05 April 2020

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Tuesday March 31, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Ministry of Finance says more than two billion Afghanis (over $26 million) reduction has been seen in national revenues for the first three months of the current fiscal year compared to the same period last year.
National revenues were more than 37 billion Afghanis ($480 million) in the first three months of last fiscal year, while it is around 35 billion Afghanis ($455 million) for the same period this year, according to the Finance Ministry.
Shamroz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, said the reduction is due to "political issues," but also to decreases in customs tax.
“At the beginning of the new fiscal year, we had some political issues which directly impacted the revenues. Also, the imports and exports have also had their impacts as the country’s borders were inactive,” he said. “These all resulted in a reduction (in the revenues) compared to the last year.”
Reports indicate that Afghanistan’s neighbors have closed their borders to trade over the coronavirus outbreak. This has also increased grocery prices in local markets.
Experts said that prevention of corruption is the only way to ensure an increase in the revenues under the current circumstances.
“Transparency and monitoring and new economic plans should be taken into consideration by the government,” said Taj Mohammad, an economic affairs expert. “We might face further problems if the situation created by the coronavirus outbreak continues.”
The figures show that this is the first time in the last five years that the national revenues have fallen.

Tuesday March 31, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said that the country needed $100 million while they only have $18 million. He said, “it is nothing.”
The number of coronavirus cases was rising in Afghanistan was increasing because the Public Health Ministry does not have access to the required budget to fight the pandemic, the Minister has said.
Four members of NATO’s Resolute Support mission are also among those who have contracted the virus in Afghanistan, he added.
“We have three deaths and five recovery cases… Based on our plan, we might need $100 million while right now we have $18 million and it is nothing,” said Feroz.
Lawmakers also confirmed hurdles in the government’s campaign against the spread of the coronavirus.
“The Ministry of Public Health does not have the required facilities in access. More than 5,000 passengers and refugees are entering Herat from Iran on a daily basis and 1,000 to 2,000 others are entering Nimroz.
“There should be proper measures for these people,” said Najibullah Nasir, head of the health committee of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament, a local television channel, ToloNews reported.
“Based on our information, other areas are also faced with problems, and so far no attention has been paid to them,” said Jawed Safi, an MP.
As part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the government on Friday announced a three-week lockdown in Kabul.
There are 145 positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Afghanistan on Monday.

Sunday, 29 March 2020 09:19

Taliban Attack Repulsed in Faryab

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Maimana (BNA) Taliban attack repealed in Faryab yesterday and suffered casualties to them.
Mohammad Hanef Rezayee spokesman of Shaheen 209 army corps told BNA, a group of Taliban stormed on parts of Ghormach district, Faryab, which was faced with sever resistance of security forces.
Four Taliban have been killed and eight others were injured in the incident, he added.
T. Yarzada

Sunday, 29 March 2020 09:18

Suicide Bomber Killed in Baghlan

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Pul-e-Khomri (BNA) A suicide bomber has been killed in Baghlan yesterday.
Khan Zada Mazlomyar governor of Baghlan Markazi district told BNA local correspondent, the suicide bomber riding motorcycle wanted to enter from north of Baghlan Markazi district to center of the city, his improvised explosive device exploded along the way and killed him.
Two civilians including a child have been injured in the event.
Doctors in Baghlan Markazi hospital reported the health condition of the injured child critical.
T. Yarzada

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Acting Minister of Information and Culture, Hasina Safi, chaired an administrative meeting of the ministry here yesterday morning, BNA reported.
According to the agency, Minister Safi delivered necessary instructions to the deputy ministers of publications, youth, culture and tourism affairs, stressing prevention of gap in their working affairs.
Emphasizing on the precautionary measures for COVID-19, the acting minister said working affairs of the ministry should be organized in such away that to prevent the gap as well as step up efforts for prevention of the Coronavirus. The deputy ministers also briefed Minister Safi on their programs during the lockdown, according to the agency.
Praising deputy ministry’s programs, the acting minister called coordination and cooperation key to prevent spread of the fatal disease.

