• Afghanistan in December 2020 and January 2021; Key News

Afghanistan in December 2020 and January 2021; Key News

17 March 2021

Peace and Politics              

On 15th December, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the USA met with Taliban negotiators in Doha, Qatar to discuss “the need for an immediate reduction of violence and accelerate progress towards a negotiated political solution.”

After nearly three months of negotiations, the two sides agreed on the rules and procedures for the talks in early December. Shortly thereafter, the two sides announced a three-week break.

On January 5th, talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban resumed in Doha, Qatar. The talks are moving slowly, by widely different priorities and continued violence in Afghanistan, However, the U.S.-Taliban deal has ended attacks on international troops in Afghanistan. According to the latest discussions, The Afghan government negotiating team insists that a ceasefire must be a priority in the talks, while the Taliban want discussion of a ceasefire to come after an agreement on the shape of a future government.[1] In response, Afghanistan’s Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish has stated that: “We insist that the continuity of the system within the framework of the Constitution is not only supported by the government side, but by all those who are in support of the republic system.”[2]

 

Security

More than one hundred civilians were killed in Afghanistan in December. [3] According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission’s annual report released on 28 January 2021, 2,958 civilians were killed, and 5,542 others were wounded in 2020, a 21 percent decrease compared to 2019. [4]The deadliest attack took place in Ghazni Province, where an unexploded munition detonated, killing at least 15 civilians, most of them children, and wounded 20 others.

Seventy seven civilians were killed in Afghanistan in January. According to NAI-Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, a total of 81 cases of violence against journalists have been recorded in 2020, including 11 journalists killed, and 17 others injured.

AIIHRC findings indicate that since the peace negotiations began in Doha, targeted attacks against journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders had increased drastically.

 

Humanitarian and Development News

 According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), across Afghanistan, about 18.4 million people need assistance, this number is increasing dramatically with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN and humanitarian partners in Afghanistan are seeking $1.3 billion to assist almost 16 million people in need of life-saving assistance as a result of decades of conflict, recurrent natural disasters, and the added impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

 

People & Culture

 Afghanistan is ranked to be one of the most dangerous places for a woman. Just being a woman can be dangerous in Afghanistan. Girls schools were frequently targeted by militants during the past two decades.

The ongoing peace talks has raised concerns regarding women’s rights, as it reminds Afghan women of their darkest moments during Taliban regime. Amid all these, Manizha Talash, an 18-year-old break-dancer will represent Afghanistan in one of the latest sports to be admitted to the Olympics. She received death threats, but she is still dancing, in an interview for Reuters, she said that she is dancing because she wants to be different. [5]

 

 




[1] https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-169170

[2] https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-169218

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/world/asia/afghan-war-casualty-december-2020.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

[4] https://www.aihrc.org.af/home/thematic-reports/9057

[5] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/afghanistans-first-female-breakdancer-has-received-death-threats-but-shes-still-dancing/articleshow/80472892.cms?from=mdr