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Taliban should stop killing Afghans: NSC

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(Last Updated On: May 2, 2020)

The National Security Council has called on the Taliban to reduce violence, saying that the group should not seek an agreement with a foreign country to stop the violence against people of Afghanistan.

The NSC has welcomed the release of prisoners by the Taliban and urges the group to reduce its attacks on civilians and Afghan forces. 

“The Taliban should not wait for an agreement with foreign countries to stop the killing of Afghans,” said Javed Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council. 

So far, the government has released 550 Taliban prisoners, a move forward the kick start of the intra-Afghan negotiations for ending the long-term conflict in the country.

In exchange, the group has released 112 prisoners of the Afghan government.

The National Security Council said that it would release the 950 remaining inmates of the Taliban in the upcoming days.

 But apparently, the Taliban still demands the release of several key members of the group. 

According to sources close to the Taliban, not releasing these key members made the Taliban increase the violence. 

Khalil Safi, Head of the Afghan Peace Center said: “The failure to release these prisoners has halt peace process and increased clashes.” 

Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in a series of tweets: “civilians still suffer from IED blast, targeted assassinations, and other consequences of the ongoing war. To protect them all sides must act now to end the violence.” 

“Both the Taliban and the government need to accelerate efforts to release prisoners and lower violence, which is the fastest means to intra-Afghan negotiations and a comprehensive permanent ceasefire,” Khalilzad added. 

Meanwhile, Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander said: “Trust should be earned, and talks about ceasefire should be done in the intra-Afghan talks.” 

Although 5,000 Taliban prisoners were to be released in exchange for 1,000 Afghan prisoners in ten days after the signing of the US-Taliban peace agreement. However, the process is progressing slowly and there is no sign of negotiations between Afghans.

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UN official appeals foreign greater int’l aid after visit to quake-hit region

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

A top UN official in Afghanistan appealed on Sunday for greater international aid for the country, after he visited communities affected by last week’s devastating earthquake.

“Yesterday’s visit reaffirmed to me both the extreme suffering of people in Afghanistan and their tremendous resolve in the face of great adversity,” said Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan.

The UN and its partners have developed a three-month emergency appeal, included within their humanitarian plan for Afghanistan this year, to respond to the catastrophe.

The goal is to scale up and expedite the delivery of humanitarian and resilience assistance to nearly 362,000 people in the two provinces, Paktika and Khost, that were most affected.

“Notwithstanding the phenomenal generosity that donors have already displayed to Afghanistan over these past tumultuous ten months, I urge the international community to dig deep at this time, as the population confronts yet another emergency, and to pledge support to these life-saving and life-sustaining efforts,” he said.

On Saturday, Alakbarov, accompanied by representatives from other UN agencies, travelled to the villages of Mir Sahib and Khanadin, located in Gayan district, Paktika province – one of the areas worst affected by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

More than 1,000 people are reported killed and another 2,000 injured in the earthquake in east Afghanistan. According to UN data, 235 people were killed and 600 others were injured in Gayan district alone.

The delegation met with residents, many of whom had lost family members and friends, including several orphaned and separated children, and whose homes are now uninhabitable.

“In addition to food assistance and emergency shelter and repair, interventions such as the restoration of damaged water pipes and cholera prevention and preparedness activities are absolutely vital, as are the restoration of communication lines, road access, and basic livelihoods,” said Alakbarov.

“Without such transitional support, women, men, and children will continue to endure unnecessary and unimaginable hardship,” he added.

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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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