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health says out of 106 suspected corona virus samples tested during the past 24 hours in Kabul and Herat laboratories, 15 were positive.
Wahidullah Mayar, speaking at the daily press conferences to update on coronavirus held in Government Media and Information Center said of the 15 new cases of coronavirus, 11 were in Herat, 3 in Farah and 1 in Ghazni.
The total number of positive cases has reached 106 in country that includes the new 15 positive cases of coronavirus.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, meanwhile, said that a coronavirus patient has recovered in Samangan province in past 24 hours, and a total of five people recovered so far across the country.
Mayar, meanwhile, announced the exemption of government hospitals and clinics' fees, saying the MoPH had exempted the fee for patients until the situation gets better.
He once again urged the citizens to observe the lockdown, pay attention to MoPH messages and instructions in order to prevent the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Kabul governor Mohammad Yaqub Haidari said all Kabul residents must stay at home, avoid non-essential movements and avoid gatherings. He said the residents should be ready to provide valid reasons--such as health or security reasons-- if they leave their homes. He said all sports places, wedding halls, shrines and public gathering places would remain closed. “All buses should stop movements in the city. All stores, except grocery stores, should remain closed, he added.
Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said the lockdown plan will be put in place because Kabul has a large population and the coronavirus is spreading. He says the lockdown will go into effect Saturday.
It is estimated that over 25 million people will be infected with the coronavirus in Afghanistan, Feroz said, and at least 16 million of them will show symptoms. But he said the spread can be prevented if measures are implemented.

Sunday, March 29, 202d
Kabul (BNA) As many as 231 historical artifacts of the Bakhtar Treasury exhibited in various European, American, Australian and Asian countries were returned home on Tuesday, the Ministry of Information and Culture said Friday.
The objects found from Tapa-e-Falul, Aykhanum, Tellah Tapa, Bagram and Tapa-e-Zargan have been put in show for up to 13 years in the museums of different countries and visited by up to 5 million people.
According to the statement, the exhibition was for the first time held in a French Museum in November 21, 2006.
Based on a specific timeline, the exhibitions were held following signing separate agreements with any of the hosting countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, US, Canada, Germany, England, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Japan, South Korea and China, under the national and international standards, said the statement.
The total revenues from the exhibition of Afghanistan treasuries (Bakhtar Treasury), which was held in 13 world countries reached to 314 million, 319, 436.90 Afghanis which was added to the government account.
The latest exhibition of the artifacts was held in China, with $391, 042 revenues transferred to the government budget, said the statement.
Beside financial revenues, exhibition of the artifacts has had its important portion in the enlightening of public minds of the hosting countries, for the country’s cultural heritages and rich history at the world level.
Exhibitions of the country’s historical objects have also drew attention from a number of countries to return the looted historical artifacts to the country, said the statement. “The return of up to 15,000 artifacts from foreign world countries has direct relation to the held exhibition.”
In a recent measure, the coronavirus-19 pandemic caused the return of the country’s historical artifacts from Hong Kong to be restored in the country’s reservoirs for technical rest and after a while, by the direction of the cabinet of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, to be prepared for the world tour.
Hereby, the honored people of the country are informed that with the recommendation of the Ministry of Information and Culture and approval of the High Presidential Office, a professional and administrative commission has been set up to manage the explanation and emplacement of the of the Bakhtar Treasury exhibition’s historical pieces which are reached to the country and duly prepare them for the next exhibition in Afghanistan National Museum.
The commission members are representatives from government institutions, including the ministry of Finance, General Administration for the Presidential Affairs, National Directorate of Security, Attorney General Office, professionals from the committee for holding the exhibitions and professional cadres led by Afghanistan National Museum, the statement concluded.

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke with the UN Secretary General António Guterres via phone the other day, a statement from the presidential palace said.
The UN Secretary General via telephonic conversation with President Ashraf Ghani has pledged support in fight against Covid-19, according to the statement.
SG Guterres held telephonic talks with President Ghani on Thursday evening in which he congratulated the president on his re-election and stressed that fight against Covid-19 was vital as fight against terrorism.
The secretary general said that UN would remain supportive to Afghanistan in fight against Covid-19. The president thanked the UN Chief for his support to Afghanistan in different areas including fight against Covid-19.
Meanwhile the UN Secretary General expressed concern over return of thousands of Afghan refugees from Iran amid increasing threats of COVID-19, saying his agency would support Afghan government in this regard, the statement added.

