26 May 2020

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Saturday May 02, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has signed a decree on sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Trend reports with reference to State News Agency of Turkmenistan.
According to the president’s decree, The Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan and the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan should donate food products to Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan should ensure the dispatch and transfer of donating products to Afghanistan. The relevant ministries of Turkmenistan should help the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country to prepare the dispatch of products.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan cooperate in trade and economic, fuel and energy, transport and communication spheres. The construction of Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI) pipeline, high-voltage power transmission line and fiber-optic communication along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route are some of the projects the countries collaborate on.
The countries also carry out transit and transport projects. One of them is Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transit and transport corridor that expends economic and trade ties between States of Central and South Asia and Europe.
Trend

Saturday May 02, 2020
Kabul (BNA) At a time when Afghan children need adequate daily nutrition to help strengthen their immune systems, the price of basic foods is rising under the lockdown, making it harder for families to feed themselves.
A third of the population – including 7.3 million children – will face food shortages in April and May due to the current pandemic[i].
Just in the past month, the price of wheat flour and cooking oil in Afghanistan’s main city markets have increased by up to 23 percent as supply is unable to meet demand, while the cost of rice, sugar and pulses have increased by between 7 and 12 percent, according to the World Food Program.
While food prices are increasing, the financial ability of daily wage laborers to buy food is decreasing, as casual work dries up because of nationwide restrictions. A large portion of the Afghan workforce relies on the informal sector, with no safety nets when work is scarce.
Even before the global COVID-19 crisis, the total number of children who needed some form of humanitarian support this year stood at 5.26 million[ii], making war-torn Afghanistan one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child.
The most recent nutrition surveys in Afghanistan show that an estimated two million children under five will suffer from the most life-threatening form of extreme hunger annually  [iii]. The effects of the lockdown coupled with one of the weakest health systems in the world – Afghanistan has just 0.3 doctors per 1,000 people – means malnourished and sick children are much less likely to get the life-saving treatment they need to survive.
13-year-old Mustafa* lives in Sari Pul province in northern Afghanistan with his four siblings and mother. Mustafa* goes to school and works in a local food shop to supplement the family income. But since the lockdown, he is at home, unable to go to school nor earn any money to help put food on the table. Save the Children has provided the family with a cash transfer so Mustafa* no longer needs to work.
13-year-old Mustafa* said:
“We don’t have any food at home. From three meals a day we are down to two and sometimes just one. My mother is trying to find food for us, she is weaving carpets to sell but everywhere is closed right now. She can only make us tea with dry bread. My other siblings sometimes ask for good food, but my mother can’t afford to feed us. It’s hard to be alive.”
Timothy Bishop, Save the Children’s Country Director in Afghanistan, said:
“We are deeply concerned that this pandemic will lead to a perfect storm of hunger, disease and death in Afghanistan unless the world takes action now to ensure vulnerable children and their families have enough to eat, especially those in remote areas and the urban poor.
“The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 means many families are stressed about putting food on the table, with no clear indication of how long the current crisis will go on. Meanwhile children who miss out on their daily nutritional needs are at far greater risk of getting sick. In extreme cases the lack of food may even affect a child’s physical and mental development, with devastating consequences for the rest of their lives.
“For many Afghans the biggest impact of the pandemic will not be the virus itself, but the hunger caused by lockdown measures and a breakdown in supply lines. We are facing the very real risk that children could die from starvation. What we need is for the international community to urgently fly in food supplies to be distributed to some of the most vulnerable communities in the country, including children, pregnant women, the elderly, malnourished, and those who are sick. We also urge the Afghan government to facilitate the rapid distribution of food, despite the nationwide lockdown.
“Afghan children have suffered enough. Most have known nothing but conflict in their lives. We cannot allow COVID-19 to further rob them of their futures.”
Savethechildren

