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17 bodies of drowned Afghan refugees returned home from Turkey to date: MoFA

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(Last Updated On: July 30, 2020)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday that the bodies of 17 Afghan migrants who drowned in Lake Van in Turkey have been repatriated so far. 

The Ministry identified 34 Afghan citizens who drowned along with dozens of migrants after their boat capsized in the lake last month. 

The Ministry said, so far, 61 bodies in total have been recovered from the lake. 

Giran Hiwad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that five victims have been buried in Van city in Turkey, adding that the remains of six other victims had also been buried but exhumed and will return to Kabul on Thursday at the request of relatives. 

Six more bodies were currently in mortuaries in Istanbul in Turkey and will also be sent back to Kabul, said Hiwad. 

According to reports, around 80 migrants mostly from Iran and Afghanistan were crossing Van Lake on a fishing boat from Iran, trying to avoid police checkpoints on the highways, on their way to Turkey. 

Turkey, which is a key crossing point for migrants attempting to reach Europe, hosts about 3.7 million Syrian refugees.

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PACF hands over 25 tons of food items to support Afghans

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

The Pak Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF) on Thursday handed over 25 tons of food items to Afghan authorities as part of its ongoing support to the people of war-hit Afghanistan.

The truckload of the food items, arranged by the PACF, were handed over to the Afghan authorities at the Chaman crossing, app reported.

The handing-over ceremony was attended by Deputy Commissioner of Chaman Hameed Zahri and senior officers of the Afghan Foreign Office including Maulwi Waheedullah and Mullah Hikmatullah.

According to the report since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), takeover in Afghanistan last year, Pakistan had sent over a total of 15,390 tons worth Rs2, 650 million of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The humanitarian assistance had been sent to Afghanistan via 83 convoys, including 743 trucks and four C-130 flights, till August 5, read the report.

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A group of 9/11 victims call for frozen funds to be given back to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

Families of 9/11 victims have called on US President Joe Biden to release billions of dollars belonging to Afghanistan.

In a letter sent to Biden this week, 77 family members of 9/11 victims called on the president to modify an executive order from February which froze the Afghan central bank’s $7 billion of assets being held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“Any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is legally suspect and morally wrong,” the family members wrote in a letter first reported by Politico.

The letter came amid a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US had ruled out releasing the funds following the US killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul earlier this month.

The US froze the money after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) swept to power following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The IEA and US had been engaged in talks about releasing the funds.

Biden planned to give $3.5 billion to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes and the balance to families of 9/11 victims.

But the revelation that the al-Qaeda leader was living in Kabul derailed talks between the US and the IEA on a compromise over the funds.

The 9/11 victims’ families said that, while they had filed lawsuits seeking justice for their loss, they didn’t intend for the compensation “to take money away from starving Afghans”.

“This money is theirs, not ours,” the letter said. “Simply put, this money belongs to the Afghan people, not 9/11 family members – and they need it more.”

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3,000 religious scholars, elders and officials attend IEA’s Kandahar meeting

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(Last Updated On: August 18, 2022)

About 3,000 religious scholars, government officials, ethnic elders and members of civil society attended a meeting in Kandahar on Thursday.

Among the key speakers was the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

The media was however prevented from recording or filming Akhundzada’s speech.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the meeting that the IEA wants good relations with the world, but that the foreign community should not expect relations to normalize immediately – not after 20 years of war.

Muttaqi said that while the IEA wants good relations with the international community, they expect the world to allow Afghans to live according to their beliefs and traditions.

He also said that they have made many achievements in building trade relations with countries in the region and currently the borders are open to Afghan traders who are now exporting their goods.

On the other hand, acting Minister of Vice and Virtue has said that the IEA has made countless sacrifices to end the occupation and establish an Islamic system in Afghanistan.

However, Afghans across the country are hoping that one of the outcomes of this meeting will be the decision to reopen schools for girls above Grade 6.

But it is not clear as to whether the subject was discussed at the meeting.

This is the second such meeting in as many months. The first one, two months ago, took place at the Loya Jirga Hall in Kabul.

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