Tolo News – Government criticized for ‘silence’ on China’s Uighurs

Lawmakers said Afghan politicians and the government should not remain silent on such issues.

Massoud Ansar

Kabul – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, 17 November Some members of Afghanistan’s Ulema Council on Sunday criticized the Afghan government and politicians for “silence” on “injustice” against the Muslim community in China.

On Saturday, The New York Times in a report about “organized mass detention of Muslims in China.”

The Times said there are more than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents providing an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

The report says that the leaked documents provide an inside view of the continuing clampdown in Xinjiang, where the authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.

“Unfortunately, in the Muslim world, we do not have a united institution which will represent all Muslims and treat such issues from a powerful position,” said Ghairat Bahir, a Senator and member of Hizb-e-Islami party.

The report says that China’s president Xi Jinping laid the groundwork for the crackdown in a series of speeches delivered in private to officials during and after a visit to Xinjiang in April 2014, just weeks after Uighur militants stabbed more than 150 people at a train station, killing 31.

It adds that Xi called for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship,” and showing “absolutely no mercy.”

“Injustice against Muslims in any part of the world should not be ignored,” said Attaullah Ludin, a member of Afghanistan Ulema Council.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment on this report despite repeated attempts.

MPs said that some Muslim countries, including the Afghan government, and individual politicians, are silent to protect their own interests.

“We call on the government and the international community to raise their voice against injustice towards Muslims in China,” said Keramuddin Rezazada, a lawmaker.

“There are some issues, including love for position and power, that shuts their voices,” said Abdullah Qarluq, a Senator.

Tolo News – Thousands continue sit-in; Pakistan Prime Minister won’t resign

Rehman accuses Khan of bad governance and demands the government follow Islamic laws.

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 05 November 2019. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, who galvanized tens of thousands of followers to march on Islamabad, met Monday with opposition politicians and agreed to continue their sit-in even after a deadline he imposed for the Prime Minister to resign passed without Imran Khan stepping down.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s followers, many of them students of his religious schools, started out last week from the southern port city of Karachi, marching to Islamabad where they have since camped out on the city’s outskirts for three days.

Rehman accuses Khan of bad governance and demands the government follow Islamic laws. Khan has ignored the protesters’ demands, saying he won’t be driven from power. But he has allowed Rahman’s rally to go on, provided it remain in its designated area.

The firebrand cleric delivered a late-night speech Monday before a crowd of thousands, saying the opposition had agreed the sit-in should continue, but that no other action was agreed upon.

That includes following through on Rehman’s threats to have protesters march on the so-called Red Zone, which is home to Pakistan’s government, the prime minister’s residence and foreign embassies. Rehman said the opposition would decide when the protest would end.

Authorities have stepped up security in the capital and brought in large shipping containers to block roads and protect the Red Zone.

Bilal Bhutto-Zardari, the co-leader of the left-leaning Pakistan People’s party, once led by the late Benazir Bhutto, has said his party will not join Rehman in the sit-in. While his party supports Rehman’s call for Khan to resign, it is not ready to take part in the sit-in, he said, without elaborating.

Rehman has come under attack by human rights activists who have criticized his fiery speeches as well as his refusal to allow women at his protest march. Even women journalists were barred from the rallies until an outcry forced him to relent.

Rehman’s radical religious schools have provided men for both the Afghan Taliban militant group and the anti-government Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

In his speeches, Rehman has attacked the minority Ahmadi sect, and Ahmadi homes and places of worship are often targeted by Sunni militants who consider them heretics. There are about half a million of Ahmadis in Pakistan, which has a population of 220 million and which declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974.

Rahman has also staunchly defended a controversial blasphemy law that carried a death sentence for anyone found guilty of insulting Islam.

Tolo News – MPs hold emergency meeting over Mosque attack

Lawmakers described the attack as “inhuman” and called on the relevant institutions to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Massoud Ansar

Haska Meyna – Nangarhar – Afghanistan, 19 October 2019. Residents of Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province reported on Saturday that the number of dead is now 72 from the mosque explosion on Friday.

Abdulhaq Omare, a TOLO news reporter who visited the Jaw Dara area of the Haska Meyna district, said that the residents are still busy pulling the dead from the ruins of the mosque.

The blast occurred yesterday close to 1:30 pm and its cause has not been identified.

“My three sons were martyred in the mosque. Two of them were married just ten days ago, and the other was 14 years old,” said Banaras, a resident.

“Four people are missing and we are searching to find their bodies. In total we have lost 72 people in the blast and around 30 others were wounded, and yet it is not clear if it was a blast due to explosives (already within the mosque), or if someone entered the mosque from outside,” said Waqifullah, a resident of the district.

Some residents, considering motive, said that Jaw Dara village residents fight Daesh, and have worked with the Afghan military.

