26 September 2020

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Saturday, 26 September 2020 06:01

Blasts Prevented in Kandahar

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Kandahar (BNA) Security forces prevented from a series of explosions in Kandahar after discovering 43 mines yesterday.
Atal Army Corps in south of the country said in a statement that the Taliban intended to use the landmines to create bloody incidents for civilians and to create fear and panic among the people.
The Taliban have not yet commented in this regard.
Recently, the Taliban have been planting more mines on busy roads; an action that kills most civilians.
T. Yarzada

Saturday, 26 September 2020 05:58

Civilians Wounded in Taliban Attack

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Asadabad (BNA)  Five civilians were wounded in a missile strike.
The incident took place last night in Asmaar district market when the Taliban targeted civilian’s houses with missiles.
Senior army corps official in east of the country told BNA that five civilians, including a woman, were wounded in a Taliban missile attack.
On the other hand, the doctors at the Central Hospital in Kunar, Asadabad, reported that the health condition of three injured people serious.
The Taliban have not yet commented in this regard.
T. Yarzada

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Gen. Miller, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, while in Kandahar with Afghan security officials said: “The violence is too high. Taliban violence has to slow down--it has to stop. What it is driving is an increase in violence across the country.”
Gen. Austin S. Miller and Afghan security officials visited Kandahar on Wednesday to review the security situation in the southern province.
“What it is driving is an increase in violence across the country. Their violence has to come down. The world is watching. We have an opportunity for peace, which is what the people of Afghanistan are looking for,” Miller said.
He also said that during his visit there was discussion about “the need for work amongst the security pillars, cooperation amongst the security pillars. The police and the army are very important to the people of Afghanistan, as is the leadership of (Kandahar) governor (Hayatullah) Hayat. But it's the cooperation between the different security forces that are making a difference here in Kandahar,” he mentioned.
The Afghan government two three days back said the Taliban has initiated at least 7,000 military attacks over the last six months, which have killed and wounded nearly 3,500 civilians. But the Taliban rejected these numbers, saying that the government’s major operations in nine provinces have increased the conflicts with the group.
Violence is increasing much faster than the progress made in the Doha talks, where advance teams called "contact groups" are still trying to agree about the procedural rules as well as the agenda of the direct peace negotiations.

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has extended its congratulations to the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the 90th National Day.
In a statement, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Kingdom was and still is at the forefront of countries supporting peace in Afghanistan, praising the great development of Saudi-Afghan relations extending to ninety years ago.
The Ministry wished the Kingdom and its people constant security and stability and further progress and prosperity.

