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Terrorism resurgent in Afghanistan, says Guterres at UN meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 12, 2022)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the continued expansion of Daesh and Al-Qaeda in Africa and resurgent terrorism in Afghanistan pose a growing threat to global peace and security.

Addressing a UN-backed counter-terrorism meeting in Malaga, Spain, this week he said: “Responses to terrorism must be anchored in the rule of law, human rights, and gender equality to ensure their effectiveness.”

“As a moral duty, let’s put human rights where they belong: front and centre in the fight against terror,” the secretary-general said in a video message to the high-level international conference on human rights and counter-terrorism meeting.

The two-day event, saw governments, international organizations, civil society and human rights defenders examine how to formulate terrorism responses that comply with human rights and the rule of law and ensure meaningful participation of civil society in counter-terrorism efforts.

“This gathering reflects a central truth. Terrorism is not only an attack on innocent people. It represents an all-out assault on human rights,” the secretary-general said.

“The threat is growing and global,” he said. “Daesh and Al-Qaeda continue to expand into Africa. Terrorism is resurgent in Afghanistan. Extremist groups target women and girls with gender-based violence, including sexual violence.”

Terrorists, he said, were also using technology to “spread and export lies, hatred and division at the touch of a button”.

He also said, xenophobia, racism and cultural and religious intolerance were accelerating. Guterres warned that at the same time, global responses to terrorism could make things worse.

“In the name of security, humanitarian aid is often blocked – increasing human suffering. Civil society and human rights defenders are silenced – particularly women. And survivors of terrorism and violence are left without the support and access to justice they need to rebuild their lives,” he said.

The secretary-general called for reaffirming commitment to core values, including investing in health, education, protection, gender equality, and justice systems that were accessible to all people.

“This must also include safeguarding humanitarian action, respecting international law and opening the door to civil society – and especially women – to meaningfully engage with counter-terrorism efforts.”

The high-level conference is jointly organized by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and Spain.

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China calls on US to release Afghanistan’s assets

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said Friday the freezing of $7 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves has caused the economic crisis in Afghanistan to intensify, and that Beijing sees the continued blocking of these assets as “unjustifiable”.

“The freezing of seven billion dollars in assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan has played a negative role in aggravating the economic crisis in this country and the US government must release these assets of the Afghan people and there is no justification for the continued blocking of Afghanistan’s assets,” said Wang.

China and Russia, the two fierce rivals of the US, have reacted to the freezing of Afghanistan’s assets several times since the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan (IEA) took power. The two countries have also called for the release of the foreign reserves on a number of occasions.

“United States is the political and economic opponent of China, and the Chinese make moves against the US from any source,” said Sayed Massoud, a university professor.

After the IEA swept to power in August last year, the US froze almost $10 billion dollars of the country’s foreign reserves.

US President Joe Biden, signed an order on February 11, 2021, that half of the reserves be allocated to the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He instructed that the balance be used for humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.

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IEA urges India to complete unfinished projects in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

The foreign ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has called on India to complete its unfinished developmental projects in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued on Saturday, the IEA also called on India to embark on other “vital projects,” in Afghanistan.

The statement was issued after India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Friday a team of diplomats, excluding the ambassador, had gone to Afghanistan to address issues such as humanitarian assistance, vaccine campaigns and development projects in the country.

“We have taken a very considered deliberated view that our relationship at the end of the day is with the people of Afghanistan, to the society and that it is a relationship which is deep enough and in a sense, historically long enough for us to actually find ways of factoring in these political changes and continuing that people-to-people, so like a relationship,” Jaishankar told reporters.

IEA’s foreign ministry said it welcomed India’s move to step up diplomatic presence at its embassy in Kabul, and reiterated security assurances.

The ministry expressed hope that relations between India and Afghanistan would expand further.

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Thirteen people killed in flash floods in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

Thirteen people including women and children have been killed in flash floods caused by heavy rains over the past two days in Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday.

Sharafuddin Muslim, the deputy state minister for disaster management, said that the floods happened in Khost, Paktia, Logar, Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Parwan and Kapisa provinces.

According to the official, 13 people including four women and five children were killed and two others went missing following the floods.

Muslim said that hundreds of homes were damaged. Some roads connecting villages with the district centers were also blocked.

Responding to the disaster, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is distributing 100,000 afghanis to each family affected, he said.

Other basic items are also being delivered, he said.

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