Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Afghan chief peace negotiator Masoom Stanikzai at a gathering in Kabul on Wednesday said that the focus intra-Afghan talks will be the ceasefire issue.
“Afghans want a “quick result”, which is not possible, the focus will be on a ceasefire when talks resume. We will go to the negotiations with a strong will,” Stanikzai said.
He stated that ending the war in Afghanistan is the demand of the people of the country.
“Security is very important for the people of Afghanistan, which includes a ceasefire, highway security and other issues,” he said adding that there is a difference of opinion over the governing system for the country going forward.
He cited however that one of the first issues to be raised by the Afghan republic’s team would be that of a ceasefire.
This comes as the next round of intra-Afghan talks will be resumed on Jan,5 of 2021.
Kabul mayor, Dawood Sultanzoi in reaction to the House of Representatives’ decsion to introduce to the Attorney General’s Office and invalidate his signature, said that he has no obligation to attend Lower House’s session.
Nematullah Barikzai, Kabul Municipality’s director of public awareness, on Wednesday said in a video that Sultanzoi had been appointed by President Ghani and had no legal obligation to attend the House of Representatives.
According to him, he will participate morally if the agenda of the House of Representatives is discussed with the Kabul Municipality.
At Wednesday’s session at the Parliament, the House of Representatives introduced Kabul mayor to the Attorney General’s Office and declared his signature invalid. The issue of introducing the mayor of Kabul to the Attorney General was proposed by a number of members of parliament and was presented to the general assembly by Mir Rahman Rahmani, the speaker of Lower House which was approved by a majority of votes.
The Speaker of the Lower House said that a number of lawmakers had asked the Kabul mayor to introduce him to AGO and declare his signature invalid in connection with five violations.
According to Rahmani, these five cases of violations include, lack of addressing environmental issues, not paying attention to the construction of arbitrary high-rise buildings, illegal and arbitrary appointments, not implementing development projects, and not attending public sessions and committees of the House of Representatives frequently.
He considered the decision to be made by the members of the House of Representatives, which was finally approved by a majority vote.
Azerbaijan lawmakers have approved a motion to open an embassy in Kabul as the two countries work to strengthen bilateral relations.
The agenda of Azerbaijan’s parliament session was amended to pave the ground for the approval of a bill providing for the embassy’s creation.
According to Trend, lawmakers debated the bill on the establishment of Azerbaijan’s embassy in Kabul.
The MPs noted Afghanistan’s constant support to Azerbaijan and robust relations between the two countries, the media outlet said.
The legislators hoped the opening of the embassy would contribute to further strengthening bilateral cooperation.
Pakistan signed a joint appeal letter Tuesday seeking a $4.8 billion loan from international financial institutions for a Trans-Afghan railway line project with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
According to Pakistani media, the rail link would connect Pakistan and Uzbekistan via Afghanistan and later the Central Asian countries.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan signed the letter on behalf of Pakistan for the mega project, according to Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to the prime minister on commerce and investment.
“The prime minister signed a letter for a joint approach with Afghanistan & Uzbekistan for asking international financial agencies to finance the railway from Pakistan to Uzbekistan through Afghanistan. This fits well with our vision for trade and connectivity through Afghanistan to the Central Asia Republics,” Dawood tweeted.
The signing ceremony, held at the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad, was also attended by Uzbekistan’s Minister for Transport Makhkamov Ilkham. The joint appeal had already been signed by the presidents of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday reported 98 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 1,607 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported 6 deaths and 100 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 52,428 the number of total reported deaths is 2,195 and the total number of recoveries is 41,901.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Takhar, Baghlan, Paktia, Bamyan, Laghman, Kunar, Khost, Ghor, Farah, Uruzgan, Paktika, Jowzjan and Sar-ePul provinces.
Police say they have arrested three “professional burglars” in Kabul.
According to police, the three men stole jewelry and two mobile phones worth 1.5 million Afghanis from a house in PD15 of Kabul yesterday.
Kabul police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz said police arrested the detainees in the past 24 hours.
Faramarz said the men had been detained in three separate operations with stolen property.
Faramarz added that the detainees had explicitly confessed to their crimes during investigation, and that police is following the case closely.
Local officials in Nangarhar province say that at least five people were killed and three more injured in a gas balloon explosion in Shinwar district of the province.
The Nangarhar governor’s press office said in a statement that the incident took place on Tuesday evening at a residential house in Joy Besto Panjom area.
Two children were among the killed, according to the statement.
The condition of the injured is also reported to be serious, the statement added.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has said in a statement that two days ago, a delegation from the Attorney General’s Office met with the Minister and demanded an investigation about
the brother of Minister of Health, Ahmad Shukran Osmani, Kawa Sarmast, one of the employees of a hospital in Kabul and Faramarz Hamidi, the Minister’s finance adviser and Feraidon Sultani.
The ministry said that after the meeting, the Minister of Public Health directed the individuals to go to the Attorney General’s Office for an investigation.
The statement from the Ministry of Health states that the Minister does not consider any family affiliation to be an obstacle to the administration of justice and law enforcement, and that his brother is not an employee of the Ministry of Public Health.
The Attorney General’s Office announced yesterday that it had arrested four people at the Ministry of Public Health on charges of bribery, but the Ministry of Health denied this, saying that these individuals had come to the Attorney General’s Office for investigations.
Local officials in Farah province say an Afghan National Police was killed in the Anar Dara district of the province after preventing a Taliban suicide attacker on Sunday night.
Dadullah Ghaneh, the head of Farah Provincial Council said that the Taliban suicide bomber had tried to attack the Anardara district police HQ with a Mazda-type truck loaded with explosives, but a police identified as Zabihullah, fired a rocket at the vehicle before he reached his target.
Mr. Qaneh called on the Governor of Farah and senior security officials in the province to appreciate the bravery and heroism of this police, to commend the survivors and family members of Zabihullah and to provide financial assistance to them.
US ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson says the press freedom must be preserved as one of the important gains of the past 19 years.
Ross Will in a series of tweets said, “I have said it before: we must preserve PressFreedom in Afghanistan as one of the most important gains of the past 19 years. Media workers here demonstrate remarkable courage in ensuring transparency and accountability. We hear you and we support you.”
Following the recent targeted attacks in Helmand, Ghazni, Jalalabad and Kabul provinces, the US ambassador to Kabul has met with media representatives as well as Kabul’s diplomatic corps.
“The U.S. and partner missions wanted to hear directly from Afghanistan’s extraordinary press and NGO leaders about the threats their colleagues are facing. But more than this, we wanted to discuss strategies for security & for assisting reporters who are at risk right now,” he added.
This comes as the targeted killings and assassinations have recently increased in Afghanistan provinces, particularly the capital, Kabul.