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Afghan team arrives in Qatar for World Cup 2020 qualifiers

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(Last Updated On: May 31, 2021)

Afghanistan’s National Football Team arrived in Doha from the UAE on Monday for the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

After more than 18 months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Group E is now ready to resume matches.

According to AFC, the battle for top spot looks to be between Qatar and Oman while Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh fight it out for the automatic places in the third round of qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup.

While Qatar holds a four-point lead going into the final phase of matches in the second round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, the side has played one game more than second-placed Oman.

But having dropped just two points so far – in a 0-0 draw with India just eight months after being crowned Asian champions – victory for Qatar over the Indians plus a draw in their meeting with Oman on June 7 would be enough to guarantee top spot and confirm that berth in China in two years’ time.

Should Qatar win the group, the runners-up will be in a battle with the other second-placed teams across the eight groups in the second round hoping to have a good enough record to advance to the next phase of FIFA World Cup qualifying, AFC reported.

With seven group winners advancing to the third round, five of the best second-placed finishers would join them in going through.

AFC reported that the Oman side is already in a strong position to claim one of those spots should they not manage to climb over the Qataris, with 12 points from five games and matches against Qatar, Afghanistan and Bangladesh remaining.

However, the Afghan team presents the closest challenge to Oman but, with eight points separating Anoush Dastgir’s team from the Gulf side, the chances of overhauling them are slim.

Instead, Afghanistan’s focus will be on securing third spot in the group and guaranteeing themselves a place in the third round of qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Much the same will apply for fourth-placed India, who have picked up three points from three draws in a disappointing campaign so far for Igor Stimac’s team, while Bangladesh will be looking to challenge the Afghans and Indians in a quest to avoid last place and the requirement to enter the playoffs for the third round of qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup.

Afghanistan’s captain, Farshad Noor has meanwhile been singled out as a player to watch as, according to the AFC, Noor provides a strong, technical presence at the heart of the Afghanistan midfield.

The 26-year-old headed in his side’s first goal in the second phase of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2023 when he netted the only goal of the game against Bangladesh in the nations’ meeting back in September 2019.

The Afghan team, which has just wrapped up a 10-day training camp in the UAE, will face Bangladesh on Thursday and play Oman on June 11 and India on June 15.

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Stanikzai laments poor reading habits among Afghans

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the political deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Sunday that the development of a country depends on reading, but reading habits in Afghanistan are very low.

Stanikzai made the remarks at a ceremony in Kabul to unveil books printed during the past 11 months.

“In Afghanistan, compared to other countries, people read very little. Maybe some people believe that there were many problems here, there was a war, the economy was weak and people are looking for bread and don’t have time to read, but these problems exist in other countries as well. If there is no war in other countries, there is poverty,” Stanikzai said.

He stated now that security is ensured in the country and there is no feudalism, youths should read under the shadow of the Islamic system, because without reading, success cannot be achieved.

“If youths become interested in reading and books, Allah willing, society will get rid of problems very soon. We Afghans have no equal on the battlefield. We have a lot of progress in this regard, and no one else has this honor. We should try to tell the world that with the takeover of the Islamic Emirate, there is peace and security in Afghanistan. There is no more war; there is no more feudalism; there is no more looting. There is an Islamic and Sharia system,” Stanikzai said.

He has also said that currently many books are imported from other countries, adding that scientific and research institutions and authors of the country should try to write books themselves.

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Afghan national arrested over death of three women in Austria

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Austrian police have arrested a 27-year-old Afghan national suspected of killing three women in a brothel in the capital, Vienna, on Friday.

BBC News reported that the victims were stabbed to death, and the suspect was found hiding near the brothel with a knife in his hand.

The motive for the killings is currently unclear but the man has been questioned.

Another woman and her daughter were killed in an unrelated incident in Vienna in a 24-hour period. Investigators believe the girl’s father was responsible.

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Acting FM Muttaqi leaves for Turkmenistan

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi has left for Turkmenistan for talks with officials of the neighboring country, it was announced Sunday.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on his X that Muttaqi, leading a delegation, traveled to Turkmenistan at the invitation of Rashid Murdov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, to discuss bilateral issues.

The delegation includes also officials of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Railway Authority and Da Afghanistan Brehshna Sherkat.

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