Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, Mir Rahman Rahmani today met with Emomali Rahmon, the Tajikistan President in Dushanbe city.
During the meeting, Mr. Rahmani said the Taliban are focusing on continuing the war and have no plans other than war.
Speaking about the situation of Afghanistan, Rahmani said the violence in the country has been escalated, particularly in Kabul.
The Parliament speaker at a ceremony at the Afghan embassy in Dushanbe also stated that the Taliban were trying to gain power militarily and were preparing for the spring offensive.
According to him, the peace talks with this group have not created any optimism.
Mr Rahmani said the purpose of his visit to Tajikistan was to strengthen regional co-operation in the fight against terrorism.
Rahmani headed a high-level delegation to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, on Saturday and met with the senior Tajik officials.
Turkey has been contributing to the security of Afghanistan and will keep its presence in the country as long as its Afghan brothers demand it, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Monday.
Addressing a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul via a virtual message, the Turkish top diplomat noted that bilateral relations have been shaped around the common history and culture of two nations, saying: “Our people have always sided with each other in their most problematic times. During the most difficult periods of our War of Independence, the recognition of our Government of the Grand National Assembly by Afghanistan gave our nation strength. Turkey became the first country that opened an embassy in Kabul. While young Turkey continued its development on the side, on the other side it supported Afghanistan’s efforts to be a self-sufficient strong nation.”
The Government of the Grand National Assembly, commonly known as the Ankara Government, was the name given to the provisional and revolutionary Turkish government based in Ankara during the Turkish War of Independence against occupant forces following World War I.
The Grand National Assembly (TBMM) is today the parliamentary body of Turkey.
Underlining the close cooperation between the two countries in international platforms and multilateral mechanisms, Çavuşoğlu added that they have also acted together against terrorist threats.
Noting Turkey’s aid efforts for Afghanistan during the pandemic, the minister also said that Turkish troops’ support within the NATO mission to Afghan has contributed to the security of the country and will continue as long as its Afghan brothers demand it.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has denied that a health worker of Bamiyan hospital died after getting coronavirus vaccine.
The spokesman of MoPH, Dastagir Nazari in a video message said the reason of his death was high blood pressure and a heart attack.
Nazari said that based on the initial findings, the death of this health worker had nothing to do with the Corona vaccine, and his medical records show that he had heart and respiratory problems.
According to him, so far more than 12,000 health workers in Afghanistan and about 40 million people in India have received the same vaccine, which has not resulted in any deaths.
This comes as a number of health workers and staff of Bamyan Provincial Hospital received the corona vaccine yesterday, and an employee of the hospital died nearly 13 hours after the corona vaccination.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Monday fired five security personnel of the Ministry in accusation of beating and threatening a soldier.
The spokesman of MoI, Tariq Arian said the fired security personnel were introduced to the Ministry’s General Director of Internal security for further investigations.
This comes as a video of the scene which was released in social media shows that five security personnel beat a soldier of the Ministry’s guards.
The video followed by widespread reaction from people social media users.
Shah Mahmoud Miakhail, the first deputy minister of defense, says the Taliban have gained more power in the peace process than on the battlefields.
Speaking at an exhibition and celebration in support of National Defense and Security Forces Day in Kabul today, Mr Makhail said the Taliban had “identified” themselves in peace talks with the Afghan and US governments, and their prisoners between 5,000 and 6,000 have also been released.
He added that the Afghan government, and defense and security forces had sacrificed a lot for peace.
“In the defense mode, we also suffered casualties,” he said. “But again, they (the Taliban) did not reduce the violence. They miscalculated this and thought that they would gain more power on the battlefields.”
He stated, however, that the Taliban had not fulfilled all of its commitments under the US peace agreement, including reducing violence, paving the way for a permanent ceasefire, cutting ties with other terrorist groups and speeding up negotiations with the Afghan government
Referring to the escalation of the war in next spring, he said the Taliban were no longer able to collapse provinces and districts, but would continue to destroy roads and checkpoints, detonate magnetic mines and carry out targeted killings.
Mr Miakhail added that the defense and security forcesware ready to defend the territory, people and interests of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Mohammad Massoud Andarabi said that the government is fully prepared to fight the Taliban.
“The country’s defense and security forces are fully prepared to defend this land and defeat the enemies of the Afghan people, and this defeat is imminent,” he stressed.
