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Nato troops for Afghanistan at risk without new president this month

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(Last Updated On: September 5, 2014)

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A meeting at the Nato summit on the alliance’s plans in the country ended with no agreement on setting up a new training mission because of political paralysis in Kabul over the contested presidential election.

Western officials said talks to keep up to 12,000 troops, including more than 9,000 Americans, as trainers and advisers had effectively stalled.

Afghanistan cannot sign a security pact agreeing to the mission until it has appointed a new president. Two candidates are awaiting the result of a delayed and acrimonious vote audit after allegations the poll was marred by rampant ballot stuffing.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Nato’s secretary general, said: “Without a signature, there can be no mission.

He said: “Although the military planners have shown great flexibility in their planning, time is short and the sooner the legal framework is in place, the better.”

But without a security deal which allows troops and advisers to see how the money is being spent, officials said donors were likely to be very reluctant to commit.

Mr Rasmussen said: “We will need to know where our money is going and how it is being spent.”

 

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Eshkamish district residents voice concerns about infrastructure, service delivery problems

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

Residents of Eshkamish district of Takhar province have raised concerns about the lack of facilities in the area stating there is a severe shortage of medicine at clinics, and not enough schools and a poor electricity supply.

They have in turn called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to establish the facilities so as to provide basic public services.

Local officials have said they are prioritizing the needs of residents and looking for ways to resolve the problems.

According to locals, damaged roads, the lack of electricity, lack of medicine at clinics and a shortage of school buildings are the main problems in the district.

Village elder Hidatullah said: “We are requesting the Islamic Emirate officials cooperate with us in the reconstruction sector; we need a 50-bed hospital, they have promised us this in the past, but it has not happened.”

Another resident, Azizullah said: “Unfortunately our district is way behind with reconstruction activities; even in the past, little attention was given to the district, to its roads, bridges and schools, which are damaged.”

Residents in the districts are however satisfied with security and say they have no wish for conflict to return.

Another resident of the district, who preferred not to be named, said: “Those who are revolting, instead they can come forward, our nation has the courage to ask the Islamic Emirate for our rights through words.”

District chief, Lal Mohammad Zarqawi, said however that residents and officials should work together.

“If officials and the residents cooperate and consult with each other, the problems will be resolved, even if they are to do with reconstruction efforts.”

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Virtue and Vice Ministry reject claims of ordering gender segregation in restaurants

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(Last Updated On: May 15, 2022)

The Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has rejected claims that orders were given to restaurants in Herat to separate male and female patrons.  

This comes after reports emerged recently that officials from the provincial department of promotion of virtue and prevention of vice visited restaurants and instructed owners to separate patrons according to their gender.

However, Herat officials said this was a misunderstanding and that segregation is not being enforced and that families can eat together in restaurants and spend time together in parks.

One restaurant manager in Herat, Basir Ahmad Ahmadi, said: “When families came, we had to tell the family to sit apart … and when we told the families, they said they would go home to eat.”

Jawad Tawangar, an employee at one restaurant in Herat, said: “Fortunately, after the Ministry of Virtue and Vice responded in Kabul, the issue of restrictions has returned to normal and restaurants can allow families to eat together again.”

The spokesman for the ministry, Akef Mahajer, meanwhile said no one has the right to prevent families from walking in public together.

Mahajer: “Our compatriots can go to a hotel and restaurant with their families and have tea or go shopping with their families. The reports of segregation were untrue.”

Herat officials also said no order to this effect has been issued and that families can visit restaurants together.

Naeem ul-Haq Haqqani, Herat’s director of information and culture, said: “We reject [the reports of segregation] completely and it is not true.”

“Sitting around a table and eating with the family is not a problem from the Islamic point of view, nor from the custom of the community, but it can be useful for encouraging families and for getting more involved in the community,” said Negina Barak, a resident of Herat.

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Salma Dam’s turbines activated following recent rainfall

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(Last Updated On: May 9, 2022)

Recent rain across a large part of Afghanistan has helped increase the level of Salma Dam in Herat province, enabling authorities to activate all three power-generating turbines.

According to local officials, 80 cubic meters of water is flowing through the floodgates per second since last week’s rain.

Officials said that not only is the water being used to generate electricity but it is also being distributed to farmers for irrigation purposes.

However, the dam level is lower than this time last year due to drought, officials said.

“Currently, three power-generating turbines are active; the situation is normal and the water has been released for electricity generation and for farmers in eight districts, and there are no problems,” said Barakatullah Rahimi, the technical manager of Salma Dam.

“Every second, about 80 cubic meters of water comes out of the dam, of which 50 cubic meters is for power generating turbines and the rest is for irrigating the agricultural lands of eight districts,” said Sardar Wali Muzmal, head of the Herat River Basin.

The director of Herat’s department of agriculture, Peer Mohammad Halimi, said: “Water is distributed to eight districts of Herat through Salma Dam and we are trying to send it to other districts, so the farmers are happy.”

One farmer in the area, Halim Shah Rashidi, said the water has been released just in time for them to plant whet. “We are happy that the Salma Dam water has been released in time,” he said.

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