Saturday May 02, 2020
Kabul (BNA) In response to COVID-19, the UN and humanitarian partners have delivered water, sanitation and hygiene kits and tailored hygiene promotion activities to more than 100,000 people in Afghanistan.
They have also reached nearly 84,000 people with awareness-raising materials and have supported more than 29,000 women and children with psychosocial support services to cope with the emotional consequences of the virus.
Humanitarians continue to monitor the secondary impacts of extended lockdowns on vulnerable households and warn these may exacerbate existing needs and push households to adopt negative coping strategies.
Alongside the COVID-19 response, the UN and humanitarian partners continue to respond to conflict- and natural-disaster emergencies, which continue to displace thousands of families.  These pre-existing vulnerabilities make Afghans potentially more susceptible to exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.
So far, nearly 2,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Afghanistan, including 61 deaths.
A COVID-19 Humanitarian Plan for Afghanistan is seeking US$108 million to reach more than 6 million people with life-saving assistance over the next three months. The plan is being revised and integrated with the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan, which requires $733 million, to help 9.4 million people in need.
Unocha

Saturday May 02, 2020
Kabul (BNA) On the 29th of April, after months of negotiations lead by Belgium, the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict reached an agreement on recommendations on how to counter violations of children’s rights in Afghanistan.
The Security Council unanimously expresses its grave concern about the deteriorating situation for children in the conflict in the country. Of particular concern is the increasing number of children killed and mutilated, the recruitment of child soldiers and sexual violence against children. At the same time, the Security Council welcomes the efforts of the Afghan government to end the recruitment of children by the national armed forces and security forces.
A few weeks ago, the Security Council called on the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban to pursue confidence building measures to enable negotiations for durable peace. Reducing violence against civilians and especially children is a must in this regard. The Council stated that if violence by the Taliban would not be reduced, UN sanctions may remain in effect.
During the Belgian Presidency of the Security Council last February, the Security Council emphasized that the protection of children should receive systematic attention in peace negotiations and mediation processes. This certainly also applies to the situation in Afghanistan.
Belgium supports UNAMA, the UN mission in Afghanistan, with an important financial contribution. “Belgium is committed to ensuring that UNAMA can continue to play its crucial role in protecting children. The mission’s reporting and dialogue with the Afghan government on child rights violations is vital, "Minister Goffin said.
Belgium also has a military presence in the country. Belgian military personnel participate in NATO's Resolute Support Mission. This mission has been running since 2015 with the aim of guiding, advising and training Afghan security forces. "The Security Council welcomes Resolute Support Mission’s support to building child protection capabilities in Afghanistan," Minister Goffin noted with satisfaction.
In the coming weeks, Belgium in its capacity of president of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict of the Security Council will also conduct negotiations to address child rights violations in other conflict areas, including Iraq, Colombia and Somalia. This role fits with Belgium’s longstanding commitment to the protection of children in armed conflict, including through financial contributions to UNICEF.
More than 20 years after the first UN report on the impact of armed conflict on children, one out of five children continues to experience the negative consequences of conflict. Thorough action and relentless political pressure are still needed to change that situation. Belgium remains committed to that goal.
Diplomatie

Saturday, 02 May 2020 05:20

In Logar; 28 Armed Oppositions Kill

Saturday May 02, 2020
PUL-E-ALAM CITY (BNA) Over 28 anti-government militias were killed during clashes with Afghan security forces in central Logar province the night before last.
Dedar Ahmad Lawang spokesman of Logar governor told BNA correspondent, Taliban fighters storm on Kherwar and Baraki Barak districts of the province, which were faced with full resistance of Afghan security forces.
More than 28 terrorists were killed and 17 others were wounded during the incident, Lawang added.
A vehicle, six motorcycles and a PK machine gun belonged to Taliban fighters have been destroyed during the attacks, Lawang further added.
Five Afghan national army troops were martyred and three others were wounded during the conflicts as well, Lawang concluded.
M.A.Ansari

Tuesday April 28, 2020
MAZAR-E-SHARIF CITY (BNA) Foodstuffs and non-foodstuffs have been distributed to more than 1300 destitute families in northern Balkh province.
According to BNA report, officials in refugees and repatriation department of Balkh say, United National High Commissioner for Refugees with cooperation of the department distributed foodstuffs and non-foodstuffs to over 1300 needy families in the province.
The aids include flour, cooking ghee, pea, salt, blanket, tent, gas balloon, kitchen site, water barrel and soup.
According to another report, relief committee in Balkh have been distributed flour and cooking ghee to 1000 poor families in seven precinct of Mazar-e-Sharif city the provincial capital of Balkh province.
M.A.Ansari

