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Violence against women increasing in Afghanistan: Officials



(Last Updated On: November 25, 2020)

Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs said on Wednesday that violence against women in Afghanistan has increased in the past year.

Speaking on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the launch of the 16 Days of Activism
Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, the ministry said that 2,582 cases of violence against women have been reported to them in the past year.

They also said that in the past four months, 34 cases, including murders, have been reported to the ministry.

According to the officials the main cause of domestic violence and violence against women is war and insecurity.

“The Ministry of Women’s Affairs carried out a survey in 34 provinces and 250 districts and interviewed 2,000 people. We found that women demand an end to the violence,” said Hasina Safi, acting women’s affairs minister.

“Violence has increased compared to last year. This year 119 murders and sexual abuse cases were registered. The violence increased by 59 percent because of the insecurity,” said Spozhmai Wardak, deputy minister of women affairs.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) raised concerns and said most of the cases of violence could have been prevented.

There have been “22,472 cases of violence against women registered in Afghanistan in the past five years. Fifty two percent of the cases could have been dealt with through counselling and the other cases referred to the Ministry of Interior and Attorney General’s office,” said Shabnam Salehi, a member of AIHRC.

However, Afghan judicial bodies say that most cases of violence against women have been processed.

“The cases that were referred to the court are very unfortunate and the violence against women increased this year,” Anisa Rasooli, a court prosecutor said.

“Violence against women increases day by day. In the current year 2,088 cases have been processed – most of them are sexual abuse and assault,” Zarghona Mostaqbal, an official from the Attorney General’s Office said.

Furthermore officials from AIHRC in Paktia province said that violence against women increased in their province and in the current year 235 cases have been registered in the province.

The Women’s Network in Kabul meanwhile called for unity among the people in order to stop domestic violence.

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IEA, US meet in Doha to discuss freeing of Afghanistan’s frozen assets



(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

A senior Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) delegation, led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, headed to Qatar on Wednesday to hold talks with US officials to release some of the $9 billion of frozen reserves. 

According to a Washington Post report, US officials have tried to set up a system for assets to be managed, while simultaneously erecting safeguards to ensure the funds are not siphoned off for misuse by the IEA.

One option discussed by those close to the talks involves having a third party trust fund administer the money, according to the report.

Bloomberg also reported that the discussion will center around “creating a mechanism for releasing the frozen Afghan reserves.” 

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s finance ministry told Bloomberg: “We’re expecting this would be a serious round of talks.”

US officials have expressed optimism about the progress on talks but cautioned that several obstacles to the deal remain.

“It would be accurate to say negotiations are underway,” said Shah Mehrabi, an economics professor at Montgomery College in Maryland and a senior member of  Afghanistan’s central bank board since 2002. 

“We are in the process of trying to come up with a mechanism that will allow the transfer of reserves to the central bank of Afghanistan,” he said.

Mehrabi said food costs have skyrocketed by 18 percent in the past several months. Basic household goods rose in cost by 35 percent during the first few months of the year; in May, inflation for household goods hit 42 percent, Mehrabi said.

“These reserves belong to the Afghan people; they are needed to stabilize prices,” he said. “The faster it is delivered to the central bank of Afghanistan, the sooner we will see the impact of the reduction in prices that are critical to enable ordinary Afghans to afford food, cooking oil, and sugar and fuel. Now, they can’t do that.”

The delegation includes central bank Governor Mohammad Idris and Deputy Finance Minister Nazir Kabiri. They will meet with the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West and officials from the treasury department, Haqmal said.

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‘If Putin was a woman’ he would not have invaded Ukraine: UK PM



(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

“If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would’ve embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has,” Johnson said in an interview to German broadcaster ZDF.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is “a perfect example of toxic masculinity”, he said, calling for better education for girls around the world and for “more women in positions of power”.

The British prime minister acknowledged that “of course people want the war to end”, but for the moment “there’s no deal available. Putin isn’t making an offer of peace”.

Johnson’s comments come ahead of a NATO meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats.

Western allies must support Ukraine to enable it to be in the best possible strategic position in the event that peace negotiations with Moscow do become possible, Johnson said.

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Grand assembly to discuss ways to improve economic, social conditions: Hanafi



(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

The grand assembly of religious scholars, scheduled to begin Thursday, is expected to discuss ways to improve economic and social conditions, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Wednesday.

Hanafi said people from various ethnic groups and with different views will sit for discussion, which is a positive step in maintaining stability and strengthening national unity in the country.

 “After years, Afghans from various sections and ethnic groups and with different views sit with each other for discussion without foreign interference,” Hanafi said in an interview to RTA. “It is in itself a positive and valuable step for maintaining stability and strengthening national unity.”

He said that more than 3,000 people will participate in the gathering under the mega Loya Jirga tent in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the IEA, also said that the gathering will be held under tight security measures.

He said that all technical preparations have been finalized and there will be several committees discussing key issues.

It will be the largest gathering in Kabul after the IEA took over in August last year. 

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