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Gov’t ‘Unable’ to Identify Perpetrators of ‘Chain Murders’: MPs

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(Last Updated On: March 24, 2019)

Following the assassination of MP Obaidullah Barikzai in Kandahar, a number of Afghan lawmakers on Sunday criticized the government over failure to identify the perpetrators of “chain murders” in the country.

Barikzai who was a member of parliament from Uruzgan province killed by unknown gunmen in Kandahar on Saturday afternoon. He was laid to rest today in Kabul after a funeral ceremony attended by President Ghani and other high-ranking government officials.

Hailing the sacrifices of Barikzai, Ghani assured that the government will “comprehensively” investigate his assassination case and that will share the findings to his family.

However, MPs criticized the government over what they say failure to identify and punish the perpetrators of “chain murders” in the country.

They said “national” figures were being deliberately targeted in the country and that the government has failed to address their murder case.

“Whenever someone raises people’s voice, the enemy is targeting him. We should be united. We lose our prominent figures as a result of chain murders,” said Irfanullah Irfan, Deputy Secretary Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament).

“Our national figures were being mysteriously targeted, but unfortunately, the government is unable to identify the perpetrators and promptly address their case,” said Fazl Hadi Wazin, who is running as vice president in Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s ticket for the presidential elections.

Meanwhile, Barikzai’s son, Ismail Khan who is serving in the Afghan National Army said that outsiders are involved in his father’s assassination. He said he will never give up fighting against terrorism.

“Neighboring countries are involved in my father’s assassination, but I can’t say anything, should wait for the outcomes of the investigation,” Ismail Khan said.

This is not the first time that a member of Afghan parliament being killed by unknown gunmen. In the last few years, about 20 Afghan MPs have been killed in different parts of the country.

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UN calls on Afghanistan to prevent further killings of human rights defenders

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2020)

Afghanistan must take early decisive action to prevent killings of human rights defenders, UN human rights experts said today, calling attention to a recent spate of such deaths.

“The killing of one human rights defender is a tragedy for society; the death of nine defenders since the beginning of this year shows the emergence of a truly alarming trend,” said Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. “Already by August, Afghanistan has far exceeded last year’s figures.”

“Impunity allows the perpetuation of such crimes and implies a lack of recognition for human rights defenders’ role in society,” the experts said, noting that investigations in many cases have not yet yielded any results. “There needs to be full accountability for such egregious violations of human rights.”

Asmatullah Salaam, who worked on promoting the right to education in the province of Ghazni, was abducted and killed as he made his way to celebrate Eid with his family on 1 August. His death comes not long after Fatimah Natasha Khalil and Ahmad Jawed Folad were killed on their way to work at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission on 27 June. Human rights defender Ibrahim Ebrat was shot dead in Zabul in May.

“In January the Government of Afghanistan voiced support for the idea of creating a national protection mechanism for human rights defenders, but no progress has been reported and clearly defenders are still no better protected than they were before,” said the experts. “We urge the government to urgently put in place, as promised, an effective national protection mechanism.”

It is the responsibility of every government to protect human rights defenders against armed groups, they added.

“Afghanistan must do better at detecting and acting on early warning signs, such as threats and intimidation, protecting others who find themselves at risk, and thoroughly investigating violence, including killings, when they happen,” they said.  “We cannot allow these disturbing events to continue.”

The experts said they are talking with Afghanistan authorities, and pledged to closely monitor the situation.

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Afghanistan COVID-19 updates: 75 new cases, total 37,506

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health Friday reported that 75 new Coronavirus cases were positive out of 408 samples tested in the last 24 hours. 

The cases were registered in Kabul (4), Herat (36), Balkh (3), Paktya (1), Bamyan (4), Nangarhar (2), Badghis (5), Logar (2), Ghazni (12), Daikundi (5), and Kunar (1) provinces.

According to the Ministry, so far, 98,199 samples have been tested in COVID-19 testing centers, of which 37,506 cases were diagnosed positive.

The Ministry in its daily updates announced that currently there are 9,347 active COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan.

In the last 24 hours, the ministry also recorded 6 new deaths, five in Herat and one in Logar, from the virus, bringing the total fatalities to 1,369 in the country.

The ministry stated that 452 COVID-19 patients were discharged from the hospitals after treatment, adding that, 27,166 had recovered so far.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Public Health released details of an official survey conducted with the help of the World Health Organization that found the coronavirus has likely infected a third of the country’s population – roughly 10 million people.

The Afghan health ministry released the estimates Wednesday, saying they are based on antibody tests on about 9,500 people in 34 provinces. 

Acting Health Minister, Ahmad Jawad Osmani told a news conference in Kabul the survey showed 31.5 percent of Afghanistan’s population has been infected by COVID-19.

Osmani noted that 53 percent of Kabul’s nearly five million residents had contracted the coronavirus.

There are 20,960,424 cases tested positive worldwide, with 760,371 deaths and 13,028,829 recoveries.

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RB Leipzig reach CL Semi-final just 11 years after its formation

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2020)

RB Leipzig, the German football club, defeated Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Thursday to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history.

After a goalless half, Dani Olmo scored for the German side ahead but Atletico’s substitute Joao Felix leveled the tie from the penalty spot after he had been fouled in the box.

The match was seemingly going to the extra time, however, in the 88th minute, the American right-back Tyler Adams scored the late winner for Leipzig, taking them to the semi-final round of 19/20 Champions League season.

Leipzig established by Red Bull will face Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final next week.

Julian Nagelsmann, the Leipzig’s coach said, “Games against Thomas [PSG’s coach] are always very interesting because he has a very good idea of how to play football. I hope that I will also come up with a good idea against him and that my boys will perform as they did against Atletico. Then we will play a very good game.”

In other CL matches in 1-8 round, FC Barcelona will face FC Bayern Munich tonight, August 14th.

The Champions League’s final is scheduled to take place on August 23 in Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal.

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