Balkh – Ariana News Bringing Afghan News to the World Thu, 18 Jun 2020 12:18:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ADB approves APPC’s loan to enhance Afghanistan’s energy security Thu, 18 Jun 2020 11:50:22 +0000 On 17 June, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Afghan Power Plant Company Limited (APPC) signed a $10 million loan, ADB said in a statement.

According to ADB, this loan is part of a financing package for the Mazar gas-fired power plant, supporting Afghanistan’s efforts to achieve long-term energy security through affordable domestic power sources.

The project is the first private sector gas-fired plant in Afghanistan to be funded by development finance institutions, says ADB.

ADB says that in line with its long-term corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, the bank supports essential infrastructure through the private sector in a fragile and conflict-affected situation.

“ADB will also administer a $10 million loan for the project provided by Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP),” the statement adds.

The ABD says that the loan provides long-term financing to build and operate a 58.56-megawatt gas-fired power plant located near Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

“The project cost a total of $89 million, will use indigenous gas and is expected to generate 404 gigawatt-hours of power annually,” the statement writes.

Director of Infrastructure Finance Chakraborty, said, “This project is definitive proof that indigenous gas-based power generation is capable of displacing electricity imports in Afghanistan and helping to deliver energy security.”

He added, “Its success will send an important signal to the market that Afghanistan’s power industry is now ready to attract more private sector investment and financing.”

APPC Chairman Ismail Ghazanfar said, “This is the first step in Ghazanfar Group’s vision of helping to develop 5,000 megawatts of energy generation facilities in Afghanistan through partnerships with international development banks, local and international companies, and the Government of Afghanistan.”

It is worth mentioning that Afghanistan imports at least 75% of its energy needs.

At least 1,000 pigeons die of starvation – Balkh Mon, 08 Jun 2020 19:38:40 +0000 Restrictions on movements and the ban on pilgrims entering Rawza have led to a shortage of food for pigeons, which have so far killed some 1,000 of them due to starvation.

The Coronavirus has not only challenged human life but has also threatened the life of pigeons in Rawza-e Mubarak – the shrine of Ali – in Mazar which due to the restrictions face lack of food.

Reportedly, nearly 1,000 pigeons have died of starvation so far, according to officials.

They emphasize that if the government does not help provide the pigeons with food, a large number of birds may vanish.

The pigeons – widely known as ‘the white doves’ that spreads the feeling of freedom – are the birds that in the sky of Mazar-e-Sharif catch the eyes of all the spectators and fly around the blue dome of the shrine of Ali.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, thousands of people used to visit the shrine every day and, see the pigeons and would sprinkle them with seeds, the bird food.

For three months now, due to the spread of the Coronavirus, pilgrims have been barred from entering the holy spot. Thus, the white doves, who have become accustomed to the people, have faced a shortage of seeds – a serious threat to their survival.

A number of residents of Mazar-e-Sharif, who have been throwing three bags of wheat and corn to pigeons each day since the beginning of the pandemic and curfews, say that the situation will get worse if the government and relevant bodies do not help.

The exact number of pigeons is unknown, but officials say that there are more than 10,000 of them.

These birds, which were never far from human love and pilgrims’ special attention, feel alone now and their survival depends on human help.

Officials at the shrine say that they have shared the problem with the local government and the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, but they have not yet addressed the problem.

Ulema: Eid-ul-Fiter prayers must be practiced as per pertinent guidelines Sat, 23 May 2020 07:55:22 +0000  The Ulema call on people to practice the Eid-ul-Fiter prayers in line with the guidelines given by the ministries of Hajj and Religious Affairs and Public Health.

In a resolution, the Ulema (religious scholars) asked the imams to shorten the Eid prayer sermons and focus their agenda on ending the war, bringing peace, and healthcare guidance against the Coronavirus.

In addition, the Ulema underline the need for healthcare measures, such as disinfecting the prayer venues, performing the prayers in the open air, keeping distance, and wearing masks.

They also have banned the presence of the infected from joining the congregations.

Aimed to prevent the outbreak of the Coronavirus, they want the people to celebrate the holiday indoors with their families, and seriously avoid in-person socializing such as visits, embracing, hugging, and handshakes.

In the meantime, Baghlan health officials announced that over 60 mosques where the prayers are scheduled to be held Sunday in Pol-e-Khumri, have been disinfected and that the campaign continues in all parts of the province.

