The border guards commander of Iran’s Police announced Saturday that his forces have seized 2,275 kg of different kinds of illicit drugs in the southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan province, official IRNA news agency reported.
Brigadier-General Ahmad Ali Goudarzi said that in the “successful” operation, police seized two vehicles in which 2,200 kg of opium and 75 kg of hashish were placed.
The report did not mention the time of the operation.
Iran has being suffering from drug trafficking given its location at the crossroads of international drug smuggling from Afghanistan, the world’s top opium producer, to Europe.
Over the past few decades, Iran’s eastern and southeastern borders have seen deadly clashes between Iranian security forces and armed drug smugglers.
United States Embassy in Afghanistan warns of extremists’ Attacks on women
The United States Embassy in Afghanistan has issued a security alert for its citizens, warning about an increased risk of attacks on women by the extremist organisations.
“The United States Embassy in Kabul warns United States citizens that extremist organisations continue to plan attacks against a variety of targets in Afghanistan, including a heightened risk of attacks targeting female government and civilian workers.
“Others including teachers, human rights activists, office workers, and government employees,” the diplomatic mission said in a statement.
At the same time, it did not specify which organisations could carry out the attacks.
The intra-Afghan peace talks started in Doha on Saturday after the Afghan government and the Taliban movement successfully completed a long-awaited prisoner exchange arrangement.
The talks are now expected to pave the way for a peace process and withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan after almost two decades of war and insurgency.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
Afghan president approves inclusion of mother’s name on ID cards
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday approved the inclusion of a mother’s name in the country’s national identity cards.
For years activists have fought for the change, which experts see as an important step towards gender equality.
The father’s name is already included.
“The mother’s name is officially included in the national identity cards, along with other personal details,” Ghani’s spokesman tweeted.
According to Women’s Rights Activist, Heather Barr of New York-based Human Rights Watch, this is a hugely important step.
“This will have immediate real-world consequences for women.
“This will also make it easier for them to obtain education, health care, and passports and other documentation for their children, and to travel with their children,” Barr added.
In many countries in the region, only the name of the father is given in official documents.
In Afghanistan, activists complain that this makes women invisible.
In traditional parts of Afghan society, it is still regarded as shameful to talk about female family members using their given names.
Just two days ago, a former Taliban commander Sayed Agha said that for Afghans, putting their mother’s names on their ID cards would be a “dishonour.’’
According to Barr, the decree is an important sign to the peace talks in Qatar, where the Islamists Taliban are negotiating with the government.
“While Afghan women are desperate for peace they also have so much to potentially lose in the negotiation process.
“This new law is a confidence boost and reminder of the many battles Afghan women’s rights activists have fought and won since 2001,” the activists said.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Sadiya Hamza
Red Cross warns coronavirus is driving discrimination in Asia
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Thursday warned the novel coronavirus is driving discrimination towards vulnerable communities in Asia, including migrants and foreigners.
The humanitarian agency surveyed 5,000 people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Pakistan and found about half blamed a specific group for spreading the coronavirus, with many mentioning Chinese people, immigrants and foreigners.
“It is particularly concerning that both national migrant and foreign workers are blamed for the spread of COVID-19 as they are quite vulnerable already,” Dr Viviane Fluck, one of the lead researchers and the agency’s Asia Pacific community engagement and accountability coordinator, told Reuters.
She said there should be more focus on combating rumours that are linked to underlying power dynamics and structural issues of inequality.
Over half of the Indonesians surveyed blamed “foreigners and rule-breakers” while in Myanmar, the groups most often thought to be responsible were people from China and other foreigners.
“In Malaysia, two-thirds blamed a specific group, most frequently mentioning migrants, foreign tourists and illegal foreigners,’’ the researchers said.
Malaysian authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented migrants and refugees in May in a crackdown the United Nations said could push vulnerable groups into hiding and prevent them from seeking treatment.
Police said at the time the operation was aimed at preventing people from travelling amid movement curbs.
In Pakistan, most people surveyed blamed inadequate government controls on the Iranian border, followed by nationals including pilgrims coming back from Iran and then people from China.
In all four countries, higher education had a small impact on whether respondents blamed a specific group, with university graduates slightly less likely to hold certain people responsible, the researchers said.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim
United States withdrawal from Afghanistan, Africa affects EU security, defence policy – Germany
The United States disengagement from Afghanistan and Africa affects the security and defence policy of the EU, which will require the latter to improve its set of tools to deal with regional conflicts, an official said.
The German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said this in Berlin on Thursday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to lead to even greater instability in our region.
“We are dealing with destabilising actors in a number of countries – just think of Ukraine, Syria or Libya.
“The United States is withdrawing not only from Afghanistan but also from Africa.’’
“For the EU, this can only mean one thing: we need a set of tools to resolve conflicts in neighbouring countries.
“And this toolbox, ladies and gentlemen, is our common security and defence policy,’’ Maas said at the opening of the European Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management in Berlin.
According to the minister, during its presidency in the EU Council, Germany wants to make the coordination of the EU countries in the field of security and defence more effective and permanent.
“To achieve sustainable peace, we need an ‘integrated approach’.
“Consequently, civil crisis management should be at the centre of European foreign and security policy,’’ Maas added.
The Centre of Excellence for Civilian Crisis Management was established in February at Germany’s initiative.
The institution will serve as a centre of knowledge for gathering and sharing national models as well as experiences.
It will also draw up concrete proposals on how European civilian crisis management can be further developed in terms of concept and practice.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde