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US and NATO welcome Eid ceasefire, call for urgent intra-Afghan talks 

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(Last Updated On: July 29, 2020)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Wednesday welcomed the Taliban’s announcement of a three-day ceasefire over Eid and the Afghan government’s response to a reciprocal truce. 

Khalilzad wrote on Twitter: “On the occasion of Eid ul Adha, Gen Miller, Amb Wilson, & I wish the Afghan people a peaceful holiday. Eid ul Adha is a time of charity & fellowship. Our hope is this Eid brings all Afghans together in understanding & mutual respect and one step closer to a sustainable peace.

“We welcome the Taliban announcement of an Eid ceasefire and the Afghan government’s reciprocal announcement,” he said. 

“We wish the Afghan national security forces continued honor in the service of the Afghan people and thank them for their commitment to Afghanistan. Eid Mubarak,” Khalilzad said.

This comes after Tuesday night’s announcement by the Taliban that they would observe a three-day ceasefire over the Eid al-Adha holidays. 

In a statement, the Taliban said it had ordered its fighters not to carry out any attacks against the Afghan security forces. 

Soon after, President Ashraf Ghani announced that government would observe the ceasefire and not conduct any operations. 

NATO also welcomed the announcement by both parties and said: “It is an important step in the Afghan peace process that must lead to the earliest possible start of intra-Afghan negotiations. Afghan people deserve peace now & NATO stands with them.”

The US’s acting ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson also responded and said on Twitter: “I welcome the announcements of an Eid ceasefire. Afghans deserve to celebrate the holiday in peace. I look forward to both sides fulfilling their commitments and moving quickly to intra-Afghan negotiations.”

UNAMA meanwhile also welcomed the move.

In their Twitter message the organization said: “UNAMA welcomes the Eid ceasefire announcement by the Taliban and the reciprocity from the Govt of Afghanistan.  Further prisoner releases and reductions in violence should now pave the way for a quick start to intra-Afghan negotiations.”

This latest development came just hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the group to commit to a ceasefire over Eid.

He said a “commitment to a ceasefire during the coming Eid will be an indication of things to come.”

Addressing the fourth Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Kabul on Tuesday, Ghani said that to demonstrate the government’s commitment to peace, they would soon complete the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha earlier this year.

Ghani said that “with this action we look forward to the start of direct negotiations with the Taliban in a week’s time.”

He also called on the Taliban to join the government at the negotiating table and to call for a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”

A “commitment to a ceasefire during the coming Eid will be an indication of things to come,” he added.

Within hours of Ghani having said this, the Taliban issued their statement on Twitter announcing the three-day ceasefire over Eid al-Adha, while government responded with a reciprocal truce.

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Health officials and experts meet in Kabul over spread of lumpy skin disease

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2022)

A seminar was held in Kabul on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing spread of lumpy skin disease (LSD) in livestock in Afghanistan.

Experts from Kabul University, along with representatives of the Ministries of Public Health, Agriculture and Livestock and municipalities met Tuesday to discuss the dangers of this virus.

Delegates attending the seminar pointed out the need to prevent the spread of the disease in the country.

According to health officials, this virus is transmitted by some species of mosquitoes, ticks and other blood-feeding insects but is not transmitted to humans.

“This virus has spread from eastern and southeastern provinces such as Laghman, Nangarhar and Kunar, but currently, this virus does not have a vaccine, and fortunately, this disease does not transmit to humans,” said Shirshah Sadat, dean of Kabul University’s Faculty of Veterinary Sciences.

Nasir Ahmad, the representative of the Ministry of Public Health also said: “This virus is problematic for food health, especially for people suffering from malnutrition.”

“This virus is transmitted from one animal to another by mosquitoes and flies and the source of its transmission should be eliminated, and quarantine and vaccines are said to be good ways to fight this disease,” said Asadullah Samadi, a university professor.

The representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock said that a campaign to curb the spread of this virus will be launched in cooperation with international organizations in all provinces in the near future.

The virus has in recent years been detected in Kunar, Nangarhar, Laghman and southeastern provinces of Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Logar and Ghazni.

The disease was endemic in many African countries for years, but spread to other parts of the world over the years. The disease first appeared in South Asia in July 2019, with Bangladesh reporting an outbreak. A month later, it was identified in India – which has the world’s largest bovine population – and then in China.

The infection is caused by the Capripox virus – which is genetically similar to the viruses that cause goat pox and sheep pox – and has been termed “an emerging threat to livestock worldwide” by health experts.

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Two IEA forces and 4 Daesh fighters killed in Kabul clash 

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(Last Updated On: August 4, 2022)

Four Daesh militants were killed and a fifth was arrested in an operation in Kabul on Wednesday. 

According to Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), forces had conducted a raid on an “important nest of the enemy” in Karte-e-Sakhi area in PD3. 

The operation was launched at about 11.30am but a shootout between IEA and Daesh militants broke out, which lasted several hours. The situation was eventually brought under control and a cache of weapons and ammunition was recovered. 

Mujahid said in a series of tweets that the Daesh cell had been planning to attack Shiites in the Kart-e-Sakhi area during the upcoming Muharram. 

Meanwhile, the ministry of interior said in a statement that two security personnel, including a policewoman, were killed in the standoff and four IEA soldiers were wounded. 

 

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Iranian energy ministry delegation to visit Kabul over water rights

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(Last Updated On: July 29, 2022)

Iran is reportedly sending a delegation from the ministry of energy affairs to Afghanistan to discuss their water share rights regarding the Helmand River.

According to Iran’s IRNA news agency, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in a phone conversation that he is dispatching the delegation in the near future in order to resolve issues around water.

IRNA reported that Amirabdollahian raised the issue of recent heavy rainfall in Afghanistan and expressed hope that the “artificially created obstacles” in the way of the flow of water towards Iran will be eliminated and Iran will receive its water share from the Helmand River.

Amirabdollahian also reportedly told Muttaqi that receiving their share of water will be an important index for Kabul in terms of showing how committed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is about meeting “their international commitments”, IRNA reported.

Amirabdollahian said the people of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan and their representatives in Parliament are seriously demanding their share of water and that unless the issue is resolved quickly, “it will affect the other issues in bilateral cooperation negatively”, IRNA reported.

According to IRNA, Muttaqi in turn welcomed the delegation’s upcoming visit and said Afghanistan is committed to giving Iran their share of water from the Helmand River, which flows into the country.

Amirabdollahian said that a joint team of technicians will survey the river’s path and ensure both countries benefit from the water.

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