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Press Conference of Helmand Governor, Readout 21,October, 2017
Speaker:
•    Mr. Hayatullah Hayat, Governor of Helmand province
Agenda:
•    Brief media on security issues, and achievements of local government,
Summary:
Mr. Hayatullah Hayat appeared in a press conference to share information regarding the achievements of local government in Helmand province. The following headings are main issues he discussed with the media outlets.
Insecurity factors:
First of all Mr. Hayat briefed factors behind the insecurity in Helmand province, and conclude them in to followings;
-    Geostrategic location of Helmand is one of the main factors,
-    Free border with Iran and Pakistan at Durand Line,
-    Quetta Council and Taliban training centers are close to Helmand province,
-    Smugglers transfer narcotics through Helmand to other countries,
-    Helmand weather is very suitable for cultivating narcotics that Taliban and other terrorist networks feed up.
-    Numbers of Taliban leaders are originally from Helmand.
-    New initiatives of Water Management create challenges and has also role in security issues.
Security:
Mr. Hayat said that ANDSF have the capability to defeat enemies, and assure security and stability, as followings are the main achievements regarding the security:
-    Special operations, night raids, air strikes and Maneuvers in enemy’s depth (Nahr Saraj – Marjah districts) conducted.
-    Cleaning operations (retaking Nawa district, ongoing operations in Nadali district)
-    Three important operations conducted: Maiwand 04 Ops, Maiwand 06 Ops, and Maiwand 07.
o    Maiwand 04 operation conducted to retake Nawa district.
o    Maiwand 06 operation conducted in Grishk district.
o    Maiwand 07 operation is ongoing in vicinity of Lashgarh and Nadali.
-    Enemies do two inhuman act; they use people houses as human shield and use IEDs’ in residential and public areas.
-    Helmand is top priority for enemies. Enemies conducted 18 VBIED attack within two weeks. They wanted to capture whole province, but didn’t succeed in their plans.
-    In past 2.5 months;
o    415 terrorist were killed, 64 wounded. 100 afghan forces are also martyred and wounded. Over 150 militants were arrested including their commanders.
o     850 Taliban fighters stopped fighting and joined peace.
o    Hundreds of ammunition was captured.
o    217 depot and centers destroyed.
o    1750 mines were detected and neutralized
Good Governance: Regarding the good governance, Mr. Hayat said:
-    70% of civil services employees are newly recruited.
-    Public trust has significantly increased.
-    For the first time, local government officials are accountable to the people
Fighting corruption and Narcotics:
-    We follow zero tolerance policy against corruption and corruption
-    250 corrupted military & civil service officers were referred to justice & judicial organizations
-    Hundreds acres of land were released from land grabbers’ hands
-    In year 1395, 26 tons of narcotics destroyed.
Development:
-    Projects worth around USD 70m are under way.
-    The 3rd turbine of Kajaki dam is completed.
-    Garishk district electricity dam is upgraded.
-    USD$ 3.5mln is approved for rehabilitation of Helmand university hostel.
-    Standard Cricket stadium is under construction
-    Hopefully we’ll see outcomes in following points, in the future;
o    Kajaki dam will get expanded.
o    Ready for the launch of TAPI project
o    Establishing Economic zone
Education:
-    403 schools are open in Helmand province (381 govt and 22 private schools)
-    242.000 students are going to school. 30% are girls.
-    There are 4 universities in Helmand province (1 govt, 3 private)
Health:
-    80 treatment center clinics are all over the province.
-    Big complex will be constructed for addicted people
Sport:
-    16 federations are active in Helmand province, including cricket, Football, Body Building federations.
Media:
-    4 TV and 9 Radio stations are in Helmand, besides that 1 newspaper and 6 magazines are active.

Q/A Session
Q. you mentioned about public trust on local governance, but recently it was said that people refer to Taliban courts for solving their problem.
o    We have opened the door for the people to complain any issue they face. I want to assure you that we take decisive action against any act of corruption. People have also significant role in fighting corruption. From government side, we are determined a seriously deal with corrupted people, and people have also responsibility to inform related entities about the corrupted people. I don’t reject corruption at all, but we are determined to fight against it.
Q. Large number of ammunition has fallen to Taliban’s hands and they use them against the government, what have you done in this regard?
o    Unfortunately numbers of armored vehicles are in Taliban’s hand. We have detected most of the areas where they have kept the vehicles, and we are determined to destroy them at all before they try to use them against us.
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MFA Press Conference Readout October 17, 2017
Agenda:
•    Briefed media outlets on Afghanistan’s membership at U.N Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

Speaker (s):
-    Mr. Ahmad Shakib Mustaghni, spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Summary:
Ahmad Shakib Mustaghni, spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs shown up a press conference and briefed media outlets on Afghanistan’s membership at U.N Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the first time in history of the country. The press conference held today at Government Media and Information Center (GMIC).

