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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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UN emphasizes the importance of aid for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says that the distribution of cash aid to the needy is very important during this year’s extremely harsh winter.

The spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Afghanistan Caroline Gluck says that in this cold winter, it is very important to distribute cash aid to the needy in Afghanistan.

Gluck, who visited Bamyan province recently, says that Afghanistan has faced one of the worst winters in many years and the needs of the people are very high.

She said the distribution of cash will help people sort out their needs during the cold weather.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that in 2023, the number of people in need in Afghanistan will reach more than 28 million.

Weather reports have put the minimum temperatures in a number of provinces across the country over the past three weeks at between minus 16 degrees Celsius and minus 30 degrees Celsius.

This record-cold winter has left well over 150 people and an estimated 200,000 livestock dead this month.

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UN deputy chief hopeful the IEA will lift restrictions on women

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

Amina Mohammad, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, has said that after meeting with some Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials she is hopeful that authorities could ease restrictions on women and girls.

In an interview with CNN, Mohammad, who visited Afghanistan earlier this month, was asked if she had any hope about IEA lifting restrictions on women and girls.

She replied: “Yes, I do. It was tough going in. But I feel now it is doable, looking at all the players and seeing some fissures within the Taliban (IEA), I think this is possible. We also had a few exceptions since then. So, yes there is hope.”

Amina said that there are differences of opinions within IEA in terms of carrying of edicts coming from Kandahar.

“I don’t think there is any change from their consolidation around that power base, but there is, in terms of carrying out some of these edicts, differences of opinions,” she said.

“I think in our visit, the recognition mattered. It was very clear that the humanitarian response that the international community was giving was really important. So we have some leverage and I think that is what we are trying to see, what is state of play in reality on ground,” Amina said.

Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women, said that when she asked IEA officials about the “further notice” in their decrees, they replied: “We need to build infrastructure, we need to build schools, we need to train the teachers, we need to change the curriculum for it to become less Western or actually not Western at all but Islamic and according to Sharia of what they believe they should learn.

“They believe women should only learn certain things about the Sharia and how to serve their husbands, families and their little community where they live,” she said.

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IEA welcomes World Bank report, urges resumption of incomplete projects

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Saturday welcomed the World Bank’s report issued this week and in turn called on the institution to resume incomplete projects that it had been working on in the country prior to the collapse of the former government.

The Office of Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs said in a statement that it welcomes all the “positive points based on objective facts” in the report, which was a clear indication of Afghanistan’s actual economic development and mobility.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan believes that if the current restrictions on Afghanistan’s banking sector are lifted and the frozen assets are released, the economic situation of the country will take faster steps towards improvement and stability, and the burden on the international community will be lessened,” the statement read.

Earlier this week the World Bank reported that the price of food and fuel in Afghanistan has decreased, the value of the Afghan currency has remained stable against foreign currencies, there has been a significant increase in exports, and the salaries of government employees have been paid on time. In addition, the report noted that national revenues had also increased.

The IEA also called on all international organizations to raise awareness of the real situation in Afghanistan by pointing out the advancements made in Afghanistan, particularly in the economic sphere.

The statement called on international aid agencies and organizations to finance development initiatives in Afghanistan that will lower unemployment and improve the country’s economic situation.

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