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Italy’s defense minister meets with Ghani to discuss security, bilateral relations

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2021)

Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini visited Kabul Tuesday to meet with Afghan leaders including President Ashraf Ghani, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, and NSA Hamdullah Mohib.

Guerini discussed the Afghan peace process, Italy’s military presence in Afghanistan, and bilateral relations with the Afghan officials.

During his meeting with Ghani, Guerini expressed his concerns over the escalation of violence and the string of assassinations across Afghanistan and called for an immediate end to the violence, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.

Praising the bravery of the Afghan Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in counter-terrorism, Guerini stated that Italy remains committed to continuing its assistance with Afghanistan in various areas and in terms of the presence of Italian forces in Afghanistan within the framework of NATO Resolute Support Mission.

“President Ghani said people of Afghanistan and the world with a unified voice call for halting the violence and asserted Taliban must understand that protraction of the violence will prompt the people of Afghanistan and the world to mobilize against them,” read the statement.

Ghani also extended his gratitude to Italy for their support of development and economic programs in Afghanistan, particularly funding the fourth part of the Khwaf-Herat railway project as well as its assistance within the framework of the NATO Resolute Support Mission, the statement concluded.

In the meeting with the National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib, Guerini emphasized the need for a real reduction in violence, progress in the ongoing negotiations, and termination of Taliban ties with terrorist groups.

“NSA Mohib and Minister Guerini agreed on the need to preserve the gains of the last two decades; to strengthen a unified, sovereign and democratic Afghanistan that is at peace; and to protect the rights of all Afghans, including those of women and minorities,” Mohib’s office said.

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of HCNR following a meeting with the Italian military official stated: “We exchanged views on bilateral relations and the peace process. I thanked him and Italy for their continued support for Afghanistan, and a dignified and lasting peace. HE assured me of Italy’s full support.”

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IEA approves committee to regulate, improve and advance Hajj affairs

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

Enamullah Samangani, Deputy Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said Saturday that cabinet has approved a plan to establish a National Hajj Committee to regulate, improve and advance Hajj-related issues.

Samangani wrote on his Twitter page: “The committee is chaired by Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, Deputy Prime Minister, and the Ministries of Guidance, Hajj and Endowments, Transport and Aviation, Justice, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Public Health and Interior ministry, the general directorate of intelligence (GDI), and the chamber of commerce are its members.”

According to Samangani, in order to regulate, improve and advance Hajj affairs in the provinces, a committee chaired by the deputy governor with the participation of delegates from the departments of Hajj and Endowments, airport, police headquarters, intelligence and public health should be established.

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UN envoy says Afghanistan’s new rulers have no clear plan for good governance

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons says the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government has an unclear strategy in terms of leading the political and economic situation.

In an interview with CNN, Lyons said the IEA does not have a clear plan for good governance and its economic plan is unclear.

She said she has met separately with the leaders of the new government, but no specific plans have been put forward so far.

“We have tried to find out what their views are on Afghanistan, how they want to develop this country, so far they do not have a clear definition in this regard, so far there is no plan to determine how they want to lead the country, if they have an economic plan, what is that?

“We are still working in separate meetings with the leaders to find out what the plans are for the future and overcoming the problems. We are currently acting as a bridge between Afghanistan and the international community,” said Lyons.

According to her, some leaders of the IEA agree that girls should go to school, but not everyone has yet reached a common decision.

“In my meeting with the leaders of the incumbent government, I found that some of them know that this issue is very important for the international community and they are in favor of reopening schools for girls, but others have the opposite view, a single position has not yet been formed.

“Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are not allowed to go to school,” said Lyons.

At the same time, former President Hamid Karzai has welcomed the IEA’s desire to have good diplomatic relations with the United States and other international countries, but said he hopes the new rulers decide as soon as possible on the reopening of girls’ schools.

“Sirajuddin Haqqani spoke of the government’s willingness to have good diplomatic relations with the United States and the international community which is in the interest of Afghanistan. He [Haqqani] also said that the girls would return to school soon, which I hope would happen as soon as possible,” said Karzai.

Speaking to CNN, Karzai said the issue of hijab was clear. “Afghanistan is an Islamic country and the issue of women’s hijab is very clear in Islam,” he said.

Afghan women already wore hijab, covering the face is not a hijab, covering the face by female media workers who appear on TV is also not a hijab; this is not Afghan culture, he said.

He called on the IEA to scrap the decision that women must cover their faces. On the issue of teenage girls not going to school, Karzai stated that girls need to return to school as soon as possible.

“I denounce it in the strongest words and want the Taliban (IEA) to allow girls to go back to school as soon as possible,” he said.

Karzai also confirmed a recent report by a US watchdog organization that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan led to the military collapse of the republic.

According to Karzai, a number of other issues also contributed to this including, the Doha Agreement, and the more than 3,000 US airstrikes a year.

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World Bank pays over $150 million to boost Afghanistan’s health sector

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

The World Bank recently provided $150 million to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health to help pay for medicine, medical equipment and salaries, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials said this week.

According to the ministry the assistance was provided by the World Bank in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on February 7 in Switzerland, by Dr. Qalandar Ebad, acting Minister of Public Health, and his accompanying delegation.

The money is to be used for primary health care in 34 provinces, including the payment of salaries and training of health workers, the provision of medicine, medical equipment, the fight against diseases, and the strengthening of oversight of health services, said the health ministry.

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