The Baghlan police chief has also announced to provide special security for the prayer venues (mosques) and the city.

In Kabul, officials say the city will be completely quarantined during the Eid, and people should stay indoors throughout the days and avoid traveling at all to prevent the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the ministry of interior has said this Eid will be a curfew in Kabul and that the police are going to enforce the curfew strictly.

It is noteworthy that the health officials have consistently said that an unprecedented calamity is on its way to hit the nation unless the people abide by the rules of restrictions and follow the health guidelines.

Balkh conditionally lifts movement restrictions amid COVID19 outbreak Sun, 10 May 2020 04:26:38 +0000 Balkh has decided to conditionally lift movement restrictions in the city while the COVID19 outbreak continues.

The anti-coronavirus commission in Balkh has decided to conditionally and gradually ease the lockdown in Mazar-e-Sharif city starting from today, Sunday.

The commission said it was important to abide by the rules of healthcare guidelines at work, and that all guilds, except those that were not considered necessary, such as hotels, could start operating today.

On the other hand, a number of Mazar-e-Sharif residents see the lifting of restrictions as harmful in the current situation because the virus is still spreading.

In the meantime, in the last 24 hours alone, 43 new cases have tested positive in Balkh, and there is a total of 300 confirmed infections already there.

Qaisari’s arrest not authorized by the central government Thu, 23 Jan 2020 14:59:29 +0000 The operation of Nizamuddin Qaisari’s arrest was not authorized by the officials in Kabul. The fact-finding committee of the Afghan Parliament on Qaisari’s case underlined that Khushal Sadat, former security deputy for MOI and the former commander of 209 Shaheen Corps, Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, led the assignment to take Qaisari into custody, adding that they didn’t have a warrant by the court, however, the Balkh police chief said that they had been ordered by the central government.

The fact-finding committee said that Qaisari’s arrest was conducted without a warrant by the Attorney General or the Supreme Court and/or any orders from the Ministry of Defense or Interior Affairs.

“The Afghan security forces surrounded Qaisari’s house, used air forces, and bombarded a house where a family was living. Everything was against the law,” Mahdi Rasekh, a member of the committee said.

The committee underlined, after the investigations, that Khushal Sadat and the 209 Shaheen Corps commander, Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, are responsible in the case.

“The Defense Minister didn’t send a warrant, and based on evidence, Khushal Sadat organized the mission,” said Sayed Zaher Masroor, a member of the committee.

The committee added that the security forces had looted Qaisari’s belongings and properties.

Furthermore, two people were taken in custody and then killed by the security forces, according to Rasekh, “Qaisari’s chef and bodyguard were arrested and were later shot by the security forces.”

Qaisari’s house was surrounded on December 14th midnight by the Balkh police which had a press release the next day stating that, they were supposed to arrest Qaisari on charges of land grabbing and carrying illegal armed forces.

The arrest assignment turned out to be a 24-hour clash between the security forces and Qaisari’s guards, leaving 7 dead and 11 others wounded.

Special Police Unit Commander Killed in Balkh Sun, 08 Dec 2019 07:30:36 +0000

Mohammad Khan Ahmady, Commander of Faryab’s Special Police Unit, was killed in Balkh’s Sholgara district on Saturday night, local security officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the murder of the special unit commander.

According to the Sholgara District Police Chief Sayed Arif Iqbali, Mr. Ahmady was shot dead along with three others by Taliban militants in the Seya Ab village of the District. Iqbali said that Taliban also took  two others with themselves.

Mohammad Khan Ahmady was in the Sholgara District to attend the funeral of his father, local sources said.

The Taliban has increased its presence in a number of Balkh’s districts.

Taliban Attack Kills District Police Chief in Balkh Wed, 06 Nov 2019 07:52:17 +0000

Kalamudin, the police chief for Balkh’s Chahar Bolak district, was killed in a Taliban attack, local officials confirmed.

The Provincial Head of Security Abdul Razaq Qaderi, told Ariana News that the Taliban fighters attacked the district at around 4:00 am on Wednesday, leaving at least three other policemen wounded.

In addition, Qaderi stated that at least six Taliban fighters were also killed while four fighters wounded in clashes with Afghan forces.

The Taliban militant group yet to make a comment in this regard.

Chahar Bolak in a volatile district in northern Balk province.

