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US insists on prisoner releases by Taliban, Afghan gov’t

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(Last Updated On: March 6, 2020)

The U.S. government insists that the Taliban and the Afghan government should come to a conclusion about prisoner releases.

Apparently, the U.S. is trying to convince the Afghan government to change its stand on releasing the five thousand prisoners of the Taliban.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said, “We continue to press all sides to stop posturing, start the practical discussion about the prisoner releases.” He also said, “We, the United States, has opened a door for you, the Afghan people, to come to the table to determine the future of your country. We will stand with you. We are ready to support you. Do not squander this opportunity.”

After the U.S.-Taliban deal is signed, the U.S. troops will decrease to 8,600 in 135 days, and in the next nine months, if the Taliban fully remains committed, the U.S. will withdraw from Afghanistan as a whole.

Donald Trump, the US President said, “There is a big question about the government of Afghanistan. We are getting along well with everybody. We have to get our people back home. It’s not fair. We don’t want to stay there for another 20 years. We don’t want to stay there for 100 years. We want our people back home.”

Now that the peace deal has been signed, the Taliban resumed their attacks on the Afghan forces which have faced criticism from the US officials.

Pompeo said, “The upsurge in violence in parts of Afghanistan over the last couple of days is unacceptable. In no uncertain terms, violence must be reduced immediately for the peace process to move forward.”

In the meantime, President Ghani has recently said that the Afghan government has no commitment over releasing five thousand prisoners of the Taliban, and it is not the US’s responsibility either. So the prisoner releases can be discussed in the Intra-Afghan talks.

COVID-19

Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 34,194 cases, 971 deaths

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has jumped to 34,194 with 971 deaths in Afghanistan.

According to daily Coronavirus, updates released the Public Health Ministry, 286 new Coronavirus cases have been registered in the past 24 hours.

The cases were recorded in Kabul 83, Herat 81, Balkh 9, Nangarhar 1, Bamyan 30, Takhar 5, Baghlan 3, Badghis 30, Logar 2, Kunduz 5, Parwan 2, Diakundi 16, Wardak 3, Laghman 1, Panjsher 2, and Ghor 13.

Meanwhile, 12 COVID-19 patients have died in the past 24 hours. The death cases were reported as follows: Kabul (10), Herat (2), Maidan Wardak (1), and Takhar (1).

The Health Ministry said that 41 patients have been discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 20,882 in the country.

It comes that World Bank has approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.

The World Bank said that the Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

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Afghan forces push back Taliban attacks – Ghazni

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The Afghan forces have pushed back Taliban attacks in central Ghazni province, the Defense Ministry (MoD) said.

In a statement released on Friday, the MoD said the militants have carried out attacks in Shalez and Asheqwal areas in the center of Ghazni province on Thursday that faced resistance by the Afghan security and defense forces.

According to the statement, the Afghan forces pushed back the attacks, killing eight Taliban militants and wounding three more.

The Defense Ministry did not provide details of the casualty of the Afghan forces.

The Taliban militant group yet to comment about the incident.

It comes as the Taliban apparently has intensified attacks in a number of provinces which shows a clash to the Doha agreement to bring peace in Afghanistan.

Two days ago the group carried out a car bomb suicide attack in Kandahar’s Shah Wali Kut district which result in the killing of two policemen and wounding of 15 more. In Ghazni, the Taliban target police commander of Deh Yak district as well.

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World Bank provides $200 million for Afghanistan to protect people, support businesses amid COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Thursday approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.

In a statement released on Thursday, the World Bank said that the Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

The Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant will support the government of Afghanistan to strengthen policies that promote faster recovery and keep basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, and telecommunications afloat and running, the statement said.

“The program will provide vital fiscal resources to manage the impacts of the pandemic in the context of rapidly slowing economic growth and declining government revenues,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

“Policy actions supported by the program will both help mitigate the impacts of the current crisis on the poor and vulnerable and also lay critical foundations for longer-term recovery. The World Bank will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan through this crisis,” Kerali added.

The World Bank said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant adverse health, social, and economic impacts in Afghanistan, shrinking the economy and driving down public revenue.

“The grant will support changes in regulations to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, protect healthcare workers, and raise awareness on gender-based violence in schools,” it stated.

The organization added that it will also support plans to encourage students to return to school when educational institutions are to reopen after the COVID-19 crisis.

It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 33,908 with 957 and 20,847 recoveries in Afghanistan.

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