“In the past the residents fought against Daesh in this area,” said Akhtar, a Jaw Dara resident.

Local security officials say that it was a suicide bomber that detonated explosives from inside the mosque.

“There were two attackers, one entered the mosque and detonated his explosives and the second attacker fled the area,” said Amir Hamza, an army commander in the district.

“We don’t have any information that the mosque was warned against the attack,” said Jamil Halimzoy, district governor of Haska Mina district.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tolo News – Afghan ambassador threatens to shut down consulate in Peshawar

Mashal protests the removal of the Afghan flag from the Firdous market by Pakistani police.

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 11 October 2019. Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Shukrullah Atif Mashal, issued a statement on Friday threatening to shut down the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar because of the alleged removal of the Afghan flag on Afghan-owned property by Pakistani police.

The statement said that on Thursday night the Pakistani police entered the Firdous market in Peshawar city and closed the market, which, Mashal claims, is the sole property of the Afghan government.

“Over the past few days the Pakistani police have entered the area several times without informing the Afghan embassy, and they have removed Afghanistan’s flag, against diplomatic convention and neighborly manners.”

According to reports, the ownership of the property is disputed, but the Afghan Embassy maintains that the market property belongs to the Afghan government.

On Thursday, Mashal expressed optimism that the incident would not damage relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He claimed that a decision over the property ownership of the Firdous market has been reached between the two governments.

Tolo News – Clearing Operations In Takhar Center, Taluqan

Several days of fighting have resulted in over 30 killed, 40 wounded.

Taluqan – Takhar Province – Afghanistan, 01 October 2019. Afghan Army commandos, in coordination with other Afghan security forces in Takhar province, on Tuesday conducted a clearing operation in Taluqan, the provincial capital, the Ministry of Defense reported.

According to the statement, Taliban attacks in several parts of the city have caused heavy casualties.

A Takhar police spokesman, Khalil Aser, said that currently the defense and interior deputy ministers, and the provincial security chief, are in Taluqan to coordinate forces in the province.

Reports indicate that more than 30 have been killed and more than 40 wounded in the fighting, and that dozens of families have been displaced from Taluqan, Khowja Ghar and Baharak districts.

On Monday, Mohammad Jawad Hijri, spokesman for the Takhar governor, said that over the past few days the Taliban attacked areas close to Taluqan, including Baharak district, in order to disrupt the election process and to take control of areas close to the capital.

Officials also said that the Taliban are from neighboring Kunduz and Baghlan provinces.

Hijri said that security forces now have control of the police headquarters, and that airstrikes have killed 36 Taliban. Also, ANDSF reinforcements have arrived to push back the Taliban.

Hijri did not provide specific numbers about military or civilian casualties.

Tolo News – Activists, relatives in Helmand seek justice for civilian deaths

“Aren’t they your children? I call on the international community and the Taliban to end this shedding of blood.”

Sayed Sharif Amiri

Lashkargah – Helmand – Afghanistan, 24 September 2019. Grieving relatives and activists gathered on Tuesday in Lashkargah, the provincial capital of Helmand, in a public response to a military operation on Sunday night that claimed the lives of family members and fellow residents. Forty civilians killed and 16 wounded were the numbers claimed by a member of the Helmand provincial council.

On Sunday night, in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, an operation was carried out by Afghan and International forces to target a Taliban weapons cache, official military and government forces reported.

The number of insurgents killed varies among official accounts but sources say that Al-Qaida fighters were among those killed and captured, and photographs were provided by a US forces spokesperson showing suicide vests and other explosive materials seized during the raid.

The dozen or so Helmand residents on Tuesday came together to publicly express their outrage, pain, and in some cases to declare that the continuation of such attacks is unacceptable.

“Aren’t they your children? I call on the International community and the Taliban to end this shedding of blood,” said Amir Mohammad Akhondzada, a tribal elder in Helmand province.

“It is unacceptable for us to continue, you see, forty people killed for the sake of six people,” said Abdul Khaliq, a civil society activist based in Helmand.

Some close relatives present at the gathering say they lost their wives and children in the air strikes, and that a number of the victims were wedding guests.

Samiullah, a resident of Musa Qala, said he lost several of his relatives in the Sunday night operation, and that his sister was wounded:

“One of my nephews was martyred, and three other relatives were martyred.”

“All family members of Abdul Rahman were killed and only one of their family’s children remains alive, the rest were killed in the operation,” said Mohammad Rafiq, a resident of the district.

A member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) called the attack a criminal act.

“An Increase in civilian casualties is worrying for the human rights commission, and we call for all parties involved in the war to pay attention to civilian lives,” said Latifa Sultani, the Women Rights Coordinator for the AIHRC.

