A summary of the week’s news, views and stories from across and on Afghanistan

23 to 29 January 2023

Mullah Yaqub

KabulNow Editorial: Taliban leaders are exhausting the world’s goodwill toward Afghanistan

The Taliban has demonstrated time and again that it is neither interested nor takes responsibility for improving the lives of the people of Afghanistan. Its only priority is implementing its ideology, whatever the costs.

KabulNow Special Report: How Taliban officials have turned the world’s weakest passports into the most expensive

Ranked the weakest passports in the world, for Taliban officials they have become a lucrative source of income. Afghans must pay up to $2,500 in bribes to get one.

New Chinese foreign minister urges Taliban to protect its citizens

China’s new foreign minister urges the Taliban to protect Chinese citizens

The new Chinese foreign minister, Qing Gang, spoke on the phone with the Taliban foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, and urged him to protect his country’s citizens working in Afghanistan.

Taliban stops female health workers deliver polio

Taliban stops female health workers deliver polio vaccines in Kandahar province

The Taliban authorities in Kandahar province, the group’s birthplace and the home of its supreme leader, Mullah Hibattullah Akhundza, prevented female health workers from administering polio vaccines in the province.

Taliban wants to buy Blowfish from China

Taliban wants to buy AI powered killer drones from China

According to Michael Rubin, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the Taliban wants to buy Blowfish drones. The AI guided drones can determine who lives and who dies, and can fire machine guns, launch mortars, and throw grenades.

UN Deputy Chief

UN Deputy Chief: Taliban’s definition of protecting women is oppression

Speaking to the media after her four-day trip to Kabul, Amina Mohammed said that she used everything “in my toolbox” to convince the Taliban leaders to change course on women and girls. The group’s definition of protecting women, she said, was oppression.

Russia wants US arms from Taliban

Vladimir Putin is plotting arms exchange with the Taliban

Russian president Vladimir Putin is overseeing negotiations with the Taliban to obtain military equipments the US left behind in Afghanistan, in exchange with Russian weapons, reports the SUN newspaper.

The man who killed 2 Afghans in Serbia and a British citizen in the UK gets life sentence

Lawangeen Abdulrahimzai killed two fellow Afghans in Serbia in 2017 before claiming asylum in Norway, who rejected his application. He claimed asylum in the UK in Dec 2019, where he committed another murder.

Acute respiratory infection outbreak in a remote Afghan village has killed 17

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was responding to an outbreak of “acute respiratory infection” in Pamir Kalan village in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Badakhshan. WHO says there are 97 cases identified in the village, killing 17 people.

More than 150 frozen to death

More than 160 Afghans have frozen to death this month

Afghanistan’s coldest winter in over a decade has killed more than 160 people, Taliban officials said on Thursday. With 97 per cent of Afghans living under poverty, most have been unable to afford heating their homes.

UN aid chief to Taliban: For God’s sake, rescind the women ban

Martin Griffiths said he was in Afghanistan to meet Taliban leaders to implore them “can you please rescind this ban. If you don’t, let us for God’s sake, find ways to find exemptions and exceptions to allow us to operate.”

US military kills Islamic State’s Somalian leader who funded operations in Afghanistan

The Pentagon said Bilal-al-Sudani used his base in northern Somalia to grow IS’s presence in Africa and fund the group’s operations worldwide, including Afghanistan.

Retired dog sniffed out Taliban bombs

Retired dog awarded medal for sniffing out Taliban bombs in Helmand

Equivalent to Victoria Cross, the highest medal in the British honour system, the dog, called Bass, is a Belgian Malinois, who took part operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, discovering 350 explosives in 46 missions.

Taliban bans women from entering university entrance exams

Taliban bans female students from taking part in university entrance exams

The Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education issued a new decree banning female students from sitting the countrywide university entrance exams in the spring. This follows earlier bans on women and girls from secondary schools, universities and working as aid workers.