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Two border police killed, 5 injured in road accident

Monitoring Desk

KUNDUZ: Two police personnel were killed and five more wounded in a road accident in Kunduz province on Sunday.

A speedy vehicle overturned on the road between Kunduz and Sher Khan area, leaving two cops dead five more injured, Kunduz traffic in-charge Abdul Qadir Jehoon told Afghan Islamic Press.

The vehicle belongs to border police.

However, eyewitnesses said three cops were killed and five more injured.

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Child marriage on decline in Afghanistan: UNICEF

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) and UNICEF are set to launch the first-ever study on child marriage in Afghanistan.

“This study is unique, it not only builds on previous studies, but also looks at child marriage from various angles, providing a comprehensive picture of this practice,” says, Minister of Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled Faizullah Zaki.

He slammed child marriage as an appalling violation of human rights that robbed children of their education, health and childhood. The minister urged parents to work together with the government to end child marriage.

Finalised under the leadership of MoLSAMD, the study shows the security situation, poverty, deeply embedded beliefs and social norms put girls at a disadvantage.

It says attention is often focused on the health-related impact of child marriage, with a limited understanding of the impact on education, nutrition and girls’/women’s participation in economic development.

Although there has been a reduction in child marriage in Afghanistan, it remains high. The unwanted practice, the study indicates, has dropped by 10 per cent over a span of five years.

UNICEF Representative Adele Khodr said: “We commend the relentless efforts of the government to reduce this practice and their strong commitment to child rights.”

However, she added: “Yet, further consolidated action is needed by the different actors in society to put an end to this practice and reach the goal of ending child marriage by 2030.”

In 42 per cent of households at least, the study says, one member of the family got married before the age of 18. Yet, significant regional disparities exist, varying from 21 per cent of households in Ghor to 66 per cent in Paktia having at least one member who got married before the age of 18.

The study was carried out in five provinces — Bamyan, Kandahar, Paktia, Ghor and Badghis — representing urban, semi-urban and rural areas.

It highlights multiple factors behind child marriage, complementing already existing studies. In 78 per cent of households, fathers are the main decision makers on issues related to marriage.

As many as 55.7 per cent of respondents agreed girls and boys must be consulted.

Khodr called for ending child marriage to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty and give girls and women opportunities to engage and participate fully in their society.

“Getting all girls into school is a key element in reducing child marriage, and it is important to convince parents, especially fathers to send, and keep their daughters in school.”


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Flour, ghee & rice prices down as afghani surges

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The prices of flour, ghee and rice declined in capital Kabul after the Afghan currency gained some value against the US dollar during the outgoing week, market sources said.

Food Traders Union head Fazal Rahman told Afghan News that the price of a 24-kilogram bag of Pakistani rice declined from 2,100 afghanis to 2,000 afghanis.

He said the past week saw the price of a 50-og bag of Kazakhstani flour going down from 1,200 afghanis to 1,150afs and of a 16-liter tin of Khurshid ghee from 1,080afs to 1,030afs.

Rahman linked the decline in prices of the mentioned food items to the surge in the afghani value against the American dollar. However, he said the price of 49kg of Pakistani sugar stayed stable at 1,600afs.

According to Haji Mir Hussain Sadaqat, owner of Sadaqat Money Exchange Services in Kabul, one US dollar accounted for 72.35afs and 1,000 Pakistani rupees 562afs against last week’s 73.15afs and 562afs.

Noor Ahmad Khairkhwa, a tea seller in Kabul Mandavi, said a kilogram of Indonesian green tea cost 280afs and the same amount of African black tea 300afs — same prices as last week’s.

Ahmad Wali Panjsheri, who owns a grocery store in Dahn-i-Bagh area of Kabul, sold a 50-kg sack of Kazakhstani flour for 1,250afs, a 49-kg bag of sugar for 1,700afs, 24-kg of Pakistani rice 2,400afs a 16-litre tin of ghee for 1,130afs, one-kg of Indonesian green tea for 300afs and the same amount of black African tea for 350afs—higher than wholesale rates.

The oil price also remains steady.

Abdul Hadi, a worker at Wazirabad fuel station in Kabul, said that one liter of petrol cost 55afs and the same quantity of diesel 47afs this week.

