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Fire in Ankara Kills Five Afghan Workers

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(Last Updated On: March 29, 2019)

Five Afghan workers were killed and eleven others were injured after a fire broke out Friday morning at a three-story building in the Altındağ district of the Turkish capital Ankara. 

President Tayyip Erdogan said later on Friday the building in which the fire broke out was abandoned and uninhabitable, and Ankara Governor Vasip Sahin told state media that the cause of the fire had not been determined yet.

Footage from the site of the fire showed the front of the building had been burnt black, while the windows of the already damaged building had been broken. Firefighters, police officers and emergency teams were at the site to examine the damage, the footage showed.

Burak Burhan Biyikli, a local resident who knew the victims, said the building was used by refugees in Ankara as shelter and as a storage unit for scrap paper that they collected and later sold. He said he believed the cause of the fire was due to an electric fuse.

“They are refugees, poor people sheltering in our country because of the war in Afghanistan. These people have to support their lives somehow, so they sought shelter in our country,” Biyikli said.

“Why would someone collect paper from the trash if it weren’t for poverty?” he said, as authorities cordoned off the site behind him.

The death toll in the fire may increase, local news agencies said, adding that efforts to identify the victims were underway.

With Inputs from Reuters, Daily Sabah 

COVID-19

People complain of lack of medicine in Afghan-Japan hospital

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

COVID-19 patient relatives complain of a lack of medical supplies at the Afghan-Japan hospital – one of the isolation wards for COVID-19 patients in Kabul – saying they have to buy medicines from outside the hospital.

According to patients’ relatives, the hospital provides oxygen only that while using balloons the attendants themselves have to set them up.

Ahmad Zahir Sultani, head of Afghan-Japan hospital, however, said that situation is under control, adding the hospital puts efforts to satisfy the patients and their attendants.

It comes as Afghanistan witnesses a decline in confirmed cases while it saw a spike in daily deaths cases. Only 34 COVID-19 patients have died in the past 24 hours.

In a daily update, the Ministry of Public Health recorded 239 new Coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

It brings the total affected people to 33190 with 898 deaths and more than 20,000 recoveries.

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Millions of dollars embezzled in Afghan customs: Watchdog

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

Integrity Watch of Afghanistan says that corrupt employees in Afghan customs, local tyrants, and government figures have embezzled millions of dollars of customs revenues.

Based on the findings of local authorities, ten cargoes are being pulled out of the customs office without paying the customs duty with the same plate number, and about 100 cargoes are not paying their customs duties daily.

Ghulam Hashim, a member of the Herat Provincial Council, said: “Ten trucks are being cleared through customs with one plate number. Extra tonnage vehicles up to 100 trucks a day, extra tonnage fuel tankers were being cleared through customs.”

The head of Islam Qala Customs also confirms the widespread corruption in this customs.

“The threats from the powerful and the mafia are so much that 100 percent of the legal work cannot be done there, the high-level work of the employees is carried out by force, and even some employees, including the human resources manager, have been beaten,” said Mustafa Hakimi, Herat’s customs chief. “

Herat’s governor says only 30,000 afghanis are paid out of the three million AFN from the costums duties of a cargo.

Ahmad Wahid Qatali, the governor of Herat, said: “Seven vehicles have been loaded, seven of which have illegal loads, overloads, warnings and reload.”

Findings of Integrity Watch of Afghanistan from the Customs Office show that millions of dollars’ worth of customs revenue has been lost.

“Millions of dollars of Afghanistan’s customs revenue is wasted every year because there are people infected with corruption in the customs and the intervention of local powerful people and people within the government,” said Naser Timouri, a researcher at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Finance, however, confirmed the existence of corruption in the customs.

“The issue of corruption is not in doubt that it exists, but the figures presented are waiting for the governor to share his findings with us so that we can find out on what basis the governor obtained these figures,” said Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance. It’s found. “

Observers at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan say that non-transparent and non-competitive customs clearance has corrupted the structure.

Farid Ahmad, a spokesman for the Independent Administrative Reform Commission, said: “So far, all recruitment at customs has been done by the Ministry of Finance and the Independent Administrative Reform Commission has played no role. But by presidential decree, customs posts are set to compete freely.” “

Although the Ministry of Finance says that scanners have been set up in customs offices for corruption, sources say that in some customs offices, the scanners are kept inactive due to product exemptions.

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Kabul hosts meeting for strengthening regional consensus on peace

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

The Afghan government Monday held a meeting in Kabul on the peace process for strengthening regional consensus on the Afghan peace process.

Representatives from 19 countries and international organizations including the United Nations participated in the meeting.

The video session, led by Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar, kicked off with a speech by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Monday evening.

Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the meeting was aimed at strengthening regional consensus and focused on reducing violence, starting Intra-Afghan talks, reaching a ceasefire, and releasing Taliban prisoners.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation called on all laterals to the war in Afghanistan to reduce violence and increase their efforts to achieve peace.

Speculation to start the talks between the two sides comes as tensions have escalated and the level of violence has risen.

The Taliban have made the release of their prisoners conditional on the start of peace talks between Afghans in which an agreement will be reached on a ceasefire, and the government has made the release of all Taliban prisoners conditional on the release of prisoners.

The Afghan government, however, says it is not possible to release specific figures of Taliban prisoners whose group insists on their release.

The Taliban have carried out 36 offensive attacks on Afghan forces in six provinces in the past 24 hours, according to the latest government figures. In addition to the escalation of attacks, it is to be seen whether the regional consensus and international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will succeed in bringing the two sides to the negotiating table or not.

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