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Herat mosque bombing sparks widespread condemnation

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(Last Updated On: September 3, 2022)

Friday’s deadly bombing at a mosque in Afghanistan’s western Herat province has been condemned widely by individuals, governments and organizations.

At least 18 people including a prominent cleric, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Ansari, were killed in the explosion at Gazargah mosque in Herat city, where people gathered to offer congregational Friday prayers. 23 others were wounded, according to officials.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack. “Continued attacks on Afghans going about their daily lives, including attending places of worship, must stop,” UNAMA said on Twitter.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also said it “vehemently” deplores the blast.

“Though the security environment has admittedly improved over recent months the OIC General Secretariat pointed out, it remains gravely concerned that sporadic attacks and explosions in various provinces across the country continue to mar the security, social peace of Afghan people,” OIC said in a statement.

The United States, Pakistan and Iran also condemned the attack.

“My heartfelt condolences to the families of the many victims who lost their lives or were hurt in the Herat Guzargah Mosque explosion. We condemn this senseless act of terrorism. Perpetrators must be brought to justice,” US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, tweeted.

“Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The people of Pakistan stand with their Afghan brothers and sisters in this time of sorrow and grief,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Iran’s foreign ministry said Tehran “will stand by Afghanistan and its oppressed people in the fight against the evil phenomenon of extremism, violence, and terrorism.”

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), also condemned the attack and vowed that its perpetrators will be punished for their “heinous act.”

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Sanctions undermine supply of vital aid to Afghanistan: ICRC

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2022)

Sanctions imposed on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) have undermined the supply of vital humanitarian aid to the country, Martin Schuepp, director of operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said.

“For the moment we are continuing to operate. I think one of the important challenges is indeed the sanctions that have been imposed. For example, the banking sector, and that makes our operations more difficult for us,” Schuepp told Xinhua.

Following the withdrawal of the US-led forces, Afghanistan’s assets worth more than $9 billion were frozen by the United States as part of its sanctions on the new rulers of the country.

“It is key that all sanctions have humanitarian exemptions, which allows humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC to operate and to be able to reach people in need,” Schuepp said.

The ICRC official made the remarks amid increasing poverty and high rate of unemployment in Afghanistan.

Schuepp also said that poverty had led to an increase in the cases of pneumonia and malnutrition among children.

“So, overall, we continue to operate throughout the country. We continue to implement our activities, and actually to increase our activities in the country,” the official said.

“Also, one of our main programs is supporting hospitals … around the country to make sure that all Afghans in need receive care.”

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Pakistani delegation meets IEA officials, mutual interests discussed

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2022)

A meeting was held between visiting Pakistani delegation led by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hinna Rabbani Khar and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials on Tuesday, where various issues were discussed including the matter of Afghans in Pakistani prisons.

The meeting took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was chaired by the IEA’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Also part of the Pakistani delegation was the Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq Khan, Pakistan’s Chargé d’Affaires in Kabul Obaidur Rehman Nizamani and other Pakistani officials.

Muttaqi welcomed the visiting delegation and said good relations between the two countries were beneficial to the people of both countries and the region.

Muttaqi also raised the issue of Afghan prisoners in Pakistan, as well as the need to facilitate travel to and from the country, and the need to improve trade and transit relations, read a ministry statement.

Muttaqi expressed his willingness to restart TAPI, TAP, the railway line and other big projects. He further expressed the Islamic Emirate’s position on political relations, economic growth and security.

The Ministry said that the Pakistani delegation promised to cooperate with regards to the treatment of refugees in the country and that they would try to resolve other problems in terms of travel routes and visas.

The Pakistani delegation also stated it would work to strengthen and develop trade and transit ties with Afghanistan.

“Since Afghanistan and Pakistan are two neighboring Muslim countries and have cultural commonalities, the governments of both countries should cooperate with each other and protect mutual public interests,” Khar said during the meeting.

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US envoy Karen Decker attends Herat Security Dialogue in Tajikistan

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2022)

US Charge D’affaires to Afghanistan Karen Decker on Tuesday confirmed she will attend the two-day Herat Security Dialogue in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where views will be exchanged on the security situation in the country.

Decker tweeted that the dialogue provides a “great opportunity” to exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan. According to her, representatives from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, regional countries, and the EU, will attend the conference.

“I am here to listen, but I will be prepared to reiterate America’s strong support for the Afghan people and for an Afghanistan at peace with itself and its neighbors,” she said.

According to a statement by the Afghan institute of strategic studies, the main discussion topics will be on the need for an inclusive political system for Afghanistan.

Farhad Salim, Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan meanwhile said that Tajikistan’s policy is to support the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan that can lead to the end of the half-century conflict in Afghanistan and the achievement of social justice.

This is the 10th Herat Security Dialogue – which was initiated in 2012 to focus on peace and security topics relating to Afghanistan.

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