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Spot Check Reveals Huge Gap in ANA Personnel Accountability

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(Last Updated On: November 3, 2019)

According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), 10 to 60 percent personnel of the Afghan army were not present at work when a personnel accountability audit was conducted in several bases.

The watchdog released a new quarterly report to the United States Congress last week.

In a part of the report which focuses on ANDSF personnel accountability, the U.S. Special Inspector General John F. Sopko said that an audit was conducted at units within the ANA’s 201st, 203rd, and 205th Corps to verify whether all soldiers and officers entered into the system were present at each location.

“The ANA PAA results showed that at best 10%, and at worst 60%, of the personnel reported to exist in those ANA units were not present for duty at the time of the audit,” the report said.

SIGAR believe that “not present can mean a number of things, including absent without leave, dropped from rolls, killed in action, wounded, transferred, separated from the force, retired, out on mission, assigned temporary duty elsewhere, or on leave.”

“There are regiments with 650 personnel on roster while physically there might be less than 200 people. The brigades are vacant. Therefore, forces have retreated from checkpoints in highways. The enemy has inflicted heavy casualties that is why the personnel roster is not matching with the number of forces on duty,” Javid Kohistani, a Kabul-based military commentator told Ariana News.

Zabihullah Atiq, a lawmaker from northern Badakhshan province further claimed that the absence of senior officials at the battlefields have weakened the spirit of soldiers.

“Senior officials are not present in units. The company and regiments commanders are not present in battlefields,” MP Atiq said.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the report is “incorrect.”

“Less than 10 percent of the personnel are absent,” Sediqqi responded to a question in this regard.

This comes as Afghan forces are battling the Taliban insurgent group across the country to force the group’s political leaders to enter into talks with the government negotiators.

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Pakistan’s customs agent says exports to Afghanistan dwindle

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Hundreds of trucks lined the winding, mountainous road leading to Torkhum, the Pakistan-Afghan border crossing on Thursday.

Pakistani officials say that is because exports to Afghanistan have dwindled in the days after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) take over.

But some truck drivers were upbeat because they said the vegetable and fruit season in Afghanistan had helped increase exports of these items from the war-ravaged country.

Another Pakistani official at another Pakistan-Afghan border Chaman said trade had picked up because the IEA government had reduced taxes, and also put an end to bribes that traders and truck drivers had to pay to cross the border.

Afghan new government bolstered its economic team last week, naming a commerce minister and two deputies as the group tries to revive a financial system in shock from the abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Underlining the economic pressures building on Afghanistan’s new government, prices for staples like flour, fuel, and rice have risen and long queues are still forming outside banks as they strictly ration withdrawals.

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Five climbers die in snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

Five climbers died after they got caught in a sudden snowstorm on Russia’s Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, officials said.

The other 14 members of the party were rescued on the peak in the Caucasus Mountains in high winds and low visibility amid temperatures of minus -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the regional emergency ministry said.

The group of Russian climbers sent out a mayday call just after 5 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, the ministry added. Eleven of the survivors were taken to hospital.

One woman fell ill and died in the arms of one of the guides, Denis Alimov, who helped organise the climb, told TASS news agency.

Another climber broke his leg as he was coming down and the party decided to split into three groups depending on who could go fastest, Alimov told TASS.

“As they descended, two more people died in one of the groups. But the decision to split up was the right one, otherwise there might have been more casualties.”

Guides with the group suffered frostbite and other injuries, Alimov was quoted as saying.

Mount Elbrus, which rises to 5,642 metres (18,510 feet) just north of the border with Georgia, is infamous for sudden changes in weather and climbing conditions.

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IEA’s defence minister orders crackdown on abuses

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s acting new defence minister has issued a rebuke over misconduct by some commanders and fighters following the IEA’s victory over the Western-backed government in Afghanistan last month, saying abuses would not be tolerated, Reuters reported.

According to the report Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob said in an audio message that some “miscreants and notorious former soldiers” had been allowed to join Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses.

“We direct you keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you,” he stated. “We don’t want such people in our ranks.”

The message from one of the IEA’s most senior ministers underlines the problems Afghanistan’s new rulers have sometimes had in controlling fighting forces as they transition from an insurgency to a peacetime administration, the report said.

Some Kabul residents have complained of abusive treatment at the hands of IEA forces who have appeared on the streets of the capital, often from other regions and unused to big cities.

There have also been reports of reprisals against members of the former government and military or civil society activists, despite promises of an amnesty by the IEA.

Yaqoob said there had been isolated reports of unauthorized executions, and he repeated that such actions would not be tolerated.

“As you all are aware, under the general amnesty announced in Afghanistan, no mujahid has the right to take revenge on anyone,” he said.

Reuters said that it was not clear precisely which incidents he was referring to, nor what prompted the message, which was published on IEA Twitter accounts and widely shared on social media.

There have been reports of tensions within the IEA between hardline battlefield commanders and political leaders more willing to seek compromise with governments outside Afghanistan, report said

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