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Afghan media takes hard knock as staff resign and dozens seek asylum

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(Last Updated On: March 11, 2021)

NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, said Thursday that in the last two weeks, the number of female journalists in Nangarhar, Kandahar and Balkh provinces has dropped by a staggering 90 percent.

NAI also said not only are journalists in Afghanistan under threat, but so too are their families.

In addition, NAI stated that the solar year 1399 has been one of the bloodiest years to date for journalists in Afghanistan.

Eleven journalists and media workers have died in the country this solar year and at least 50 Afghan journalists, including men and women, have fled the country.

According to NAI, government’s apparent negligence in following up on cases involving crimes against journalists and the sharp rise in targeted killings of media workers has been a matter of grave concern for journalists.

“There are senior journalists and reporters who left the country, and among them it is said that 15 women [journalists] also left the country,” said Mujib Khelwatgar, head of NAI.

NAI says there have been three attacks on the families of journalists in the last two weeks, leaving several dead and wounded.

However, Ministry of Interior spokesman Tariq Arian said government is working on these cases.

“About 60 people have been arrested in connection with assassinations and violence against journalists, and their cases have been handed over to the prosecutor’s office,” said Arian.

On the other hand, female reporters in the capital say that no threats can silence their voices.

Khadija, a reporter for RTA Television says she has faced several threats, but has ignored the threats and is intent on continuing her work.

“Our families are also being threatened, and I, as a journalist, want to say that we are not stopping our work,” said Khadija.

This comes after the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) and 40 other civil society organizations from around the world called on the UN Security Council and UNAMA on Wednesday to support the Afghan media community by calling on all parties to stop violence against journalists in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2222 (2015).

The AFJC said in a letter to the UN, and to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) head Deborah Lyons, that the council and all parties to the letter “are deeply concerned by the torrent of targeted killings of journalists in Afghanistan since early 2020.”

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New Delhi hosts India-Central Asia meeting of NSAs

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2022)

India’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on Tuesday said that connectivity with Central Asian countries remains India’s key priority and that security and prosperity is a common goal for the region.

Speaking at the first India-Central Asia meeting of the National Security Advisers, in New Delhi, Doval said the security situation in Afghanistan was an important issue concerning “us all”.

This is the first time India is hosting a meeting of top security officials from Central Asian countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Participants are focussing on the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and ways to deal with the threat of terrorism they said is emanating from the country.

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Japan gives over $106 million in aid to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2022)

Japan announced Tuesday that it has decided to give an additional $106.7 million in assistance to Afghanistan to help combat the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country.

In a statement issued by the Japanese Embassy in Kabul, the mission said: “Pleased to announce that Japan has decided additional 106.7 million USD assistance for Afghanistan, enabling implementation of humanitarian and basic human needs assistance projects. We truly hope these projects will help bring many smiles of Afghan people!”

The mission said these projects will be implemented by UN agencies, international organizations and NGOs, all aiming for the betterment of livelihoods through multiple approaches.

With the upcoming $106.7 million, the cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since August 2021 will amount to $335 million, the statement read.

This comes just days after US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West has held talks with Japanese officials in Tokyo on humanitarian needs and human rights issues in Afghanistan.

“Japan has been a friend of the Afghan people and our partner there for over 20 yrs, and we deeply appreciate Japan’s active diplomacy and continued generosity today,” West said on Saturday.

“We are always stronger, on every challenge, when we act together with allies. True in Afghanistan – we’ll continue to need Japan’s expertise and diverse contributions,” West said.

The envoy also said that he got “sage advice” from Tadamichi Yamamoto, a Japanese who served as UN envoy for Afghanistan during 2016-2020.

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UN Security Council temporarily lifts travel ban on senior IEA official

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

The UN Security Council has lifted the travel ban on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) acting Minister of Information and Culture, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhah, for a period of 10 days, so he can attend an event in Russia, officials in Afghanistan stated.

The UN Security Council failed to extend a travel ban exemption on Khairkhah along with other IEA officials two months ago.

This latest temporary travel ban exemption is said to have come into effect on December 1 and will run through until December 10, allowing Khairkhah to travel to Kazan, the capital of the Russian Federation’s Republic of Tatarstan.

Khairkhah was formerly imprisoned in Guantanamo and was released in 2014 in exchange for an American soldier.

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