Latest News – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Fri, 05 Jun 2020 18:57:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Most media workers in Afghanistan infected by Coronavirus Fri, 05 Jun 2020 18:54:48 +0000 Reporters Without Borders says that at least 70 media workers in Afghanistan have been infected with the Coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Reporters Without Borders has released a statement titled “media professionals are added to death list either by attacks or Coronavirus” noting that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Afghanistan, at least 70 journalists and media workers have been infected.

The report says that two media workers in Afghanistan have died so far as a result of suffering from Covid-19.

The RWB notes that Sulaiman Yousufi, an Ariana News driver, and Nasir Ahmad Safi, an RTA reporter in Nangarhar province, were among the media workers who died of the Coronavirus.

Reporters Without Borders underlines that Afghan journalists infected by the Coronavirus do not have access to financial and medical resources.

Afghan people want transparency in peace process Fri, 05 Jun 2020 17:33:34 +0000 Afghan citizens call on the High Council for National Reconciliation to take practical steps in the peace process.

The people of Afghanistan see the current peace efforts vague and call on the government to keep the people into confidence about the progress made in this process.

Residents of Kabul say the peace process must be transparent and speedy. They also claim that people are not fully kept updated on peace efforts.

While the start of the Intra-Afghan negotiations depends on the release of all 5,000 Taliban prisoners and one thousand of government prisoners, no prisoners have been released by the two sides in the past four days.

This comes as the Taliban’s technical delegation, which has come to Kabul to identify their prisoners, has not yet left Kabul.

It is to be noted that nearly 3,000 Taliban prisoners and nearly 400 government prisoners have been released so far, and a number of countries have called for speeding up the process.

“Negotiations will not begin until all 5,000 prisoners are released,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission has shared a list of its proposals with the chairman of the High National Reconciliation Council to be pitched in the agenda of the Intra-Afghan talks.

“The rights of children, women, minorities, and victims of war must be protected throughout these talks,” said Naeem Nazari, deputy head of the Human Rights Commission.

“Women must play a significant role in peace processes,” said Fawzia Kofi, a member of the peace negotiating team.

On the other hand, the Norwegian Foreign Minister has told his Afghan counterpart that his country is trying to pave the way for the start of the Intra-Afghan Talks.

Earlier, sources said that the date for the start of the talks was set for June 15 and that the two sides were now trying to make a choice out of Qatar, Germany, Norway, and Uzbekistan as the host for the holding the talks.

Leading tennis player charged with assaulting ex-wife Fri, 05 Jun 2020 13:24:10 +0000 Nikoloz Basilashvili, a leading tennis player has been sued by his ex-wife for assault, CNN reports.

A statement from the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia indicates that Nikoloz Basilashvili, who is ranked No. 27 in the world, was charged with violence against Neli Dorokashvili.

Although an investigation into the criminal case is ongoing, Basilashvili was released on a bail of $31,300 and is due to return to court on July 16 for the next hearing.

In a statement on Basilashvili’s Facebook page posted after he posted bail, his legal representatives said the allegations are “false and totally unsubstantiated.”

The couple, who have a five-year-old son together, divorced last year.

His lawyers have said, “We would like to ensure Nikoloz Basilashvili’s fans that video footage already submitted to the court evidences our client’s position and fully discharges him from the abovementioned untrue allegations.”

On the other hand, Dorokashvili’s lawyer says there is evidence to support her claims, noting “There are people who are witness to their relationship. There are some video records and audio records. There also some transcripts, there are dialogues of phone text messages and so forth.”

Twitter disabled Trump’s video tribute to Floyd for copyright reasons Fri, 05 Jun 2020 11:45:40 +0000 Twitter has pulled down Donald Trump’s tribute video to George Floyd on its platform.

On a copyright complaint, Twitter has pulled down Donald Trump’s tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, news agencies report.

A Twitter representative has said, “We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,”

The clip is said to be a collation of photos and videos of protest marches and instances of violence in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, with Trump’s voiceover.

The three-minute 45-second video is still on YouTube, with over 60,000 views and 13,000 likes – it was tweeted by Trump’s campaign on June 3.

