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Afghan FM calls for global help amid “major humanitarian crisis”

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(Last Updated On: September 14, 2021)

Afghanistan’s new acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi has called for sanctions to be lifted against the Islamic Emirate and said urgent global help is needed to help deal with the “major humanitarian crisis” currently gripping the country.

Addressing a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday evening, Muttaqi also called on Afghan expats to return home to help develop the country.

He said the government is doing everything it can to provide job opportunities and also called on Afghans in the country to stay and not to migrate.

Muttaqi also said that security is being maintained around the country and called on foreign businesses to invest in Afghanistan.

He said the country is currently facing many problems including a brain drain. “Afghanistan is in dire need of help,” he said.

Reiterating his calls for global support, Muttaqi said the Islamic Emirate is willing to work with all countries including the United States but made it clear they “will not be dictated to”.

Calling for sanctions to be lifted against the Islamic Emirate, Muttaqi added “we can not allow any sanctions or embargoes” to be imposed on Afghanistan.

He said every country has its own foreign policy and if foreign countries are willing to recognize the Islamic Emirate then they are welcome (to visit Afghanistan).

He also said there is no insecurity in the country, and dispelled rumors of infighting among the rulers.

Muttaqi also stated that reservations raised by foreign countries on funding Afghanistan, “are not fair and are unjust”.

He stated that the recently formed interim government will respect all human rights including that of women and also called on all foreign diplomatic missions to continue operating in Afghanistan as usual.

He said the same applies to Afghanistan’s missions abroad.

On the topic of emergency relief, he said aid has come in from Qatar, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan in the past few days.

He thanked these countries and said this emergency aid will be distributed fairly to Afghans in need.

In conclusion, he said all agreements in place made by the former government will be upheld by the new government as long as they are in line with the Islamic Emirates’ policies and values.

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IEA, US meet in Doha to discuss freeing of Afghanistan’s frozen assets

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

A senior Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) delegation, led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, headed to Qatar on Wednesday to hold talks with US officials to release some of the $9 billion of frozen reserves. 

According to a Washington Post report, US officials have tried to set up a system for assets to be managed, while simultaneously erecting safeguards to ensure the funds are not siphoned off for misuse by the IEA.

One option discussed by those close to the talks involves having a third party trust fund administer the money, according to the report.

Bloomberg also reported that the discussion will center around “creating a mechanism for releasing the frozen Afghan reserves.” 

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s finance ministry told Bloomberg: “We’re expecting this would be a serious round of talks.”

US officials have expressed optimism about the progress on talks but cautioned that several obstacles to the deal remain.

“It would be accurate to say negotiations are underway,” said Shah Mehrabi, an economics professor at Montgomery College in Maryland and a senior member of  Afghanistan’s central bank board since 2002. 

“We are in the process of trying to come up with a mechanism that will allow the transfer of reserves to the central bank of Afghanistan,” he said.

Mehrabi said food costs have skyrocketed by 18 percent in the past several months. Basic household goods rose in cost by 35 percent during the first few months of the year; in May, inflation for household goods hit 42 percent, Mehrabi said.

“These reserves belong to the Afghan people; they are needed to stabilize prices,” he said. “The faster it is delivered to the central bank of Afghanistan, the sooner we will see the impact of the reduction in prices that are critical to enable ordinary Afghans to afford food, cooking oil, and sugar and fuel. Now, they can’t do that.”

The delegation includes central bank Governor Mohammad Idris and Deputy Finance Minister Nazir Kabiri. They will meet with the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West and officials from the treasury department, Haqmal said.

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‘If Putin was a woman’ he would not have invaded Ukraine: UK PM

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

“If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would’ve embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has,” Johnson said in an interview to German broadcaster ZDF.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is “a perfect example of toxic masculinity”, he said, calling for better education for girls around the world and for “more women in positions of power”.

The British prime minister acknowledged that “of course people want the war to end”, but for the moment “there’s no deal available. Putin isn’t making an offer of peace”.

Johnson’s comments come ahead of a NATO meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats.

Western allies must support Ukraine to enable it to be in the best possible strategic position in the event that peace negotiations with Moscow do become possible, Johnson said.

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Grand assembly to discuss ways to improve economic, social conditions: Hanafi

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

The grand assembly of religious scholars, scheduled to begin Thursday, is expected to discuss ways to improve economic and social conditions, Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Wednesday.

Hanafi said people from various ethnic groups and with different views will sit for discussion, which is a positive step in maintaining stability and strengthening national unity in the country.

 “After years, Afghans from various sections and ethnic groups and with different views sit with each other for discussion without foreign interference,” Hanafi said in an interview to RTA. “It is in itself a positive and valuable step for maintaining stability and strengthening national unity.”

He said that more than 3,000 people will participate in the gathering under the mega Loya Jirga tent in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the IEA, also said that the gathering will be held under tight security measures.

He said that all technical preparations have been finalized and there will be several committees discussing key issues.

It will be the largest gathering in Kabul after the IEA took over in August last year. 

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