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Showing posts with label Afghanistan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Afghanistan. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Afghanistan seeks to promote Trade and Connectivity with Pakistan: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan seeks to promote Trade and Connectivity with Pakistan: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan seeks to promote Trade and Connectivity with Pakistan: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Lahore, July 01, 2019: Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan organized the “Pakistan – Afghanistan Business Forum” on 28th June, 2019 at Darbar Hall, Governor House Lahore. The event was graced by His Excellency, the President of Afghanistan Mr. Ashraf Ghani who was accompanied by his delegation. Leading businessmen and businesswomen from all major Chambers and Trade Associations representing sectors textile, pharmaceuticals, plastics, poultry, auto mobile industry, fruits and vegetables, rice, flour etc. were present.

In his welcome remarks the Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production and Investment Mr. Abdur Razzak Dawood said, “I look forward to the future with great hope”. He stated that the Prime Minster of Pakistan envisions peace and prosperity in the region. Mr. Razzak Dawood also informed that his meetings with Afghan President and his cabinet were highly constructive and expressed hope that in the follow up meetings scheduled to take place in July some meaningful progress will be made in the interest of bilateral and transit trade between the two countries.

While addressing the audience, Mr. Ghani shared that Afghanistan is committed to promote ease of doing business and providing conducive policy frameworks and infrastructure to increase investment and trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan especially in areas of textile, energy and transport.

He reassured that Afghanistan is cognizant of the magnitude and complexity of issues pertaining to border regulations, visa regimes, transit trade and other areas all of which requires consistent and effective mitigation from both sides. Both sides reiterated their resolve to take the process of this engagement forward for tangible positive outcomes for both the countries and the region.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Afghanistan’s Taliban Bans ICRC, WHO Relief Work in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban Bans ICRC, WHO Relief Work in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Taliban Bans ICRC, WHO Relief Work in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD The Taliban says it has temporarily stopped the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) from carrying out relief work in the areas they control in Afghanistan and revoked security guarantees for their staff.

The Islamist insurgent group alleged in a statement Thursday that it has found WHO staff involved in “some suspicious activities” during vaccination campaigns, and that the ICRC failed to practically implement pledges given to the Taliban. The statement did not elaborate.

Until further orders, operations of the two organizations have been halted in areas controlled by the Islamic Emirate [the Taliban], and Mujahideen will not be a responsible for the protection for the heads of these organizations, the Taliban said.

An ICRC spokesman confirmed the organization has suspended its relief work due to the withdrawal of security guarantees by the Taliban. “Therefore, we are now in the process of contacting the (Taliban) to initiate a bilateral and confidential dialogue in view of the(Taliban) statement,” Robin Waudo told AFP.

There was no immediate reaction from the WHO or the Afghan government to the Taliban’s warning.

The insurgent move comes as an estimated 10 million people in Afghanistan, more than a quarter of its population, are facing “severe acute” food insecurity and are in need of urgent “life-saving” humanitarian assistance in the wake of continued hostilities, three years of drought and recent floods.

The Taliban had temporarily withdrawn safety guarantees for the ICRC last August, accusing the international group of failing to meet its mission obligations to monitor detention conditions in Afghan jails and provide medical aid to insurgent prisoners.

The security assurances were reinstated two months later following negotiations between the ICRC and the Taliban in Qatar, where the insurgent group informally operates its political office.

The WHO’s vaccination campaigns, particularly those against polio virus, are considered critical because Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan are the only two countries in the world where endemic polio virus continues to cripple children.

Insurgent attacks and counter offensives by Afghan security forces have intensified in recent months across Afghanistan, killing hundreds of combatants on both sides, inflicting civilian casualties and displacing tens of thousands of families.The Taliban controls or contests more than half of the 407 Afghan districts.

Source: Voice of America

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A  Young Afghan woman stoned to death for eloping with man her own age

A Young Afghan woman stoned to death for eloping with man her own age

A  Young Afghan woman stoned to death for eloping with man her own age

KABUL:  A young Afghan woman who was married against her will has been stoned to death by extremists after she was caught eloping with another man, local officials told AFP on Tuesday.

A graphic video of the stoning shows the woman, named as Rokhsahana, aged between 19 and 21, in a hole in the ground as men almost casually hurl stones at her with sickening thuds.

Rokhsahana was heard repeating the shahada, or Muslim profession of faith, her voice growing increasingly high-pitched in the nearly 30-second clip run in Afghan media. Local authorities confirmed the footage.

The killing took place about a week ago in Ghalmeen, an area some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Ghor provincial capital of Firozkoh, governor Seema Joyenda said.

Rokhsahana had been "stoned to death by Taliban, local religious leaders and irresponsible armed warlords," Ms Joyenda told AFP.

