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Poverty is a multi-dimensional and historic issue in Afghanistan: Ghani

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2020)

President Ghani says that the Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world into turmoil, uncertainty, and unprecedented risk. 

Addressing a side event – Poverty at the Cross Road: Using leadership and the multidimensional poverty index to build back better – on the sideline of the 75th session of United Nation General Assembly on Thursday, Ghani said that the pandemic has exposed existing vulnerabilities and shortcomings in our systems and normal modes of conduct. 

“It wreaked havoc on lives and livelihoods, particularly for the poor and disadvantaged. It posed an unparalleled challenge to our scientific and technological capabilities, and an existential threat to our medical professionals who have been on the front lines of a war for which we were not prepared,” Ghani added. 

“The virus arrived in Afghanistan at the end of February in Herat province, on the border with Iran. The virus peaked in June with an infection rate of 76%. As of September 23, we had recorded 1,446 deaths from the virus. Today, with the virus on the decline, the infection rate is fluctuating daily between 6% and 25%.”

Ghani stated that poverty is one of the most pervasive and complex problems the Afghan people face today and the COVID-19 pandemic” made that even worse for many people.”

He added that the most pressing issue facing people living in poverty is food insecurity.

“In February, it looked challenging because country after country was closing its borders and its economies. We were fortunate, however, to secure the full cooperation of our central Asian neighbors to keep the supply chains functioning.”

Ghani highlighted that poverty is a multi-dimensional and historic issue in Afghanistan. He said it certainly did not start with COVID-19, “so our policy response must also be multi-faceted and must also look far beyond the pandemic.” 

President suggests the following priorities for responding to poverty in the country: 

First, we need to reach the poor as directly as possible. The Citizen’s Charter is the vehicle of our national community development programs, including the implementation of the National Meal Program. The Citizen’s Charter program is a network of elected community councils in all 34 provinces, where 50% of council members are women. 

We are determined to complete the issuance of electronic IDs to every citizen of the country so we can increase their access to mobile money. The goal is that within a year to 18 months, we will be able to reach the poor directly.

Second, we have to enhance our citizen’s assets. The key to this is increasing the productivity of land, labor, and water. 

Third, we must align the goals of the market building, state-building, and nation-building. The unifying element here is investing in education, particularly girls’ education and the generation that was denied an education because of 40 years of conflict. Hence the need for a human capital strategy that is tailored to specific contexts. 

Fourth, we must utilize our immense natural wealth, ranging from water, sun, and wind, for the generation of renewable energy, and we must tap into the equitable and efficient utilization of our estimated 1 trillion dollars worth of mineral wealth. 

Fifth and most importantly, we have to make peace and continue to build peace. We are a country in conflict, losing hundreds of our people every week. Reaching an inclusive peace is the fundamental step in addressing the far-reaching roots of poverty in Afghanistan. The pain inflicted on Afghan society has left scars on each of us as individuals, and on our nation’s collective consciousness.

MPI’s utility lies both in providing a solid basis for policy formation and monitoring of policy implementation. We have, therefore, decided that our National Statistics and Information Authority should use and update it regularly.  

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Civil servants ordered to carry out their duties in line with Sharia

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Supreme Leader Mawlavi Hebatullah Akhundzada has ordered all government officials to carry out their duties in accordance with Islamic principles and not to appoint staff based on subjectivity and connections.

In a voice message disseminated by the Ministry of Higher Education, Akhundzada said the Islamic Emirate will not fail to implement the Islamic Sharia and now that the IEA’s security forces are stationed in the cities, they should take effective steps to implement the divine system and guide people towards Sharia.

“Anyone who is appointed and by his appointment harms the people and the Islamic system, must be removed. The appointment of people should be based on the interests of the nation and Islamic Sharia,” said Akhundzada.

He also instructed civil servants not to force staff to resign unless there is a Sharia reason.

A number of experts meanwhile say that new laws need to be drawn up in order to advance governance because the Islamic Emirate has abolished the previous laws.

“Social justice and meritocracy, fair distribution of power and wealth for the citizens of the country is a Sharia and legal principle, a system will stand on its own feet when every specialty is in place,” said Sayed Moqadam Amin, a political analyst.

“Appointing experienced people who can manage government departments can have positive effects on the governance process,” said Abdul Jabar Akbari, another political expert.

“And it even encourages people to work in government offices,” he added.

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Peshawar mosque bombing death toll rises to at least 44

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

Monday’s massive explosion at a mosque in Peshawar has left at least 44 worshipers dead and over 150 injured.

Police said most of the worshipers were police, army and bomb disposal unit members and that a suicide bomber detonated his explosives while inside the mosque.

Hours after the explosion, rescue workers were still digging through rubble in search of survivors after a large section of the double-story building collapsed.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility.

A senior police officer told local media that the entire roof of the mosque had caved in, and the mosque was likely full as it was the first day of the working week.

While some say the mosque can take a couple of hundred people, Peshawar police said it was likely that about 260 people had been inside the mosque when the suicide bomber detonated his explosives.

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Turkey deports 139 Afghan migrants

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

A total of 139 Afghan migrants, who entered Turkey illegally, were deported on Saturday, said the head of Turkey’s Migration Management Directorate.

Anadolu Agency reported that in accordance with the country’s Irregular Migration Strategy Document and the National Action Plan, migrants, who do not have valid documents to be in Turkey, are being sent to their home countries by charter flights.

After going through all necessary procedures, including health checks and security-related steps, the migrants were deported to Afghanistan on Saturday, Savas Unlu told reporters in Ankara.

He said Turkey has so far arranged nine charter flights this year. “We have deported 8,571 irregular migrants from our country so far this year. This does not include these 139 migrants.”

Unlu added that as a result of Turkey’s efforts to combat irregular migration, the number of irregular migrants arriving at the country’s borders for illegal entry in 2022 decreased by 38% compared to 2021.

“Since 2016, 2.7 million irregular migrants have been prevented from entering our country illegally,” he said.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

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