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Saleh orders arrest of person who claimed civilians killed in airstrike

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Vice President Amrullah Saleh has ordered the arrest of the individual who reported civilian casualties from an Afghan government airstrike on October 22, 2020, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. 

The Afghan air forces targeted a Taliban gathering at a mosque in Hazara Qarluq village in Takhar on Wednesday morning in which at least 12 children were killed and 18 civilians were wounded, sources said.

Saleh, however, rejected claims, stating: “No child was killed in Afghan Air Force strike in Takhar.”

VP stated that the Taliban sniper unit “responsible for massacre of our special forces a day earlier was targeted.”

“The person responsible for spread of this venomous and fake news was arrested immediately. Talibs use houses and mosques as shield,” Saleh tweeted.

Saleh also wrote on Facebook that legal action would be taken against those “who make false allegations.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Thursday that the Afghan government ordered an investigation into the incident. However, findings from investigations into other incidents of civilian casualties have not been made public and no one has been held accountable.

“Vice President Amrullah Saleh is trying to silence those who reported a potentially unlawful airstrike that killed civilians, including many children,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director. “The government should immediately release anyone detained under Saleh’s order and carry out a thorough and impartial investigation of the airstrike.”

In response to the Human Rights Watch’s report, Saleh stated that the Afghan government has no intent to restrict the absolute rights of the people.

“We are standing against freedom to kill, freedom to kidnap, freedom to harass, freedom to rape, freedom to steal, freedom to a massacre, freedom to grab public land, freedom to extort & freedom to cage the defender of the freedom.” 

“We aren’t silencing the lawful frees and freedoms,” he tweeted.

In recent weeks, Afghan government forces have sustained many casualties during intense fighting in Takhar province. The uptick in fighting comes amid rising numbers of Taliban attacks and little progress on the Afghan peace talks in Doha.

The laws of war permit attack only against military objectives, which include enemy fighters, weapons, and equipment. Warring parties are prohibited from deliberately attacking civilians, except those directly participating in hostilities. For a specific attack on a military objective to be lawful, it must discriminate between combatants and civilians, and the expected loss of civilian life and property must be proportionate to the anticipated military gain from the attack. Attacks that target civilians, that are indiscriminate, or that cause disproportionate civilian loss are unlawful.

It is not clear if Taliban forces were in the vicinity of the mosque. Mosques and schools are civilian objects not subject to attack unless being used for military purposes. Any Taliban fighters present would be required to take all feasible precautions to remove civilians from the vicinity.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has reported that women and children comprised 65 percent of the civilian casualties from airstrikes by the Afghan air force for the first half of 2020. The Afghan government has a poor record of investigating such incidents.

“The Afghan government is obligated to investigate possible laws-of-war violations by their forces,” Gossman said. “The free expression rights of those reporting on alleged violations should be respected.”

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UNSC’s ceasefire resolution an ‘initial step’ to ending Palestinian ‘genocide’: IEA

The IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” and supports the historic right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state.

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Deputy spokesperson for the foreign ministry Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal says the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan deems the adoption of this week’s resolution by the United Nations Security Council aimed at ending the war in Gaza as an initial step to end the genocide of the people in Gaza.

Takal said in a statement on Wednesday that it requires realistic negotiation to lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, ensuring a normal life for its people.

IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” – IEA foreign ministry

He stated that the IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” and supports the historic right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state.

Ceasefire resolution

The UN Security Council on Monday overwhelmingly approved its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The US-sponsored resolution welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden that the United States says Israel has accepted.

It calls on the militant Palestinian group Hamas to accept the three-phase plan.

The resolution — which was approved with 14 of the 15 Security Council members voting in favor and Russia abstaining — calls on Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Whether Israel and Hamas agree to go forward with the plan remains in question, but the resolution’s strong support in the UN’s most powerful body puts added pressure on both parties to approve the proposal.

Netanyahu has been skeptical of the deal, saying that Israel is still committed to destroying Hamas.

 

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AWCC opens new customer services center in Parun, Nuristan

Nuristan residents have welcomed the opening of AWCC’s new customer services center and the expansion of telecommunication and internet services in the province

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Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC) has officially opened a new customer services center in Parun city, the capital of Nuristan province.

AWCC officials said at the launch of the new center that customers experiencing problems with AWCC can now visit the facility for assistance – for both mobile phone and internet services.

Attaullah Sahil, head of AWCC in the eastern zone, said that telecommunication facilities will also now be increased for residents of Parun city.

Local officials, meanwhile, stated that in most areas of Nuristan, people do not have access to telecommunication and internet services and that they are trying to expand such services in the province.

“We are happy that Afghan Wireless opened its customer service office in Paron city,” said Khalid Fateh, the local director of the telecommunication and information department.

“No other network works in Nuristan except Afghan Wireless” – Nuristan resident

“We request that Afghan Wireless activate its sales offices in every district of Nuristan,” Fateh added.

Officials also said that security of telecommunication infrastructure in the province is secure enough for companies to expand their networks.

Nuristan residents have meanwhile welcomed the opening of the AWCC’s new customer services center and the expansion of telecommunication and internet services.

They have however called for the cost of the services to be reduced.

“Many thanks to Afghan Wireless for building this big office,” a resident said.

“No other network works in Nuristan except Afghan Wireless. We want more conveniences,” said another resident.

Making a difference

AWCC was recognised as Afghanistan’s Telecom Company of the Year at the 2024 Asian Telecom Awards earlier this year.

This award reflects the company’s market leadership in Afghanistan, with more than five million subscribers, the country’s largest 4G LTE network and a growing high-speed, nationwide fiber network.

In the last year, AWCC has increased its active customer base by more than 10%, primarily driven by increased data users attracted by the company’s pioneering digital-first products and services, including its innovative ASAN mobile application.

To meet this rapidly growing data demand across the country, AWCC upgraded and expanded its market-leading mobile network by almost 15%, adding nearly 200 sites to reach even more rural and remote regions.

In parallel, the company inaugurated its Kabul-Mazar-Hairaton fiber route, connecting Central Asia to South Asia and placing Afghanistan at the center of the region’s digital connectivity hub.

AWCC also ramped up its efforts to help Afghanistan and its people in the past year by utilizing its technology to deliver critical support to tackle several humanitarian challenges.

The company mobilized swiftly to provide emergency connectivity, financial, logistics and humanitarian assistance following a series of severe earthquakes in Herat, and ongoing communications support for the influx of returnees at Afghanistan’s borders, through the set-up of temporary mobile sites and distribution of free SIM cards.

Asian Telecom Awards honors businesses and initiatives like AWCC that have not only driven progress in the telecom industry but have also ignited transformative shifts that have reshaped the digital landscape.

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Iran Air starts flights to Kabul

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The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation said Wednesday that Iran Air International Airlines has launched direct flights to Kabul for the first time.

The ministry said in a statement that Iran Air will have flights to Kabul once a week.

According to the statement, Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air, Mahan, Kish, and Yazd Airlines also have flights to Iran.

Earlier, Turkish Airlines also resumed its flights to Kabul.

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