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, yesterday evening in a video conference on the sidelines of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly spoke about Poverty Reduction and its dimensions, the role of leadership of governments and international institutions in reducing poverty, a statement from the presidential press office said yesterday.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the rare hyper events of the century. It plunged our interconnected world into turmoil, uncertainty, and unprecedented risk. It exposed existing vulnerabilities and shortcomings in our systems and normal modes of conduct. It wreaked havoc on lives and livelihoods, particularly for the poor and disadvantaged. It posed an unparalleled challenge to our scientific and technological capabilities, and an existential threat to our medical professionals who have been on the front lines of a war for which we were not prepared,” the president added, as quoted in the presidential palace statement.
The president went on saying that the pandemic also challenged all of us in positions of leadership around the globe to be better leaders. “It forced us to re-think how we lead, to be more effective, more efficient leaders. It forced us to listen better and act quicker.  All of this has been true for Afghanistan. “
According to the president, the virus arrived in Afghanistan at the end of February in Herat province, on the border with Iran. “The virus peaked in June with an infection rate of 76%. As of September 23, we had recorded 1,446 deaths from the virus. Today, with the virus on the decline, the infection rate is fluctuating daily between 6% and 25%.”
As a government, we moved fast, knowing that our most vulnerable would be hit hardest by the pandemic. Our focus was on those living in poverty—those who would be affected the worst both from the virus and the adverse economic effects of a lockdown, he added.
“A little over a month after the virus had reached our borders, I had articulated a way of moving forward in a seven-page document, ‘Responding to the Corona Virus.’ In this document, we forecasted the trajectory of the virus in five phases acknowledgment, diffusion, adversity, relief and recovery.”
But according to the president, more importantly, “right from the beginning, our strategy differentiated between expectations of our citizens, demands of the market and economy, and expectations of the government. We also looked at the most affected segment of society those living in poverty and differentiated between the impact of the crises on the structurally poor and the situationally poor.”
The president added: “I will come back to poverty later, but first I want to discuss the leadership challenge and our very simple approach to leadership in times of Corona. “
The president said they had to listen to the fellow citizens, understand the problems within their context, and then design and implement programs and measures to respond to those expectations. That was not only a technical challenge, it was also a leadership challenge.
“How did we approach this leadership challenge? the president added, saying that the office of the presidency, for any democracy, is a nodal point where a people’s and a nation’s aspirations and frustrations interact and converge. “It is a place where people look for fairness, empathy and delivery. The presidency is also a listening post, provided the one holding office learns the art of listening and makes a discipline of systematic and appreciative learning.”
The president also said: “I have had the privilege of traveling repeatedly to all 34 provinces of Afghanistan during the last 19 years. Since becoming president, I have made 95 trips to the provinces, 7 of them in the recent months during the COVID pandemic. Prior to the outbreak of COVID, I met and talked every month with about 5,000 of my fellow citizens men and women, young and old, people from all walks of life. It’s not only a matter of listening, but also a matter of recognizing culture and nuance, understanding societal debates and economic problems happening simultaneously around the issue at hand, and also understanding how gender and age color different people’s perspectives.”
A great characteristic of us, the Afghan people, the president said, that is our sense of equality and public interactions. “People have often said to me, in one way or another, “We’ve come, we’ve spoken, and we expect results. If you don’t act on what we have told you, we will not come back.” I am fortunate that people keep coming back, not because all of their problems and expectations are fulfilled, but because they see sufficient momentum and because we share a common narrative of hope and accomplishment.”
What have the Afghan people expected from their leaders during this particular crisis?  They have asked us to turn what we have heard into effective programs that address the roots of their problems and produce results, the president added.
“Let me tell you briefly what I heard from the Afghan people over these difficult, challenging months, and how we addressed the problems as a state. Now I come back to poverty.  Poverty is one of the most pervasive and complex problems the Afghan people face today. The COVID-19 pandemic made that even worse for many people.”
The president said that the most pressing issue facing people living in poverty is food insecurity.  “In February, it looked challenging because country after country was closing its borders and its economies. We were fortunate, however, to secure the full cooperation of our central Asian neighbors to keep the supply chains functioning.”
