Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Due to favourable weather and rainfall, Bamiyan has seen increased agricultural output this year, said officials at the province’s harvest celebration on Thursday.
Bamiyan Governor Sayed Anwar Rahmati said that according to the Department of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, the province’s potato harvest saw a 12% increase compared to the past year and reached around 380,000 tons.
Among grains, wheat also saw a significant increase with an estimated 76,000 tons expected to be harvested this year, Rahmati said.
Officials noted, though Bamiyan wheat production has increased, most residents continue to purchase their grains from markets outside the province.
Farmers and gardeners called on the government and other relevant institutions to work with them.
Along with the harvest festival, an exhibition of women’s handicrafts and agricultural products was also held.
Several types of Bamiyan apples, peas, potatoes and saffron were on display.
Last week, the Department of Agriculture had announced that the province has produced around 30,000 metric tons of apples this year.
Afghan customs officials, border police and traders invited Pakistani officials and businessmen for a meeting on the Afghan side of the Torkham border crossing to discuss trade and transportation related issues.
Director of Nangarhar Customs Nasrullah Sahibzada led the Afghan side while the Additional Director of Transit Trade Muhammad Tayyab led the Pakistani side.
They discussed the various issues being faced by cross-border transporters and traders.
It was decided that the 1,500 empty trucks and containers stranded on the Afghan side will be allowed passage.
The Afghan border police also agreed that they would allow every empty container from 6 p.m. to 12 p.m. every night to facilitate their return to Pakistan.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported 116 new Coronavirus cases from the 440 samples they tested in the past 24 hours, pushing the tally of confirmed cases to 40,626.
New cases were reported in the provinces of the Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Kunduz, Baghlan, Parwan, Helmand, Laghman, Kunar, Panjshir and Zabul.
The MoPH said that seven people had recovered in the past day while four had succumbed to the virus.
There are 5,290 active COVID-19 cases in the country with 33,831 recovered and 1,505 dead.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Thursday denied that 14 children were killed in an airstrike on a religious school in Takhar.
Earlier, the Takhar governor’s office had told Reporterly that a “mistaken” airstrike in the Hazara Qarluq area in near Taloqan city had killed 12 children and wounded 14 others on Wednesday night.
In a Facebook post, Saleh called the killing of children “baseless” and said the airstrikes had targeted “those who killed our forces yesterday.”
He said he had “undeniable proof” to back the claims and those who “made the rumours headlines” will be dealt with legally.
Saleh said he had personally seen the evidence and rejected the killing of children with governmental and moral authority.
It is not known whether the strike was conducted by Afghan Air Force or foreign forces.
Takhar province witnessed bloody Taliban attacks on Tuesday night that claimed the lives of over 40 Afghan security forces members.
A male prisoner set himself on fire in Herat Central Prison due to family disputes, officials told Reporterly on Thursday.
Herat Prison Director Maiwand Samadi confirmed the news and said the man had been sentenced to seven year in prison along with his father, mother, sister and maternal uncle, for kidnapping.
The incident took place on Wednesday evening, when the prisoner’s mother and sister were transferred from the women’s prison for a visit. After they left, the man set himself on fire.
Samadi said that a commission has been set up to investigate the incident.
It is believed that the man is 26 years old, and he has been transferred to the hospital. However, he suffered burns across 90% of his body and his chances of survival are very low.
The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) expressed its condolences over the death of the 12 victims who were killed in the stampede while applying for Pakistani visas in Jalalabad, Nangarhar on Wednesday, and said the ministry will work with the relevant authorities to streamline the process.
In a statement on Thursday, the MFA said that some of the causes that led to the stampede was the “unprecedented” increase in visa applicants due to the lifting restrictions of the COVID-19 restrictions and the announcement Pakistan’s new long-term visa regime.
The people had been gathered at a football stadium, some distance away from the consulate to avoid overcrowding. However, the MFA said that measures to manage the crowd were lacking.
The ministry said that they will work in “cooperation and coordination” with the Pakistani Embassy and the Nangarhar leaders to implement the new visa regime using “sound” management methods and take necessary measures.
The Pakistani Embassy also expressed its grief over the incident in Jalalabad on Wednesday and said that they will work with Afghan authorities for better facilitation of visa applicants.