Parliament’s first session ended in brawl over new speaker
A dispute in the country’s parliament over the election of the new speaker has resulted in chaos inside the newly- elected chamber. Security guards restrained one MP when he brandished a hammer. Yesterday, Mir Rahman Rahmani, a businessman, ran for the speakership of Wolesi Jirga but fell short of a majority by a single vote, triggering a clash between supporters, who declared him the winner, and opponents, who said he had not secured the necessary 124 votes. Video footage widely shared on social media showed a brawl among lawmakers, with members of parliament seen blocking the speaker’s seat and calling for a re-run of the vote. The incident underscored the turmoil in Afghan politics ahead of presidential elections that are taking place in the shadow of talks between U.S. diplomats and the Taliban about a possible settlement of an 18-year conflict.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister links Khan-Trump meeting to progress in Afghan talks
English-language Pakistani daily Dawn reported that Pakistan’s foreign minister has linked a possible meeting between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and the US president Donald Trump with the ‘progress in the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban’. “Both [PM Khan and President Trump] are important personalities and they are deeply interested in peace and stability in the region. There has been progress, and [US-Taliban] talks are underway in Doha. There are chances of further progress in talks [that] can lead to a new opening in our bilateral relations,” Shah Mahmood Qureshi was quoted by Urdu News. According to the report by Dawn, with the relationship between the US and Pakistan touching a new low after the former rejected visa applications of three high-ranking government officials, the foreign minister’s statement linking a possible Trump-Khan meeting with headway in talks with the Taliban can only be seen as a precondition. “Don’t call it a condition but I think that the environment [for the meeting] will be more favorable if the talks move forward,” said Mr. Qureshi when asked whether the two leaders’ meeting was linked to headway in the US-Taliban negotiations.
Mental Health Awareness Week: 47% of Afghans suffer mental health disorders
The first mental health survey in the country reveals that about 47% of the Afghan population suffers from a variety of mental health problems, including depression and other traumas caused by war. The results of the poll, released to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, also show that more than two million Afghans visit the mental health service providers across the country. According to Afghan officials providing support in this field has been increased in recent years.
Other News Headlines:
- Germany is prepared to cooperate with Afghanistan to achieve peace. The German special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan meets with President Ghani in Kabul giving him an assurance that his country is ready to play a key role in establishing peace in Afghanistan.
- A new report says more than 100 civilians have died since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Defence Ministry said the national army is determined to pay greater attention to civilian lives.
- Mohammad Omar Daudzai, head of High Peace Council’s secretariat office, meets with Indian officials in New Delhi discussing India’s role in establishing peace in Afghanistan.
- Following a several-day strike by schoolteachers in western Herat province, the Education Ministry says efforts are underway to increase schoolteachers’ salaries.
- Recent flash flooding destroys at least 20 homes and kills more than 100 livestock in northern Baghlan province.