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Ghani’s order to ANDSF to break ‘active defense’ mode; follow-up reactions

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(Last Updated On: May 13, 2020)

President Ghani’s order of shifting the Afghan forces from “active defense” mode to “offensive” one has triggered national and international reactions.

Following Tuesday’s heinous attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar, President Ghani in a video statement ordered Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to switch from “active defense” mode to “offensive” one.

Pointing at attacks on the hospital in Kabul, the funeral in Nangarhar, and some other acts of violence, President Ghani said that the Taliban and Daesh have killed innocent Afghans, including women and children.

The president has also said that the Taliban has intensified its attacks and violence against the call of the Afghan government and the nation for a ceasefire and bringing peace.

Consequently, the Taliban released a statement condemning the attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar, considering them of Daesh’s work, noting it is due to the operations of the Taliban “that there remain no known Daesh strongholds in any part of Afghanistan”.

Also, the statement underlines that “such attacks are jointly planned and executed from guesthouses in Kabul and other cities by Daesh members” and the government “intelligence in order to batter the nation, provide a space for the implementation of failed policies and to take anti-Islam and anti-peace steps”.

The Taliban statement says that since the singing of the US-Taliban agreement, the Afghan government “has been trying to create hurdles for the peace process”.

“From deliberately delaying the prisoner release process which was both an important step for agreement implementation and launch of intra-Afghan negotiations and could have safeguarded the lives of thousands of prisoners from the current threat of coronavirus, to the current declaration of offensive operations”, the Taliban underscored in the statement.

The Taliban says it is “fully prepared to counter all enemy movements and offensives” noting that “from now onwards the responsibility of further escalation of violence and its ramifications” will be the responsibility of the government.

On the other hand, the United States, in a press release Tuesday, condemning the Kabul and Nangarhar attacks noted, “We note the Taliban has denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous. The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

“As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism. The Afghan people deserve a future free from terror, and the ongoing peace process continues to present a critical opportunity for Afghans to come together to build a united front against the menace of terrorism,” the US underlines through the statement.

Zalmay Khalilzad US Special Representative for Reconciliation in Afghanistan, who is the axis in the Afghan peace process, in a tweet, called on Taliban and the Afghan government to cooperate “against a common enemy that perpetrates such crimes” noting “Failure to do so, leaves Afghanistan vulnerable to terrorism, perpetual instability & economic hardship.”

He condemned Tuesday’s attacks, tweeting that the “unspeakable” violence “against mothers, babies, and unborn children” in Kabul and on a funeral in Nangarhar “are acts of pure evil”.

Also, the US Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson of the US Embassy Kabul condemned the attacks and those who are targeting the defenseless and oppressed people.

The United Nations has also condemned the attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

In addition, the Human Rights Watch has considered the attack on the hospital a war crime.

Ariana News Analytical

Violence in Afghanistan was expected to grade zero after the US-Taliban agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan; however, suicide bombing and other acts of violence still continue.

As in the very latest examples of terrorism Tuesday, at least 30 people were killed and 70 others were injured in a suicide bombing in eastern Nangarhar province as well as a minimum 14 were killed and 15 others got wounded in an attack on a maternity ward in a hospital in Kabul.

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Kabul’s air pollution a serious ‘threat to life’, say doctors

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

Doctors warned Sunday that the air pollution level in Kabul is dangerously high and that it was threatening the lives of many people.

One doctor Mohammad Hashim Wahaj, who spoke to Ariana News, said: “Air pollution is a serious and dangerous problem in Kabul.”

Doctors and resident’s called on government to take measures to stop people from burning fuels such as plastic and rubber and get them to rather use gas or electricity.

“People burn coal and other materials that produce smoke. That should be stopped,” said Mohammad Rasoul, a Kabul resident.

“People should use gas and electricity if they can afford it and avoid burning plastic and coal,” said Sohrab, another Kabul resident.

Kabul Municipality meanwhile said efforts are being made to reduce the air pollution level and that they have closed down a number of bathhouses, that burn fuel to heat the water.

Naimatullah Barakzai, the municipality’s head of public awareness and publications department, said that among the central heating systems used in the city are two that run on gas.

According to him there are at least 1,100 other types but these run on coal and wood.

Barakzai said while the municipality would like more people to use gas furnaces and heaters, most of them are not able to afford it.

He said if the people had the money they would rather use “modern equipment”.

Kabul’s air pollution levels increase dramatical each winter as people make fires to keep warm. But, poverty-stricken residents often resort to burning toxic materials such as plastic, car tyres and coal to heat their homes.

In addition to this, the city lies in a valley surrounded by towering Hindu Kush mountain peaks, which reduces the mixing of air, particularly in winter when temperature inversions regularly form and with little rain to remove the pollution from the atmosphere, this accumulates during winter.

Afghanistan documented nearly 5,000 deaths attributed to air pollution in 2020 – deaths due to respiratory and heart diseases that were considered to be caused by air pollution, a health official said in January.

Kabul meanwhile was also considered the world’s worst polluted city last year and is on track to remain among the most polluted cities in 2021.

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Qatar in talks with Turkey on managing Kabul Airport

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

Qatar’s foreign minister said that discussions are being held with Turkey about them taking responsibility for the operational control of Kabul International Airport.

Addressing the Mediterranean Dialogues (MED) forum in Rome on Saturday, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that all issues around fully reopening Kabul airport are being discussed with Turkish officials.

This comes after airlines stopped flying into Kabul at the end of August. However, limited commercial flights resumed in recent weeks, including Afghanistan’s Kam Air and Ariana Airlines, as well as Pakistan’s PIA. Qatar Airways has also had regular chartered flights into Kabul.

Al-Thani meanwhile said Doha officials have been hard at work to get the Kabul airport fully operational.

“We have been working together very closely on the issue of the airport, whether on the assessment of requirements to get the airport operational again, or on the management agreement with the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) government to operate the airport in the future.”

Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) said that in the event of a contract being drawn up with a foreign country, national interests will be preserved.

“No contract for Kabul International Airport has been signed so far. We have made our conditions clear for companies based on our national interests. If company’s respect our national interests, we will sign contracts with them,” said Amamudin Ahmadi, a spokesman for the ACAA.

 

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Passport offices to open in another 14 provinces: IEA

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said Sunday that government will begin the application and distribution process of passports in 14 additional provinces this week.

According to the IEA, the distribution process will start in Farah, Nimruz, Badghis, Paktika, Samangan, Laghman, Uruzgan, Kunar, Takhar, Zabul, Jawzjan, Bamiyan, Panjsher, and Baghlan provinces on Monday.

Alam Gul Haqqani, Head of the Passport Department, stated the department is providing fair services to all Afghans, and urged the public not to pay passport forgers money.

Haqqani added that the distribution of passports in Kabul would be resumed as soon as technical issues have been resolved.

“We have purchased new machines. As I have said before, some of these [machines] arrived, and the rest will be delivered [in the future]. Inshallah, we will resume our work as soon as we receive our machines,” Haqqani said.

The process of issuing passports also started in Balkh, Herat, Kandahar, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Khost and Paktia provinces three weeks ago.

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