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Taliban promises ‘safe environment’ for foreign diplomats, aid workers

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(Last Updated On: May 25, 2021)

The Taliban on Tuesday pledged to provide a “safe environment” to foreign diplomats and aid organizations after Australia announced it would close its embassy over security concerns.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan assures all foreign diplomats and staff of humanitarian organizations that (we) will not pose any threats to them,” Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told AFP.

“We will provide a safe environment for their activities,” he said.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday the embassy in Kabul will close this week, underscoring fears about the “increasingly uncertain security environment” in Kabul as foreign troops withdraw.

He said the embassy will reopen “once circumstances permit”

This comes as US and NATO troops continue to withdraw from the country – a task expected to be complete by September 11.

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IEA urges UN to remove sanctions against its members

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(Last Updated On: March 27, 2023)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials have once again called on the United Nations to remove the names of IEA members who are on the UN blacklist, and said the international community should engage with the group instead of putting pressure on it.

The UN Security Council failed to reach an agreement to extend travel exemptions, allowing 13 Islamic Emirate officials to travel abroad, which expired in August 2021.

“Some 20 to 25 Islamic Emirate officials are on the UN blacklist and have been sanctioned. Some of them have died, and a few are working with the caretaker government,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, the IEA’s spokesman.

According to Mujahid, adding pressure and force will not bear results. The war of the past 20 years has proven that the people of Afghanistan will not surrender to pressure. Instead, engagement and negotiations are ideal options to reach a comprehensive conclusion, he added.

In addition, inclusion of the Islamic Emirate officials on the UN blacklist violates the Doha Agreement, Mujahid said.

The Doha Agreement is a peace deal between the US and the IEA aimed at restoring peace in Afghanistan. The agreement was signed in Doha in 2020, finalizing the US withdrawal from Afghanistan contingent on IEA security assurance that Afghan soil will not be used against the US by al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

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Japan contributes $21 million for life-saving vaccines in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: March 27, 2023)

The Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan on Monday announced that Japan has contributed $21 million for life-saving vaccines for mothers and children, and water and sanitation facilities in schools.

With this funding, UNICEF will provide clean water for 30,000 people in four provinces, and vaccines for 18.3 million mothers and children across Afghanistan.

Amid the devastating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the government of Japan has donated to UNICEF $18 million in support of essential vaccines for over 18 million mothers and children, and $3.6 million for water and sanitation facilities in public schools.

The vaccines are for measles, rotavirus, tetanus and diphtheria, polio, hepatitis B and others. These funds will also enable UNICEF to reach around 10 million children with oral polio vaccines during national vaccination campaigns in 2023.

“This support from the Japanese government will not only help to give mothers and children the immunity boost they need to stay healthy, but it will also improve sanitation and hygiene in schools,” said Rushnan Murtaza, UNICEF Afghanistan Deputy Representative.

“Complementing our past support to Afghanistan in health, nutrition and education, we hope these contributions will create cleaner, safer learning environments and communities for children and their families,” says Takashi Okada, Ambassador of Japan to Afghanistan.

Water and sanitation projects will be implemented in Ghor, Uruzgan, Zabul and Pakitika which are among the most deprived provinces in Afghanistan, according to UNICEF officials.

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At least six civilians dead in Kabul explosion

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(Last Updated On: March 27, 2023)

At least six civilians were killed and several others, including three Islamic Emirate forces, were wounded in a suicide bombing near a security checkpoint in Malik Azghar Square in Kabul, a spokesman for the Kabul security department, Khalid Zadran said.

The Emergency NGO hospital in Kabul meanwhile said on Twitter that it received 12 injured people, including a child from the blast that happened near the Foreign Ministry on Monday afternoon.

The hospital said soon after the explosion that two bodies had also been taken to the hospital.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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