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IEA calls for release of frozen funds following deadly earthquake

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has called on international governments to roll back sanctions and lift a freeze on central bank assets following the earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless.

The 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the east of the country early on Wednesday destroyed or damaged 10,000 homes and injured about 2,000 people.

“The Islamic Emirate is asking the world to give the Afghans their most basic right, which is their right to life and that is through lifting the sanctions and unfreezing our assets and also giving assistance,” Abdul Qahar Balkhi, foreign affairs ministry spokesman, told Reuters in an interview.

While humanitarian aid continues to flow to Afghanistan, funds needed for longer-term development were halted when the IEA seized control of the country in August 2021 as foreign forces withdrew.

Billions of U.S. dollars in Afghan central bank reserves remain frozen overseas and sanctions hamper the banking sector as the West pushes for concessions on human rights.

Western governments are particularly concerned about the rights of women and girls to work under IEArule.

Asked about the issue, Balkhi said Afghans’ right to life-saving funds should be the priority, adding that the international community handled concerns over human rights differently depending on the country involved.

“Is this rule universal? Because the United States just passed an anti-abortion law,” Balkhi said, referring to the Supreme Court’s overturning on Friday of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that recognised a woman’s right to an abortion.

“Sixteen countries in the world have taken away the rights of religious minorities, especially Muslims … are they also facing sanctions because they are violating rights?,” he asked.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Saturday the U.S. government was working on “complicated questions about the use of these (frozen central bank) funds to ensure they benefit the people of Afghanistan and not the Taliban (IEA).”

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IEA trade delegation heads to Moscow

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2022)

A delegation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) led by the acting minister of industry and commerce left Kabul Sunday for Moscow to purchase essential commodities including fuel.

“We will try to sign agreements for the purchase of basic commodities including wheat, sunflower cooking oil (as they have big factories for it) and also fuel including diesel, petrol and LPG gas,” Nooruddin Azizi, the acting minister of industry and commerce, said before his departure. “We are in talks with their major companies.”

Azizi said that during the visit they will met with the ministries of agriculture, energy and commerce.

“We hope we will have a great achievement which will be in the interest of the Afghan people,” he said.

Food and fuel prices have gone up significantly in recent months in Afghanistan, the economy of which has been isolated following last August’s political change.

“The industry and commerce minister’s trip to Moscow under existing circumstances holds special significance. We should engage with all countries to boost trade and seize the opportunities,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, deputy head of the Chamber of Industries and Mines.

Mirwais Haji Zada, deputy head of the Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock, said that there is an opportunity to increase trade with Russia.

He said that Afghanistan can also increase pomegranate and dried fruits exports to Russia.

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MTN receives $35 million offer for Afghanistan operation

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

South Africa’s MTN Group has received a binding offer for 100% of its shares in MTN Afghanistan for a consideration of approximately $35 million, the company has confirmed.

The identity of the buyer was not disclosed but the operator expects the transaction to be concluded within roughly six months, South African media reports indicated.

The sale will mark the completion of the group’s planned exit from its consolidated Middle East and Central Asia markets following the sale of its business in Yemen and the loss of its Syrian operations last year.

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Muttaqi urges China to help increase Afghan export volume

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2022)

Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Beijing’s visiting special envoy to Kabul on Tuesday and called on China to pave the way for Afghan exports.

During the meeting, held in Kabul, Muttaqi thanked the Chinese government for starting the visa issuance process in Kabul for Afghan traders, calling it beneficial for bilateral trade between the two countries.

China’s envoy Yue Xiaoyong said that he was working on bilateral and multinational relations with Afghanistan, and spoke about the “encouraging news during his recent regional visits,” according to a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry.

Yue also praised the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) for its efforts and achievements, adding that the new Afghan government has been able to fulfill challenging and significant tasks in a short period of time, and that it had managed the natural disasters and cold winter well, the statement said.

The Chinese special envoy said bilateral relations with Afghanistan had progressed significantly, adding that the meetings between the two countries’ foreign ministers depicted deep relations between the two nations.

He also said that in addition to pine nuts, China was considering importing other dried and fresh fruits to help Afghanistan’s economy.

China’s special envoy arrived in Kabul after visiting Turkey, Pakistan and India to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

In Kabul, the envoy also met with Acting Defense Minister Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid, where they discussed the need for bilateral cooperation.

Mujahid told the envoy that Afghanistan would facilitate investment in the country.

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