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Posts tagged as Kandahar

Community Grain Bank Staves off Hunger in Food Insecure Households

Food insecure households in a district in Kabul Province have found relief in community grain banks, which are being set up across the country.The project is supported by government funds, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, and the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.
GULDARA DISTRICT, Kabul Province – Farmer Wazir Gul, 43, from Tolat village examines the nicked and shriveled grape vines damaged by hail in the spring and drought in the summer. He looks doubtful that he will have enough good grapes to sell to support his family.Aware of the plight of Gul and his family, the community grain bank in his village, a philanthropic community food reserve initiated under the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (Citizens’ Charter), leapt into action and distributed food and other basic necessities to Gul and other food insecure families like his.“When I found out our family’s name was with the grain bank, I was so relieved and happy because they brought food to our home and I could buy medicine for my wife,” says Wazir Gul.Villagers, like Wazir Gul, with small farms are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hail storm.

“Even a small shock can adversely affect their livelihood,” says Saleh Mohammad Samit, Head of Vulnerable Groups Division of the Citizens’ Charter.“The grain bank is designed and established particularly for such situations—to assist people in dire need of help.” Fighting Seasonal Hunger,The community grain bank is set up by the village Community Development Council (CDC), with support from the Citizens’ Charter, to fight seasonal hunger by assisting the most vulnerable households in the community, including internally displaced persons and returnees.

The CDC assesses and identifies the households most in need.The Citizens’ Charter aims to improve the delivery of core infrastructure and social services to participating communities through strengthened CDCs.It is implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) in rural areas and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance in the four major cities of Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, and Mazar-e-Sharif.The project is supported by funds from the government budget, as well as the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), administered by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors, and the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.

The community grain bank initiative is part of the Citizens’ Charter Emergency Regional Displacement Response, which supports collective community action aimed at improving social inclusion and protecting the ultra-poor and vulnerable.The initiative has developed and strengthened significantly since it started in June 2017.
Grain banks have been established in over 4,000 villages in 114 districts across Afghanistan. In Guldara district, 42 out of 45 villages have community grain banks and the Citizens’ Charter plans to cover the remaining three villages within the next few months.So far, an estimated 60 percent of Guldara district’s population have benefited from the project’s efforts. * *Identifying Those in NeedEid Mohammad, 22, a laborer from Tolat village, also has received help from the grain bank.
“I am the sole earner in my household of eight,” he says. “I couldn’t get enough work to provide for Ramadan and Eid, but when the grain bank came with aid and food to my home, we felt we had been blessed with the happiness of three Eids.”Yet, asking for help is not always so simple, and because hunger is a silent threat, identifying those who need help can also be difficult. Krishma Askari, 24, CDC Deputy Chairperson from Nal Ab village, says her work is particularly important to highlight the struggles of households headed by women within her community, who could be overlooked inadvertently, such as widows.

“There are families in our community that, because they don’t have a male head of household, do not always find it easy to ask for help,” she says. “No one can see the widows and orphans going hungry in their homes.As a woman, I can reach out to these families, find out about their problems, and help them get assistance through the council.”Her point is evident in the case of Hafiza Samadi, 20, and her widowed sister, Firozah Samadi, 22, from Deh Naw village, who did not know where or how to ask for help when the family’s earnings came up short one month.The sisters say they could manage their own hunger, but worried about the three children in their family. When the village CDC identified the Samadi family as needing assistance and brought food to their home, “it was like they gave us the world”, says Hafiza.Najibullah Hashimi, 34, the Citizens’ Charter district manager in Guldara, is pleased that community action through the grain bank can be of such vital help. “We are glad that our efforts could give happiness to poor people, even if they just need help for a short time,” he says.

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Ready to hit terror camps after 26/11 but didn’t get govt nod, says former IAF officer