Seema Joyenda, one of Afghanistan's only two female governors, said that according to authorities' information Rokhsahana's family had "married her to someone against her will and she was eloping with a man her age".

She condemned the stoning, calling on Kabul to take action to "clean the area".

"This is the first incident in this area but will not be the last. Women in general have problems all over the country, but especially in Ghor... The man with whom she was eloping has not been stoned."

In addition to serving as a chilling reminder of life under Taliban rule, the crime echoes another horrific case earlier this year in which a 28-year-old woman named Farkhunda was killed by an angry mob after being falsely accused of burning the Koran. Four men were sentenced to death for their roles in that crime and several others were jailed for not intervening.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Afghanistan's capital blast- Taliban suicide bomber kills 4, wounds over 100

Afghanistan's capital blast- Taliban suicide bomber kills 4, wounds over 100

Afghanistan's capital blast- Taliban suicide bomber kills 4, wounds over 100

KABUL - The Taliban claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a carbomb attack near a heavily fortified foreign compound in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, that killed at least four people a day earlier.

It was the latest in a wave of almost daily attacks by the Taliban, who now hold sway over about half of the country and regularly target Afghan forces. The violence comes despite stepped-up efforts by the United States to find a negotiated end to the country's 17-year war.

Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said as many as 113 wounded were taken to different hospitals in Kabul after the Monday evening explosion near the Green Village compound, home to several international organizations and guesthouses.

The area has been the frequent target of attacks in the past. Many foreigners live in the compound, which is heavily guarded by Afghan forces and also private security guards. Roads to the area remained blocked by security forces through the night and into Tuesday morning.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamist militant group, said Taliban fighters were responsible for the attack in which he claimed dozens of foreign and Afghan security forces were killed and wounded.

"Five attackers, including the suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden vehicle, were involved in the attack," Mujahid said in a statement.

One of the victims, 35-year-old pharmacists Emal Fayzi, said he was wounded by shrapnel in the chest as he was walking home in the evening. The blast was so strong, he couldn't see anything for a while. Later, he realized he was inside an ambulance.

"No one is safe in this country, innocent and poor people are the victims of these attacks," Fayzi said from his hospital bed.

Another victim, a 13-year-old boy, said his two sisters were wounded inside their home, which had all its windows shattered in the blast.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said three military personnel and a civilian were killed while 12 women and 23 children were among the wounded.

Another resident in the area, Sardar Mohammad, 55, said this was the most powerful explosion of all that he had witnessed. Three of his children were wounded, he said, adding that the government should move all military targets out of residential areas to protect civilian lives.

Source: China Daily

Monday, December 10, 2018

Afghan football chiefs suspended over sex abuse on women's team

Afghan football chiefs suspended over sex abuse on women's team

Afghan football chiefs suspended over sex abuse on women's team

Afghanistan has suspended five officials including the president of the country's football federation over allegations of sexual and physical abuse against the national women's team, officials said Sunday.

The decision comes days after President Ashraf Ghani ordered the attorney general to conduct a "thorough investigation" into what he called "shocking" claims of abuse by male officials against members of the women's team -- allegations that were first reported in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"The attorney general's office has suspended... the president of the football federation, his deputy, the federation's secretary general, the head of goalkeepers and the head of provincial coordinators," Jamshid Rasuli, spokesman for the attorney general, told AFP.

"To conduct the investigations thoroughly, collect evidence and to ensure justice, the team of prosecutors decided to suspend these people," he said, adding that all the suspended officials were male.

The Guardian cited what it described as senior figures associated with the women's team who said the abuse had taken place in Afghanistan, including at the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) headquarters, and at a training camp in Jordan last February.

The story quoted former captain Khalida Popal -- who fled the country after receiving death threats and has spoken out previously about the discrimination women face in Afghanistan -- as saying male officials were "coercing" female players.

Popal welcomed news of the suspensions, tweeting: "If we all stand together and raise our voice and become the #Voice4voiceless no one would be dare to hurt innocents. #Football is not abuse."

Safi Sadab, an AFF spokesman, told AFP the federation was ready to "cooperate with the investigation".

Football's world governing body FIFA has also said it was looking into the claims, while the Danish sportswear company Hummel announced it had cancelled a sponsorship deal with the team due to the allegations.

Afghanistan has made strides to promote female football -- as well as the national side, four years ago it launched its first all-women's football league that ran in parallel with the men's.

In 2017 the female teams were sidelined by a lack of funding. AFP

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Development in Afghanistan is development for Pakistan: Federal Minister

Development in Afghanistan is development for Pakistan: Federal Minister

Development in Afghanistan is development for Pakistan: Federal Minister

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has said that Pakistan is committed to make meaningful contribution in the reconstruction and rehabilitation effort of Afghanistan by carrying out various development activities in the country. The Minister stated that development in Afghanistan is development for Pakistan. The Minister in his capacity as Deputy Chairman Planning Commission was chairing the 14th Meeting of the Committee for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Afghanistan at Islamabad on Tuesday. Additional Secretary Planning Ali Raza Bhutta, senior officials from relevant ministries and consultants of the projects were also present in the meeting. 