Mr. Mustaghni expressed which Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) received 130 votes in a favor of membership at U.N Human Rights Council. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has been nominated to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2018- 2020 period at 2016 already, and considered to initiate competitive campaign and competed with the Asia-Pacific countries of (Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, Qatar, Malaysia and Fiji) ,   in order to gain a seat at UNHRC, and fortunately Afghanistan elected as member of UNRC for 2018 to 2020.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations System inter-governmental body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world. UNHRC was established in 2006 and Its 47 seats are filled by member states elected for three-year terms to observe human rights issues.

Mr. Mustaghni also said: The prominent achievement gained aftermath competition on human rights internationally, while this huge success would not easy to achieve for those countries had experienced of severe violation against human rights for approximately four decades. Voice of victims and human rights’ activists caused which their wants reached out to the top stage of decision making of the world.
Over one year election campaign on seat of UNHRC, Afghanistan’s ambassadors in abroad countries especially New York and Geneva, on the other hand MFA’s high rank officials and NUG’s leadership talked with high rank of officials of over 130 countries including Asia-Pacific, Caribbean countries, Latin America and Africa countries, and human rights issues discussed in sidelines regional and global sessions through Afghanistan’s representatives, added Mustaghni.
Mr. Mustaghni expressed MFA’s congratulations statement to the people and government of Afghanistan for becoming member of UN Human Rights Council for the first time in its history. And the membership to council increases the country’s international credibility and would consolidate gains made on human rights in Afghanistan.
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Question & Answers:
Can you update media on Four-nation group on Afghanistan to meet in Muscat, Oman?
o    Mr. Mustaghni: Representa­tives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US met five times last year with aims of drawing a comprehensive roadmap for peace process. The continuing of session was interrupted due to lack of honest cooperation of Pakistan for its commitments and promises. The Four-nation group on Afghanistan met yesterday at Muscat to follow up recent commitments claimed by attendant countries.
Afghanistan stressed its statement on peace process which needs to direct and lead by Afghanistan government. On the other hand Pakistan has already claimed commitments to close all terrorist networks bases specially Haqqani network and Taliban. The commitments will also emphasize again in order to take step in action, not just in word; therefore the upcoming sessions will be depending on implementing commitments by Pakistan side.
What is Afghanistan’s obligation at UNHRC?
o    Mr. Mustaghni:  One of the key preconditions of UNHRC is emphasizing which members should not face any human right challenges. Afghanistan government promised to accomplish commitments for better human rights in Afghanistan, on the other hand paying efforts for rule of law, good governance in Afghanistan. 
Have talked on exchange of prisoners of Kabul-Islamabad, at Muscat meeting?
o    Mr. Mustaghni: Paying on last commitments, peace process and annihilate terrorist networks bases in Pakistan was the only agenda of the meeting. Exchange of the prisoners was not included of the agenda.
There is unverified report which Russia 'funds the Taliban by $2.5m a month for anti-NATO operations in Afghanistan, do you agree this?
o    Mr. Mustaghni: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and NUG leaders expressed their concerns regarding Russia’s interference in Afghanistan affairs through supporting and funding Taliban already, while Russia officially reject this and just confirm their relationship for encouraging Taliban to joint peace talks in order to end war in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan government appreciates state to state relationship.
Afghanistan Cancer Foundation Conference on Breast Cancer - Readout – 17 October, 2017
Readout – 17 October, 2017
Speaker(s):
•    H.E  Ferozudin Feroz, Minister of Public Health (MoPH)
•    Mr. Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative in Afghanistan
•    Gulalai Wahabzada, A Breast Cancer Patient
Summary:

