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CIVIC Urges Warring Parties in Afghanistan to Protect Civilians

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(Last Updated On: September 20, 2019)

The Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) condemns the increase in violence across Afghanistan resulting in over 4,000 civilian deaths and injuries this year.

The organization urges all warring parties in Afghanistan to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and take all measures to prevent civilian deaths and injuries.

“Too little attention is being paid to stop the violence and end the suffering of Afghan civilians,” Sahr Muhammedally, Director of MENA & South Asia, said. “All parties to the conflict must protect civilians, civilian property, and medical facilities.”

While US and Taliban peace talks were ongoing (as of September they were suspended), fighting continued with devastating consequences for civilians.

Tactics such as suicide attacks, airstrikes, and search operations conducted in rural and urban areas are killing and maiming women, men, and children who had no part in the fighting. Civilian infrastructure such as homes, mosques, schools, and health care facilities are being hit as well.

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which has been recording casualties since 2009, attributed 37 percent of all casualties to Afghan and international forces and 52 percent to armed opposition groups in just the first half of 2019.

A joint declaration by the Taliban, Afghan civil society, and some government representatives at the Intra-Afghan Dialogue in Doha in July 2019 committed all parties to the conflict to respect and protect people and their property and to minimize civilian casualties to zero. But the violence has intensified since then.

In August, the Islamic State attacked a wedding party killing 92 and injuring 142. On September 17 a Taliban suicide attack on a campaign rally in Parwan, north of Kabul, killed at least 26 civilians and injured more than 42. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, wrongly calling the campaign rally a “military target.” On September 19, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb at an Afghan intelligence facility in Qalat City, Zabul, which caused severe structural damage to a hospital 20 meters away and private residences, killing 22, and wounding 90.

Afghan and international forces have also intensified airstrikes and search operations, which have resulted in a spike in civilian casualties. In August, an Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) raid reportedly killed 11 civilians in Paktika Province. In September, an NDS raid in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province resulted in the deaths of four civilians, prompting the head of the NDS to resign. On September 19, a US drone strike targeting the Islamic State in Nangarhar province reportedly killed civilians and is under investigation by US forces.

“The current intensity in fighting to advance military goals, resulting in civilian harm cannot go on. All sides must review their military tactics and make determined efforts to reduce, investigate, and acknowledge civilian harm,” Muhammedally said.

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) works with civilians and armed actors in the conflict to prevent, mitigate, and respond to civilian harm.

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Wolesi Jirga votes in favor of six ministers and head of NDS

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

The Lower House of Parliament (Wolesi Jirga) Monday voted in favor of six nominated ministers and Head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) but rejected two nominees proposed by the government.

The MPs voted for eight nominated ministers and NDS Chief during a general session of Parliament.

Ahmad Zia Saraj received 220 votes of confidence as Head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi got 189 votes as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, Mahmud Karzai got 154 votes of confidence for the position of the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Haroon Chakhansuri secured 154 votes as Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Qudratullah Zaki secured 165 votes as Minister of Transport, Noor Rahman Akhlaqi secured 176 votes as Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, and Najibullah Yamin got 149 votes of confidence for the position of Public Works Minister.

Meanwhile, two nominated ministers – Tahir Zahir for Minister of Information and Culture received 78 votes, and Hasina Safi got 144 out of 244 votes – failing to receive a vote of confidence by the MPs.

Parliament urged the government to introduce other nominees for the two ministries.

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Mastermind behind deadly ANDSF base attack in Ghazni killed

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

The Afghan Ministry of Defense said Monday that the mastermind behind Sunday’s attack on an ANDSF base in Dah-Yak in Ghazni province was killed in an airstrike in the Giro district.

“Hamza Waziristani, the mastermind behind the attack on ANDSF base in Ghazni province was killed along with seven others in an airstrike in Giro district on Sunday night,” the MoD said in a statement.

According to the statement, during the strike a large amount of weapons and ammunition were also destroyed.

No more details were provided by the ministry.

This comes after a Humvee full of explosives was detonated close to a public protection unit in PD3 of Ghazni city.

Ghazni governor’s spokesman Wahidullah Jumazadah said that at least 10 soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the bombing.

According to him, no civilians were injured in the incident.

But health officials reported that at least 21 security force members have been killed and 17 others wounded.

Meanwhile, citing public health department officials from Ghazni, CNN reported Monday that at least 40 Afghan soldiers had been killed.

Health officials also said the blast targeted a compound of the public protection force, a wing of the Afghan security forces, which damaged civilian residences around the compound. They said there could be more casualties from there.

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Sweet rewards for Nangarhar’s beekeepers

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

Nangarhar beekeepers have so far this year produced about 500 tons of honey, making it the province with the highest yield across the country.

With its favorable climate, where temperatures seldom drop below freezing, about 600 Nangarhar honey farmers have in total between 35,000 and 40,000 bee colonies collectively.

Not only does this sector produce about 500 tons of honey a year currently but it also provides job opportunities to around 2,000 people.

Nangarhar agriculture department officials say between 22 and 30 different types of bees are used to produce honey in the province.

Honey farming has become increasingly popular in the province over the past few years and beekeepers say the sweet treat helps provide them with a fairly decent wage which covers their basic needs.

One kilogram of Nangarhar honey sells on local markets for between 250 and 500 Afghanis – but it’s also sold in other provinces around the country.

In a bid to support and boost the sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAIL) has established the Association of Honey Producers, which aims to connect industry stakeholders including government, institutions, beekeepers and other supply chain entities.

The association also aims to help beekeepers increase production so as to further develop the sector.

According to officials of the Nangarhar Honey Producers Association, the province’s honey is sold in different provinces of the country, and currently there are active representatives in Helmand, Balkh, Kabul and Herat provinces.

The Association of Honey Producers of Nangarhar Province has also created five honey processing plants in the province.

Apart from Nangarhar, other honey producing provinces include Badakhshan, Takhar, Balkh, Helmand, Panjshir, Parwan, Kapisa, Ghazni and Herat provinces.

Mountainous areas, with clean air, covered with natural plants and flowers, are considered suitable places for beekeepers and honey farmers.

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