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Swiss court upholds life ban for former Afghan football boss 

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the life ban imposed last year on the former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). 

CAS issued its decision in the appeal arbitration procedure between Karim and FIFA on Tuesday. 

A statement issued by the court stated that the CAS panel dismissed the appeal and confirmed the decision taken by the Adjudicatory Chamber of FIFA Ethics Committee on June 8 last year. 

At the time, Karim was found to have breached Article 23 (Protection of physical and mental integrity) and article 25 (Abuse of position) of the FIFA Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a life ban from all football-related activities at both national and international level, and ordered him to pay a US$1 million fine. 

The FIFA Ethics Committee investigation into Karim came after complaints were lodged by female Afghan football players accusing him of sexual abuse between 2013 and 2018. 

During the CAS hearing, several players of the AFF women’s national team stated that they had been sexually and physically abused by Karim. 

According to the court statement: “The players testified from a secured place, by telephone, using a voice scrambler to protect their identity. 

The Panel in charge of this matter underlined that, unlike bribery and match-fixing which damage the integrity of the sport, the offenses committed by Keramuddin Karim violated basic human rights and damaged the mental and physical dignity and integrity of young female players. 

With his appalling acts, he had destroyed not only their careers but severely damaged their lives. 

The Panel determined that Keramuddin Karim should get the most severe sanction possible available under the FIFA Code of Ethics, i.e. a life ban and a fine of (Swiss Francs) CHF 1 million (US$1 million).

FIFA meanwhile welcomed the Swiss court’s decision and said in a statement that it confirms the importance of its “zero-tolerance policy against physical, mental and sexual abuses at all levels of football.”

The organization also praised “the bravery of those victims who, under dreadful personal circumstances in their home country, have come forward and allowed for justice to be served.”

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Afghan security forces able to defend the country on their own: MPs

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

With the withdrawal of foreign forces underway, members of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said on Thursday that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are able to defend their country on their own.

MPs said however that reforms need to be brought on a leadership level within the ANDSF.

“After the withdrawal of foreign forces some challenges will exist, but it is related to the leadership of the ANDSF and how they manage the war,” said Khan Agha Rezayee, the head of parliament’s security commission.

“We have a national army, national police, and NDS that can defend the country independently, and they have proven that they can defend the country.”

The Ministry of Defense (MoD), meanwhile, stated that Afghan forces are able to defend the country and people on their own.

“ANDSF are willing to defend the country in every situation; 96% of the operations including night operations and airstrikes are conducted by the Afghan forces. We assure people they need not worry as ANDSF have proven that they can defend the country and people,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for the MoD.

Some Kabul residents said that supporting the ANDSF in this time will empower them to ensure security.

“Our security forces are strong, and we believe that they can ensure security. We are proud of them that they can thwart Taliban plans,” said Yasin Shinwari, a resident of Kabul city.

“We believe in the capabilities of the security forces, but the forces need better equipment to go on the offensive,” said Sayed Ali Sena Sadat, another resident of Kabul city.

This comes as reports emerged this week that the Taliban is advancing on key cities in Baghlan, Helmand and Ghazni provinces.

According to reports a number of soldiers have been killed in clashes with the Taliban in Ghazni and Baghlan provinces and in Helmand – while an unknown number have surrendered to the Taliban.

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Taliban capture key dam in Kandahar province

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

The Taliban has captured Afghanistan’s second-biggest dam after months of fierce fighting in its former bastion of Kandahar, the group and officials said, as the US forces have begun the withdrawal of its troops from the country after 20 years, AFP reported.

The Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers via a network of canals as well as drinking water for the provincial capital, was now under Taliban control, local officials told AFP news agency on Thursday.

A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf also confirmed this and said: “We have seized the Dahla Dam in Arghandab.”

Haji Gulbuddin, governor of an adjacent district, confirmed the dam “is now in the control of the Taliban”, AFP reported.

“Our security forces … asked for reinforcements but they failed to get it,” he said.

Kandahar water department chief Tooryalay Mahboobi told AFP the Taliban recently warned Dahla employees not to go to work.

Last month the armed fighters blew up a bridge that connected the dam to adjacent districts, AFP reported.

Dahla was built by the US nearly 70 years ago to provide water for irrigating land in about seven districts of Kandahar.

In 2019, the Asian Development Bank approved a grant of nearly $350m to be used partly to expand the reservoir-style project.

The surrounding district has seen intense fighting in the past six months, but officials announced in April that the area had been cleared.

Before retreating, the Taliban planted explosives across the area – including in residential complexes – officials said.

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China says its rocket debris unlikely to cause any harm

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(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)

Most debris from a Chinese rocket will be burned up on reentry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

Debris from the Long March 5B that sent part of a planned space station into orbit last week is likely to fall in international waters, China’s Global Times reported on Wednesday, amid concerns it could cause damage on re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

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