Newsfeed; Thursday, February 27 2020

Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Developing: One Killed, 10 Wounded in Kabul Bomb Explosion

    At least one civilian was killed and 10 others were wounded in a bicycle bomb explosion in PD6 of Kabul City, security officials confirmed.

    The spokesman of the Interior Ministry, Nasrat Rahimi said an Improvised Explosive Device attached onto a bicycle parked at the side of a road in Sarkarez area PD6 was detonated at around 18:20pm (local time) on Thursday.

    No group has claimed responsibility for the incident so far.

    The blast comes during a week-long reduction in violence ahead of US-Taliban deal scheduled to be signed on Saturday.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Developing: Six Civilians Wounded in Bicycle Bomb Blast in Kabul

    At least six civilians were wounded in a bicycle bomb explosion in PD6 of Kabul City, security officials confirmed.

    The spokesman of the Interior Ministry, Nasrat Rahimi said an Improvised Explosive Device attached onto a bicycle parked at the side of a road in Sarkarez area PD6 was detonated.

    No group has claimed responsibility for the incident so far.

    The blast comes during a week-long reduction in violence ahead of US-Taliban deal scheduled to be signed on Saturday.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    HerCode Global Partners to Launch Blockchain Education Program for Afghan Girls

    HerCode Global Partners has announced their collaboration with USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Digital Citizen Fund in Afghanistan to launch a program providing over one hundred Afghani high-school girls education in blockchain technology.

    HerCode in a report said that this program furthers HerCode’s mission to empower women to have a prominent role in this new era of technology through blockchain education.

    “With a focus on underserved communities, HerCode hopes to prevent the widening gender gap in the blockchain industry by providing girls and women from around the world an opportunity to learn, contribute, and earn digitally,” the report reads.

    Blockchain technology promises to reduce barriers for all and democratize accessibility to knowledge and wealth.
    “Unfortunately, accessibility is really not an option for many women, particularly those from disadvantaged communities or developing regions,” the report said.

    Heidi Pease, Founder of the Los Angeles Blockchain Lab said, “We aim to make this technology more readily available for all through our strategic partnerships and programs, from the corners of our local communities to the farthest outreaches abroad.” [HerCode is an Impact and Diversity initiative under the LA Blockchain Lab].

    Nicole Campa, Co-founder of HerCode added, “The major benefits of blockchain technology and the positive change it will provide on a global scale can only happen if the pool of people who create it are as diverse as possible.”

    The World Economic Forum predicts “10% of total GDP to be stored on blockchain by 2027,” yet today less than 9% of the bitcoin community and fewer than 7% of blockchain developers are female. To address this crisis, HerCode aims to equip women.

    Roya Mahboob, Founder of the Digital Citizen Fund said, “DCF’s mission is to increase women’s participation and advancement in the workplace by providing women with quality education, training, and support. Partnering with HerCode provides women in underserved populations a pathway to digital literacy, specifically blockchain which could transform the societies in which they live for the better.”

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    UNHCR Welcomes EU’s Humanitarian Aid of €21 Million for Afghan Refugees

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency Thursday welcomed the European Union’s generous humanitarian aid of €21 million for Afghan refugees and their host communities in Iran and Pakistan. This funding will be channelled towards basic services, such as health, education and access to water.

    The announcement of the additional humanitarian funding was made at the Refugee Summit Islamabad, which marked 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The conference was co-organized by the Government of Pakistan and UNHCR.

    The European Union’s gesture demonstrates continued commitment towards solidarity and burden- and responsibility-sharing with countries such as Pakistan, which hosts large numbers of refugees.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Attorney General Rejects Complaints about Social Media Users Insulting Saleh

    Afghanistan Attorney General’s Office has said it rejected dozens of complaints about comments on social media that allegedly insulted Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president-elect.

    In a statement, AGO said that Green Trend, an organization led by Saleh, had referred 39 individuals to it for investigation over insults against Saleh.

