Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Minister of State for Human Rights Sima Samar said the Taliban must agree to a ceasefire to stop the bloodshed and prevent civilian casualties.
Speaking at an event in Kabul on Wednesday, Samar advocated for the voices of victims to be hear during the negotiations.
With the theme of “Justice and Peace,” the event was attended by officials from civil society organisations, the judiciary and women from 14 provinces who were calling for justice and respect for the rights of war victims.
“Peace talks must proceed in accordance with the wishes of the victims of the war,” Samar added.
“The stories of war victims are written in the media, which shows how much the Afghan people are suffering. In order to not repeat these crimes in the future, the terrorists must apologize to the victims of the war. We have to work on a mechanism to hear the views of war victims.”
According to her, human rights values must be respected in the Afghan peace talks.
“Peace is not lasting without justice and citizens should not fall victim to such peace,” the minister said.
Since the start of the talks, the Taliban has stepped up its attacks in several provinces.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi welcomed Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Wednesday and wished Afghanistan success for achieving lasting peace.
“Pakistan’s government and leadership fully support the peace efforts in Afghanistan,” Alvi said.
“Pakistan suffers from war in Afghanistan and benefits from peace,” he added.
The Pakistani president called for increased cooperation in the fields of education, higher education, information technology and public health. He also said their bilateral trade should increase and with the “advent of peace,” South Asia should be connected to Central Asia.
Abdullah discussed the Afghan peace process and gave a clear picture of the situation in the country – regarding their challenges and opportunities for peace and bilateral cooperation.
“I thanked the President, the government, and people of Pakistan for their warm welcome, hospitality, and continued support for the peace process, and strengthening of bilateral relations,” he tweeted.
The chairman also called achieving peace one of the main priorities of the people and government of Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan wants good relations with all its neighbours, especially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and peace and stability in Afghanistan will pave the way for cooperation, trade growth and development between the two countries and the region as a whole,” he said.
“We have an exceptional and real opportunity to overcome the problems and end the war. We hope to achieve lasting peace and stability this time with domestic, regional and international support,” he concluded.
Abdullah had departed on Monday for a three-day official trip to Pakistan.
The National Youth Consensus for Peace (NYCP) welcomed the launch of the Indo-Afghan Youth Forum on Tuesday, to further foster Afghanistan and India ties in collaboration with Raisina House, a Delhi-based think tank.
The NYCP said youth below the age of 35 make 67% of the Afghan population and 65% of the Indian population – roughly around 630 million young people in all.
“With the establishment of the Indo-Afghan Youth Forum we will create the opportunity for youth of both countries to assume their responsibility at this crucial time,” the NYCP said, referring to the major risks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, climate crisis and extremism.
The Indo-Afghan Youth Forum aims to understand and foster bilateral relations via means of discussions and by exchanging opinions between the youth of both countries.
It will strive to build “mutually amiable and strategic relations” to influence future policies and aspire to increase the involvement of youth in the policy-making process in both nations by Track 2 diplomacy.
The forum aims to engage in bilateral discussion and deliberate on issues important to both nations, facilitate cultural exchanges, amplify the youth’s voice in policy-making, and facilitate research projects.
From the 285 samples tested in the past 24 hours, 14 new cases of Coronavirus were reported pushing the national count to 39,268 confirmed cases, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said.
The new cases were reported in the provinces of Badakhshan (8), Balkh (4), Kabul (1) and Zabul (1).
The MoPH said 43 people recovered over the past day while no deaths were recorded.
Afghanistan has 5,021 active cases of COVID-19 with 32,789 recovered and 1,458 deaths.
Former Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) commander Zamarai Paikan has been sentenced to three years in prison, the Office of the Attorney General said on Tuesday.
He was charged with misuse of authority by the appellate court of the Anti-Corruption Justice Center, and convicted of corruption charges.
The statement said that Paikan was accused of appointing his son “illegally” and providing him with military personnel and equipment.
In a trial in his absence in December 2017, Paikan had been handed an eight-year term by a primary court.
He was arrested by security forces in late August this year.
Security officials said the police chief of Kohistan district of Badakhshan was killed in a Taliban attack on Tuesday.
Badakhshan Police spokesperson Sanaullah Rouhani said on Wednesday, that the Taliban launched an attack in the district at around 9 a.m.
“The attack lasted until midnight last night and then the Taliban retreated,” Rouhani said.
Abdul Zaher, the police chief of the district was killed along with two local officers, while three other security personnel were wounded.
Rouhani said that four Taliban fighters were also killed and five others were wounded during the clashes.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad departed for Doha on Tuesday and will meet both delegations to hear updates on their efforts to negotiate, the U.S. State Department said.
While in the region, Khalilzad will also meet with partners to discuss an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace negotiations and prospects for increased regional connectivity, trade, and development following a peace settlement.
Khalilzad wrote on his Twitter that progress in the talks is being closely monitored.
“The Afghan people and international community are watching closely and expect the negotiations to make progress towards producing a roadmap for Afghanistan’s political future and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” he tweeted.
The talks in Doha have made slow progress with the Contact Groups for the Afghan government and the Taliban delegation struggling to reach consensus on two items out of the 20 on their agenda.
The disputed items are the religious jurisprudence to be used for the talks and the recognition of the U.S.-Taliban agreement as the foundation of the peace negotiations.