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Taliban looted, torched Afghan homes after evicting residents: Watchdog

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(Last Updated On: July 8, 2021)

Taliban fighters in northern Afghanistan last month evicted families and looted and torched their homes in apparent retaliation for cooperating with the Kabul government, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Reuters reported the “retaliatory attacks” were committed by insurgents participating in a Taliban offensive that has overrun scores of districts around Afghanistan, including an estimated 150 districts in Kunduz and other northern provinces, the group said.

“The Taliban leadership has the power to stop these abuses by their forces, but haven’t shown that they are willing to do so,” Patricia Grossman, the organization’s associate Asia director said in a statement.

A Taliban spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, the Taliban published on Twitter an order to “military officials” to safeguard public property and “behave well with the general public.”

The Taliban launched their offensive, with a focus on the north, as U.S.-led foreign forces withdrew after two decades of war. U.S. troops abandoned their main base, Bagram Airfield, earlier this week.

Human Rights Watch said it conducted telephone interviews early this month with displaced residents of Bagh-e Sherkat, a town in Kunduz province from which some 600 families fled, some to Taloquan and others to Faizabad.

Displaced residents were quoted as saying that from June 21 to 25, Taliban fighters gave them two hours to leave their homes and threatened those who the insurgents accused of providing support to the Afghan government, Reuters reported.

Taliban fighters then looted and burned abandoned homes, and shot dead two civilians, displaced residents said.

“We helped the government and they left us to the Taliban,” an unidentified 24-year-old woman was quoted as saying. “The Taliban have burned our houses. We are so scared. Both sides force us to help them. We are poor people, we don’t have any choice.”

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Earthquake victims in Gayan district still in need of food and shelter

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Hundreds of survivors of this week’s earthquake, who lost family members and their homes, are still in desperate need of help.

Sayed Bakhta, one of the survivors said that he has lost four family members and two others are hospitalized, adding that survivors are dealing with a lack of food and no shelter.

“We have no shelter here now, we don’t have food, all the victims are sitting outside without having shelter,” he said.

A number of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials who have visited Gayan district of Paktika say that almost 90 percent of residential areas have been destroyed.

“Almost 90 percent of residences are destroyed; only a few them are suitable for living, most of them are uninhabitable,” said Qalandar Ebad, acting minister of public health.

In the meantime, rugged roads have hampered relief efforts as Gayan victims grapple with a humanitarian crisis, but military helicopter try to deliver aid to the victims.

“According to the order of the Prime Minister, a meeting was held and according to that meeting, the ministries and donor organizations were instructed to come to the earthquake site as soon as possible and use all their facilities to save the people,” said Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy Minister of State for Disaster Management.

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121 children among those killed in Afghanistan earthquake: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

The United Nations children’s agency said on Friday 121 of those who were killed in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan this week were children.

Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, said as of late Thursday night, at least 1,036 people were reported killed and more than 1,643 reported injured.

The toll included 121 deaths and 67 injuries among the children, according to the official.

He said that Bermal district in Paktika province has the highest number of casualties and that several thousand homes were destroyed or damaged.

“Children and adolescents are extremely vulnerable and at high-risk of family separation, emotional and psychological distress, abuse and exploitation, and other forms of violence,” Ayoya said.

“UNICEF, in coordination with UN agencies, partners, and the de facto authorities (led by the Ministry of Defence) is rapidly preparing a multi-sectoral response covering health, WASH, child protection, nutrition, education, social mobilization, and including a cash component,” Ayoya said.
“UNICEF will be conducting a rapid market assessment in the affected areas in the upcoming days. The assessment will inform the feasibility and appropriateness of cash as a response to support early recovery. UNICEF has already trained partners for beneficiary registration on the ground.”

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Pakistan dispatches second consignment of earthquake relief

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday dispatched eight trucks loaded with relief goods for earthquake victims in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan government, the consignment, arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority, has been handed over to Afghan authorities.

The consignment consists of family tents, tarpaulins, blankets and emergency medicines.

“Pakistan is committed to continue supply of relief goods to Afghan brethren,” the statement read.

This comes after Pakistan sent in earthquake aid on Wednesday, just hours after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, killing over 1,000 people and destroying thousands of houses.

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