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COVID-19 cases hike to 239 in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: April 2, 2020)

As per the updates, Herat registers 41 new cases of the Coronavirus – the highest number in a day – making a total of 180 confirmed cases in the province. The number includes patients with no travel history to Iran. Afghanistan now has 239 COVID-19 cases in total.

The circulation of the virus in Herat is on the rise as, despite restrictions on movements, people go out not taking the threat seriously.

Reportedly, people in parts of Herat came together to celebrated ‘Sizdah Bedar’, also known as Nature’s Day.

In the meantime, the ministry of public health warns of an even rapid rise in the number of infected in the days ahead.

In spite of the high threat of the Coronavirus in Herat, the healthcare services are poor as there is only one laboratory looking at the cases.

Also, the budget allocated by the government to fight the Coronavirus in Herat has not been put to operation yet.

Kabul too is severely threatened by the Coronavirus. Though several cases are being tested positive for the virus in the capital Kabul every day, neither the disease nor the restrictions on movements have been taken seriously by most of the residents.

Having noted that, the real concern is: what if the inconsideration and the recklessness put us in a position where the control of the outbreak goes out of everybody’s hands?

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in all over Afghanistan, reported from 18 provinces, is now in the count of hundreds – 180 of the cases come from Herat, and over 10 from Kabul, marking the two provinces at the top of the table.

According to reports, the virus has killed four people in Afghanistan while 10 others have recovered so far.

In addition, social service groups and the police in Kabul, and some other provinces, have started disinfecting the cities to help eliminate the virus and restore the order.

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COVID-19 wreaks havoc on livelihoods of Afghans: World Bank report

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(Last Updated On: July 16, 2020)

COVID-19 will have a profound effect on Afghanistan’s economy which is likely to contract by between 5.5 percent and 7.4 percent this year, said the World Bank in its latest biannual Afghanistan Development Update. 

According to the World Bank, this will exacerbate poverty and lead to a sharp decline in government revenue.

“The COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating impact on the livelihoods of Afghans while undermining the government’s revenue collection and its capacity to finance comprehensive programs to save lives, protect the poor, and jumpstart the economy,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

The report titled Surviving the Storm was released on Wednesday and examines the coronavirus impacts on Afghanistan’s economic development.

As stated in the report, COVID-19 has hit Afghanistan in the midst of a difficult political transition, an intensifying conflict, and significant uncertainty regarding future grant support.

“While a peace agreement has been signed between the US and the Taliban, laying the foundations for negotiation of a comprehensive political settlement, Taliban attacks on Afghan security forces have intensified,” the report states.

It also points out the future of international assistance remains in question, while the US has substantially reduced troop numbers this year, with further reductions likely.

Current grant pledges expire at the end of 2020, and international partners are due to consider future aid commitments at an international conference in November.

“Without progress towards a sustainable peace and commitments to continued grant support from international partners, medium-term prospects appear increasingly grim,” read the report.

The report warns that the proportion of Afghans living in poverty may increase from 55 percent in 2017 to between 61 percent and 72 percent in 2020 because of declining incomes and the rising cost of food. The report finds that economic activity plummeted in the first half of 2020 as lockdowns and social distancing measures to curb COVID-19 negatively impacted the industry and service sectors.

To address the impacts of the crisis, the report recommends that tightly constrained public expenditures be carefully prioritized to protect the most vulnerable and limit long-term economic damage.

The report highlights the need for continued financial support from development partners.

“Short-term measures are needed to support households through the current crisis, while improvements in the business regulatory environment and maintaining the core functions of government will pave the way for longer-term recovery,” said Kerali.

“Ongoing support from development partners will help finance critical government operations and restore private sector confidence. The World Bank is working closely with the Government of Afghanistan both to implement the short-term response and lay the foundations for longer-term recovery,” Kerali added.

For full report CLICK HERE

https://documents.worldbank.org/en/publication/documents-reports/documentdetail/132851594655294015/afghanistan-development-update-surviving-the-storm

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Is Afghan peace process on right track?