    AGO said that insulting people is considered crime according to the country’s penal code, however, since the complaints were not made by the victim himself, it refused to investigate them.

    This comes as Amnesty International on Wednesday criticized the referral.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    UK FCO Minister for South Asia Confirms Position on Afghan Elections Results

    UK Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for South Asia Lord Ahmad has commented on the outcome of the Afghan presidential elections.

    The FCO Minister in a press release said that the UK notes the announcement of the results by the Independent Election Commission on 18 February.

    “I commend the bravery of the people who exercised their democratic right to vote, and pay tribute to the military and civilian institutions who ensured a peaceful Election Day,” Lord Ahmad said.

    According to the press release, the Minister emphasized that UK will continue to work with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to protect and expand such rights and strongly encourage any concerns around the electoral process to be handled through due legal and constitutional processes.

    He welcomed President Ghani’s decision to postpone the presidential inauguration to 9 March. Afghan leaders need to peacefully resolve their political differences and cease any activity that stands in the way of unity.

    Now is the time to come together and make preparations to pursue peace,” he added.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Ghani & Abdullah Teams Enter Negotiations

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s sides have entered negotiations, Abdullah’s side said.

    Enayatullah Babur Farehmand, who ran for first vice president post alongside Abdullah, said that the sides started negotiations following the mediation of US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.

    He said that the postponement of swearing-in ceremony and stopping the appointment of provincial governor were accepted.

    Farehmand said that peace has been a priority for Abdullah’s electoral team, but it is committed to defend people’s clean votes.

    Ghani had planned to hold his second-term inauguration ceremony today (Thursday), but he postponed it to March 9.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Uzbekistan Envoy Met Afghan Minister of Transport

    Special Representative of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev met with the Acting Minister of Transport of Afghanistan, Yama Shams, Uzbekistan MFA reports.

    Yama Shams expressed his sincere gratitude to the leadership of Uzbekistan for efforts to restore the national economy of Afghanistan, assistance in launching a peaceful political process in the country, as well as implementation of various economic projects in the interests of Afghan people.

    The parties discussed the current level and prospects of bilateral cooperation in economic and transport-communication spheres.

    The parties discussed the issue of increasing the volume of Uzbekistan transit cargo through the territory of Afghanistan to the third countries.

    An agreement was reached on further elaboration and early signing of bilateral documents on procedures for interaction and coordination between air traffic services bodies, as well as on international road transport.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Afghan Father Demands Kunduz Airstrike Justice before Europe’s Human Rights Court

    A NATO airstrike that killed scores of Afghan civilians in 2009 has gone before the European Court of Human Rights. The plaintiff, who lost two sons, challenges Germany’s refusal to prosecute a German commander.

    Strasbourg-based judges began hearing a complaint Wednesday by the father Abdul Hanan over Germany’s refusal to prosecute a German colonel who ordered US warplanes to bomb Taliban-hijacked tanker trucks carrying fuel.

    Killed before dawn on September 4, 2009, were civilians who had swarmed to the trucks, stuck on a river sandbank, to siphon fuel — seven kilometers from a German base, then commanded by Colonel Georg Klein, at Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

    Klein, said prosecutors, had suspected the trucks were primed to attack military personnel.

    The Strasbourg court has indicated that its decision is still one year away.

    The European Court of Human Rights in its pre-hearing summary said reports indicated that “between 14 and 142 people” were killed, “mostly civilians,” including Hanan’s sons, Abdul Bayan and Nesarullah, then aged 12 and 8 respectively.

    Addressing the court Wednesday, Hanan’s legal team said the-then commander issued a string of “binding instructions” for the airstrike, without any UN control, thereby breaching the European Convention on Human Rights

    For the German government, lawyer Heike Krieger asserted the airstrike was carried out “in the name of the United Nations,” not under German jurisdiction.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Russia to Observe US-Taliban Agreement

    Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is Moscow’s observer at the US-Taliban accord expected to be signed on Feb. 29.

