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NDS forces arrests Taliban shadow district governor

Monitoring Desk

HELMAND: National Directorate of Security (NDS) has arrested the Taliban’s shadow district governor for Washir district of Helmand province of Afghanistan.

The NDS officials told media that the arrested Taliban leader was identified as Muhammad Nabi and he was arrested during an operation which was conducted by the NDS’s Special Forces in Lashkargah city of the province.

The arrested Taliban shadow governor confessed his crimes that he was leading a group of 10 insurgents named “Kamil” in Beshran village and a second 10-member group in Shah Peshta district of Washir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 militants killed, 37 injured in coordinated air, ground operations: MoD

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that at least 68 militants were killed or injured during the operations conducted by Afghan air and ground forces in various provinces of the country in the last 24 hours.

General Mohammad Radmanish, Deputy spokesman of MoD informed Afghan media a total of 31 militants were killed and 37 others were wounded during the operations.

He added that the operations were conducted in Nangarhar, Kunar, Kapisa, Paktia, Paktika, Logar, Khost, Uruzgan, Faryab, Balkh, and Helmand provinces.

General Radmanish also said that the Afghan army teams also defused 24 improvised explosive devices.

Gen. Radmanish also added that 15 operations are underway in 11 provinces of the country at the moment as commando forces have conducted 66 operations while Afghan Air Force has carried out one airstrike during the same period.

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‘Peace basic desire of Afghans, top priority of govt’

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani has said peace is the basic desire of the people of Afghanistan and top most priority of the government and they are ready to take any step for peace and prosperity of the people. The president said this during a meeting with British High Commissioner for Pakistan Drew Thomas here on Wednesday.

Drew Thomas said President Ghani’s peace offer to Taliban and government to government level talks proposal to Pakistan at the Kabul process conference has brought positive change to dialogue process.

Terming government to government talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan as positive step, he said his government was ready to cooperate in this regard. President Ashraf Ghazni said on the occasion that they were ready to resolve all the issues with Pakistan through government to government level talks

To create an atmosphere of trust, officials of Pakistan and Afghanistan resumed meetings and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khan Abbasi visited Kabul on the invitation of Afghan president few days ago. Pakistan’s PM also invited Ghazni to visit Islamabad.

 

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Japan announces $11.6m to improve Kabul road access

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Japan announced $11.6 million in new assistance for road projects in line with Kabul City Master Plan under an agreement signed at the Embassy of Japan here on Wednesday.

The projects include construction of Maslakh Road, the Abdul Haq Roundabout as well as a new Makroyan Bridge, according to a statement from the Embassy of Japan in Kabul.

The agreement signing ceremony was attended by Japanese Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka, Director and Representative ad interim Amjad Muhammad, UNOPS Afghanistan, Acting Mayor Abdullah Jan Habibzai, Director of Plan and Policy, Kabul Municipality Sahar Hamdard and NOORI – Director of Kabul District 9. Mohammad Sediq.

The embassy said the project for improvement of access in the southeast area of Kabul city will provide better access to services and boost economic development, which will positively impact the lives of 4.5 million beneficiaries residing in the rural and urban areas of Kabul.

Japan has been engaged in a very close cooperation with Kabul Municipality since 2008 through the Kabul Metropolitan Area Development Programs through JICA.

Until now, about 70 km of main and community roads in Kabul City have been improved through its assistance.

The new project aims to facilitate smooth traffic between the southwest and east of Kabul for boosting economic activities by removing the traffic bottleneck from the city center to Jalalabad Road and linking southwest Kabul with east.

UNOPS Afghanistan’s Director and Representative ad interim, Mr. Amjad Muhammad expressed his gratitude to Kabul Municipality for its continuing cooperation and long-lasting partnership, and renewed UNOPS’ commitment to fully support the Municipality and to improve the lives of the Afghan people.

Muhammad also thanked “JICA for the continued partnership dating back to 2012, as well as the Government and people of Japan for their continued, generous and significant support to Afghanistan.”

Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, human capacity development, education, health, culture and humanitarian assistance.

The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to approximately $6.6 billion.

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Turnout in voter’s registration process low

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The voter’s registration process for the upcoming parliamentary and districts council elections launched on April 14 has so far failed to attract maximum number of aspirants in capital Kabul and other provinces of the country.

According to a survey conducted by Afghan Islamic Press in different provinces, most of the people are not interested in registration as voter due to fear of government’s armed opponents.

In Wardak province which is neighboring Kabul, only six persons registered themselves to vot on the first day of the launch of the registration process but the count claimed to around 100 in the next three days.

