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Task team finds Mi-17 helicopter downed in Wardak by ATGM

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(Last Updated On: May 26, 2021)

The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) delegation, tasked to probe the helicopter crash in Maidan Wardak province in March, said in a report Tuesday that the Mi-17 military chopper had been hit by an anti-tank guided-missile (ATGM).

The delegation shared its findings two months after the Mi-17 was shot down during a military operation in Behsud district in Wardak. Four pilots and five security force members were killed in the incident.

ATGMs range in size from shoulder-launched weapons, which can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod-mounted weapons, which require a squad or team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems.

Government officials meanwhile accused fighters loyal to a public uprising forces’ commander Abdul Ghani Alipour, also known as commander Shamsher (Sword), of shooting down the helicopter.

Alipour has however consistently denied his involvement in the incident and stated in a sound clip: “We have nothing to fire one with from the air. Maybe those who are filming from the air shot it. If it was me, I would from the ground not from the air because we have only got RPG rockets and have no access to missiles.”

The Wolesi Jirga team’s findings meanwhile also indicate that the helicopter was hit by an ATGM capable of hitting targets in a range between 1.5 km to 5 km and that “the helicopter was hit from a distance of 3 km, which means ordinary rockets such as RPG or Type 82 rocket launcher is useless [at hitting] targets from this distance.”

According to the report, the missile is made by Russia and China, while Iran has also manufactured a copied version of the weapon.

The Wolesi Jirga’s findings, however, did not elaborate who was behind the downing of the helicopter but it stated: “When the missile was fired, the area was under the control of men loyal to Alipour.”

Meanwhile, a number of Afghan MPs stated that the findings lack details and accurate information.

“Neither Alipour has the capability of shooting down the helicopter using guided-missiles nor has he access to such kinds of rockets,” MP Ahmad Shah Ramazan said.

MP Shegofa Noorzai stated: “We want more clarity about the downing of the helicopter, the findings need more discussions and in the next sessions the main clues about how the helicopter was hit must be found out.”

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UN’s special rapporteur in Afghanistan to assess human rights situation

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2022)

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan is currently in the country and has already met with the IEA’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Bennett who is in Afghanistan on a 10-day visit, is expected to engage with Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials, international and national representatives of NGOs and other organizations, members of civil society and other stakeholders to discuss the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

The IEA meanwhile said Bennett provided information on the purpose of his visit to Muttaqi at their meeting and outlined his mission.

Muttaqi briefed Bennett on the religious and cultural values and cultural characteristics of the Afghan people so that he could take this into consideration while assessing the situation.

In a recent statement, ahead of his arrival in Afghanistan, Bennett said he would engage with the authorities and a broad range of stakeholders to assess the situation of human rights, including with regard to the implementation of obligations under international human rights instruments ratified by Afghanistan, and to offer assistance to address and prevent violations and abuses.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council. Bennett, who was appointed on April 1, official resumed duties on May 1.

Bennett will also conduct field visits while in Afghanistan and will deliver his findings in a report to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly later in the year.

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IEA approves working process to bring exiled Afghan politicians home

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

Organization procedures for the commission tasked with getting Afghan politicians and former government officials living abroad to return home have been approved by the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the commission is expected to start work soon.

It was decided at a recent meeting that the commission’s operational procedures will be announced at a special ceremony in the near future.

“In this commission, all faces, whether women or men, will be contacted, and everyone’s return plan is ready for the patriotic figures to be returned,” said Hassan Haqyar, a close allie of the IEA.

But some political activists have raised questions about the future of any returning exiled Afghans.

The have asked if the politicians for instance will be allowed to carry on with work as previously or whether they will have to give up politics and find another occupation.

The same goes for former government employees.

“We call on the Emirate, in order to implement the plan of this commission, to facilitate the work and activity of these figures again, and there must be a guarantee for everyone who returns, because everyone must see themselves in the mirror of the government,” said Sayed Jawad Hussaine, political analyst.

However, Iran, which hosts a number of former politicians has once again called for the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Recently, Anas Haqqani, a member of the commission, said that about 50 former government officials have so far returned to Afghanistan and that efforts are underway to bring back other political figures.

The meeting of the Commission for the Return of Politicians and Former Government Officials was meanwhile convened shortly after former President Hamid Karzai was ordered to not leave the country.

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India mulls reopening embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

India is exploring the possibility of reopening its embassy in Afghanistan, but without high-level diplomatic representation, an Indian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

A team of Indian security officials visited Kabul in February to assess the situation, the Indian Express reported.

The paper said that the embassy will likely function only with personnel for liaison purposes that may extend to consular services.

India, like many other countries, closed its embassy in Kabul after the Islamic Emirate took over Afghanistan on August 15 last year.

Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran were the only countries that did not close their embassies in Kabul during the takeover.

Some 16 countries have now reopened their embassies in Kabul.

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