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IEA seeking greater role in distribution of foreign aid

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(Last Updated On: January 13, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) administration proposed a joint body on Wednesday of its officials and international representatives to coordinate billions of dollars in planned aid.

It was not clear whether the United Nations and foreign governments would back any such agreement as it would constitute a stark increase in access to international funding by the IEA, whose officials have been sidelined due to sanctions, Reuters reported.

An abrupt withdrawal of foreign aid last year following the hasty U.S. exit and IEA victory in August left Afghanistan’s fragile economy on the brink of collapse, with food prices rising rapidly and causing widespread hunger.

Western sanctions aimed at the IEA also prevented the passage of basic supplies of food and medicine, although this has since eased after exemptions were passed by the U.N. Security Council and Washington in December.

On Tuesday, the United Nations asked donors for $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan in 2022 and the White House announced it would donate an extra $308 million.

“The cooperation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with the United Nations in this situation shows an unprecedented partnership between the government and aid donors,” Afghanistan’s acting Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi told a news conference in Kabul also attended by U.N. envoy Ramiz Alakbarov.

Foreign governments, facing warnings that millions could starve as the economic crisis intensifies, are ramping up humanitarian aid but are keen for it to remain free from government interference.

An Afghan finance ministry spokesman said that discussions would take place over the next 24 hours with the United Nations on the proposal for the joint body.

The U.N. Secretary General’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan Alakbarov told Reuters that U.N. agencies were already communicating their requirements to the IEA over aid.

Their top condition has been access to the entire country, including for female staff members.

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Religious groups can observe their ceremonies freely in Afghanistan: Stanikzai

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

All religious groups including non-Muslims can observe their ceremonies freely in Afghanistan, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said on Monday.

Stanikzai said this while speaking at a ceremony in Kabul to celebrate Ashura which falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram and commemorates the martyrdom in 680 AD of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali, one of the grandsons of the Prophet Mohammad.

“Based on the policy of the Islamic Emirate, all religious groups in Afghanistan are free to celebrate religious days and observe their ceremonies. There is no problem. Even non-Muslim minorities are free in this regard,” Stanikzai said.

He said that some countries see their interest in Afghanistan to be unstable and people should support the current government against such conspiracies.

“They don’t want to build Afghanistan and they see their interest in how Afghanistan has been. It is our duty to build our country,” Stanikza said.

Referring to civil war in Afghanistan post-Soviet withdrawal, Stanikzai said that some Afghans destroyed the country only to ensure their own interests.

“Our country couldn’t enjoy the pleasure of Soviet defeat. Some Afghans fought each other for power or out of personal grudge and destroyed our country,” Stanikzai said.

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Hekmatyar rejects claims that al-Qaeda leader was killed in Kabul drone strike

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, on Monday blasted the United States for violating Afghanistan’s national sovereignty and territory by conducting a drone strike in Kabul and said Washington’s claims of having killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri were false. 

Hekmatyar said the strike was a “terrorist act” and that there was no evidence of al-Zawahiri having been killed in the Sherpur house in Kabul. 

He also said despite the US having withdrawn from Afghanistan, Washington still wanted to continue the war and carried with it a “sense of revenge”. He said this was clear in statements and words expressed by American political and military officials. 

Hekmatyar also said that the US operation against the leader of al-Qaeda shows that the US still has intelligence activities in Afghanistan. 

US President Joe Biden claimed last week that the US had killed al-Zawahiri in a drone strike while he was standing on a balcony at his house in Kabul. 

However, until now, no evidence of al-Zawahiri’s death has yet been provided. 

Radio Azadi meanwhile quoted the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as having said no body was found at the scene of the strike. 

He said an investigation was launched into the strike and that “everything was destroyed, but we did not find a body there.” he said.

The IEA also said last week that they had no knowledge of al-Zawahiri having been in the country as claimed by the US.

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IEA leaders meet with Shia Ulema, ‘share grief’ after bombings

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s acting third deputy prime minister Mawlavi Mohammad Abdul Kabir met with members of the Shia Ulema on Sunday to discuss the recent spate of bombings in Kabul against the community during Muharram. 

Kabir “shared his grief with the families of the victims due to the martyrdom and wounding” of members of the community, a statement issued by ARG read. 

Javad Salehi, the deputy head of the Shia Ulema Council, and Ustad Akbari, one of the Shia elders, attended the meeting and thanked the security forces for their attempts to maintain security leading up to Ashura.

The meeting came after at least two explosions, over consecutive days, that targeted the Shia community in Kabul. 

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), at least 120 people were killed or wounded in the blasts. 

ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings in the western part of Kabul city on Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday, there were unconfirmed reports of an attack for the third consecutive day in Kabul city.

The attacks came as Shia Muslims, a religious minority in the country, prepare for Ashura, which commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.

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