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Pakistan urges look into ‘meltdown’ of Afghan forces as Taliban advances



(Last Updated On: August 10, 2021)

Pakistan on Monday said the international community needed to look into the “meltdown” of Afghan security forces in the face of Taliban offensives across Afghanistan, instead of blaming Pakistan for the fast-deteriorating situation, Reuters reported.

Taliban fighters have swiftly gained territory across Afghanistan since May, including six provincial capitals in the last three days, as international forces near a complete withdrawal from the country after 20 years of fighting.

“The capacity-building, the training, the equipment … where is it?” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked at a news conference, referring to resources spent by other countries, particularly the United States, on bolstering Afghan national forces.

“Issues of governance and the meltdown of Afghan national defence forces need to be looked into,” he said.

Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the failure of others, he said.

Kabul and several western governments say Pakistan’s support for the Taliban allowed it to weather 20 years of war after being pushed from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. The group today controls more territory that at any point since 2001, Reuters reported.

Pakistan denies supporting the Taliban. Qureshi said Islamabad was not taking sides in Afghanistan.

“The lack of will to fight, the capitulation that we are seeing in Afghanistan … can we be held responsible for that? No we cannot,” Qureshi said, adding that Pakistan supported a political solution to bring peace to Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

He said Pakistan had been instrumental in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table with the United States and facilitated the resultant agreement between the two in Doha last year.

Pakistan, Qureshi said, had also helped convene peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in September last year, which have since stalled.

Qureshi said Islamabad was concerned at the violence and the lack of progress in the talks, saying that Pakistan had most to lose from an unstable Afghanistan as a direct neighbour.

Questioning the pullout of U.S. forces, Qureshi said Pakistan thought the withdrawal would be tied to the progress in the peace talks.

Other regional countries, including Afghanistan, have also blamed what they termed a hasty and unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops for the success of the Taliban, Reuters reported.

Qureshi said there would be a meeting in Doha on Wednesday of the “Troika”, a platform to discuss Afghanistan led by the United States, China, Russia.

The meeting is three weeks before the Aug. 31 date that Washington set for the official withdrawal of its military forces in Afghanistan.

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Hundreds of needy families receive aid packages in Paktia



(Last Updated On: March 28, 2023)

Hundreds of needy families in Gerda Seray district of Paktia province have received aid packages in the holy month of Ramadan, local officials said.

The packages have been distributed by a German foundation to residents of this district.

Khalil Rahman Haqqani, Minister of Refugees and Repatriations, said the ministry is fully prepared to meet the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees.

While distributing aid to those in need in this district, the minister asked international organizations to cooperate with Afghanistan in dealing with IDPs.

Habibullah Shahzad, head of Paktia migrant affairs department, meanwhile said that these aid packages include flour, oil, sugar, beans, tea, gas cylinders and blankets.

The recipients are happy that they have received aid in the holy month of Ramadan, but say they need more aid to meet their needs.

According to the refugees ministry, there are currently more than one million IDPs in the country who need emergency assistance in addition to shelter.

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Daesh claims responsibility for attack near Afghan foreign ministry



(Last Updated On: March 28, 2023)

Daesh has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed at least six civilians in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Monday, Reuters reported.

The group published the details of a suicide bomber, on its Telegram account, saying that the attack was carried out by “Abdul Hameed Khorasani.”

Monday’s attack was condemned by several national and international individuals and organizations, including the UN mission in Afghanistan.

“Reports of numerous casualties in today’s attack in Kabul-at least one child among them. It is unacceptable that ordinary Afghans continue to be targeted as they go about their daily lives,” UNAMA said in a tweet.

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AWCC launches 3G services in a remote area of Kunar province



(Last Updated On: March 28, 2023)

Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) has rolled out 3G services to the remote Chaghan district in the northeastern province of Kunar.

Being so remote, Chaghan residents have struggled with limited telecommunications in the past but this week they welcomed AWCC’s initiative.

Officials in the area also welcomed the move and said the new infrastructure installed in Chaghan also helps cover surrounding areas.

“An AWCC site was opened in a dominant location. This is a very good place. It is connected to the [provincial] center and covers some areas of Marawar district and Watepur district. We are grateful to AWCC,” said Sajjad, provincial director of communications.

Ejazul Haq Yousufzai, head of Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) in Kunar, said efforts are ongoing for the development of telecommunication services so as to reach all districts in the province.

Local authorities in Kunar expressed their appreciation for the provision of telecommunication and internet services by AWCC and acknowledged that the services provided by the company are of a good quality.

“First of all, we are very grateful to the employees of AWCC for providing these services to the people of Kunar. We ask all companies and institutions to provide such services to the mountainous province of Kunar,” provincial governor, Ahmad Taha, said.

Abdullah Haqqani, deputy governor of Kunar, said: “Kunar is a mountainous province. The number of [cellphone] towers is not enough. We demand that problems faced by the people get solved.”

Local residents also expressed their satisfaction with the recent move of AWCC.

“The opening of this site is a great achievement for these two valleys. With this, these two valleys were connected to the center. The problems that people were facing before have now been solved,” Hayatullah, a resident of Kunar province, said.

Meanwhile, AWCC officials in the eastern zone assured the people of Kunar that the company will provide telecommunication services to all remote areas of the province.

“This site plays a key role for these two valleys, Dangam, Ghazi Abad, Nari, Watepur and up to Nuristan. Without the site, other sites cannot provide these services,” said Attaullah Sahil, head of AWCC in the eastern zone.

With the improvement of the security situation, AWCC has not only expanded its telecommunication services in the eastern zone, but it has covered many remote areas of the zone with 3G and 4G internet services.

Kunar province lies in the northeastern section of the country and borders northern Pakistan. The vast majority of the province is mountainous and extremely rugged.

The province is dominated by the lower Hindu Kush mountains which are cut by the Kunar River to form the forested Kunar Valley. The mountains, narrow valleys with steep walls, and rivers present formidable natural obstacles and have historically constrained all movement through the province.

Even in the early 21st century, movement on foot, with pack animals, or with motorized vehicles is extremely limited and channeled due to the significant geographic restrictions.

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