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Peace Efforts Undermining July Presidential Elections: Watchdogs

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(Last Updated On: February 11, 2019)

Amid raising peace efforts, a number of election tickets and watchdogs have expressed concerns on the fate of the upcoming Afghan presidential elections, warning that lack of consultation with people regarding peace and elections will deepen the crisis in the country.

Some election teams said that peace and elections should not be victimized of each other and that people should be consulted in this regard.

Asadullah Sa’adati, who is running for the July election as second deputy of Abdullah Abdullah said that if election being undermined in peace talks, it will put a negative impact on the given scenario.

“The people of Afghanistan have the right and power to decide and they should take decisions,” Ghulam Farooq Nijrabi, a presidential candidate said.

The election observers, meanwhile, expressed concerns on the outcomes of delay in July elections.

“We are seriously concerned of these games which don’t help elections and democracy and it may fragment the system into several pieces and unable to us have a countywide election,” said Nayeem Ayoubzada, Head of TEFA.

The Chief Executive’ Office, however, said that the government leaders are ready to step down for the sake of ensuring lasting peace in the country, adding that so far they have not seen any sign of peace from the Taliban.

It comes as the government has repeatedly said that the upcoming presidential elections will not be compromised in the peace process and that it will be held on the scheduled time.

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TAPI construction to start in Herat next year

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2020)

Minister of Mines and Petroleum Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri on Thursday said that construction work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline Project will kick off next year.

Speaking at a press conference Chakhansuri said the ministry has established an effective coordination mechanism between government institutions involved in the TAPI project and also with international institutions and TAPI partners.

“Fortunately, all the administrative, technical and legal problems of the TAPI project have been resolved and the practical work of this project will start next year in Herat province,” said Chakhansuri.

The minister also said that another project the ministry is working on is the construction of a 94.5 km-long gas pipeline from Sheberghan, capital city of Jawzjan province, to Mazar-e-Sharif and construction work will start in the next three months.

“The gas that will be transferred from Sheberghan to Mazar-e-Sharif through this pipeline will be used to generate 50 megawatts of electricity,” said Chakhansuri.

The minister said that soon 67 projects that have been approved by the High Economic Council will be put out to tender in accordance with Afghanistan’s mining laws and after the completion of the process companies that meet the standards will be awarded the contracts.

“These 67 projects will add 150 to 170 million Afghanis to Afghanistan’s national income, in addition to which 5 million Afghanis will be invested in these projects for five years and will directly provide employment to 3,000 people,” Chakhansuri said.

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Afghan journalist Daryabi wins 2020 Anti-Corruption Award

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2020)

Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption announced this week that Afghan journalist Zaki Daryabi, editor in chief of Etilaat Roz Newspaper and whistleblower Botakoz Kopbayeva from Kazakhstan have been selected as the winners of the 2020 Anti-Corruption Award.

“Journalist Zaki Daryabi and newspaper Etilaatroz have been selected Anti-Corruption Award Winners 2020 for their tireless efforts in exposing major corruption scandals in Afghanistan, despite the multiple challenges, threats and limitations,” Transparency International said in a tweet.

“They serve as an admirable example to journalists and young activists across the globe through their perseverance and sustainable approach to holding power to account,” Transparency International added.

The awards were presented at a ceremony held virtually on Wednesday night at the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference.

“I am honoured to accept the Transparency International’s 2020 AntiCorruptionAward. I dream of the day that Afghanistan is no longer among the most corrupt and the deadliest places for journalists in the world,” Daryabi tweeted.

Today I recommit myself to realising that dream, Daryabi added.

Anti-Corruption Award recognises the courage and determination of the many individuals and organisations fighting corruption around the world.

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US to keep two larger military bases in Afghanistan after drawdown

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2020)

The Pentagon has approved drawdown plans in Afghanistan but will still keep two large military bases in the country, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an event hosted by Brookings Institution think tank, Milley said that in addition to the two bases, the US would also keep “several satellite bases.”

This was the first time a Pentagon or White House official has offered any details following outgoing US President Donald Trump’s sudden announcement last month of another major drawdown of troops – from around 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.

This decision also left many NATO allies questioning the future of the mission in Afghanistan without US assistance.

Milley meanwhile said on Wednesday that the US military will also continue its two core missions – assisting Afghan security forces who are locked in conflict with Taliban insurgents and carrying out counterterrorism operations against IS-K (Daesh) and al-Qaeda.

However, Milley did not say which bases in Afghanistan would be shut down nor which bases would remain.

He also declined to speculate about what President-elect Joe Biden may decide. “What comes after that, that will be up to a new administration,” he said.

Milley also said the United States had “achieved a modicum of success” in Afghanistan.

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