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Bihsud probe team calls for Wardak police chief to be prosecuted

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(Last Updated On: February 7, 2021)

The delegation assigned to probe the recent carnage in Bihsud has called for Allahdad Fedaie, Police Chief of Maidan Wardak, to be suspended and prosecuted.

The delegation states that Fedaie ordered security forces to open fire on protesters who had gathered outside the government building in Hisa-i-Awal Bihsud district of Maidan Wardak just over a week ago.

At least 12 people were killed in the shooting.

The Interior Ministry however rejected claims that security forces had opened fire and said irresponsible gunmen started shooting at police and civilians in the district.

According to the reports, in addition to the 12 people killed, at least 31 others – including the new police commander of Hisa-i-Awal Bihsud and two security personnel – were wounded in the incident.

The 14-member delegation, that was tasked to investigate the clashes, has handed over their findings to the National Security Council.

Hassan Rasouli, a member of the delegation stated: “The delegates agreed that aid must be provided to the families of the victims immediately. The police commander (Wardak police chief) must be suspended and he must be referred to the Attorney General’s Office; thirdly the district governors of the Hisa-i-Awal and Hisa-i-Dowom districts must be replaced; and fourth – police chiefs of both districts should be replaced as well.”

Meanwhile, a number of Bihsud’s MPs said that clashes between the security forces and the public uprising forces have been ongoing for the past ten days.

They urged the government to conduct an impartial investigation into the problem and to ensure justice is served.

MP Mahdi Rasikh said: “After the return of the delegation clashes are still ongoing. We failed to control the situation.”

Murad Ali Murad, former deputy chief of army staff, cautiously said: “If it did not happen (government addressing the problem) the people have already decided. Perhaps the people take very serious action, and they would not trust the government anymore,” Mural Ali Mural, Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff said.

The Ministry of Interior Affairs stated that the Police Chief of Maidan Wardak has been called to Kabul, emphasizing that if he is found guilty of breaking the law, legal action will be taken against him.

“We are still investigating the issue. Who is guilty and who is not will be determined after the investigation is finalized,” the Ministry’s Spokesman Tariq Arian said.

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Pakistan offers to host ‘urgent’ OIC meeting on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Pakistan on Monday offered to host an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers meeting on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan that has been called for by Saudi Arabia.

“We have also offered to host the meeting, in Islamabad, on 17 December 2021. We are confident that OIC member states will endorse this offer,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

According to a statement issued by Said Arabia’s official news agency SPA, the kingdom said: “Guided by principles of Islamic solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as Chair of the Islamic Summit, and in line with relevant OIC decisions on Afghanistan, called upon the OIC to, urgently, convene an Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting to discuss the humanitarian situation in the country and pathways for an urgent humanitarian response.”

The statement noted that the objectives of the meeting were to explore “means and mechanisms” for aid delivery in coordination with UN agencies, international financial institutions, and the international community for mitigating the humanitarian crisis.

“Impending economic collapse and further deterioration of living conditions will lead to more instability within Afghanistan, which will adversely affect regional and international peace and security,” the kingdom warned.

Pakistan’s Dawn News reported that Qureshi in turn stated that Afghans need assistance “more than ever before”.

“As you are aware, Afghanistan currently faces a serious humanitarian situation — millions of Afghans, including women and children, confront an uncertain future due to shortage of food, medicine and other essential life supplies. The advent of winter has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis,” he said.

The foreign minister urged the OIC to step in to help Afghans. “We should step up our collective efforts to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, provide immediate and sustained support to them, and continue to remain engaged with them for the well-being and prosperity of Afghanistan,” he said.

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Five wounded in Kabul explosion

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

At least five people including Islamic Emirate (IE) forces were wounded on Monday morning when a roadside mine detonated in PD7 along Darulaman Road.

The explosion took place at about 9.45am local time close to Habibia High School and the target appeared to have been a Hilux vehicle.

According to eyewitnesses, the explosion had been from a roadside mine and caused casualties.

Some eyewitnesses said the Hilux vehicle was being driven by IE forces at the time of the explosion.

An Ariana News reporter in the area said according to eyewitnesses at least five people were wounded in the explosion including IE forces.

Immediately after the explosion, IE forces cordoned off the area, and ambulances were seen arriving at the scene.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the explosion but ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan (ISIS-K), known locally as Daesh, have been responsible for a number of explosions in Kabul in recent months.

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World Bank works to redirect frozen funds for humanitarian aid only

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

The World Bank is finalizing a proposal to deliver up to $500 million from a frozen Afghanistan aid fund to humanitarian agencies, people familiar with the plans told Reuters, but it leaves out tens of thousands of public sector workers and remains complicated by U.S. sanctions.

Board members will meet informally on Tuesday to discuss the proposal, hammered out in recent weeks with U.S. and U.N. officials, to redirect the funds from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which has a total of $1.5 billion, Reuters reported.

Afghanistan’s 39 million people face a collapsing economy, a winter of food shortages and growing poverty three months after the the former government collapsed.

Afghan experts said the aid will help, but big gaps remain, including how to get the funds into Afghanistan without exposing the financial institutions involved to U.S. sanctions, and the lack of focus on state workers, the sources said.

The money will go mainly to addressing urgent health care needs in Afghanistan, where less than 7% of the population has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, they said.

For now, it will not cover salaries for teachers and other government workers, a policy that the experts say could hasten the collapse of Afghanistan’s public education, healthcare and social services systems.

They warn that hundreds of thousands of workers, who have been unpaid for months, could stop showing up for their jobs and join a massive exodus from the country.

The World Bank will have no oversight of the funds once transferred into Afghanistan, said one of the sources familiar with the plans. A U.S. official stressed that UNICEF and other recipient agencies would have “their own controls and policies in place.”

“The proposal calls for the World Bank to transfer the money to the U.N. and other humanitarian agencies, without any oversight or reporting, but it says nothing about the financial sector, or how the money will get into the country,” the source said, calling U.S. sanctions a major constraint.

While the U.S. Treasury has provided “comfort letters” assuring banks that they can process humanitarian transactions, concern about sanctions continues to prevent passage of even basic supplies, including food and medicine, the source added.

“We’re driving the country into the dust,” said the source. Crippling sanctions and failure to take care of public sector workers will “create more refugees, more desperation and more extremism.”

A State Department spokesperson confirmed that Washington is working with the World Bank and other donors on how to use the funds, including potentially paying those who work in “critical positions such as healthcare workers and teachers.”

The spokesperson said the U.S. government remains committed to meeting the  critical needs of the  Afghan people, “especially across health, nutrition, education, and food security sectors … but international aid is not a silver bullet.”

Established in 2002 and administered by the World Bank, the ARTF was the largest financing source for Afghanistan’s civilian budget, which was more than 70% funded by foreign aid.

The World Bank suspended disbursements after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover. At the same time, Washington stopped supplying U.S. dollars to the country and joined in freezing some $9 billion in Afghan central bank assets and halting financial assistance.

One major problem is the lack of a mechanism to monitor disbursements of funds in Afghanistan to ensure Taliban leaders and fighters do not access them, a third source said.

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