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Afghanistan, China discuss economic cooperation and peace process

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(Last Updated On: August 21, 2020)

Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Afghanistan has discussed the latest developments in the Afghan peace process among other issues with his Chinese counterpart on Thursday.

The ministry said in a statement that Atmar spoke via phone call with Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, on Thursday afternoon.

“During the call, the Foreign Ministers discussed economic cooperation, regional connectivity, and the latest developments in the peace process between the Afghan Government and the Taliban,” the statement said.  

Both sides deliberated on the importance of ongoing regional cooperation and consensus on the peace talks in Afghanistan, the exchange of prisoners between the government and the Taliban, the need for the Taliban to reduce violence, and the need to establish a humanitarian ceasefire, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, the Afghan official emphasized the important role China has in the Afghan peace process, reiterating the need for continuing Chinese engagement in Afghanistan and assistance in strengthening regional consensus on the process.

Atmar further said that both countries need to expand engagement on issues including the Mes Aynak Copper Mine Project; opportunities for strengthening bilateral economic cooperation including potential electricity and infrastructure development programs; regional connectivity; and the expansion of trade between Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Central Asia.

In the meantime, Wang Yi reiterated his country’s supports for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

He added that China respects the decision taken by the Loya Jirga, and seeks the immediate start of a dialogue between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. 

“China wants a comprehensive and lasting peace in Afghanistan, which preserves the achievements of the last 19 years and that this is only possible within the framework of the current constitution and through the preservation of the Islamic Republic,” read the statement.

The Chinese official emphasized the important position of Afghanistan as a potential trade and transit hub and reiterated China’s readiness to work on bilateral and regional economic projects with Afghanistan.

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More tourists visiting Hairatan border town in Balkh

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Officials of the trade and port town of Hairatan border town in the center of Balkh province say that with the arrival of the fishing season and security improvement in the country, dozens of people come to this town every day for tourism and recreation.

Khalilullah Farooqi, the head of Hairatan border town, said that people can come to this recreational area without any worries.

“People can visit and have fun in this town without worrying under Islamic Sharia law,” said Farooqi.

The citizens meanwhile consider the improvement of security as the reason for the increase in the number of visitors to this town and express their satisfaction, calling on the government to expand recreational places in the country.

Hairatan border town is one of the largest commercial ports in the north of the country, which connects Afghanistan with Uzbekistan and other countries in the region.

According to experts, the more attention is paid to the country’s ports and the more infrastructure is built, the higher the government’s revenue will be.

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IEA condemns attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul, vows probe

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in a statement condemned Friday’s attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul, adding security institutions will investigate the incident and that perpetrators of the attack will be punished.

The statement said that IEA will not allow any individual or group to pose a threat to the security of diplomatic missions in Kabul.

“IEA strongly condemns failed firing attack towards the Pakistan embassy in Kabul and prays for speedy recovery of a security guard,” the statement said, adding that “IEA will not allow any malicious actors to pose a threat to the security of diplomatic missions in Kabul.”

Kabul police spokesman meanwhile said firing on Pakistan embassy in Kabul was from a building, adding that security forces immediately arrived at the scene and stopped the firing. One suspect was arrested and two weapons were seized during the operation, Khalid Zadran said on Twitter.

The Pakistan foreign ministry in a statement said the attack on the Pakistan embassy compound was targeting the Head of Mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani.

“By the grace of Allah Almighty, the Head of Mission is safe. However, a Pakistani security guard Sepoy Israr Mohammad has been critically injured in the attack while protecting the Head of Mission,” the statement said.

“The Interim Government of Afghanistan (IEA) must immediately hold thorough investigations in this attack, apprehend the culprits, hold them to account, and take urgent measures to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani diplomatic personnel and citizens in Afghanistan,” the statement added.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the attack as “dastardly.”

“Salute to brave security guard, who took bullet to save his life. Prayers for the swift recovery of security guard. I demand immediate investigation & action against perpetrators of this heinous act,” Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter.

UNAMA also condemned the attack and noted that diplomatic missions are protected under international law.

 

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Six million Afghans face emergency level of food insecurity: UN

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

The United Nations has recently warned that 6 million people in Afghanistan face emergency level of food insecurity amid shortage of sufficient humanitarian assistance due to lack of funding.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the UN Deputy Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov, said to reporters at the UN headquarters in Kabul that Afghans in need have increased to 25 million this year.

“The economic shocks, which we are experiencing these days are the primary drivers for the humanitarian needs,” said Alakbarov.

He said that winter is approaching with temperatures dropping in certain areas of the country to minus 25 degrees Celcius.

“We require $768 million to support winter preparedness activities, and 614 million are required before the end of the year… We’ve been struggling for the funding for the entire year,” he added.

Two-thirds of the entire population – more than 28 million people – will need humanitarian assistance next year, according to the UN.

He said that levels of food insecurity remain one of the highest in Afghanistan with about 6 million people facing emergency levels of food insecurity, also known as IPC4.

“That is the stage before you go to phase 5 and phase 5 is basically a catastrophic famine stage. So, 6 million people are getting close to that particular borderline,” he added.

The US and other Western nations suspended financial assistance to Afghanistan after the Islamic Emirate reclaimed power in August last year.

This comes while the US has frozen Afghan central bank foreign reserves worth $7 billion.

The UN human rights experts meanwhile have called for the US to end its freeze on Afghanistan’s foreign assets.

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