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IEA, Iranian officials hold talks after border clash



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

Following the border clash in Nimroz province on Saturday, officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and Iran have held talks in a bid to reduce tensions.

Two Iranian border guards and one IEA guard were killed after the shooting that happened near a border post in Nimroz.

Tehran and Kabul have said that peace has returned to the area and both sides have pledged to avoid such incidents.

IEA has emphasized that Afghanistan does not want war with any of its neighbors and wants to have friendly relations with Iran.

“The Islamic Emirate believes in talks regarding any issue that happens. So this is a very good option. We want that all the issues that exist or the concerns that we have are addressed through talks,” said Bilal Karimi, IEA’s deputy spokesman.

Iran’s interior minister also downplayed the clash and said that the border gate of the Silk Bridge has been reopened and economic exchanges between the two countries have resumed.

“There was a brief conflict and it was resolved. Negotiations were also held with the Taliban (IEA). Now we have no problem. The border is open and peaceful,” Ahmad Wahidi, Iran’s Minister of Interior, said.

Iran’s military officials also said that such incidents should be prevented.

“The meeting took place. Now we have come to see what the parties should do so that this kind of unfortunate incident does not happen,” Qassem Rezaei, deputy commander of Iran’s national police, said.

The clash happened amid tensions between the two countries over water rights.

Iran has accused the IEA of violating a 1973 treaty by restricting the flow of water from the Helmand river to Iran, an accusation denied by the IEA.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned the IEA over disregarding Iran’s water rights under the treaty. The IEA rejected Raisi’s perceived threat.

An Iranian cleric criticized Raisi’s remarks.

“Your diplomatic language was not correct. You suggested (to IEA) to take your words seriously and not complain later. Is this a proper statement? What answer did you get? You embarrassed this nation,” Abdulrahman Omarzahi, a religious scholar in Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran, said.

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Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation falls by 85% under IEA rule



(Last Updated On: October 3, 2023)

Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has reportedly dropped by 85% following the return to power of the Islamic Emirate, new analysis shows.

In April last year, the IEA’s supreme leader issued a decree prohibiting poppy farming across the country. Almost 18 months later, the ban is being described by experts as “the most successful counter-narcotics effort in human history”.

Nationwide poppy cultivation is below 30,000 hectares for 2023, compared to more than 210,000 hectares in 2022, according to satellite imagery analysis from Alcis, a geographic information services company, the UK-based Telegraph reported.

Helmand, Farah and Nimroz have recorded the greatest reductions in cultivation, at 99, 95 and 91 percent respectively, Alcis said.

“There is now little doubt that farmers across vast swathes of the country abandoned opium production this year,” the analysis said.

After a year-long ban, experts are waiting to see if the IEA’s edict will last for a second season, which starts each November with the planting of poppy seeds.

“We are in uncharted waters,” said Dr David Mansfield, a UK expert on illicit economies in Afghanistan, in comments that accompanied Alcis’ analysis, the Telegraph reported.

Graeme Smith, an Afghanistan expert at Crisis Group, told the Telegraph in July that the IEA’s crackdown has so far been “the most successful counter-narcotics effort in human history, according to the volume of drugs taken off the market”.

However, Mansfield said there “is already considerable evidence that the current ban has not been uniformly accepted by the rural population or by those within the Taliban’s own ranks responsible for implementing it.”

Alcis’ analysis shows that poppy cultivation increased from 13,803 hectares to 15,391 hectares in the mountainous Badakhshan province throughout 2023. It said there has also been “persistent cultivation in the upper reaches of the mountains of southern Nangarhar”.

“When the economic impact of a ban on poppy cultivation is felt collectively across a growing population, local resistance can quickly escalate, prompting those in the districts responsible for enforcement to retreat, unwilling to impose further losses on their own families, neighbours, and communities,” said Mansfield.

It’s estimated the Taliban’s poppy ban has wiped out the equivalent of 450,000 full-time jobs in agriculture – a major hit to an economy still reeling from drought, conflict and cuts to development programmes.

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Commerce and industry ministry suspends all expos in Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: October 3, 2023)

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement Tuesday that while no restrictions have been imposed on women participating at expos, they have suspended all trade shows until a new operating procedure has been finalized.

“In order to better regulate the holding of expos and provide the necessary facilities for holding domestic and foreign exhibitions, it is necessary to make a series of adjustments in the procedure for holding domestic and foreign expos,” read the statement.

Abdulsalam Jawad Akhundzadah, a spokesman for the MoIC, also said that expos have been stopped pending new regulations.

He said that a seven-day women’s expo will be held in the near future in Kabul.

“Soon, a women’s expo will be held in Kabul where about 800 entrepreneurial women from 34 provinces will participate for seven days,” said Akhundzadah.

Meanwhile, the private sector says if the suspension of holding expos continues, it will harm the country’s trade and investment process, and that the purchase of domestic products will be impacted.

Sakhi Ahmad Payman, deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Industries and Mines said the holding of expos was done haphazardly and he hoped that in future these events would be organized under the umbrella of the commerce and industry ministry.

A number of economic experts also said that in order for expos to have positive effects, they should be held based on principles and procedures.

“A specific mechanism should be put in place to hold expos in order to avoid abuses and opportunists in this area,” said Shabir Bashiri, an economic analyst.

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Deputy foreign minister meets UNAMA head



(Last Updated On: October 3, 2023)

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of UNAMA, Roza Otunbayeva, met with the Political Deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, the ministry said.

According to the ministry during the meeting, Stanakzai requested international assistance in the areas of regional coordination, the fight against drugs, and ways to revitalize the business and banking sector.

The Political Deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said despite the difference of opinion in some areas, there is a need to work together on common issues and give Afghanistan the right to participate in various international forums, including the United Nations.

He also said that humanitarian affairs should be kept separate from politics and political differences should not be allowed to hinder interaction in humanitarian aid, drug fight, mine clearance and other areas.

Meanwhile, Roza Otunbayeva shared information about her recent visit to the United Nations and added that they are trying to fight against drugs, treat drug addicts, and promote legal crops in addition to making efforts around food security and are attempting to attract international aid.

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