Ahmad Javid, a liquefied gas seller in Taimani area of Kabul, said the price of one kilogram of the commodity was stood at 60afs.

Haji Fawad Ahmad Salehzada, a jeweler in Timor Shahi area of Kabul said that one gram of Arabian gold cost 2,350afs and the same quantity of Russian variety 1,800afs, no changes have recorded in the gold prices.


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Police: 14 crime suspects arrested in Uruzgan

Monitoring Desk

TIRINKOT: Police have arrested 14 people including two security men accused of allowing the Taliban to capture their posts in central Urugzan province, the police chief said on Sunday.

Col. Mohammad Maroof Ahmadzai told Afghan media that among the detainees were Matiullah and Abdul Zahir accused of abandoning their security check-posts and weapons to be captured by the Taliban on the Uruzgan-Kandahar highway.

The two were arrested along with six weapons including a Kalashnikov, a rocket launcher and a machinegun, Ahmadzai said, adding another 12 people had been arrested over selling drugs in Tirinkot, the provincial capital.

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Three dead in attack on Afghan midwife training center

JALALABAD (Reuters): Gunmen stormed a midwife training center in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Saturday, fighting security forces for several hours and killing three staff.

One of the attackers died early in the operation after detonating a suicide bomb but a second held out for several hours before being killed, provincial government spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said.

A driver and two security guards were killed and seven people were wounded but 63 other people, almost all women, were rescued unharmed from the compound, which contained a training facility and a student residence.

Gunfire and sporadic explosions were heard during much of the day and clouds of black smoke rose from the area.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but a number of recent attacks have been claimed by Islamic State, which has a stronghold in the surrounding province of Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan.

It was not immediately clear why the attackers had targeted the facility, which was mainly occupied by trainee midwives from the eastern province of Nuristan.

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Explosions, gunshots reported in Jalalabad

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: Provincial government spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani has confirmed that gunmen attacked dormitory of trainee midwives in Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province on Saturday.

According to eye witness, a number of explosions were reported and gunshots could be heard in the area.

Attaullah Khogyani said that at least some of the students, most of them from Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan, had been evacuated from the building.

The attack is the latest in a series to have hit Jalalabad in recent weeks, causing dozens of casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but recent attacks have been claimed by Daesh, which has a stronghold in the surrounding province of Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan.



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Karzai lends weight to Grand National Coalition

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Former president Hamid Karzai on Friday announced stout support for the nascent opposition alliance called the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan.

A day earlier, the coalition formally announced its creation, stressing the need for transparent elections and pledging to field a qualified individual for next year’s presidential election.

In a statement from his office, Karzai said he backed the alliance’s goals, including fair polls and national unity. The objectives had been framed with consensus among public representatives and political parties, he said.

He hoped the Afghans, through such joint endeavours, would foil foreign interference in the internal affairs of the country, strengthen national sovereignty, promote democracy and enforce peace in Afghanistan.

Leaders of the coalition say they will rein in chaos and nominate a consensus candidate for the president.

First Vice-President and Junbish-i-Islami Afghanistan head Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, Jamiat-i-Islami leader Salahuddin Rabbani, former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor, ex-special representative to president Ahmad Zia Massoud, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Mohaqiq and then spy chief Rahmatullah Nabil are members of the coalition.

Anwarul Haq Ahadi, head of Afghanistan’s New National Front, Ismail Khan, former water and energy minister, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni former vice-president, Hamayun Hamayun, first deputy speaker of Wolesi Jirga, Haji Zahir Qadir, a lawmaker from Nangarhar, Lalai Hamidzai, also an MP, and other political figures are part of the alliance.


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Ghani promises effective steps to address drought

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani has promised taking effective steps to deal with problems resulting from a drought in many provinces of the country.

At least 20 provinces have been affected in the north and west by the most severe drought in decades. Some of the worst provinces are Balkh, Ghor, Faryab, Badghis, Herat and Jawzjan.

At a meeting with Badghis provincial council members late on Thursday, the president vowed to make efforts over the next three months at dealing the challenges posed by the drought.