The Minister said that Pakistan is determined to play its role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and in this regard it has undertaken various initiatives and projects in diverse sectors to help in the development of its neighbor. He underlined that the present government is committed to work in tandem with the Afghan Government to ensure timely completion of all ongoing projects. ‘Pakistan’s commitment for development of various projects in Afghanistan demonstrates Pakistan’s priority it attaches to bilateral relations with its neighbour’, emphasized the Minister. During the meeting, it was apprised that Pakistan, being a neighbor and brother country of Afghanistan, had launched a relief package ‘Programme for Reconstruction & Rehabilitation of Afghanistan’ in 2001 with a pledge of grant of US $ 100 million which was gradually enhanced over the years to US $ 1000 Million in 2016. It was informed that between 2002-2013, 14 projects were implemented in Afghanistan whereas presently 15 projects worth Rs. 32.45 billion are being executed in Afghanistan in a number of areas including construction of hospitals, hostel building, provision of scholarships to Afghan students and up-gradation of road between Torkham and Jalalabad. During the meeting, a briefing was also given on the projects and initiatives being undertaken presently in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Information for #Afghan IPDs who own Proof of Registration (PoR) – Afghan refugees may read this

Information for #Afghan IPDs who own Proof of Registration (PoR) – Afghan refugees may read this

Information for Afghan IPDs who own Proof of Registration (PoR) – Afghan refugees may read this
Information for Afghan IPDs who own Proof of Registration (PoR) – Afghan refugees may read this 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

India, Iran, Afghanistan hold first trilateral in Tehran

India, Iran, Afghanistan hold first trilateral in Tehran

India, Iran, Afghanistan hold first trilateral in Tehran

India, Afghanistan and Iran on Tuesday held their first trilateral meeting on Chabahar port project in Tehran.

“Detailed discussions were held between the three sides on full operationalisation of the trilateral Agreement for international transit and transport through Chabahar port,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

India, Iran and Afghanistan in May 2016 had signed a pact which entailed establishment of a transit and transport corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs.

“All sides shared the view that full operationalisation of trilateral Chabahar initiative will promote connectivity and economic development of Afghanistan and the region,” MEA added.

It said the meeting decided to constitute a follow-up committee that would hold its first meeting within two months in Chabahar port.

“The committee would discuss and aim to finalise protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs and consular matters for making the route attractive, decrease logistic costs and pave the way for smooth implementation of the Trilateral Chabahar Agreement.”

The Indian delegation at the trilateral meeting was led by T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations). The Afghan and Iran delegations were led by respective deputy ministers of Transport.

“It was decided to hold the next meeting of the Coordination Council in the first half of 2019 in India,” MEA said.  October 24, 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

56 Afghan students offered higher education scholarships in Pakistan

56 Afghan students offered higher education scholarships in Pakistan

56 Afghan students offered higher education scholarships in Pakistan

KABUL: Pakistan’s envoy to Kabul on Thursday hosted lunch for 56 Afghan students who would soon be leaving for Pakistan to study Master’s, MPhil and PhD degrees on full scholarships granted by the government of Pakistan.

According to a press release issued by the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah Khan hosted the students, which include 20 Agricultural candidates who are availing the dedicated scholarships given to the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture.

Khan, speaking on the occasion, underlined that as a manifestation of Pakistan’s historical and brotherly relations with Afghanistan, Pakistan is investing in the development of human capital of Afghanistan with the expectation that these students would play a vital role in the economic future of the country.

The students appreciated the embassy’s outreach efforts and were happy to avail the opportunity to study in Pakistan, the press release added.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Education: #Afghan refugees studying in refugee villages

Education: #Afghan refugees studying in refugee villages

Education: Afghan refugees studying in refugee villages

Islamabad: In line with our global education policy which encourages the adoption of the host country’s education curriculum, the UN refugee agency has decided to use the Pakistani curriculum in refugee village schools. The decision has been taken due to the protracted nature of the Afghan refugee situation, where the use of the host country’s curriculum constitutes both the most sustainable and the most cost-effective option.

