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MoPH to tighten control on medicines’ quality

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Tuesday said it would install five new laboratories to test quality of imported medicines.

MoPH officials said around 10,000 drug stores were run without pharmacists and 93 percent of medicines were imported to the country without their quality being checked.

They urged 450 domestic and foreign companies importing medicines to obtain operation license within next 10 days or their operations would be accounted as crime.

Activities without license

Public Health Minister Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, speaking at a conference ‘A look to performance and achievements of National Medical Products Authority (NMPA)’ here, said 250 drugs importing companies and 200 foreign companies whose medicines were sold in Afghanistanwere operating without obtaining license from the ministry.

He said the companies’ owners were required to obtain the license within next 10 days or their activities would be accounted as crime and the companies would be sealed.

MoPH officials said around 300 drugs companies were currently active across the country and the ministry has signed a cooperation agreement with Iran, Pakistan, India and China, the biggest exporters of medicines to Afghanistan, last year.

Based on the agreement, these countries are cooperating with Afghanistan in identifying companies that produce low quality medicines, blacklisted and operating without license, Feroz said.

The minister said the licenses of 800 drugs companies that were inactive had been cancelled during the last one year.

Controlling medicines’ prices

The public health minister said people in different areas of the country had complained about high medicine prices.

Feroz said the MoPH had developed a plan for controlling medicines’ prices. The plan would be shared with the private sector, he said, but stopped short of going into details.

Six types of drugs produced inside the country

According to Feroz, 95 percent of all medicines in markets are imported while five percent or six types of the medicines are produced inside the country. He said the drugs produced domestically were of high quality and the ministry was supporting the national products.

“We will ban imports of medicines which are produced inside the country in future. We will address the problem of smuggling medicines to the country with your (participants) advises,” he said.

Low quality drugs

Dr. Noor Shah Kamawal, NMPA head, who attended the conference, said the quality of only seven percent of all medicines was checked due to the absence of enough laboratories in the country.

He said only one laboratory for controlling drugs was available in capital Kabul.

However, he said more laboratories would be activated in Kabul, Nangarhar, Balkh, Herat and Kandahar provinces in the next one year to make sure quality medicines were imported to the country, he added.

He said installation of the five new laboratories would cost $7.5 million to be paid from the government’s budget.

On the other hand, Dr. Feroz confirmed receiving complaints about low quality medicines imported to the country by the private sector. But he said the private sector had pledged to cooperate with the ministry in activating laboratories for drugs’ quality control.

Drug stores without pharmacists

The public health minister said 14,000 drug stores and 4,000 pharmacists existed in the country, showing 10,000 drug stores were being run without pharmacists.

“Allowing only those who have received at least two years of education in pharmacy to work in drug stores and tightening control in rural areas can resolve the problem”, he said.

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Noor alleges power limited to few persons in government

KABUL: (AIP): Accusing the government of limiting power to a few persons, Balkh Governor Atta Muhammad Noor said on Tuesday the insecurity was increasing in the country due to this reason.

Addressing a protest organized by Afghanistan Survival Coalition in Balkh, Noor said the power had been grabbed by a few persons in the presidential palace.

He went on to say that he would force the government with the public power to accept his demands. He vowed to stand against the government till the control of few persons on power is finished.

He asked first vice president and head of Junbish-e-Milli, General Abdul Rashid Dostam to return to Afghanistan and his job without any conditions. Some elements were hatching conspiracies against Dostam in the presidential palace, he added.

The Afghanistan Survival Coalition would soon hold a mega gathering in Kabul to announce its existence.

Accusing the government leaders of fueling tribal issues, he said efforts were being made to divide Pakhtun nation into Ghalji and Muhammad Zai tribes. The Afghan people would not accept any such plans, he added.

The security officials should be exchanged with capable persons to bring improvement in the overall security situation of the country, he said.

He criticized the formation of Independent Election Commission (IEC), saying it has been made on the wish of only one person.

Terming the National Procurement Commission as a source of corruption, he said the money embezzled in the body had been taken to Lebanon in a private aircraft.

Noor said he supported the presence of international community in Afghanistan. He, however, urged them not to give their money to people for corruption in the country.

Noor said he was not against the presidential office or the chief executive’s office rather he was against only a limited group.

The presidential palace has already asked people to share their positive proposals with the office. Some people accused Noor and his coalition for trying to achieve their vested goals.

On the occasion, second chief executive officer Muhammad Mohaqiq said the National Unity Government was limited to only a few persons. The pledges on which the National Unity Government was formed had not been fulfilled, he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that General Dostam, Atta Muhammad Noor and Muhammad Mohaqiq recently formed this coalition. The group had vowed to announce its presence during a gathering in Kabul in the next few days. General Abdul Rashid Dostam also announced to visit Kabul soon. However, his visit was delayed.

