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Death toll in Logar truck bombing rises to 26



(Last Updated On: May 1, 2021)

The death toll in Logar’s truck bomb blast has risen to 26, local officials said Saturday afternoon.

According to the officials, an explosive-loaded truck detonated at a guesthouse while people were breaking their fast on Friday evening.

The officials stated that most of the victims were students, who were waiting to take the university entrance exam (Kankor).

At least 110 others were wounded in the explosion.

“The blast took place at around 7 pm. All the victims are students who came to the city to participate in the Kankor test,” Abdul Qayum Rahimi, Logar governor said.

The blast, meanwhile, left millions of Afghanis in losses to civilians, Rahimi said.

According to Rahimi, dozens of shops and markets, the provincial public hospital, and residential houses were badly damaged in the incident.

The blast also prompted a local and international outcry.

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh condemned the “heinous terrorist attack” in Logar.

“The car bomb has killed and injured dozens of civilians mainly 12-grade graduates in a private hostel preparing for University entry exams,” Saleh tweeted.

Saleh blamed the Taliban. The group, however, has not commented in this regard.

“Pakistani supplied ammonium nitrate and explosives,” VP Saleh added.

“I strongly condemn yesterday’s cowardly terrorist attack against the civilians in Pul-e Alam in Logar Province during Iftar time in Ramadan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this difficult time,” HCNR Chairman Abdullah Abdullah said.

In the meantime, Ross Wilson Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kabul also condemned the blast.

“We condemn this and all acts of violence against Afghans. My condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” Wilson tweeted.

UK Embassy in Kabul also condemned the attack, stating: “This senseless violence against civilians must stop.”

“In the holy month of Ramadan, horrible news of a car bomb in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, killing and injuring innocent civilians, including students, this evening. This is a tragedy for the whole country and our thoughts go to all affected. This senseless violence must stop,” the EU stated.

UNAMA stated that the UN was “outraged by a suicide-vehicle blast at a guesthouse in Pul-e Alam Logar last night which killed 21 men and injured more than 100 other persons, including 16 children and 12 women, according to preliminary findings.”

So far, no group including the Taliban or Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Millions in US dollars smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan daily



(Last Updated On: February 7, 2023)

Millions of dollars are being smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan every day, providing some support for the fragile economy.

Muhammad Zafar Paracha, general secretary of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan, told Bloomberg that traders and smugglers bring as much as $5 million across the border daily, which more than covers the as much as $17 million that Afghanistan’s central bank injects into the market each week.

The illicit cash flows show how the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is evading sanctions after their 2021 takeover of the country, Bloomberg reported.

For Pakistan, however, it’s contributing to the depletion of foreign reserves and adding to the downward pressure on the rupee as the currency tumbles to record lows and the economy teeters on the edge of collapse.

“Currency is being smuggled without any doubt,” Paracha told Bloomberg. “This has become quite a lucrative business.”

“Afghanistan has about a $10 to $15 million requirement on a daily basis,” said Khurram Schehzad, chief executive officer at Alpha Beta Core Solutions Pvt Ltd., a financial consultancy in Karachi. Half of this is estimated to come from Pakistan, he said.

Da Afghanistan Bank, the country’s central bank, has enough dollars in reserve to support the economy, the bank’s spokesman Haseeb Noori told Bloomberg.

However, some of it comes from the UN, which has been providing about $40 million in humanitarian aid each week since late 2021.

This cash is transported by air to Kabul each week and much of it then needs to be converted into afghani after it arrives. So even though the aid doesn’t directly benefit the IEA, the dollars ultimately end up in the central bank’s coffers, Bloomberg reported, adding that the UN wasn’t immediately available to comment.

According to the report, the afghani has gained about 5.6% against the US dollar over the past year through Monday, one of the strongest performances of any currency in the world.

This while Pakistan’s rupee has lost about 37% against the US currency over the same period, one of the largest declines. It fell about 10% in one day in late January, the biggest drop in at least two decades, as the crisis-stricken government relaxed its grip over the exchange rate in a bid to win much-needed loans from the IMF, Bloomberg reported.

However, according to Bloomberg, the smuggling of US dollars into Afghanistan really took off in the middle of last year after Afghanistan increased coal exports to Pakistan.

In addition, it has been boosted by the IEA’s ban on the use of Pakistan’s rupee as legal tender in Afghanistan, which forces exporters to trade in dollars and bring the US currency back to the country, the officials told Bloomberg.

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Otunbayeva meets acting head of TVET in Kabul



(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) emphasized the need for the inclusion of women and girls in vocational education on Monday in a meeting with Ghulam Haider Shahamat, acting head of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

In this meeting, Roza Otunbayeva said that vocational training is necessary for the economic development of Afghanistan and women and girls should be included.

Shahamat also expressed that technical and vocational education is effective for poverty alleviation and the growth of the country’s economy.

“The Technical Vocational Education and Training has 383 institutes and high schools all over Afghanistan, which operate in 250 districts and have 6850 staff,” said Shahamat.

Meanwhile, some experts say that Afghanistan needs to develop and create job opportunities for everyone, especially women and girls, and all international institutions play a constructive role for Afghanistan’s progress.

“All organizations which work under the framework of the United Nations can have positive roles in Afghanistan,” said Sarah Rahmani, women rights activist.

In this meeting, the head of the United Nations Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) was also present and emphasized on signing an agreement and creating a joint working group between both institutions.

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Afghanistan’s central bank to auction $17 million this week



(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has announced that it will auction $17 million on Wednesday as part of the efforts to stabilize the value of the Afghan currency against foreign currencies.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the Central Bank of Afghanistan asked qualified private banks and exchange companies to participate in the auction.

The winners of the auction are obliged to settle their accounts by the end of the day. As per the announcement, partial settlement of transactions is not allowed and the winners of the auction are obliged to transfer the payable amount to the central bank in cash within a certain time.

This is the second time in a week the central bank is auctioning US dollars to keep the value of Afghani stable.

The exchange rate was 90 AFN to the US dollar on Monday, February 6, 2023. The central bank sold $16 million on Sunday.

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