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Mohaqiq calls on UNSC to declare attacks on Hazaras genocide

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(Last Updated On: June 10, 2021)

Mohammad Mohaqiq, President Ashraf Ghani’s political and security adviser, has called on the UN Security Council to recognize the attacks on the Hazara community during the last few years in Afghanistan as an act of genocide.

In a statement issued on Thursday Mohaqiq said that the attacks on civilians are not justified and is “a clear example of crime against humanity and genocide.”

Highlighting attacks on Sayeed-ul-Shuhada High School, Dasht-e-Barchi Maternity Ward, Maiwand Wrestling club and several attacks during prayers in Mosques, Mohaqiq said: “People who are killed in schools and educational and other centers were civilians, harmless and children, and their massacre has no justification and is a clear example of a crime against humanity and genocide.”

Mohaqiq’s statement comes a day after Daesh militants attacked a HALO Trust camp in northern Baghlan province.

The militants attacked the camp at around 9:50 pm Wednesday, HALO Trust CEO James Cowan said in a video message.

Cowan said the assailants “went bed-to-bed murdering members of the HALO Trust.”

The attackers killed 10 deminers and wounded 16 more, Cowan said.

“This is the most serious incident that the HALO Trust has endured since its existence; it came into being in Afghanistan in 1998.”

Cowan stated that despite the remaining threat and challenges ahead the organization would continue its mission in Afghanistan.

He stated: “We could take note of this incident and leave. We could be fearful of what is happening in Afghanistan. We were there before 9/11 a full decade before. We have been through all the ups and downs of life and death in Afghanistan.

“And now as the international community prepares to leave, we are going to stay. We are there for the people of Afghanistan and we still have a job to do,” Cowan emphasized.

Meanwhile, Cowan stated in an interview with the VOA that the militants had targeted predominately Shiite Hazaras among the staff.

Earlier a survivor of the attack told Ariana News correspondent that the insurgents were looking for Hazaras.

“We were questioned if any Hazaras are among us, though we had 30-40 colleagues among us. Why should have I told them that yes there are,” the survivor said.

Mohaqiq, meanwhile, stated that the attack on the demining organization (HALO Trust) “by separating ethnicity and targeting Hazaras is another sign of this inhumane crime.”

He noted that the UN Security Council (UNSC) should take precautionary measures against such attacks.

“The UNSC should recognize the killing of Hazaras as an act of genocide and the perpetrators should be subjected to sanctions,” Mohaqiq said.

Last week, Tomas Niklasson, Special Envoy of the European Union for Afghanistan, also stated that “targeting Hazaras” must be stopped.

“Targeting Hazaras must stop and crimes be investigated,” he said.

Meanwhile, German Embassy in Afghanistan stated: “We are dismayed by the unjustifiable continuation of violence against Afghan civilians and in particular also the Hazara community.”

“Our thoughts are with the victims and the grieving families. Violence must stop – Afghans deserve peace,” the embassy stated.

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Abdullah quashes rumors of districts being abandoned intentionally

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(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Following the collapse of a number of districts across Afghanistan in the past six weeks, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah stated that “the abandonment of these districts (by security forces) was unplanned”.

So far, at least 33 districts have fallen to the Taliban since May 1.

In the most recent development, Anar Dara district in Farah province; Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province; and Gosfandi and Sayyad districts of Sar-e-Pul province were captured by the militants in the last 24 hours.

Sources told Ariana News that at least 40 members of the Afghan forces have been killed in Sar-e-Pul alone in the last week.

Abdullah, however, stated that there had been no plans ahead of time by security forces to abandon the districts. This comes after rumors started circulating a few days ago that security forces have intentionally planned to hand over districts to the Taliban.

Addressing a meeting with Friedrich Ebert Foundation members on Tuesday, Abdullah said: “The consecutive abandonment of the districts by the security forces is not part of an orderly plan.”

“It is not true that the districts are being handed over to the Taliban based on a plan,” Abdullah added.

Abdullah also called on people to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) amid a surge in clashes across the country.

“We know the situation is bad, but it is the responsibility of all of us to carry the burden and to come up with [support for] the current situation,” he stated.

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Taliban captures another 4 districts bringing total to 33

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(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

Taliban militants have captured another four districts in four provinces in the last 24 hours, sources confirmed.

According to the sources, Anar Dara district in Farah province; Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province; and Gosfandi and Sayyad districts of Sar-e-Pul province were captured by the militants, bringing the number of fallen districts to 33 since May 1.

Afghan officials, however, stated that Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) have “tactically retreated” from the districts.

In Farah, the Taliban blew up the government compound after capturing the center of Anar Dara district.

Police said the compound was completely destroyed in the explosion.

In Uruzgan, the insurgents captured the government compound, police headquarters, provincial NDS headquarters, and a number of public facilities on Tuesday morning.

This comes after First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Monday called the advancement of the Taliban a “narrow line” and warned that the paths into the districts will be turned into a mass graveyard for the militants.

In a statement issued on Monday, Saleh said: “Those who know how to fight with the Taliban, know that this narrow line will become the mass graveyard of this group of terror and ignorance.”

Saleh, meanwhile, stated that the Taliban militants have not changed the way they treat the people of Afghanistan.

“Do not be deceived by [Taliban’s] propaganda. Resisting the Taliban is defending human values and dignity. Taliban has no message for the people of this country other than demanding obedience as a slave life,” Saleh said.

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U.N. readies for more displaced Afghans after troop withdrawal

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(Last Updated On: June 15, 2021)

The United Nations is preparing for a likely further displacement of civilians in Afghanistan after U.S. and international troops leave the country in September, U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi told Reuters on Monday.

Violence has been rising as foreign forces begin withdrawing and efforts to broker a peace settlement between the Afghan government and insurgent Taliban have slowed.

Grandi pointed to a deadly attack last week on an international demining organization in northern Afghanistan, which killed 10 people.

“This is a tragic indicator of the type of violence that may be resurfacing in Afghanistan and with the withdrawal of the international troops this is possibly or likely going to become worse,” Grandi said.

“Therefore we are doing contingency planning inside the country for further displacement, in the neighboring countries in case people might cross borders,” he said, without offering details of those plans.

There are currently some 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan globally, while another 4.8 million have been displaced within the country, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, which Grandi heads.

After 20 years, the United States has started a withdrawal of its remaining 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and aims to be completely out of the country by Sept. 11. Around 7,000 non-U.S. forces from mainly NATO countries – along with Australia, New Zealand and Georgia – are also planning to leave by Sept. 11.

Grandi said strong international support was needed for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“It’s political action that should substitute conflict but, of course, the risk (of further displacement) is there and we need to be prepared,” he added.

U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

“What’s needed is a high level of economic support for Afghanistan humanitarian assistance to maximize the chance the Afghan authorities have to stabilize the situation,” U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told Reuters on Monday.

“There’s been very good and constructive outreach from the Biden administration, from the White House down, and we have actually had very productive discussions with them on that,” added Lowcock, who steps down from his role this month.

Earlier this month, the United States announced more than $266 million in new humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, bringing to nearly $3.9 billion the total amount of such aid it has provided since 2002.

Some 18.4 million people, almost half the country’s population, need humanitarian help, according to the United, Nations, which has appealed for $1.3 billion in funding for 2021. So far it has only received about 23% of that.

Lowcock said that until a few years ago there had been a lot of international attention in Afghanistan. That has “dissipated and weakened and that is a sort of problem when it comes to drawing attention to the needs of Afghanistan and getting support for them.”

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