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Muttaqi calls for cooperation in letter to US Congress

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(Last Updated On: November 17, 2021)

Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi warned Wednesday that continued “sanctions” will not help the current situation and could instead lead to a major crisis including a mass migration.

In a letter addressed to the United States Congress, Muttaqi said after suffering decades of war, the Afghan people now “have a right to financial security.”

“Currently the fundamental challenge of our people is financial security and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government,” he said.

He also said that following the signing of the Doha Agreement in February last year, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) “no longer find ourselves in direct conflict with one another nor are we a military opposition, what logic could possibly exist behind the freezing of our assets?”

“We believe that both sides have a great opportunity to build positive relations, moving forward and learn lessons from past bitter experiences. At a time when we have an excellent opportunity for positive relations, reaching for the option of sanctions and pressure cannot help improve our relations.”

He said the country now has a “united, responsible and non-corrupt government,” and that “practical steps have been taken towards good governance, security and transparency, islands of power have been eliminated, agents of corruption, embezzlement, usurpation and infringement of other rights have been neutralised, security has taken hold throughout the country, no threat is posed to the region or world from Afghanistan and a pathway has been paved for positive cooperation.”

“Afghanistan now has everything available for growth and development, and the United States of America can also invest in the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors of Afghanistan,” he said.

However, he said the IEA understands “the concerns of the international community and America, and it is necessary for both sides to take positive steps in order to build trust.”

Muttaqi also stated that freezing of assets and economic sanctions can harm health, education and other civil service systems and that this “will only harm the common Afghans and this will serve as the worst memory ingrained in Afghans at the hands of America.”

On the humanitarian crisis, Muttaqi stated that the country has already been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, drought, war and poverty and that the imposition of “sanctions” has hampered trade and impacted the process of providing humanitarian assistance.

“Assessments by the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations conclude that if these conditions continue, the Afghans will face a dire situation this winter,” he said.

He also pointed out that there was not “logical” justification for allowing women and children to suffer due to the lack of health services, food, shelter and other primary needs.

In calling for Afghanistan’s assets held by the United States to be released, he said he hopes Congress will take the matter seriously and consider the people.

“In conclusion, I request the government of the United States of America take responsible steps towards addressing the humanitarian and economic crisis unfolding in Afghanistan so that doors for future relations are opened, assets of Afghanistan’s Central Bank are unfrozen and sanctions on our banks are lifted.”

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China pledges over $7 million in aid for quake victims

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

China’s ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu met with Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and said his country would provide emergency aid worth 50 million Yuan ($7.5 million) for victims of last week’s earthquake. 

At a meeting on Saturday in Kabul, Wang also said that MCC Mes Aynak copper mining contractor would provide $200,000 in aid. 

Wang said on Twitter: “Chinese enterprises will definitely fulfill their social responsibilities. The friendship between 2 countries and peoples will be further strengthened.”

Muttaqi thanked the Chinese government and people for the timely assistance and assured Wang that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities would distribute the aid promptly, fairly and transparently, state-run Bakhtar news agency reported. 

Aid provided by China will include tents, sheets, fold up beds, and other items urgently needed by the Afghan people. The first batch of aid is scheduled to arrive by charter flight on Monday, Bakhtar reported.

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Thousands of earthquake victims in need of water and food, at risk of disease

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan Health Ministry official said on Sunday days after a United Nations agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region.

At least 1,000 people were killed, 2,000 injured and 10,000 homes destroyed in last Wednesday’s earthquake, after which the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that cholera outbreaks in the aftermath are of particular and serious concern.

“The people are extremely needy for food and clean water,” Afghanistan Health Ministry spokesperson Sharafat Zaman told Reuters, adding that officials had managed medicines for now but handling those who had lost their homes would be a challenge.

“We ask the international community, humanitarian organizations to help us for food and medicine, the survivor might catch diseases because they don’t have proper houses and shelters for living,” he said.

The UN and several countries have rushed aid to the affected areas, with more due to arrive over the coming days.

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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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