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IMF warns of ‘looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 17, 2021)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday said it was deeply concerned with the economic situation facing Afghanistan and warned of a looming humanitarian crisis facing the country after last month’s takeover by the Islamic Emirate.

Addressing a press conference in Washington DC on Thursday, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice stated that the global lender’s engagement with Afghanistan remains suspended, which means IMF funding is on hold.

He said the immediate focus should be on helping the Afghan people by allowing the flow of remittances and small-scale transfers and providing aid to countries hosting Afghan refugees.

“Our engagement with Afghanistan has been suspended until there is clarity within the international community on the recognition of the government. We’re guided by the international community in terms of the recognition of the government in Afghanistan, and we don’t have that. So, the IMF program there, which you asked about, has been put on hold,” Rice said.

He noted “as we said last month, the country cannot access IMF resources, SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and so on at this point. But again, I want to say that we stand ready to work with the international community to advocate for urgent actions to stall a looming humanitarian crisis.”

This comes as the United States has frozen some 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in assets of the country’s central bank since August 15.

Although the Afghan central bank has resumed operation, many banks have still remained closed, with worried residents seen lining up outside the bank outlets for cash withdrawal.

The ongoing cash shortage has not only made it difficult for the Afghan people to survive but has also limited the country’s business activities of all time.

Although an aid package of over one billion U.S. dollars has been pledged by the international community, one in every three Afghan people are suffering major food shortages as a result of soaring prices, the severe humanitarian crisis in the country, and the possibility of economic collapse across the country.

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China calls on US to release Afghanistan’s assets

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said Friday the freezing of $7 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves has caused the economic crisis in Afghanistan to intensify, and that Beijing sees the continued blocking of these assets as “unjustifiable”.

“The freezing of seven billion dollars in assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan has played a negative role in aggravating the economic crisis in this country and the US government must release these assets of the Afghan people and there is no justification for the continued blocking of Afghanistan’s assets,” said Wang.

China and Russia, the two fierce rivals of the US, have reacted to the freezing of Afghanistan’s assets several times since the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan (IEA) took power. The two countries have also called for the release of the foreign reserves on a number of occasions.

“United States is the political and economic opponent of China, and the Chinese make moves against the US from any source,” said Sayed Massoud, a university professor.

After the IEA swept to power in August last year, the US froze almost $10 billion dollars of the country’s foreign reserves.

US President Joe Biden, signed an order on February 11, 2021, that half of the reserves be allocated to the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He instructed that the balance be used for humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.

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IEA urges India to complete unfinished projects in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

The foreign ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has called on India to complete its unfinished developmental projects in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued on Saturday, the IEA also called on India to embark on other “vital projects,” in Afghanistan.

The statement was issued after India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Friday a team of diplomats, excluding the ambassador, had gone to Afghanistan to address issues such as humanitarian assistance, vaccine campaigns and development projects in the country.

“We have taken a very considered deliberated view that our relationship at the end of the day is with the people of Afghanistan, to the society and that it is a relationship which is deep enough and in a sense, historically long enough for us to actually find ways of factoring in these political changes and continuing that people-to-people, so like a relationship,” Jaishankar told reporters.

IEA’s foreign ministry said it welcomed India’s move to step up diplomatic presence at its embassy in Kabul, and reiterated security assurances.

The ministry expressed hope that relations between India and Afghanistan would expand further.

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Thirteen people killed in flash floods in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

Thirteen people including women and children have been killed in flash floods caused by heavy rains over the past two days in Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday.

Sharafuddin Muslim, the deputy state minister for disaster management, said that the floods happened in Khost, Paktia, Logar, Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Parwan and Kapisa provinces.

According to the official, 13 people including four women and five children were killed and two others went missing following the floods.

Muslim said that hundreds of homes were damaged. Some roads connecting villages with the district centers were also blocked.

Responding to the disaster, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is distributing 100,000 afghanis to each family affected, he said.

Other basic items are also being delivered, he said.

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