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Afghan Peace Would Bring Its Own Risks to Reconstruction Efforts: SIGAR

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(Last Updated On: March 29, 2019)

A peace agreement to end the War in Afghanistan could present its own risks to rebuilding efforts, a U.S. watchdog said on Thursday, calling on policymakers to plan for a post-peace deal environment.

“A peace agreement would be welcomed by the long-suffering Afghan people,” the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko said in Washington.

“But it could bring its own challenges to sustaining what the United States, coalition partners, and the Afghan government have achieved.”

Since 2002, the United States has spent $132 billion on training Afghan security and defense forces, strengthening institutions and other initiatives.

U.S.-led forces removed the Taliban regime in 2001 after the September 11 attacks in the United States but the insurgents regrouped and have steadily extended their influence during 17 years of conflict in Afghanistan.

The U.S. and Taliban peace talks began late last year, raising hopes for an end to the war. The latest round of negotiations ended this month with both sides citing progress.

In a report to U.S. Congress and the secretaries of state and defense, SIGAR said that even if the war with the Taliban ends, Afghanistan may remain insecure because of the presence of other militant groups.

Reintegrating the Taliban, whose Islamic views are more conservative than those of much of the population, would be a particular challenge, SIGAR said.

About 60,000 fighters are likely to find few job opportunities in a weak economy, it said.

Lasting peace could improve economic growth but in the short term, some 2 million Afghans living in Pakistan may return, adding job-seekers into a weak labor market.

While the Taliban has said in official statements they might consider more liberal policies towards women, their chief negotiator has said the constitution, which protects women’s rights, is an obstacle to peace, SIGAR wrote.

Such a stance could jeopardize the economic and political freedoms Afghan women have achieved.

More of the U.S. reconstruction effort has gone into the Afghan National Army than to its national police, and a strategy for a “competent” police force, sustained by foreign assistance, would also be required, SIGAR said in the report.

Endemic corruption has hampered reconstruction, and remains the “top strategic threat” to the government’s legitimacy, it said.

A burgeoning illicit opium trade also jeopardizes security, governance, and development.

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Afghan refugees killed in Iran; MFA investigating the case

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2020)

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that they have been investigating the burning of a vehicle carrying Afghan nationals in the Iranian city of Yazd.

The MFA statement based on initial reports suggests that three Afghan nationals were killed, four were injured and several others missing in the car fire.

Ahmad Tarahomi Bahabadi, the political deputy of Yazd province in Iran, confirmed the reports of Iranian police forces gunfire at the vehicle carrying Afghan citizens and said that the vehicle caught fire due to high speed and collision with roadside barriers.

According to the statement, the Afghan ambassador to Tehran arrived in Yazd on Friday to closely probe into the cause and relevant factors.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry added that it would proceed with the matter with its counterpart as per the outcomes of the investigation.

It is worth mentioning, weeks ago, reports indicated that the Iranian border guards had thrown and killed a number of Afghan refugees in the Harirud River. This was followed by the Afghan and Iranian governments assigning a joint delegation to look into it; however, the results are pending.

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Afghanistan National Football Team; Tournaments scheduled

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2020)

The Afghanistan national football team’s tournaments for the qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in China have been rescheduled.

According to the Asian Football Confederation, the Afghanistan National Football Team is due to play against Bangladesh on October the 8th, and Oman on October the 13th.

The two matches of the national football team were earlier scheduled to take place in the months of March and April but were postponed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Football Federation has announced that Amir Mohammad has joined the national team.

According to the Afghan Football Federation, Amir Mohammad, the 24-year-old striker of the “FC Legion Dynamo” in the Russian League One, will accompany the national team for the next two matches in the World Cup qualifiers and the AFC Asian Cup.

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Mine blast in Badakhshan kills 11 local police

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2020)

At least 11 public police forces were killed in a roadside mine blast in Badakhshan province, police confirmed.

Sanaullah Rohani, a spokesman for the provincial police told Ariana News that the incident happened in Darkhan village in Khash district of the province at around 11 p.m. Friday.

At least 11public police members including their commander – Mazari – were killed after his vehicle hit a roadside mine in the area, the official added.

According to police, Mazari was on his way to support a security outpost in the village that came under attack of Taliban militants.

Meanwhile, the Taliban shadow district chief and two insurgents were killed in clashes with the Afghan forces.

Rohani said that the Taliban designated governor was identified as Hamidullah.

The Taliban militants group yet to comment in this regard.

Badakhshan is among the insecure provinces in Afghanistan where the Taliban, Al-Qaida, and Daesh militants are actively operating in a number of its districts. 

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