Most significant incidents of 1397

1397 was one of the deadly year for the people of Afghanistan. During the year, Afghans witnessed continued and deadly terrorist attacks killing hundreds of innocent Afghans including children and women. In addition to the Taliban group, Daesh by attacking on holy places and government institutions martyred a large number of people. Terrorists spared no efforts towards martyring innocent Afghans and attacking government and non-government institutions.
A number of security experts believe that insecurities have increased unprecedentedly in the past one year as US-led coalition forces have increased air strike on Taliban and Daesh. Although foreign forces are not taking part in ground combat missions, at least 10 US military troops have been killed in various incidents in the past one year.
During 1397, Afghanistan faced with various military and political changes. On October 20, parliamentary elections were held countrywide except Kandahar and Ghazni. The elections were held in a peaceful environment and people cast their votes to their favorite parliamentary candidates.
Due to weakness of leadership and management of the country’s Independent Elections Commission (IEC) and lack of transparency, final results of parliamentary elections have not been announced so far. After commendment of the law on elections, new commissioners have been selected.
Besides suicide attacks and explosions and increasing insecurities in various parts of the country, peace efforts increased during 1397 as direct peace talks were started between US officials led by Zalmay Khalilzad and representatives of the Taliban group.
The fifth round of the talks between the US and Taliban negotiators held in Qatar a week ago ended after 16 days with agreement in draft between the two sides on some key issues under debate.
Hours after ending the fifth round of peace talks, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet that he wrapped up a marathon round of talks with Taliban in Doha. Khalilzad said peace requires agreement on four issues: counterterrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire. 
Khalilzad said when the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective counterterrorism measures is finalized, the Taliban and other Afghans, including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire. 
In economic sector, developments in work on TAPI project, extension of railway between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, opening the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, opening Chabahar port and inauguration of air corridors between Afghanistan and regional and world countries were big changes in economic sector in the country.
In health sector: Afghanistan’s ministry of public health has declared results of national health assessment. Minister of public health Ferozuddin Feroz said that health condition of the people in particular mothers and newborn babies has unprecedentedly improved comparing to past years as the number of health centers has increased from 700 to 4,000 comparing to past years. On the other hand, 68 percent of the people visit government health centers, while 28 percent of the people visit private health centers for their treatment.
Considering these statistics, the condition of health sector after 2001 is not acceptable at all, as besides passing of one and a half decade, the Afghan health sector is located in a low-level in compare to global standards, the hospitals and laboratories of Afghanistan still cannot fulfill the demands of the people, and thus ten thousands of Afghan people travel to other countries for finding cure to their illnesses. 
1397 which was also considered as one of the deadly years for journalists ended. In 2018, Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee has recorded a total of 121 cases of violence against journalists and media workers, including cases of murder, injury, threats, temporary detention, abduction, and many more. 17 journalists and media workers were killed this year, which once again places Afghanistan as the most dangerous country for journalists. In addition to 17 cases of murder, AJSC registered 15 cases of injury, 21 cases of physical assault, 38 cases of threats and intimidation, 23 cases of insults and mistreatment, 1 case of inappropriate expulsion of journalist by a media manager, 5 cases of temporary detention, and 1 case of abduction.
The statistics of violence against journalists in 1397 show a 28% decline compared to 1396, as in 1397, the committee recorded 169 cases of violence against journalists and media workers. Similarly, murder figures show a 15% decrease compared to 1396 in which 20 journalists and media workers were killed. From 17cases of murder in this year, the Taliban and ISIS have been responsible for 15 cases, the perpetrators of the two other cases of murder are unidentified. 
In 1397, severe drought faced nearly 3 million people with hunger and various challenges and forced a large number of families to leave their homes. Despite all challenges and problems which Afghans faced with during 1397, the people have not lost their hope for the coming New Year. All hope that they will have a year full of happiness and prosperity.
Lailuma Noori

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