Afghanistan records highest Coronavirus death toll in single day Fri, 05 Jun 2020 09:03:14 +0000 Nine people have died of Coronavirus in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry.

In a statement released on Friday, the ministry said that three people in Balkh, two in Herat, two in Samangan, and two others in Kunduz lost life after suffering COVID-19.

According to the statement, 915 people were tested positive for the Coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

The cases were registered as follow: 423 in Kabul, 201 in Herat, 116 in Balkh, 29 in Kunduz, 23 in Kunar, 21 in Kandahar, 21 in Farah, 21 in Sar-e-Pul, 20 in Helmand, 15 in Samangan, 11 in Paktia, 7 in Nangarhar, 4 in Maidan Wardak, and three in Laghman, the statement said.

It brings the total affected people to 18,969 in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, 178 people have recovered and fully discharged from the hospitals, bringing the total recoveries to 1,763, the ministry added.

So far, 309 people have died of the virus since its first case was detected in western Herat province.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health stated that the decision to fight the Coronavirus is in the hands of the people – any negligence could lead to a serious humanitarian crisis.

In addition, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that the country is in the worst condition in the fight against the Coronavirus. He also has said that some of his family members and colleagues have been infected by the virus, urging people to abide by the health guidelines and measures.

Facebook labels state-controlled media outlets Fri, 05 Jun 2020 06:24:18 +0000 Facebook – a social media giant – said Thursday that it would start labeling state-controlled media outlets on Facebook.

Facebook would reportedly add labels to the Facebook pages of Russia Today, Russia’s Sputnik, China’s Xinhua News, Iran’s Press TV, and the People’s Daily, among others, saying that these were state-controlled outlets.

The Company said in a statement, “We’re providing greater transparency into these publishers because they combine the influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government.”

The giant tech company would also block state-controlled media outlets from buying advertising in the US this summer ahead of the US presidential election in November without setting an exact date.

“State-controlled media outlets rarely advertise in the US. Nevertheless, later this summer we will begin blocking ads from these outlets in the US out of an abundance of caution to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate ahead of the November 2020 election in the US,” Facebook said. 

Other outlets that are run independently, would not be included in the labeling, Facebook said.

It comes as the company has recently faced a backlash from its employees for not adding warning labels to comments from the U.S. president linked to the ongoing violence across the country.

Dr. Ayaz Niazi laid to rest in Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque Thu, 04 Jun 2020 19:01:56 +0000 The lifeless body of Dr. Ayaz Niazi, a prominent religious scholar, was laid to rest in a special ceremony at the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque, Kabul.

Niazi died after receiving severe injuries in an IED explosion at the mosque on Tuesday evening.

The Acting Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs says that there is no justification for the attack, and that ulema (religious scholars) should unite to stop such crimes.

It should be noted that Dr. Aaz Niazi was one of the prominent religious figures who held two master’s degrees from Al-Azhar University in Egypt.

The Acting Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Abdul Hakim Munib, said, “There is no justification for this attack. With these attacks, the enemies of the country will never be able to stop the religious activities of scholars. They will try even more to raise awareness based on Islamic studies.”

At the same time, a number of religious scholars have condemned the incident, warning that if the government fails to identify the perpetrators of the attack on Dr. Ayaz, they will go on widespread protests.

“We have set a ten-day deadline for the government to identify the perpetrators of this case, otherwise we will protest,” said Abdul Qadir Qanet, a religious scholar.

“This must stop. We hope the government takes action to prevent the assassinations of religious scholars,” said Fazl Hadi Wazin, a university professor.

Although the Taliban have denied involvement in the attack and considered it a crime, the First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, says on his Facebook account that the Taliban cannot acquit itself by writing a sentence of denial, adding that mostly those religious scholars are being targeted who are not graduated from Pakistani schools.

Poor state of hospitals increase health challenges Thu, 04 Jun 2020 18:43:58 +0000 Afghanistan’s poor state of hospitals has failed to provide adequate healthcare services to the people.

The Acting Minister of Public Health, who has recently been appointed by the president, says that the low quality of the country’s hospitals has led to serious health challenges, and the Coronavirus has multiplied it.

