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Afghan senators call for unity and talks in wake of troop pullout decision

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(Last Updated On: April 18, 2021)

The planned withdrawal of US troops and the Taliban’s perceived disinterest in the peace talks have raised concerns among members of Afghanistan’s Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament) who in turn called on Afghans to stand together and work for peace.

Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga, Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, called on all Afghans, and politicians to remain united during peace talks with the Taliban.

“All political sides should accelerate their efforts to preserve the republic system. Concerns should not exist regarding US troops’ withdrawal. They came for their reasons and are leaving,” said Muslimyar.

One senator, Muhammad Hanif Hanafi said on Sunday that terrorist groups are still present in the country and pose a threat.

“[US President Joe] Biden’s speech that they have achieved their goal in Afghanistan is false… Terrorists are present in Afghanistan,” said Hanafi.

“ANDSF provides 98 percent of security [in the country]; foreigners say that Al-Qaeda is defeated in Afghanistan, but they should review whether the Taliban have ties with Al-Qaeda or not,” said Anarkali Honaryar, another senator.

Some other senators, meanwhile, stated that an irresponsible withdrawal of troops will show the US up as having been defeated.

“Concerns over US troop withdrawal remain; the withdrawal shows the US has failed in the fight against international terrorists and it is a historical defeat to the US,” said Golalay Akbari, a Meshrano Jirga member.

Some senators meanwhile called on the Taliban to show that they are also Afghans by joining the peace talks process.

“Taliban should help solve Afghanistan’s problems via talks and prove that they are not servants of foreigners,” said senator Faisal Sama.

The senators also called on warring sides to put their personal grudges aside and to work for peace so as to avoid a civil war in Afghanistan.

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Pakistan dispatches second consignment of earthquake relief

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday dispatched eight trucks loaded with relief goods for earthquake victims in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan government, the consignment, arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority, has been handed over to Afghan authorities.

The consignment consists of family tents, tarpaulins, blankets and emergency medicines.

“Pakistan is committed to continue supply of relief goods to Afghan brethren,” the statement read.

This comes after Pakistan sent in earthquake aid on Wednesday, just hours after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, killing over 1,000 people and destroying thousands of houses.

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Taiwan announces $1 million for Afghan earthquake relief efforts

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Taiwan will donate $1 million to Afghan earthquake relief efforts in response to a call from the United Nations and others for humanitarian assistance, the government said late on Thursday.

Taiwan’s presidential office said in a statement that the government would donate “based on the spirit of humanitarian care for disaster relief regardless of national borders (and) responding to the United Nations and other humanitarian calls,” Reuters reported.

However Taiwan will not send search and rescue teams after consulting with other countries and considering the difficulty of transportation, office spokesman Xavier Chang added.

Taiwan also lies in a quake-prone zone and regularly sends rescue teams to other disaster areas around the world.

China meanwhile has said it stands ready to provide Afghanistan aid, and on Friday its foreign ministry said that it is “stepping up efforts” to collect cash, tents, bed quilts and other humanitarian aid to deliver to Afghanistan as soon as possible, but did not offer details of the size of the aid package.

Around 1,000 people are already confirmed dead from the quake in a remote part of the country this week.

Earlier, the European Union announced 1 million euros for the earthquake relief efforts in Afghanistan.

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India reopens embassy in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

India reopened its embassy in Kabul on Thursday, more than 10 months after closing it following the takeover of the city by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

Indian media reported that New Delhi has sent a “technical team” of officials to be based in Kabul.

The move comes a few weeks after a team headed by senior Indian foreign ministry official J.P. Singh travelled to Kabul and met with IEA officials.

The Indian embassy will become the 15th mission to open in Kabul under the rule of IEA, along with Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, European Union and four Central Asian states.

“In order to closely monitor and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and in continuation of our engagement with the Afghan people, an Indian technical team has reached Kabul today and has been deployed in our Embassy there,” Indian foreign ministry said in an announcement, citing India’s “historical and civilizational relationship with the Afghan people” as the reason for the decision.

IEA welcomed India’s move to reopen its embassy in Kabul.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman of IEA’s foreign ministry, called on India to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghans.

India meanwhile has sent its first consignment of earthquake relief aid to Afghanistan, where more than 1,000 people have been killed by the disaster.

India’s foreign ministry said the assistance was handed over by the Indian team that travelled aboard an Indian Air Force Ilyushin-76 aircraft, in the first such military, non-commercial transportation since last year.

In a separate development, Afghan Interior Ministry called for Afghan military cadets trained in India and other countries to return to the country and serve their people.

“Afghan cadets trained in India and other countries are a source of our national strength,” the Interior Ministry said on Twitter. “The Interior Ministry of the Islamic Emirate is ready to recruit these graduates according to their education & profession. Hopefully, they will return to the country & serve their people.”

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