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IEA considers forming special unit for security of TAPI project

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said on Saturday it is ready to form a special unit to safeguard the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

In a statement, the office of deputy prime minister for economic affairs, noted that TAPI as a significant regional economic project was initiated during the first rule of the IEA, but the American “occupation” of Afghanistan caused delays in its completion.

“With the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, complete security has been ensured in the country providing a better opportunity for the implementation of this project now than ever before,” the statement said.

It said that the IEA places a high priority on the security of national projects, and it is fully equipped to implement the TAPI project, which it considers to be a crucial piece of the country’s economic infrastructure.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan views the reconstruction of the country and the revitalization of its economic infrastructure as its responsibilities and believes that the political, security, and economic prosperity of the region is a shared responsibility of the member states,” the statement said.

TAPI project will transfer gas from Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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27% of Afghans regularly use tobacco: health ministry

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(Last Updated On: May 31, 2023)

Marking World No Tobacco Day, Public Health Ministry officials said on Wednesday that 27% of Afghans regularly use tobacco, of which 2.7% are women.

Mohammad Hassan Ghiyasi, Deputy Minister of Policy and Planning of the Ministry of Public Health, said that tobacco kills eight million people worldwide every year and tobacco smoke is one of the main causes of air pollution, which causes dangerous diseases such as lung cancer and heart diseases.

Citing a national survey conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization, he added that nearly 20 percent of Afghan people use smokeless tobacco, mainly Naswar.

A number of other officials of the Ministry of Public Health also said that the number of patients with mouth cancer due to the use of tobacco has increased recently in the country.

“Tobacco not only causes respiratory or heart diseases, but also mouth cancer, which has been observed among young people who use Naswar and Paan (both smokeless tobacco) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The number of people suffering from this disease is increasing day by day,” Haider Khan Haider, Director General of Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Public Health, said.

Meanwhile, a representative of the World Health Organization said that 80% of tobacco cultivation and processing takes place in countries that are poor.

“The World Health Organization wants the honorable Ministry of Public Health to continue its technical support in the area of tobacco control, like other areas,” Naeemullah Safi, representative of WHO, said.

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Muttaqi urges foreign nations to refuse sanctuary to Afghan migrants

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(Last Updated On: May 31, 2023)

The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi said on Tuesday that security in the country has been restored and Afghans should not leave the country under the pretext that their lives are in danger.

Speaking to family members of the 18 deceased migrants, whose remains were returned from Bulgaria last week, Muttaqi also called on the international community not to take in Afghans who say their lives are in danger.

“The world should not harm Afghanistan’s talents, talents and honor and should not expel them from this country under the name that their lives are in danger,” he said adding: “Don’t oppress them [Afghans] anymore, 20 years of war is enough, they have martyred countless Afghans.”

Muttaqi also expressed his condolences and promised the families of the deceased he would cooperate with them.

The bodies of the 18 migrants were returned to the country last week, three months after they were found dead in an abandoned van outside Sofia in Bulgaria.

Muttaqi raised the issue of the delay in repatriating the bodies and said sanctions were to blame. “The process faced many obstacles and the reason for the delay in the transfer of bodies was this issue (international sanctions).”

He said however that all Afghans are free to travel abroad but they should not use the system to secure asylum.

Family members of the deceased migrants meanwhile said that many young people are deceived by human traffickers who get them to Europe via dangerous routes.

These families called on the IEA to stamp out the issue and end human trafficking in the country.

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Qatar prime minister, IEA supreme leader hold secret talks

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(Last Updated On: May 31, 2023)

The Qatari prime minister held secret talks with the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan this month on resolving tension with the international community, a source briefed on the meeting told Reuters.

The May 12 meeting in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar between Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and Hibatullah Akhundzada is the first the reclusive IEA leader is known to have held with a foreign leader.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration was briefed on the talks and is “coordinating on all issues discussed” by the pair, including furthering dialogue with the IEA, the source told Reuters.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said other issues Sheikh Mohammed raised with Hibatullah included the need to end IEA bans on girls’ education and women’s employment.

The meeting represents a diplomatic success for Qatar, which has criticized IEA restrictions on women while using its long-standing ties to push for deeper engagement with Kabul by the international community.

Reuters reported that the source’s comments suggested that Washington supported elevating what have been unproductive lower-level talks in the hope of a breakthrough that could end the world’s only bans of their kind and ease dire humanitarian and financial crises that have left tens of millions of Afghans hungry and jobless.

The White House declined to comment on the talks. The State Department and the Qatar embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate, told Ariana News that the purpose of the Qatari Prime Minister’s visit to Kandahar was to meet Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate.

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