The people of Afghanistan deserve an end to these senseless acts of violence.”
A powerful suicide bombing targeted an under-construction medical facility Wednesday near Bagram Air Base, the main American base north of Afghanistan’s capital.
The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack and Afghan officials said all the insurgents were killed.
The trilateral meeting of the delegations of Afghansitan, Uzbekistan and the United States was held on the sidelines of the 8th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference, the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan said.
As per Akipress report, the delegation of Uzbekistan was led by President’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev, U.S. delegation by Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells, Afghan delegation by acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Idris Zaman.
The ways to expand trade between the Central Asian states and Afghanistan, cooperation in socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, involvement of Afghanistan into regional integration processes were discussed during the consultations.
The sides agreed to hold trilateral consultations regularly to discuss ways to further deepen relations between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, to consider ways to facilitate such cooperation.
President Ashraf Ghani says the Afghan government is seeking to find an alternative energy production instead of using fuel and coal to prevent air pollution in the country.
The Presidential Palace in a statement has said that President Ghani met with the officials of Renewable Energy and Industrial Services Unions in support of solar energy systems aimed at reducing air pollution.
“Ghani declared that the government is seeking alternative energy production instead of using fuel and coal to prevent air pollution, and has set up a program starting from Kabul and the government agencies. They will use sunlight to prevent air pollution,” the statement said.
He further added that the program is intended not only for public utilities, but also for settlements, private utilities, townships, airfields and factories in the future to combat the phenomenon of air pollution in a sustained and serious manner.
“President has emphasized that in order to achieve this goal; the government is ready to become partner with all solar power companies in this sector to provide facilities,” the statement reads.
At least ten people were killed, wounded and some are missing in an avalanche in Badakhshan province, local officials said.
The spokesman of Badakhshan governor, Nik Muhammad Nazari told Repoterly that as a result of an avalanche on a goldmine factory in Raghestan district of Badakhshan ten people were killed and wounded on Wednesday.
According to Nazari, at least five dead bodies have been found and five other were wounded.
The death toll from the avalanche is likely to increase, as about 50 workers are working at the goldmine factory.
He further added that the area where the incident took place is under the control of Taliban and the communication networks have been cut off.
The Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS) has claimed that the insurgents collected about 550 million AFG on annual basis in power arrears of fives provinces.
The power company also warned of facing crisis if 6 billion AFG unpaid bills were not cleared.
“There are 32 districts where (the company) cannot collect the bills, located in Herat, Faryab, Kunduz, Baghlan and Helmand provinces,” DABS chief Amanullah Ghalib said.
DABS also said that the government institutions owe over 6 billion AFG to the company.
“From the total amount of 6 billion AFG, 2.5 billion are owed by the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior, so we call on the government to pay the money so that we avoid a possible recession next year,” he added.