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Living with so much violence is no way to live: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: December 25, 2020)

US Special Representative for National Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has condemned the recent assassinations of public figures, and said such levels of violence “breed a climate of fear” and could drive more people away from their homeland.

Khalilzad’s statement came just hours after the latest in a string of targeted attacks, which claimed the life of Freshta Kohistani, a women’s rights activist, who was gunned down in Kapisa province on Thursday evening.

In a series of tweets overnight Friday, Khalilzad also reacted to the killing of Yousef Rasheed, the CEO for Afghanistan Free and Fair Election Foundation (FEFA).

Rasheed was killed in a targeted shooting outside his house in Kabul on Wednesday morning. The FEFA CEO and his driver both died in a hail of bullets.

Khalilzad said: “Yousef Rasheed’s assassination is reprehensible. We condemn it. We also condemn the recent murder of several doctors working in Puli Charkhi and women’s rights activist Freshta Kohistani.”

He said the perpetrators of these attacks “must be held accountable.”

“Yousef was a patriot. He dedicated himself to making his country a better place. He advocated peace and progress. He was sensitive to grievances of all sides,” Khalilzad stated.

“People like Yousef and Freshta are essential for any society. They are its conscience and keep its heart beating. They should not be fearful, intimidated, or worse, killed,” he stated.

“Living with so much violence is no way to live. It breeds a climate of fear. Fear will drive more Afghans to leave their homeland. Who will then be left to advocate for rights and freedoms?

“This is not the way a society will thrive and prosper.

“These targeted killings and assassinations must stop. They threaten the peace process. The Afghan people demand peace.

 

“A ceasefire and political settlement remain urgent. I urge the negotiating parties to redouble their efforts. We stand ready to help,” Khalilzad said.

Psychological war game

On Thursday, Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh said Afghanistan’s enemy was playing a “psychological war game” by trying to create fear, panic, despair and division as it stepped up high-profile targeted assassinations around the country.

Referring to recent assassinations and attempted assassinations, Danesh said under the current circumstances “we need to tighten our ranks in every way and not give in to the enemy’s psychological warfare.”

Danish said the aim of recent attacks was to destabilize the entire system, the values of the past 20 years, to create fear, panic, despair, division, distance between government and the people, to gain points at the negotiating table or to stop the peace process.

A marked increase in violence has wracked the country since the start of the peace talks process in Doha in September but in recent weeks targeted killings have also been on the rise.

On Wednesday, Rasheed and his driver Sami were killed in Kabul by unknown gunmen, a day after five doctors were also killed in the city in a targeted IED explosion.

On Monday night, Rahmatullah Nikzad, a freelance reporter and head of a media safety union was gunned down in Ghazni while he was reportedly on his way to mosque.

Nikzad with the fifth journalist killed in the past two months.

Since November 7, former TOLOnews presenter Yama Siawash; Radio Azadi reporter Elyas Daee; Enekaas TV presenter in Nangarhar Malala Maiwand; and Ariana News presenter Fardin Amini were all killed in separate incidents.

Other targeted attacks over the past few months have also included government figures, including the failed attempt on the life of the First Vice President on September 9.

Amrullah Saleh survived the targeted IED explosion against his convoy of armored vehicles but 10 civilians in the immediate area were killed.

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Former commander of Faryab’s uprising forces returns to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

A well-known commander of former uprising forces in Faryab province, Nizamuddin Qaisari, returned to Afghanistan on Sunday after fleeing the country.

Qaisari’s returns comes after efforts were made by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Contact Commission with Afghan Personalities.

Speaking at a meeting after his arrival, Qaisari said the reason for his return is so he can serve his country. He also called on the IEA to form an inclusive government that represents all ethnic groups in the country

“I came for my people; now we have Islamic government; I want to help and work for the government if they want [me] to; I am ready to serve,” Qaisari said. “I am here to unify people, Pashtun, Hazara, Tajik and others.”

The IEA meanwhile welcomes the return of political figures, even those who were once opposed to the Islamic Emirate, the IEA has said.

Experts believe that Afghanistan is the shared home of all Afghans, and the return of political figures and experts in various fields can provide the basis for lasting stability as well as growth and prosperity of Afghanistan.

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Polio vaccination campaign rolls out in western Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

More than one million Afghan children are expected to be vaccinated over the next few days in the latest polio vaccination campaign that was launched in western Afghanistan on Sunday.

Officials said the campaign will run for four days and be conducted across four provinces in the western region.

Waheed Rahmani, head of the vaccination campaign, said that 1.1 million children under the age of five are expected to receive the polio drops, including 720,000 in Herat province.

He said that so far there are no obstacles in the way of rolling out the campaign.

Volunteers said that they hope to reach all the children who need to be vaccinated.

“I along with my team will work honestly to make Afghanistan free from polio virus,” said Fina Nezami, a volunteer.

“I hope that Afghanistan becomes polio-free and we are happy to go door to door for vaccinations,” said Yagana Nabizada, another volunteer.

Local health officials have assured the public that all areas will be covered by the campaign.

“We have not forgotten areas, and while planning vaccination programs, all the areas are reviewed and if any area is left out, it will be immediately covered,” said Mohammad Asif Kabir, provincial deputy health director.

Around 728,000 children received polio drops in the previous campaign in Herat. Around 5,000 volunteers are involved in the current campaign in Herat.

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China pledges over $7 million in aid for quake victims

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

China’s ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu met with Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and said his country would provide emergency aid worth 50 million Yuan ($7.5 million) for victims of last week’s earthquake. 

At a meeting on Saturday in Kabul, Wang also said that MCC Mes Aynak copper mining contractor would provide $200,000 in aid. 

Wang said on Twitter: “Chinese enterprises will definitely fulfill their social responsibilities. The friendship between 2 countries and peoples will be further strengthened.”

Muttaqi thanked the Chinese government and people for the timely assistance and assured Wang that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities would distribute the aid promptly, fairly and transparently, state-run Bakhtar news agency reported. 

Aid provided by China will include tents, sheets, fold up beds, and other items urgently needed by the Afghan people. The first batch of aid is scheduled to arrive by charter flight on Monday, Bakhtar reported.

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