The president went on saying that fortunately, agricultural productivity has been higher than last year, with all products increasing around 5 to 10 % or maintaining the same level. “Therefore, rural food security is not as severe a challenge. But COVID brought the threat of food insecurity to urban areas. With the month of Ramadan upon us in May, where common eating is essential to the sense of community, we took the unprecedented step of distributing bread in all of our cities. We followed this with the National Meal Program, where we are providing a package of food to 4.5 million households across the country. This program was to scale, covering 90% of the population of the country.”
“So, while there has been a modest rise in the price of food here in Afghanistan, we took measures quickly enough to make sure we did not experience any food shortages or large-scale social disturbances.”
The Afghan people have now returned to work and the economy is open again, but vulnerability has increased, the president noted, adding “Our task moving forward is to review, restructure and reorganize all governmental programs to generate sufficient enough growth to compensate for the impact and to make the programs truly focused on reduction of poverty.”
According to the president, another unique feature of our poverty profile is the return of refugees. “In the past 19 years, 10 million of us have returned— 4 million in the last 5 years alone. In more stable societies, poverty eradication programs are usually based on assumptions of a stable population, but ours is constantly in flux.”
“To fund these emergency response programs, we quickly reallocated funds from existing programs. We changed our budgetary procedures and priorities to move money that had been misallocated or was not urgently needed to areas of priority during the pandemic. I am grateful to ADB, EU, IMF, the WB and our bilateral partners for agreeing to restructure their aid portfolios and allocate emergence assistance to our people.”
President told the meeting that poverty is a multi-dimensional and historic problem in Afghanistan. “It certainly didn’t start with COVID-19, so our policy response must also be multi-faceted and must also look far beyond the pandemic. To respond, we identified the following priorities: First, we need to reach the poor as directly as possible. The Citizen’s Charter is the vehicle of our national community development programs, including the implementation of the National Meal Program. The Citizen’s Charter program is a network of elected community councils in all 34 provinces, where 50% of council members are women.”
“We are determined to complete the issuance of electronic IDs to every citizen of the country so we can increase their access to mobile money. The goal is that within a year to 18 months, we will be able to reach the poor directly. Second, we have to enhance our citizen’s assets. Key to this is increasing the productivity of land, labor and water.”
“Third, we must align the goals of market building, state building and nation building. The unifying element here is investing in education, particularly girls’ education and the generation that was denied education because of 40 years of conflict. Hence the need for a human capital strategy that is tailored to specific contexts.”
“Fourth, we must utilize our immense natural wealth, ranging from water, sun, and wind, for generation of renewable energy, and we must tap into the equitable and efficient utilization of our estimated 1 trillion dollars worth of mineral wealth.”
“Fifth and most importantly, we have to make peace and continue to build peace. We are a country in conflict, losing hundreds of our people every week. Reaching an inclusive peace is the fundamental step in addressing the far-reaching roots of poverty in Afghanistan. The pain inflicted on Afghan society has left scars on each of us as individuals, and on our nation’s collective conscious.”
MPI’s utility lies both in providing a solid basis for policy formation and monitoring of policy implementation.  We have, therefore, decided that our National Statistics and Information Authority should use and update it regularly. 
“The task of leadership in today’s world of turmoil and uncertainty is to have the imagination and the commitment to imagine a future of unity where we can all overcome the scars of the conflict and its legacies. Overcoming these will allow us to then devote our energies to overcoming poverty and vulnerability, which only get worse in times of crisis, as exhibited during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Concluding his remarks the president said “We have identified the critical ingredients of the future we want first, citizenship as a notion where men and women are equal members of a polity and society, and second, the political framework of the republic, where leadership is regularly renewed through the will of the public and held accountable for the mandate given to serve them.  Together, we the people of the United Nations, can and must deliver on the promise of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Thursday, September 24, 2020
Faizabad (BNA) Badakhshan police says, armed Taliban assassinated five members of a family in Badakhshan this morning.
Badakhshan police chief spokesman Sanaullah Rouhani told media that the Taliban martyred five member of a family in Bagh Sufi village, Draim District of the province.
Rouhani added that Taliban also wounded another member of the family.
The incident took place when the men were on their way to school from Patawak village in Dream district.
The cause of the killings is still unknown.
T. Yarzada

