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Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 787 new cases, total 18,054

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2020)

The Ministry of Public health confirmed Thursday that 787 people were tested positive for the Coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

According to the ministry, the cases have been registered as follow: Kabul 323, Herat 110, Kandahar 65, Balkh 34, Paktia 36, Nangarhar 54, Badghis 48, Khost 40, Paktika 32, Nimroz 18, Kunar 15, Takhar 8, Bamyan 2, Logar 1, and Parwan 1.

It brings the total affected to 18,054 in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, six people have died of the virus in the past 24 hours and 63 people have recovered and fully discharged for the hospital, the health ministry added.

So far, 300 people have died of COVID-19 while 1,585 others have recovered from the virus.

It comes as, on Wednesday, Fahim Qarluq the district governor for Qala-e-Zal and General Rashid Bashir, Police Chief of the province have died from COVID-19 on Wednesday morning.

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Is Afghan peace process on right track?

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

Some politicians say that the peace process and its possible outcome are not yet clear and that the issue of peace and war in Afghanistan is unclear.

Meanwhile, McKenzie, the commander of the US central command during his visit to Kabul, assured that the US will continue to work with Afghanistan so that the country does not become a haven for terrorism again.

According to the Doha peace agreement, in the second phase, all foreign troops will leave Afghanistan in the next 14 months. But on the one hand, there is no talk of dialogue between Afghans and no reduction in violence and peace programs.

“Afghanistan is at a critical juncture in history, on the one hand, peace is being sought, and on the other, war is continuing,” said Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High National Council for Reconciliation.

While Kabul’s path to peace has not yet been paved; The United States as one of Afghanistan’s allies is in its post-exit planning. During his visit to Kabul, General Kent McKenzie the commander of the US Central Command assured that Afghanistan will not go back to the past.

Intra-Afghan Talks were scheduled to take place in Doha this week, But the dispute over the release of prisoners and the escalation of violence has apparently disrupted all plans.

“Now the Taliban must show goodwill and prepare for negotiations,” said Farooq Majrouh, a member of the peace negotiating team.

“In this situation, the United States is more concerned with speeding up the exit process, and in the meantime, the Afghan people are falling victim,” said Fahim Siddiqui, a political analyst.

On the other hand, the Washington Post recently reported on the differences between the Taliban military commanders and the group’s political leaders over the future of Afghanistan and said that some Taliban militants are thinking of a military victory and the shattering the Afghan state. But the Taliban have denied any differences between the group’s military and politicians.

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Abdul Rashid Dostum officially awarded rank of marshal – Jawzjan

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former vice president, has been officially awarded the rank of a marshal at a special ceremony held in Jawzjan province on Wednesday.

The promotion was a part of the political agreement inked between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the Head of High Council for National Reconciliation.

Dostum is the third person in the history of Afghanistan to receive the title of Marshall – the highest official rank within the military – after Shah Wali Khan and Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

Who is Abdul Rashid Dostum? How, why did he become the third marshal of Afghanistan?

Abdul Rashid Dostum, the founder of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, is one of Afghanistan’s most controversial military and political figures and one of Uzbek’s most important leaders.

Dostum, who was a senior military man and ally of Dr. Najibullah, changed direction in the last years of Dr. Najibullah’s rule in early 1992 and began working with the Mujahidin. Before the fall of the Mujahidin government led by Burhanuddin Rabbani by the Taliban, Dostum fought against Rabbani. He even allied with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan.

At the peak of his power in 1997, he had partially established an independent administration in northern Afghanistan, even running all the affairs of these regions and even printing a separate currency in his name. He had built a strong front against the Taliban in the north. It was during these years that his fans called him “King Dostum”.

After the fall of the Taliban, Dostum ran as a candidate in the 2004 presidential election, finishing fourth with about 9 percent of the vote.

Hamid Karzai, during the first term of his presidency, appointed Dostum as the commander of the army headquarters, but this position was suspended after the claim of Akbarbay, the head of the Afghanistan Turks Council, who said he had been abducted and beaten Dostum. Karzai’s command was suspended, and Dostum went to Turkey.

In the 2014 elections, Mr. Dostum became the first deputy of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. During this time, Dostum led the northern wars against the Taliban. But after being accused of sexual misuse by Ahmad Ishchi, Mr. Dostum went home and then went into exile voluntarily in Turkey. During his four years as first vice president, he had dark relations with Ashraf Ghani and criticized him many times. He then returned to Kabul from Turkey in an anti-government political coalition. In the most recent presidential election, he supported Abdullah’s candidacy.

According to the political agreement between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, awarding the rank of Marshal to Abdul Rashid Dostum as the third Marshal of Afghanistan was part of the demands of Abdullah’s team. The political agreement states that Abdul Rashid Dostum will be promoted to the highest military rank as Marshall by presidential decree and will also be a member of the Supreme Council of Government and the National Security Council.

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US closes five military bases in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

US Department of Defense has confirmed that it has closed five bases in Afghanistan as part of the Doha agreement to reduce forces in the country. 

In a statement released on July 14, the Pentagon said that as specified in the agreement, the United States has reduced forces to 8,600 in Afghanistan.

“We have met this obligation. US forces in Afghanistan remain in the mid-8,000s and five bases formerly occupied by US forces have been transferred to our Afghan partners,” Pentagon said.

The US noted that its military presence in Afghanistan remains focused on capabilities- not numbers.

“We will continue to execute our counterterrorism mission while simultaneously supporting the 38-nation NATO Resolute Support Train, Advise, Assist mission and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) as they work to secure peace in the country,” read the statement.

The US also called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to “reduce violence and embark on intra-Afghan negotiations capable of achieving a negotiated and lasting peace for Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban said the US-Taliban agreement was a zero-sum game for all sides.

“We reached a political settlement through negotiations which means it (the US-Taliban agreement) was a win-win situation for both sides,” Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban said.

It comes as the Taliban has intensified attacks on the Afghan forces in a number of provinces. In its recent attack on the NDS office in Samangan province, the militants killed or wounded dozens of civilians and Afghan soldiers.

The attack provoked wide condemns as the US Special Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that the attack was a “contradicts” to the group’s commitments highlighted in the Doha deal.

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