Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
A series of airstrikes killed 5 insurgents of the Taliban group and the offshoot of IS-K, in three provinces of Afghanistan in the past 24 hours.
The military officials said an airstrike killed 3 Taliban militants in Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
The officials further added a similar airstrike killed a militant of IS-K in Tswoky district of Kunar province in the East.
Another airstrike killed a Taliban militant in Deh Yak district of the restive Ghazni province in South-east of Afghanistan, the officials added.
Afghan Acting Defense Minister, Asadullah Khalid says his country’s forces are committed to preserving the gains of the past two decades.
The Defense Minister in an interview with Gandhara-RFE-RL said that they promise the people that their army will defend all the gains of the past two decades under any circumstances.
He emphasized that no agreement that compromises the achievements of the past two decades will be acceptable.
Mr. Khalid noted that Afghan security forces are not concerned about where and when the Taliban will implement their plans.
“We are in pursuit of the Taliban both in the spring and now, and the Afghan security forces have the upper hand in the war,” he added.
At least three people were killed and two others were wounded when the roof of a snooker club collapsed in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province on Thursday, officials confirmed.
Initial reports indicatedthat the incident in Police District 7 of the city was an explosion.
Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for provincial governor, however, said that the incident was roof collapse.
An explosion occurred in a sports gym in PD7 of Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province on Thursday, officials said.
Ataullah Khogyani, the spokesman of Nangarhar governor has confirmed the incident but refused to give further details.
Details to follow…
Environmental issues have become impossible to ignore and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been supporting Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency to develop its first National Environmental Policy.
For the youth of Afghanistan, development cannot ignore a healthy environment.
As Mustafa Sarwar, a student at Kabul University, explained, “My dream for Afghanistan’s environment is to live in a city without waste, noise, water and air pollution.”
Bringing Afghanistan’s young people into the conversation has been an important part of the development of the National Environmental Policy. Late in 2019, UNEP facilitated several workshops with youth from Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh and Herat provinces to give them a voice in shaping the future of the country’s environmental policies. The project engaged 120 university students, putting an emphasis on gender representation.
Students from Balkh University expressed concerns regarding the increasing impact of climate change and population growth on the water supply. They noted that over the last few years extensive drought has been the most serious and impactful environmental change.
Students from Kabul University, meanwhile, emphasised the impact of air pollution. Due to the cost of energy, many residents of Kabul turn to burning plastic, cloths, rubber and other cheap alternatives. Air pollution has gotten so bad in Kabul recently that 17 died from hazardous air conditions in the last week of 2019 alone.
In January 2020, the collected views were presented at the first inter-Ministerial National Environment Policy planning event, led by the National Environment Protection Agency of Afghanistan.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has said that he had already held talks with the newly inaugurated president Zoran Milanović on the appointment of the new chief-of-staff of the armed forces and the engagement of Croatian troops in the peace mission in Afghanistan.
“Yes, we discussed some of those topics this morning. One of them being the appointment of the new chief-of-staff of the Croatian Armed Forces. The government will tomorrow nominate Mr Hranj and the new president has agreed with that,” Plenković told reporters ahead of a meeting of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leadership.
The PM confirmed that he had spoken with Milanović on the phone and that one of the topics was the participation of Croatia’s contingent in the NATO-led peace mission in Afghanistan.
Plenković explained that they had agreed that the 12th contingent would be deployed now that the engagement of the 11th contingent had ended.
“Croatia can make a decision entirely on its own, by sticking to the rules of gentlemanly behaviour and fairness. In half a year, things should be positioned differently,” he said when asked by reporters if Croatia would make an autonomous decision on withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.
He said that Croatian troops had not belonged in Afghanistan for three years and that troops should be withdrawn.
“Our soldiers who serve in the mission there will have the opportunity to use their competence and experience and make some money in other parts of the world. That’s national policy,” he stressed.
Currently 60,000 NATO troops are participating in the mission in Afghanistan, including 110 from Croatia.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs has congratulated Ashraf Ghani on his re-election as President of Afghanistan.
The Indian Ministry in a press release said, “We congratulate President Dr. Ashraf Ghani on his re-election following the announcement of final results of the Presidential elections by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan.”
According to the press release, India announced support from the democratic aspirations of the people of Afghanistan and remains committed to continue to work with the new Government and the democratic polity in strengthening our bilateral strategic partnership in fighting the scourge of externally sponsored terrorism and for an enduring and inclusive national peace and reconciliation which is Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled.
“We hope that the new Government and all political leaders in Afghanistan would work to strengthen national unity, promote inclusivity and protect the rights and interests of all sections of society,” the press release added.
Wishing an early conclusion of Afghan peace agreement, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Pakistan had played its due and sincere role in facilitating the Afghan peace talks, and now it was being regarded ‘as part of the solution and peace’.
Contrary to the country’s past image when it was branded as part of the problem, Pakistan today emerged as the major leader for peace and stability in the region, the foreign minister said during an interview with SAMAA Tv channel programme.
He said the peace process in Afghanistan should not be derailed as it would not be in the interest of Afghan people, who strongly deserved it.
Afghan security forces killed a prominent Taliban group leader during an operation in North-eastern Badakhshan province, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.
MoD in a statement said the security forces ambushed Ataulah, one of the prominent group leaders of Taliban in Baharak district.
According to the statement the security forces laid the ambush late on Wednesday night in Sarpul Shahr Village of Baharak.
The statement added that Ataullah was mainly involved in plotting, coordinating and implementing terrorist attacks in Bahrak district of Badakhshan province.
The European Commission is releasing an additional €21 million in humanitarian aid for Afghan refugees in neighboring Iran and Pakistan.
The announcement was made at the International Conference on 40 Years of Hosting Afghan Refugees held in Pakistan.
On the occasion, Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: “The EU continues to stand by the people of Afghanistan, as well as the many who have fled to neighboring countries. I commend Pakistan and Iran for hosting millions of refugees. Our funding will provide refugees and host communities with basic services, such as health, education, and water supply.”
The EU’s emergency assistance will also help families affected by the recent extreme weather conditions in the areas of Baluchistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir, as well as the floods in southern Iran.
The announcement brings the EU humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to €300 million for 2016-2020.
Seven Romanian gendarmes were awarded medals in Afghanistan for their contribution to the NATO ‘Resolute Support’ mission, the Romanian Gendarmerie has informed in a press release.
“The head of the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan, US General John Dedrick, on Wednesday, awarded medals to seven Romanian gendarmes for their contribution to the NATO ‘Resolute Support’ mission,” reads the release.
According to the cited source, during the mission in Afghanistan, the Romanian gendarmes advised the command and the functional structures of the Police Staff College of the Afghan National Police, contributing to the smooth functioning of this training structure.
“The cooperation relations of the Romanian Gendarmerie with NATO are based on the context of participation in training, counseling and mentoring missions under the aegis of this mission in Afghanistan, starting with 2011 within the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan. Until now, the Romanian Gendarmerie has deployed in Afghanistan 12 contingents,” the release mentions.
The Romanian Gendarmerie is currently participating in nine missions under the aegis of the EU, the UN and the OSCE