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Corruption Is Greatest Challenge in Afghanistan after Violent Conflict: UN Envoy

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2018)

The UN envoy in Kabul says corruption is Afghanistan’s next greatest challenge after violent conflict in the war-torn country.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, following the release of UNAMA’s second anti-corruption report, titled ‘Afghanistan’s Fight against Corruption: From Strategies to Implementation,’ Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN representative for Afghanistan said: “Allow me to recognize up front how corruption affects the Afghan people.”

“If you are an Afghan citizen trying to make ends meet, apply for a license, open a business, or just get your child into a decent school, you know more than any of our legal experts about corruption. I think the word in Dari is “fessad” – if I pronounced it correctly. It is, if I might suggest, a very unwelcome and unfortunate aspect of your everyday life,” Yamamoto said who is also head of UNAMA.

 “Apart from violent conflict, Afghanistan’s next greatest challenge, according to opinion polls, including that of the Asia Foundation, is corruption. And yet, Afghanistan’s fight against corruption, under the current Government, is moving ahead with a new vigour,” the UN envoy said.

The UNAMA report analyses the contributions made by civil society and independent institutions, along with all three branches of government – the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.

The report also identifies the need to accelerate justice reforms in the interest of improving the lives of all Afghan people. It describes Afghanistan’s new anti-corruption strategy as a strong tool, but notes that a short-term strategy will have limited impact.

“It has become clear that all Afghan institutions, along with all segments of society, must now engage in fighting corruption to rebuild integrity, accountability and transparency in the country, with a long-term agenda,” the envoy said.

 The report makes several recommendations, recognizing that the government’s ongoing anti-corruption efforts have yet to impact the lives of most Afghans, and concludes that, notwithstanding the many legal and policy reforms that have been undertaken, corruption continues to be a substantial obstacle to Afghanistan’s long-term peace and prosperity.

“While Afghanistan has made significant and notable progress in fighting corruption, new reform strategies and laws have yet to be fully applied to bring tangible benefits to Afghans suffering from the impact of corruption,” said the UN envoy. “We are confident our recommendations will be well received and will help Afghanistan in advancing its anti-corruption reform agenda.”

By Shakib Mahmud

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Key actors vow to speed up intra-Afghan talks

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2020)

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.

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Updates on protests over George Floyd’s killing – USA

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2020)

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.

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Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 787 new cases, total 18,054

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2020)

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.

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