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Kabul bakery donates bread as millions in Afghanistan suffer extreme hunger



(Last Updated On: February 1, 2022)

Dozens of people gathered outside a bakery in central Kabul on Monday in the hope of receiving a free loaf of bread.

Hamena, a 14-year-old girl from Kunduz province, said it has been tough to make ends meet with her father working as a market porter and her mother sick at home, Reuters reported.

“So I come here to get some bread for my home,” she said.

Bakery owner Mehr Dil Khan Rahmati, 58, has been handing out free bread for about three years, but said he has noticed an increase in poverty since the collapse of the former government.

Before the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan came to power, about 500 people would wait outside his shop each day, but now, there are days where as many as 2,000 try to get a free loaf, he said.

His service is entirely donation-based, so the amount of bread he hands out varies from day to day. People contribute what they can, anywhere from 50 Afghani ($0.50) to 10,000 Afghani ($98). The loaves he sells go for 20 Afghani ($0.20) each.

“When people donate extra money, we bake more bread (for people in need) and will usually bake until eight or 10 o’clock at night,” he said, adding that there are days when his workers bake as many as 20,000 loaves, Reuters reported.

Last month, the United Nations appealed for $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan in 2022. On Wednesday (January 26), it said it needed a further $3.6 billion for health and education, basic infrastructure, promotion of livelihoods and social cohesion, specifically the needs of women and girls.

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IEA says poppy cultivation reduced to almost zero



(Last Updated On: June 8, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s foreign ministry on Thursday said poppy cultivation has been slashed and almost completely eradicated.

The ministry’s spokesman Hafiz Zia Ahmad said in a series of tweets 56.2% of land in Helmand province was cultivated with poppies in 2020. This has been reduced to 0.4% this year.

“In reality, it is much less,” Ahmad tweeted.

This comes after the IEA’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada issued a decree in April last year prohibiting the cultivation of poppies.

Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said on Wednesday that reports about the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) cracking down on poppy cultivation are “credible and important”.

West said in a tweet that “reports that the Taliban (IEA) have implemented policies to significantly decrease opium poppy production this year are credible and important.

“Every country in the region and beyond has a shared interest in an Afghanistan free of drugs,” he said.

His comments come after the BBC reported on Tuesday that an investigation by the media outlet found a marked decrease in poppy cultivation across Afghanistan this year.

The BBC reported that it traveled in Afghanistan – and used satellite analysis – to examine the effects of a decree issued in April 2022 by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada that the cultivation of poppies, from which opium, the key ingredient for the drug heroin can be extracted, was strictly prohibited.

The news outlet stated that IEA leaders appear to have been more successful cracking down on cultivation than anyone ever has.

“We found a huge fall in poppy growth in major opium-growing provinces, with one expert saying annual cultivation could be 80% down on last year. Less-profitable wheat crops have supplanted poppies in fields – and many farmers say they are suffering financially,” the report stated.

Provinces visited by the BBC included Nangarhar, Kandahar and Helmand. Studies of satellite images were also done.

“It is likely that cultivation will be less than 20% of what it was in 2022. The scale of the reduction will be unprecedented,” said David Mansfield, a leading expert on Afghanistan’s drugs trade, who is working with Alcis – a UK firm which specializes in satellite analysis.

Alcis’s analysis shows that poppy cultivation in Helmand has reduced by more than 99%. “The high resolution imagery of Helmand province shows that poppy cultivation is down to less than 1,000 hectares when it was 129,000 hectares the previous year,” said David Mansfield.

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EU calls for investigation into poisoning of Afghan schoolgirls



(Last Updated On: June 8, 2023)

The European Union has called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to investigate the poisoning of primary schoolgirls in northern Sar-e-Pul province after at least 77 students were hospitalized.

Two separate attacks took place in Sar-e-Pul province on Saturday and Sunday, local authorities said.

Sixty schoolgirls were poisoned in Naswan-e-Kabod Aab School and 17 others were poisoned in Naswan-e-Faizabad, said the head of the provincial education department Mohammad Rahmani. He said the attacks happened at the start of classes and students were vomiting and had asthma, vertigo and headaches.

Rahmani said the department’s initial investigation showed the person who orchestrated the poisonings had a personal grudge and that a third party was paid to carry out the attacks. He has not said what kind of substance officials believe the girls were poisoned with, and local authorities have not provided updates on the attack.

The EU in a statement called the poisonings a “heinous crime that needs to be followed up by the de facto authorities,” in line with their obligations to protect the population under international law.

“Right to education is the human right of all children, everywhere. Schools need to be safe places for all children.”

In a tweet on Wednesday, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said he was deeply concerned by reports that scores of schoolgirls may have been poisoned in Afghanistan’s Sar-e Pul province. “Urge every measure be taken to investigate and keep children safe! Afghans deserve education without fear or restrictions,” he said.

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24 people including 8 children die in Sar-e-Pul traffic accident



(Last Updated On: June 7, 2023)

At least 24 people died in a traffic accident on Wednesday in Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan, local officials said.

Din Mohammad Nazari, the spokesman of the Sar-e-Pul Province Police Command, said eight children, 12 women and four men died in the accident.

According to Nazari the accident happened in Sayad Sarpul district on Wednesday afternoon when a passenger vehicle left the round.

Nazari said the accident was the result of careless driving.

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