At a time when India is busy lauding its air force for the early morning strike on Pakistan-based terror camps on February 26, one person seems especially happy and proud about it and remembers how the strike could have been carried out even after,
Mohonto Panging, a former Indian Air Force officer who was a Wing Commander at the time of the Mumbai attacks, has revealed that the IAF was deployed and ready to hit terror camps in Pakistan’s Muzzafarrabad in 2008 as well.
However, the armed forces couldn’t carry out the operation as an approval from the government never came.The IAF is known to have demolished multiple terror camps in Pakistan in a pre-dawn operation that lasted for 20 minutes on Tuesday.
It has been said that 12 Mirage 2000 jets were a part of the strike and dropped about 1,000-kilogram of laser-guided bombs on terror camps. “At 0330 hours on 26th February, a group of Mirage 2000 Indian Fighter jets struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it,” ANI reported.After the strike, Panging took to and hailed the armed forces for the successful operation. “Finally terrorist camps in POK hit by Laser Guided Bombs from IAF Mirage 2000.We were about to hit POK camps in Muzzafarrabad after Mumbai attacks in 2008. Finally the Govt did not decide.
Der Aye Par Durusht Aaye. Cheers!!” he wrote.
The former IAF officer then added that if the IAF had struck the terror camps in 2008, India may not have lost so many lives to terrorism.”As Air Warriors, IAF was prepared for Surgical Strikes at POK Camps after the Mumbai attacks in 2008 also, but the go ahead did not come.If the go ahead had come, maybe we would not have lost so many Indian lives to cross border terrorism! IF ONLY.!!” he said.
The retired officer, who is now an entrepreneur, author, and columnist, also spoke to the Times of India and said that he was, at the time, leading the Sukhoi squadron and the forces had a plan in place for the strike. “It was a secret plan and I had lied to my boys that we were going to different place.it’s a long story. We were deployed and waited in all readiness to strike for nearly one month but the government did not approve it,” he told the daily.This is not the first instance that the government has been indecisive about retaliatory attacks on terrorists. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh often received the ire of the opposition and people in general for being hesistant to act against terrorism.
Singh is also said to have been indecisive about the response to the 2001 Parliament attacks. The BJP too has, in the past, called Singh an “indecisive” PM who would take tough measures to counter terrorism issues.”India needs an effective leader. It has suffered because of an indecisive prime minister.It needs a strong government,” the BJP had once said. “The impact of cross-border terrorism is now being increasingly felt even outside Jammu & Kashmir.
The lowering of guard by the UPA has resulted in an increase in the number of attacks.”Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee too received flak for being hesistant and a tad slow in dealing with the Kandahar hijack.
The December 1999 hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 involved five terrorists, who demanded the release of Maulana Masood Azhar and few others. After hours of discussion, the Vajpayee government was forced to release three terrorists and save the lives of 176 passengers and 15 crew members.Meanwhile, former Deputy National Security Advisor Leela K Ponappa also believes that such a strike should have been carried out after the 26/11 attacks and that Tuesday attack was an act of “self-defence,” reported News18.The strike on February 26 was in response to the February 14 Pulwama attack, in which about 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives and scores of others were injured.

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US, Russia and Blackwater mercenaries plot different futures for Afghanistan

It would be fanciful to imagine an America-free Afghanistan in the foreseeable future, writes Saeed Naqvi. Two parallel peace processes on Afghanistan are underway.
In Doha, Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan has held extensive round of talks with Taleban leaders, spread over several days last month.
The authorship of this process is, quite jealously, America’s. But on February 5 and 6, Taliban and other Afghan political groups also met in Moscow.
A roadmap for the future, titled the Moscow Declaration was announced. Among its nine points is one which also suggests coordination with the Doha process – there is no jealous guarding of ownership of the peace process here.
Anyone interested in peace is the joint author. The declaration was immediately rubbished by the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
“Moscow declaration will not have impact on the peace process in Afghanistan” said palace spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri.I have Russian estimates of five years ago.
