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Coronavirus cases rise to 906 in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: April 17, 2020)

The total cases of COVID-19 in Afghanistan have risen to 906, the Ministry of Public Health confirms.

The ministry says that 66 new cases of Coronavirus have been registered in the country during the past 24 hours.

The cases have been recorded in Kabul 26, Kandahar 15, Balkh 6, Kunduz 5, Herat 5, Helmand 4, Laghman 3, Nangarhar and Kunar 1, the ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, 45 patients – 43 in Herat, one in Ghor and one in Kandahar – have been recovered and discharged to the hospitals during the past 24 hours.

So far 30 people have died of the virus while 99 others have been recovered.

It comes as the government has extended Kabul’s lockdown for another three weeks, aimed to slow down the spread of the virus.

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Trump’s Former NSA says withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is an unwise policy

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2020)

US President Trump’s former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster says that Trump Administration’s withdrawal plan from Afghanistan is “an unwise policy.”

In an interview with the CBS News, the retired lieutenant general claimed that Trump with his new policy is “partnering with the Taliban against the Afghan government.”

“I think what [President Trump] did with this new policy, is he, in effect, is partnering with the Taliban against, in many ways, the Afghan government. And so, I think that it’s an unwise policy. And I think what we require in Afghanistan is a sustained commitment to help the Afghan government,” McMaster told the CBS.

The US and the Taliban signed a deal in February in Doha for bringing peace in Afghanistan.

According to the deal, the US committed to pulling out all of its troops from Afghanistan within 14 months.

In return, the Taliban pledged to cut ties with al-Qaeda and prevent terrorist groups from operating in the country and to start the peace talks with the government of Afghanistan.

Since February, the US has drawn the level of its forces down to 8,600 from 13,000 and has stated a further drawdown to 4,500 will be done by November.

Trump’s former national security adviser, however, calls the US troops drawdown in Afghanistan “a big mistake.”

He told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and his negotiations with the Taliban has made the U.S. less safe.

“Terrorist organizations who pose a threat to us are stronger now than they were on September 10, 2001. Those who perpetrated the mass murder attacks of 9/11 were the mujahideen-era alumni of the resistance to Soviet occupation in Afghanistan,” McMaster told CBS News.

“Today, we are facing an Al-Qaeda and an ISIS alumni that is orders of magnitude greater than that mujahideen-era alumni ever was. And they also have access to much more destructive capabilities,” McMaster adds.

McMaster’s interview with CBS will be aired as part of the 53rd season premiere of “60 Minutes” on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. local time.

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Afghanistan, Tajikistan discuss Afghan peace, bilateral trade and economic ties

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2020)

Acting Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar met with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon on Thursday afternoon and discussed the Afghan peace talks, and strengthening trade and economic cooperations.

In a statement released on Friday, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated that Emomali Rahmon has welcomed the start of the long-waited intra-Afghan talks and assured Atmar of Tajik’s government support for “the Afghan peace process and the principled position of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the two sides discussed the expansion of trade, economic, and cultural ties between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

“Emomali Rahmon stressed that cooperation with Afghanistan in Tajikistan’s foreign policy is one of the priority areas,” the statement said.

Both sides also highlighted the importance of further implementation of regional structural and energy projects that are important for the region, which is a factor “in attracting Afghanistan to the process of regional cooperation.”

In particular, the parties’ interest in bringing cooperation in the field of science, education, culture, art, and information to a new level was emphasized.

“The two sides also discussed in detail the implementation of infrastructure projects, trade, and transit development, energy transfer, counter-terrorism and counter-extremism, the control of organized crime, the strengthening of cross-border cooperation, the expansion of cultural trade and the training of Afghan professionals. 

Emphasizing the deep historical and cultural ties between the two countries, Atmar called for the expansion of bilateral relations to the level of strategic cooperation.

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US Embassy warns of extremist attacks against women

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2020)

The US Embassy in Kabul has warned that extremists groups are planning to carry out attacks against a “variety of targets in Afghanistan.”

The Embassy issued the warning on Thursday but did not specify which organizations were plotting the attacks.

“The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warns U.S. citizens that extremist organizations continue to plan attacks against a variety of targets in Afghanistan, including a heightened risk of attacks targeting female government and civilian workers, including teachers, human rights activists, office workers, and government employees,” the US Embassy said.

This comes as the government and the Taliban negotiators are sitting around the negotiating table in Doha for the first time to pave the way for ending the conflict in the war-torn country.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Aljazeera, Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation said that the two sides have to come to a shared agreement on Afghanistan’s future – one where the will of the people can be exercised freely.

He said that Afghanistan’s future would include one that can sustain itself and one that leads to durable peace and stability.

As intra-Afghan negotiations continue, between the Afghan negotiating team and the Taliban, Abdullah said both sides need to come to a shared agreement on how to move forward.

“Both sides should see the need and come to the realization that we must put people first,” he said and on whether the country’s future was a Republic or an Emirate system, he stated it would come “down to the will of the people”.

However, he stated it was important that the will of the people should be exercised in a freeway “one person, one vote is important.”

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