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IEA reject claims by UNSC that foreign groups are active in Afghanistan 

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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Monday rejected claims by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that there are foreign terrorist groups sheltering in Afghanistan.  

In a statement issued by the foreign ministry, the IEA said there were no foreign groups in the country and that for the past nine months, the new government has worked to build an environment of trust between Afghanistan and the international community.  

The ministry said it “views UNSC Monitoring Team Report (13) asserting the existence and operation of foreign groups in Afghanistan as unfounded and rejects it in the strongest terms.” 

“The fact remains that since the return to power of the Islamic Emirate, the world and the region have been prevented from facing any harm from Afghanistan,” the foreign ministry statement said.  

The IEA said it will live up to its commitments and ensure that no country is threatened by Afghanistan. 

The foreign ministry also called on the UNSC to obtain facts and to allow the IEA’s representatives to take up their rightful posts at the United Nations.  

“We also urge abstinence from seeking unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources, and to grant the current Afghan government its legitimate right to directly present factual information to the UNSC and other countries through its permanent representatives at the UN,” read the statement. 

The United Nations Security Council report, released on Friday, stated there is a persistent threat to Pakistan’s security from the Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and warned that prospects of success of the ongoing peace process with the terror group were bleak, 

The annual report of the 1988 IEA sanctions committee monitoring team noted TTP’s linkages with the IEA and explained how they benefitted from the fall of the Ashraf Ghani regime last year and touched upon the IEA’s relations with other terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan. 

The TTP, the report noted, had up to 4,000 fighters based in east and south-east areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and made up the largest group of foreign fighters based there. 

This was the team’s first report for the committee since the IEA takeover of Kabul in August last year. 

The UNSC stated in its report: “The Taliban (IEA) victory in Afghanistan has inspired terrorists around the world, although the relocation of foreign terrorist fighters to Afghanistan has not materialized in significant numbers.  

“The Taliban have continued to insist publicly that there are no foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan, even though Member States are clear that many fought alongside the Taliban in 2021.  

“Central Asian embassies based in Afghanistan reported with concern the appearance of several leaders of foreign terrorist groups apparently moving freely around Kabul from August onwards,” the report stated.  

However, the UNSC stated that “there are reports that the Taliban (IEA) have forced some foreign terrorist fighters to disarm or have relocated others away from the capital so that they remain inconspicuous.” 

“TTP constitutes the largest component of foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan, with their number estimated to be several thousand. Other groups include the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Jaish-i-Mohammed (JiM), Jamaat Ansarullah and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), with each numbering in the few hundreds,” read the report.  

“TTP has arguably benefitted the most of all the foreign extremist groups in Afghanistan from the Taliban (IEA) takeover.  

“It has conducted numerous attacks and operations in Pakistan. TTP also continues to exist as a stand-alone force, rather than feeling pressure to merge its fighters into Afghan Taliban units, as is the prospect for most foreign terrorist fighters,” read the report.  

The UNSC meanwhile said in its report that following the IEA takeover, some members of ETIM were relocated IEA from Badakhshan to provinces further from the Chinese border as part of the Taliban’s efforts both to protect and restrain the group.  

“Assessments of the group’s size range from a low of several dozen fighters, according to one Member State, to as many as 1,000 members, according to other Member States,” UNSC reported.  

The report noted that several Member States reported some ETIM members have fraudulently obtained local identity documents by fabricating Afghan identities. “The group is seeking to further entrench its presence in the country by both organizing marriages to local women and facilitating the relocation of Uighur women to Afghanistan.”

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Work gets underway on Hairatan-Mazar section of Balkh to Uzbekistan railway line

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

Reconstruction of a section of the Mazar-e-Sharif-Uzbekistan railway line has started at a cost of $6.3 million, Balkh provincial officials said.

Local officials said the 75-km long line will start at Balkh airport and stretch to Uzbekistan.

