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Afghan Delegation Returns Kabul with Message of Hope, Gift Boxes from Taliban

Ariana News

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2019)

The airplane of the participants of the Doha intra-Afghan meeting landed in Kabul International Airport late on Tuesday.

Some members of the Afghan delegation, who had just returned from a two-day meeting with the Taliban officials in the capital of Qatar, had smiles on their faces and were carrying gift boxes that were given to them by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a Taliban leader and political chief of the group.

Upon their return at the airport in Kabul, the delegates were welcomed by members of civil society, women, and youth with bouquets of flowers.

Some members of the delegation that were interviewed by Ariana News said that the Taliban officials had a soft position during the two-day meeting that ended with an eight-point declaration emphasizing on the reduction of violence.

Ghairat Baheer, member of Hezb-e-Islami party and a participant of the meeting said that he felt the Taliban is eager to find a political settlement to the issue of Afghanistan.

Baheer described the meeting an important step that created hope.

However, Laila Jafari, civil society and women’s rights activist and a female participant of the Doha meeting said that the Taliban officials did not speak about women’s presence and activities in different areas in Afghanistan if they reach to a possible peace agreement.

Apparently, the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is the top priority for the Taliban group.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman of Taliban’s political office told Ariana News correspondent in Doha that the meeting helped and showed that the “Afghan society is thirsty for peace and all Afghans want the end of occupation”.

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Top Daesh leader arrested in Kunar raid

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2020)

The Afghan Special Forces have arrested a key commander of the Daesh militant group in Afghanistan.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement the ISIS-K leader was arrested during a raid in eastern Kunar province on Tuesday night.

The Daesh commander was identified as Mohammad Saeed son of Mohammad Afzal, who was involved in transferring foreign ISIS insurgents along with their families in the country.

“He (Mohammad Saeed) was one of the masterminds of the recent attack in Nangarhar,” the statement said.

The Daesh said that 11 its fighters – four Tajiks, three Indians, three Afghans and a Pakistani – stormed Nangarhar prison at around 6:30 Sunday evening killed at least 30 people and wounded 50 more.

The attack began after an Indian doctor, Ijas Kallukettiya Purayil, detonated an explosive-loaded vehicle at the entrance gate of the jail.

During the attack which lasted for over 18 hours, hundreds of the 1,700 prisoners in the Jalalabad facility escaped. 

On Tuesday, an Afghan MP confirmed as many as 800 Daesh prisoners were still on the run. 

Abdul Karim Karimi, a Member of Parliament, said: “1,700 prisoners were inside the jail during the attack, they all attempted to escape. Out of which, 500 of them failed to escape, whereas 800 more prisoners including Daesh, Taliban, and criminals fled.”

According to officials, prisoners being held in that particular jail were political prisoners and criminals. Among them were Taliban and Daesh militants.

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COVID-19

Survey finds at least 10 million Afghans infected with COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health said Wednesday that 10 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the country.

Addressing a press conference, acting Health Minister Jawad Osmani said according to a survey conducted across the country, 31.5 percent of Afghans – which is about 10 million people – have contracted the Coronavirus.

He said the survey had been based on antibody tests on people across the country, with technical support from the World Health Organisation.

Osmani said that 11,500 people from 34 provinces participated in the survey.

The highest infection rate was in Kabul where more than half of the city’s five million population was thought to have been infected.

Osmani said 37 percent of the population in cities and 27 percent of the population in villages have been infected with the virus.

“The studies divided 34 provinces of the country into nine zones, of which Kabul as a zone – 53 percent of its total population is affected by the Coronavirus.

He said 42.9 percent of the total population in eastern provinces had been infected along with 36.3 percent of the population in central provinces, 34.1 percent in the north and 32.4 percent of the total population in northeastern provinces.

He also said the survey found that 25.3 percent of children had contracted the virus. That was 24.2 percent of all boys in the country and 26.8 percent of all girls.

With the adult population, 35.2 percent had contracted the virus. This meant 33.9 percent of all men in the country had contracted COVID-19 and 37.2 percent of all women had been infected.

But the country of around 32 million people has only limited testing capacity and has an official recorded number of cases of just under 37,000.

Earlier Wednesday, the Ministry of Public Health announced its daily updates and said 36,782 people had so far tested positive for COVID-19.

The ministry stated that so far 1,288 people had died of the virus while 25,556 had recovered.

The ministry meanwhile warned people of a second wave of the pandemic, asking the public to fully adhere to precautionary measures to prevent the continued spread of the virus.

“A second wave of the infection is happening everywhere in the world and we cannot be an exception. We will use the findings of this survey to better prepare ourselves for a possible second wave,” Osmani said.

More than 18 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus since it first emerged in China late last year.

The virus entered Afghanistan in February as thousands of migrants returned from neighbouring Iran, which at the time was the region’s worst-hit nation for the virus.

Since then Afghanistan has been ravaged by COVID-19.

A survey on the mortality rate of coronavirus in Afghanistan is now under way.

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COVID-19

World Bank approves COVID-19 aid package of $380m for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2020)

The World Bank has approved a financial package of $380 million to help Afghanistan cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Afghan families. 

The money will go towards helping households, support critical food supply chains, and provide emergency support to farmers.

The aid package, from dozens of donors, is made up of two grants that will go towards specific projects. 

“The living conditions of millions of Afghan families have severely worsened due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. 

“These grants will help the Government of Afghanistan address the urgent needs of most households and ensure that Afghan farmers can continue to produce food at a time when imports and exports are severely disrupted. This will extend economic opportunities and create jobs for the wider rural population,” he said.

A $280 million grant will fund the COVID-19 Relief Effort for Afghan Communities and Households (REACH) Project. 

This project will benefit some 2.9 million households across Afghanistan. 

The second grant, of $100 million, will fund the Emergency Agriculture and Food Supply Project (EATS). 

The project aims to improve food security by increasing local food production and strengthening critical commercial food supply chains, especially wheat as the staple crop for over 70 percent of the Afghan population. 

The project will also provide short-term employment in rural areas in the development of productive assets such as irrigation schemes. 

In rural areas, measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted farming, leaving Afghan farmers unable to sow their crops on time, while in urban areas food prices are rising with shortages of food supply becoming more urgent. 

According to the World Bank,  the COVID-19 Relief Effort for Afghan Communities and Households Project will be implemented through the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG), and the Kabul Municipality. 

 

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