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Watchdog reports of growing number of revenge attacks

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(Last Updated On: July 31, 2021)

Taliban forces in Afghanistan are targeting known critics despite claiming that they have ordered their fighters to act with restraint, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.

In Kandahar, the Taliban have detained and executed suspected members of the provincial government and security forces, and in some cases their relatives.

Among recent cases, the Taliban executed a popular Kandahari comedian, Nazar Mohammad, known as Khasha Zwan, who posted routines that included songs and jokes on TikTok. He had reportedly also worked with the local police.

On July 22, Taliban fighters abducted Khasha Zwan from his home in southern Kandahar, beat him, and then shot him multiple times, HRW said in a statement.

After a video of two men slapping and abusing Khasha Zwan appeared on social media, the Taliban admitted that two of their fighters had killed him.
“Taliban forces apparently executed Khasha Zwan because he poked fun at Taliban leaders,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“His murder and other recent abuses demonstrate the willingness of Taliban commanders to violently crush even the tamest criticism or objection,” she said.

Activists in Kandahar said that in villages surrounding the provincial capital, Taliban commanders have detained scores of people associated with the government or police, HRW reported.

In one case, on July 16, Taliban fighters abducted two men whose brothers had worked with NDS 03, a CIA-backed strike force that has been responsible for summary executions and other abuses, from their homes in the Qasam Pol area, Dand district, HRW stated.

Their relatives say that they have not heard from the two men since.
Also in mid-July, a media report said Taliban fighters detained Ahmadullah, a former police officer, in Spin Boldak. His family has not heard from him since.

His uncle said that the Taliban had sent letters saying that anyone who had worked with the government or foreign forces would not be harmed so long as they reported to the Taliban leadership and “admitted their ‘crime.’”
International humanitarian law prohibits summary executions, enforced disappearances, and other mistreatment of anyone in custody, which are war crimes, HRW reported.

It is unlawful to detain civilians unless absolutely necessary for imperative security reasons, the statement read.

Retaliatory attacks are a form of collective punishment and are also prohibited, HRW stated.

The International Criminal Court is currently investigating allegations of war crimes and serious human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.

Taliban commanders who knew or should have known about abuses by forces under their control and took no action to prevent or stop them are culpable as a matter of command responsibility, HRW said.
“Advancing Taliban forces have no blank check to brutally target their critics,” Gossman said. “The Taliban leadership usually denies the abuses, but it’s their fighters carrying out these attacks and their responsibility to stop the killings.”

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IEA marks Afghanistan’s Independence Day

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

Marking 103 years of independence from Britain, Mullah Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid, acting defense minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), on Friday warned against efforts to divide Afghans.

 “They are trying to divide us along regional, religious and linguistic lines and cause infighting among ourselves so that they achieve their evil goals. We should never let anyone do this. We should be vigilant,” Mujahid said.

He said that Afghans have never accepted occupation and have fought invaders throughout the history. Mujahid said IEA wants to engage with the world but not at the cost of the country’s independence being undermined.

“We want engagement, we want the country to develop, we want the economy to grow, we want political progress, we want to have a strong military like those in the region, but not at the cost of our independence being undermined,” Mujahid said.

He said that IEA will not accept world’s demands which are against Islam.

“We cannot accept anyone’s orders and demands which are against our religion and our national interests,” Mujahid said.

IEA in a statement on the occasion of Independence Day also warned against interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Emirate, as an independent and fully legitimate government, is committed to honor the esteemed value (independence) and wants relations with countries in the region and the world based on Islamic principles. We hope every invader has learnt a lesson from the past and henceforth will adopt a policy of peace, tolerance and non-interference in the affairs of others,” the statement read.

IEA’s acting prime minister, in a message, called on security forces to behave well with people, have coordination and obey leaders.

Khalil-ur-Rahman Haqqani, acting minister of refugees and repatriation, also warned the opponents not to test Afghans again.

 “The East, the West and their hirelings should not test Afghans. Afghans have already been tested. There is no need to test them again,” Haqqani said.

Some participants called for reopening of girls’ schools.

“One issue they (West) are insisting on is and which people also want is girls’ education. As an elder, I ask the Emirate to resolve the issue, otherwise the Western world will not recognize the Emirate, not even in 20 years,” said Farooq Azam, an adviser for the ministry of energy and water.

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Finance ministry increases customs tariff of mineral exports to 25%

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Ministry of Finance says it has increased the customs tariff on unprocessed minerals to 25 percent which was previously five percent.

According to the decision, the customs tariff is set at 10 percent per ton of processed mineral.

However, the officials of Afghanistan Chamber of Industries and Mines (ACIM) said Friday that they are not able to pay the customs tariffs, asking the government to reconsider this decision.

Officials of the finance ministry have added that they set this price according to the position of the country’s exports in the world markets.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s mineral exports have a special place in the global markets, including China, India, Britain, Germany, Turkey, America, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

In the meantime, officials of ACIM have opposed the decision made by finance ministry, saying that the Tariff Committee of the ministry should increase the tariff based on the calculation of the private sector, adding that because traders will suffer with a 20 percent tariff increase.

Moreover, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said that as a result of increasing the capacity of mineral processing factories in the country, Afghanistan has been able to export one million tons of minerals this year, adding that if the electricity problems of these mineral processing factories are solved, the export of processed minerals will also increase.

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Afghan weather services issues flash flood warning

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Afghanistan Meteorological Department issued a flash flood warning on Thursday, stating that heavy rain and high wind gusts can be expected across a wide section of the country on Friday and Saturday.

The provinces likely to be affected are Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Panjshir, Takhar, Baghlan, Parwan, Bamiyan, Samangan, Kabul, Maidan Wardak, Logar, Paktia, Khost, Paktika, Ghazni, Zabul, Uruzgan, Daikundi, Ghor, Kandahar and Helmand.

According to the department, between 15 and 70 mm of rain can be expected in parts of the country over the next two days.

Thunderstorms can also be expected in some provinces, including Kabul.

On Thursday, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a statement that in the past week – between August 11 and 15 – heavy rainfall caused floods and flash floods across several provinces across the eastern, southern, south-eastern, and central regions of Afghanistan, leading to numerous fatalities.

The latest UNOCHA report states that the number of fatalities has increased to 41 people (11 in Parwan province, 11 in Nangarhar province, and nine in Logar province), while 17 individuals were injured.

Across the impacted areas, heavy rainfall destroyed or damaged almost 790 houses (434 in Nangarhar), affecting more than 3,720 families in total.

Floods have destroyed crops, agricultural land, and the local transportation infrastructure, isolating several communities, UNOCHA stated.

A number of international humanitarian organizations are assisting the local affected population with food, emergency shelter and non-food items, as well as conducting inter-agency impact and needs assessments.

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