Army Helicopter Crashes in North of Afghanistan Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:57:24 +0000 An Afghan army helicopter crashed in Balkh province early this evening, security officials confirmed.

The incident took place at around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday near the eastern entrance gate of Mazar-e-Sharif City.

Balkh police spokesman and an official in 209th army corps confirmed the incident but denied to make any comment about casualties.

However, a security source who wishes not to be named said that all eight on board – pilots and military personnel – are dead.

Provincial police chief spokesman Adel Shah Adel said the chopper has crashed due to a technical problem.

Taliban Attack Kills 11 Policemen in Balkh Tue, 01 Oct 2019 08:58:27 +0000

The Taliban insurgents attacked security outposts in northern Balkh province, killing at least 11 policemen, local officials said.

The provincial spokesman, Munir Ahmad Farhad told Ariana News that the militants stormed the outposts in Shortepa district of the province at around 2 am on Monday.

He said at least 11 policemen were killed in clashes with the insurgents.

Adil Shah Adil, a spokesman for Balkh police said that two security outposts were fallen to the hands of the Taliban.

However, the Taliban militant group has claimed in a statement that its fighters have captured the district’s police command and killed 30 soldiers, but local officials said that Afghan army commandos have pushed back the Taliban from the district.

Explosion Injures Two People in Balkh Tue, 10 Sep 2019 06:41:46 +0000 At least two people were injured in an explosion in northern Balkh province, a police official said on Tuesday.

The incident happened this morning in PD5 area of Mazar-e-Sharif City.

Provincial police spokesman Adel Shah Adel told Ariana News that the incident happened as a result of a sticky bomb attached to a bicycle.

This comes as all roads ending to the Blue Mosque in the city have been blocked to maintain security for the 10th of Mahram.

Taliban Roadside Bomb Kills 8 Civilians in Balkh Sun, 01 Sep 2019 11:51:49 +0000 Eight civilians were killed in a roadside bomb blast in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan, an official said on Sunday.

The incident took place this morning in Khalachi area of Chamtal district.

Provincial governor spokesman Munir Ahmad Farhad said a Taliban roadside bomb hit a civilian vehicle in the Chamtal district.

He added that as a result all people on board were killed.

Meanwhile, the chief of Chamtal district Matin Khawaja Zada said that children and women are among the victims.

Taliban has not made a comment about the report yet.

Last week, 12 civilians including women and children were killed in a roadside bomb in Dawlat Abad district of Balkh province.

Officials Sealed Off Telecom Companies’ Offices in Balkh Mon, 22 Jul 2019 06:42:45 +0000 The Officials in northern Balkh province on Monday suspended activities of the mobile phone companies after they refused to resume their nighttime coverage in the province.

The provincial officials have sealed off their offices as well.

The Taliban militants have ordered mobile phone companies in Balkh to shut down their networks during the night.

The action comes after, the local officials on Sunday in a statement warned the companies to resume their nighttime operation, and otherwise, their act would be considered as “collaboration with the enemy (Taliban).”

The Taliban militant group yet to make a comment about the incident.

In some other provinces, as the Taliban insurgents threaten the telecom companies, their services remain suspended from 6 pm to 6 am daily.

The telecom companies’ officials have not made a comment about the issue.

Taliban Suffer Casualties in Balkh Operation; 87 Militants Killed Mon, 15 Jul 2019 09:40:44 +0000

At least 87 Taliban militants were killed during a joint operation by Afghan Security and Defense Forces in northern Balkh province, the Afghan military said.

In a statement released on Monday, the 209th Shaheen Corps said that the operation was conducted in Chimtal, Chahar Bolak, Balkh and Dawlatabad districts of the province during the last week.

 According to the statement, at least 87 insurgents including 22 key Taliban commanders were killed and 77 others including 17 commanders of the group were wounded.

During the operation, Afghan forces have arrested seven Taliban militants, the statement said.

Meanwhile, several villages of Balkh were also cleared of the insurgents during the raids, the statement said.

The Afghan forces have also destroyed a number of Taliban’s strongholds and hideouts in the incident, the statement added.

The Taliban militant group yet to make a comment about the incident.

Huge Fire Breaks Out At Oil Depot In Mazar-e-Sharif City Wed, 03 Jul 2019 10:09:21 +0000 A huge fire broke out at a fuel storage tank in Mazar-e-Sharif City on Wednesday noon.