Thursday, September 24, 2020
Herat (BNA) Hundreds of needy families were assisted in Herat.
The donations included flour, rice, oil, blanket, Tarpaulin and household items.
Herat media office said in a newsletter that 400 families are in need of food were helped during this period.
These families have suffered severe financial losses as a result of war, floods and spread of the Corona virus.
T. Yarzada

Thursday, 24 September 2020 08:48

Series of Blasts Prevented in Kandahar

Thursday, September 24, 2020
Kandahar (BNA) A series of explosions were prevented in Kandahar.
Security forces discovered and neutralized thirty-six mines from busy roads in Kandahar this morning
Atal Army Corps in south of the country said in a newsletter that the Taliban had tried to use the landmines to create a series of bloody incidents against civilians and create fear and panic among the people, but not succeeded to their evil goals.
The Taliban have not yet commented in this regard.
Taliban mostly planted bombs and mines on busy roads of the province, which victimized innocent civilians.
T. Yarzada

Thursday September 24, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Ashraf Ghani participated at a ceremony, where four public-private partnership energy projects were signed between Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat and the private sector at the presidential palace on Wednesday.
Presidential palace by releasing a statement reported BNA, Attaullah Naseeb, the head of Afghanistan Investment Facilitation Unit in his opening remarks said, “The four new power purchase agreements are some of the biggest by Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, which represents a total of 160 million US Dollars of investment and about 110 megawatts of generation capacity to be added to the national grid over the next 18 to 27 months.”
Dawood Noorzai, the Chief Executive of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat delivered a presentation on the projects and said, “We will transform DABS from a government-owned agency to an enterprise which focuses on customer service and customer satisfaction.”
Ross Wilson, the US Chargé d’Affaires in his remarks termed access to electricity is essential for improving the lives of the Afghan citizens and said the projects are an important part of the America’s effort to improve lives in this country and to promote economic growth.
“They reflect America’s long-term commitment here and our interest in a strong private sector that can further drive opportunities, prosperity and growth in this country,” added Ross Wilson.
The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires stressed the United States will continue to strongly support the Islamic Republic and the Afghan people toward peace and security, economic prosperity, better lives for Afghans and rights and opportunities for all.
President Ashraf Ghani in his closing remarks praised the private sector’s partnership during the spread of coronavirus and expressed satisfaction over investment in the energy sector.
He said, “This is product of a legal framework where now production, transmission and distribution all are open to the private sector.”
The president said the collaboration between the Afghan government and international partners especially USAID made the vision of a unified national grid possible.
The president talked over energy potentials of Afghanistan from hydro, solar and wind, and said Afghanistan wants to become the roundabout of energy and a hub of production and green energy.
“Without reliable affordable energy we cannot become an exporting country,” added the president while calling energy ‘the infrastructure of infrastructure’. The PPP projects will be funded jointly by private investors developers and the USAID and provide a 110 megawatts of electric power for one million Afghan citizens and their businesses.

Thursday September 24, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who arrived in Kabul to open a special exhibition of municipal services on Wednesday.
MoFA by releasing a statement reported BNA, Mr. Bahadur Aminian, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Kabul and Engineer Homayoun Hairi, Deputy Minister for Energy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, attend this meeting that took place at the Storai Palace of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Welcoming the Iranian delegation to Kabul, Minister Atmar talked of the long-standing and historical relations between the two nations, and thanked the Iranian government and people for their cooperation in various fields, including the fight against the COVID-19.
Mr. Atmar called the strengthening and expansion of economic collaboration and trade between Afghanistan and Iran important. He added that opening of the Iranian industrial exhibition “Water, Sewerage, Urban Services and Communications" in Kabul as a good initiative to strengthen cooperation in these fields between the two countries.
Mr. Hairi called the strengthening of economic, political, security and tourism cooperation between Afghanistan and Iran in the interest of the governments and peoples of the two neighboring countries. He hoped that Afghanistan and Iran have comprehensive cooperation and work in the areas of trade and transit, electricity and regional connectivity soon.
In this meeting, both sides discussed other important issues including trade cooperation, transit, transportation, joint work for wind energy production, transportation and municipal services, exchange of engineering and technical skills, tourism, opening of Khawaf-Herat railway and importance of Chabahar port.  They also discussed the completion of a comprehensive cooperation document between Afghanistan and Iran and the strengthening of cooperation between private sectors of the two countries.
In closing, Minister Atmar expressed his gratitude for the continuous cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Afghanistan in various fields, including its support for the Afghan peace process‫.‬

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