Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh said that nearly 13 million people across the country are food insecure while eight million are facing acute food shortage.
At the third anniversary of the Afghanistan Food Security and Nutrition Agenda on Thursday, Danesh said that the entire world is facing the challenges of food security with war, poverty, inequality in resource distribution, rising food prices, water shortage, environmental degradation and famine some of the main reasons.
In Afghanistan, he said, the continuing violence has taken a toll on resources with the Taliban destroying public infrastructure, and this has prevented the launch of economic and development programmes. He emphasised that the war must end for peace and stability to be established.
He also called for more cooperation from the international agencies, especially the World Food Programme (WFP) to help the Afghan government reduce food insecurity.
Speaking at the event, acting Minister of Health Ahmad Jawad Osmani said food insecurity causes various diseases and developmental issues among children and prevents them from living a healthy life. He added, that food security is all the more needed for pregnant women, mothers and children.
Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP Representative and Country Director in Afghanistan, assured them that the United Nations (UN) will work with the Afghan government.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) said the construction of 97 schools at a cost of over 400 million AFN in Herat was completed.
These schools were built in Injil, Guzara, Karkh, Kushki, Adraskan, Kushki Kuhna, Zind Jan, Pashtun Zarghun, Chesht, Obeh and Ghorian districts.
During her visit to Herat, Minister of Education Rangina Hamidi said that the construction of 600 schools across the country has been completed and work is underway on another 2,400 schools. They are also working on building 151 more schools in the province.
She stressed that the government is trying to find funding for the construction of another 3,000 schools. President Ashraf Ghani had previously promised to build 6,000 schools across Afghanistan.
Afghanistan welcomed the declaration issued by two of its significant partners, Pakistan and the European Union (EU) focusing on the ongoing peace talks in Doha, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Thursday.
MFA called the reaffirmation of the EU and Pakistan’s joint commitment to successful peace talks in Afghanistan “valuable” and appreciated the call for a lasting humanitarian ceasefire.
“Calls from our international allies for reduction in violence and an immediate ceasefire would strengthen the chances of the success of the talks,” the MFA said.
The ideal end state of the talks, according to them is one where “the Islamic Republic remains intact and the rights of Afghan citizens are preserved.”
Afghanistan also called for strengthening regional and global consensus for the success of the peace talks as the cross-border impact extends to fighting violent extremism, illegal migration, drugs and human trafficking.
The European Union (EU) and Pakistan on Wednesday released a joint statement expressing support for the Afghan peace talks, while calling for a ceasefire and asking the warring parties to work towards peace and stability.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said from the 532 samples tested, 121 were found to be positive for Coronavirus in the past 24 hours, taking the Afghan tally to 41, 935.
The cases were reported in the provinces of Nangarhar (16), Ghazni (15), Kabul (14), Balkh (14), Baghlan (13), Takhar (11), Zabul (11), Kapisa (10), Kandahar (10), Nimruz (5) and Uruzgan (2).
The MoPH reported 36 recoveries and six deaths in the past day.
The country has 5,941 active COVID-19 cases with 34,440 recovered and 1,554 dead.
Tahir Qadiry, Chargé d’Affaires of the Afghan Embassy in India, expressed gratitude to India for the completion of the donation of 75,000 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indian Embassy in Kabul on Wednesday announced the shipments were sent to Afghanistan in 10 instalments between April and September 2020 through the Chabahar Port in Iran.
Qadiry thanked India for their efforts to “beef up” food security in Afghanistan, especially during the “testing times” of the Coronavirus lockdowns.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” he wrote on Twitter.
India’s food grain assistance was part of their humanitarian and economic assistance programme. The large-scale deliveries via Iran also demonstrated the “salience and economic viability” of Chabahar Port for Afghanistan’s trade and commerce, the Indian Embassy said.
The city of Kabul is “drowning” in disorder said First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Thursday, as he announced that illegal high-rise buildings in the capital will either be fined heavily or be demolished depending on their location from the coming week.
In a Facebook post regarding the security in the capital, Saleh said the police have been slow or unable to manage the illegal buildings.
“The city is drowning in disorder that the next generation will pay for 10 years later,” he rued.
Saleh proposed two plans for dealing with such buildings – a “backbreaking” fine higher than the cost of the home or professional demolition with explosives if the buildings are in sensitive areas. The government has already identified three such buildings in historical areas and they have been warned.
He said the traffic management in Kabul was found to be “absolutely unacceptable and unsatisfactory” and changes will be made in the coming days.
Encroachers have also been sent written warnings for blocking the sidewalks or taking over the green areas. Many have voluntarily evacuated, preventing the use of physical force.
Saleh said the movie theatre in Shahr-e Naw will be destroyed and the space will be left undeveloped until an alternative plan is approved.
In the past 24 hours, Kabul witnessed two terrorist incidents and no criminal incidents, the vice president said. While over 30 police and national security operations were carried out in the city and districts.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Thursday that the arrest of the 13 policemen was premature as the investigations into who failed to prevent the Kabul University attack have not been completed.
“The arrest of 13 unidentified police soldiers under the guise of negligence is meaningless,” Saleh said, adding he has ordered for them to be released with dignity as the definition of negligence in this case has not been determined yet.
Saleh, who is in charge of security in Kabul, has also been asked to coordinate between all the security and intelligence institutions to expedite the investigations and keep the public updated.
He said the security system as a whole may need to be critically reviewed, but he assured that they will not allow any “sacrificial goats” and follow the law.
He also reiterated that the Taliban are responsible for the attack and he has briefed the Cabinet, on the orders of President Ashraf Ghani, on the preliminary investigations.
The Taliban have repeatedly denied their involvement in the attack with the Afghan government and the militant group exchanging words over social media following the Monday attack.
Taliban spokesperson Naeem Wardak branded Saleh’s rhetoric a conspiracy against the group.