The reconstruction of this railway line has been contracted to an Uzbek company and is expected to be operational in three months, officials said.

This railway line, which carries freight, links Hairatan land port to Mazar.

“The cost of this contract is approximately six million and 300 thousand US dollars,” said Mohammad Shafiq Mahmood, the head of Balkh railway.

Local authorities have said the reactivation of this line is important for economic growth and the expansion of trade ties.

“We thank our friendly neighbor Uzbekistan for coming here and starting this project,” said Noorul Hadi Abu Idris, the deputy governor of Balkh.

Mazar-e-Sharif-Uzbekistan railway transports commercial goods from the city of Termez in Uzbekistan first to the commercial town of Hairatan and then to the Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi Airport.

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UN reports $402.9 million needed for Herat earthquake recovery support

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

The United Nations said in a report released Thursday that $402.9 million is needed to support critical recovery and reconstruction efforts in Herat province following last year’s devastating earthquakes.

According to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report, issued by the UN, the World Bank, the European Union, and the Asian Development Bank, the scale of October’s was staggering.

Housing, the most severely affected sector, represents 41 percent ($164.4 million) of the total recovery needs.

The earthquakes damaged 49,578 houses, with 13,516 being completely destroyed.

Education is second most impacted sector, with 180,000 students and 4,390 teachers currently facing disruptions. The agriculture sector, accounting for the majority of jobs and income in the affected areas, has also suffered considerable setbacks.

The series of earthquakes on October 7, 11, and 15 killed over 1,500 people and injured more than 2,600 people.

The assessment, with UNDP as the technical lead, covered nine districts with roughly 2.2 million people.

It revealed that over 275,000 individuals were affected. Among these were 17,358 pregnant women, 17,146 infants, 3,976 people with severe disabilities, 3,207 elderly families, 6,806 women-led households, 3,176 individuals with chronic illnesses, and 147,000 children under 18.

Herat, Injil, and Zindajan districts were the hardest hit, with rural and vulnerable communities suffering the most.

The assessment also evaluated broader macro-economic and human impacts and proposed principles for a comprehensive recovery and reconstruction framework.

It cautioned about persistent widespread poverty, slow economic recovery, job scarcity, banking sector instability, adverse impact on mental health and wellbeing, and climate vulnerability, exacerbating Afghanistan’s ongoing economic challenges.

Way forward

The PDNA emphasizes the critical need to transition from immediate humanitarian aid to long-term recovery.

Recovery strategies should prioritize building community resilience, service restoration, earthquake-safe housing, livelihood options, social protection, and access to basic services, especially for the most affected families, the report stated.

“As the United Nations and partners, we stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in these challenging times. The findings of the PDNA highlight the profound impacts of the earthquakes on the Herat region.

“We are committed to not only addressing the immediate needs but ensuring a sustainable and resilient recovery for those affected by the earthquakes. This tragedy presents an opportunity to rebuild stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient communities. The PDNA provides a blueprint for recovery and reconstruction aimed at forging a better future for those most affected in Afghanistan,” stated Indrika Ratwatte, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

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Two convicts scheduled for public execution in Ghazni province

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

The Directorate of Information and Culture of the Islamic Emirate in Ghazni province said in a statement that two convicted prisoners have been given the “retribution order” and will be publicly executed.

The announcement states that the two people will be executed at the football stadium of Ali Lala village in Ghazni city at around 09:00 on Thursday morning.

Based on this announcement, these two verdicts will be implemented in Ghazni city after the decision of three courts and approval by the leader of the Islamic Emirate, the statement read.

This directorate has asked the residents of Ghazni to make their way to the stadium and watch the execution.

People have been asked not to bring cameras and mobile phones with them.

The statement did not say how the convicts would be executed nor did they give the gender or other details about the convicts.

The Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan imposed a sentence of ‘divine retribution’ on two convicted murderers in Ghazni province Thursday morning. Both were executed in public.

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