UNHCR believes that the quality of learning for Afghan refugee children in Pakistan will be improved by following the curriculum of Pakistan, particularly at the primary level, with better access to qualified teaching staff and learning materials. Refugee children will receive government of Pakistan certificates demonstrating their proficiency at primary, secondary and college levels. These certificates will enable them to obtain admission in professional colleges or universities in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Refugee students will obtain accredited examination and certification that will enable them to continue their higher education or compete for employment in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani curriculum uses English as the medium of instruction for all subjects except Urdu language and Islamic studies. Learning English also has the potential to open other opportunities for work and study, including scholarships for Afghan refugees.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

United Nations: 8 Million Afghans ‘Don’t Live in Their Homes’

United Nations: 8 Million Afghans ‘Don’t Live in Their Homes’

United Nations: 8 Million Afghans ‘Don’t Live in Their Homes’

The head of the United Nations refugee agency estimates eight million Afghans do not live in their homes, fleeing deadly conflict, poverty, unemployment and a worsening drought in Afghanistan.

U.N. High Commissioner Filippo Grandi, who concluded a visit to the turmoil-hit country and neighboring Pakistan on Sunday, called on donors to urgently increase and sustain support for Afghanistan’s complex and rapidly evolving displacement crisis.

We estimate, if you take all categories of Afghans, that there are nearly eight million Afghan people, that do not live in their homes, either as internally displaced or in different categories of people in neighboring countries and further beyond, including in Europe, Grandi said.

Speaking at the state-run Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad (ISSI), the UNHCR chief painted a grim picture of the security situation in Afghanistan in the wake of repeated terrorist attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.

They [Afghans] are worried they are afraid they are getting frustrated even those with jobs, with purpose, are becoming extremely worried about the future, and security weighs heavily on this perception that they have of their own country, Grandi observed.

Grandi described conditions of nearly three million Afghans in neighboring Iran, including around one million registered refugees, as not very encouraging.

The preoccupation that we have is that of course Iran is entering a complicating phase from the political point of view, U.S. sanctions, political pressures. We are worried that this may erode the relative generosity that has been shown to Afghan refugees, Grandi warned.

In fact, we have seen many Afghans going back to Afghanistan, especially those more qualified, because the purchasing power of the Iranian currency is collapsing so rapidly.

Pakistan hosts nearly three million registered and unregistered Afghans, one of the largest refugee populations.

Grandi said that in his meetings with refugee families in the Pakistani city of Peshawar he observed some of them are making difficult decisions to return, while others prefer to wait, citing insecurity in their homeland.

Authorities in Pakistan have lately stepped up calls for all Afghans to go back to their country, citing internal security problems and economic pressures on host communities.

Grandi said that new Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured him his government will not support forced repatriation of Afghans.

The UNHCR chief noted the Afghan government’s capacity to implement policies to resettle returnees continue to be relatively week, or rather patchy and he emphasized the need for host nations to ensure voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees.

Grandi lamented that ordinary Afghans have not yet seen dividends of an elected government in their country or from massive international assistance Afghanistan has received since 2001. He added that unless schools and clinics are built and social services are provided, it would be extremely difficult to encourage Afghans living in exile to come back to their country. September 9, 2018

Source: Voice of America

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

At Least 20 Dead and 50 injured in Mosque Attack in Afghan Capital

At Least 20 Dead and 50 injured in Mosque Attack in Afghan Capital

(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Militants stormed a packed Shiite mosque in the Afghan capital during Friday prayers, in an attack that lasted for hours and ended with at least 20 worshippers killed and another 50 seriously wounded, many of them children, an official said.

Two of the assailants blew themselves up and another two were shot to death by Afghan security forces, according to police official Mohammed Sadique Muradi.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest to target Afghanistan's minority Shiites. The Taliban condemned the violence, with a spokesman for the militants, Zabihullah Mujahid, telling The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the group had nothing to do with it.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the violence and said the militants were turning to attacking places of worship because they were losing on the battlefield. He urged Islamic clerics everywhere to condemn the bloodshed.

The death toll of 20 was expected to rise because many of the victims were seriously wounded, said Mohammad Salim Rasouli, chief of Kabul's hospitals.

Terrified worshippers endured about four harrowing hours of gunfire and explosions during the afternoon before the four attackers were killed.

The Islamic State said in a statement on the website of its Aamaq news agency that it had deployed two attackers to the mosque. There was no immediate explanation for the contradictory number of attackers.

Security forces had surrounded the mosque in the northern Kabul neighborhood but did not initially enter to prevent further casualties to the many worshippers inside, police official Mohammed Jamil said. Later, as police tried to advance, one of the attackers set off an explosion that forced them to withdraw, Muradi said.

The cleric who was performing the prayers was among the dead, said Mir Hussain Nasiri, a member of Afghanistan's Shiite clerical council. The gunmen had taken over both the cavernous prayer hall for the men and the separate, second-floor prayer area for the women, he said.

The mosque could accommodate up to 1,000 people, Nasir added.

When police initially tried to get inside, they discovered the militants had blocked the door leading to the second floor, turning the women upstairs into hostages, Nasir said.

