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Total 933 Taliban prisoners released to date

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(Last Updated On: May 8, 2020)

The Office National Security Council reports that 83 Taliban prisoners have been released by the government within the past two days, bringing the total of Taliban released prisoners to 933.

As per President Ghani’s decree, given the health status, age, and length of the remaining sentence, the Taliban prisoner release continues as part of the efforts to bring pave the ground for peace talks as well as to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

It is worth mentioning that according to Taliban Political Office Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, Mullah Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy, and his delegation met with US Representative Khalilzad in the presence of the Qatari Foreign Ministry Special Envoy Mutaliq Al-Qahtani Wednesday in Doha, Qatar.

The meeting focused on accelerating the prisoner releases, starting intra-Afghan talks, and the full implementation of the agreement signed with the US, Shaheen added.

Confirming Khalilzad’s trip, the US State Department said, “At each stop, he will urge support for an immediate reduction in violence, accelerated timeline for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, and cooperation among all sides in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan.”

Earlier, the Taliban expressed its concern over its men in prison amid the Coronavirus threat, noting their release as a precondition to start the intra-Afghan talks.

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Central bank to run campaign promote Afghani in western provinces

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(Last Updated On: May 26, 2020)

The government has set to launch a campaign over the use of Afghani currency instead of Iranian Rials in domestic transactions in western parts of the country.

Sharifullah Shagewal, a spokesman for the central bank of Afghanistan, Da Afghanistan Bank said that the organization has set to boost the use of Afghani currency in local markets.

Shagewal added that the replacing Iranian Rials with Afghani currency could gain Afghani value against foreign currencies.

According to reports, many provinces sharing borders with Iran use Rials for transactions.

It comes as the organization launched a campaign in the past one year just to tell people not to use foreign currencies in Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Helmand, and Kandahar province, where public used to use Pakistani rupees in daily transactions.

Now, the De Afghanistan Back added that so far, it succeeded to prevent billions of Pakistani rupees from money circulation in the country.

Meanwhile, the central bank of Afghanistan urges the public to join the campaign by using Afghani currency instead of foreign currencies in their daily businesses.  

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Locusts attack along India-Pakistan border threatening food security

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(Last Updated On: May 25, 2020)

There has been an increased risk along both sides of the India-Pakistan border, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said Friday.

FAO, in its Friday release, warned, “Despite control operations, recent heavy rains have created ideal conditions for the pest’s reproduction in several countries. Young juveniles will become voracious adults in June just as farmers begin to harvest, compounding an already bleak food security situation.”

Reports indicate that India has reached out to Pakistan to counter a locust invasion which threatens to destroy crops and undermine food security in the south and southwest Asia already threatened by the COVID19 pandemic.

According to Indian news outlets, swarms of desert locusts swept Jaipur on Monday as the insect onslaught spread wider to parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh; while Gujarat and Punjab have warned their farmers of locust attacks.

This is the second round of locust attack in India, the first one having occurred during December-February.

Locust attacks in 12 countries, including Pakistan, Iran, and ten nations in Africa, have damaged crops over millions of hectares.

The World Bank has set up a $500 million program to help countries in Africa and the Middle East combat the impact of locusts.

It is noteworthy that the Locusts can destroy standing crops and devastate livelihoods of people – The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering 1 square kilometer can contain up to 80 million locusts.

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COVID-19

COVID19 updates Afghanistan; cases rise to 11,173

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(Last Updated On: May 25, 2020)

With 591 new registries in the last 24 hours, the number of Coronavirus confirmed cases rose to 11,173 – Kabul ranks first on the table, with 390 new cases.

The Ministry of Public Health confirmed 591 new cases of the Coronavirus in the past 24 hours, including 390 reported from Kabul, and the rest are designated as follows:

“Herat 62, Balkh 36, Badghis 21, Nangarhar 18, Kunar 14, Takhar 14, Jawzjan 11, Wardak 7, Paktia 5, Baghlan 5, Khost 3, Panjshir 2, Ghor 2, and Bamyan reported one new case.”

It is worth mentioning that authorities have tightened the movement restrictions on Eid days in Kabul city to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus.

On the other hand, although religious scholars emphasize to impose restrictions, they call on the police to be soft with the sick and others in serious need.

The Ministry of Public Health has reported a lack of capacity in the Afghan-Japan Communicable Disease Hospital amid the rapid increase in the number of infections.

It, therefore, has announced that three more hospitals will be made designated to the Coronavirus patients in Kabul.

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