They may have changed, but in those days the Russians were convinced of 30 US bases in Afghanistan.Of these, the ones at Bagram, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Helmand, Shindand (Herat) and Mazar-e-Sharif were, by the sheer volume of masonry and architecture, not temporary.
These bases will remain. Are we then talking about a qualified departure?If the US is actually planning departure, why would it build a consulate in the heart of Mazar-e-Sharif on a scale which would dwarf large embassies? Renaissance is the only reasonable hotel in Mazar-e-Sharif.
It does not take long for great powers to develop more than one point of interest once they have entered an area of strategic significance. It would therefore be fanciful to imagine an America-free Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.
“All this blood and treasure was spent for what?” some Americans will ask. Also the chant in Kabul once was “We must remain in the vicinity to keep a watch on the world’s only Muslim nuclear state.
”After Obama announced on December 1, 2009 the US intention to leave Afghanistan in July 2011, I had argued in a paper for the Observer Research Foundation that Americans can simply not leave Afghanistan. I have been proven right so far.
And now once again the “We are leaving” story has been let loose. True, this time the circumstances are different, but let us take a look.
Last July, Zalmay Khalilzad and Morgulov Igor Vladimirovich, Russia’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, (who was behind the scenes in the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow on February 5 and 6) attend a high power meet in New Delhi on regional issues.In a more cooperative world order, one would have expected the representatives of the US and Russia to exchange notes on Afghanistan.
What transpired was to the contrary. Vladimirovich made an allegation that startled the gathering.
“ISIS fighters were being flown to Northern Afghanistan from Syria” was the claim. The Afghan air space is under the control of the US and the government in Kabul.
“So, who is responsible?” Khalilzad offered a tepid denial. The denial lacked credibility because the Russian allegation had been preceded by another made by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatullah Khomenei.
In the course of his Friday address on January 30, 2018. Khomenei said, “The US transfer of IS terrorists to Afghanistan is aimed at creating a justification for its continued presence in the region.
”In countries surrounding Afghanistan, doubts about American intentions may be more muted but are just as strong. It is deeply ironical that Jihadism, terrorism and Islamism manufactured in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets in the 80s, may be returning to complete the circle.
Indeed, there is a certain inevitability about Islamic militancy becoming a tool of American foreign policy. The triangular romance between Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh will ensure this state of affairs for as long as this romance lasts.
Let me explain the inevitability. When animal rights groups forced the famous annual fox hunt to stop in South India’s most Anglaise hill station Ooty, I expressed my curiosity to the master of the hunt: “What have you done to the hundreds of hounds of high pedigree trained diligently for the hunt?” The lovely canines had been transferred to an expensive kennel from where dog lovers could acquire them.
So now we know what to do with redundant foxhounds of high pedigree? What does a state like Saudi Arabia do with spare Islamic militants who have been heavily equipped and trained to kill at the cost of billions? They can only be relocated to newer theatres of conflict like Afghanistan. From here they can plague all the countries the US wishes to destabilize – Xinxiang in China, the Caucasus in Russia, Iran and Pakistan, too, if it does not behave according to the US diktat.
To make the confusion worse, Erik Prince, founder of the world’s biggest mercenary military company, which has mutated from Blackwater to Academi and Triple Canopy, is back in Afghanistan floating the idea of US troops to be replaced by Prince’s mercenary army. His plan that Afghanistan be administered by a “viceroy” was shot down by National Security Adviser H.
R. McMaster and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
After the two were shown the door, Prince has been all over Afghanistan again in and Khalilzad’s notice. The only person who has refused to meet him in Kabul is President Ghani.
The writer is a journalist based in IndiaTags:Analysis Saeed Naqvi Related PostsMemoryMagic Latch February 15, 2019News AnalysisA Gnarled Oak with a Broken Heart February 15, 2019Next Post Can everyone have health insurance in Pakistan? Leave a Reply Cancel replyThis site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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Taliban to hold talks with US in Islamabad on 18th

PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban said on Wednesday they would hold peace talks with the United States in Islamabad on February 18, before their scheduled meeting in Qatar on 25th of this month.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement to media saying their negotiations process would continue to take place with the United States and meetings have already been held in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The spokesman said their next round of peace talks will take place on February 25, in Doha, the capital city of Qatar.About their meeting in Pakistan, the spokesman said they had received a formal invitation from of the government of Pakistan and therefore they decided to meet US officials in Islamabad on February 18.
The Taliban spokesman didn’t explain reason of holding a meeting with US officials in Islamabad when they had already announced their schedule for peace negotiations in Qatar on 25th of this month.Senior Taliban leaders however argued that it was first time they received a formal invitation from Pakistan’s Foreign Office and invited them to Islamabad and offered a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
There is a big change in Pakistan’s policy this time. Previously they used to use pressure on us and would contact us either through Maulana Fazlur Rahman or late Maulana Samiul Haq whenever they needed.
However, this is first time they invited us through their foreign office and that’s why our leadership accepted their invitation, said a senior Taliban leader in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.Pleading anonymity, he said one of the major reasons they refused to meet US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and his delegation members last time in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as both the countries wanted Taliban to include the Afghan government in the peace process.
Pakistan had last time approached us through these Pakistani religious leaders and wanted us to also include the Afghan government in the peace process which was not possible for us. And that’s why we didn’t meet Zalmay Khalilzad and his delegation, said the Taliban leader.
Taliban termed it their biggest success when Pakistan acknowledged their position officially and invited them to their country through their foreign office.He said they had already announced their schedule for peace negotiations with US in Qatar but Pakistan this time didn’t make any demand from Taliban and was very keen to invite them to the country and meet their prime minister.
The world has now recognised our position and accepted us true representatives of Afghanistan. It was made possible after our long struggle and sacrifices of thousands of our people in Afghanistan, said the Taliban leader.
He said their top leadership had recently decided to appoint their separate official representatives for Pakistan and Iran. He said they would announce it through the media.
He didn’t agree with rumours that US wanted Pakistan to use its influence on Taliban before the crucial meeting in Qatar to show flexibility in the February 25 peace negotiations.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they had not yet nominated their delegation members for the talks with US in Islamabad.
Taliban sources said some of their representatives from Qatar may arrive in Islamabad while some of the people are expected to travel from Afghanistan for the meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad and Prime Minister Imran Khan.Taliban on Tuesday nominated their 14-member team for talks with US in Qatar.
Taliban’s new head of political council Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar will not participate in the Qatar talks.Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, who had been leading Taliban delegation in the peace talks, has been appointed Taliban chief negotiator.
Other members of his team include, Maulvi Ziaur Rahman Madani, Maulvi Abdus Salam Hanafi, Sheikh Shahabudin Dilawar, Mulla Abdul Lateef Mansoor, Mulla Abdul Manan Omari, Maulvi Ameer Khan Muttaqi, Mulla Mohmmad Fazil Mazloom, Mulla Khairullah Khairkhwa, Mulla Mohammad Anas Haqqani, Mulla Noorullah Noori, Maulvi Mohammad Nabi Omari and Mulla Abdul Haq Waseeq.Taliban sources said that some of their members in Qatar were banned in Pakistan and it would enable them to visit Islamabad, in case Pakistan left the ban on their entry.
Taliban said their representatives would like to discuss prisoners’ exchange and some other issues with Zalmay Khalilzad in the Islamabad meeting. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has frequently been claiming to have brought the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table with US.
Taliban said they would meet Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for “comprehensive discussions about Pak-Afghan relations and issues pertaining to Afghan refugees and Afghan businessmen”.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement to media saying their negotiations process would continue to take place with the United States and meetings have already been held in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The spokesman said their next round of peace talks will take place on February 25, in Doha, the capital city of Qatar.About their meeting in Pakistan, the spokesman said they had received a formal invitation from of the government of Pakistan and therefore they decided to meet US officials in Islamabad on February 18.
The Taliban spokesman didn’t explain reason of holding a meeting with US officials in Islamabad when they had already announced their schedule for peace negotiations in Qatar on 25th of this month.Senior Taliban leaders however argued that it was first time they received a formal invitation from Pakistan’s Foreign Office and invited them to Islamabad and offered a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“There is a big change in Pakistan’s policy this time. Previously they used to use pressure on us and would contact us either through Maulana Fazlur Rahman or late Maulana Samiul Haq whenever they needed.
However, this is first time they invited us through their foreign office and that’s why our leadership accepted their invitation”, said a senior Taliban leader in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.Pleading anonymity, he said one of the major reasons they refused to meet US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and his delegation members last time in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as both the countries wanted Taliban to include the Afghan government in the peace process.
“Pakistan had last time approached us through these Pakistani religious leaders and wanted us to also include the Afghan government in the peace process which was not possible for us. And that’s why we didn’t meet Zalmay Khalilzad and his delegation,” said the Taliban leader.
Taliban termed it their “biggest” success when Pakistan acknowledged their position officially and invited them to their country through their foreign office.He said they had already announced their schedule for peace negotiations with US in Qatar but Pakistan this time didn’t make any demand from Taliban and was very keen to invite them to the country and meet their prime minister.
“The world has now recognised our position and accepted us true representatives of Afghanistan. It was made possible after our long struggle and sacrifices of thousands of our people in Afghanistan,” said the Taliban leader.
He said their top leadership had recently decided to appoint their separate official representatives for Pakistan and Iran. He said they would announce it through the media.
He didn’t agree with rumours that US wanted Pakistan to use its influence on Taliban before the crucial meeting in Qatar to show flexibility in the February 25 peace negotiations.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they had not yet nominated their delegation members for the talks with US in Islamabad.
Taliban sources said some of their representatives from Qatar may arrive in Islamabad while some of the people are expected to travel from Afghanistan for the meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad and Prime Minister Imran Khan.Taliban on Tuesday nominated their 14-member team for talks with US in Qatar.
Taliban’s new head of political council Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar will not participate in the Qatar talks.Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, who had been leading Taliban delegation in the peace talks, has been appointed Taliban chief negotiator.
Other members of his team include, Maulvi Ziaur Rahman Madani, Maulvi Abdus Salam Hanafi, Sheikh Shahabudin Dilawar, Mulla Abdul Lateef Mansoor, Mulla Abdul Manan Omari, Maulvi Ameer Khan Muttaqi, Mulla Mohmmad Fazil Mazloom, Mulla Khairullah Khairkhwa, Mulla Mohammad Anas Haqqani, Mulla Noorullah Noori, Maulvi Mohammad Nabi Omari and Mulla Abdul Haq Waseeq.Taliban sources said that some of their members in Qatar were banned in Pakistan and it would enable them to visit Islamabad, in case Pakistan left the ban on their entry.
Taliban said their representatives would like to discuss prisoners’ exchange and some other issues with Zalmay Khalilzad in the Islamabad meeting. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has frequently been claiming to have brought the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table with US.

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