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German-funded road project completed in Samangan

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2020)

Samangan officials and representatives of the Afghan-German Cooperation inaugurated a reconstructed 3.8-kilometer long road in the northern province on Friday. 

The new asphalt road connects Aybak city to Dara-e Zhowandon village and with the Mazar-e Sharif to Kabul Highway. 

More than 22,000 citizens will benefit from the improved infrastructure, which was financed by the Afghan-German Cooperation’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF). The road cost AFN 94 million. 

Samangan’s Provincial Governor, Dawod Kalakani, said on Friday: “Today, I am very proud with the inauguration of this important road. We strongly support the continuation of German Cooperation activities.”

He said he hoped other roads in Aybak City will also benefit from this program;

The newly asphalted road enables easier mobility between Aybak and the districts of Khuram-wa-Sarbagh and Roy-e-Doab as well as to Mazar-e Sharif, north-eastern provinces and Kabul. 

This allows for residents to benefit from improved access to schools, local agricultural markets, health centers, nearby districts and provinces, and it aims to stimulate economic growth and improve the locals’ overall living conditions.

Zikrullah Nazari, the provincial director of Samangan’s road management agency said: “I would like to thank the technical support and advice of RIDF engineers during the implementation of the project for increasing the capacity of our staff. 

“We are willing to implement more projects with their cooperation so that in the future we can execute projects independently. We are committed and will maintain and take care of the newly built road.”

The road between Aybak and Dara-e Zhowandon village and the road connection with the Mazar-e-Sharif to Kabul Highway is now equipped with highly visible pavement markings, specific traffic lanes, and traffic signs. 

It also has gravel shoulders, allowing pedestrians to walk along the roadside safely. The drainage systems have been improved, protecting the road from drainage overflow and flooding, and the reconstruction, which took 18 months, created 300 jobs for the duration of the project.

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India’s COVID-19 caseload now over six million mark

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

India’s confirmed coronavirus tally has bypassed the six million mark with another 82,170 cases reported in the past 24 hours. 

The health ministry reported that the COVID-19 caseload was now at 6,074,703.

At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542.

New infections in India, the world’s second-most populous country, are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world and are expected to surpass the US tally, which is at 7.1 million, within the next few weeks. 

According to Johns Hopkins University data, almost one in every three new infections reported in the world and one in every five reported coronavirus deaths came from India.

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Abdullah hopes Pakistan visit will ‘open new chapter’ in relations

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said early Monday morning his visit to Islamabad will prove a unique opportunity for Afghanistan and Pakistan to exchange views on the intra-Afghan negotiations. 

In a post on Twitter, Abdullah said “I hope this visit will open a new chapter of mutual cooperation at all levels, especially on achieving a lasting and dignified peace in Afghanistan.”

He also confirmed he will leave for Islamabad Monday, for an official three-day visit and will be accompanied by a high-level Afghan delegation. 

Abdullah said he will meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the Chairman of the Senate, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Foreign Minister and other dignitaries.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Sunday, Abdullah will also deliver a key-note address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

This will be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as head of the HCNR and the first since 2008. 

“The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry stated. 

“Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. 

“Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people. The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries,” read the statement.

 

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Afghan peace negotiator says they hope to finalize agenda soon

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Afghan Peace Negotiator, Mawlawi Attaullah Lodin said Sunday that the Afghan team and the Taliban peace talks team have not yet reached a consensus on the agenda and framework for negotiations going forward. 

Lodin, whose video message was posted to the official Afghan negotiating team’s Twitter page said the team is fully aware of Afghanistan’s calls for an immediate ceasefire but that the talks are complicated and will need time for agreements to be reached. 

He said: “We hope to finalize the agenda and that both sides agree to it. Thereafter a ceasefire should be called.”

Lodin also raised the issue of the US-Doha agreement signed in February, which has become a point of contention between the two teams. 

The agreement led to the Afghan negotiating team meeting the Taliban team around the talks tables, which started two weeks ago. 

However, the Afghan government was not a party to the deal between the US and the Taliban, which does not recognize the Afghan government as legitimate. 

“We were not present in the deal, we have not signed the deal,” said Lodin. 

This comes after a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, Khairullah Khairkhwa, said on Saturday that the main point of contention in the ongoing intra-Afghan talks in Doha was that the Afghanistan Republic was refusing to deal with the current talks within the framework of the US-Taliban agreement.

He also stated that the second point of contention is that Shiite members say that decisions should not be based solely on Hanafi jurisprudence. The Afghan negotiating team want Hanafi, Shiite and human rights included.

Lodin said, however, that according to the Afghan constitution, the Shiites Jaʿfari jurisprudence, or Ja’fari Fiqh, can not be ignored. 

“We don’t want to experience what is going on in Yemen and Syria as there is conflict between majorities and minorities in those countries,” he said. 

Another Afghan talks team member Nader Nadery meanwhile said late Sunday night that the two teams had met earlier and discussions had lasted several hours. The discussions focused on the contentious issues and would continue, he said.

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