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Blinken promises review of Afghan withdrawal to Congress by mid-April

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(Last Updated On: March 23, 2023)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers on Wednesday that the State Department has been putting together a review of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and will share findings with Congress by mid-April.

“We’ve now been spending time putting all of this together to make sure that we look at some of the common lessons learned,” Blinken said in testimony to a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee hearing.

“I am committed and determined to make that information available to Congress, and we will do that. We will do that by mid-April. So I can tell you today, you’ll have the after-action review. We will share the findings and find the appropriate mechanism to do that within the next three weeks.”

Members of Congress have been demanding information about the August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years in what was the U.S.’s longest war. The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee threatened this week to issue a subpoena if the State Department does not produce documents it has requested, Reuters reported.

John Kirby, the top spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, told reporters the main takeaways from the review would be released to the public and shared with the House committee.

Republicans, who took control of the House in January, say there has never been a full accounting of the chaotic operation, in which 13 U.S. service members were killed at Kabul’s airport.

Hundreds of U.S. citizens and many thousands of Afghans who had worked with American forces were left behind as they were seeking to flee from the Taliban, the Islamist militant group that resumed control of Afghanistan.

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China regrets UN Doha meeting’s failure to have dialogue with IEA

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, on Saturday regretted that the United Nations’ meeting in Doha on Afghanistan earlier this week failed to have dialogue with the Islamic Emirate.

Yue said on X that the meeting was useful for exchange of views and it made a call for more pragmatic engagement and dialogue with Afghanistan.

“Pity is Doha Afghanistan meeting again failed to have dialogu with Afghan interim government or DFA (IEA) as China and regional countries have been calling,” Yue said.

The envoy said that China called more humanitarian assistance, moderate governance, and women and girls’ education.

China also called on US take major responsibility for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, unfreeze Afghanistan’s overseas assets and lift unilateral sanctions.

China also stressed that it is ready to work harder with UN and regional partners especially through Afghanistan’s nonboring countries foreign ministerial meeting and other platforms to enhance engagement with Afghanistan to help for its peace, stability, reconstruction and common prosperity.

The UN had extended an invitation for IEA officials to participate, following their exclusion from the first meeting in May.

However, the Kabul government said they would not participate in the talks unless they could be the sole representative of Afghanistan at the meetings — to the exclusion of civil society groups.

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Latest World Bank decision will support millions of Afghans: IRC

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has welcomed the latest move by the World Bank to use International Development Association (IDA) funds to scale up support to Afghanistan and expand the scope of its programs, saying these funds will support the delivery of services and access to jobs for Afghans who are continuing to endure a major humanitarian crisis as a result of decades of conflict, climate change and economic turmoil. 

IRC in a statement said that the focus of Approach 3.0 of the World Bank includes the delivery of livelihoods support which will support Afghanistan to at least maintain the current trajectory of low-level economic growth.

“This will be critical to maintaining and stabilizing the Afghan economy, while ensuring the survival of businesses and sources of income for millions. However, Afghanistan’s economic crisis remains the primary driver of the high level of humanitarian needs across the country,” the statement said.

IRC stated that although the announcement of Approach 3.0 represents a new milestone for meeting basic needs in Afghanistan, IRC urges other donors to recognise their role in continuing to contribute to both the delivery of basic services through the World Bank’s Afghanistan Resilience Trust Fund (ARTF) and to the humanitarian response.

All contributions are vital to sustaining support for Afghans, and the international community must continue to provide funding to sustain basic services and prevent the humanitarian crisis from worsening, it added.

A week ago, the World Bank Group announced that its executive board endorsed a new approach to aiding Afghanistan that will deploy some $300 million from the bank’s International Development Association fund for poor countries through United Nations agencies and other international organizations.

The shift marks the first time that the World Bank’s own funds would be sent to Afghanistan since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) seized power in August 2021.

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UN Doha meeting reinforced that world remains united on Afghanistan: US envoy

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

The recent UN-sponsored meeting on Afghanistan reinforced that the international community remains largely united and committed to supporting the Afghan people, U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, Rina Amiri, said on Saturday.

Amiri said on X that the meeting also reinforced that the international community remains committed to supporting Afghans’ struggle for economic stability, security and respect for their rights, particularly addressing the plight of Afghan women and girls.

She added that Afghan civil society representatives remained unified in their calls on the international community to factor in the “dire situation” of Afghan women when assessing the security situation in Afghanistan and the importance of including Afghan women and civil society in deliberations on Afghanistan.

The UN-sponsored meeting of countries’ special envoys on Afghanistan was held earlier this week in Doha, the second such meeting since May last year.

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has also said that there remains a strong consensus on collective interests in Afghanistan. 

“No country wants to see emergence of terrorism threat from Afghanistan.  All want to see women and girls return to secondary school, university, work and public life,” West said on X.

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