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IEC Rejects UN Proposal For Upcoming Elections

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2019)

Afghanistan’s IEC on Monday rejected the UN proposal of delaying the provincial councils and Ghazni parliamentary elections.

UN insists on holding the timely presidential elections.

According to a tweet, Tadamichi Yamamoto, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that “Critically important that credible Afghanistan Presidential elections take place on time this year.”

He further added that “The UN’s technical advice is that with only 4 months remaining to 28 Sept Presidential Election day there is a need for realism and urgent focus among all actors in the Afghan election process.”

However, Mr. Yamamoto stressed the independence of IEC regarding making decisions about the elections.

“The IEC decides on how many elections to hold. The UN provides technical guidance to it and respects its decisions, “said Mr. Yamamoto.

In addition, on  May 12, Alice Wells, the U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs visited Kabul where she met with the IEC officials to discuss the ongoing preparations for the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan.

The U.S. top diplomat recommended IEC officials to focus on the presidential elections on September 28. In addition, she urged electoral bodies to postpone the other two elections.

However, the IEC Chief Hawa Alam Nuristani has said that the provincial council elections should be held as scheduled in order to legitimatize the presidential election.

“In order to ensure overall, transparent, and legal presidential elections, there is a need to hold the provincial council elections as well,” said Ms. Nuristani.

Meanwhile, some presidential candidates insist that IEC has not the capacity of holding three elections at the same time.

The elections observers, know the suggestion made by U.S. Deputy of Foreign Affairs Ministry as an intervention in the work of IEC.

“The suggestion could be proposed by an expert; proposed by a political official, however, has a different message,” said Yousuf Rashid, CEO of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan.

This comes as IEC has assured to hold all the three elections concurrently on September 28.

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Key Taliban fighter killed in Helmand operation

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(Last Updated On: October 28, 2020)

At least 38 Taliban militants, including the group’s shadow district governor for Nad Ali were killed in an operation by the Afghan forces in battle-weary Helmand province.

The provincial media office said in a statement on Wednesday night that Mullah Shawali, the Taliban’s shadow district governor for Nad Ali, was killed during a clearance operation on the Lashkargah-Nad Ali road.

The Defense Ministry (MoD), however, stated that Shawali was killed in an airstrike in the Nad Ali district of Helmand on Wednesday.

According to the ministry, Shawali was leading the clashes against the Afghan forces in Chah Anjir and Babaji area in the province.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry stated that the route was cleared of the Taliban.

The Taliban has not yet commented on the death of Shawali. 

The clearance operation was launched on Monday to push back the Taliban who had taken control of a number of areas in the past two weeks.

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EU says ‘killings and peace talks cannot go hand in hand’

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(Last Updated On: October 28, 2020)

The European Union said Wednesday the high level of civilian casualties in the conflict in Afghanistan is “unacceptable.”

According to a statement, the EU repeated its stance on “the central role of International Humanitarian Law in an armed conflict to protect civilians.”

The EU said that despite the high levels of violence taking place against the backdrop of ongoing peace negotiations, “killings and peace talks cannot go hand in hand.”

“Therefore, the European Union joins the Afghan people longing for peace by reiterating its call for an immediate, comprehensive, nationwide and unconditional ceasefire respected by both parties.”

The EU’s statement comes in response to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) new report published on Tuesday that documented 5,939 civilian casualties (2,117 killed and 3,822 injured) from 1 January to 30 September 2020.

In its report, the mission said: “High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian.”

UNAMA stated that while the number of civilian casualties documented is the lowest in the first nine months of any year since 2012, “the harm done to civilians remains inordinate and shocking.”

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Afghans protest in Kabul against Macron’s Islamaphobic remarks

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(Last Updated On: October 28, 2020)

Kabul residents took to the streets of Kabul on Wednesday in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial remarks about Islam. 

The protest, outside the French Cultural Center in Kabul city drew cries such as “death to France” and “death to Macron”.

Kabul high school students also protested against Macron’s remarks. 

Wednesday’s demonstration comes amid a standoff between France and Muslim countries after Macron reacted to the beheading of a French schoolteacher who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a lesson about freedom of speech. 

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added his voice to calls for a boycott of French goods.

Erdogan has led the charge against  Macron and said on Monday: “Never give credit to French-labelled goods, don’t buy them.”

French goods have already been pulled from supermarket shelves in Qatar and Kuwait, among other Gulf states, and in Syria people have burned pictures of Macron and French flags have been torched in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meanwhile has called on France to revise its separatist policies that target Islam and offend over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. In a statement, the OIC has said: “We condemn the constant systematic attack on the feelings of Muslims by insulting the religious symbols represented by the person of the Prophet Muhammad.”

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