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Suicide Bombers Target Mosque in Herat Province

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(Last Updated On: August 2, 2017)

At least 29 people were killed and 64 others injured after one suicide attacker blew himself up and the other one opened fire on worshipers in a mosque in western Herat province of Afghanistan on Tuesday night, officials said.

The attackers have targeted Javadia mosque where about 300 people had gathered for evening praying.

Abdulhai Walizada, a local police spokesman, said there appeared to be more than one attacker, with witnesses describing a suicide bomber who detonated explosives and at least one other, a gunman who threw grenades at worshipers.

“Two attackers entered the mosque and started shooting and throwing grenades at people,” said a worshiper at the mosque who was injured in the attack and taken to hospital.

In a statement, President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack and called on religious scholars to “raise their voices against the terrorist attacks”.

Immediately, there was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

The incident comes two months after an attack on the Jama  Mosque in Herat, in which seven people died.

 

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Afghanistan customs revenue lost to ’embezzlement’

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

Although taxpayers pay customs duties at the Afghan customs, not all of the revenue being collected in the Afghan government’s account, local officials said.

The ports of Torkham in Nangarhar, Islam Qala in Herat, Hairatan in Balkh, Aqina in Faryab, Spin Boldak in Kandahar, Shirkhan Bandar in Kunduz, Angur Ada in Paktika and several other ports in the north and south of the country have witnessed widespread corruption.

In these ports, although custom fees are paid by taxpayers, little money is raised in government reserves, most of the ports are said to be in the hands of gunmen and the powerful.

Local officials in the provinces where the ports are located say that corruption in customs has recently peaked.

On the other hand, the Integrity Watch of Afghanistan criticizes the lack of administrative reforms, adding that unreasonable appointments have increased corruption in the country’s customs and that the government has not yet taken any steps to reform the process. According to the head of the institution, the current situation has led to organized corruption in customs.

The Ministry of Finance also promises to bring transparency to the country’s customs.

Finance Ministry spokesman Shamrooz Khan Masjidi said customs revenues are being closely monitored to prevent corruption.

Earlier, the governor of Herat said that Islam Qala’s revenue was being looted by mafia gangs and the warlords. According to economists, this is the case in most of the country’s customs.

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COVID-19

Afghanistan witnesses decline in Coronavirus cases: MoPH

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

Jawad Osmani, Acting Minister of the Public Health, says the number of people infected with the Coronavirus decreased to halve compared to a month and a half ago. 

Coronavirus has declined in Afghanistan; as the Acting Minister of Public Health himself has removed the medical mask from his face at the press conference and used a home mask instead. 

Javad Osmani said: “Compared to two months ago, the infected patients to the virus decreased by 30 percent. If the Coronavirus patients do not reach less than 5%, the situation will not get back to normal.”

On the other hand, the Anti-Corona Emergency Committee warns that as of today, 15 moving teams are inspecting restaurants, cafes, and parks, and if they do not follow the health recommendations, they will be fined first and then they will be banned.

“Today we have sent 15 moving teams to the city to fine and block restaurants and cafes that have started arbitrarily, and this time nothing is acceptable,” said Mohammad Yaqub Haidari, Kabul’s governor.

Meanwhile, officials at the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs said that those citizens who remain out of the Hajj shift this year will be able to perform the Hajj next year while maintaining the same shift.

Officials at the Ministry of Public Health say that researchers have found that the Coronavirus can spread through the air. They warn people if they do not avoid unnecessary patrols and commute on Eid al-Adha, they will see the second wave of coronavirus.

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Intl donors seek strong, positive signal in Afghanistan’s anti-corruption efforts

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

The Ambassadorial Anti-Corruption Group has expressed its deep concern over the slowdown in Afghanistan’s anti-corruption efforts, as documented by the recently published UNAMA annual anti-corruption report.

The group said in a statement that addressing widespread corruption is crucial for sustainable peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.

“The upcoming peace talks require all parties to demonstrate their commitment to integrity, accountability, and the rule of law by concrete actions rather than polarization through mutual accusations of corrupt practices,” the statement said.

It added that the lack of effective investigations and prosecutions, in particular of high-level suspects, is also worrisome and we urge thorough investigation of the multiple allegations of misuse of public funds.

The group urged the Afghan government to empower the Supreme Audit Office and swiftly establish the Anti-Corruption Commission.

“While relying on an interim document to fill immediate gaps, within one year, the Government should adopt a genuine anti-corruption strategy building on a thorough assessment of the previous strategy through an inclusive consultation process,” the statement noted.

It also urged substantial progress on prosecution and enforcement of court orders and warrants, particularly in high-level cases and on the strengthening of the capacity for effective, impartial, and transparent implementation of policies and strategies.

“Findings of investigations by review bodies must be public. Institutions must be competent, independent, and transparent and appointments to the new Government and related institutions, as well as their future policies, must be guided by principles of good governance, rule of law and accountability,” read the statement.

The international donors further said that it is essential to assure donors that funds are being used efficiently and for the greater good. 

“To see reforms fade or fail now would also mean a loss of these investments. Therefore, the international partners will carefully follow the progress made,” the group said. 

“At this point, a strong and positive signal is needed,” it stressed.

The Ambassadorial Anti-Corruption Group is comprised of the Heads of Mission for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Denmark, Germany, Japan, United States of America, Australia, Canada, Italy, Norway, World Bank, NATO Senior Civilian Representative, Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, United Kingdom (UK), and European Union (EU).

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