Dr. Zaman Kamal, a trial elder in Wardak province, told AIP that though the registration process has not yet been launched in the districts, the people are least interest in the process to be registered as voter in districts due to Taliban fear.

It appears that only the people of Behsud district may resister themselves to vote but the people of Chak, Saidabad, Jaghato, Jalrez, Narkh and Jelga districts may ignore the process, he said.

He continued that the registration process was started in provincial capital Maidan Shahar but the turnout was very low and the centre even failed to register 100 people in the past four days.

A specific sticker is attached to the original identity cards (tazkira) on registration as voter due to which the people fear that Taliban may create problems for them on finding the sticker with their national identity cards, he said. The residents of western Kabul, however, showed keen interest in registering themselves as voter, compared to other areas of the capital.

Muhammad Ali, official of voters’ registration centre in Dasht-e-Burchi, told AIP that though there was no rush of people at the centre on first day, long queues of people were seen in the next three days.

In Mahmood Hottak Centre, Mirwais Maidan, only six persons were registered on first day but the number increased to upto 50 the next three days.

Similarly, 60 voters were registered in Kabul’s 5th Police district during the past four days while no enthusiasm was witnessed among the people in 10th police district.

Nawaz Khan, a resident of 10th police district, told AIP that the people did not take interest in registering themselves as voter because they have no trust in elections. The registration of women voters was also very low in the past four days.

Mahmooda Taqwa, a civil society activist, said though there were women sections at the voters’ registration centre, but the women do not come to the centre.

She said if the same trend continues it would be a question mark on the legality of the election.

In Paktika province, only a limited number of people turned to the registration centres, but people of Herat were seen much interested in the process.

The process has also failed to attract people in Northern provinces.

Waseema Badghisi, deputy operation director of Independent Election Commission, said the process was slow because the people were not familiar to the condition of the process.

She said the commission has started public aware programs and the people interest in the process would increase in the days to come.

She said the voter registration would last for around three months.

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Sticker attachment slows voter registration, says MPs

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Some Wolesi Jirga (lower house) members on Wednesday expressed concern over the attachment of a sticker to paper identity cards of those registering to vote.

The lawmakers were of the view that the sticker attachment had slowed down the voter registration process as so far 76,000 individuals have registered their names.

The voter’s registration process has been underway based on the paper IDs and a registered individual gets a sticker on his/her ID card as a sign of registration.

The IEC launched the voter’s registration on April 14 ahead of Oct 30 Wolesi Jirga and district council elections.

Fawzia Kufi, a lawmaker from northeastern Badakhshan province, told Wednesday’s session that the lack of public awareness and the attachment of sticker on paper ID cards was negatively impacting the ongoing voter registration process.

She said the Taliban had threatened common people in some districts against registration as voters.

“No one would agree to the attachment of a sticker on their ID cards because the Taliban may harm them, thus the process of registration has been slow going,” she added.

Shukria Paikan, another lawmaker from northern Kunduz province, expressed similar views and said: “Taliban militants have warned the people of Kunduz against registering to vote.”

Lawmaker Abdul Hai Akhundzada from southern Helmand province said: “Taliban cut off people’s fingers in past elections but this time they have warned people of execution if vote in the upcoming Wolesi Jirga and district council.”

Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said efforts should be made to spread awareness about the importance of elections. He urged IEC officials to switch to another method instead of attaching stickers on paper ID cards in insecure areas.

Earlier, a number of Meshrano Jirga members had expressed their concern over the same issue and had urged revisiting the idea.

 

 

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Sar-i-Pul hailstones kill thousands of sheep, goats

Monitoring Desk

SAR-I-PUL: ‘Thousands’ of sheep and goats have been killed after being pelted by hailstones as large as 10 centimeters at various meadows in Kohistan at district of northern Sar-i-Pul province, an official said Wednesday.

Tajuddin Malakzada, the Kohistan at district chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News that people from different areas of Sar-i-Pul, Balkh, Jawzjan and Faryab provinces had moved their livestock to Kohistan at district that contained good pastures.

He said around 100,000 sheep and goats had been moved to that area for grazing. Thousands of goats and sheep were lost in the hailstorm, he said without giving exact figures. Besides that, the hailstorm had seriously damaged gardens, he said.

Haji Mohammadin, head of the local council in Charas area of the district, confirmed livestock had been lost and gardens damaged in the storm.

He said 30 to 40 centimeters snow lashed the district on Tuesday night.

He said hailstones as large as 10 centimeters fell in some parts of the district.

The district chief and Mohammadin asked aid giving organizations to assist the affected people.

