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Complete release of Afghan forces prisoners essential: Presidential Palace

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(Last Updated On: July 5, 2020)

The Afghan government says that it is committed to an early start to intra-Afghan talks, amid to put an end to the conflicts and bring peace and stability in Afghanistan

Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Presidential Palace, however, noted that a full release of Afghan forces prisoners by the Taliban remains as the most important principle of the prisoner swap process for the government.

The government said that hundreds of remaining Taliban prisoners would be released after the Taliban releases all security and defense forces that are under their captivity and reduced violence so that the inter-Afghan talks shall be started.

“The Doha agreement had problems from the beginning,” said Gol Ahmad Nourzad, a member of the House of Representatives.

But the main dispute is over the release of about 100 dangerous Taliban prisoners accused of being involved in deadly attacks by the government. But a spokesman for the Taliban’s political bureau in Qatar to Ariana News accused the government of filing cases and putting obstacles to the release of their prisoners.

“The Afghan government needs to know that the United States has agreed with the Taliban that their prisoners will be released. I don’t know why the government is insisting,” said Ishaq Gilani, a political analyst.

For days, the Taliban and government technical committees have been working to release the prisoners.

About 4,000 Taliban prisoners have been released so far, according to Afghan government statistics. On the other hand, the Taliban have said they have released more than 700 government-affiliated prisoners.

“If the prisoners are released, the time for talks will be set soon,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.

Intra-Afghan talks are expected to take place in Doha this month. But before that, 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 government prisoners must be released by both sides.

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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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