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ISIS release photo of suicide bombers who attacked Iraq embassy in Kabul

KABUL (KhaamaPress): The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group’s offshoot in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khurasan, released the picture of the two suicide bombers who attacked the embassy of Iraq in Kabul on Monday.

The photo purportedly shows two young men who carried out the suicide attack on the Iraqi embassy.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman Najib Danish told reporters that the attack was launched by two suicide bombers at around 11 am local time.

He said at least two local workers of the embassy were killed and two others belonging to the national police and police special forces were wounded in the attack.

Danish further added that the security forces arrived in the area immediately after the attack was launched and evacuated the Iraqi ambassador, his deputy, and diplomats of the embassy.

According to Danish the attack was ended after the Afghan security forces eliminated all the remaining attackers during the gun battle.

Yesterday’s attack on embassy of Iraq was the second attack carried out by the anti-government armed militant groups in the past one week which followed the deadly car bombing that left at least 24 dead and 42 others wounded last week.

The Taliban group had claimed responsibility behind last week’s deadly suicide bombing in Kabul city.

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Female Afghan MP dies in a traffic incident

JALALABAD(KhaamaPress): A female Afghan lawmaker of the Lower House of the Parliament, Wolesi Jirga, died in a traffic incident in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office in a statement said Parveen Nuristani representing the eastern Nuristan province in the Lower House of the Parliament died in the outskirts of Jalalabad city late on Monday.

The statement further added that Nuristani was travelling in Darunta area in the outskirts of Jalalabad when her car crashed.

At least three others were also wounded in the incident, the statement said, adding that the dead body of the MP has been shifted to Jalalabad hospital.

Provincial governor Gulab Mangal expressed grief regarding the loss of the life of the MP, calling her an active woman with her death being a major loss for the women of the country.

The majority of the road accidents are taking place due to bad conditions of the roads, lack of traffic signs as well as reckless driving which largely contributes to deadly incidents in the country.

This comes as at least 12 people were killed and dozens more were wounded in a similar incident in eastern Laghman province nearly two months ago.

At least 20 people were killed in separate road accidents on Kabul-Jalalabad highway earlier this year.


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Attack on Iraqi embassy comes to end as four suicide bombers killed

KABUL(AIP):The coordinated attack on the embassy of Iraq in Kabul came to an end at around 3 pm as all the four suicide bombers were killed, the interior ministry announced on Monday .

According to a press release issued by the interior ministry, only an Afghan cop was injured in the attack. The Afghan forces and Iraqi diplomats did not suffer any casualties.

The press release said a suicide bomber exploded himself near the Iraqi embassy in Shahr-e-Naw area. Later, three more attackers entered the embassy building.

The police reached the area in time, it said, adding all the four attackers were killed after a gunfight of about four hours.

It was learnt that three Iraqi citizens were working in the embassy. One of them was acting ambassador and two were ordinary employees. Spokesman for the foreign ministry of Iraq, Ahmad Jamal said on his formal Twitter account that their ambassador had been shifted to the Egyptian embassy. Efforts were also put to save the other two employees.

The press release issued by the interior ministry did not give accurate information about casualties. However, the AIP correspondent in Kabul said he saw three ambulances, taking injured people to the hospital.

Some sources said two Afghan police personnel providing protection to the embassy were killed in the attack. The emergency hospital in Kabul said on its Twitter account that they have received two injured people from the site.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry of Afghanistan condemned the attack and said in a press release that attacks on diplomatic facilities could not be justified in any law.

On the other side, the Islamic State or Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack on their social accounts and Amaq News Agency. It stated two persons launched the attack. One of them blew himself up while the other conducted armed attack.

The acting ambassador of Iraq in Kabul recently told reporters that the Islamic State or Daesh gunmen have been expelled from Mosul city of Iraq. He said there were no fears about the traveling of Daesh gunmen to Afghanistan.

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Afghan forces thwart a deadly explosion in Jalalabad city

JALALABAD (Khaama Press): The Afghan security forces have foiled a plot by the anti-government armed militant group to carry out a deadly explosion in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of Nangarhar province.

According to the local government officials, the militants were attempting to detonate a motorcycle packed with heavy explosives in the city but the motorcycle was discovered before the militants manage to carry out an attack.

The provincial government media office in a statement also confirmed that the motorcycle packed with explosives was seized from the vicinity of the 7th police district of the city.

The statement further added that the militants had parked the motorcycle on a roadside and were apparently waiting to detonate it upon the arrival of their target.