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Dangerous gang of armed robbers busted

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: A dangerous gang of armed robbers was busted by the Afghan security forces in Kabul before the gang manages to carry out more attacks to loot the city residents.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officials are saying that the gang was busted during an operation of the Afghan National Defense and Security forces.

The officials further added that the gang was involved in major armed robbery incidents and were arrested from the vicinity of the 3rd police district of the city.

According to the CID officials, the Afghan forces also confiscated three pistols, ammunition, and a Russian-made assault rifle from the detained individuals.

This comes as there has been a sharp rise in criminal related incidents in Kabul city during the recent months.

The observers believe that the sharp rise in criminal related incidents have direct links with the growing poverty and lack of employment opportunities which paves the way for the gangs to attract the youngsters in their ranks.

Police forces in Kabul arrested at least fifteen suspects in connection to murder cases and other criminal incidents from various parts of the city.

The Criminal Investigation Department officials said late last month that the suspects were rounded during the operations over a period of one week.

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11 Taliban militants killed in Kapisa operation

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Provincial Police Chief of Kapisa, Muhammad Razaq Yaqobi has claimed that at least 11 Taliban militants including three important members were killed in during the ongoing operation conducted by Afghan security forces in Kapisa province of Afghanistan.

He said this while talking to Afghan media outlet on Wednesday. He added that 16 others militants were injured in the operation in Nijrab district of the province.

Yaqobi said the three key Taliban members identified as Mullah Fedaye, Obaida and Islamyar were also killed in the operation.

Yaqoobi added that three members of Afghan security force were killed and 10 others were injured during the operation.

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Rabbani: Stable Afghanistan vital to common economic goals

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has urged Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member states to use bilateral and multilateral leverage to help stabilise Afghanistan.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday quoted Rabbani as saying: “The sooner the Taliban accept our peace offer to end the war through dialogue, the earlier the ECO region will be able to fully focus on our common economic agenda,”

Rabbani told the 23rd meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of ECO in Dushanbe without peace in the heart of the Asia region — the very roundabout of which is Afghanistan — the ECO members would not reach their full economic growth potential. He recalled that last year’s Summit took note of this fact, and member states reaffirmed their commitment to the long-term stabilization and sustainable development of Afghanistan.

“In this connection, I wish to highlight the recent Afghanistan Pakistan Summit in Kabul where Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi firmly committed to supporting the Afghan- led and Afghan owned peace process.”

“We also agreed to undertake effective action against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements, who will continue posing security threats to our two countries, as well as to the rest of the region,” he said.

He said Afghanistan looked forward to the full implementation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPS) – which is an overdue step forward towards stabilization of Afghanistan for helping ensure regional security.

“To reinforce our peace efforts for prosperity at home and throughout the ECO-region, we welcome with appreciation, the establishment by the ECO Member- States an Advocacy Program for Afghanistan,” he said.

This resulted from summit last year when ECO Member- States renewed their “strong desire for a secure, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan,” supporting the objectives of our National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF).

“We also welcome the two principles of the ECO Advocacy Program for Afghanistan: complementarity and favorable treatment.”

Both principles would guide ECO’s assistance to Afghanistan, as well as the execution of the ECO Fund for Afghanistan, in accordance with the economic reforms and policy priorities of Afghanistan that fully support our collective agenda under ECO.

Rabbani said Afghanistan was fully subscribed to the ECO Vision 2025 and continued doing our part to implement the core objectives and priorities of the Vision in line with its three principles of: sustainability, integration, and conducive environment.

Cooperation- in the areas of trade, transport, connectivity, energy, tourism, economic growth and productivity, social welfare and environment- lied at the top of the sustainable development agenda of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan he added.

In each of these areas, more reforms were implemented and more policy and legal initiatives and measures were taken last year to help integrate our country with the ECO-region.

“In turn, this work- in- progress has helped facilitate the implementation of our common objectives enshrined in the ECO strategies for sustainable economic growth in the region.

“Through the Heart of Asia-Istanbul and RECAA Processes, we have actively promoted regional connectivity via Afghanistan and successfully secured regional cooperation to help expedite the implementation of such critically important connectivity projects such as TAPI, CASA-1000, the Five-Nation Railway, as well as the operationalization of the Chabahar Port and the Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement,” the foreign minister said.

“Our economy is being transformed, as we have passed unprecedented economic legislation- opening opportunities across new sectors and reducing bureaucratic bottlenecks that encourages regional and global businesses to invest in Afghanistan’s virgin markets.”

“Consequently, we have signed more than $500 million in investment contacts since the start of this year, while we estimate a boost in our GDP growth from 2.5% to 4% in the coming years,” he noted.