09 April 2020

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Thursday March 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a video conference has directed deputy ministers of defense, interior and finance that effective savings in security sector should be implemented within two years rather than three years.
In the video conference held yesterday, deputy ministers of the respective ministries reported the country’s President about saving of $300 million in defense and security sector through reforms and prevention of unnecessary and ineffective expenditures in the past one year.
Assuring of the continued assistance of the international community to ANDSF, President Ghani instructed deputy ministers of the respective ministries to save $1billion in the security and defense sector within coming one year while maintaining quality services to the security forces be observed.
The country’s President stressed that saving and prevention from unnecessary expenditures in all levels of the government was a principal step towards reaching a self-sufficient Afghanistan, directing deputy ministers to prepare their plans in light of which the two-years saving program were implemented.
President Ghani also instructed Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Services Commission to prepare and implement a saving plan in Afghanistan civil services system.
In his addressing to the nation the other day, the country’s President said that due to reduction in international aid to Afghanistan, particular programs would be taken in hand to fill the gap of the assistance, adding that reduction of the assistance would not have negative impacts on key government sectors.

Thursday March 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Acting Minister of Information and Culture, Hasina Safi, met with a number of religious figures here in her office yesterday, BNA reported.
According to the agency, the religious scholars shared their views on media’s activities in the country, in particular that of the visual media, asking the acting minister to help align their broadcastings in line with the Islamic teachings.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the religious scholars said that they have shut the mosques, asking visual media to also avoid people’s gatherings in their programs and help raise awareness. They said if the cities to be quarantined, then people would prefer to watch TVs, the agency quoted.
The Ulema said that audio visual media should consider Islamic, cultural and educational values in their programs and avoid any broadcasts contrary to the Islamic principles, according to the agency.
Calling attention to Islamic, cultural and educational values as the ministry’s main priority, the acting minister assured of her led ministry cooperation in this regard.
He stressed that the media should pay close attention to Islamic values, culture and popular traditions of the people of the country.

Thursday March 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov, extended congratulations to President Ashraf Ghani on his re-election and to the government and people of Afghanistan, a statement from the presidential press office said yesterday.
President Jeenbekov expressed hope that the relationship between the two countries be further deepened and strengthened based on mutual interests.
He in the message has wished health and well-being for the president and peace and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan, the statement added.
According to another report, President Ghani in a phone conversation with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan extended congratulation to him on the occasion of Nawroz.
President of Azerbaijan said that peoples of two countries celebrating the cultural tradition of Nawruz need to work more with each other to further deepen their historical, cultural and trade relations.
President Aliyev said that in spite of the threat of coronavirus spread, the Lapis Lazuli route remains open to ensure export and import between Afghanistan and Europe, the statement added.

Thursday March 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The number of positive cases in Herat province has reached 54 with 32 new cases registered. Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, said: “Studies show that a number of people involved in these cases have no history of traveling to Iran, and they were infected inside the country.” Speaking at Government Media and Information Center, he added: “As the coronavirus has increased in Herat, the daytime curfew have been imposed in city, which could prevent the virus outbreak.”
MoPH spokesman said that beside Herat, daily curfew is imposed in Zaranj and Farah cities as well. Mayar said that by recording 32 positive cases from Herat, one in Zaranj and one positive from Kabul in past 24 hours, the total number of positive cases of coronavirus has reached 80, including four positive cases of Resolute Support forces. One recent case in Kabul, he said, involved a local employee of an embassy.
The spokesman said Afghanistan had witnessed the second death caused by the Coronavirus, a woman in Herat province. Spokesman Mayar once again warned that to fight against coronavirus outbreak, beside daytime curfew, gatherings must stop, and the citizens should cooperate with the ministry by following the messages and instructions of the Ministry of Public Health.
Mayar noted the increase in the number of positive cases and deaths caused by coronavirus worldwide and said that the number of positive cases of coronavirus in Afghanistan was low compared to other countries.
According to Ministry of Public Health, 40,000 positive cases of coronavirus have been recorded worldwide in the last 24 hours.

Thursday March 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a message has strongly condemned terrorist attack on Dharamsala Sikh temple in out skirts of Kabul’s PD 1, where a number of our countrymen were killed and wounded.
“Attack on religious places shows enemy’s cowardness. Religious places are safe from any kind of attacks and violence,” President Ghani said.
In his message, the country’s President said: “Our Sikh countrymen have been good examples of living peacefully during the history. Despite of increasing hardships and problems Sikh countrymen are facing, they are in their homeland and have tried to play productive role in the society.
The government of Afghanistan is committed to defending these countrymen and considers this cowardly attack as unacceptable crime.”
President Ghani instructed relevant officials to spare no effort towards investigating those wounded in the incident, offering condolence and sympathy to the families of victims.

