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Anxious Kabul residents ask ‘Who is Next?’

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(Last Updated On: December 23, 2020)
The latest assassination of a public figure, Yousuf Rashid, the CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), has not only drawn widespread condemnation but also continues to increase the levels of concern among Kabul residents in particular. 
 
Rashid was killed in a targeted attack early Wednesday morning. He was gunned down by unknown gunmen outside his house. His driver survived the attack but later died from his wounds in hospital. 
 
A clear increase in targeted assassinations, either through the use of magnetic IEDs against vehicles or by shooting, has emerged over the past few months and public figures, including civil society members, media workers and government officials appear to be the targets. 
 
However, these occurrences are now happening on an almost daily basis and Kabul residents are questioning “Who is next?”
 
In reaction to Rashid’s death, one social media user said simply on Wednesday: “Who is next? Me or you?”
 
Another social media user said on Facebook: “Where are the commanders? Where are the leaders? Those who were claiming to save Afghanistan. Today, if our brother is assassinated, tomorrow is my turn and yours.
 
“One day, come down from these palaces that you have built from the sale of Afghanistan and conducted the rescue Jihad. These governments and puppet regimes cannot stop terrorism,” the post read.
 
Scores of Kabul residents are pointing the finger at the Taliban and have said the group wants a  “silent society” – hence media and civil society members being targeted. 
 
But the Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the attacks and has in fact publicly distanced itself from some incidents. 
 
On the other hand, some people said on social media that Rashid was an outspoken critic of corruption and electoral fraud.
 
US Chargé d’Affaires to Kabul, Ross Wilson, said in response to Rashid’s assassination that he was “appalled by his murder, another in a cacophony of senseless & endless violence.” 
 
Wilson said that his death is a loss to his family, friends and the nation.
 
“Yousuf Rasheed was a dedicated and steadfast advocate for representative democracy in Afghanistan. He worked tirelessly for years to ensure free and transparent elections that engaged all Afghans,” Wilson stated.
 
Mohammad Mirza Katawazai First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly tweeted he was deeply saddened by the killing of Rashid “who was a forward looking progressive young Afghan who wanted a truly functioning democracy in the country.”
 
By Wednesday, Kabul city had witnessed an explosion every day for four days.  
 
The latest explosion on Wednesday morning left one policeman dead and two others wounded. 
 
A spokesman for the Kabul Police HQ, Ferdows Faramarz, said that an IED on a Ranger had exploded in the PD12 district at around 6:55 a.m.
 
“One policeman was killed and two others were injured,” Faramarz said.
 
Soon afterwards, Rashid was gunned down in PD while leaving home. 
 
On Tuesday, a Toyota Corolla belonging to Pul-e-Charkhi doctors was targeted. This also happened in PD 7. 
 
Five people were killed in the explosion, including at least four doctors. 
 
On Monday, one soldier and one civilian were wounded in yet another explosion – this time in PD12. On the same day, at least one civilian was killed in Paghman district in Kabul when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque. 
 
Sunday was another day of chaos when the convoy of vehicles belonging to MP Mohammad Wardak was targeted in PD5. 
 
A car bomb targeted the convoy, killing at least 10 people and wounded more than 50. 
 
Wardak survived the explosion, but extensive damage was also caused to buildings and shops in the area. 
 
So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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Thousands of Afghans protest against desecration of Quran in Sweden, Netherlands

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Thousands of people took to the streets in different cities of Afghanistan on Friday to protest against the recent desecration of the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Chanting slogans against both the European countries, protesters called for the perpetrators of the acts to be punished.

“The Holy Quran is the book of brotherhood. This book never insults the sacred things of others. We want that such offensive acts should be prevented in the future,” said Ahmad Khan, a protester in Kabul.

Ismail, another protester in Kabul, said: “We ask Islamic countries to cut off their diplomatic relations with Sweden and the Netherlands until the perpetrators of insulting the Holy Quran are publicly punished.”

Some of the protesters said that they are ready to give their lives to defend their sacred things.

“We are ready to sacrifice our heads, property and children to the Quran,” Qutbuddin said.

In the northern province of Balkh, people protested by chanting slogans against acts of insult to the Quran. The protesters asked the international community and the Muslim world to prevent such acts.

“This crime is a repeated crime. Since countries are obliged to obey to the international laws, such crimes must be stopped,” said Mohammad Naeem, a protester in Balkh.

“Muslims have taught the enemies of Quran and Islam a lesson throughout history, and they will not allow anyone to insult their religion and Quran,” said Maulvi Qahir, a protester in Balkh.

In the province of Herat, protester changed “Death to Sweden and long live Islam.”

“These countries present themselves as friends, but these acts show that they are our enemies and are real terrorists. In international laws, insulting the sacred things is considered a crime. No one has the right to insult the sacred things of a country or a religion,” said Qasim, a protester in Herat.

“We ask the international community, the United Nations and human rights organizations to bring the perpetrators of insults to the Quran to justice as soon as possible. We respect the whole world and we expect that our religion will always be respected,” said Emal, a protester in Herat.

In the east of the country, the people of Nangarhar also took to the streets after Friday prayers to condemn the desecration of Quran.

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Turkmenistan and Afghanistan renew power supply contract

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water Affairs, Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor, and the Executive Chairman of Afghanistan’s power utility company (DABS), Alhaji Maulawi Muhammad Hanif Hamza, visited Turkmenistan this week where they signed agreements for the supply of electricity and other joint initiatives.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Energy and Water Affairs, the extension of the electricity contract with Turkmenistan, the completion of the 500KV line project, the construction of Noor ul Jihad substation, and the establishment of necessary coordination for the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan project were the focus of their trip.

Mansoor said that the electricity export agreement with Turkmenistan was extended for the year 2023 and also assurances were given by Turkmenistan regarding the implementation of the projects.

The ministry underlined that with the completion of the 500 KV line and the construction of Noor ul Jihad substation, the amount of electricity imported from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan will increase by 110 megawatts.

“With the implementation of the TAP project and the 500 kV line that passes through Afghanistan to Pakistan, the residents of many provinces of Afghanistan will benefit from electricity”, the ministry said.

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FM Muttaqi meets Norwegian Charge d’Affaires for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Norwegian Chargé d’Affaires for Afghanistan Paul Koloman Bkar called on Amir Khan Muttaqi, the foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), in Kabul and discussed humanitarian aid, security, development cooperation and political issues, said Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal, the deputy spokesman of the foreign ministry.

Mr. Bkar first expressed his regret over the explosion in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and expressed that his country is determined to work together with international partners through political interaction with Afghanistan considering the current authorities and governance of Afghanistan is a reality and the world should deal with it realistically.

FM Muttaqi said efforts should be made to bring the world and Afghanistan closer to each other, Norway has good experience in this work and can play a role. He added that positive measures of the new Afghan government should be appreciated and given a positive response.

“After decades, we have ensured global security, we have effectively fought against Daesh and drugs and we are committed so that all-round stability prevails in the country and no threat is perceived from Afghanistan,” said Muttaqi.

Minister Muttaqi said, as history has shown, using pressure options in Afghanistan is not useful and now we should move forward on the path of cooperation with each other.

Meanwhile, both sides discussed incomplete projects, education and training and a number of other issues that are suspended due to some obstacles.

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