Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
Five members of an Afghan Directorate of Protection Service vehicle were killed on Thursday morning in a strike on a United Nations convoy in Surubi district of Kabul, the world body said.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that no members of the UN assistance mission to Afghanistan, known as UNAMA, were hurt in the attack. The attackers were not identified.
“UNAMA informed us that five Afghan security personnel escorting a UN road mission were killed this morning near Kabul,” Mr Haq said.
“No UN staff members were hurt in the incident. UNAMA is transmitting condolences to Afghan authorities.”
In a tweet on Thursday, UNAMA said the attackers hit an Afghan Directorate of Protection Service vehicle that was “escorting a UN convoy”.
According to local reports, the attack on a two-vehicle UN convoy was along the motorway between Kabul and Jalalabad, a major city nearly 120km to the east.
The sixth summit of strengthening consensus for peace in Afghanistan was held today in the presence of Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, high-ranking government officials, ambassadors and representatives of Asian and European countries, and Afghanistan’s regional and international partners.
The Ministry of Foriegn Affairs (MoFA) in a press release said that the Foreign Minister spoke about the challenges of the second round of peace talks, the Taliban’s regional trips and the group’s failure to live up to its commitments, the Islamic world’s consensus on condemning war and supporting peace, and the importance of regional and global consensus for the Afghan peace process.
“We are grateful to our regional and international partners for agreeing with us on the Taliban’s non-compliance with their commitments,” Mr Atmar said. “Reducing violence, cutting ties with terrorists, advancing sincere and meaningful negotiations, and not returning to the battlefields were the four commitments that the Taliban failed to fulfill.”
The Foreign Minister also welcomed the US decision to review the Taliban’s performance over their commitments, calling it important for the progress of the peace process.
In the meantime, the ambassadors and representatives of countries in the region and the world expressed their deep concern over the escalation of violence and targeted killings of civilians.
They also announced support on behalf of their governments for the continuation of negotiations and the progress of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday reported 25 new positive cases of coronavirus out of 2136 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The ministry also reported five deaths and 146 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The cumulative number of total cases is now 55,445 the number of total reported deaths is 2,424and the total number of recoveries is 48,279.
The new cases were reported in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Nangarhar, Takhar, Maidan Wardak, Badghis, and Kunar.
The Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah says the Taliban’s current position is not helping the peace process.
Speaking at a ceremony, recognizing the formation of a commission for the political parties at HCNR, Dr. Abdullah said, “At the moment, the Taliban have taken a tough stance, which unfortunately does not help the peace process. Our delegation is still in Doha, and we hope that this deadlock will be short-term.”
“Unfortunately, the level violence has not been reduced, which is one part of the agreement between the United States and Taliban,” Abdullah said, adding that the US will consider to what extent the Taliban was committed to the peace agreement, and a NATO meeting will be held soon to discuss Afghanistan.
“The reduction in violence was the demand of Afghan people,” he said.
The formation of political parties is one of the achievements of the people of Afghanistan, Abdullah added, “We will try to build a consensus of opinions in this commission.”
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations Team members have addressed a meeting of the Afghan Women’s Peace Forum, which was attended by women’s rights activists in cooperation with the the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF).
The Afghan peace negotiations team in a statement said that the Afghan chief negotiator Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, said that all generations in Afghanistan are working for their future and have achieved a lot, adding that Afghan women should not be deprived of their rights and go to the past.
Stanikzai stated that the role of women is important not only in the field of women’s rights, but also in all political, economic and social fields, and to maintain their active presence alongside men in all fields.
In the meantime, Fatemeh Gilani, a member of the negotiating team, said: “We will never feel alone on behalf of the women of Afghanistan in the peace process; Rather, the values of society and the values contained in the constitution, which have always kept the voice of everyone, especially women which have also been the advocates of women’s rights.”
Pointing out that the peace process is crucial for Afghan women, Fawzia Koofi, a member of the negotiating team, also added that Afghan women are committed to bring positive change in society and the Afghan peace process and should be present and involved in this process.
