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Stefano Pontecorvo takes office as NATO’s SCR in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2020)

Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo of Italy officially takes up his role, today June 1, as the new NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, NATO confirmed in a statement.

NATO Sec-Gen Jens Stoltenberg said, “I look forward to working closely with him at this critical juncture for Afghanistan’s future.”

According to the statement, Pontecorvo will be working with the NATO-led Resolute Support mission that trains, advises, and assists the Afghan National forces as well as advising the NATO Secretary-General and the North Atlantic Council on the Alliance’s efforts in Afghanistan and relations with Afghan partners.

The statement added, “He will liaise with senior members of the Afghan government, Afghan officials and other prominent national and local officials. He will engage with representatives of the international community, Afghan civil society, and non-governmental organizations.”

His previous roles have been described as Italy’s Ambassador to Pakistan, diplomatic adviser to the Italian Defense Minister working on NATO political-military issues, including on Afghanistan, and deputy head of mission at the Italian embassies in London and Moscow.

It is noteworthy that Sir Nicholas Kay of the United Kingdom was previously serving as the NATO SCR in Afghanistan since March 2019.

COVID-19

Afghanistan COVID-19 updates: 302 new cases, total 32,324

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health said Friday that 302 new cases of Coronavirus were registered in the past 24 hours in the country.

The cases were recorded in Kabul (39), Herat (43), Kandahar (3), Balkh (3), Paktia (20), Takhar (9), Bamyan (57), Badghis (29), Logar (2), Parwan (1), Badakhshan (24), Kunar (1), Samangan (20), Ghor (12), Faryab (38), Nooristan (1).

It brings the total infections to 32,324 in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, 12 COVID-19 patients have died in the last 24 hours bringing the total fatalities to 819 in Afghanistan, the ministry said.

The deaths cases were reported as follows: Kabul (6), Kandahar (3), Paktia (2), Takhar (1).

According to the ministry, 1,290 patients were discharged from the hospitals in the past 24 hours after recovering their health.

The ministry added, so far, 17,331 have recovered from the virus.

There are 10,889,434 cases tested positive worldwide, with 521,669 deaths and 5,771,673 recoveries.

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Ghani promotes Dostum to marshal

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2020)

President Ashraf Ghani in a decree promoted former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum to the rank of marshal.

Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, a spokesman for former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, confirmed to Ariana News.

The presidential decree – dated June 10 – shows Dostum’s promotion to marshal, the highest official rank within the Afghan Army Forces.

According to the decree, president Ghani has approved Dostum’s promotion in accordance with Article 64 and Item 19 of the Afghanistan Constitution.

The promotion was a part of the political agreement inked between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the Head of High Council for National Reconciliation.

According to the agreement, Dostum will receive membership in the High Council of State and the National Security Council of Afghanistan.

Dostum is the third person in the history of Afghanistan to receive the title of Marshall after Shah Wali Khan and Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

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Jamiat-e-Islami party picks new chairman, remove Salahuddin Rabbani

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2020)

At least 47 members of the Jamiat-e-Islami leadership council on Wednesday voted and removed Salahuddin Rabbani as the executive chairman of the party.

The party elected Enayatullah Shadab as interim chairman of the party to convene the party’s general assembly.

Afghanistan’s Jamiat-e Islami party is apparently divided into two groups. 47 members of the party’s leadership council voted to remove Salahuddin Rabbani from the presidency of the Jamiat-e-Islami and removed him, including Atta Mohammad Noor, Younus Qanuni, Bismillah Mohammadi, Hafiz Mansour, Ismail Khan, and Sattar Murad.

Of the 62 members of the Leadership Council, 47 members appointed Enayatullah Shadab, one of the party’s founders, as interim chairman of the Leadership Council, to prepare for the party’s general assembly after years.

“We have a 50 percent share of the government, and we can’t ignore it because one person decides individually,” said Basir Salangi, a member of the leadership council of the Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan. “Out of 62, 47 were with us. 35 and the rest via video said that we were with you.”

Salahuddin Rabbani did not want to be a partner in a participatory government, but 47 members of the Leadership Council see themselves as partners in the government from Abdullah Abdullah’s team and have the prospect of playing a prominent role alongside Mr. Abdullah in the peace process.

“There is no reason for us to be in opposition. It is wise to strengthen the government that is in the political campaign with the Taliban to prevent the Taliban from entering politically and militarily,” said Hafiz Mansour, a member of Afghanistan’s Jamiat-e-Islami leadership.

A section other than the Supreme Leader’s Council is with Salahuddin Rabbani. Mr. Rabbani accused some members of the Islamic Jamiat of compromising two weeks ago.

Salahuddin Rabbani said on June 18: “A number of senior members of the Islamic Jamiat have acted against their own decisions and the leadership’s decision and their fundamental values. The result is that today we are begging the legitimate demands of our people.”

In response to the act of 47 members of the leadership council, the Jamiat-e-Islami led by Salahuddin Rabbani suspended the membership of Atta Mohammad Noor, Younus Qanuni, Kaleemullah Naqibi, Abdul Hafiz Mansour, Waqif Hakimi, Sayed Enayatullah Shadab and Abdul Sattar Murad.

Ahmad Zia Massoud, deputy head of the Islamic Jamiat, said Salahuddin Rabbani is still the head of the Jamiat-e-Islami, and the government, in collusion with some members of the party’s leadership, had paved the way for the Jamiat-e-Islami split after intensive negotiations.

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