Home Pakistan Afghanistan Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Afghan Officials Blame Taliban for Attacks; Individuals Held Responsible for Health Protocols – stopthefud

Pakistan-Afghanistan Update: Afghan Officials Blame Taliban for Attacks; Individuals Held Responsible for Health Protocols – stopthefud

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  • A spokesman for Pres. Ghani said that the Taliban’s denial of responsibility for recent attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar “does not make the group innocent of them”; Vice Pres. Amrullah Saleh said that the Taliban were “celebrat[ing] the naivete of some for accepting their lies and accusing the fictional [Islamic State]” of carrying out the attacks. Anonymous U.S. officials tell Reuters that they believe that continued high levels of violence will preclude further reductions of U.S. forces beyond the 8,600 agreed to in the first phase of a U.S. withdrawal agreement with the Taliban. In response to questions from reporters on Wednesday, Pres. Trump said that “we’re not fighting in Afghanistan, we’re a police force in Afghanistan and at some point they’re going to have to be able to take care of their country”. At least five people were killed in a suicide truck bombing attack in the Paktia provincial capital of Gardez on Thursday morning; the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a military court facility.
  • Speaking on Wednesday, Planning Minister Asad Umar said that it was “now the public’s responsibility to comply” with health protocols and that “individual responsibility was the only way to ensure protection against the coronavirus and collective health”. Health advisor Zafar Mirz denies that the government is pursuing an unstated policy of seeking to establish “herd immunity”. As of Thursday, Pakistan reported 34,377 confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 330,750 tests, with at least 770 associated deaths.
  • As of Thursday, the Afghan ministry of public health reports 5,639 confirmed COVID-19 cases, out of 19,732 tests, with at least 136 associated deaths.
  • PML-Q minister Tariq Bashir Cheema met with PM Khan on Wednesday evening to raise concerns over the reopening of investigations by the NAB against party leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

 

Pakistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Corruption Investigations and Other Legal Battles: Special assistant to the prime minister Shahzad Akbar claimed at a press conference on Wednesday to have new evidence on money laundering and front companies established by Shehbaz Sharif; PML-N spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb denied the allegations. PML-Q minister Tariq Bashir Cheema met with PM Khan on Wednesday evening to raise concerns over the reopening of investigations by the National Accountability Bureau against party leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar participated in an inquiry commission hearing into sugar and wheat prices on Wednesday; Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah skipped a summons.  [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET] [The Nation]
  • Other Political Activity: PM Khan appointed former Punjab government spokesman Shahbaz Gil as special assistant for political communications on Wednesday. Government and opposition legislators continue to spar in the national assembly over the government’s handling of the coronavirus response. At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the government approved a batch of amendments to Pakistan’s electoral law, the details of which have not been reported. [Dawn] [Dawn] [The Nation]

 

Pakistan — Economics and Development

 

Pakistan — Remainders

  • Family of Pakistani Journalist Await Truth of His Death in Sweden [Guardian]
  • Army Chief Visits Southern Command Headquarters [ET] [The Nation]
  • ECC Approves Rs 50 Billion Package for Agriculture Sector, Rs 17 Billion for Military Fuel Costs  [Dawn] [ET]
  • Trade Resumes with Iran After Taftan Border Crossing Reopened [Dawn]
  • Power Sector Faces Rs 300 Billion in Losses Due to Coronavirus [ET]
  • Government Planning Pakistan Steel Mill Layoffs [Dawn]
  • Pakistan Readies for Second Battle with Crop-Devouring Locusts [Reuters] PM Khan Approves Formation of Pakistan Post Pension Fund [ET] [The Nation]

 

Afghanistan — Security

  • Further Death Toll Rise in Clinic and Funeral Attacks: The reported death toll from Tuesday’s attack on a funeral ceremony in Nangarhar’s Khewa district has risen to at least 32 people, including a member of the provincial council, with dozens more wounded; the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack. Denunciations continue of the attack on a Medecins Sans Frontieres-supported clinic in western Kabul, including from MSF, the UN Secretary General, Human Rights Watch, and the World Health Organization. At least 24 people were killed in that attack, with most of the victims pregnant women; the NYT reports on efforts to match at least 18 surviving and now-orphaned babies with family members. The Washington Post reports from funeral services for some of the victims held on Wednesday. A baby born during the middle of the attack survived, MSF confirmed. TOLO notes that the facility is near a guesthouse sometimes used by foreigners, with a security source speculating that it may have been the intended target. [Reuters] [TOLO] [TOLO] [Ariana News]
  • Peace Process Implications: A spokesman for Pres. Ghani said that the Taliban’s denial of responsibility for both attacks “does not make the group innocent of them”; Vice Pres. Amrullah Saleh said that the Taliban were “celebrat[ing] the naivete of some for accepting their lies and accusing the fictional [Islamic State]” of carrying out the attacks. Anonymous U.S. officials tell Reuters that they believe that continued high levels of violence will preclude further reductions of U.S. forces beyond the 8,600 agreed to in the first phase of a U.S. withdrawal agreement with the Taliban; in response to questions from reporters on Wednesday, Pres. Trump said that “we’re not fighting in Afghanistan, we’re a police force in Afghanistan and at some point they’re going to have to be able to take care of their country”. Former mujahedeen leader Ismail Khan criticized the government’s failure to enforce “military supremacy”.
  • Other Attacks and Operations: At least five people were killed in a suicide truck bombing attack in the Paktia provincial capital of Gardez on Thursday morning; the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a military court facility and also wounded at least two dozen people. [Reuters] [TOLO] [Ariana News]

 

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Prisoner Releases: On Wednesday, the Taliban announced the release of an additional 15 government prisoners in Jawzjan province.
  • Tensions with Iran: The ministry of foreign affairs said it would begin a formal joint investigation with Iran today over the deaths of a group of Afghan migrants on the border with Iran earlier this month.

 

Afghanistan — Economics and Development

  • COVID Crisis: As of Thursday, the ministry of public health reports 5,639 confirmed COVID-19 cases, out of 19,732 tests, with at least 136 associated deaths.

 

Afghanistan — Remainders

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