"I was trying to escape over the wall when I saw my daughter, who was wounded, also trying to climb the wall," one man who gave his name only as Bismillah told the AP.

"There was another girl who was shot in the head. I saw the body myself," he said. "Finally I managed to escape with my daughter and a police escorted us to safety from the back of the mosque."

Last month, the Sunni-dominated Islamic State group attacked the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul and then warned Shiites in Afghanistan that their mosques would be targeted. Sunni extremists consider Shiites to be heretics.

Within days of that, IS also took responsibility for a suicide attack on a Shiite mosque in western Herat province that left 32 people dead.

In southern Kandahar province Friday, Afghan security forces repulsed a Taliban attack on an outpost overnight, according to provincial police chief's spokesman, Zia Durrani. Four members of the security forces died in the exchange and another seven were wounded, he said.

Durrani said the Taliban sustained heavy casualties. There was no immediate comment from the militants.

Elsewhere, provincial deputy police chief Nisar Ahmad Abdul Rahimzai said Afghan security forces recaptured a district in eastern Paktia province from the insurgents.

The summer fighting season in Afghanistan has seen relentless Taliban attacks as the insurgents battle to expand their footprint.

On Thursday, Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, and Hugo Llorens, the U.S. Embassy's special chargé d'affaires, told reporters in Kabul that the new U.S. strategy was a promise to Afghans that together they would defeat terrorism and prevent terrorist groups from establishing safe havens.

Nicholson vowed to defeat both the Islamic State group affiliate and the remnants of al-Qaida, and he had the following message to the Taliban: "Stop fighting against your countrymen. Stop killing innocent civilians. Stop bringing hardship and misery to the Afghan people. Lay down your arms and join Afghan society. Help build a better future for this country and your own children."President Donald Trump had announced the new plans for Afghanistan on Monday. While he did not give specifics, senior U.S. officials have said that he might send up to 3,900 more troops, with some deployments beginning almost immediately.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Daily Mail - At least 80 are dead and 350 injured in massive suicide car bomb attack near British, US, French and German embassies in Kabul

Daily Mail - At least 80 are dead and 350 injured in massive suicide car bomb attack near British, US, French and German embassies in Kabul

At least 80 are dead and 350 injured in massive suicide car bomb attack near British, US, French and German embassies in Kabul

  • Huge suicide truck bomb explosion rocked part of Kabul that houses embassies

  • At least 80 have been killed and 350 more are injured, officials said this morning

  • Taliban and ISIS have staged large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital in the past 

At least 80 are dead and 350 more are injured after a massive truck bomb ripped through Kabul's diplomatic quarter this morning.

Bodies littered the street and a towering plume of smoke could be seen over the Afghan capital after the suicide attack blew out the windows in a number of international missions and residences nearby.

The target of the blast, which happened near the British, French, German and US embassies, was not immediately known but authorities said most of the casualties were civilians.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast but both the Taliban and ISIS have staged large-scale attacks in Kabul in the past.

Amid the chaos and confusion in the aftermath of the blast this morning, officials initially said 50 had been killed. Reuters later reported the country's health ministry as saying the death toll was at least 80.

The explosion caused carnage during rush hour when roads are packed with worktime commuters.

The interior ministry was calling on Kabul residents to donate blood this morning, saying hospitals were in 'dire need'. 

It appeared to have gone off close to a busy intersection in the Wazir Akbar Khan district but Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, did not have a more precise location.

The neighbourhood is considered Kabul's safest area, with foreign embassies protected by dozens of 10-foot-high blast walls and government offices, guarded by police and national security forces. 

The German Embassy, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are all in the area, as are the British and the Canadian embassies. The Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies are also located there.

The French and German embassies were damaged by the massive bomb that ripped through Kabul's strongly fortified diplomatic quarter on Wednesday, a French minister said.

'The information that I have at the moment is that there is material damage in the French embassy, there is also material damage in the Germany embassy,' European affairs minister Marielle de Sarnez told Europe 1 radio.

She added she had no information on any possible casualties at the two missions.

MailOnline has contacted Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office for comment.

The blast was so heavy that more than 30 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged at the site of the attack. 'We don't know at this moment what was the target of the attack,' said Danish.

Read more on Daily Mail Site

#Kabul suicide attack: Huge blast rocks diplomatic district killed 12, more than hundreds wounded

#Kabul suicide attack: Huge blast rocks diplomatic district killed 12, more than hundreds wounded

Kabul suicide attack: Huge blast rocks diplomatic district killed 12, more than hundreds wounded 

Huge blast rips through the heart of Afghan capital, in an area close to many government offices and foreign embassies.

A suicide car bomb attack in the heart of Kabul's diplomatic district has killed at least 12 people and wounded 92, according to officials, in a powerful blast described as "one of the biggest" to have hit the Afghan capital. 

