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Moscow Interested in Including Iran in Four-Party Talks on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 3, 2019)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that his country has an interest in including Iran in the Russia-China-U.S. format for Afghan peace talks.

“We have a dialogue with [the United States] on Afghanistan. There is a Russia-China-U.S. format that Pakistan has joined. There is interest in connecting Iran to this format. [We believe] It can be promising,” Lavrov said.

Chief negotiators for the U.S. and Taliban held nine rounds of direct talks, until they agreed “in principle” to a framework for peace.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled peace negotiations with the Taliban in September this year.

Following the collapse of U.S.-Taliban talks, a Taliban delegation travelled to Iran and Russia to discuss the peace process but additional details of these discussions have not been disclosed.

In late October, representatives of China, Russia, the United States and Pakistan held talks in Moscow where they discussed ways to assist Afghanistan in achieving lasting peace. The Four-Party meeting issued a joint statement, calling for an early resumption of U.S.-Taliban talks.

Moscow and Tehran are allies but Washington and Tehran have a hostile policy toward each other.

“Iran is our neighbor [and] that involves in different issues related to Afghanistan. We have more than two million refugees in Iran. So, Tehran’s involvement in negotiation is needed,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, the leader of Hezb-e-Nuhzat Hambastagi Milli, a political party in Afghanistan.

“The Four-Party meeting was effective, because these countries can make a decision for Afghanistan. If United States allows it, Iran can play a role in the Afghan peace process,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former member of the Taliban militant group.

In December 2018, Tehran announced that it had been holding talks with the Taliban with the knowledge of the Afghan government.

Kabul has always emphasized that it welcomes sincere efforts of any country that helps bring peace to Afghanistan but it must be part of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

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Earthquake victims in Gayan district still in need of food and shelter

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Hundreds of survivors of this week’s earthquake, who lost family members and their homes, are still in desperate need of help.

Sayed Bakhta, one of the survivors said that he has lost four family members and two others are hospitalized, adding that survivors are dealing with a lack of food and no shelter.

“We have no shelter here now, we don’t have food, all the victims are sitting outside without having shelter,” he said.

A number of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials who have visited Gayan district of Paktika say that almost 90 percent of residential areas have been destroyed.

“Almost 90 percent of residences are destroyed; only a few them are suitable for living, most of them are uninhabitable,” said Qalandar Ebad, acting minister of public health.

In the meantime, rugged roads have hampered relief efforts as Gayan victims grapple with a humanitarian crisis, but military helicopter try to deliver aid to the victims.

“According to the order of the Prime Minister, a meeting was held and according to that meeting, the ministries and donor organizations were instructed to come to the earthquake site as soon as possible and use all their facilities to save the people,” said Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy Minister of State for Disaster Management.

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121 children among those killed in Afghanistan earthquake: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

The United Nations children’s agency said on Friday 121 of those who were killed in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan this week were children.

Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, said as of late Thursday night, at least 1,036 people were reported killed and more than 1,643 reported injured.

The toll included 121 deaths and 67 injuries among the children, according to the official.

He said that Bermal district in Paktika province has the highest number of casualties and that several thousand homes were destroyed or damaged.

“Children and adolescents are extremely vulnerable and at high-risk of family separation, emotional and psychological distress, abuse and exploitation, and other forms of violence,” Ayoya said.

“UNICEF, in coordination with UN agencies, partners, and the de facto authorities (led by the Ministry of Defence) is rapidly preparing a multi-sectoral response covering health, WASH, child protection, nutrition, education, social mobilization, and including a cash component,” Ayoya said.
“UNICEF will be conducting a rapid market assessment in the affected areas in the upcoming days. The assessment will inform the feasibility and appropriateness of cash as a response to support early recovery. UNICEF has already trained partners for beneficiary registration on the ground.”

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Pakistan dispatches second consignment of earthquake relief

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday dispatched eight trucks loaded with relief goods for earthquake victims in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan government, the consignment, arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority, has been handed over to Afghan authorities.

The consignment consists of family tents, tarpaulins, blankets and emergency medicines.

“Pakistan is committed to continue supply of relief goods to Afghan brethren,” the statement read.

This comes after Pakistan sent in earthquake aid on Wednesday, just hours after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, killing over 1,000 people and destroying thousands of houses.

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