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Qatar calls on West to engage with IEA to stem crisis in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 29, 2022)

Qatar has urged the West to step up its engagement with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), warning that failure to do so would risk Afghanistan falling into deeper chaos and a rise in extremism.

Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Financial Times that maintaining the status quo “where the West is boycotting Afghanistan, and just focusing on part of the humanitarian activities through the international agencies” was not going to keep “Afghanistan intact”.

“We will see maybe a rise of extremism. We will start to see an economic crisis, which has already started, and this will just drive the people to more radicalisation and conflict,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “This is what we are trying to avoid,” FT reported.

Qatar is one of the few countries to have relations with the IEA and it has been the main facilitator of talks between the new Afghan government, the US, and its European allies.

In the nine months since the IEA took over, Afghanistan has been plunged into a deepening humanitarian and economic crisis. Foreign reserves remain frozen and the country is battling growing levels of poverty.

The IEA is also facing international isolation.

Sheikh Mohammed also criticised recent moves by the IEA that include the suspension of school for teenage girls.

“We believe if we had engaged earlier we wouldn’t have allowed such things to happen,” he said. “Right now it’s very important not to let the situation get worse and maybe we end up with a very chaotic situation in Afghanistan.”

Sheikh Mohammed said there was some engagement between the IEA and the west in Doha, but added: “Still there is no clarity, what is their vision on Afghanistan?”

“This is what we are lacking,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “If we have a clear road map at least each party would know their responsibility. This would be the only way forward, otherwise if we just address the issues tactically, it won’t solve the problem, just postpone, maybe, the consequences.”

He said the international community should engage on “the economic front” and build capacity within the government to help boost employment and growth, while ensuring the IEA engages with “all parties” in Afghanistan to create a sustainable peace.

In terms of providing financial support to the IEA government, he said there should be “reciprocal measures,” and “a very strict monitoring mechanism, whenever we are supporting financing for the government over there, to make sure the right people are paid”, FT reported.

He also said “it’s the people who are losing hope in Afghanistan. What are they going to resort to? I think that’s going to be our biggest problem, they are either going to resort to violence or to massive migration.”

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Acting FM Muttaqi leaves for Turkmenistan

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(Last Updated On: February 25, 2024)

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi has left for Turkmenistan for talks with officials of the neighboring country, it was announced Sunday.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on his X that Muttaqi, leading a delegation, traveled to Turkmenistan at the invitation of Rashid Murdov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, to discuss bilateral issues.

The delegation includes also officials of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Railway Authority and Da Afghanistan Brehshna Sherkat.

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China regrets UN Doha meeting’s failure to have dialogue with IEA

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, on Saturday regretted that the United Nations’ meeting in Doha on Afghanistan earlier this week failed to have dialogue with the Islamic Emirate.

Yue said on X that the meeting was useful for exchange of views and it made a call for more pragmatic engagement and dialogue with Afghanistan.

“Pity is Doha Afghanistan meeting again failed to have dialogu with Afghan interim government or DFA (IEA) as China and regional countries have been calling,” Yue said.

The envoy said that China called more humanitarian assistance, moderate governance, and women and girls’ education.

China also called on US take major responsibility for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, unfreeze Afghanistan’s overseas assets and lift unilateral sanctions.

China also stressed that it is ready to work harder with UN and regional partners especially through Afghanistan’s nonboring countries foreign ministerial meeting and other platforms to enhance engagement with Afghanistan to help for its peace, stability, reconstruction and common prosperity.

The UN had extended an invitation for IEA officials to participate, following their exclusion from the first meeting in May.

However, the Kabul government said they would not participate in the talks unless they could be the sole representative of Afghanistan at the meetings — to the exclusion of civil society groups.

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Latest World Bank decision will support millions of Afghans: IRC

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has welcomed the latest move by the World Bank to use International Development Association (IDA) funds to scale up support to Afghanistan and expand the scope of its programs, saying these funds will support the delivery of services and access to jobs for Afghans who are continuing to endure a major humanitarian crisis as a result of decades of conflict, climate change and economic turmoil. 

IRC in a statement said that the focus of Approach 3.0 of the World Bank includes the delivery of livelihoods support which will support Afghanistan to at least maintain the current trajectory of low-level economic growth.

“This will be critical to maintaining and stabilizing the Afghan economy, while ensuring the survival of businesses and sources of income for millions. However, Afghanistan’s economic crisis remains the primary driver of the high level of humanitarian needs across the country,” the statement said.

IRC stated that although the announcement of Approach 3.0 represents a new milestone for meeting basic needs in Afghanistan, IRC urges other donors to recognise their role in continuing to contribute to both the delivery of basic services through the World Bank’s Afghanistan Resilience Trust Fund (ARTF) and to the humanitarian response.

All contributions are vital to sustaining support for Afghans, and the international community must continue to provide funding to sustain basic services and prevent the humanitarian crisis from worsening, it added.

A week ago, the World Bank Group announced that its executive board endorsed a new approach to aiding Afghanistan that will deploy some $300 million from the bank’s International Development Association fund for poor countries through United Nations agencies and other international organizations.

The shift marks the first time that the World Bank’s own funds would be sent to Afghanistan since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) seized power in August 2021.

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