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Ship with hundreds of Afghan migrants docks at Greek port

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Reuters
(Last Updated On: October 31, 2021)

A Turkish-flagged cargo ship carrying 382 mostly Afghan migrants docked safely at a Greek island’s port early on Sunday, two days after losing power in the Aegean Sea and sending out a distress signal.

Six people among what was the country’s biggest single influx of migrants in years were detained after the vessel, the Murat 729, was towed into Kos port by a Greek coast guard ship, the migration ministry said.

The other arrivals were taken to a reception centre on the island. Their stay at the centre, where they will be processed and quarantined, will be temporary, the ministry said.

Greece has been the main route into the European Union for asylum-seekers arriving from Turkey. The number of arrivals has fallen sharply since 2016 after the EU and Ankara agreed a deal to stop migrants from crossing to Greece.

Since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover of Afghanistan in August, however, many EU states fear a replay of the refugee crisis of 2015, when nearly 1 million people, mainly Syrian refugees, arrived in the EU after crossing to Greek islands close to Turkey.

On Friday, Greece’s Shipping Ministry had asked Turkey to accept the ailing vessel’s return.

On Tuesday, four migrants, three of them children, drowned after a boat in which they and 23 others were trying to cross from Turkey to Greece sank off the island of Chios.

 

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Our Afghan policy has failed: Pakistani senator

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Tuesday said “our Afghan Policy has failed”, local media outlet ARY News reported.

Addressing the Senate earlier this week, Mushaid Hussain said that “failing to formulate the counter-terrorism policy is our incapacity”.

“We are in the state of war since last 43 years,” he said. “Five-billion-dollar Afghan Jihad fought, the consequences are before us,” he said.

“The battle for power will devastate Pakistan. People want a solution of the problems, an incompetence will not be allowed”, he said.

Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani had earlier said that a joint session of Parliament scheduled for February 8 should include a discussion on the country’s national anti-terrorism policy.

“Terrorism has been on the rise, while the political parties are busy in the political tug of war,” he lamented. “All political parties should sit in the parliament to hold a national dialogue,” he advised.

Islamabad has increasingly been pointing fingers at Afghanistan accusing the Islamic Emirate of providing sanctuary to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group which has carried out number attacks against Pakistan in the past few months.

The IEA has however continued to deny reports that TTP is being given a safe haven in the country, and has repeatedly told its neighor that militant groups will not be allowed to pose a threat to any country from within Afghanistan.

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US imposes new visa restrictions on some IEA members

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday Washington has imposed additional additional visa restrictions on some Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) members in response to bans on women’s rights.

“I am taking action today to impose additional visa restrictions on certain current or former Taliban (IEA) members, members of non-state security groups, and other individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, repressing women and girls in Afghanistan through restrictive policies and violence, including the Taliban’s decision to ban women from universities and from working with NGOs,” Blinken said in a statement.

 “The immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these visa restrictions,” he said.

Blinken said the IEA has again shown disregard for the welfare of Afghan people through their decisions.

“So far, the Taliban’s actions have forced over one million school-aged Afghan girls and young women out of the classroom, with more women out of universities and countless Afghan women out of the workforce,” he said.

“These numbers will only grow as time goes on, worsening the country’s already dire economic and humanitarian crises.”

Blinken stated the IEA cannot expect the respect and support of the international community until they respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, including women and girls.

“We condemn in the strongest of terms the Taliban’s actions. The United States stands with the Afghan people and remains committed to doing all we can to promote and advance respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, including women and girls,” he added.

Responding to the new visa restrictions, the IEA said increasing travel restrictions on Islamic Emirate officials is not “a correct policy and will not help to solve the problems because Afghanistan will become more isolated with the restrictions”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned Washington’s decision to impose additional visa restrictions on Islamic Emirate officials, and said controversial issues should be resolved diplomatically and by positive steps.

The MoF stated that bilateral relations have shown that pressure cannot help resolve issues.

Meanwhile some experts say that the Islamic Emirate should adopt a policy that solves internal problems and one whereby the international community can interact positively with them.

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IEA defense minister meets with former generals

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Defense Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Mawluvi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid has met with former senior military officers and assured them that their problems will be resolved and their security will be ensured.

According to a statement issued by the defense ministry on Wednesday, the defense minister and Chief of Army Staff, Qari Fasihuddin Fitrat, met with generals of the former government and several other ex-military officials.

“The whole goal now is peace, security and defense of territorial integrity, and we have to preserve this Islamic system at any cost,” Mujahid told the generals.

The former military personnel included lieutenant general Afzal Aman, lieutenant general Mohammad Zaman Ahmadzai, major general Shaor Gul, major general Nabiullah, brigadier general Farid, colonel Afandi and several other generals and former corps commanders, read the statement.

At the meeting Mujahid said that their only aim is to restore peace in the country and heal the past wounds. He said that bringing an end to prejudice needed sincerity and love.

The minister listened to the problems and recommendations of the former military officers and promised them their issues would be resolved. He also assured them of their security.

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