05 April 2020

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Sunday, March 22, 2020
Pul-e-Khomri (BNA) Eight Taliban insurgents were killed in Baghlan last night.
Mohammad Nabi Nabizada Shaheryar public order commander stationed in Kelagai told BNA correspondent, the insurgents were killed while attacked on security bases in Baghlan Markazi district.
Three Taliban insurgents were also injured and other armed Taliban fled the area.
T. Yarzada

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The foreign diplomats based in Kabul in their congratulatory messages on the occasion of Afghanistan’s New Year 1399 (Nowruz), called for greater efforts for peace by ending political discord, and urged more attention to fighting the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The British Ambassador to Kabul Alison Blake said the world is facing an unprecedented challenge and “we need to come together and put aside political and all differences to tackle it.” She reiterated that the UK stands with Afghanistan and its people.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, in his message on Nawroz called on Afghan politicians to reach an agreement on an inclusive government.
Khalilzad said the best gift Afghan leaders can give the country in the solar new year is to reach an agreement on an "inclusive government" to end the political crisis, take the "needed steps" to take advantage of a "historic opportunity for peace," and to work together--including the Taliban--to contain and take care of the people from the scourge of the coronavirus.
EU ambassador in Kabul, Pierre Mayaudon, wished a prosperous year for Afghans and said unity is crucial at this moment.
“We know that peace has never been so close but for this peace to correspond to your aspirations, to be a peace of freedom and dignity for all Afghans, it is absolutely crucial that you are united, you put national interests first and you stay firm in defending and promoting the gains of the last 19 years. In this endeavor, you have all the support of the European Union,” the EU envoy said.
“Nevertheless, in the interest of health, your health and the health of your families, I encourage you to follow the instructions provided by the official authorities,” he said, regarding the coronavirus.
NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, Nicholas Kay, also called for efforts to end the political crisis in the country.
“My hope this Nawroz is that Afghan people will have their wishes come true. They wish to see their political leaders unite themselves and unite the country in the interests of peace and fighting the coronavirus,” Kay said.
He called on the Taliban “to respect the wishes of the Afghan people to have a humanitarian pause in the combat so the country can unite and fight the coronavirus together.”
The Canadian ambassador to Kabul, Dave Metcalfe, said “this Nawroz brings special meaning to all of us with the prospects for peace within reach.”
“Canada proudly supports the efforts of Afghans for bringing positive change in the country and who fight tirelessly to build prosperity and advance the equal rights of every member of the society,” he said.
He said there could be nothing greater than the achievement of inclusive peace this year.
India’s embassy in Afghanistan, in a message on Twitter, wished Afghans a happy and prosperous Nawroz and recommended to Afghans to stay safe and take all precautions to avoid COVID-19.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Kabul (BNA) In clear contrast to the usual hustle and bustle of spring festivals, Afghanistan on Friday marked Nevruz in calm amid fears of new coronavirus spreading globally.
The usual picnic resorts for families in the capital Kabul were clearly empty while the main attraction in north of the country, Mazar-e-Sharif, also presented deserted images with people adopting social distancing on government directives.
Nowruz marks New Year's Day in Afghanistan with the Solar Hijri calendar as their official calendar. In his Nevruz message, President Ashraf Ghani stressed unity among Afghans and drastic reforms in the system of governance were pivotal for peace.
This came as Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, strives to resolve the lingering electoral rift between President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and his former power-sharing Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, which lead to parallel oath taking ceremonies for the top position earlier this month.
In his Nevruz message, Khalilzad said: "The best gift Afghan leaders can give the country on this occasion is: 1. They reach an agreement on an inclusive government and end the political crisis; 2. They take the needed steps to take advantage of historic opportunity for peace; 3. They work together including the Taliban to contain and take care of the people from the scourge of the coronavirus."
As a war-ravaged country with a fragile health system, Afghanistan has so far confirmed 24 positive cases of coronavirus.
All confirmed cases have been linked to Iran, Dr. Abdul Hakeem head of public health department in the western border province of Herat.
Afghanistan shares a 920-kilometer (572-mile) porous border with Iran which reported over 18,000 coronavirus cases so far, making it the fourth-most-affected country after China, South Korea and Italy.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Kabul (BNA) NATO is scaling down military exercises in Europe to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but alliance missions are continuing, including the drawdown of the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan following a peace agreement last month.
“Some of our exercises have been modified or canceled ... but our forces remain ready,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a video news conference the other day.
The U.S. Army has already announced a halt to movement of military personnel from the United States to Europe and said it plans to scale down its Defender Europe 20 exercises, billed as NATO’s biggest war games in Europe since the Cold War.
Stoltenberg encouraged NATO countries to maintain their military spending despite the economic shock of the virus outbreak, because of the role the military can play in helping to fight it.
“We see that in many allied countries, the armed forces are providing support,” Stoltenberg said, citing logistics, border security, military hospitals and other medical support.
Stoltenberg said there had been no reports of infections of the disease among members of NATO’s military mission in Afghanistan and that troops would continue to come home as agreed under a U.S. peace deal with the Taliban last month.
The head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said on Thursday that there was a temporary pause in new troops moving into the country, however.
U.S. General Scott Miller said that additionally, 1,500 service members, civilians and contractors who arrived within the past week would be staying in screening facilities as a precaution.
Germany said on Tuesday its troops going in and out of Afghanistan from Germany would be quarantined for 14 days to avoid the virus spreading into military operations.
