Thursday, June 26

President Ghani in Islamabad
President Ghani met Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad and discussed matters pertaining to bilateral cooperation in various sectors and regional situation, including the regional connectivity, trade, security, and peace.

Ghani is accompanied by National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib, NDS Chief Masoom Stanekzai, and Acting Interior Minister Massoud Andrabi. At the meeting with Qureshi, Ghani said that he visited Pakistan as per the suggestion of almost 3,200 delegates of the grand council on peace to improve relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the President’s Office said in a statement on Thursday. “The relations between the two countries should be according to mutual respect and government-to-government relations,” the statement added. “We hope this trip will have a positive result for both nations,” the statement said. ‘’We cannot expect miracles from the trip, if it changes the views, a new chapter of relation would be opened’’, the presidential palace’s deputy spokesperson Shah Hussain Murtazawi wrote in his article to BBC. Ghani’s visit to Pakistan is expected to ease the tension between the two countries. This will be his first visit after Imran Khan became the prime minister of Pakistan.  The high-level visit comes as efforts have intensified to reach a political settlement with the Taliban and end the decades of war in Afghanistan, where the government has long accused Pakistan of supporting the Islamist insurgent movement

Soldier Best Picture Exhibition

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Afghanistan Independence, the government hosts an exhibition of ‘best picture of the soldier’. Aim of the exhibition is to support the Afghan National Security and Defence forces who are suffering more casualties in fight against the Taliban and other insurgent groups and anti-government elements.

Suicide Attempts Rate Rise in Ghazni
Health officials in Ghazni province told the BBC that committing suicide among youth has increased in Ghazni Province, mainly in the capital city. In recent months, nearly 30 cases have been registered in hospitals mostly of youth attempting to commit suicide.

 

Wednesday, June 25

Parliament Speaker Election
The third round of election for selecting Parliament Speaker ended with no result. Four new faces contested for the parliament’s lower house speaker seat. For the last two month, the lower house of the parliament failed to elect the speaker. In the third round of the election, four MPs (Sidiq Ahmad Osmani, Khan Muhammad Wardak, Abdul Star, and Khan Aqa Rizai nominated themselves for the seat. No one among them secured 50+1 votes, and the process was delayed for Saturday.

Women Handcraft Exhibition in Kabul

Businesswomen from 14 provinces participated in the exhibition of women handcraft in historical Chihilsitoon Garden of the capital Kabul. The three-day exhibition has been organized as a marketing effort for the women handcraft to Encourage people to buy Afghanistan made handcraft. Historical Chihilsitoon Garden recently opened for local visitors.

 Two U.S service Member Kill in Afghanistan

NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan announced that two U.S service members were killed in Afghanistan. It brought the total number of American military fatalities in the country to 9 this year. Taliban said that they killed two U.S troops in an ambush in Maidan Wardak Province.

 

 Tuesday, June 25

Ghani’s Election Rivals Held Joint Rally 

Several Afghan presidential candidates and their supporters have held a protest demonstration in Kabul against the continuation of Ashraf Ghani as the country’s president after his official tenure “ended” on 22 May. “Continuation of this government in office is unlawful, and a major threat to elections, peace and national unity”, Tolo News showed presidential candidate Hanif Atmar saying. The protesters fear that Ghani, who is seeking another term in office in the elections scheduled for 28 September, can misuse his authority and government resources to influence the electoral process.   Article 61 of the Afghan constitution says that the president’s term “shall expire on 22 May of his fifth year”, and prescribes holding election “within 30 to 60 days prior to the end of the outgoing president’s term”. But it does not explain what would happen if the election is not held on time. There is no comment from the government yet, but it had already said that the government’s term was extended based on a Supreme Court decision until a new president is elected. Earlier in April, the Supreme Court had approved the government’s proposal to extend the president’s tenure until the next government is formed.

 Parliament holds Second Round of Elections for Speaker

Afghanistan’s parliament is set to hold a new election for its speaker with new candidates after a runoff triggered a month-long deadlock. MPs on Monday held a secret ballot that confirmed invalidation of a controversial ballot cast in runoff that would otherwise allow Mir Rahmani to take over the role. Three MPs (Javid Jaihoon, Qaqif Hakimi and Mir Afghan Safi) nominated themselves for the seat. The election came one day after the Parliament rejected a controversial marked ballot paper used in the tough competition between Mir Rahman Rahmani and Kamal Nasir Osoli. If no one gets enough vote 50+1 today, there will be another election for the top two tomorrow. Not having had a speaker has almost stopped the parliament from the normal business since it was inaugurated over two months ago.

