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Biden keeps US target for refugee admissions at 125,000

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2022)

President Joe Biden on Tuesday kept the nation’s cap on refugee admissions at 125,000 for the 2023 budget year, despite pressure from advocates to raise it even higher to meet the need after falling far short of that target this year.

Refugees advocates have been pushing the Biden administration to do more to restore the US Refugee Admissions Program, Associated Press reported.

The more than four-decade-old program suffered deep cuts under the Trump administration, which slashed admissions to a record low of 15,000.

Biden raised the cap to four times that amount, but so far fewer than 20,000 refugees have been admitted this budget year, which ends September 30, AP reported.

That number excludes the roughly 180,000 Ukrainians and Afghans who came to the United States via a legal process called humanitarian parole that got them into the country more quickly than the traditional refugee program but only allows for stays of up to two years.

Refugees are provided a path to permanent residency. Their admissions are determined by the president each year, and federal funding for resettlement agencies is based on the number of people they resettle in a given year.
The 125,000 target “is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest,” Biden stated in his presidential determination.

Biden earmarked 5,000 more slots for people from Europe and Central Asia for the 2023 budget year, making room to accommodate those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The largest number of slots — 40,000 — was set aside for refugees from Africa, followed by 35,000 from South Asia and 15,000 each from East Asia, Europe and Latin America.

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US envoy stresses importance of Japan’s contributions to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has held talks with Japanese officials on humanitarian needs, human rights and political dialogue during his two-day visit to the country.

“Japan has been a friend of the Afghan people and our partner there for over 20 yrs, and we deeply appreciate Japan’s active diplomacy and continued generosity today,” West said on Twitter on Saturday.

“We are always stronger, on every challenge, when we act together with allies. True in Afghanistan – we’ll continue to need Japan’s expertise and diverse contributions,” West said.

The envoy also said that he got “sage advice” from Tadamichi Yamamoto, a Japanese who served as UN envoy for Afghanistan during 2016-2020.

He also discussed the economic strategy with Japan International Cooperation Agency.

West’s Japan visit was part of his tour to the region that includes India and the United Arab Emirates.

West is expected to consult with partners and Afghans regarding the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, protection of Afghans’ rights, and shared security concerns, according to a statement from the US State Department.

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In phone call, Muttaqi assures Zardari of bringing Pakistan embassy attackers to justice

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

Foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Amir Khan Muttaqi, phoned his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and assured that IEA will make utmost efforts to bring perpetrators of Friday’s attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul to justice.

A security guard was injured in firing on the compound the embassy in Kart-e-Parwan area of Kabul on Friday. Police said the firing was from a building and a suspect was arrested.

Condemning the attack, Muttaqi also assured Zardari that IEA will pay special attention to the security of the embassy, according to a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry.

For his part, the Pakistani foreign minister thanked IEA for its strong expression of solidarity and underscored that safety and security of Pakistan’s diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan was of utmost importance, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Afghan government must prevent the terrorists from undermining relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Zardari also reiterated “Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to fight terrorism and said that Pakistan will be undeterred by such cowardly attacks.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign ministry’s spokesperson stated that there are no plans to close the embassy or withdraw diplomats from Kabul.

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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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