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U.S. Expects Afghan Govt’s Inclusion in Ongoing Peace Talks

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(Last Updated On: February 17, 2019)

Washington is expecting the Afghan government’s engagement in the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban, the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the sidelines of Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Pence said that the United States is encouraged that the Taliban has shown the interest to come to the negotiating table after years of fighting.

“We are encouraged that the Taliban has come to the table and we look forward to those discussions going forward,” Pence said.

The Taliban has held at least four round of talks with the U.S. representatives so far, but the armed group has repeatedly refused to engage in talks with the Afghan government, insisting that the U.S. is their main adversary.

However, the U.S. Vice President said that they are expecting the Afghan government’s inclusion in the peace talks.

“We look forward to your engagement and the government’s engagement,” Pence told Ghani.

He, meanwhile, expressed hope that the ongoing peace efforts reach into a peaceful statement in Afghanistan that could let the Afghans to have a “great future” and that Afghanistan never again used by terrorist organizations to bring violence against Afghan people and nations around the world including the United States.

On his turn, President Ghani paid tribute to sacrifices of  the American troops in Afghanistan. He said since he became president only 66 American troops have been killed in his country.

 “It is fortunate that since I have been president only 66 American [troops] paid the ultimate sacrifices, 66 is to many but clearly after the transition and with the launch of South Asia strategy now the war is no longer an American war,” he said.

Thanking the U.S. forces’ support to Afghanistan, Ghani said that it is the “patriotic” Afghan security forces that are doing the fighting and that are dying for “a free homeland and for a secure world”.

The Afghan president also hailed the U.S. South Asia Strategy and described as  “game changer”. He said the strategy is working.

 “We would like to thank President Trump and yourself who have paid a very significant role in making this possible,” Ghani told Pence.

Regarding the ongoing peace talks, Ghani said that it is “critical” to ensure an “enduring” peace results from these discussions.

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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12 Taliban insurgents killed in Paktia clashes

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

At least 10 Taliban militants including a commander of the group were killed in clashes with the Afghan forces in Paktia province, the army confirmed.

Aimal Momand, a spokesman for the Afghan military told Ariana News that the clashes broke out after a large number of the insurgents attacked outposts of the Afghan forces in Zazi Aryoub district of the province.

The incident has taken place in Shah Mohammad village in the district at around 5 a.m. Thursday.

According to Momand, the group’s commander known as Abasin was also among the deaths and seven more were wounded in the incident.

He added no casualty was inflicted on the Afghan forces.

In a separate incident, the militants attacked the Afghan army while they patrolling in Samkani district of the province, Momand said in the counterattack on Wednesday night two Taliban fighters including one Pakistani national were killed and two others wounded.

Meanwhile, the Taliban, however, claimed that its fighters have imposed casualties on the Afghan forces in Zazi Aryoub clashes, but the group’s spokesman did not provide further details.

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