Ahmad Jawad Osmani, Acting Minister of Public Health, said, “The hospitals have provided poor health services, even in normal situations, and we have not been able to gain people’s trust. Weak leadership at the hospitals is also a factor.”

Meanwhile, the ministry underlined that in the last 24 hours, some 1296 samples have been examined, of which 787 cases tested positive for the Coronavirus.

During this time, six patients died of the virus and sixty-three others recovered.

The Ministry of Public Health warns of a dramatic increase in the number of the Coronavirus infections, saying that if people do not do their part in the fight against the pandemic, the situation will get out of control.

Fruit production sees 30 percent increase in Balkh – officials Thu, 04 Jun 2020 17:19:15 +0000 Officials at the Balkh Department of Agriculture and Livestock say that fruit harvests in the province are up 30 percent compared to that of last year.

Salem Sayi, head of the Balkh Department of Agriculture and Livestock, said that despite strong winds and torrential rains that have damaged trees, fruit yields have increased by 30 percent in comparison to last year.

On the other hand, a number of gardeners in Balkh say that the lack of markets and refrigeration storages have caused them to sell their products at low prices.

The head of the Balkh Department of Agriculture and Livestock said that the Coronavirus crisis had also damaged the horticultural industry and that they could not export fruit to other countries.

Presently, Balkh has 23,000 hectares of agricultural land where a variety of fruit trees are grown.

Officials at the Balkh Agriculture Department say that new orchards are being built on an area of 23,000 acres a year.

They say that 20 refrigeration storages have been built for apple and pomegranate storage, and the construction of new cold storage houses is to be assumed this year.

Key actors vow to speed up intra-Afghan talks Thu, 04 Jun 2020 15:02:20 +0000 The United States, Russia, China, and Pakistan have vowed to speed up the Intra-Afghan Talks process.

The new envoys and representatives of the United States, Russia, China, and Pakistan, spoke at a video conference on speeding up the release of Afghan and Taliban prisoners and voting to begin negotiations between the government and the Taliban as soon as possible.

Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan has said that initial steps had been taken to start direct talks.

“The main result is we will do our utmost together to speed up the exchange of prisoners of war between Kabul and the Taliban and to promote intra-Afghan talks,” the Russian special envoy in Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov said.

He added, “The exchange process is on. It is slower than we would like it to be, but it is continuing and now the need has emerged to hold a preliminary discussion of further steps.”

The Presidential Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said, “Considerable reduction in violence or ceasefire will lead us to take further steps to start direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. We hope the Taliban enter a new phase.”

The European Union, the British Embassy, and some other European representatives in Kabul have also issued a joint statement urging the government and the Taliban to grant a constructive role for women throughout the peace process.

The statement also stressed the need for the government to announce the time for the Intra-Afghan talks as soon as possible.

Ghulam Farooq Majrooh, a member of the government’s negotiating team, said: “The negotiating team is fully prepared to start negotiations. It is up to the leaders to determine the time and place, and we will be ready to negotiate whenever they say.”

Earlier, sources said that the first round of talks between the Afghans is scheduled to take place on June 15, 11 days later, but sources close to the Taliban have said that talks would not begin unless all 5,000 Taliban prisoners are released.

“The Taliban’s stance so far is that Intra-Afghan talks will begin after the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, according to the list,” said Khalil Safi, head of the Afghan Institute for Peace Studies.

The National Security Council said in a statement that the government had released 2,710 Taliban prisoners and that the list of prisoners released by the Taliban was under investigation.

Since then, there have been no further releases by either side – progress in the matter will spark the beginning of negotiations.

Updates on protests over George Floyd’s killing – USA Thu, 04 Jun 2020 11:59:17 +0000 All four Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death have been charged, an Aljazeera report.

According to the report, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder, up from third-degree murder. He also faces a second-degree manslaughter charge.

In the meantime, the other three are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

On the other hand, the US President Donald Trump has been criticized by his former defense secretary, James Mattis, who said he was trying to divide the nation.

Also, Trump’s current defense chief, Mark Esper, has said he opposed Trump’s threat to send in the military to control the unrest.

