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Afghan, Turkmen presidents launch three new projects incl railway line

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(Last Updated On: January 15, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani with his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Thursday inaugurated three projects including a railway line, a power line, and fiber-optic network in the north of the country.

One of the projects that were officially launched was the 30km Aqina-Andkhoi railway line that will connect Afghanistan to Turkmenistan.

“The inauguration of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway and other infrastructural projects between the two countries are significant steps towards further deepening these relations and translating an important part of our regional connectivity vision into reality,” the Presidential Palace (ARG) quoted Ghani as having said in a tweet.

According to ARG, regional connectivity clusters and large-scale projects such as railway lines, TAPI gas pipeline, TAP power transmission line, and fiber optics network will link South Asia to Europe by land and to the rest of the world.

ARG said the power line project is a 500kw electricity line running from Aqina to Sheberghan, capital of Jawzjan province, and a 220kw electricity line connecting Sheberghan to Mazar-e-Sharif, capital of Balkh province.

Besides this, a new fiber-optic network was also inaugurated on Thursday.

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who addressed the event virtually praised both governments for the projects.

This latest development comes on the heels of the new Khaf-Herat railway link with neighboring Iran.

It is hoped that this new line will also significantly boost trade between the two nations and beyond.

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NDS swoops in on kidnapper, rescues 5-year-old in Jalalabad

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2021)

National Directorate of Security (NDS) members on Wednesday rescued a five-year-old girl who had been kidnapped four days ago allegedly by her uncle, local officials confirmed.

Officials said the man has been arrested.

The five-year-old, Sana, is the daughter of a local doctor and was abducted in PD4 of Jalalabad, the provincial capital.

According to Nangarhar’s governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, the kidnapper had demanded $30,000 in ransom for Sana’s release.

Amarkhil stated that the girl was rescued by the NDS and handed over to her father. The suspect, “Noor Abdul Hakim was arrested and he pleaded guilty.”

Meanwhile, Sana’s father said that the kidnapper had warned him his daughter would be killed if he failed to pay the ransom.

“Sana was kidnapped from in front of my house and the next day I received a message, demanding $30,000,” Abdul Jalil, Sana’s father, said.

The suspect, Hakim, admitted to having kidnapped the child.

“I kidnapped Sana, my niece, and kept her in Majborabad area of Butkhak, Kabul, for three days. NDS arrested me after I came back to Jalalabad from Kabul.”

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Life returns to normal in Nijrab after security forces beat back Taliban

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2021)

Life has returned to normal in the Nijrab district of Kapisa province after 13 days of fierce fighting between the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANSDF) and Taliban militants, officials confirmed.

Officials confirmed the ANDSF with the help of public uprising forces, were able to fight off the Taliban and push them out of the district.

Residents of Nijrab, however, stated that more than 50 houses have been destroyed, shops have been looted, and that they have suffered millions of Afghanis in losses due to the fighting.

Abdul Quddus Mojaddidi, Governor of Nijrab, stated: “People of Nijrab do not accept Taliban and will not allow the Taliban to capture the district.”

Faramarz Nijrabi, District Police Chief, said: “The Dara-e-Kalan and Dara-e-Farkhshah did not collapse, otherwise the frontline could have entered Panjshir [district].”

Meanwhile, government employees have returned to their offices and have resumed work, while schools, hospitals, and markets have partially reopened.

People stated that the militants did not hesitate to commit any type of “cruelty” in Nijrab.

“The Taliban did not hesitate with anything, they burned houses of people, causing a lot of damage to the people,” said Mohammad a resident of Nijrab.

Ahmadi, another resident, stated: “Not even an animal does the cruelty that Taliban has inflicted on Nijrab [people].”

The Taliban, however, has not commented in this regard so far.

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Rights watchdog calls for truce as IDP numbers skyrocket

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2021)

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has called on the Afghan government, the Taliban and the international community to support and strengthen efforts to bring about peace as the escalating violence has resulted in a spike in Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

In a report issued Wednesday by the AIHRC it said: “We call on the Afghan government, the Taliban, and the international community to work hard to support and strengthen the justice-oriented peace process, establish a ceasefire, and put an end to war and violence, as major causes of internal displacement in the country.”

The organization also urged relevant departments and other stakeholders to take immediate action to provide temporary housing for IDPs and to address their basic needs, particularly access to food, drinking water, and health services.

“We urge national and international organizations working in this field to work on developing programs and establishing or strengthening the structures required for IDPs’ access to housing, education, health, social participation, and psychosocial support,” the organization said.

This comes after the AIHRC conducted a field study in 30 provinces on the plight of IDPs.

According to the State Ministry for Natural Disaster Management statistics, almost five million people have been displaced due to insecurity and violence by anti-government armed groups in the past two years.

The AIHRC meanwhile said recent data indicates 62,480 families have been displaced in the last six months, out of which, 32,284 families from 25 different provinces have been displaced due to escalation of war and violence in just one month – between June 7th – July 8th.

A comparison of 2015 statistics by the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (1.2 million) and this year’s statistics by the State Ministry for Natural Disaster Management shows that the number of IDPs has increased by 74.8 percent

AIHRC investigations found that 158,392 families from 26 provinces have been displaced due to war and insecurity in the first three months of this solar year (March 20, 2021 to June 21, 2021).

Nangarhar, with 22,790 displaced families, is at the top of the list, while Samangan, with 100 displaced people, is at the bottom.

The AIHRC reported that out of all 2,903 respondents in its field study, 281 of them (9.7%) stated that they have been displaced for over five years; 118 respondents (4.1%) said they have been displaced for less than five years; 238 respondents (8.2%) less than four years; 353 respondents (12.2%) less than three years; 497 respondents (17.1%) less than two years; 449 respondents (15.5%) less than one year; and, 949 respondents (32.7%) less than six months.

The study also found that 2,475 respondents (85.3 %) said that they had suffered some type of harm to their permanent residence before being displaced.

Among the people who suffered some form of harm prior to being displaced, 543 (21.9%) lost family members; 316 (12.8%) or their family members have been injured; 849 (34.3%) lost their homes; 344 (13.9%) lost their crops; 247 (11.1%) lost their job; 63 (2.5%) or their children have been deprived of education; and, 86 (3.5%) have not responded this question.

Out of all 2,475 people who said that they had been harmed before being displaced, 2,062 of them (83.3%) said that anti-government armed groups harmed them; 233 of them (9.4%) said that pro-government forces had harmed them; and the remaining 180 of them have said that they have been harmed by natural disasters in their permanent residence.

The study also found that access to stable jobs, shelter, health services and education were also a problem for the IDPs.

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