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Khalilzad Briefs U.S. Lawmakers on U.S.-Taliban Negotiations

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(Last Updated On: September 20, 2019)

The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday briefed the U.S. Congress behind the closed door about the failure of U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Qatar.

“In the last few weeks, we have seen the Afghan reconciliation process go off the rails in spectacular fashion,” Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We have learned that the president up-ended the deal and we have learned that the peace deal evidently is dead,” Engel added.

Khalilzad held nine rounds of talks with the Taliban representatives in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in a year where the two sides had reached an agreement “in principle” but the process was called off after the Taliban carried out an attack in Kabul in which 12 people including an American soldier were killed.

The U.S. President Donald Trump on September 9 that the negotiations with the Taliban “are dead” and emphasized that he had no further interest in meeting with the leaders of the group to end the war in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has cut $160 million aid for Afghanistan on Thursday while accusing the Afghan government of failing to fight corruption.

The country had allocated $100 million for an energy infrastructure project in the country, “which consists of five substations and other transmission infrastructure between Ghazni and Kandahar and Kajaki and Kandahar.”

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will be “withholding” another $60 million in planned assistance for Afghanistan due to the government’s failure to meet benchmarks for transparency and accountability in public financial management.

“We expect the Afghan government to demonstrate a clear commitment to fight corruption, to serve the Afghan people, and to maintain their trust,” Pompeo said adding, “Afghan leaders who fail to meet this standard should be held accountable.”

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Dr. Ayaz Niazi laid to rest in Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2020)

The lifeless body of Dr. Ayaz Niazi, a prominent religious scholar, was laid to rest in a special ceremony at the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque, Kabul.

Niazi died after receiving severe injuries in an IED explosion at the mosque on Tuesday evening.

The Acting Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs says that there is no justification for the attack, and that ulema (religious scholars) should unite to stop such crimes.

It should be noted that Dr. Aaz Niazi was one of the prominent religious figures who held two master’s degrees from Al-Azhar University in Egypt.

The Acting Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Abdul Hakim Munib, said, “There is no justification for this attack. With these attacks, the enemies of the country will never be able to stop the religious activities of scholars. They will try even more to raise awareness based on Islamic studies.”

At the same time, a number of religious scholars have condemned the incident, warning that if the government fails to identify the perpetrators of the attack on Dr. Ayaz, they will go on widespread protests.

“We have set a ten-day deadline for the government to identify the perpetrators of this case, otherwise we will protest,” said Abdul Qadir Qanet, a religious scholar.

“This must stop. We hope the government takes action to prevent the assassinations of religious scholars,” said Fazl Hadi Wazin, a university professor.

Although the Taliban have denied involvement in the attack and considered it a crime, the First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, says on his Facebook account that the Taliban cannot acquit itself by writing a sentence of denial, adding that mostly those religious scholars are being targeted who are not graduated from Pakistani schools.

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COVID-19

Poor state of hospitals increase health challenges

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2020)

Afghanistan’s poor state of hospitals has failed to provide adequate healthcare services to the people.

The Acting Minister of Public Health, who has recently been appointed by the president, says that the low quality of the country’s hospitals has led to serious health challenges, and the Coronavirus has multiplied it.

Ahmad Jawad Osmani, Acting Minister of Public Health, said, “The hospitals have provided poor health services, even in normal situations, and we have not been able to gain people’s trust. Weak leadership at the hospitals is also a factor.”

Meanwhile, the ministry underlined that in the last 24 hours, some 1296 samples have been examined, of which 787 cases tested positive for the Coronavirus.

During this time, six patients died of the virus and sixty-three others recovered.

The Ministry of Public Health warns of a dramatic increase in the number of the Coronavirus infections, saying that if people do not do their part in the fight against the pandemic, the situation will get out of control.

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Business

Fruit production sees 30 percent increase in Balkh – officials

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2020)

Officials at the Balkh Department of Agriculture and Livestock say that fruit harvests in the province are up 30 percent compared to that of last year.

Salem Sayi, head of the Balkh Department of Agriculture and Livestock, said that despite strong winds and torrential rains that have damaged trees, fruit yields have increased by 30 percent in comparison to last year.

On the other hand, a number of gardeners in Balkh say that the lack of markets and refrigeration storages have caused them to sell their products at low prices.

The head of the Balkh Department of Agriculture and Livestock said that the Coronavirus crisis had also damaged the horticultural industry and that they could not export fruit to other countries.

Presently, Balkh has 23,000 hectares of agricultural land where a variety of fruit trees are grown.

Officials at the Balkh Agriculture Department say that new orchards are being built on an area of 23,000 acres a year.

They say that 20 refrigeration storages have been built for apple and pomegranate storage, and the construction of new cold storage houses is to be assumed this year.

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