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Kabul (BNA The US, NATO, EU and Germany have welcomed the introduction of a negotiating team by the government for talks with Taliban.
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted: “I want to congratulate Afghan government, political & civil society leaders for coming together. They've forged an inclusive negotiating team for talks with the Taliban. The delegation reflects the true tapestry of the nation and the instrumental role of women.”
Meanwhile, The US embassy in Kabul said: “We welcome an important step in the Afghan Peace Process. These people carry the expectations of the nation on their shoulders.
“We're ready to facilitate their preparation in face-to-face negotiations with the Taliban, to turn the promise of peace into a reality in Afghanistan,” the embassy added.
The NATO senior civilian representative (SCR) called the formation of the negotiating team as a crucial step on the road to peace. He said: “NATO welcomes efforts of Afghans to come together at this pivotal moment and we look forward to the start of intra-Afghan negotiations ASAP to reach a comprehensive peaceful settlement with the Taliban.”
EU special envoy Ronal Kobia also welcomed the delegation’s formation as a key step towards the start of intra-Afghan negotiations as per commitments in the Doha agreement.
“It also positively signals a much-needed agreement & cooperation between the various political forces in Kabul,” said the EU diplomat.
Germany’s special envoy Potzel Markus said his country hailed the formation of the inclusive negotiating team. “Some of them already gained experience at Doha dialogue in July last year, five women among these 21 members - not bad. Now, it's time to start intra-AFG negotiations ASAP!”
The Afghan government has finalized a 21-member team — including five women — who will negotiate with the Taliban in upcoming talks aimed at ending Afghanistan's 18-year-old conflict.
The move is a crucial step in bringing the warring parties to the table and getting a floundering, US-led peace process back on track.
Former National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief, Massoum Stanekzay would lead the negotiating team that includes 14 men, including the offspring of the two key warlords, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, former first-vice president and Ata Mohammad Noor, former Balkh Governor, and five women, according to the statement.
Massoum Stanekzay, the former chief of National Directorate of Security (NDS), Nader Naderi, Chairman of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC), Matin Bek, the head of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), Habiba Sarabi, the deputy head of the High Peace Council (HPC), Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, the former Minister of Economy, Khalid Noor, son of former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor, Kalimullah Naqibi, the deputy head of Jamiat-e-Islami party, Rassoul Talib, adviser to the president and Enayatullah Baligh, the presidential religious advisor and a member of the Ulama Council are the negotiating team members representing the government in peace talks with the Taliban.
Other members of the team are Shahla Fareed, a university lecturer, Mohammad Natiqi, the former chairman of the Committee of Political Parties and Political Movements, Abdul Hafiz Mansour, a former member of the parliament, Zaynab Muahhed, a member of Jamiat-e-Islami, Batur Dostum, the son of former first vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum and Dr. Amin Ahmadi, a university lecturer.
Another member, Amin Karim will also represent the Hizb-e-Islami party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the delegation.
Zarar Ahmad Moqbel, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zakia Wardak, the director of the Society of Afghan Women in Engineering and Construction and Ayoub Ansari, the former police commander of Herat, are also parts the team.
The presidential statement said the team was appointed after ‘much deliberation and consultation with all parties and influential segments of society,’ to advance peace talks with the Taliban.
“The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan wishes the delegation success and calls on them to consider, at all stages of negotiations, the best interest of the country, the shared values of the Afghan people, and the principle stand of the country for a united Afghanistan, and strive for lasting peace and stability in the country,” said the statement said.
Meantime, Abdul Salam Rahimi, the Special Representative of the President and the State Minister for Peace said that the ministry will manage all decision-making mechanism on behalf of the government and facilitate and support the progression of the peace process.

Friday March 27, 2020

Kabul (BNA) Canadian Ambassador to Israel Deborah Lyons has been appointed as the U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan, said U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric in a press briefing on Tuesday.
“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today announced the appointment of Deborah Lyons of Canada as his new Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA),” said Dujarric.
Lyons succeeds Tadamichi Yamamoto, who has served in the role since 2016.
Lyons served as Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan for three years before becoming Ottawa’s representative to Israel in 2016.
Her appointment comes as the United States and its NATO partners seek to reduce their military footprint in Afghanistan, where the United States has been fighting the Taliban and other insurgent forces since October 2001.
A peace agreement was reached last month between the United States and the Taliban that includes a timeline for what could be an eventual total withdrawal of the roughly 12,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, contingent on the Taliban meeting certain conditions, including talks with the Afghan government and severing ties with fellow terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda.

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