Mr. Ferozudin Feroz, Minister of Public Health (MoPH), opened the speeches saying that the cancers cases have been recorded 20,000 cases annually in the Afghanistan including 15% or 3.500 breast cancer cases in the Afghan women. He said that the breast cancer factors are divided to two categories; Genetic factors that is not controllable and controllable factors that appear as result of physical passiveness, overweight, lack of healthy food, and lack of feeding the babies. He added that tobacco and alcohol are other factors of breast cancer which is luckily not used in our country. Dr. Feroz continued that the outcome of breast cancer treatment in Afghanistan is better and if it is diagnosed on time, there is a 70% possibility of its treatment. The very initial stage of knowing about breast cancer is as simple as the women can do it themselves by checking the size of the breast and if they see any changes, they should refer to the local clinics to check it up.
Dr. Feroz also said that MoPH has established two cancer check-up centers in Kabul and one in Heart province. MoPH also plans to build a comprehensive Cancer complex in the near future in the country as well as a national institute to conduct researches and record the cases of cancer with an aim to systematically plan the treatment.
Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, the representative of World Health Organization (WHO) in Afghanistan spoke next in the event who reiterated on the importance of cancer check up centers. He said that Afghanistan needs at least a few cancer treatment centers across the country in the rural areas so that the women could easily access to check ups. The added that not only Afghanistan but the most developed countries also struggle against Breast Cancer and the governments the civil society institutions and private sector are required to join the struggle against cancer.
Then, Dr. Maihan Abdullah, the head of National Cancer Control Program of MoPH delivered a presentation on the issue who highlighted the importance of pro-active remedy of the disease.  He said that there are three approaches for breast cancer treatment. The first is a pro-active approach that is the best to better remedy it. The others are direct and supportive treatments which are also more than 80% successful.
Gulalai Wahabzada, a Breast Cancer Patient who was telling her story said that she was cured in the country and is happy about the outcome. She further asked the government to pay more attention to treatment of breast cancer and provide with equipment cancer treatment center in the country so people should not travel long ways to other countries for treatment.
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ACBAR NGO Members ( Education sector) Briefed National and International Media at the GMIC
With efforts by the Government of Afghanistan, development partners, civil society and NGOs remarkable progress has been made in rebuilding the education system. Due to effective community mobilization efforts, the demand for education, particularly for girls has increased.

The NGO community supports 400,000 children (60% girls) with community based schools in remote areas. Swedish Committee for Afghanistan supports 2,500 teachers and 70,000 children in 13 provinces, including flexible education opportunities for nomadic children. They also mainstream children with disabilities in the educational system and provide preparatory education for 4,650 children of returnees.

Many NGOs in Afghanistan are providing trainings in order to strengthen the capacities of teachers and school staff.  Since 2016 more than 7,000 people have been trained by the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee in topics such as administration, teacher training, Early Childhood Development, Disaster Risk Reduction and more. There is continuing investment being made by the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee by diploma-upgrading for teachers in cooperation with Teacher Training Colleges under the Ministry of Education. Another example is the establishment of a Master’s Degree Program for Inclusion and Diversity in Education at the Shaheed Prof. Rabbani Education University.
NGOs also play a role in building self-reliance and empowerment of youth through socio-economic education as in the entrepreneurship curriculum program of Tashabos Educational Organization. This covers 34,000 high schools students (girls 52% and boys 48%) graduating around 10,000 students annually in Nangarhar, Parwan, Bamyan and Kabul. The Norwegian Afghanistan Committee also empowers women and children from an early age, with their 24 Play Groups for children that are led by mothers.   

NGOs have played a vital historical role in facilitating children’s access to education, especially in remote areas. For example the Nai Qala Association has funded construction of 8 school buildings, surrounding walls, water wells, resource centers and additional classrooms in central Afghanistan for over 6,000 boys and girls.

NGO engagement in delivery of services is complementary to Government efforts and responds to the development needs of the most vulnerable and excluded: girls, minorities, children with disabilities, street children, returnees and internally displaced children.

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11 million villagers benefited from MRRD projects in past three years
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development has implemented 40697 projects investing over $916 millions in past three years.  MRRD spokesperson Akbar Rostami who appeared in a press conference in Government Media and Information Center (GMIC) today presented his ministry’s achievements in the past three years, and told the media: 11 million and 325 thousand villagers in 18,669 villages in 381 districts in 34 provinces of Afghanistan have benefited from these projects.
MRRD's spokesman said: "With the implementation of employment for peace projects, 13 millions days of work have been created and 650 thousand villagers have benefited from temporary jobs." according to him, 7,955 road-construction projects have been completed as a result of which 2 million and 700 thousand villagers have gained access to health centers, social services and cities.

Mr. Rustami also stated that since the establishment of NUG, the ministry has provided healthy portable water to 2,900,000 villagers. 
He also added that infrastructural establishments for 3,600,000 farmers have caused an increase in their agricultural and horticultural products.
According to Mr. Rustami, construction of school buildings for 499 schools and establishment of 39 training centers are other achievements of MRRD over the past three years. He added that construction of buildings for 2 hospitals and 62 clinics have also been completed over the mentioned period of time.

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