The report indicates that the protesters have remained undeterred by curfews and the presence of the US National Guard in some cities.

“Those protesting against police brutality have been met with, at times, excessive force by authorities,” the report reveals.

It is also said that some journalists have also been targeted by police.

There are reports of officers getting injured as well in the protests.

Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 787 new cases, total 18,054 Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:19:44 +0000 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.

Gov’t officials don’t follow health guidelines, social distancing Wed, 03 Jun 2020 18:14:30 +0000 The failure to comply with health guidelines and social distancing in gatherings by a number of high-ranking government officials has been criticized.

Citizens blame officials for being negligent to the Coronavirus, saying that their behavior is a sign of the government’s reluctance in the fight against the virus.

In the latest instance, the chairman of the High Reconciliation Council amongst other officials attended a ceremony without abiding by the health guidelines and/or social distancing.

That is, Salem Izadiar’s commemoration ceremony with the presence of high-ranked government officials and citizens, including high-ranking officials – without keeping any of the health guidelines in mind, is considered to be one of the main causes of Coronavirus outbreak.

Additionally, the Minister of Interior Affairs, who is considered as one of the key officials in the fight against Coronavirus, also attended a meeting in Baghlan, not taking into account any social distancing and/or health measures.

It is worth mentioning that recently Rashid Bashir, the police chief of Kunduz province, and Fahim Qarluq, the governor of Qala-e-Zal district the province, died of the virus.

The Ministry of Public Health has frequently expressed concerns over social non-compliance with health guidelines and its dire consequences.

On the other hand, the death toll from the virus has increased; however, only a part of the fatalities are officially recorded, but a larger proportion of Covid-19 positive or suspicious deaths are, for some reason, not reported at all.

Dr. Ayaz Niazi’s assassination triggers queries Wed, 03 Jun 2020 17:52:20 +0000 The assassination of Dr. Ayaz Niazi, imam of the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque, has raised questions and reactions.

Dr. Niazi became the target of an IED explosion at the mosque yesterday evening while preparing for the evening prayer.

He died at the hospital of deadly injuries.

A number of military experts have called yesterday’s incident a ‘political terrorist attack’ and blamed the security agencies for not preventing such attacks in Kabul.

Intelligence experts attribute the weakness in the intelligence agencies that leads to such horrific attacks.

President Ghani personally visited the Mohammad Dawood Khan hospital today and, while praying for the deceased and offering condolences to his family, he ordered security agencies to follow up on the incident.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has announced the formation of a delegation to investigate the incident and arrest its perpetrators.

About Dr. Ayaz Niazi:

Dr. Mohammad Ayaz Niazi was 56 years old and was born in Yamgan district of Badakhshan province. At the age of twelve, he learned the holy Quran by heart. After high school, he joined Al-Azhar University in Egypt and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Islamic Economics. Also, he had a Ph.D. in Islamic Jurisprudence from Al-Azhar University in Egypt. Dr. Niazi served as a professor at the Faculty of Sharia at Kabul University and as imam at the Mohammad Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque.

Covid-19 impacts; Afghanistan’s exports on hold Wed, 03 Jun 2020 15:24:33 +0000 Afghanistan’s exports to other countries have been stalled due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus and no alternatives have been considered yet.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) blames the government for failing to remove hurdles in Afghanistan’s exports, saying that the private sector will lose millions of dollars if trade with neighboring countries does not resume.

Officials in ACCI say that trade routes with neighboring countries have been blocked since the outbreak of the coronavirus, and the government has failed to find alternatives.

On the other hand, experts attribute the lack of work capacity in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan to the decline in exports to other countries.

“Officials at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan have failed to come up with a basic plan for exports and investment in the country,” experts say.

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the country, a number of countries, including Iran and Pakistan, have closed their borders with Afghanistan.

In addition to the cessation of Afghanistan’s exports, this act sparked prices to rise domestically.

Meanwhile, experts and traders believe that the government should look for alternative ways to keep the drift of export and import alive.

Footballers ‘take a knee’ in commemoration of George Floyd Wed, 03 Jun 2020 15:08:04 +0000 Liverpool players in a training session took a knee at the center circle at Anfield stadium.

