Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
India will gift 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan in November, announced Indian Ambassador to Kabul Vinay Kumar on Wednesday.
The Indian envoy made these announcements while speaking at the 37th anniversary of the Afghan Red Crescent Society’s (ARCS) Special Week. India sent its maiden cargo of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port in Iran, bypassing Pakistan, in October 2017. The Indian government has supplied 1.1 million tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan on a grant basis.
The ambassador also spoke about cooperation between India and ARCS including financial assistance for the treatment of Afghan children suffering from congenital heart disease.
“During the last four years, around 2000 Afghan children in the age group of 4 months to 18 years have been treated with India’s assistance of USD 4 million,” he said.
Officials of Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) said that a total of 4,528 complaints had been registered of which 4,362 have been addressed and ballots from 1,817 polling stations will be recounted.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, ECC officials said that votes from 77 polling stations were invalidated as they were said to be closed by the Independent Election Commission and security institutions.
54 people including high-level officials have been fined and 8 others were suspended from their posts, said ECC officials.
According to ECC officials, 907 electoral complaints led to referral of people for prosecution.
179 complaints were considered special and major ones which will be probed at the commission’s central office, ECC officials added.
Ministry of Education (MoE) said the agreement of 7.2 million for “Project for the improvement of the Quality and the Promotion of the Accelerated Non-formal Education Programme (ANEP)” has been singed at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul between the government of Japan and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
MoE in a statement on Wednesday said that the signing ceremony for the project was attended by Dr. Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi Acting Minister of Education, Mr. Takahashi YOSHIYAKI, Chargé de’ Affairs ad interim of the Embassy of Japan, Ms. Patricia McPhilips, UNESCO Representative in Afghanistan and Dr. Sardar Mohammad Rahimi, Deputy Minister of Education for Literacy.
Minister Balkhi, appreciated the government and people of Japan for their contribution and added that the key objective of ANEP would be to help the Deputy Ministry of Education for Literacy (DMoEL) in establishing literacy and adult education centres, professionalization of the literacy school as well as in developing necessary policy documents for the Accelerated Education for youths and adults in Afghanistan which will be a focus of the MoE in the education decade.
Meanwhile, Mr. Takahashi YOSHIYAKI, Chargé de’ Affairs ad interim of the Embassy of Japan to Kabul said that through the effective execution of this programme, adult literacy rate will further be enhanced and graduates of the programme will be employed for pursuing a better life in Afghanistan.”
This comes as MoE on 27 August said that around 10 million illiterate people exist around Afghanistan. In order to eradicate this problem, along with efforts of the ministry, there is a need for public mobilization in collaboration with civil society, volunteers, partner institutions and organizations.
Presidential Ashraf Ghani met with John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and discussed the progress, achievements and results of the Afghan government’s work in the fight against corruption.
During the meeting, president Ghani said that in order to legalize government administration affairs, more than 400 laws have been passed and dozens of senior officials have been prosecuted due to corruption in last five years, said presidential palace in a statement.
Ghani stated that the increase in the percentage of the development budget is a major improvement for the government and now the spending the government administrative budget raised up to 97 percent.
The interference of politicians in appointment of individuals in civil service institutions were prevented and 6000 people have been employed in various civil service departments and also 20000 teachers have been hired in the past year by Independent Administrative Reform & Civil Service Commission, Ghani stated.
According to Ashraf Ghani, more than 200 meetings have been held in the national procurement sector and about $900 million have been saved, and reforms have been made in the security, defense and sectors which are mainly funded by the United States.
Meanwhile, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said that good progress has been made in the fight against corruption in Afghanistan and that efforts should continue.
President Ashraf Ghani has issued a decree to ban the smuggling of pine nuts, pistachio and saffron, the Presidential Palace said on Wednesday.
Based on the decree, security forces should seized the items being smuggled and smugglers should be introduced to the judicial institutions.
According to the Presidential Palace, President Ghani warned that those who commit negligence on preventing the smuggling will also be prosecuted.
At least 3 people were killed and 36 others injured after an explosive-laden vehicle hit Alisheng district police headquarter in Laghman province, said security officials.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesperson, Nasrat Rahimi said that 2 security personnel and 1 civilian were killed in a truck bomb explosion occurred at Aleshing district police headquarter.
Rahimi added that 6 security personnel and 30 civilians were wounded in the explosion.
Earlier, Laghman provincial governor spokesperson, Asadullah Dawlatzai told Reporterly that 20 students of a nearby madrassa were injured in the truck bomb blast.
Taliban insurgent group in a statement has claimed the responsibility of the attack.
Several extremely precious Afghan cultural relics completed their tour in China on October 9 after visiting many different places in the country starting from March 2017.
As per CGTN report, the treasures, which represent civilizations ranging from the Bronze Age to the Kushan Dynasty and the Hellenistic period (323-31 B.C.), have been displayed in over a dozen countries and regions including Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Japan, South Korea and Britain.
The cultural relics went on a global tour after surviving numerous wars in Afghanistan, thanks to the efforts of the National Museum of Afghanistan’s team of curators and restorers.
The National Museum of Afghanistan used to be one of the most important museums in central Asia, with a collection of over 100,000 items dating back several millennia.
But most of the treasures were ransacked during the country’s civil war in the early 1990s.
About 35,000 newly-excavated relics in the country have been stored in the museum since 2003, and 15,000 more works of art have been recovered from abroad.
Many of the surviving national treasures were sent on a global exhibition tour in 2006. The exhibition moved to China in 2017.
At least 28 people were killed and injured after an explosive-laden vehicle hit Alisheng district police headquarter in Laghman province, said local officials.
Laghman provincial governor spokesperson, Asadullah Dawlatzai told Reporterly that a truck packed with explosives hit Aleshing district police headquarter at around 05:40 AM Wednesday.”
He noted that 2 security personnel were killed and 6 others were wounded in the explosion.
Dawlatzai added that 20 students of a nearby madrassa were also injured in the truck bomb blast.
No group has claimed the responsibility of the incident so far.
US State Department Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells visited the Afghan electoral commissions and had a meeting with the their authorities.
Alice Wells expressed continued US support for the efforts of electoral bodies to independently lead a credible electoral process.
“We oppose any political interference or pressure on electoral commissions’ vital work”, the US State Department Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) said in a tweet.
Alice Wells emphasized that the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC)’s recent confirmation that they will only count the biometric verified votes, per Afghan electoral policy is a positive step to increase confidence that the end result will be a credible outcome.
“The rules for elections should not change in the middle of a process”, she said.
Wells noted that The IEC & ECC have a challenging task to review votes & process complaints, concerns, & allegations of fraud from across the country.
“We will support their decision on timing of release of preliminary results. Better for IEC/ECC to deliver an accurate result than a rushed one”, she added.
At seven Afghan army personnel were dead after a military helicopter crashed in Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province on Tuesday, local police said.
The Afghan Air Force helicopter went down in Durrah-i-Hairratan, an area on the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif at about 5:00 p.m. local time and the site of the crash was secured by army personnel, Afghan Police said.
“Initial information found that seven people aboard of the chopper lost their lives and no one was hurt on the ground. The crash site has been secured by Afghan army personnel,” he said.
“We can confirm the crash was not the result of enemy action,” Nazar Khodai from army’s Corps 209 Shaheen added.
The army was investigating the circumstances of the crash to determine more facts and would release relevant details as appropriate, he noted.