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Taliban has to deliver demonstrable evidence of their will and capacity to reduce violence: US

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(Last Updated On: February 3, 2020)

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Monday demanded “demonstrable evidence” from the Taliban that it can and will reduce violence before signing a deal that would lead to Afghanistan peace talks and a withdrawal of American troops from the country.

Pompeo, in a conference in neighboring Uzbekistan, said the deal was close but in retrospect, the Taliban had failed before to deliver according; therefore, there is more to be taken care of, before the deal is final

He said, “We’re working on a peace and reconciliation plan, putting the commas in the right place, getting the sentences right. We got close once before to having an agreement: a piece of paper that we mutually executed and the Taliban were unable to demonstrate either their will or capacity or both to deliver on a reduction in violence.”

“So, what we are demanding now is demonstrable evidence of their will and capacity to reduce violence, to take down the threat, so the inter-Afghan talks … will have a less violent context,” he said. “We’re hopeful we can achieve that but we’re not there yet, and work certainly remains.”

 This comes after Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, told President Ghani that “no notable progress” had been made in talks with the Taliban, but was hopeful of reaching an understanding in the matter.

It is noteworthy that Khalilzad, before meeting with President Ghani, had traveled to Pakistan and spoke to some Pakistani high-ranking officials to further pave the ground for the peace negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan.

Throughout Khalilzad’s mission in Duha, Qatar, sources close to the Taliban, have also reported hope for a productive conclusion of the negotiation, on one hand, and on the other, the Taliban’s cross over increasing demands by the US.

The Afghan government, although ready to conduct intra-Afghan peace talks, has been emphasizing a ‘ceasefire’ not a ‘violence reduction’ policy, as a precondition for the negations.

COVID-19

135 new Coronavirus cases registered – Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 14, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health says that in the last twenty-four hours, 135 positive cases of Coronavirus have been registered in the whole country, with Kabul having the highest number of cases of Covid-19 with 51 people.

Coronavirus cases are declining in Afghanistan. However, the number of patients in the country is still in the triple digits.

 According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health, 135 positive cases of Coronavirus have been registered in the country in the last 24 hours, of which 51 were in Kabul, 37 in Herat, 16 in Ghor, nine in Logar, nine in Balkh, four in Kunduz, three in Baghlan, three in Laghman, two in Takhar and one in Kunar have been infected with the Coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health has said that with the registration of these cases, the total number of people infected with the coronavirus in Afghanistan has reached 34,740.

“Over the past 24 hours, 135 positive cases of the coronavirus have been identified in Afghanistan,” said Masoumah Jafari, deputy spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health.

The ministry added that 24 people had died in the past 24 hours and that the death toll from the Coronavirus had risen to 1,062.

According to the Ministry of Health, in the past 24 hours, 279 people with the Coronavirus have recovered and the number of recoveries has reached 21,454.

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Around 3,000 civilians casualties in six months: AIHRC

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(Last Updated On: July 14, 2020)

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said in its six-month report that 1,213 Afghan civilians were killed and 1,744 were injured in the first six months of 2020. These casualties were reported in 880 incidents.

The Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said that the death toll was up 19 percent from last year. In the first six months of this year, an average of 16 civilians killed every day, according to the report.

According to the Afghan Human Rights Commission, 31 percent of all civilian casualties were in targeted assassinations, 26 percent as a result of landmine and car bombings, and 11.7 percent in suicide attacks, 11.5 percent in ground warfare, as well as airstrikes and night operations.

533 killed and 412 wounded as a result of targeted assassinations.

A total of 259 civilians were killed and at least 507 were injured when mines and car bombs exploded. Civilian casualties in these types of incidents show a seven percent increase compared to the same time last year.

According to the report, the number of female deaths in the first six months of 2020 has decreased by 0.5 percent compared to the first half of 2019.

“In 2020, a total of 378 civilians were victims of rocket attacks, including 117 deaths and 261 injuries,” said Naeem Nazari, deputy director of the Human Rights Commission. “The number of civilian casualties from rocket attacks is 47% lower than in the first half of last year.”

According to the findings of the Human Rights Commission, of the total civilian casualties in the first six months of 2020, 48.5% were caused by the Taliban, 26.7% by unknown perpetrators, 15.5% by government forces, and 6.3% by ISIS, 2.3 percent were carried out by international forces, and the rest were casualties from rocket fire by Pakistani forces in Kunar, Kandahar, Paktia and Khost provinces.

The Ministry of Interior does not reject the possibility of civilian casualties but says police have worked to prevent civilian casualties during the war.

The Afghan Human Rights Commission urges the war parties in Afghanistan to respect the international humanitarian law treaties, not to harm civilians during armed conflict, and to immediately start peace talks by establishing a ceasefire.

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Embezzlement in Afghan customs; $1 billion annually lost to graft

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(Last Updated On: July 14, 2020)

More than $1 billion annually is being lost to embezzlement from the Afghan customs revenues. 

Integrity Watch of Afghanistan said Tuesday local tyrants have embezzled millions of dollars from Herat customs, adding that the government has no plan to prevent stealing of public treasury.

A statistic shared by officials from Herat customs shows that the customs have more than 30 billion AFN incomes per year but less than 20 billion AFN had been collected in the government’s account.

Since 1390, the Persian calendar, the Ministry of Finance and Herat customs have recorded annual revenue figures as follow:

In 1390, Herat Customs had 16 billion AFN incomes. The revenues in 1392 declined to 13 billion AFN and decreased to 9 billion AFN in 1393 compared to the previous years.

The statistics show 12 billion AFN incomes in 1394, while the figure increased to 20 billion AFN in 1396 and 1397. On 1398 the incomes once again declined to 16 billion AFN.

Meanwhile, in Twitter and Facebook posts a senior official of Herat customs has also shared daily incomes of the organization for the current year: On March 4, daily income was 136 million AFN, on July 8 the revenue was 119 million AFN and on July 9 the income was 122 million AFN, according to the statistics.

Meanwhile, the incomes of the organization could reach 33 billion AFN in the current year, figures show.

The Herat customs have averaged more than 10 billion AFN in revenue each year, but these figures do not reflect the actual incomes.

The Ministry of Finance, however, says not only the customs of Herat but also no customs across the country have the same revenue per year, due to a high volume of goods.

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