Sources said the explosion on Wednesday took place near Zanbaq square, in Kabul's 10th district, a highly secure area close to many government offices and foreign embassies.

A police and a hospital source confirmed to Al Jazeera that at least nine people were killed in the attack. Waheed Majroh, a spokesman for the Afghan health ministry, told Al Jazeera that dozens of people were taken to hospital after the blast. 

The death toll was expected to rise. Local media reported that at least 50 people were killed in the attack, citing anonymous sources.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Both the Taliban and ISIL have previously staged large-scale attacks in Kabul.

Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said the location of the attack was very significant, as it hit one of the Afghan capital's busiest and most secure parts.

"Kabul has been very quiet for the past week but police has confirmed to us that this was one of the biggest blasts Kabul has ever seen," he said.

Sushma Swaraj, India's minister of external affairs, tweeted that all of the staff at the Indian embassy "were safe in the massive Kabul blast".

Read more on AlJazeera

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Afghan Refugees: Iran Deported 130,000 So Far This Year

Afghan Refugees: Iran Deported 130,000 So Far This Year

غیرقانونی افغان
ایران نے ہزاروں افغان مہاجرین کو بے دخل کردیا۔ نامکمل کاعذات والوں کے لئے اجازت نہیں 

In line with Iran’s target to deport undocumented Afghan refugees, hundreds of Afghans are reportedly being sent home every day.

Almost 130,000 undocumented Afghan refugees have been forced to return home so far this year by the Iranian government.
Voice Of America (VOA) reported that hundreds are being sent home every day in line with Iran’s target to send back 600,000 Afghans by the end of the year.
"Last week, 7,695 Afghan refugees returned from Iran, 60-65 percent of whom were deported involuntarily," said Hafiz Ahmad Miakhel, spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Refugees and Returnees was quoted as saying by VOA.
"The majority of them were young individuals, but some were families, including women and children."
This comes amid an ever growing number of return refugees to the country not only from Iran but also from Pakistan and Europe.
The International Monetary Fund said in a report earlier this year that this influx is seriously aggravating the government's capacity to absorb refugees in an already difficult environment of high unemployment and internally displaced people after decades of conflict.
The IMF said that while the Afghan government works to strengthen internal coordination and strategic planning, the international community also needs to play a vital role in providing financial and humanitarian support to avert a crisis and limit the damage to Afghanistan’s already challenging social and security conditions, and development prospects.
Aid officials estimated that more than 700,000 refugees returned to Afghanistan in 2016, while this year return refugees continue to return home – not all voluntarily.
In January, analysts projected that up to 2.5 million more refugees would return over the next 18 months, which would add nearly 10 percent to Afghanistan’s population.
On Sunday, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) inaugurated a substantial expansion of its Torkham Transit Center in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province for undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan.
More than 55,000 undocumented Afghans have returned from Pakistan between January 1 and May 18 this year - double the number of returns during the same period in 2016 - the highest return year on record.
IOM’s Deputy Director General, Laura Thompson, visited the Torkham border crossing on Sunday as part of her three-day mission to Afghanistan.
IOM’s DDG also met with CEO Abdullah Abdullah, the Ministries of Refugees and Repatriation and Social Affairs, and UN and donor partners.
IOM has been providing post-arrival humanitarian assistance to undocumented returnees from Pakistan at the Torkham border crossing since 2012. In order to better respond to the continuing and growing influx of returnees, IOM recently completed a significant expansion of one of its four Transit Centers located on Afghanistan’s borders with Pakistan and Iran, where returnees receive assistance including household supplies, food, temporary accommodation, medical care and onward transportation assistance to their final destination in Afghanistan.
The expansion work at the Torkham Transit Center has doubled the accommodation capacity, with the ability to host 30 families or 210 individuals at any one time.
The capacity of the Transit Center warehouse has also been increased allowing IOM to stock 1,000 family assistance packages and the clinic has doubled in size. A number of other improvements have been put in place to provide more services for returnees through partners and improve efficiency, including the addition of child friendly spaces from UNICEF, Mine Risk Awareness Education by UNMAS/DRC-DDG as well as psychosocial and gender-specific support. 
At the beginning of May, IOM issued an updated funding needs document outlining the need for $52.8 million USD in support to assist 292,000 returnees from Pakistan and Iran through March 2018.

Friday, April 14, 2017

‘Mother of All Bombs’ Killed Dozens of Militants, Afghan Officials Say

‘Mother of All Bombs’ Killed Dozens of Militants, Afghan Officials Say

KABUL, Afghanistan — A day after the United States military dropped its biggest conventional bomb on caves used by Islamic State affiliates in eastern Afghanistan, officials on Friday said dozens of militants had been killed, but they were still trying to assess the full extent of the damage. Residents said the blast was felt tens of miles away.

