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Afghan media takes hard knock as staff resign and dozens seek asylum

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(Last Updated On: March 11, 2021)

NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, said Thursday that in the last two weeks, the number of female journalists in Nangarhar, Kandahar and Balkh provinces has dropped by a staggering 90 percent.

NAI also said not only are journalists in Afghanistan under threat, but so too are their families.

In addition, NAI stated that the solar year 1399 has been one of the bloodiest years to date for journalists in Afghanistan.

Eleven journalists and media workers have died in the country this solar year and at least 50 Afghan journalists, including men and women, have fled the country.

According to NAI, government’s apparent negligence in following up on cases involving crimes against journalists and the sharp rise in targeted killings of media workers has been a matter of grave concern for journalists.

“There are senior journalists and reporters who left the country, and among them it is said that 15 women [journalists] also left the country,” said Mujib Khelwatgar, head of NAI.

NAI says there have been three attacks on the families of journalists in the last two weeks, leaving several dead and wounded.

However, Ministry of Interior spokesman Tariq Arian said government is working on these cases.

“About 60 people have been arrested in connection with assassinations and violence against journalists, and their cases have been handed over to the prosecutor’s office,” said Arian.

On the other hand, female reporters in the capital say that no threats can silence their voices.

Khadija, a reporter for RTA Television says she has faced several threats, but has ignored the threats and is intent on continuing her work.

“Our families are also being threatened, and I, as a journalist, want to say that we are not stopping our work,” said Khadija.

This comes after the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) and 40 other civil society organizations from around the world called on the UN Security Council and UNAMA on Wednesday to support the Afghan media community by calling on all parties to stop violence against journalists in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2222 (2015).

The AFJC said in a letter to the UN, and to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) head Deborah Lyons, that the council and all parties to the letter “are deeply concerned by the torrent of targeted killings of journalists in Afghanistan since early 2020.”

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AWCC rolls out internet services to Nangarhar’s Hesarak district

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2024)

Officials from Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC) say they have activated 3G and 2G internet services in Hesarak district of Nangarhar province.

The company’s officials said that now thousands of families in this district have access to the internet.

They added that the company will expand 3G and 2G internet services in other districts of this province as well.

“This base is built as standard and today we activated 3G and 2G internet services here,” said Attaullah Sahil, head of AWCC in the eastern zone.

Nangarhar officials meanwhile welcomed AWCC’s move to provide the Hesarak people with internet services and said they hoped residents of other areas will also be provided with the same service.

“An Afghan wireless base has been activated in this district that currently provides 3G and 2G internet services,” said Zabihullah Zaki, Nangarhar’s director of Information Technology and Telecommunication.

In the meantime, the residents of Hesarak district are happy that they have access to the new generation of internet services but call for costs to be reduced.
“We are very happy that the Afghan wireless base was activated here,” said a resident of Hesarak district.

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Muttaqi to UNAMA head: Doha meeting had no tangible outcome

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi said in a meeting with UNAMA head Roza Otunbayeva that the Islamic Emirate closely monitored the Doha meeting and observed that the meeting did not render a “particular result”.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, the spokesman of the foreign ministry, said in a statement on X that Muttaqi said the Islamic Emirate hopes that the interactive meetings with the Islamic Emirate will lead to good results.

According to Muttaqi, for the meetings to be effective, there should be comprehensive discussions with the Islamic Emirate on issues related to Afghanistan.

Balkhi, quoting Otunbaeva said from the point of view of Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, no action should be taken to complicate the work with the Islamic Emirate in appointing a special representative for Afghanistan.

The second meeting of special representatives for Afghanistan was held on Sunday and Monday in Doha. The Islamic Emirate did not participate.

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Work gets underway on Hairatan-Mazar section of Balkh to Uzbekistan railway line

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

Reconstruction of a section of the Mazar-e-Sharif-Uzbekistan railway line has started at a cost of $6.3 million, Balkh provincial officials said.

Local officials said the 75-km long line will start at Balkh airport and stretch to Uzbekistan.

The reconstruction of this railway line has been contracted to an Uzbek company and is expected to be operational in three months, officials said.

This railway line, which carries freight, links Hairatan land port to Mazar.

“The cost of this contract is approximately six million and 300 thousand US dollars,” said Mohammad Shafiq Mahmood, the head of Balkh railway.

Local authorities have said the reactivation of this line is important for economic growth and the expansion of trade ties.

“We thank our friendly neighbor Uzbekistan for coming here and starting this project,” said Noorul Hadi Abu Idris, the deputy governor of Balkh.

Mazar-e-Sharif-Uzbekistan railway transports commercial goods from the city of Termez in Uzbekistan first to the commercial town of Hairatan and then to the Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi Airport.

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