Thursday March 26, 2020
Kabul (BNA) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Canadian diplomat Deborah Lyons to serve as the Special Representative and head the UN mission in Afghanistan, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Deborah Lyons of Canada as his new Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA),” Dujarric said.
Lyons will succeed Tadamichi Yamamoto, who has served in this position since 2016.
Ms. Lyons succeeds Tadamichi Yamamoto of Japan, who has served in this critical role since 2016. The Secretary-General said was grateful for Mr. Yamamoto’s important contribution and service to UNAMA since taking up his role as Deputy Special Representative in 2014 and then Special Representative.
Lyons is a diplomat with 21 years of professional experience in political affairs, international cooperation and economic development. Most recently she served as Ambassador of Canada to Israel and from 2013 until 2016 as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. She has held several senior positions with Canada’s Department of Global Affairs, including as Deputy Ambassador at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, Assistant Deputy Minister for Strategic Policy and Planning and Chief Strategist, and directorships covering commercial relations, international finance and technology.
She has also worked with Canada’s Department of Natural Resources and Privy Council Office. Prior to joining the Government of Canada, Ms. Lyons owned and managed an environmental consulting firm.
Lyons holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Brunswick and completed studies at the Canadian National Defense College.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Faizabad (BNA) Seven Taliban insurgents were killed in Badakhshan yesterday.
Hadi Jamal press in charge of Pamir 217 army corps told BNA, the insurgents were killed in a conflict by defense and security forces in outskirt of Nasi district, Badakhshan.
Jamal added, eight other Taliban were also wounded and numerous of weapons have been demolished in the conflict.
T. Yarzada

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Mazar-e-Sharif (BNA) Five key Taliban associates were killed in Badghis yesterday.
Abdul Ghafar Nooristani press in charge of Khas operation army corps told BNA, the key members of Taliban were targeted by air and ground strikes of security troops after attack on security posts in Seniha and Akazehai regions, of Balamurghab District, Badghis province.
Four other Taliban rebels were also injured in the strike, he added.
T. Yarzada

Tuesday, March 25, 2020
Kunduz (BNA) Armed oppositions shot dead two policeman and a civilian in Kunduz yesterday evening.
Hejratullah Akbari spokesman for Kunduz security commandment told BNA correspondent, armed oppositions shot dead two policeman and a civilian in Kocha-e-Mullah Ghafor of Kunduz and injured another civilian.
He added that the incident came while the police were on patrol and were shot by armed oppositions.
T. Yarzada

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Kabul (BNA) In a previously unannounced visit to try to salvage a historic deal between Washington and the Taliban, struck in February but marred by a political crisis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in capital Kabul on Monday.
Pompeo separately met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace before meeting his political rival Abdullah, who declared himself as the winner of contested presidential election of 2019.
US secretary of State and President Ghani discussed the Afghan peace process and its future steps, a regional consensus on Afghan peace as well as current political and security issues, a statement from the presidential press office said.
The presidential palace meeting was also attended by the First Vice-president Amrullah Saleh and National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib.
The standoff has stalled the selection of a negotiating team to represent the Afghan government in planned talks with the Taliban.
A senior US State Department official told Reuters News Agency that the purpose of Pompeo’s visit was to try to mediate a solution for the ongoing political differences.
“The fear is that unless this crisis gets resolved...soon, that could affect the peace process... Our agreement with the Talibs could be put at risk,” the official said, adding it was unclear whether a resolution would be found during the one-day visit.
U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who has spent much of his time in Kabul since the deal signing, made a plea to both sides last week to act fast on the release of prisoners, a condition the Taliban have set for the talks
In an effort to come to a decision regarding the Taliban prisoner release, as stated in the peace process in the US-Taliban agreement, the Afghan government and the Taliban held a meeting on the issue amid the coronavirus pandemic, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad confirmed on Monday.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Khalilzad said: “Today, the US and Qatar facilitated the first Afghan government to Taliban technical talks on prisoner releases, via Skype video conferencing.
“Prisoner releases by both sides is an important step in the peace process, as stated in the US-Taliban agreement. And critical for humanitarian reasons.
“The over two-hour technical discussion today was important, serious, and detailed. My thanks to all sides. Everyone clearly understands the coronavirus threat makes prisoner releases that much more urgent.”
Khalilzad said the coronavirus pandemic added urgency for the release.
Also, on Sunday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called on the nation to stay united to overcome the coronavirus crisis while assuring the people that it would be managed in a coordinated way.
With 40 infections in Afghanistan, fears are growing that the thousands returning home from neighboring Iran every day might fuel the outbreak in a nation with a public health network devastated by years of war.

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