 

Monday, June 24

Taliban Threaten Media against Broadcasting Anti-Taliban Propaganda

In a statement, the Taliban said that it would attack media outlets like other military targets if they do not stop broadcasting the anti-Taliban “advertisements”. Several TV and radio channels broadcast Afghan security and military bodies’ advertisements regarding their anti-insurgency operations. Reacting to the Taliban’s threat, Sediqollah Tawhedi, a member of the Journalists’ Safety Committee, said.” Any attack on media outlets and reporters is a war crime as media and journalists are non-government and non-military entities.” Officially the ads are not attributed to any particular government or non-government source and the media won’t disclose the source of these advertisements but publicly they are known as US-backed and generated anti-Taliban propaganda. In the past, the group conducted a direct attack against the local Tolo TV shuttle bus killing 7 and wounding 20 for what they called broadcasting false information about the war in Kunduz in 2016. Afghan officials and media rights groups have criticized the Taliban’s threat to the country’s media as an attack on freedom of speech and urged the militant group to withdraw the warning. Nai, supporting free media in Afghanistan, launched its new report on violence against Journalists in Afghanistan. the report suggests that Media staff causality was low than the past year but abuse and bad behavior against journalists are still ongoing.

 

Sunday, June 23

Two New Cases of Polio Emerges in Urozgan

Health officials in Southern Urozgan Province say that two new polio cases have just been confirmed in Trinkot, the capital city of Urozgan Province. The paralyzed children are a 21-month-old girl and a 30-month-old boy in an area where vaccination teams were barred access. It brings the total number of confirmed polio cases in Afghanistan to 10, from the beginning of 2019 making it second country after Pakistan with the highest number of police cases this year. UNICEF says due to Taliban warning against the UN health body WHO vaccination operations stopped across the country and worry that more cases may emerge as it is the high transmission season.

Municipality Armed Force Initiated

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry announced today they have introduced a 400-strong-armed security force to the Kabul municipality to control the illegal building and help with law enforcement. It is the only force that could intervene the building affairs in coordination with the municipality. The step has been taking in the verge of complaints about the illegal building by armed militia and even high ranking officials.

Afghan TV discusses coming US-Taliban peace talks in Qatar

Ahead of the seventh round of peace talks between the US and the Taliban in Qatar, Taliban Spokesman Sohail Shaheen said that announcement of a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is their precondition for intra-Afghan dialogues. Meanwhile, “informed sources” have said that progress in peace talks is linked to an agreement between the US and the Taliban in the seventh round of Doha meeting, expected to begin on 29 June, independent Tolo News TV channel said in its Farakhabar (Beyond News) discussion program on 17 June. Discussing the issue, university lecturer Ms. Shahla Farid said: “I have a different view concerning the seventh round of US-Taliban talks. Although there are hopes, I think we will not have a significant achievement for Afghanistan. The talks would neither ensure security nor end the conflict until Afghans are excluded from it.” She further said that announcement of a ceasefire by both sides pave the ground for intra-Afghan dialogue.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

  • A number of Afghan politicians are in Pakistan to participate in a peace conference on Afghanistan. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said his country remains firmly committed to a peaceful, stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. Pakistani foreign minister, speaking at the conference in Murree, said Islamabad is not seeking strategic objectives in Afghanistan. “This distinguished gathering not only represents the broad spectrum of the political and religious landscape, but also has an important role in shaping public opinion and paving the way for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan”, he said. Taliban delegates did not participate at the conference. Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser’s office said government of Afghanistan should be involved in regional peace conferences on Afghanistan, rather than individuals and groups. The conference has elicited mixed reactions back home. While the participants – several prominent Afghan politicians, including presidential candidates – called the conference “promising”, others denounced the meeting for not involving the Afghan government. However, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said it was “complementary” to ongoing peace efforts in Doha, Moscow and other countries, critics of the process called it ‘act of oppression’ against Kabul.
  • The chairwoman of the Independent Elections Commission accompanied by a number of electoral officials has visited Dubai to purchase biometric devices for the upcoming presidential elections. A number of electoral watchdogs say a technical team should have gone to Dubai for the purchase rather than electoral officials.
  • A number of MPs have insisted that Mir Rahman Rahmani is the legal Parliament Speaker. The remarks came after MPs are still in rifts over the controversial election of Mr. Rahmani as the Parliament Speaker.MPs have criticized a number of their colleagues for breaking the property of the Parliament Speaker during a physical brawl in the parliament. They have called smash of the furniture “disrespect” to the nation and the parliament.

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