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Ariana News female anchor Mina Khairi killed in Kabul blast

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2021)

Ariana News and Ariana television female anchor Mina Khairi and her mother have been killed in Thursday evening’s blast in the west of Kabul.

The Afghan authorities confirmed through DNA tests that two of the victims of the Kabul blast were Khairi and her mother.

According to Khairi’s family members, Mina’s sister, who has also sustained serious injuries in the explosion, is currently hospitalized for treatment.

Mina Khairi started working as a presenter and announcer of radio and television programs in May 2017 with Ariana News and Ariana.

The blast took place in the Pul-e-Sokhta area in PD6 in the west of Kabul city on Thursday evening.

At least four civilians were killed and five others wounded in the explosion.

This comes amid a surge in explosions targeting civilians in the western parts of Kabul city in the past few days.

Meanwhile, the Reporters without Borders (RSF) has formally asked the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate murders of journalists and media workers in Afghanistan since March 2020.

RSF has asked Bensouda to investigate these murders – which the organization said Wednesday could be regarded as war crimes – under article 15 of the ICC’s Rome statute.

The latest media victims were three women working for Enekaas TV in the eastern city of Jalalabad, who were gunned down while on their way home on 2 March.

Before that, Voice of Ghor radio station director Besmellah Adel Imaq was shot dead as he was returning home in Firoz Koh, the capital of the central province of Ghor, on 1 January.

Imaq was the fifth media worker to be killed in the space of two months.

The others were Mohammad Aliyas Dayee of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Pashto-language service, who was murdered in Lashkargah on 12 November; Malalai Maiwand, a TV presenter and representative of the Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ), and her driver Taher Khan, who were murdered in Jalalabad on 10 December; and Rahmatollah Nekzad, a reporter for international media, who was gunned down in Ghazni on 21 December.

All of these journalists and media workers were targeted because of their work amid an armed conflict that has seen an increase in violence against journalists and civil society in general since early 2020, RSF said in a statement.

“RSF has every reason to believe that armed groups, especially the Taliban or Taliban affiliates, are responsible for this wave of killings,” the organization stated.
“RSF has asked the ICC’s chief prosecutor to include these murders in the crimes committed in Afghanistan since 2003 that she was authorized to investigate by the ICC’s Appeals Chamber in March 2020.

“With a view to prosecuting those responsible, RSF has asked her to determine whether they should be treated as war crimes or as another category of crimes defined by the ICC’s Rome Statute, such as crimes against humanity,” the organization stated.

At least 100 journalists, including 15 foreign journalists, have been killed in connection with their work in the past 20 years in Afghanistan, while more than 60 media outlets have been destroyed or attacked and hundreds of threats have been made against journalists and media.

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NATO to provide provisional funding to help run Kabul airport

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

NATO has not yet decided on who would run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once foreign troops have withdrawn, the organization’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Monday night. 

Stoltenberg said however that Turkey would play a “key role” in running the airport and that NATO is committed to providing transitional funding for the key facility. 

This comes after Turkey offered to run and guard the airport after the withdrawal of troops. 

However, the Taliban issued a warning and said such a move would be a “mistake” and that any country doing so would be considered invaders. 

“The presence of foreign forces under whatever name or by whichever country in our homeland is unacceptable for the Afghan people and the Islamic Emirate (Taliban),” the group cautioned in a statement.

The Taliban insisted that the security of airports, foreign embassies, and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of Afghans, saying that “no one should hold out hope of keeping military or security presence” in Afghanistan.   

In a communique issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the NATO Summit, it was stated that NATO will retain a Senior Civilian Representative’s Office in Kabul to continue diplomatic engagement and enhance its partnership with Afghanistan.

“Recognising its importance to an enduring diplomatic and international presence, as well as to Afghanistan’s connectivity with the world, NATO will provide transitional funding to ensure the continued functioning of Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the communique read.  

“We will also step up dialogue on Afghanistan with relevant international and regional partners. We continue to support the ongoing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, and call on all stakeholders to help Afghanistan foster a lasting inclusive political settlement that puts an end to violence; safeguards the human rights of Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; upholds the rule of law; and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.”

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Khalilzad in Kazakhstan to discuss Afghanistan peace process

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Nur-Sultan on Sunday to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan media reports stated the two discussed prospects for the development of the Kazakh-US relations in the context of ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan especially once foreign troops have withdrawn.

Reports stated Khalilzad and Tokayev also discussed the coordination of bilateral and multilateral efforts for the stabilization and socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Tokayev said: “This year we are marking the 30th anniversary of our Independence. During this period, we managed to build relations of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

“The United States is a strong partner of Kazakhstan. We are good partners in so many areas, including trade and economic cooperation,” he said.

Tokayev also said the Afghan issue was always a focal point in his talks with the leaders of Afghanistan, Russia, China, Central Asian states and international organizations.

Kazakh media reported that during the meeting, Khalilzad shared his assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan, and the vision of American diplomacy regarding the further development of the intra-Afghan peace process.

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Taliban ‘paths’ into districts will become mass graveyards: Saleh

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(Last Updated On: June 14, 2021)

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said Monday the Taliban have advanced in a number of areas but warned that the narrow paths into the districts will be turned into a mass graveyard for the militants.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saleh said: “Those who know how to fight with the Taliban, know that this narrow line will become the mass graveyard of this group of terror and ignorance.”

The statement comes as the Taliban militants have captured at least 30 districts since May 1.

In the most recent incidents, the Sayad district in Sar-e-Pul province; the Awba district in Herat province; and the Khanabad district in Kunduz province fell to the insurgents in the past 24 hours.

Provincial sources have told Ariana News that through government’s neglect, at least 18 more districts are on the verge of collapse.

Saleh, meanwhile, stated that the Taliban militants have not changed the way they treat the people of Afghanistan.

“Do not be deceived by [Taliban’s] propaganda. Resisting the Taliban is defending human values and dignity. Taliban has no message for the people of this country other than demanding obedience as a slave life,” Saleh said.

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