    The Russian embassy in Qatar said in a statement that Russia’s President’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan will oversee US-Taliban peace accord.

    US Secretary of State had earlier said that America was preparing to sign a peace treaty with the Taliban group on Feb. 29.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Roadside Bomb Kills Seven Taliban Insurgents in Balkh

    At least seven Taliban insurgents were killed after a roadside bomb exploded in northern Balkh province on Wednesday evening, officials said.

    The incident happened when a car carrying Taliban militants was hit by the roadside bomb in Yol Buldi village of Dawlat Abad district, the army’s 209 Shaheen Corps said in a statement.

    No civilian or security personnel were hurt in the blast, the statement added.

    The blast comes during a week-long reduction in violence ahead of US-Taliban deal scheduled to be signed on Saturday.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    Japan Provides 3.8m USD for Sustainable Management of World Heritage Site in Bamyan

    Ministry of Information and Culture has officially endorsed a new project in the Culture Sector, in an agreement signed between Mitsuji SUZUKA, Ambassador of the Embassy of Japan and Jordan Naidoo, Director of the UNESCO Kabul Office and Representative to Afghanistan, a statement from Japan embassy in Kabul said.

    The new project signed “Sustainable Management of the World Heritage Property in Bamyan – Preparing the Removal of Bamyan from the List of World Heritage in Danger”, totals approximately USD 3.8 Million (423 Million Japanese Yen) and marks nearly two decades of cultural cooperation between Japan and Afghanistan.

    For the past 20 years, since its inscription as a World Heritage property, the people of Japan have generously provided support to Bamyan, contributing more than USD 7M over five consecutive Funds in Trust programs, the statement reads.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    World Recognises Pakistan as Part of Afghan Solution: Qureishi

    Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that when it comes to Afghanistan, Pakistan is now being perceived by the world as part of the solution and not a part of the problem, adding that the invitation to Doha on February 29 to witness the signing of the deal between the US and Taliban was proof of the same.

    Speaking at a press briefing alongside Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood in Islamabad, the foreign minister stated, “In August 2017, the US’ statement on South Asia laid the entire blame for Afghanistan on Pakistan’s shoulders, and we were being looked at as though we are part of the problem.

    “Today, you are being perceived in a new light, you are now part of the solution. Today, you are being invited to Doha on Feb 29 to witness, because they recognise the role that you played as facilitators,” he said, adding that this was due to continuous efforts. Qatar has invited Pakistan to the signing of the US-Taliban peace deal set to take place on February 29.

  • 27 Feb 2020 Share this post

    US General, Afghan Official Take Selfies in Demonstration of Peace Effort

    The top U.S. general in Afghanistan strolled through crowded streets and visited shops in the capital Wednesday in an effort to highlight relative peace amid a seven-day agreement between the Taliban and the United States aimed at potentially ending the 18-year-old war.

    As per the Washington Times report, Army Gen. Scott Miller greeted shopkeepers, children and Afghan security forces, taking scores of selfies over the span of a couple hours without wearing a helmet or body armor. He was accompanied by Afghanistan’s acting defense minister, Asadullah Khalid, who hugged fellow Afghans and posed for photographs.

    In a rare move, the two men hopped out of armored sport utility vehicles in several locations, including an indoor shopping mall and an outdoor strip of stores surrounded by tall buildings, with several U.S. Special Operations soldiers on Miller’s security team.

    “When you see the minister of defense out walking, that actually matters,” Miller said in a brief interview on a city street. “I think that’s really the key piece.”

    The shops they visited sold rugs, shampoo, gold jewelry and perfume. Civilians gathered around them after each stop, often jostling for position to introduce themselves as Miller’s security forces watched closely.

    Miller, who carried a holstered pistol, pointed out that it was “not a huge protection detail” accompanying him and the defense minister.