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 05:19

Ten Taliban Fighters Kill in Kunduz

Tuesday April 28, 2020
KUNDUZ CITY (BNA) More than 10 anti-government militias were killed during clashes with Afghan security forces in northern Kunduz province the night before last.
Hejratullah Akbari spokesman of Kunduz’s police chief told BAN reporter, the conflicts took place while Taliban fighters carried out attacks on Afghan security forces’ checkpoints in relevant areas of Chahardara and Imam Sahib districts of the province.
Ten terrorists were killed and five others were wounded following clashes, Akbari added.
Also, five policemen were martyred and another was wounded during the conflicts, Akbari concluded.
M.A.Ansari

Tuesday April 28, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged all parties in Afghanistan on Friday to urgently declare a lasting cease-fire and end violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement, the OIC appealed to all leaders and parties in Afghanistan to work together to ensure peace and stability in the country through dialogue amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With both the US and the Taliban blaming each other for violating the terms of a landmark agreement inked on Feb. 29, the rejuvenated yet fragile Afghan peace process continues to face deadlock as differences persist over the proposed exchange of prisoners, the launch of intra-Afgan talks and a subsequent cease-fire.
Afghanistan's Health Ministry confirmed a total of 1,143 cases so far, while the death toll stands at 40.
The coronavirus has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in China last December, with the U.S. and Europe being the hardest-hit areas in the world.
Over 2.78 million cases have now been reported worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 195,000 and nearly 766,000 recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Anadolu Agency

Tuesday April 28, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Iranian Foreign Ministry's special assistant for Afghanistan affairs stressed the need for broadening of trade transactions between the two countries through their common borders.
Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian made the remarks in a meeting with Governor General of Nimrouz Province Seyyed Vali Soltan at the end of his visit to Afghanistan on Thursday.
Taherian and Soltan voiced their satisfaction over good relations between Afghanistan's Nimrouz province and Iran's Eastern provinces, stressing the need for boosting border exchanges by twofold.
Soltan, for his part, stressed the need for cooperation in meeting Nimrouz' needs to fight coronavirus and flooding.
Taherian arrived in Kabul on Sunday for talks with Afghan officials on political developments and peace process, promoting bilateral relations as well as Herat-Khaf railway.
Farsnews

Tuesday April 28, 2020
Kabul (BNA) More than 500 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in the first three months of the year as violence raged even after an agreement between the United States and the Taliban on withdrawing foreign forces, the United Nations said on Monday.
In all, fighting in the first three months caused 1,293 civilian casualties, of which 760 were injuries and the rest deaths, including 152 children and 60 women, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report.
The violence increased after a Feb. 29 U.S.-Taliban pact on the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees. It includes a commitment by the Taliban and the Afghan government to work towards peace.
“The report tracks a disturbing increase in violence during March at a time when it was hoped that the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban would commence peace negotiations, as well as seek ways to defuse the conflict and prioritize efforts to protect all Afghans from the impact of COVID-19,” UNAMA said.
Despite that, the number of casualties in the first three months of this year was the lowest since 2012. The period included a reduction in violence leading up to the signing of the pact.
Deborah Lyons, the U.N. secretary-general’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, reiterated calls for a ceasefire, which the Taliban have rejected in recent days.
“To safeguard the lives of countless civilians in Afghanistan and to give the nation hope of a better future, it is imperative that violence is stopped,” she said.
Efforts towards formal peace talks have been fraying as the Taliban attack government forces, despite warnings from the United States that they need to reduce violence, as well as disagreements over the release of prisoners.
A political feud within the Afghan government, between the president and his main rival after a disputed election, has also distracted attention from the peace effort.
The number of civilian deaths caused by anti-government forces, especially the Taliban, increased by more than 20% compared with the first quarter of 2019, UNAMA said.
Targeted killings, summary executions and abductions of civilians were also on the rise, it said.
A Taliban spokesman rejected the figures and said they had a commission for preventing civilian casualties which had brought them down to “near zero”.
Afghan government forces and other pro-government forces, including foreign troops, were responsible for almost a third of the deaths, UNAMA said.
Air strikes and clashes involving indirect fire by those forces were the reason for more child deaths, it said.
Reuters

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