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Pakistan commits widespread abuses against Afghans to force their return: HRW

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2023)

Pakistani authorities have committed widespread abuses against Afghans to compel their return to Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

Police and other officials have carried out mass detentions, seized property and livestock, and destroyed identity documents to expel thousands of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. Since mid-September 2023, Pakistani authorities have forced out more than 375,000 people to Afghanistan, deporting 20,000 of them, HRW said in a statement.

“Pakistani officials have created a coercive environment for Afghans to force them to return to life-threatening conditions in Afghanistan,” said Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should immediately end the abuses and give Afghans facing expulsion the opportunity to seek protection in Pakistan.”

HRW said the mistreatment is part of a campaign to compel Afghans to leave the country. It includes night raids during which police have beaten, threatened and detained Afghans. Police have also demanded bribes and confiscated jewelry, livestock, and other property, and bulldozed homes.

Pakistani authorities have also reportedly required Afghans awaiting resettlement in the United States, United Kingdom, and other countries who have not been able to obtain or, in many cases, renew visas, to pay an exit fee of US$830, HRW said.

“Governments that promised to resettle at-risk Afghans should expedite these processes, while pressing Pakistan to live up to its human rights obligations,” Pearson said. “Countries should also step up their response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, now compounded by the influx of hundreds of thousands of people in need at the onset of winter.”

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First cargo flight takes place from UAE to Balkh since IEA takeover

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2024)

For the first time since the Islamic Emirate’s takeover, a flight from the United Arab Emirates to Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi Airport in Mazar-e-Sharif city was carried out through the air corridor, officials said.

The airport officials said that sixteen tons of commercial goods, including electronic devices related to Bayat Power company were transferred from Dubai to Mazar-e-Sharif city.

“This is the first time that a flight from Dubai to Mazar-e-Sharif has been made through the air corridor; discussions with traders are ongoing and we hope to keep this corridor active in the future,” said Abdullah Motmaen, director of customs of Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi Airport.

Meanwhile, Balkh Chamber of Commerce and Investment officials stress the beginning of the general process of transferring commercial commodities by air corridor.

“In the transfer of commercial goods, air corridor is so important,” said Asadullah Asadi, head of Balkh’s chamber of commerce and investment.

Earlier, through the air corridor of Maulana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi Airport, Pine nuts and other commercial items were exported to the countries of the region.

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IEA will attend future UN meetings if demands accepted: deputy PM

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2024)

Deputy Prime Minister for Political Affairs Mawlavi Abdul Kabir has called the recent decision of the United Nations for the participation of the Islamic Emirate at the second Doha meeting on Afghanistan “unfair” and said that if the demands of the IEA are accepted by the UN and countries in future meetings, the acting government will participate on behalf of Afghanistan, the deputy PM’s office said in a statement.

Abdul Kabir made these statements on Thursday at a graduation ceremony in Kabul.

Kabir added that “Afghanistan, as an independent country and Islamic Emirate as a legitimate Islamic system, assures all its neighbors and the international community that the acting government is striving for economic and development cooperation based on a balanced and moderate policy.”

He also stressed that there would be no threat to anyone from Afghanistan.

While fighting against drugs and corruption, sustainable stability can only be guaranteed under the rule of the Islamic Emirate, which Afghans and the international community have understood, according to the statement.

He stated that with the arrival of the Islamic Emirate, the national budget was prepared from internal revenues for the first time, and in addition to paying the expenses of civil administrations and development projects, the expenses of the Islamic Army and security departments are also paid from the national budget.

The second meeting of special representatives of countries regarding Afghanistan was held on Sunday and Monday of this week in Doha, in which the delegation of the Islamic Emirate did not participate.

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Strong consensus on collective interests in Afghanistan exist: Thomas West

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2024)

Thomas West, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, described the recent UN meeting in Doha as productive, emphasizing a strong consensus on collective interests in Afghanistan, including the desire to see women and girls return to secondary school, university, and work.

“No country wants to see the emergence of a terrorism threat from Afghanistan. All want to see women and girls return to secondary school, university, work, and public life,” West stated in a post about the conference.

West also noted the international commitment to the Afghan people, highlighting the effort to provide humanitarian aid to over 26 million Afghans last year. However, he expressed concerns about sustainability and the need for an approach that empowers Afghans economically.

The envoy acknowledged the Islamic Emirate’s enforcement of a poppy ban, which the UNODC reported resulted in a 95% reduction in cultivation. He underscored the need for more coordination in supporting alternative crops for farmers and recovery for addicts.

West appreciated the participation of Afghan civil society members, both from within and outside Afghanistan, discussing economic needs, human rights, and the importance of continued engagement, including with the Taliban.

Regarding future steps, West welcomed the continuation of the current meeting format and calls for a UN-led process to develop a roadmap for Afghanistan’s full integration into the international community. “The Afghan people’s well-being, and the international community’s shared interests, must guide this work,” he concluded.

The second meeting of special representatives for Afghanistan was held on Sunday and Monday in Doha. The Islamic Emirate did not participate.

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