Mr. Andarabi emphasized that the door to peace is open for the Taliban and that the government is ready to negotiate with the group.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 26 new positive cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported two deaths and 11 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,759 the number of total reported deaths is 2,446 and the total number of recoveries is 49,344.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Kunduz, Maidan Wardak, Kunar and Laghman.
Afghanistan Islamic Republic Peace Negotiations Team says Fatima Gailani a member of the team, participated in an online panel discussion on ‘Inclusivity and Diversity in the Afghanistan Peace Process, which waas organized by AWEC1991 and UNwomenafghan.
IRA Peace Negotiations Team in a press release said, a study on women’s active role, especially local women peacebuilders, in the Afghanistan peace process and peacebuilding, conducted by these two institutions, was introduced.
Ms. Gailani said at the meeting that the studies conducted in the field of peacebuilding would open a clear window for everyone to better understand the situation and capacities in the country.
Referring to the activities of female members of the negotiation team in working committees, she said that the role of other members of the negotiation team in issues related to women’s rights has also been influential and important.
Ms. Gilani praised women’s resilience in the face of problems facing this part of society.
Mentioning Afghan women’s historical role throughout history in conflict resolutions, she said that women play an important role in achieving & sustaining lasting peace, just like men.
Fatima Gailani stressed the important role of women in Islamic countries in the Afghan peace process and the support of Afghan women, saying: “Peace makes sense with the active presence of women, as human rights and women’s rights, war victims’ and minorities’ rights must be acceptable to all parties and should be preserved in the process. She added we would work hard and fight bravely in this regard.
Ms. Gailani mentioned the ongoing and extensive relationship of the negotiation team with women in the country and around the world. She called the support of the international community important and valuable for Afghan women.
The Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah today met with US Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.
HCNR in a statement on Monday said that the two sides discussed peace talks, the US administration’s review of the Doha agreement, the acceleration of the peace talks, the second round of intra-Afghan talks in Qatar, the reduction of violence, and ways forward in the peace talks.
This comes as Khalilzad has just begun a new round of his tour to regional countries including Afghanistan.
According to the US State Department, Khalilzad will travel to Doha and other countries in the region after Kabul.
The United States wasted billions of dollars in Afghanistan on buildings and vehicles that were either abandoned or destroyed, according to a report released Monday by a U.S. government watchdog.
The Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said it reviewed $7.8 billion spent since 2008 on buildings and vehicles.
Only $343.2 million worth of buildings and vehicles “were maintained in good condition,” said SIGAR, which oversees American taxpayer money spent on the protracted conflict.
The report said that just $1.2 billion of the $7.8 billion went to pay for buildings and vehicles that were used as intended.
“The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects,” John F. Sopko, the special inspector general, said in his report.
The U.S. public is weary of the nearly 20-year-old war and President Joe Biden is reviewing a peace deal his predecessor, Donald Trump, signed with the Taliban a year ago. He must decide whether to withdraw all troops by May 1, as promised in the deal, or stay and possibly prolong the war.
Officials say no decision has been made.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) says that 16 members of the Al-Qaeda group were killed in a joint operation by the defense and security forces with the support of commandos and air forces in the “Afghania Dara” area of Najrab district of Kapisa province.
“The 16 Al-Qaeda members were Pakistani nationals,” MoD said in a statement.
The statement stated that 14 Taliban fighters were also killed and 6 others were wounded in the operation.
The statement added, the operation is ongoing and so far the villages of Hajian, Khalifa Gan, Zakir Khel Kuchak and Badakhil in Afghania Dara have been cleared of the Taliban.
The United States has said its envoy to the Afghan peace process will travel to the capitals of Afghanistan and Qatar to resume talks with Afghan leaders, government officials and representatives of the Taliban.
In a statement on Sunday, the US Department of State said Zalmay Khalilzad will meet Afghan leaders and Taliban delegates in Kabul and Doha and hold “discussions on the way ahead”.
He will also visit other regional capitals “whose interests are best served by the achievement of a just and durable political settlement”, as well as a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”, in Afghanistan, it said.
The Department of State did not provide dates or other details.
At least two Police personnel were wounded in an explosion in Herat city of Herat province on Sunday night, officials said.
The governor of Herat, Sayyed Wahid Qatali said that the blast happened in Ishaq Sulaiman area of PD13 of Herat city.
He added that the explosives placed in a three-wheelers were detonated near a Police outpost.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident so far.