Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Head of Iran’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (SATBA) has announced the inauguration of a huge wind farm project on the border of Iran and Afghanistan in near future, IRNA reported.
According to Mohammad Satakin, 25-megawatt (MW) capacity of the joint project, which is considered one of the biggest wind farms in the world, will be put into operation by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20) while another 25-MW capacity is scheduled to be inaugurated in early next year.
The construction of this 50-megawatt power plant has led to the development of the region’s infrastructure such as road construction, the construction of high-voltage electricity lines, substations, as well as telecommunication and Internet infrastructures, Satakin said.
Referring to the eagerness of new investors for the construction of other wind projects in the region, he added: “In addition to this project, another 50-MW wind farm project is under construction using 4.2-MW turbines, part of which will be completed by the end of this year and the other part will be constructed in early next year.”
According to Satakin, having 30,000 MW potential of wind power capacity, the Iran-Afghanistan border area is one of the world’s most windy regions.
“About 25,000 MW of the mentioned capacity is in the Afghanistan territory while the other 5,000 is on the Iranian side,” he explained.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today met with Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov at the Presidential Palace, Arg said.
Arg in a statement on Tuesday said that both sides discussed the expansion of relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, regional cooperation and the Afghan peace process.
According to the statement, the Uzbek Foreign Minister presented an invitation by the Uzbek President to Ashraf Ghani to attend a conference on “Regional Connection and Common Challenges and Opportunities” in Tashkent in July.
He added that in addition to President Ghani, the presidents of India and Pakistan, as well as foreign ministers and representatives of the United States, Russia and the European Union, will attend the conference.
The statement added that the two sides also discussed how to implement the economic and cultural agreements signed between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan over the past two years.
In the meantime, the Uzbek Foreign Minister had a separate meeting with the chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah today.
According to Dr. Abdullah, the meeting focused on peace efforts, the second round of intra-Afghan talks, the role of countries in the region, especially the role of Uzbekistan in ensuring peace in Afghanistan, and bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Tuesday reported 29 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported one death and 72 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,664 the number of total reported deaths is 2,436 and the total number of recoveries is 48,967.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Helmand, Panjshir and Uruzgan.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov on Monday met with the Leader of the National Islamic Movement Party of Afghanistan Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum who arrived in Ashkhabad on a working visit.
As per the Trend report, during the talks, the sides exchanged views on the agenda of the effective Turkmen-afghan interaction.
It was underlined the active development of bilateral ties with the aim of all-around implementation of the agreements reached on a high level between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, the report said.
Marshal Dostum especially underlined the efforts of Turkmenistan’s Leadership aimed at strengthening peace and security in the neighboring fraternal country as well as the integration of Afghanistan and its people into the stable channel of economic development.
The initiatives of the President of Turkmenistan directed to the intensification and development of effective regional interaction with the active involvement of the Afghan side were highly appreciated.
The parties also expressed adherence to the addition of joint efforts in the rapid implementation of energy, communications, transport, and other projects.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday hoped that the United States and Taliban would continue to abide by their peace agreement.
Talking to Special Envoy of Foreign Minister of Qatar Dr Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, Mr Qureshi hoped that “progress on the implementation of the US-Taliban peace agreement would be maintained” to achieve a political settlement of the Afghanistan conflict.
Mr Qureshi hoped that “the collective efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan would bear fruit”.
The agreement signed between the US and Taliban in February 2020 had paved the way for the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue in September last year.
The US has, meanwhile, also cut down its military presence in Afghanistan to nearly 2,500 troops in line with the agreement and is slated to withdraw all troops by April 30, if the agreement holds.
Afghanistan launched its vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating hundreds of thousands, as the Afghan nation reels from near-daily attacks by insurgents.
Doctors, security personnel, and journalists were among the first volunteers to receive doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, donated earlier this month by India.
Afghanistan is believed to have been hit hard by the pandemic in the last year, but limited testing and a ramshackle healthcare sector have hampered its ability to track the virus.
Officially the country has recorded just 55,600 confirmed cases and about 2,430 deaths.
President Ashraf Ghani at the inauguration ceremony of Covid19 vaccine campaign said that the risk of corona pandemic has not yet been eliminated and that new strains of the virus are spreading which should be taken seriously.
Ghani noted that Afghanistan, with good governance, has been able to maintain its society and economy during the outbreak of the Corona virus.
He stressed that a memorial minaret will be built for praising to the services of health workers, and the names of all health workers who have died fighting the Corona virus will be written on it.
Ghani also praised India for its support of the Corona vaccine for Afghanistan and stressed that relations between the two countries are based on common interests and a common humanitarian vision.
He also thanked Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran for keeping the borders open during the outbreak of the Corona virus.
The Japanese government announced on Monday a contribution of $3.7 million to support UN refugee agency’s programmes and activities for Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan.
The three-year project will focus on education, livelihood assistance and community structures in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, benefitting over 240,000 individuals.
Ambassador of Japan Matsuda Kuninori and Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Noriko Yoshida signed an agreement at a ceremony in Islamabad. Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Saleem Khan was present on the occasion.
“Acquiring education and vocational skills is vital for the social inclusion of Afghan refugees. In this project, we will continue to provide financial support, which will greatly contribute to the stability and peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Peace and stability are the preconditions for achieving voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan,” said the Japanese ambassador.
The Presidential Palace has announced that the implementation of COVID19 vaccines will begin in the country today.
President Ghani is scheduled to deliver a speech during the implementation ceremony.
The implementation process comes as the coronavirus pandemic in Afghanistan is declining recently, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
Afghanistan has recently received 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine from India.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations Team and the Taliban group held a meeting after 36 days in Doha.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem Wardak said that the meeting was focused on the continuation of the negotiations.
“On Monday evening, a meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere between the leaders and some members of the two delegations for the intra-Afghan talks,” Taliban spox tweeted.
He added that meeting assigned groups to set the agenda, to continue their meetings on the subject.
This comes as Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Sunday said the Taliban violence remains high and called on the group to return to the negotiating table and resume talks.