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International donors likely to pledge less aid for Afghanistan in Geneva

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(Last Updated On: November 4, 2020)

Afghanistan is likely to receive reduced pledges for aid from international donors who will meet later this month in Geneva, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

This comes amid uncertainty over how the peace talks will progress with the Taliban, Reuters reported.

Despite peace talks underway, and Washington’s decision to withdraw troops, the country faces an uncertain future – but a future that is still dependent on aid.

The precariousness of the situation, which could see the Taliban secure greater influence, is making donors uneasy over whether the group will try to roll back progress made on human rights and girls education, Reuters reported.

But some analysts see foreign aid as vital in helping donors shape policies of any future Afghan government and that it provides leverage over the Taliban.

“It’s one of the primary forms of leverage the US and international community believe they have over the Taliban,” said Andrew Watkins, an analyst covering Afghanistan for International Crisis Group.

“Any future Afghan state will rely on foreign aid almost as much as the current one does,” he said.

Reuters reported that donors are likely to tell Afghanistan to expect, possibly significantly, less aid, while also imposing stricter conditions and committing funds for a shorter period, said three sources, who declined to be named because the discussions are private.

All three sources said the United States, Afghanistan’s largest donor, is likely to make deep cuts to its current annual contribution of around $800 million for civilian funding, beyond the money allocated for defence and security needs.

One said Washington could not only “cut aid by half”, but could also move “away from a four-year-commitment cycle” to pledge funds for just a year.

Other NATO members like Britain and France were also considering reducing pledges, while Australia was planning cuts of up to 30 percent, two sources told Reuters.

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Two killed, 20 wounded in Herat shootings

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(Last Updated On: July 4, 2022)

Two people were killed and 20 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire at two vehicles carrying civilian employees of the 207 Al-Farooq Army Corps in Herat on Monday, sources said.

The vehicles were on their way to the army corps headquarters when the shootings happened in the fourth and fifth districts of the provincial capital, also Herat.

A source in the 2017 Al-Farooq Army Corps said that the 20 injured in the shootings included two children and 18 employees of the corps.

According to police, one attacker was killed and two others fled following the incident.

Defense ministry’s spokesman also confirmed the death of two army personnel.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

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Japan to provide $14 million in aid for Afghanistan’s agriculture sector

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2022)

Japan’s ambassador to Afghanistan has announced that his country will invest $14 million in Afghanistan’s agriculture and development programs.

The Japanese ambassador to Kabul Takashi Okada, raised the issue in a meeting with Amir Khan Muttaqi, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), in Doha.

Muttaqi welcomed the decision and asked other countries to help in developing Afghanistan’s infrastructure.

“In addition to assistance in agriculture, education and other development sectors, the Japanese Ambassador noted that his country was consulting on Afghanistan’s economic growth to take the necessary steps in this regard. Humanitarian, development and other cooperation with Afghans is not linked to politics,” Hafiz Zia Ahmad, Deputy spokesman and Assistant Director of Public Relations for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted.

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US may resume Fulbright scholarship program for Afghans

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2022)

The US State Department says it is considering resuming the Fulbright scholarship program for Afghan students for the 2023-2024 academic year.

A spokesperson for the US State Department told VOA: “We continue to work towards the safe resumption of the Fulbright program for Afghan students.”

He added: “For this course, we are considering semi-final applicants [for the academic year] 2022-2023.”

The semi-final applicants have already passed most of the eligibility stages and exams, including the English language test, which are required to join this study program, VOA reported.

After the collapse of the previous government and the Islamic Emirate’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the United States canceled the Fulbright program for Afghans.

Every year, about 4,000 foreign students from dozens of countries receive Fulbright scholarships. More than 400,000 students from 160 countries have participated in this program since its inception in 1946.

From 2003 to 2021, more than 950 Afghans have benefited from the opportunity to study at the master’s and doctorate level in Fulbright programs. Fulbright master’s programs are one or two years, but the study period of the doctoral level is five years.

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