A statement from the Presidential Palace said the provincial council chief, Abdul Aziz Baig, highlighted the situation created by the drought and need for better health facilities in the province.

He also referred to the problems being faced by war-displaced families and a shortage of trained teachers. He demanded work on reconstruction projects including the Qaisar-Laman be expedited.

Ghani responded due attention would be paid to the education sector in Badghis in terms of recruiting trained teachers and construction of schools.

The president said resolving the drought problem was among his administration’s priorities. All-out efforts would be made in this area in the next three months.

Meanwhile, women representatives also met the president in Qala-i-Naw. They sought a proactive role for women in government institutions, stressing the need for enhancing the number of female judges.

Ghani was urged to provide facilities for women traders in the province and increase seats for them in district councils. The women also called for more scholarships for girl students.

The president directed provincial authorities to draw up a list of educated and experienced women. Based on the list, a clear strategy will be devised to enhance the number of women workers in government organs.

At a separate meeting, district chiefs welcomed changes in military and civil institutions as a positive step. The performance of the organisations concerned was improving, they said.

Ghani said the government had prepared programmes to address the issue of drought. He emphasized on justice and transparency in delivery of assistance to affected families.

The president believed the district chiefs could play a vital role in implementation of infrastructure projects, including roads. As a result of ongoing reforms, governance would improve considerably, he hoped.

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Three killed in Laghman firefight

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Three militants have been killed and two others wounded in a clash with security forces in eastern Laghman province, the governor’s office said.

The firefight erupted in the Badiabad area of Alingar district late on Thursday, a statement from the governor’s house said.

Three fighters were killed and two wounded.

It added the insurgents were involved in terrorist activities in the district, including roadside bomb attacks.

The security forces seized at least one weapons from the rebels.




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14% of Bamyan population slips into addiction: Official

Monitoring Desk

BAMYAN CITY: Top counternarcotics official in central Bamyan province says almost 14 per cent of the province’s residents including hundreds of children are addicted to drugs.

Hussain Agha Nazari, counternarcotics director for Bamyan province, says though the province is poppy-free, yet the main highway remains ‘a safe way’ to transport drugs.

He said most of the drug users existed in Waras district where even women and children have been peddling drugs.

“Most of the families in Shewqal area of Waras district are addicted to drugs and their children and women are also consuming drugs,” he added.

Nazari cited reports that said schoolteachers and even clerics used drugs in the certain area. About 700 children were also addicted and their number was surging with each passing day, the counter-narcotics director claimed.

“The drugs are transferred from Meramor district in central Daikundi province to Samangan through Waras, Panjab and Yakawlang districts and Shewqal area is located near the drugs market”, he explained.

Without giving exact figures for the addicts, the official estimated that about 14 per cent of Bamyam population had slipped into addiction.

Based on 2018 statistics, the population of Bamyan province is around 47, 8423 individuals and 14 per cent of them means about 67, 000 people.

There are two 20-bed addicts rehabilitation hospitals in Bamyan, which could not cope with the situation, provincial counternarcotics officials said.

They said at least each district of the province should have one clinic for treatment of addicts and the provincial capital also needed a 100-bed hospital.

Mohammad Jan, a resident of Waras district, said he was consuming opium for the past five years and during this period all his family members became addicts.

“Because I would give a little opium to my family members whenever they would fall ill,” said Jan, who initially consumed opium outside home but later brought the habit home. “After one year of this, all my family members became addicts.”

Hawa Seddiqui, human rights director for Bamyan, also expressed her deep concern over the smuggling of drugs to the province.

She said their survey showed most of a family members or all were addicts in some districts because of their men’s addiction.

She said Bamyan lacked enough treatment facilities for addicts particularly for women and children.

Counternarcotics officials accuse police of having failed to curb drugs smuggling into Bamyan.

However, deputy police chief Hamidullah Liaqat said the counternarcotics department was created last year and has only four or five workers who could not control drug trafficking.

“I admit that the number of addicts in Bamyan is increasing day by day, but we need a regular drug control organization that the Interior Ministry will decide on.”

He said despite personnel shortage the Bamiyan command had been able to control several of its routes and prevent drug trafficking.