• Afghanistan in September 2020; Key News

Afghanistan in September 2020; Key News

06 November 2020

Peace and Politics

Amid intra-Afghan peace talks and intensifying violence, Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) visited Pakistan on 27th. Mr. Abdullah met with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan's Senate chairman, and speaker of Pakistan National Assembly as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan. Shah Mahmood Qureshi called the visit as a new phase in Kabul-Islamabad relations and added that Pakistan is committed to Afghanistan's national sovereignty. Both sides emphasized the importance of abandoning old policies and adopting a new approach based on mutual respect and brotherhood. "We expect Pakistan to stand along with the people of Afghanistan. A vast majority of Afghans yearn peace. Afghanistan has changed ever since 2001, and the hard-gains the country has achieved must be protected", said Mr. Abdullah in Islamabad.

On the 30th, the European Parliament welcomed the start of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban and called upon all sides in Afghanistan to agree on a permanent and immediate ceasefire. "We call upon all stakeholders in Afghanistan to put in place an immediate and permanent ceasefire," said the European Parliament in a statement. The statement also emphasized the inclusion of women, youth, and minorities in the peace process.

Security

As intra-Afghan peace talks were underway in Doha, violence continued in many parts of Afghanistan. Reports indicated 380 pro-government forces and 125 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in September.

On 9th September, a high-profile attack in Kabul targeted the convoy of the First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh. Mr Saleh, an outspoken critic of the Taliban, escaped the attack which was caused by a roadside bomb, unharmed. At least 10 people, including at least two civilians, were killed and 15 more were wounded. The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack. “I am fine but some of my guards have been wounded. My son, who was in the car with me, and I are both fine,” said Mr Saleh, who was intelligence chief in former President Karzai’s government, in a video clip that appeared on social media. Mr Saleh has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year that killed 20 people.

On the 1st of September, a roadside bomb killed two soldiers and wounded another in Farah and another soldier was killed in Jowzjan. On the same day, an attack on Qaisar district of Faryab province killed one police officer while local authorities claimed that 11 Taliban fighters were also killed.

A female police officer was killed in Kunduz city and on the 2nd, a bomb blast inside a house killed six children in the Taliban-controlled Sancharak district of Sar-i-Pul province.

On the 3rd, three civilians were killed, and another wounded as a roadside bomb hit a civilian vehicle in Nangarhar. A week later an attack on security outposts in the Hesarak district of Nangarhar killed 14 police officers. Local officials claimed 16 Taliban were killed and 15 others were also wounded in the attack. Also, deadly attacks took place in the Nerkh district of Wardak province killing 31 security forces, and in the Gizab district of Uruzgan province killing 22 police officers.

Humanitarian

As of 24 Sept, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health data shows that 39,170 people all over the country are confirmed to have COVID-19 out of which 32,619 people have recovered and 1,451 died. The Minister for Public Health warns that cold weather, coupled with air pollution and seasonal diseases, as winter approaches, could add up to the complications of a second wave of the virus.

People & Culture

Shamsia Alizadeh, 17, received the highest score in Afghanistan's national university entrance exam. The result was announced on 24th while Shamsia's mother was watching the national news.

Shamsia became an icon of hope and inspiration to young girls in Afghanistan and her achievement highlighted the advances gained in women's education in the last two decades. This announcement was made at a critical time when the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha is ongoing and the Taliban shows little sign of change in their ways in terms of women's right to education. Shamsia's success drew national and global attention. "I want to offer enthusiastic congratulations to Shamsia! Your brilliance and grit are undeniable, just as your accomplishments underscore how much progress Afghanistan has made over two decades. Women's education, inclusion, & representation are essential to peace.", tweeted Ross Wilson, the U.S. charge d'affaires in Kabul.

Afghan civil society groups and women rights activists have campaigned for several years to include the mother's name in the national identity card along with the father's name. A recent amendment proposal to the Law on Registration of Population Records won the approval of the law committee of the cabinet chaired by vice president Sarwar Danish. In the traditional and highly conservative Afghan society where writing the bride's name in the wedding invitation card is unusual, activists have advocated for years to include mother's name in the national ID cards including through a Twitter campaign called #Whereismyname. President Ghani issued a decree on the 17th that brings the new changes in the law into force allowing the mother's name to be included in the national ID cards. "The decision to include the mother's name in the ID card is a big step towards gender equality and the realization of women's rights," reads vice president Danish's statement.

 

This report is developed based on media reports. Although BAAG has taken necessary precautions to include only credible sources, it does not take responsibility for incorrect content.