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Chinese FM makes four-point proposal to tackle Afghan issues

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(Last Updated On: October 13, 2021)

The Group of 20 (G20) should leverage its characteristics and strengths to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special representative Wang Yi, also Chinese state councilor and foreign minister, said on Tuesday.

Wang made a four-point proposal on tackling issues including the humanitarian crisis and terrorism in Afghanistan while attending a special G20 leaders’ meeting on Afghanistan via video link in Beijing.

According to Wang, Afghanistan is at the crossroads with both opportunities and challenges, difficulties and hopes. The experience from the past 20-years shows that a country should choose its development path based on its condition, and imposing ideology and military intervention to intervene in other’s internal affairs will only lead to constant turbulence and severe humanitarian disasters.

Wang called on the G20 to respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and let the Afghan people decide their destiny to contribute to the Afghanistan and the region’s peace, stability, prosperity, and development.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, Wang made four proposals.

First, he called on the international community to focus on people’s livelihood with humanitarian support to help the Afghans overcome difficulties such as food shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of medical supplies.

China has announced to urgently provide Afghanistan with 200 million yuan (about 31 million U.S. dollars) worth of assistance for mostly food, materials for winter, medicines and COVID-19 vaccines. The first batch of supplies has been delivered to the Afghan side, Wang said, urging countries that created the crisis to take on responsibilities to avoid new humanitarian crises in the country.

Second, Afghanistan should stay committed to an open, inclusive path of development, Wang said, suggesting the international community engage with the Afghan side in a rational and pragmatic manner and support the country to establish an inclusive political structure and sound domestic and foreign policies.

Stressing that the fundamental way to settle the Afghan issue is to help the country realize a peaceful reconstruction and a sound economic and social development, Wang appealed countries to lift their unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan.

International financial institutions should also enhance financial support to facilitate Afghanistan’s poverty alleviation and infrastructure constructions, Wang added.

Third, the Chinese foreign minister reiterated its zero-tolerance attitude towards terrorism. He called for concrete actions to ensure Afghanistan stay away from terrorism and proposed a united front for the international community to counter-terrorism.

Fourth, the international community should reach consensuses and work jointly to push forward the establishment of relevant mechanisms of Afghanistan, Wang pointed out, adding that he recognized the UN’s central role in providing humanitarian assistance and maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan.

China supports the Afghans to realize a peaceful and prosperous future in their country and is ready to work with all parties to help Afghans open up a new chapter in their country’s history, Wang stated.

The meeting is being convened by Italy, the current seat of the rotating G20 presidency.

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Media outlets must ‘not cause misery and sedition’: Ministry

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Ministry of Information and Culture has called on media outlets to disseminate content that is factual and that contains issues of national interest.

In a meeting on Wednesday with media representatives, officials from the ministry, including the minister, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhah, said the media plays an important role in the development, progress, and preservation of Islamic and national values and also national unity.

“You (media outlets) should try to use your pen and language to benefit the people and not to cause misery and sedition between people,” said Khairkhah.

Mohajer Farahi, the Deputy minister meanwhile said that the media can criticize the lack of work of the government in order to bring about reforms in the institutions, but that it must be based on Islamic principles and values. He also said the policy of the Islamic Emirate was not and is not in any way in conflict with the media.

“The policy of the Islamic Emirate is that we do not want to clash with the media in any way, but we [want to] work together,” said Farahi.

The spokesman of the IEA Zabihullah Mujahid however has pointed out that all government institutions are obliged to make information available to the media in a timely manner.

“Access to information is less and there are problems, and the Commission for Access to Information has its own problems and its employees have decreased from 51 to 18 people,” said Mujahid.

“As much as possible, the organizations should be obliged to make the information available to the media,” he added.

Mujahid also said that the mass media law is under review.

The Ministry of Information and Culture meanwhile has banned Radio Azadi and Voice of America from broadcasting in the country.

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UN warns 6 million Afghans on brink of famine

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

The United Nations warned on Wednesday that six million people in Afghanistan face an emergency level of food insecurity amid a shortage of sufficient humanitarian assistance due to the lack of funding.

“The economic shocks, which we are experiencing these days are the primary drivers for the humanitarian needs,” UN Deputy Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov told reporters.

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,” Alakbarov said.

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

He also said that six million people are getting closer to the famine line.

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Explosion at Samangan school sparks widespread condemnation

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

The deadly explosion on Wednesday at the Al-Jihadi school in the city of Aybak, the center of Samangan province, which killed and injured a number of children and teenagers, has sparked widespread condemnation both locally and internationally.

According to an announcement by the Ministry of Interior, 10 children died and a number of others were injured in the explosion.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West, in a series of tweets called the attack terrible.

“All Afghan children have the right to go to school without fear,” he tweeted, adding that the United States condemns this senseless attack against innocent civilians.

Amnesty International called the blast “disturbing”, and stated it was “yet another reminder to the world that the sufferings of Afghan people are far from over.”

Amnesty International has said that Afghanistan demands the attention of the world and that determined efforts must be made to protect the people of this country and that those responsible for such reprehensible attacks face justice in fair trials.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also said in its response that it is horrified by the explosion.

UNICEF added that at least 288 children were killed or injured in Afghanistan in the first half of this year, including in attacks on schools and educational environments. According to the organization, it is believed that the real figure of Wednesday’s explosion is much higher.

The United Nations Children’s Fund has said that children should never be the target of violence.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the blast.

“Appalled by today’s horrendous bomb attack on a school in Samangan, Afghanistan, killing and wounding innocent people and students. These atrocities only add to the multitude of crises in Afghanistan. My thoughts go out to the victims’ families and their loved ones,” Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway tweeted.

Germany also condemned the explosion, adding that children should be able to go to school without fear and harm.

“We are shocked and saddened by the reports of an attack on a school in Aybak in northern Afghanistan with many dead and injured, including children & young people. Children should be able to go to school without fear and harm. Our thoughts are with those who grieve for a loved one,” German Foreign Office tweeted.

Imdadullah Mahajer, head of the cultural information department in Samangan province, says that an explosion occurred on Wednesday at a religious school called Al-Jihadi in the vicinity of Aybak city, the center of Samangan province.

Mahajer said that students were praying at the time of the explosion.

According to him, 15 students were killed and a number of others were wounded. However, the IEA has put the death toll at 10.

The attack was also widely condemned by IEA officials in the country.

Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, the political deputy of the current government, has strongly condemned the explosion and said that it is against all Islamic and humanitarian principles and an “unforgivable crime”.

“The enemies of Afghanistan and Islam revealed their enmity with Islam with this attack that targeted the students of Quran and Sunnah. I assure that the perpetrators of this crime will not remain unanswered,” Kabir tweeted.

Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, has also strongly condemned this explosion and called it against all human and Islamic values.

Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation under the previous government, also condemned the incident in a Facebook message.

Abdullah wrote that attacking worshipers, students, religious schools, mosques and places of worship is against Islamic and human values.

The ministry of interior meanwhile stated that the explosion targeted a religious seminary in Samangan’s capital Aybak, killing 10 students and wounding several others.

However, reports on social media indicate that the casualty toll was much higher.

So far no group claimed responsibility for the blast.

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