The strike on Thursday targeted a set of mountain tunnels in Achin District, a stronghold of the Islamic State’s regional affiliate, and it was the first use in combat of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, nicknamed the “mother of all bombs.” The bombing was part of an intense air campaign against the Islamic State, with American airstrikes in Afghanistan averaging as many as 10 a day in the first two weeks of April.

Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said initial information indicated that 36 militants had been killed and three large caves destroyed.

Local officials in Achin said that Afghan commandos were advancing on the area and that smaller airstrikes had continued Friday morning.

“U.S. forces are providing air support and also support on the ground — there are some U.S. advisers with Afghan forces,” said Ismail Shinwary, the district governor of Achin.

Ahmad Jawid Salim, a spokesman for the Afghan Army commandos, said that the operation in Achin had been underway for 45 days but that progress had stalled in the Tangi Assadkhel area of the district, where the bomb was dropped. On Sunday, an American special forces soldier, Staff Sergeant Mark R. De Alencar, 37, was killed near there.

“Our foreign counterparts used all available weapons” to destroy the Islamic State havens in Tangi Assadkhel, Mr. Salim said. “But because the posts and havens of I.S. were very strong, it was decided to use this big bomb.”

Mr. Salim said that the Afghan commandos were given advance notice that the bomb would be used and that they pulled back about two miles before it was dropped. “We were getting reports minute by minute, and we were aware that the bomb would drop in 30 and then 20 seconds,” he said.

#USFOR_A GBU-43 strike against ISIS-K cave and tunnel systems in #Achin district, #NangarharProvince, Afghanistan, April 13, 2017.

There were no initial reports of civilian casualties from the explosion, and Afghan and American military officials insisted that all precautions had been taken to avoid harming noncombatants. Most civilians have been displaced from Achin since 2015, when the Islamic State turned the district into a stronghold.

Mr. Salim said that there had been only one civilian family in Tangi Assadkhel, the part of Achin that was bombed, and that the family had been evacuated before the strike.

But Malik Kamin, a tribal elder from the nearby area of Shadal Bazaar, said some civilians were still in Tangi Assadkhel when the bomb fell. He said commandos who went in after the bomb was dropped found two disabled women and an elderly man there and brought them to Shadal Bazaar.

The bomb, which was dropped from a cargo plane, weighed about 20,000 pounds, and its force was felt across Achin and even in neighboring districts.

One tribal elder who lives less than two miles from Tangi Assadkhel said the blast was so strong that residents of his village thought it had been the target. Shrapnel and rocks as heavy as five pounds fell on his house, he said. A resident of the nearby Pekhe area said four houses there, about three miles from the blast site, had been completely destroyed.

Both residents spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation should the Islamic State find its way back to their area.

Haji Ghalib, governor of Bati Kot, a district about 20 miles from Achin, said he felt the blast there. “People in other districts also felt it,” he said. “From check posts in Achin some guys called me, and they were asking, ‘What was that?’ It was very big — for a moment, big flames were rising from the mountain, the whole area was bright.”

The Islamic State’s regional affiliate in Afghanistan, largely made up of former Pakistani Taliban, was rapidly expanding in eastern Afghanistan during much of 2015 and 2016. In March 2016, American military officials estimated that the group had between 2,000 to 3,000 fighters across 11 districts.

After multiple operations and extensive airstrikes, that number has been reduced to about 700 fighters across three districts, officials say. The efforts involved several ground operations by Afghan Army soldiers and commandos advised by American military special forces. But it was also accompanied by an intense air campaign that last year even used B-52 bombers, a staple of the early part of the war that had not been used for many years.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings in urban centers, most recently at the gates of the presidential palace in Kabul, the capital, on Wednesday, an attack that killed at least five people.

Some of the tunnels and caves in the complex bombed on Thursday dated from the fight against the British Empire, said Mr. Ghalib, the Bati Kot district governor, who was Achin’s governor for years. More tunnels were added during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and still more by the Islamic State.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Afghan officials summoned to GHQ, asked to handover 76 'most wanted' terrorists

Afghan officials summoned to GHQ, asked to handover 76 'most wanted' terrorists

Pakistan on Friday summoned officials of the Afghan embassy to the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi to lodge protest against the use of Afghan soil by terrorists to carry out attacks in Pakistan.

The Afghan officials were handed over a list of 76 "most wanted" terrorists by the Pakistan Army, DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a Tweet.

Afghanistan was asked to either take "immediate action" against the named terrorists or hand them over to Pakistan, he said.

The move comes two days after a senior Afghan diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office in Islamabad to receive protest over the use of territory of his country for launching terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

The Afghan diplomat was given a demarche containing details of the recent terrorist attacks and supporting information.

