Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The NATO secretary general said on Thursday that the alliance’s presence in Afghanistan is a decision that should be made with consensus.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Jens Stoltenberg said there will be “costs and challenges” involved, whatever the decision of NATO would be regarding Afghanistan.
“If we decide to leave, we risk to jeopardize the peace process, we risk to lose the gains that were made in the fight against international terrorism over the last years, and we risk Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for international terrorists,” he told reporters in Brussels.
Stoltenberg added that if NATO decides to stay, there will be risk of increased violence against foreign troops in the war-torn country.
“So my message to all NATO allies is that whatever we decide we need to do together,” he said. “We went into Afghanistan together. We should adjust our presence there together. And when the time is right we should leave together.”
Stoltenberg also called on the Taliban to stick to their commitments, including “breaking all ties with international terrorists, including al-Qaeda,” and “reducing violence.”
NATO’s presence in Afghanistan will be discussed during the defense ministers meeting later this month
The Minister of Interior Masoud Andarabi has taken over the probe of Behsud protest case, according to Parliament representative Arif Rahmani quoting credible sources.
“Based on reliable reports, the Minister of Interior Massoud Andarabi at the head of the security sector took the direct responsibility to investigate the Behsud district’s protest,” MP Rahmani told Reporterly.
According to MP Rahmani, the perpetrators of the killing of civilians will be identified at the earliest time and will be brought to justice.
“There will be no military operations against the people and forces stationed in the area,” he said.
As a citizen and representative of the people in the parliament, MP Rahmani expressed hope that the Interior Minister will demonstrate his last efforts in dealing with the Behsud tragedy and pevent the gap between the citizens and the government.
Earlier, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has said it will assess reports of civilian deaths in clashes in the Behsud district in Maidan Wardak province that erupted during a protest in the district last Friday.
The Interior Ministry said the protestors were resisting new appointments at the police headquarters in the district.
Behsud residents claimed that at least 40 people were killed and wounded in the incident, but the Interior Ministry said that nine people were killed. The ministry said that a probe team has been assigned and will travel to the province.
The Ministry of Interior Affairs said the fighting erupted after armed men loyal to a local commander, Alipoor, started fighting with security forces, but local residents rejected the claim and said the security forces opened fire on the protestors.
Afghan local officials say the Taliban militants have killed a former Jihadi commander and his son in Takhar province.
The spokesman of Takhar Police, Khalil Asir told Reporterly that the incident took place in Qara Parchap village of Taloqan city at around 23:00 on Wednesday.
According to Asir, the slain commander was identified as Talo who was murdered along with his son at his house.
Khalil Asir noted that a guard of the slain Jihadi commander was wounded in the incident.
He added that Talo had close cooperation with the government after the Taliban regime.
Pakistan’s Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that Pak-Afghan border will remain open for six days during a week and fencing will be completed there soon.
As per the Business Recorder report, the Pakistani Minister stated this while responding to a Calling Attention Notice in National Assembly regarding hampering of economic as well social activities due to closure of Pakistan-Afghan border.
The minister said that 82 percent fencing on Pak-Afghan border has been completed while fencing at Iran border would be completed till July, 2021.
The minister asked the country’s NA Speaker Asad Qaisar for ruling on the issue of opening of the border following which the Chair directed to open border during six days a week.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday reported 34 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1,859 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry said no deaths from coronavirus were recorded and 13 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,265 the number of total reported deaths is 2,407 and the total number of recoveries is 47,995.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Parwan, kunduz, Laghman and Kunar provinces.
International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has called on Muslim scholars in the world to work for the peace in Afghanistan and ending the war in the country.
IUMS in a statement condemned targeted killings of scholars and intellectuals in the country and urged all scholars to work for ending the bloodshed and make efforts for peace, stability, and security.
Target killings and assassinations has dire consequences for the future of Afghanistan as well as for the region”, the Union said, adding that violence and murdering innocent civilians is forbidden by the Islamic laws.
