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Afghan dire humanitarian situation demands urgent support from int’l community: official

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(Last Updated On: April 2, 2022)

Afghanistan has faced a dire humanitarian situation over past few months, which urges the international community to take immediate actions to support the humanitarian response in the region, said an official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Last August, the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan added more woes to the country following two decades of war.

According to Reuters following the hasty pullout, the U.S. government quickly froze nearly 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in national foreign exchange assets from the Afghan central bank held in the United States, further aggravating the already dire humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Last year, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that Afghanistan is facing “an avalanche of hunger and destitution”, with 98 percent of the population lacking adequate food.

The ICRC Director-General Robert Mardini elaborated on his experience in Afghanistan after visiting there in February of last year, read the report.

“It is very severe. It’s very difficult to have exact figures. But we see more and more people in the streets, selling their few belongings to be able to put food on the table. We see more and more people seeking daily jobs. The situation is very dire. The economic system is on the brink of collapse. The vast majority of banks are not working. It’s very hard for people to get funds. The vast majority of civil servants today in Afghanistan are simply not getting their salaries. So, you can imagine the ripple effect when a family relies on, eight members of a family rely on a salary, how hard daily life is for Afghans today,” he said.

He believes that the current extreme situation in Afghanistan should be attributed to a combination of factors including warfares and climate change.

“This is the consequence of four decades of armed conflict that really brought the country in a very dire state. And then the effects of climate change are also at the same time and concurrently hitting Afghanistan, with the cycles of drought and floods that are more intense, more frequent. And of course, this is putting huge pressure on the food production in the country and the ability of Afghans to sustain their own needs. And the fact today that the international community and the vast majority of development agencies unplugged their support to Afghanistan since August last year, a country that relies heavily on international aid, of course, is bringing many of the critical services that 40 million Afghans rely on, at the brink of collapse,” he said.

The ICRC director-general also called on the international community to scale up support to humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the region, Reuters reported.

“Afghans have experienced four decades of armed conflict, repeated cycles of drought, putting their food security at risk. And I think it’s fair to say that no family has been spared by the effect of war. And while the day-to-day security has improved over the past months, Afghans face acute needs in humanitarian, but also in socio-economic terms. And this is not the time for the international community to forget Afghanistan. The well-being of the Afghan people should really lie above politics. And the ICRC is really committed and will consistently call for proper international attention and funding to ensure that public services that are critical to the survival of the civilian population be preserved in the country and the economic collapse is avoided,” said Mardini.

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Thousands of Afghans protest against desecration of Quran in Sweden, Netherlands

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Thousands of people took to the streets in different cities of Afghanistan on Friday to protest against the recent desecration of the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Chanting slogans against both the European countries, protesters called for the perpetrators of the acts to be punished.

“The Holy Quran is the book of brotherhood. This book never insults the sacred things of others. We want that such offensive acts should be prevented in the future,” said Ahmad Khan, a protester in Kabul.

Ismail, another protester in Kabul, said: “We ask Islamic countries to cut off their diplomatic relations with Sweden and the Netherlands until the perpetrators of insulting the Holy Quran are publicly punished.”

Some of the protesters said that they are ready to give their lives to defend their sacred things.

“We are ready to sacrifice our heads, property and children to the Quran,” Qutbuddin said.

In the northern province of Balkh, people protested by chanting slogans against acts of insult to the Quran. The protesters asked the international community and the Muslim world to prevent such acts.

“This crime is a repeated crime. Since countries are obliged to obey to the international laws, such crimes must be stopped,” said Mohammad Naeem, a protester in Balkh.

“Muslims have taught the enemies of Quran and Islam a lesson throughout history, and they will not allow anyone to insult their religion and Quran,” said Maulvi Qahir, a protester in Balkh.

In the province of Herat, protester changed “Death to Sweden and long live Islam.”

“These countries present themselves as friends, but these acts show that they are our enemies and are real terrorists. In international laws, insulting the sacred things is considered a crime. No one has the right to insult the sacred things of a country or a religion,” said Qasim, a protester in Herat.

“We ask the international community, the United Nations and human rights organizations to bring the perpetrators of insults to the Quran to justice as soon as possible. We respect the whole world and we expect that our religion will always be respected,” said Emal, a protester in Herat.

In the east of the country, the people of Nangarhar also took to the streets after Friday prayers to condemn the desecration of Quran.

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Turkmenistan and Afghanistan renew power supply contract

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water Affairs, Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor, and the Executive Chairman of Afghanistan’s power utility company (DABS), Alhaji Maulawi Muhammad Hanif Hamza, visited Turkmenistan this week where they signed agreements for the supply of electricity and other joint initiatives.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Energy and Water Affairs, the extension of the electricity contract with Turkmenistan, the completion of the 500KV line project, the construction of Noor ul Jihad substation, and the establishment of necessary coordination for the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan project were the focus of their trip.

Mansoor said that the electricity export agreement with Turkmenistan was extended for the year 2023 and also assurances were given by Turkmenistan regarding the implementation of the projects.

The ministry underlined that with the completion of the 500 KV line and the construction of Noor ul Jihad substation, the amount of electricity imported from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan will increase by 110 megawatts.

“With the implementation of the TAP project and the 500 kV line that passes through Afghanistan to Pakistan, the residents of many provinces of Afghanistan will benefit from electricity”, the ministry said.

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FM Muttaqi meets Norwegian Charge d’Affaires for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Norwegian Chargé d’Affaires for Afghanistan Paul Koloman Bkar called on Amir Khan Muttaqi, the foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), in Kabul and discussed humanitarian aid, security, development cooperation and political issues, said Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal, the deputy spokesman of the foreign ministry.

Mr. Bkar first expressed his regret over the explosion in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and expressed that his country is determined to work together with international partners through political interaction with Afghanistan considering the current authorities and governance of Afghanistan is a reality and the world should deal with it realistically.

FM Muttaqi said efforts should be made to bring the world and Afghanistan closer to each other, Norway has good experience in this work and can play a role. He added that positive measures of the new Afghan government should be appreciated and given a positive response.

“After decades, we have ensured global security, we have effectively fought against Daesh and drugs and we are committed so that all-round stability prevails in the country and no threat is perceived from Afghanistan,” said Muttaqi.

Minister Muttaqi said, as history has shown, using pressure options in Afghanistan is not useful and now we should move forward on the path of cooperation with each other.

Meanwhile, both sides discussed incomplete projects, education and training and a number of other issues that are suspended due to some obstacles.

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