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‘If Putin was a woman’ he would not have invaded Ukraine: UK PM

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

“If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would’ve embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has,” Johnson said in an interview to German broadcaster ZDF.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is “a perfect example of toxic masculinity”, he said, calling for better education for girls around the world and for “more women in positions of power”.

The British prime minister acknowledged that “of course people want the war to end”, but for the moment “there’s no deal available. Putin isn’t making an offer of peace”.

Johnson’s comments come ahead of a NATO meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats.

Western allies must support Ukraine to enable it to be in the best possible strategic position in the event that peace negotiations with Moscow do become possible, Johnson said.

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Afghan refugees in UK told to look for private accommodation

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(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

Afghan refugees who sought asylum in the UK after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) took over Afghanistan a year ago have been told to look for private accommodation as the government-funded accommodation scheme winds down.

In a letter sent to the Afghan refugees, the Home Office warned that not every council would accept their request for a place on the social housing list and has told them to use estate agent websites in the private sector, Anadolu News Agency reported.

“The use of hotels to house those resettling from Afghanistan is a temporary solution, and we continue to work with over 350 local authorities to move Afghan families from hotels to permanent accommodation as quickly as possible,” a statement from the Home Office said.

“To support the resettlement of Afghan families, local authorities are given £20,520 ($24,809) per person over a three-year period. They have the flexibility to use this funding to contribute towards renting accommodation, including deposits, letting fees and furnishing,” it added.

Although the government is still accommodating up to 9,500 Afghan refugees in hotels, with 7,000 rehoused, the Home Office is planning to wind down the use of hotels to house refugees, Anadolu reported.

Rights groups and charities, however, have voiced concerns over the lack of funding, guidance and assistance offered to the refugees and fear that many families will fall into homelessness as a result.

Afghan families and individuals, many of whom have only been in the UK for a year, will struggle to find accommodation. Due to language barriers which will prevent them from negotiating their rental agreements and the lack of necessary documentation, many fear that these families will fall through the system.

“Afghan families couldn’t have imagined that one year after arriving they’d still be warehoused in unsuitable accommodation, without space, privacy and stability. There is also a serious risk of homelessness for these families if suitable accommodation is not offered under the current Home Office plans,” said Eva Tabbasam, the director of Gender Action for Peace and Security.

“The government has had a year to sort things out – instead, it’s getting worse. If suitable accommodation was readily available for the 9,500 people still in hotels, families would already have been moved into it. We don’t yet know what kind of move on accommodation families will be offered,” she added.

The government’s plans to rehouse Afghan refugees include sending them to different parts of the country. However, as the majority are based in London and with children enrolled into school and family members at work, the scheme may prove difficult, Anadolu reported. .

Furthermore, councils have voiced concern over the lack of housing options for Afghan families with Claire Holland, London Councils’ executive member for communities, saying “boroughs are very concerned by the lack of alternative housing options for these families – a particular challenge in the capital due to the chronic shortage of affordable housing here.”

UK council housing lists are notoriously long with many having to wait up to a year to find a house fit for a large family. Additionally, although Afghan families have the right to rent, many landlords are reluctant to sign agreements with them due to a lack of necessary and sufficient documentation.

The plan to rehouse Afghan refugees in private accommodation comes on the one-year anniversary of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) rule.

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First anniversary of IEA takeover marked in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2022)

Senior officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Monday gathered in Kabul to celebrate the first anniversary of IEA’s takeover of the capital.

The ceremony was attended by the administrative deputy prime minister, acting minister of foreign affairs, acting defense minister and other cabinet members.

“Some in the media call 24 Asad (15 August) a black day. It is certainly a black day for those who sold out the country and for those who were a tool for occupiers and for those who embezzled the national budget and for those who spend day and night in nightclubs and for those who usurped thousands of acres of land and for those who were involved in moral and administrative corruption,” Hanafi said.

Acting Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid also rejected reports that Badakhshan’s Wakhan had been handed over to Pakistan.

“Wakhan stands as the head of Afghanistan. As long as we have heads, Afghanistan’s head will be protected,” Mujahid said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, IEA’s spokesman and deputy minister of information and culture, said that IEA’s “amnesty door” is still open.

“If it is not utilized, you will take your goals to the grave. The people no longer want you. The US, with the bombardment of which you came and ruled the people, is no longer there,” Mujahid said.

IEA’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the IEA wants positive relations with the world.

“The international community should cooperate with the new government in Afghanistan and we all should utilize the opportunity to avoid a repeat of miseries that no one could stop in the past 40 years. All the prescriptions have failed here,” Muttaqi said.

Khairullah Khairkhwa, acting minister of information and culture, said: “We admit that more needs to be done. Our colleagues are working hard. We admit that we have not completed the tasks. But we need time.”

The first anniversary of IEA’s takeover is celebrated while it has not been recognized by the international community yet.

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One year after IEA takeover, Afghans hail security but worry about crippled economy

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2022)

Afghans on Monday welcomed the improved security situation across the country, on the anniversary of the Islamic Emirate’s (IEA) take over, but raised concerns about the deteriorating economy, rising poverty levels, the high unemployment rate and newly imposed social restrictions.

One civil society activist in Herat province, Shakila Ahmadi said the IEA take over “had negative effects on people’s lives; schools were closed and girls were barred from going to school; there was human capital flight and university lecturers left the country.”

“There should be better moves so that women can return to work. Women should be allowed to work not only in the health sector, but also in other areas,” said Rafia Khatibi, an employee at Herat’s main hospital.

Syed Dawood, a Herat resident, urged IEA to form an inclusive government and allow women to work and get an education.

Despite restrictions on women, some businesswomen have however restarted operations in Herat.

Khalil-ur-Rahman Saqib, a resident of Badghis province, said: “Unfortunately, to be honest they have not performed well in the areas of development and education.”

In Balkh, people have different opinions about the performance of the IEA over the past year.

“The number of drug addicts was high in the city then, but now it has been reduced,” said Sayedullah, a resident of Balkh province.

Ebadullah, another resident of Balkh, complained of rising unemployment and urged IEA to create job opportunities.

Abdul Raouf Tawana, a religious cleric in Balkh, called on the IEA to make their government inclusive and try to gain public support and make the government sustainable.

Officials in Balkh said the security situation has improved after the IEA’s takeover.

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