United Nations and European Commission (UN&EC) Additional Secretary Tasnim Aslam in her meeting with the Afghan official had raised the "grave concern [Pakistan has] about the continuing terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil by the terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) [operating] from its sanctuaries inside Afghanistan".

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said during his visit to Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies on Thursday that terrorists were trying to regroup in safe havens in Afghanistan.

Resurgence in terror attacks
Pakistan has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks since Jamaat-ul-Ahrar announced its ‘Operation Ghazi’. The Afghanistan-based JuA had in the announcement also hinted at unification of TTP splinter groups.

It should be recalled that TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah is also based in Afghanistan and Pakistani pleadings for his arrest and handover have remained unanswered.

At the heart of lack of cooperation from the Afghan side has been the mutual mistrust.

The current wave of terrorism sweeping the country took a turn for the worse on Thursday when a suspected woman suicide attacker set off explosives at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, leaving at least 76 devotees dead and over 250 injured.

Pakistan closed its border with Afghanistan after the shrine attack due to security concerns.

Earlier on Thursday, an explosive device had targeted an army convoy in the Awaran area of Balochistan, killing three soldiers.

On Feb 15, a suicide bomber struck in Mohmand, killing three personnel of the Khasadar force and five civilians. The attack was claimed by the proscribed Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JA) group.

The same day, a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a vehicle carrying judges in Peshawar's Hayatabad Phase 5 area, killing the driver and injuring its four other occupants. The attack was claimed by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

On Feb 13, a suicide bomber had struck a protest on Lahore's Charing Cross interchange, killing 13 and injuring 85. The attack had happened right outside the gates of Punjab's Provincial Assembly. The attack was claimed by JA.

On the same day, two personnel of Balochistan's bomb disposal squad were killed as they attempted to defuse an explosive device planted under the Sariab Road bridge in Quetta, the provincial capital۔

Source: Dawn

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Avalanches, heavy snow kill 119 people in Afghanistan

Avalanches, heavy snow kill 119 people in Afghanistan

Afghan officials were working on Monday to reach remote villages after avalanches and heavy snow killed at least 119 people around the country.  

A storm dumped as much as two metres (6.5 feet) of snow on many areas of Afghanistan over the weekend, according to officials.

At least 119 people died and 89 were injured in avalanches and by collapsed roofs and traffic accidents, in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces over the past three days, said Disaster Management Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak.

“There is a possibility that some people still could be trapped in some areas and we do not have information yet,” he said.

Among the hardest hit areas was Nuristan, a mountainous province on the eastern border with Pakistan.

An avalanche there on Sunday killed 63 people and injured 27, according to an official in the provincial governor’s office.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Mark Bowden, said the Afghan government was leading rescue operations, but the United Nations “stands ready to fully support” the relief effort.

“With some areas difficult to access, it may take some time until a clear picture of the full extent of the damage is known,” the United Nations said in a statement.

”Around the country nearly 200 homes were destroyed and 500 head of livestock were killed,” Barmak said.

“Many roads remained blocked, with clearance efforts expected to take ‘many days’”, he said.

Though bringing misery to so many people, snow is vital for Afghanistan, where most farmers rely on snow melting in the mountains to sustain crops in the spring and summer.

News Agencies

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Afghan Woman Beheaded For Entering City Without Husband

Afghan Woman Beheaded For Entering City Without Husband

A group of armed men have reportedly beheaded a 30-year-old woman in northern Afghanistan for entering a village to do shopping without her husband. 

The incomprehensible act occurred in the remote village of Latti in Sar-e-Pul province, which is controlled by the Taliban, the Daily Mail reports. 

This inmate walked out of his cell and started viciously beating a guard. But then...
The young woman was targeted by the armed hardliners for having gone out alone without her husband, who is in Iran, Provincial Governor spokesman Zabiullah Amani commented, The Nation reports. 

The woman intended to go shopping at the local market, the Middle East Press reports. The "infidelity act" provoked the armed men to decapitate and stab her to death. 

The Taliban bans woman in the areas they control from working, going to school, speaking loudly in public and appearing in media, The Independent reports.

The extremist group has held public lashings and executions in football stadiums to enforce their harsh discriminatory policies against women. 

No one has been arrested for the murder and the Taliban have denied any involvement. 

From honor killings to domestic abuses to bomb attacks, Afghan women have suffered tremendously under the 15 years of conflict provoked by the Taliban insurgency as violence has escalated in the majority of the country.

Re-establishing women's rights was a major goal of the international community in the country, where the militant Taliban Islamist group banned girls from school and women from working during their 1996-2001 reign.   

Despite the hard-fought women's rights gains won in work and education in liberated zones across the country, Afghanistan remains a very difficult place to be a woman.

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