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Indian farmers block highway outside Delhi to mark 100th day of protest

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(Last Updated On: March 6, 2021)

Indian farmers began gathering on Saturday to block a six-lane highway outside New Delhi to mark the 100th day of protests against deregulation of agriculture markets.

According to Reuters, farmers headed in cars, trucks and tractors to the highway for a five-hour roadblock to oppose three farm laws enacted in September 2020 that they say hurt them by opening up the agriculture sector to private players.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s has called the laws much-needed reforms for the country’s vast and antiquated agriculture sector, and painted the protests as politically motivated, Reuters reported.

“The Modi government has turned this protest movement into an ego issue. They are unable to see the pain of the farmers,” said Amarjeet Singh, a 68-year-old farmer from Punjab state.

“They have left us no option but to protest.”

Tens of thousands of farmers from several north Indian states have been camped out on the outskirts of the capital in bitter cold since December demanding that the laws be repealed.

According to Reuters, their movement has gained international attention and support, including from celebrities such as climate activist Greta Thunberg and U.S. singer Rihanna, but several rounds of negotiations between farmer leaders and the government have failed.

Modi’s government has lashed out at supporters of the protests and stands accused by rights activists of using heavy-handed tactics to curb the protests.

Reuters reported that while the protests have been mostly peaceful, a brief spate of violence on Jan. 26 led to the death of a protestor, and the police have filed criminal charges against eight journalists over alleged misreporting on the events of the day.

“The Indian authorities’ response to protests has focused on discrediting peaceful protesters, harassing critics of the government, and prosecuting those reporting on the events,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement last month.

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Qatar holds expanded meeting for UN official regarding Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 3, 2023)

The Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, in cooperation with the missions of Canada and the United Kingdom, organised an expanded meeting for Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed with the permanent delegates and representatives of the permanent missions of the countries members of the Group of Friends of Afghanistan and the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan, the peninsula qatar reported.

The Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani opened the meeting that was held at the headquarters of the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations in New York by stressing the significance of the meeting in regards to the participants, the timing, and the critical situation that Afghanistan is going through, especially after Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s latest decisions targeting women, in addition to the poor security and humanitarian situation, especially during winter.

Sheikha Alya praised the visit of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations to Afghanistan, describing it as historic and courageous, and thanked her for her visit to the State of Qatar for consultation and coordination, read the report.

She commended the level and spirit of partnership between the State of Qatar and the United Nations in the Afghanistan file, in addition to other broad and distinguished strategic partnerships in humanitarian, developmental, peace, security, and human rights fields.

She considered that the situation in Afghanistan represents a tough test for the international community, saying that they should never lose hope, especially in light of the momentum created by the visit of the Deputy Secretary General.

Sheikha Alya called for not abandoning Afghanistan, especially women, girls, children, and other marginalized and vulnerable groups, stressing the need to put a unified comprehensive strategic vision by the international community regarding the situation in Afghanistan, the peninsula qatar reported.

She reiterated Qatar’s commitment to stand by the fraternal people of Afghanistan and its willingness to move forward in the path of strategic partnerships with the UN as well as regional and international partners and friends to face the challenges in Afghanistan and the world.

For her part, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed thanked Qatar for its continuous constructive efforts and partnership with the UN, pointing out that Doha was her first stop before visiting Afghanistan.

She said that this visit saw an important meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, during which she gave a comprehensive briefing on the meetings she held with the Afghan caretaker government, the peninsula qatar reported.

She affirmed that the UN would never abandon the Afghan people, calling on the international community to continue humanitarian response efforts.

The meeting was attended by a large number of permanent delegates and representatives of the countries members of the Group of Friends of Afghanistan and the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan, representing the countries interested in the Afghanistan issue, such as the State of Qatar, the United States, Turkiye, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavian countries, some countries from Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and others.

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IEA welcomes India’s funds announcement for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 3, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) welcomed the Indian announcement for Afghanistan in the Union Budget 2023-24, which was presented on Wednesday by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, wionews reported.

According to the report New Delhi announced a development assistance of Rs 200 crore ($24.3 million) for the country in the budget, which was the same amount announced in last year’s budget as well.

IEA’s nominated UN ambassador Suhail Shaheen told WION, “We appreciate development assistance for Afghanistan by India. It will contribute to boosting relations and trust between the two countries.”

Notably, India has continued its support to Afghanistan for the second year in a row since the IEA’s takeover of Kabul, despite not recognising the regime. IEA took over the country in August 2021.

New Delhi has several times emphasised the historic links with the Afghan people and also sent consignments of wheat, vaccines and humanitarian support to the country, wionews reported.

“There were various projects in Afghanistan which were being funded by India. If India resumes work on these projects, it will contribute to boosting relations between the two countries and eliminating distrust.” Shaheen said.

India has taken responsibility for building the Afghan parliament and the India-Afghanistan friendship dam in Herat province.

Shaheen, who once was part of the IEA’s negotiating team for the intra-Afghan talks, said, “The people of Afghanistan are currently facing poverty and unemployment and need reconstruction and development projects more than ever.”

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Afghanistan will no longer turn into battlefield for superpower nations: Muttaqi

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi says the Islamic Emirate will “not allow Afghanistan to enter the battlefield of powerful countries again”.

At an event on Thursday at Kabul University, Muttaqi said that Afghanistan has good diplomatic relations with regional countries, and a number of Afghan embassies in the region and the world receive orders from Kabul.

“After this, we don’t want Afghanistan to be a battlefield between the superpowers. If there is a confrontation, it should be positive and economic,” said Muttaqi.

“According to the geography of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate is trying to make Afghanistan the center of economy and connectivity because the region is in great need of energy.”

He emphasized that Afghanistan does not have a problem with the world and that it “has been practically proven that Afghan soil is not used against any country.”

“We also call on the countries of the world that we do not have a problem with any country, the commitment made by the Islamic Emirate is that the soil of Afghanistan will not be used against any country,” he said.

He also said that the report of international organizations in reducing corruption and improving the economic situation in Afghanistan is “hopeful”.

A number of other officials of the Islamic Emirate have said that Afghanistan has been able to move towards improvement in the economic sector despite sanctions.

“In one and a half years, how has the Islamic Emirate been able to move towards improvement in the economic field despite the political and banking restrictions?” asked Deputy Minister of Economy Abdul Latif Nazari.

“You must have read the recent report of the World Bank that Afghanistan’s exports have broken an unprecedented record.”

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