Following the death of George Floyd and nationwide protests in the USA, Liverpool football players took a knee at Anfield Stadium on Monday in a gesture of support and unity, said an Aljazeera report.

The players posted a picture of the act on their social media accounts with the caption “Unity is strength #BlackLivesMatter”.

This was an act to show the solidarity of Liverpool players to the death of George Floyd who was killed in police custody.

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United forward also reacted to the death of George Floyd.

“Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter,” Rashford wrote.

Apart from the Premier League, in Bundesliga, the Borussia Dortmund players Jadon Sancho and Ashraf Hakimi wore shirts on Sunday with the message “Justice for George Floyd” in a match.

It is to be recalled that Floyd died May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on the Black man’s neck.

Floyd’s death has been followed by nationwide protests and chaos in the United States.

Officials die of Coronavirus as cases reach 17267 – Afghanistan Wed, 03 Jun 2020 09:35:08 +0000 Two Afghan officials have died of Coronavirus in Kunduz province as the total cases reached 17267 in the country, local officials confirmed.

Esmat Muradi, a spokesman for Kunduz governor told Ariana News that 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.

According to Muradi, Bashir passed away in a hospital in Kabul, and Qarluq died in Kunduz’s COVID-19 hospital.

Meanwhile, 758 new positive cases have been registered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total affected to 17267, the Ministry of Public Health confirmed.

The ministry said at least 24 people have died of the virus in the past 24 hours, adding that, so far, the fatalities have risen to 294 in the country.

At least 74 people have been recovered and fully discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 1522 in Afghanistan.

Mine blast kills district police chief – Paktia Wed, 03 Jun 2020 05:48:38 +0000 An Afghan security official was killed in a mine blast in Paktia province, local officials confirmed.

Sharif Kaliwal, district governor of Sayid Karam in Paktia, told Ariana News that Homayoun Himat police commander for Sayid Karam was killed in a mine blast on Tuesday.

Himat’s vehicle hit a roadside mine in the district while he was on his way to supply a police outpost that came under attack by the Taliban.

According to Kaliwal, three policemen were also killed and four others wounded in the blast.

The official said that the Afghan forces have also imposed casualties to the Taliban militants but he did not provide further details. The Taliban yet to comment in this regard.

No group or individual including the Taliban militant group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Paktia is among the insecure provinces in the east part of the country where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in a number of its districts.

Unprecedented growth in watermelon harvest – Farah Tue, 02 Jun 2020 19:19:33 +0000 This year, more than 789,000 tons of watermelon will be harvested in Farah province.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock said that the figure is up 6 percent compared to that of last year.

Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock say that this year’s watermelon harvest in Farah province will be 789,400 metric tons. According to the officials, about 19,000 hectares of land have been cultivated  for watermelon in Farah province this year.

Meanwhile, a number of farmers in Farah province are worried about the lack of markets for the watermelon products.

They say that if there is no market, their products will be wasted.

This comes as a number of farmers in the province say that if the government doesn’t support the marketing of watermelon products in this province, their products will be destroyed this year.

Officials in the Chamber of Commerce and Investment have criticized the government, saying that the Ministry of Commerce should have previously marketed domestic products.

According to them, the government’s negligence will discourage farmers from producing crops.

They say South Asian countries are the best market for watermelon, but claim that Pakistan has blocked the export of the product to a number of countries.

Dr. Ayaz Niazi killed in mosque explosion – Kabul Tue, 02 Jun 2020 17:59:56 +0000 At least two people – including Mohammad Ayaz Niazi, imam of Wazir Akbar Khan mosque – were killed and three others wounded in a bomb blast inside a mosque in Kabul city, the Interior Ministry confirmed.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that the explosion took place at around 7:25 p.m. in Wazir Akbar Khan mosque while people were gathered for evening prayers.

Mohammad Ayaz Niazi, imam of the mosque also lost his life in the attack, the official added.

All the injured individuals have been taken to hospital.

According to the ministry, police defused another bomb at the attack scene.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Palace condemned the “terror attack,” saying attacks on mosques, hospitals, and other civilian sites are anti-humanitarian act.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.