Donor countries pledge $1 billion to support emergency aid for Afghanistan
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced that donors have pledged over $1 billion towards aid for Afghanistan – exceeding the hoped for amount of $606 million.
Guterres’ announcement comes after Monday’s High-Level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan.
“This conference has fully met my expectations in relation to the solidarity with the people in Afghanistan,” Guterres said late Monday.
Afghanistan stands on the brink of a growing humanitarian and economic crisis.
Earlier Monday Guterres, who hosted the meeting, said “the people of Afghanistan need a lifeline” during “their most perilous hour.”
Guterres also maintained that the country’s new rulers had pledged their cooperation “to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan.”
One in two Afghans do not know where their next meal is coming from, the UN chief explained, adding that “many people could run out of food by the end of the month, just as winter approaches”.
Guterres did not specify how much of the $1 billion in pledged funding would be distributed towards the UN emergency budget for the coming months, or what would be potentially provided later.
However, a survey by the World Food Programme (WFP) found 93% of Afghans surveyed lacked sufficient food, many because they could not get access to cash to pay for items.
Even before the takeover by the Islamic Emirate, food circumstances in Afghanistan were dire.
Mary-Ellen McGroarty, the WFP Country Director for Afghanistan said: “It’s critical for the humanitarian effort that in the greatest time of need, that the international community stands alongside the women and children and men of Afghanistan, whose lives have been upended through no fault of their own,” she said.
Afghanistan makes history after beating Pakistan in T20I series
Afghanistan made history on Sunday night when they beat long-time rival Pakistan in their second successive T20I match in Sharjah to win the series.
Sunday’s match saw Afghanistan beat Pakistan by 7 wickets with one ball remaining.
This is the first time in Afghanistan’s cricketing history that they have beaten Pakistan in an international series and as fans back home and across the world erupted with joy after a nail-biting last two overs, congratulations started pouring in.
Afghanistan Cricket Board said it was a “momentous occasion for Afghanistan cricket!”
The board said in a tweet that the team had “created history by securing their first-ever T20I series win over traditional rivals Pakistan. It’s a triumph of grit, courage, and teamwork.”
Rashid Khan’s squad did indeed show grit, courage and teamwork and after winning the toss and opting to bat first, Pakistan faced an early blow from Fazalhaq Farooqi who dismissed Saim Ayub for a duck on the second ball of the innings.
He then trapped Abdullah Shafique LBW on the very next delivery to take Afghanistan to a dream start. Pakistan kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but Imad Wasim’s 64 not out off 57 and Shadab’s 32 off 25 took them to a respectable total.
Chasing a target of 131 runs, Afghanistan were calm and focused throughout the second innings but needing 30 runs off the last three overs, and 22 from the last two overs.
However Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi hit a six each off pace bowler Naseem Shah in the penultimate over to reduce the target to five runs. Zadran then hit the winning boundary off Zaman Khan’s last over to chase down the 131-run target with one ball to spare.
This was Afghanistan’s first bilateral T20I series against any of the top six teams — India, England, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
They have previously won a T20I series each against the West Indies and Bangladesh and five in five against Zimbabwe.
Khalilzad slams ‘brutal’ but ‘failed’ regime in Iran
Former US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on Sunday called the Iranian regime a “political and economic failure at home and a growing threat to the region and the world”.
In an interview with UK-based Iran International, Khalilzad said the Tehran regime has lost the support of the Iranian people.
Following up with a detailed tweet after the interview, the former envoy said the Iranian “regime rules through brutal suppression of those who back the Zan (women), Zendagi (life), and Azadi (freedom) movements.
Referring to the ongoing poisoning mystery, he said “many female students have been poisoned at school.”
He also lashed out and said: “Iran has become the capital of al-Qaeda, is determined to acquire nuclear weapons, and provides military support to Russia in its aggression in Ukraine.”
Khalilzad also stated that the Iranian regime “might well use al-Qaeda to target regime opponents abroad and former US officials it has declared it wants to kill.”
He said the Biden administration and US Congress needs to increase support for Iran’s democratic opposition, isolate Iran internationally, press allies to declare Iran’s special military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a terrorist organization, and downgrade relations with the regime by withdrawing their Ambassadors.
“We must increase sanctions, especially stopping the import of Iranian oil. We must also strengthen deterrence against potential Iranian aggression,” he said.
Mohammad Sadiq resigns as Pakistan’s special envoy to Afghanistan
Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special representative to Afghanistan, resigned from his post on Wednesday.
“After serving close to three years as Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, I have requested the government that the time had come for me to move on and focus on my personal pursuits — family, books and agriculture/environment,” he said in a series of tweets.
Sadiq said that he was grateful to the prime minister and all the other stakeholders for their “wholehearted support” to him as the special envoy.
“I deeply appreciate the hard work of many of my colleagues who spent long hours to make the Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship work,” he added.
Sadiq was appointed to the Afghan position in June 2020 and had worked closely with other envoys during the peace talks process between the US and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in the lead up to the signing of the Doha Agreement on February 29, 2020.
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