The fire broke out at around 12 pm today in Taimorian fuel storage tank.

Immediately there was no report of casualty.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

The firefighters were trying to bring the fire under control.

Officials have not made a comment about the report yet.

Taliban Attack on Checkpoint Kills 5 ANP in Balkh Thu, 09 May 2019 10:47:02 +0000

At least five members of the Afghan security forces were killed and six others injured after Taliban militants attacked their checkpoints in Khulm district of Balkh province, a local official said on Thursday.

Adel Shah Adel, a spokesman for provincial police chief, said the checkpoints are located in border between Qalazal district of Kunduz and Khulum district of Balkh province.

He added that casualties have been inflicted to the Taliban militants as well but the exact number was unknown.

The police official further said that fresh troops have arrived in the area.

The insurgent group has not made a comment about the report yet.

Key Taliban Commander Arrested with Bottles of Alcohol, Weapons in Balkh Mon, 06 May 2019 10:58:11 +0000 Afghan security forces have detained a key Taliban commander and seized several bottles of alcohol from his compound in Balkh province, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The Taliban commander identified as Yousuf was arrested during an operation by police special forces in Nahr-Shahi district of Balkh province on Sunday night, the statement added.

Eleven bottles of alcohol, a hookah, an AK-47 rifle, a pistol, an air rifle, some military equipment, and a vehicle were also seized during the operation, the statement further said.

The insurgent group has not made a comment about the report yet.

Balkh is among the secure provinces in the north of Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgent was unable to find a foothold in the past but the security situation in some of its districts has deteriorated during the recent months.

New Police Chief Appointed for Balkh Province Wed, 10 Apr 2019 14:21:03 +0000 Mohammad Ajmal Faiz has been appointed as new police chief of Balkh province, a security source told Ariana News on Wednesday.

The new police chief of Balkh is endorsed by Ata Mohammad Noor the Chief Executive of Jamiat-e-Islami party.

Recently the government appointed General Abdul Raqib Mubaraz as Balkh police chief despite strong oppositions by Mr. Noor.

The move led to hours of gunfire and chaos in Mazar-e-Sharif City.

Following the chaos, the ministers of defense and interior met with Noor where they agreed on a “third option”.

NDS Detains Taliban Shadow District Governor in Balkh Thu, 03 Jan 2019 10:14:46 +0000

Taliban shadow district governor for Nahr Shahi district in northern Balkh province has been detained by the Afghan intelligence operatives, the agency said in a statement on Thursday.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) statement identified the Taliban official as Najibullah who was recruited by the Taliban insurgent group about five months ago.

In a separate incident, the NDS operatives have arrested a Taliban infiltrator among Afghan Local Police (ALP).

The infiltrator planned to assassinate the commander of an ALP outpost in Chamtal district and surrender the area to the Taliban fighters.

The statement concluded that the insider had confessed during initial investigations.

Noor Threatens to Boycott Elections and Form Interim Gov’t Tue, 21 Aug 2018 13:53:11 +0000 Atta Mohammad Noor, the former governor of Balkh province and CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami party on Tuesday warned that if transparency of the upcoming elections was not guaranteed, they would boycott the elections and would announce an interim government.

Addressing at an Eid ceremony in Mazar-e-Sharif city, Noor said the political parties have set a two-week deadline for the National Unity Government (NUG) in order to bring reforms and transparency in the upcoming election processes.

“If they don’t bring changes for transparency in the electoral system and didn’t hold a fair election, we will boycott the election process in advance and will take our next step,” Noor said.

Meanwhile, Noor said the announcement of a ceasefire is not a solution to the ongoing violence, adding that Taliban militants infiltrated inside the cities during the first ceasefire and killed thousands of Afghan security forces.

“[Taliban] brought weapons inside the cities. Then, they launched rapid attacks from inside the cities and from areas close to the checkpoints and martyred 7,000 Afghan security forces,” he claimed.

Roadside Bomb Kills Eight in Balkh Province Wed, 08 Aug 2018 09:51:54 +0000 At least eight people were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Sholgara district of Balkh province, police said Wednesday.

Provincial police spokesman Shir Jaan Durrani said that eight people lost their lives after a car and a motorbike were hit by a roadside bomb in Qushi Qezel village of Sholgara district in the province.

He added that six more people were also injured in the incident.

According to police, four children and two women are among the casualties.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the incident.