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UN Sets Condition for Funding Afghan Elections

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(Last Updated On: May 22, 2019)

The United Nations has set a new condition for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission in return for funding the upcoming presidential election of the country which is scheduled to be held on September 28.

According to an IEC official, who wishes not to be named, the UN has recommended IEC to hold the presidential elections on the scheduled date and postpone the provincial council and Ghazni parliamentary elections for another date.

Recently, Tadamichi Yamamoto, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that “the UN’s technical advice is that with only 4 months remaining to 28 Sept Presidential Election day there is a need for realism and urgent focus among all actors in the Afghan election process.”

However, Yamamoto stated that IEC is independent in making decisions about elections in Afghanistan.

“The IEC decides on how many elections to hold. The UN provides technical guidance to it and respects its decisions,” he said.

Conversely, IEC has rejected the UN proposal of delaying the provincial councils and Ghazni parliamentary elections, saying holding all the three elections on the same day is their red line.

“We have decided to hold the three elections on September 28, certainly the government and donors will fund all the process,” said Rahima Zarifi, a commissioner of the IEC.

Meanwhile, electoral observers say that it is not clear yet who will fund the upcoming elections.

So far, the Afghan Ministry of finance has funded 25% of the elections budget for voter’s registration process but it was not clear who will fund the rest of the $207 million.

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India overtakes Russia to become world’s third hardest-hit nation in pandemic

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

India on Sunday surpassed Russia with the number of COVID-19 cases, to become the country with the third-highest number in the world.

Adding just under 24,000 new Coronavirus cases late Sunday, India’s total is now at 697,836, according to Worldometer data.

In its daily update, India’s health ministry on Sunday reported the record spike in cases and stated that 613 people had died in 24 hours.

India’s count surpassed Russia’s current caseload of 681,251. With this, only the US and Brazil have recorded higher numbers of COVID cases than India.

According to local news reports, this surge in numbers came as infections rose in the western and southern parts of the country amid heavy monsoon rains.

NDTV stated that Maharashtra, the worst-hit state and home to the densely packed financial hub Mumbai, recorded over 7,000 new cases while Tamil Nadu and Delhi recorded more than 4,200 and 2,500 fresh cases respectively.

The surge in cases in India comes despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March to control the virus spread.

Authorities have made wearing masks mandatory in public places, while large gatherings are banned and shops and other public establishments are required to implement social distancing.

But epidemiologists have told India’s media that the country’s peak could still be weeks or months away, suggesting the country’s already severely overburdened healthcare system will come under further stress.

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Militants attack security checkpoint – Kabul

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

One militant was killed and another arrested in Shakar Dara district of Kabul province, police said.

The militants stormed a security checkpoint in Mir Bacha Kut district of Kabul and faced resistance by police, Kabul police said in a statement, adding that the Afghan forces pushed back the insurgents and they fled the area following clashes.

According to the statement, one of the militants was killed in chasing in Shakar Dara district of the province and the other one was arrested.

The incident took place at around 2 a.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, the Taliban militants attacked Afghan security forces on the Balkh-Jawzjan highway on Sunday.

The Defense Ministry said that three insurgents were killed and four others wounded in a counterattack.

In Logar, the Afghan forces pushed back the Taliban in the Puze Niai area in the Barakibarak district of the province.

The Taliban yet comment about the incidents.

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Afghanistan to host regional meeting on peace process

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

Afghanistan will host a summit on Monday which will be attended by regional countries to discuss the Afghan peace process. 

Representatives from 19 countries, the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and neighboring countries are expected to attend the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Monday at the Presidential Palace via a video conference.

Reduction in violence, the start of inter-Afghan talks, the exchange of prisoners, and the establishment of a humanitarian ceasefire are points of the meeting’s agenda, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said.

“The countries of the region and Afghanistan’s strategic partners will join the regional summit which will be held as a video conference on Monday,” MFA spokesman Gran Hiwad said.

Monday’s meeting will bring together a number of countries that have conflicting interests in Afghanistan. They will be brought together to reach a consensus on peace talks, the government said. However, the government has repeatedly stated that there is a consensus on the peace process in the region.

“The Afghan government has always said that we have a regional consensus. In tomorrow’s meeting with twenty countries, they will once again emphasize the regional understanding of Afghanistan’s peace and security,” said Ahmad Saeedi, a former Afghan diplomat in Pakistan.

The regional meeting, hosted by Kabul, will begin with a speech by the President, and at the end, 19 countries and the United Nations will announce a joint declaration on peace in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Kabul will host a trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China on peace talks. But holding the meeting out of sight of India beyond New Delhi’s regional opposition to Islamabad and Beijing is seen as detrimental to the peace process.

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