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ICRC calls for restraint as health centers come under intense pressure

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2021)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated Tuesday that hundreds of thousands of people are at risk as fighting intensifies in and around the cities of Kunduz, Lashkargah, Kandahar and other cities in Afghanistan.

The ICRC has called on all parties to the conflict to exercise immediate restraint, protect civilians and protect critical infrastructure such as hospitals from attacks and casualties resulting from conflict in densely populated areas.

According to a statement issued by the ICRC, as of August 1, at least 4,042 people injured in the war have been treated at 15 health centers assisted by the ICRC, this indicating the severity of the recent violence.

“We are witnessing the destruction of homes, the endangerment of health workers and the sick, the damage to hospitals, as well as water and electricity infrastructure,” said Eloi Fillion, head of ICRC’s central office in Afghanistan.

“The use of explosive weapons in cities has far-reaching implications for civilians beyond their intended purpose. Mortar shells and rockets hit civilian homes without separation. Many families have no choice but to flee to find a safe place. This situation must end,” said Fillion.

Street clashes in Kunduz, Lashkargah and other cities have injured scores of civilians in recent days, while health centers are under intense pressure due to injuries and a lack of staff, the statement read.

Electricity has been cut off in several disputed cities, and water supply networks are struggling in some areas. Most families try to leave those areas, but they cannot because they do not find the vehicles or do not have the funds, the statement said.

The ICRC and its affiliate, the Afghan Red Crescent, are trying their best to evacuate the wounded and the bodies of those killed in the conflict. In July alone, the ICRC assisted with 13,000 war wounded across the country, a number that appears to be rising due to the escalation of fighting in populated areas of the country.

“Health care centers, health workers and ambulances must be safe at all costs. We continue to urge all parties involved to allow humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent Society to evacuate the wounded safely and to provide assistance to people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance,” Fillion said.

Meanwhile Doctors without Borders (MSF) said that a rocket exploded in the compound of MSF Boost hospital in Lashkargah city, capital of Helmand province on Monday.

The explosion was very close to our Emergency Room, and it could have been much worse, MSF tweeted.

According to MSF the Emergency-NGO hospital, next door to them was also hit by a rocket, but there were no injuries at either facility.

The organization stated: “MSF reminds all warring parties that MSF hospital is operational, saving patients’ lives & protected under international humanitarian law. Even during conflict medical facilities must be protected at all times.”

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Pakistan, Russia to ‘assess’ IEA’s performance

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

Pakistan and Russia would review progress of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in terms of fulfilling its commitments made to the international community on forming an inclusive government, and to deny terrorist groups a haven to operate from its soil, official sources told Pakistani media on Sunday.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is in Moscow, is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart, Sargey Lavrov on Monday and one of the key issues on their agenda is Afghanistan, The Tribune reported.

This is Zardari’s first visit to Moscow as the foreign minister and comes amid rising concerns on the part of Pakistan over the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group, which Islamabad says is being provided sanctuary in Afghanistan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a tweet that the two ministers would discuss the fight against terrorism and a number of regional topics, including the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine.

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OIC calls on IEA to allow females to get an education

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities to strive towards reopening schools and universities for girls and enable them to enroll in all levels of education.

In a series of tweets the OIC General Secretariat expressed its disappointment over the decision announced on Saturday by the IEA’s ministry of higher education, banning female students from taking university entrance exams this year in all public and private universities across the country.

“This latest decree further tightens the sweeping restrictions proclaimed by the Kabul de facto authorities on girls’ and women’s access to education and public work,” OIC tweeted.

The ban comes shortly after the OIC Executive Committee convened on 11 January 2023 an Extraordinary Meeting on the “Recent Developments and the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan”.

The Final Communique of the meeting called on the IEA to “…strive towards reopening schools and universities for girls and enable them to enroll in all levels of education and all specializations required by the Afghan people.”

The organization urged IEA to reconsider this latest decision and earlier edicts especially for its far-reaching social and economic ramifications.

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US special envoy to hold talks with foreign partners and Afghan diaspora

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West is this week visiting Pakistan, Germany, and Switzerland for talks with “partners, Afghans, and humanitarian aid organizations about the shared interests in Afghanistan”, the US State Department said Sunday.

According to the statement, Thomas West’s week-long (January 29 – February 4) visit to Pakistan, Germany, and Switzerland is aimed at consulting with partners and Afghan diasporas on the many challenges the people of Afghanistan, women, and girls in particular are currently facing.

“I will travel to Pakistan, Germany, and Switzerland Jan 29-Feb 4 to consult with partners, Afghans, and humanitarian relief organizations regarding extraordinary challenges we face in supporting the Afghan people,” West tweeted.

Foreign governments and international aid organizations have repeatedly called on the Islamic Emirate authorities to reverse the decision and allow Afghan women and girls to attend education, work, sports, and public life, however, nothing has changed for the better so far.

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