The explosives seized from the motorcycle was detonated in an empty area to prevent casualties or losses to the civilians, the provincial government said, adding that the confiscation of the motorcycle by the security forces helped to prevent a deadly attack that could claim the lives of dozens of people.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

Nangarhar has been among the relatively calm provinces since the fall of the Taliban regime but the anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban and ISIS loyalists have started attempts to expand their insurgency in some key and remote districts of the province.

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Afghan forces repulse Taliban attacks in Badghis

HERAT (AIP): Taliban gunmen targeted several posts of Afghan National Army (ANA) in Bala Murghab district of Badghis province as they increased attacks in Afghanistan following the launch of their traditional spring offensive, officials said Sunday.

The fighting sparked by Taliban attacks on ANA posts in the Joye Khwaja area of Bala Murghab district last night lasted for several hours, said Zaher Bahand, spokesman of Badghis governor.

He said five Taliban were killed while 10 Taliban two troops wounded during the firefight, adding the fighting has ended and situation was clam in the area.

There was no word by Taliban who have increased coordinated attacks on district centres for the last few weeks and seized three district centres in Faryab, Ghor and Paktia province.

The security forces recaptured the Kohistan district of Faryab province while most parts of Tywara district of Ghor province were also cleared of Taliban.

However, the Janikhil district of Paktia province is still in the control of Taliban.

Few days ago, the Taliban mounted a deadliest attack on an ANA base in Khakrez district of Kandahar province wherein, according to defence ministry,  26 ANA troops were killed and 13 others wounded.

The defence ministry said investigations were ongoing into the attack.

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Illegal armed commander killed, 3 guards injured in clash

KUNDUZ (AIP): A warlord was killed and his three guards wounded during a clash with local residents in the Bangi district of northern Takhar province, residents said Sunday.
The illegal armed commander and his guards forcibly searched houses of several local residents in the Bangi district yesterday and also physically beaten them, local residents told AIP by phone.
Later, an armed clash took place between the local residents and Commander Mirwais, they said, adding the commander was killed and his three supporters injured during the clash.
The local residents alleged the slain commander was a close associate of highway police commander Mullah Nadar and used government resources in attack.
Khalil Aseer, spokesman of Takhar police confirmed the incident, saying Mirwais was killed in clash with other illegal gunmen. He said investigations were ongoing.
It is said that Commander Mirwaish was leading a 150 member of gunmen.
The operation of illegal gunmen or warlords have increased in the northeastern Takhar, Kunduz, Baghlan and Badakhshan provinces, spreading concern among the masses.
According to local residents, these illegal gunmen are enjoying the support of high-ranking government officials and politicians.

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Pakistani scholarship attracts thousands of Afghan students

KABUL (AFP): Pakistani Embassy in Afghanistan has started a four-day process of examination for scholarship in its Kabul based headquarter and its diplomatic missions in other Afghan cities, drawing attention of around 8,000 students to join to test, a private local news agency reported.

Quoting Akhtar Munir, the press attaché of the embassy, the agency reported that the test with some 8,000 Afghan online applicants would be overseen by a delegation of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

Mohammad Abid, a student who took part in the test, thanked Pakistani government for providing higher education opportunities for Afghan students. He said the test was conducted in transparent manner but he complained the paper was difficult.

Wasim Hashmi, an advisor to Human Resource Development at Education Commission of the host country, said that Pakistan had approved master and doctorate scholarships for Afghan students for the first time, in addition to bachelor scholarships.

The scholarship includes medicine, engineering, law, economics, pharmacy, computer science and other disciplines, as well as tuition fee, health expenditures, hostel fee and food charges. Successful candidates will also receive monthly pocket money.

In the past, most of Afghan students were unable to complete studies because of language difficulties, but now they will be provided a six-month language course ahead of beginning main course studies, according to the report.

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Afghan woman rescued before falling victim to suspected honor killing

F.P. Report

NANGARHAR: Amid a rapid rise in violence against women across the country, the police forces in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan rescued a woman as two men were attempting to murder for for unknown reasons.

The two men were apparently attempting to murder in the name of honor but the local officials are saying that the main motive has not been ascertained so far.

The provincial government media office in a statement confirmed the incident and said one of the suspects has been arrested and is in custody of the police forces.

The statement further added that the two have been identified as Hokom Khan and Waziri who were attempting to kill the young woman in Behsud district.

According to the provincial government, Wazir has confessed to his crime for the attempted murder and efforts are underway to arrest Hokom Khan in connection to the incident.

This comes as incidents involving violence against women are on the rise in the remote parts of the country amid rampant violence against the women.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission officials said last year that they have recorded around 3,000 cases of violence against women and young girls.

The officials further added that the cases belonged to the year 1395 and mainly involved rape cases, forced marriage, and other forms of domestic violence.