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After 20 years of valor and sacrifice, it’s time to bring troops home: Biden

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(Last Updated On: April 29, 2021)

In his first formal speech to lawmakers since becoming president nearly 100 days ago, US President Joe Biden devoted a sizable amount of time, of the national address, to his recent decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and said the war was never meant to have been a “multi-generational undertaking of nation-building”.

“We went to Afghanistan to get the terrorists who attacked us on September 11. We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden and we degraded the terrorist threat of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. After 20 years of American valor and sacrifice, it’s time to bring our troops home.”

Biden’s decision has received a mixed response on Capitol Hill and many have expressed concerns that the Afghan government won’t be able to defend itself, which could result in a civil war.

But Biden acknowledged the concerns and said that even as troops pull out of the country “we will maintain an over-the-horizon capability to suppress future threats to the homeland.”

But he also emphasized that Afghanistan, the site from which the September 11 terrorist attacks on America were planned, no longer represents the critical threat to national security it once did.

“The terrorist threat has evolved beyond Afghanistan since 2001, and we will remain vigilant against threats to the United States, wherever they come from,” he said.

“Al-Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond,” he said.

Biden also mentioned economic and security threats posed by Russia, China and North Korea, and promised to work more closely with foreign allies to address these areas of concern.

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Earthquake victims in Gayan district still in need of food and shelter

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Hundreds of survivors of this week’s earthquake, who lost family members and their homes, are still in desperate need of help.

Sayed Bakhta, one of the survivors said that he has lost four family members and two others are hospitalized, adding that survivors are dealing with a lack of food and no shelter.

“We have no shelter here now, we don’t have food, all the victims are sitting outside without having shelter,” he said.

A number of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials who have visited Gayan district of Paktika say that almost 90 percent of residential areas have been destroyed.

“Almost 90 percent of residences are destroyed; only a few them are suitable for living, most of them are uninhabitable,” said Qalandar Ebad, acting minister of public health.

In the meantime, rugged roads have hampered relief efforts as Gayan victims grapple with a humanitarian crisis, but military helicopter try to deliver aid to the victims.

“According to the order of the Prime Minister, a meeting was held and according to that meeting, the ministries and donor organizations were instructed to come to the earthquake site as soon as possible and use all their facilities to save the people,” said Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy Minister of State for Disaster Management.

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121 children among those killed in Afghanistan earthquake: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

The United Nations children’s agency said on Friday 121 of those who were killed in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan this week were children.

Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, said as of late Thursday night, at least 1,036 people were reported killed and more than 1,643 reported injured.

The toll included 121 deaths and 67 injuries among the children, according to the official.

He said that Bermal district in Paktika province has the highest number of casualties and that several thousand homes were destroyed or damaged.

“Children and adolescents are extremely vulnerable and at high-risk of family separation, emotional and psychological distress, abuse and exploitation, and other forms of violence,” Ayoya said.

“UNICEF, in coordination with UN agencies, partners, and the de facto authorities (led by the Ministry of Defence) is rapidly preparing a multi-sectoral response covering health, WASH, child protection, nutrition, education, social mobilization, and including a cash component,” Ayoya said.
“UNICEF will be conducting a rapid market assessment in the affected areas in the upcoming days. The assessment will inform the feasibility and appropriateness of cash as a response to support early recovery. UNICEF has already trained partners for beneficiary registration on the ground.”

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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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