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Blinken tells House Committee no decision yet on troops withdrawal

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(Last Updated On: March 11, 2021)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington has not completed its review on troop posture in Afghanistan but that it is also focusing on diplomatic efforts to get the Afghan government and the Taliban to engage in negotiations.

Addressing a House Committee on Foreign Affairs session on Wednesday, Blinken said he does not want to “prejudge the outcome of that review” as there hasn’t been any decision made yet on troops when it comes to May 1st deadline.

But he said US President Joe Biden’s “goal is very clear.”

He said: “It’s to end the conflict, bring our troops home and to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorism and an ongoing threat to the United States.”

“We’re engaged in a diplomatic effort right now to try to drive the two parties to negotiate and to move forward on commitment that the Taliban made to the United States a year ago to negotiate meaningfully on a peaceful future for Afghanistan.”

He told House representatives that Washington is also “enlisting other countries, [and] the United Nations, in that effort”.

This is being done in the hope of driving the two parties to negotiate and to put in place agreements that would be the foundation for a just and durable peace in Afghanistan.

“And that, of course, is a very tall order but one that we’re working on,” he said.

Blinken stated that many of Afghanistan’s neighbors have a “real stake” in the country’s future and that diplomatic efforts on the part of the US are ongoing.

He said that “neighboring countries have a huge stake in Afghanistan not being a terrain for civil war that spills over the borders. And they have influence with various parties. So we’re engaging them.”

He said the Biden administration wants “to see where this [diplomatic] effort goes to actually get the parties to engage in a meaningful way.

“The Taliban made other commitments when it comes to reducing violence; when it comes to not harboring and supporting terrorists; we want to see them make good on those obligations,” he said.

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Dairy products worth $180 million are imported annually to Afghanistan: ACAL

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(Last Updated On: October 3, 2022)

Afghanistan Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock (ACAL) said Monday that dairy products worth $180 million are being imported to Afghanistan every year from foreign countries, adding that whenever investment is made in livestock in the country, Afghanistan can be self-sufficient in terms of dairy production and even would be able to export these products to other countries.

“If the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock provides land, energy and cold storage to the private sector, it can invest,” said Khanjan Alkozi, a member of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI).

According to the ACCI, currently the flesh of beef, sheep, chicken, fish, and milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products are being imported from foreign countries, while there is the capacity to produce these items in the country.

In the meantime, Mirwais Hajizadeh, deputy director of the ACAL said: “We hope that if the private sector is given the opportunity to invest, it will be able to invest more in the country.”

At the same time, ACAL has said that this ministry has new plans for the development of livestock and farms.

“Livestock is one of the important sectors of the country that the Ministry of Agriculture intends to encourage the private sector to invest in this sector,” said Misbahuddin Mostain, the spokesman of ACAL.

Economic experts still say that by supporting livestock in Afghanistan, the traditional economy will be strengthened, and finally, with the expansion of livestock in the country, the national economy will become self-sufficient.

“Our country is an agricultural country and has a high capacity to invest in the livestock sector and develop this sector, and I hope the Ministry of Agriculture will pay serious attention to this section,” said Taj Mohammad Talash, an economy analyst.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is considered one of the agricultural countries, but many of the agricultural products of this country are imported from abroad.

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‘We have to wait for a level of trust’, Indian FM on visas for Afghan students

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(Last Updated On: October 3, 2022)

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has asked the Afghan students enrolled in Indian universities to wait for a “level of trust and efficiency” to come up to allow visas to be restarted.

Around 2,500 students in Afghanistan continue to wait for any movement from the Indian side to grant them visas to pursue their education in the country.

As the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) took over the over the country in August last year, India suspended all visas. Since then, India has issued only about 300 visas and those have largely been for Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, minorities that have faced persecution.

India restarted its Afghan embassy operations in June, but it’s not full-fledged and has made no difference to the visa waitlist.   

“We had a situation where we had to pull out our embassy, we did not even have a presence on the ground to verify what is what. At that time there was lot of uncertainty about whose passport was whose, whose visa was whose…these are real issues out there,” said Jaishankar, speaking at a session on “Rising India and the World” where an Afghan student studying in Gujarat asked the question about the fate of Afghan students seeking Indian visa.

“India’s feelings for Afghan people, nobody can doubt,” Jaishankar added, referring to India’s aid consignments of wheat, medicines and vaccines to Afghanistan despite a “lot of problems”, and asked the students “to wait for [a] level of trust and efficiency” to come up to allow visas to be restarted. 

At present, an estimated 14,000 Afghan students are believed to be in India, studying at 73 universities.

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MoI delegation visits victim families of “Kaj” educational center attack

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(Last Updated On: October 3, 2022)

A delegation led by Zainullah Abar, chief of staff of the Minister of Interior, met with the families of the victims of “Kaj” educational center attack, and shared their condolences with them.

Also, the delegation of the MoI promised them all kinds of cooperation, and assisted families of the dead with 100,000 afghanis, and the injured with 50,000 afghanis.

The delegation said that the MoI leadership shares the grief of the families.

“These murderers, these savages and these criminals do not know any religion or humanity, and they do whatever they can and it is clear all of us are their targets,” the delegation said to victim families.

Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy minister of economy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and member of the delegation visiting the victim families, said that the enemies by carrying out such acts seek to divide the nation.

“With these actions the enemy of Afghanistan’s stability, security, development and progress is trying to create separation, division, hypocrisy, violence and hatred among the people of Afghanistan,” said Nazari.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) wrote in a tweet that the casualties toll of the attack at Kaj institute has reached 53 killed, including 46 girls, young women. 110 others were wounded.

Friday’s deadly explosion at an educational center in Kabul has sparked widespread condemnations domestically and globally.

The blast at “Kaj” educational center left more 19 people dead, including boys and girls, and 27 others wounded, according to Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for Kabul police.

Ministry of Interior also confirmed the blast and the casualties.

The blast was widely condemned by the Islamic Emirate as well as Afghan political leaders and foreign diplomatic missions.

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a tweet condemned the attack and called it a “huge horror.”

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