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

Some politicians say that the peace process and its possible outcome are not yet clear and that the issue of peace and war in Afghanistan is unclear.

Meanwhile, McKenzie, the commander of the US central command during his visit to Kabul, assured that the US will continue to work with Afghanistan so that the country does not become a haven for terrorism again.

According to the Doha peace agreement, in the second phase, all foreign troops will leave Afghanistan in the next 14 months. But on the one hand, there is no talk of dialogue between Afghans and no reduction in violence and peace programs.

“Afghanistan is at a critical juncture in history, on the one hand, peace is being sought, and on the other, war is continuing,” said Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High National Council for Reconciliation.

While Kabul’s path to peace has not yet been paved; The United States as one of Afghanistan’s allies is in its post-exit planning. During his visit to Kabul, General Kent McKenzie the commander of the US Central Command assured that Afghanistan will not go back to the past.

Intra-Afghan Talks were scheduled to take place in Doha this week, But the dispute over the release of prisoners and the escalation of violence has apparently disrupted all plans.

“Now the Taliban must show goodwill and prepare for negotiations,” said Farooq Majrouh, a member of the peace negotiating team.

“In this situation, the United States is more concerned with speeding up the exit process, and in the meantime, the Afghan people are falling victim,” said Fahim Siddiqui, a political analyst.

On the other hand, the Washington Post recently reported on the differences between the Taliban military commanders and the group’s political leaders over the future of Afghanistan and said that some Taliban militants are thinking of a military victory and the shattering the Afghan state. But the Taliban have denied any differences between the group’s military and politicians.

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Abdul Rashid Dostum officially awarded rank of marshal – Jawzjan

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former vice president, has been officially awarded the rank of a marshal at a special ceremony held in Jawzjan province on Wednesday.

The promotion was a part of the political agreement inked between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the Head of High Council for National Reconciliation.

Dostum is the third person in the history of Afghanistan to receive the title of Marshall – the highest official rank within the military – after Shah Wali Khan and Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

Who is Abdul Rashid Dostum? How, why did he become the third marshal of Afghanistan?

Abdul Rashid Dostum, the founder of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, is one of Afghanistan’s most controversial military and political figures and one of Uzbek’s most important leaders.

Dostum, who was a senior military man and ally of Dr. Najibullah, changed direction in the last years of Dr. Najibullah’s rule in early 1992 and began working with the Mujahidin. Before the fall of the Mujahidin government led by Burhanuddin Rabbani by the Taliban, Dostum fought against Rabbani. He even allied with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan.

At the peak of his power in 1997, he had partially established an independent administration in northern Afghanistan, even running all the affairs of these regions and even printing a separate currency in his name. He had built a strong front against the Taliban in the north. It was during these years that his fans called him “King Dostum”.

After the fall of the Taliban, Dostum ran as a candidate in the 2004 presidential election, finishing fourth with about 9 percent of the vote.

Hamid Karzai, during the first term of his presidency, appointed Dostum as the commander of the army headquarters, but this position was suspended after the claim of Akbarbay, the head of the Afghanistan Turks Council, who said he had been abducted and beaten Dostum. Karzai’s command was suspended, and Dostum went to Turkey.

In the 2014 elections, Mr. Dostum became the first deputy of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. During this time, Dostum led the northern wars against the Taliban. But after being accused of sexual misuse by Ahmad Ishchi, Mr. Dostum went home and then went into exile voluntarily in Turkey. During his four years as first vice president, he had dark relations with Ashraf Ghani and criticized him many times. He then returned to Kabul from Turkey in an anti-government political coalition. In the most recent presidential election, he supported Abdullah’s candidacy.

According to the political agreement between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, awarding the rank of Marshal to Abdul Rashid Dostum as the third Marshal of Afghanistan was part of the demands of Abdullah’s team. The political agreement states that Abdul Rashid Dostum will be promoted to the highest military rank as Marshall by presidential decree and will also be a member of the Supreme Council of Government and the National Security Council.

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