The union also condemned all acts of violence, assassination, and terrorism against religious scholars, intellectuals, opinion-holders, and dissidents.
“The Union considers these assassinations a crime and aggression against the victims,against the Afghan people, and an insult to Islam and Muslims. The Union emphasizes the prohibition of aggression and murder,” the statement added.
The State Ministry for Peace Affairs says the people of Kandahar province have shared their views and suggestions about the peace process with Mawlawi Attaullah Ludin and Sharifa Zurmati Wardak, members of the negotiation team of the I.R of Afghanistan during a “Peace Dialogue” meeting.
The State Ministry for peace in a statement said that the Kandahari people discussed human rights, education, reintegration of fighters, governance, freedom of expression, ensuring women’s rights, transitional justice, democracy, and care for victims of war in nine working groups and shared the results of their views and suggestions with the negotiation team members.
According to the statement, Mawlawi Attaullah Ludin called the religious and national values as the basis for all people’s services important and spoke about the need to preserve the achievements in all areas.
Mr. Ludin also called the role of the Ulema through Jirgas and academic gatherings important and essential, and stressed the need for a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire and an end to the war.
In the meantime, Sharifa Zurmati Wardak mentioned the participation of the negotiation team in public meetings and exchange of views with them as one of the working principles of the negotiation team and said that the negotiation team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan always
…receives the views and suggestions of the people, especially the residents of the provinces.
She also spoke about ensuring women’s rights, care for the families and heirs of Shuhada (martyrs) and the disabled, and involving war victims in the peace process.
Meanwhile, the members of the negotiation team answered the questions of the participants about the nine mentioned topics.
It is noteworthy that the National Center for Dialogue and Progress (NCDP) has organized a series of Afghan dialogue programs under the title of “Peace Dialogue”.
Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) in its annual report said that the violence and threats against journalists in Afghanistan increased by 26 percent in the year 2020.
The report which was released on Thursday stated that the media and civil society groups remain concerned that the delegation representing the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) in negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar lacks a coherent strategy to preserve key constitutional rights including freedom of speech and a free and independent media.
“In 2020, AJSC recorded threats and violence against 132 journalists and media workers, which includes killing of journalists, injuring them, physical assault, kidnapping, various forms of threats, theft, verbal, legal and administrative abuse. 2020 data shows 26% increase in violence and threats compared to 2019 in which AJSC recorded violence and threats against 105 journalists and media workers,” the report said.
According to the report, “7 journalists and media workers were murdered—5 as a result of targeted killing and 2 as a result of improvised explosives. 18 journalists and media workers were injured whilst reporting and on duty. 10 journalists were physically assaulted, 47 threatened, 28 verbally abused and 13 journalists and media workers faced legal and administrative abuse by media managers. 7 journalists were kidnapped and 2 experienced theft while gathering content from the field. Based on the data collected by AJSC, Taliban and Daesh account for majority of violence and threats against journalists. Government officials come second.”
AJSC cited that The Taliban’s ideological opposition to these values enhances concerns about the future of such freedoms.
“Further, the government’s efforts in early 2020 to draft a new Media Law, which could extensively limit press freedom if enacted, and the lack of meaningful commitment to investigate the cases of murdered journalists have fueled these concerns,” the report added.
Half of Afghans need humanitarian aid but rising violence is preventing deliveries, a senior European Union humanitarian official said on Wednesday, reiterating calls for a ceasefire between the Afghan government and the insurgent Taliban.
The European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič visited Kabul to announce the EU will provide 32 million euros ($38.5 million) for humanitarian projects in 2021.
“Increasing violence and conflict is the main cause for the humanitarian need in this country,” he said. “We very much hope and call for an immediate, unconditional and comprehensive ceasefire.”
Lenarčič called on the government and the Taliban “to understand that allowing for full and unimpeded humanitarian access is their obligation under humanitarian law.”
Lenarčič said that the amount of the EU’s humanitarian aid could rise. Those funds are separate from the $12 billion over the next four years that foreign donors including the EU pledged in November.