A former military officer said that lack of punishment, and intelligence shortcomings, are the main reasons for such incidents:

“Indifference on the one hand, non-execution of orders and lack of punishment on the other, as well as weak intelligence,” are the causes, said Attiqullah Amarkahil, a former Afghan Air Force commander, “but I must say that there is no definitive analysis in war.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense in statement said that the ministry is investigating the incident in Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

“In Musa Qala, we inflicted heavy casualties on foreign terrorists and al-Qaeda affiliates, and we take the claims of civilian casualties very seriously and will investigate the incident,” said Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.

The Ministry of Defense stated that 22 Taliban members, including five Pakistani members, were killed in the operation.

Tolo News – Blast at President Ghani campaign rally kills 24, wounds 30

Wahida Shahkar, a spokesman for the provincial governor, says the blast was caused by an IED in a security vehicle.

Charikar – Parwan Province – Afghanistan, 17 September 2019. An explosion occurred midday as President Ghani began speaking at a campaign rally in the city of Charikar, in Parwan province. 24 people are reported killed, and over 30 wounded.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS ?
Man in Blue

Tolo News – Negotiations impossible without ceasefire: Ghani

President Ghani says the Afghan government is ready to continue peace negotiations.

Kabul – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, 09 September 2019. President Ashraf Ghani, who addressed a ceremony on the appointment of the new head of the National Directorate of Security, said that the Afghan government is ready to continue peace negotiations, but they are not possible without a ceasefire.

“Our way is clear. We have chosen sustainable and dignified peace and we will not go back,” Mr Ghani said. “Negotiations [with the Taliban] are impossible without a ceasefire.”

He said that the people want peace and that the ownership of the process is by Afghans. “We created national and international consensus on peace. We created the environment for peace, but the Taliban took it wrong,” he said.

Mr Ghani said the Afghan government has a proper plan for peace and is strengthening its regional and international relations in this respect. He said that the Islami Republic of Afghanistan and the Afghan forces will not be compromised in the peace process.

Mr Ghani said that the Taliban has safe havens in other countries, without naming a specific country. “If you [the Taliban] will leave these relations, you will be embraced by Afghans. You will be embraced by Afghans if you leave drugs business,” he said.

President Ghani called on all political elites in Afghanistan to show their commitment to the Afghan people and build a proper relationship. He assured the nation that peace will come but it will be a real peace which is the main demand of Afghans.

Mr Ghani said that election is the only solution for “the inherited crisis” of the past four decades. This comes as US President Donald Trump called off negotiations with the Taliban.

His decision was faced with mixed reaction among Afghan politicians and the ordinary Afghans.

Tolo News – Residents set fire to Taliban’s stronghold in Parwan

The Taliban’s stronghold is located in Shinwari district, Parwan governor’s spokesperson said.

Shinwari – Parwan – Afghanistan, 22 August 2019. A group of local residents torched a stronghold of the Taliban in the central province of Parwan on Wednesday, a local official confirmed.

The stronghold was located in Qala-e-Qorhir village in Shinwari district of Parwan Province, a spokesperson for Parwan governor Wahida Shahkar said.

She said a number of weapons and explosives were also destroyed in the incident and the Taliban fighters left the area.

There were no causalities to the Taliban, she said.

Taliban has not commented on this incident.

Tolo News – Afghan civilians suffering remains far too high: ICRC

The ICRC calls on all parties to the conflict to do more to prevent injuries and deaths to Afghans

Kabul – Kabul Province, 12 August 2019. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a report that the ongoing peace talks have not diminished the intensity of violence in Afghanistan and its impact on civilians as the civilian casualties remained high.

The report said that the air bombardments, night raids, and attacks conducted in both rural and populated areas result in the killing and maiming of women, men, and children who had no part in the fighting.

“Homes, mosques, schools, markets and health care facilities are being hit,” it said.

“Too little attention is being paid to the suffering of civilians. They must be protected and respected at all times”, said ICRC’s head of delegation in Afghanistan, Juan-Pedro Schaerer in the report.

The ICRC calls on all parties to the conflict that the medical workers, too, must be protected and respected by all sides.

Attacks against health care providers and facilities are too high, with 59 incidents in the first half of 2019. All sides must allow patients unhindered access to health services regardless of their affiliation, it said.

Attacking a single doctor or nurse undermines life-saving healthcare for everyone. This must stop, said Schaerer.

The ICRC is also deeply concerned about the fate of people detained by all sides in relation to the conflict, regardless of the side which is holding them.

“Detainees must have access to health care, to basics such as clean water, clothing, and hygiene items, and contact with their families,” according to the report.

Though humanitarian needs continue to grow, the security situation makes it difficult for help to reach those in need of food, water, shelter and security, it said.

This year has seen the highest number of incidents involving humanitarian workers in last few years, it added.