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Violence against women increasing in Afghanistan: Officials

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(Last Updated On: November 25, 2020)

Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs said on Wednesday that violence against women in Afghanistan has increased in the past year.

Speaking on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the launch of the 16 Days of Activism
Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, the ministry said that 2,582 cases of violence against women have been reported to them in the past year.

They also said that in the past four months, 34 cases, including murders, have been reported to the ministry.

According to the officials the main cause of domestic violence and violence against women is war and insecurity.

“The Ministry of Women’s Affairs carried out a survey in 34 provinces and 250 districts and interviewed 2,000 people. We found that women demand an end to the violence,” said Hasina Safi, acting women’s affairs minister.

“Violence has increased compared to last year. This year 119 murders and sexual abuse cases were registered. The violence increased by 59 percent because of the insecurity,” said Spozhmai Wardak, deputy minister of women affairs.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) raised concerns and said most of the cases of violence could have been prevented.

There have been “22,472 cases of violence against women registered in Afghanistan in the past five years. Fifty two percent of the cases could have been dealt with through counselling and the other cases referred to the Ministry of Interior and Attorney General’s office,” said Shabnam Salehi, a member of AIHRC.

However, Afghan judicial bodies say that most cases of violence against women have been processed.

“The cases that were referred to the court are very unfortunate and the violence against women increased this year,” Anisa Rasooli, a court prosecutor said.

“Violence against women increases day by day. In the current year 2,088 cases have been processed – most of them are sexual abuse and assault,” Zarghona Mostaqbal, an official from the Attorney General’s Office said.

Furthermore officials from AIHRC in Paktia province said that violence against women increased in their province and in the current year 235 cases have been registered in the province.

The Women’s Network in Kabul meanwhile called for unity among the people in order to stop domestic violence.

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UN chief says IEA must respect human rights in order to be recognized

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

Laying out his priorities for 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has to respect human rights in order to obtain international recognition.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Guterres stated that it was “absolutely essential” for the IEA “to have full respect for the rights of women and girls and to have a positive approach to human rights in general” in order to obtain international recognition and “getting international support for their own people.”

“To provide a lifeline of help for the Afghan people, inject cash to avoid an economic meltdown, ensure full respect of international humanitarian law and human rights — particularly for women and girls — and effectively fight terrorism,” he said.

UN Secretary-General spoke about global issues as well. Referring to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a morally bankrupt global financial system, the climate crisis, lawlessness in cyberspace, and diminished peace and security, he told the General Assembly that “we face a five-alarm global fire that requires the full mobilization of all countries.”

“Now is not the time to simply list and lament challenges. Now is the time to act. All these challenges are, at heart, failures of global governance.”

On the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Guterres said, “diplomacy is the way to solve problems. Of course, any invasion by one country to another country is against international law, and I hope that this, of course, will not happen in the present circumstances. I am convinced it will not happen. And I strongly hope to be right.”

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Salang Pass, Herat- Badghis highway closed to traffic due to heavy snow

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

Local officials said that due to heavy snowfall and stormy weather, the Salang Pass and Herat-Badghis highway have been closed to traffic temporarily.

Qazi Obaidullah Obaid, head of the Salang Pass maintenance department said they had decided to close the mountain pass in order to avoid casualties amid bad weather conditions.

According to Obaid dozens of motorists and passengers were stranded on the pass but have since been taken to places of safety.

Meanwhile, Mohibullah Asad, deputy governor of Badghis, said that Herat-Qala-e-Naw highway has also been closed to traffic due to heavy snowfall.

He said maintenance crews are working to clear the highway and reopen it to traffic.

Badghis received heavy snowfalls from Friday afternoon, making the highway impassable.

Kabul also received a fair amount of snow overnight which was expected to clear later Saturday. However, temperatures are set to drop to around -12 degrees Celsius during the night.

While Sunday is expected to be sunny, the expected high will only be -1 degrees Celsius, dropping to -15 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.

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IEA delegation due in Norway for humanitarian talks

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will arrive in Norway on Sunday for three days of talks on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Friday, Reuters reported.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban [IEA]. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

“We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster,” she said.

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year’s IEA takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security, Reuters reported.

The IEA representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25.

“Meetings will also take place between the Taliban [IEA] delegation and other Afghans with backgrounds from a range of fields. These include women leaders, journalists, and individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues,” Norway said.

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