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Tahawol: Criticism over Biden’s policies towards Afghanistan

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Afghanistan-Uzbekistan railway reconstruction work kicks off

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

Work gets underway on Hairatan-Mazar section of Balkh to Uzbekistan railway line.

Reconstruction of a section of the Mazar-e-Sharif-Uzbekistan railway line has started at a cost of $6.3 million, Balkh provincial officials said.

Local officials said the 75-km long line will start at Balkh airport and stretch to Uzbekistan.

The reconstruction of this railway line has been contracted to an Uzbek company and is expected to be operational in three months, officials said.

This railway line, which carries freight, links Hairatan land port to Mazar.

“The cost of this contract is approximately six million and 300 thousand US dollars,” said Mohammad Shafiq Mahmood, the head of Balkh railway.

Local authorities have said the reactivation of this line is important for economic growth and the expansion of trade ties.

“We thank our friendly neighbor Uzbekistan for coming here and starting this project,” said Noorul Hadi Abu Idris, the deputy governor of Balkh.

Mazar-e-Sharif-Uzbekistan railway transports commercial goods from the city of Termez in Uzbekistan first to the commercial town of Hairatan and then to the Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi Airport.

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Head of Sports Administration attends opening ceremony of Kazan’s ‘Games of Future’

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

The General Director of Physical Education and Sport of Afghanistan (GDPES) Mawlavi Ahmadullah Wasiq participated in the opening ceremony of the Games of Future competition hosted by Tatarstan-Kazan.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq also met with the Ministers of Sports of Russia and Tatarstan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials also participated in the opening ceremony, GDPES said in a post on X.

According to GDPES the competition started on February 21 and will continue until March 3.

Nearly 2,000 athletes from 107 countries will take part in the games and will compete in 21 sports.

The Next Generation Sports competition is a new series of sports competitions, which for the first time officially starts in Kazan.

The combination of these sports includes digital and classical sports, GDPES said.

Putin said during his opening speech that sport is meant to create unity between countries and nations and should not become political.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq meanwhile met with the minister of sports of Russia, Oleg Matisin, and the minister of sports of Tatarstan, Vladimir Leonov.

Cooperation in sport and sport development was discussed.

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UN reports $402.9 million needed for Herat earthquake recovery support

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

The United Nations said in a report released Thursday that $402.9 million is needed to support critical recovery and reconstruction efforts in Herat province following last year’s devastating earthquakes.

According to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report, issued by the UN, the World Bank, the European Union, and the Asian Development Bank, the scale of October’s was staggering.

Housing, the most severely affected sector, represents 41 percent ($164.4 million) of the total recovery needs.

The earthquakes damaged 49,578 houses, with 13,516 being completely destroyed.

Education is second most impacted sector, with 180,000 students and 4,390 teachers currently facing disruptions. The agriculture sector, accounting for the majority of jobs and income in the affected areas, has also suffered considerable setbacks.

The series of earthquakes on October 7, 11, and 15 killed over 1,500 people and injured more than 2,600 people.

The assessment, with UNDP as the technical lead, covered nine districts with roughly 2.2 million people.

It revealed that over 275,000 individuals were affected. Among these were 17,358 pregnant women, 17,146 infants, 3,976 people with severe disabilities, 3,207 elderly families, 6,806 women-led households, 3,176 individuals with chronic illnesses, and 147,000 children under 18.

Herat, Injil, and Zindajan districts were the hardest hit, with rural and vulnerable communities suffering the most.

The assessment also evaluated broader macro-economic and human impacts and proposed principles for a comprehensive recovery and reconstruction framework.

It cautioned about persistent widespread poverty, slow economic recovery, job scarcity, banking sector instability, adverse impact on mental health and wellbeing, and climate vulnerability, exacerbating Afghanistan’s ongoing economic challenges.

Way forward

The PDNA emphasizes the critical need to transition from immediate humanitarian aid to long-term recovery.

Recovery strategies should prioritize building community resilience, service restoration, earthquake-safe housing, livelihood options, social protection, and access to basic services, especially for the most affected families, the report stated.

“As the United Nations and partners, we stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in these challenging times. The findings of the PDNA highlight the profound impacts of the earthquakes on the Herat region.

“We are committed to not only addressing the immediate needs but ensuring a sustainable and resilient recovery for those affected by the earthquakes. This tragedy presents an opportunity to rebuild stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient communities. The PDNA provides a blueprint for recovery and reconstruction aimed at forging a better future for those most affected in Afghanistan,” stated Indrika Ratwatte, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

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