NATO’s train-and-advise mission in Afghanistan will draw down to around 12,000 personnel from 16,000 over the next 135 days, Stoltenberg said, although he said this would depend on the Taliban continuing to reduce violence.
NATO is taking preventative measures across all its operations, including regularly taking the temperatures of its personnel, officials have said.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Kristalina Georgieva, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund extended his congratulation to President Ashraf Ghani on securing the second term in office, a statement from the presidential press office said on Friday.
Having sent a letter to President Ghani, the IMF Executive Director has wished him and the government of Afghanistan success in efforts to address the challenges that Afghanistan faces, most crucially achieving long-lasting peace and prosperity for the Afghan people, according to the statement.
The letter reads, “Afghanistan and the IMF have a long history of close cooperation, including most recently in the context of the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility arrangement which was successfully completed last December.”
Kristalina Georgieva has reaffirmed the IMF’s commitment to build on the excellent relationship between Afghanistan and IMF and expressed support for the president’s reform efforts to achieve inclusive growth, strengthen macroeconomic stability and improve governance, the statement added.
According to the letter as quoted by the statement, the IMF said was keen to continue engagement with Afghan authorities including on the new arrangements in which the Afghan government has expressed interest.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani chaired a videoconference on Thursday to assess the COVID-19 outbreak in western Herat province, a statement from the presidential palace said.
Both vice-presidents, the president’s special advisor on trade affairs, the national security adviser, Herat officials, civil society activists and media representatives attended Thursday’s conference.
President Ghani has ordered preparations for dealing with any emergency situation, hinting at changes in the budget in case of need. All available resources would be used to battle the coronavirus, he said at the video conference on the government’s response to the virus spread in Herat province.
Herat Governor Abdul Qayyum Rahimi and provincial council members shared with the president their strategies for containing the COVID-19.
The officials said a team of experts from Kabul had arrived in Herat, where work is ongoing on a 100-bed hospital, according to the statement.
President Ghani said he would take stock of the coronavirus situation in every two days through video conferences with provincial officials. With regard to a proposal from Chinese advisors to quarantine Herat, the president suggested a comprehensive national debate on the topic.
"If Coronavirus gets stronger, we will change the entire national budget and go back to parliament. You have to pay attention to the private sector to be able to manage the situation,” the president told the meeting.
President Ghani directed the relevant organs to get prepared for a possible emergency situation. He assured the authorities concerned of full support from the government.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday evening, in a recorded video, wished the country a happy solar new year and called for unity among the people to achieve peace. President Ghani said the government dubs 1399 the "year of unity and reform."
“Now that we are hopeful for peace more than ever, there is a need for unity more than ever,” the president said, adding peace required unity and cooperation from all Afghans. “Therefore, a real peace and stability require us to be more serious in reforms.”
President Ghani said corruption is an enemy to the country, same as the war. “Bringing reform and making it succeed requires joining hands together and not staying stuck in the past, but moving forward together towards a brighter future,” he said. The president called on Afghan politicians to come together to overcome the political crisis in the country.
“The country’s political elites should join hands together and move forward towards implementing the wishes and demands of the people of Afghanistan, who are the real owners of this land,” he said.
The president said that this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, public gatherings on the New Year should be conducted in a way that does not attract crowds. “We can celebrate the new year by planting a sapling, cleaning a road, saving a tree, watering agricultural land, and in many other ways,” he said.
The president called on parents to pay attention to their children’s education at home, as schools are closed countrywide for a month over the coronavirus. 
“As you are aware, schools will be closed until the end of Hamal (April 18) over the coronavirus. We call on families to encourage their children in these days to not waste their time and continue their studies at home,” he said.
The First Lady Rula Ghani also sent a message to the people on the solar New Year and said she wishes that the country will overcome the health crisis of coronavirus in the near future.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Jalalabad (BNA) Taliban senior commander was killed in clearing operation in Nangarhar last night.
Mullah Tahwel known Mansor was targeted by security forces raid in Shirzad district.
Selab army corps in east of country with releasing a statement said, the Taliban key commander was killed and three of his colleagues have been injured in Afghan security forces raid on a hideout of them in Shirzad district.
According to another report, police of Nangarhar discovered and defused ten mines from busy roads of the province and prevented from a series of explosions.
T. Yarzada

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Mahmoddraqi (BNA) Four policemen were lost their lives and three others have been wounded in Taliban group attack in Kapisa.
According to reports, two popular uprisings against Taliban were also martyred in the attack, and six assailants were killed in the raid.
The event occurred while Taliban stormed on a police checkpoint in Nejrab district.
Security official of Kapisa told BNA, four policemen were lost their lives and three other have been wounded.
Another report says, police of Kapisa discovered and seized six mines from crowded ways of the province and prevented from a series of explosions.
Security officials blamed Taliban for the failed mine planting.
T. Yarzada

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Aibak (BNA) A large consignment of Taliban explosive discovered in Samangan.
National security officials say, the consignment of the explosive have been seized from Charboldak district.
Mohammad Hashim Modqiq governor of Hazrat Sultan district of Samangan told BNA, a man has been detained on suspicion of smuggling of the consignment.
The consignment is to be transported from Charboldak of Balkh to Taliban headquarters in Selisai region, Hazrat Sultan district and parts of it to Chardara district, Kunduz.
T. Yarzada

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