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Rights watchdog, UN and Afghan women band together over ceasefire calls

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The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and UN Women Afghanistan stated that gendered ceasefires are a prerequisite for peace talks and a negotiated settlement.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the organizations said that women across the globe have long been at the frontlines of conflict and crisis, pioneering ways to end the conflict, participating in peace, and advocating for the rights of women and girls in agreement seeking to end violent conflict. 

“Yet often, women’s expertise and priorities are excluded from formal ceasefire agreements and implementation mechanisms. In Afghanistan, women continue to risk their lives every day in the name of peace,” the statement read.

The organizations added that 2020 marked the highest number of women killed since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began systematic documentation in 2009.

Shaharzad Akbar Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission stated: “Why are we talking about ceasefires and peace when the violence rates are so high? Because this is the common demand of all Afghans, across ethnicities, across genders, across geographies, across age groups: the end of war and ceasefire. From a human rights perspective, from all perspectives, this the biggest need, working for peace”

The publication – Gender-responsive ceasefires and ceasefire agreements – was launched for highlighting how a gender-responsive ceasefire is urgently needed in the context of Afghanistan to secure the conditions for meaningful peace talks, the statement noted.

The publication outlines a practical set of recommended entry points for securing gender-related provisions in the ceasefire text as well as outlining how ceasefire agreements can address the gender dynamics of conflict, the organizations said.

The publication was launched at an event in which Abdullah Abdullah, Chairperson of High Council for National Reconciliation; Hasina Safi, Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs; Habiba Sarabi, Member of Peace Negotiation Team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; and Mette Knudsen, Deputy Special Representative of the US Secretary-General were present.

The event featured a collective call for a ceasefire from Afghan women across provinces and the international community in Kabul to put an end to all forms of violence, the organizations noted.

“For the last 40 years, women have been the major victims of war. If we really want a ceasefire that lasts, we need women to be part of it and all their needs must be taken very well into consideration. Peace is what all Afghan people want. A just peace, a peace for all. A justified peace that takes the rights of all Afghans into consideration,” Abdullah Abdullah said.

“Today’s discussion, on gender provisions in ceasefire agreements, is very timely for Afghanistan. The need to reduce violence remains. Women are concerned that their rights will be at risk, they are concerned that the civil society space is shrinking. All Afghans, particularly women, are asking for an end to violence in all its forms,” said Mette Knudsen.

Aleta Miller, a UN Women Representative in Afghanistan, stated that Afghanistan can lead the world on peace processes. 

“Globally, peace processes say little or nothing about women’s rights, and statistically equality between women and men is a pre-requisite for long-lasting peace. Afghanistan can and should be different. But for any progress to happen, violence, in all its forms, must stop. It must stop now and forever, for any peace to happen, for any peace to last, for any progress.” Miller said.

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UNSC’s ceasefire resolution an ‘initial step’ to ending Palestinian ‘genocide’: IEA

The IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” and supports the historic right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state.

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Deputy spokesperson for the foreign ministry Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal says the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan deems the adoption of this week’s resolution by the United Nations Security Council aimed at ending the war in Gaza as an initial step to end the genocide of the people in Gaza.

Takal said in a statement on Wednesday that it requires realistic negotiation to lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, ensuring a normal life for its people.

IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” – IEA foreign ministry

He stated that the IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” and supports the historic right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state.

Ceasefire resolution

The UN Security Council on Monday overwhelmingly approved its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The US-sponsored resolution welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden that the United States says Israel has accepted.

It calls on the militant Palestinian group Hamas to accept the three-phase plan.

The resolution — which was approved with 14 of the 15 Security Council members voting in favor and Russia abstaining — calls on Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Whether Israel and Hamas agree to go forward with the plan remains in question, but the resolution’s strong support in the UN’s most powerful body puts added pressure on both parties to approve the proposal.

Netanyahu has been skeptical of the deal, saying that Israel is still committed to destroying Hamas.

 

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AWCC opens new customer services center in Parun, Nuristan

Nuristan residents have welcomed the opening of AWCC’s new customer services center and the expansion of telecommunication and internet services in the province

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Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC) has officially opened a new customer services center in Parun city, the capital of Nuristan province.

AWCC officials said at the launch of the new center that customers experiencing problems with AWCC can now visit the facility for assistance – for both mobile phone and internet services.

Attaullah Sahil, head of AWCC in the eastern zone, said that telecommunication facilities will also now be increased for residents of Parun city.

Local officials, meanwhile, stated that in most areas of Nuristan, people do not have access to telecommunication and internet services and that they are trying to expand such services in the province.

“We are happy that Afghan Wireless opened its customer service office in Paron city,” said Khalid Fateh, the local director of the telecommunication and information department.

“No other network works in Nuristan except Afghan Wireless” – Nuristan resident

“We request that Afghan Wireless activate its sales offices in every district of Nuristan,” Fateh added.

Officials also said that security of telecommunication infrastructure in the province is secure enough for companies to expand their networks.

Nuristan residents have meanwhile welcomed the opening of the AWCC’s new customer services center and the expansion of telecommunication and internet services.

They have however called for the cost of the services to be reduced.

“Many thanks to Afghan Wireless for building this big office,” a resident said.

“No other network works in Nuristan except Afghan Wireless. We want more conveniences,” said another resident.

Making a difference

AWCC was recognised as Afghanistan’s Telecom Company of the Year at the 2024 Asian Telecom Awards earlier this year.

This award reflects the company’s market leadership in Afghanistan, with more than five million subscribers, the country’s largest 4G LTE network and a growing high-speed, nationwide fiber network.

In the last year, AWCC has increased its active customer base by more than 10%, primarily driven by increased data users attracted by the company’s pioneering digital-first products and services, including its innovative ASAN mobile application.

To meet this rapidly growing data demand across the country, AWCC upgraded and expanded its market-leading mobile network by almost 15%, adding nearly 200 sites to reach even more rural and remote regions.

In parallel, the company inaugurated its Kabul-Mazar-Hairaton fiber route, connecting Central Asia to South Asia and placing Afghanistan at the center of the region’s digital connectivity hub.

AWCC also ramped up its efforts to help Afghanistan and its people in the past year by utilizing its technology to deliver critical support to tackle several humanitarian challenges.

The company mobilized swiftly to provide emergency connectivity, financial, logistics and humanitarian assistance following a series of severe earthquakes in Herat, and ongoing communications support for the influx of returnees at Afghanistan’s borders, through the set-up of temporary mobile sites and distribution of free SIM cards.

Asian Telecom Awards honors businesses and initiatives like AWCC that have not only driven progress in the telecom industry but have also ignited transformative shifts that have reshaped the digital landscape.

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Iran Air starts flights to Kabul

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The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation said Wednesday that Iran Air International Airlines has launched direct flights to Kabul for the first time.

The ministry said in a statement that Iran Air will have flights to Kabul once a week.

According to the statement, Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air, Mahan, Kish, and Yazd Airlines also have flights to Iran.

Earlier, Turkish Airlines also resumed its flights to Kabul.

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