UNAMA registers 23 incidents against voter registration process

A new report released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Thursday details a “disturbing pattern” of attacks at election-related facilities following the commencement of voter registration for the October 2018 polls.

UNAMA verified 23 election-related security incidents since voter registration began on 14 April. These incidents have resulted in 271 civilians being killed and injured, with the vast majority of civilian casualties occurring on 22 April from a suicide attack among a crowd gathered outside a national identity card distribution center in Kabul, resulting in 198 civilian casualties, the organization said in a statement on Thursday.
“I am outraged by these attacks deliberately targeting civilians seeking to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “These attacks at election facilities are nothing less than an assault on democracy.”

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UN mediation to end ARG-Jamiat rifts fails

Sources say that the United Nations mediation to resolve the differences between Jamiat-e-Islami Party of Afghanistan and central government over the dismissal of Balkh governor has failed.

After a two week delay, the Presidential Palace and Jamiat Party resumed their negotiations on Tuesday, but the talks ended with no result.

Delegations from the two sides have discussed the share of political parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Reportedly, representatives from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan were also present at the talks.

UNAMA has not made a comment about this report yet.

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Afghanistan, UN appeal for $430m to assist 2.8m vulnerable Afghans

The Afghan government and UNOCHA (The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) have appealed for $430 million this year to help the most vulnerable Afghans across the country.

The money will be used to assist 2.8 million people displaced by conflict or natural disasters with emergency shelters and food, to treat patients injured by conflict, to feed malnourished children or assist vulnerable families returning home after years in Iran or Pakistan.

“Life of hundreds of vulnerable children, women and men will be in danger without humanitarian assistance,” said Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. “The country is being in war, last year more than 400 thousand people have been displaced.”

Abdullah, meanwhile, said that addressing the human rights situation is the responsibility of the government and not its policy.

Armed clashes in the past year were the highest in a decade and civilian casualties remained near record levels. More than two million people were directly affected by the conflict last year, 448,000 of whom had to abandon their homes to save their lives. More than 500,000 people arrived in Afghanistan in 2017, many of them after seeking refuge in Iran, Pakistan or other countries.

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A hard winter: Afghan refugees return from Pakistan

Caught in the middle of political tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan are some two million Afghan refugees – registered and unregistered – who now face the option of either returning voluntarily or being deported from Pakistan.

And it couldn’t happen at a worse time.

Winter in Afghanistan can be bitterly cold. The country is also experiencing a spike in violence, with increased attacks from the Taliban and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) fighters, leading to peak levels of civilian casualties and internal displacement as people flee the fighting.

“I’m scared to come here because there is no security,” says Medina Ghassen, 16, an Afghan refugee who was born in Pakistan, as she waits for a doctor to inspect her mother’s injured foot at a UNHCR clinic at the Kabul deregistration centre.

Her family has decided to return to Afghanistan voluntarily and is now being removed from the refugee registry. They are also being given cash and medical help by the United Nations before finding a home in Afghanistan.

“[Pakistani authorities] wouldn’t let us stay there. They made the situation very hard,” Ghassen, whose family is originally from Logar province, south of Kabul, explains.

“I was going to school, and I don’t think I can go to school here. It’s very dangerous,” she adds.

The family says it is not sure where they will stay after leaving the UNHCR centre, which is bustling with thousands of people who arrived overnight.

There is already a chill in the air, and staff have been scrambling to get enough blankets and heaters to keep people warm overnight. The deregistration of the refugees – a process that can take around 30 minutes for each person or family, depending on the crowds and the needs of the individuals – starts moving at a brisk pace shortly after 7am.

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$3 billion of aid and killed 15 civilians in East of Afghanistan

The United States expects the upcoming international conference will bring pledges of over $3 billion a year to Afghanistan for development support.

The US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson made the remarks ahead of the conference which is expected to kick of next week in Brussels.

He was speaking at a forum on 29th September in Washington and said the U.S. government would seek through Congress to maintain U.S. assistance to Afghanistan “at, or near” current levels during the next four years.

“We expect strong pledges of renewed support to be announced next week, collectively totaling over $3 billion a year in development support through 2020,” he said.

Olson further added that the aid would be dependent on Afghan progress in implementing reforms including countering corruption.

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Kabul to seek UN action against state sponsors of terror

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Afghanistan is preparing a set of proposals for action against state actors violating the UN Security Council resolution on the Taliban and Al Qaeda and aiding terrorism in the war-torn country.

In an exclusive interview, a top diplomat told Pajhwok Afghan News: “There are people within state structures, in particular within the security apparatus, who believe in the use of violence in pursuit of political objectives.”

Afghan Ambassador to UN Mahmoud Saikal said: “I feel that the UN resolutions are not strong enough to target these people and to really stop them from what they are doing.”

Saikal, who was in Washington DC last week to meet senior US administration officials, said both UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions allowed chasing the Taliban leaders.

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NATO special forces supporting Afghan troops in Kunduz

Amid persistent siege of the provincial capital of northern Kunduz city by the Taliban militants, the NATO special forces have been deployed in the area to support the Afghan national security forces in retaking the control of the city.

A Western military source speaking on the condition of anonymity told AFP that the forces are comprised of US, British and German troops.

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