The Acting Finance Minister, Mohammad Khalid Payenda, says that in the third draft budget for the fiscal year of 1,400, the necessary changes have been made and the concerns of the Lower House of Parliament have been resolved.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Payenda said that in the next fiscal year, the salaries of teachers and low-level civil servants would increase significantly.
“Increasing the salaries of employees and teachers requires technical work, savings and amendments must be made to the laws, all of which will take several months,” he said. “This will be resolved in the mid-year budget reviews, and employees and teacher salaries will be increased.”
According to Mr. Payenda, the private sector, teachers’ salaries, civil servants and soldiers, and internal revenues are dependent on the budget, and the non-approval it would have dire consequences.
“Any delay in approving the budget could damage national income, increase poverty and unemployment,” he said. “If the budget is not approved, we will not be able to achieve the revenues we have set.”
Mr. Payenda added that Afghanistan’s economy has been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and will face difficulties in compensating and improving the situation if the budget is not approved by the House of Representatives.
The Acting Minister of Finance expressed hope that the House of Representatives would approve the third draft budget in the coming days.
Following the increase in IED bombings on vehicles, the first Vice-President Amrullah Saleh says the situation of Kabul province is unusual.
Mr. Saleh on his daily posts in Facebook wrote on Thursday that the Afghan government may have to ask all taxi drivers to do body checking from their passengers or, at least after each passenger gets off, check the seats and the car as well.
“In other countries, accidents are reduced by restrictions and limitations; This is an action we have not taken so far,” Saleh said.
For several months now, the level of violence has risen as the Afghan the second round of peace talks begin.
In addition to the day-to-day fighting between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, which has also resulted in civilian casualties, the level of targeted assassinations and magnetic IED explosions in Kabul and other provinces has risen in recent months.
A senior leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Amir Nawaz, who was suspected to be the main character behind the murder of Japanese nationals – Dr Tetsu Nakamura in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar in 2019, has been killed, Afghan and Pakistani sources said on Wednesday.
No group has claimed responsibility for the killing of Nakamura, who was killed along with five of his aid workers when they were heading to office.
Nawaz also known as Haji Dubai was also wanted in Pakistan for his role in a series of killings and kidnappings in the tribal areas, Karachi, Punjab and Balochistan.
Pakistani media also reported that the TTP leader has been killed during “an armed conflict” in Afghanistan. Afghan and TTP sources say Amir Nawaz was killed during an operation near capital Kabul “a couple of days ago.”
Recent fighting between Afghan security forces and armed opposition groups has destroyed a girls’ high school in Faryab province in Northern Afghanistan, according to Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) report.
According to the report, the destruction of the school has robbed more than 3,000 students of their classrooms.
“The recent fighting shows yet again the high risks and dangers for students in Afghanistan wanting to receive an education,” said Astrid Sletten, Afghanistan Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “All parties to the conflict must protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools.”
Jan Bibi Uoz Bashi Girls’ High School was recently rehabilitated by NRC with funding from Norway.
“This fighting has cruelly disrupted the education of more than 3,000 girls who attend the school daily. Ongoing attacks on schools across the country threaten to reverse the tremendous gains made on girls’ education in recent decades,” said Sletten.
Norwegian Refugee Council carries out informal education programmes for children and youth from displaced families as well as the host communities.
At least 57 Taliban militants were killed in two airstrikes in Char Bolak district of Balkh province, local officials said.
The spokesman of Shahin 209 Corps, Hanif Rezai said that the first airstrike was conducted on a Taliban’s position in Aq Tapa area of Char Bolak district where 31 Taliban militants including their commanders were killed.
He said the second airstrike was conducted in Goor Tapa area at around 03:00pm, where 26 Taliban militants were killed.
Rezai added that the security forces switched from defensive mode to offensive.
He added that two Taliban’s hideouts and an ammunition report was destroyed in the attacks.