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Transfer of power is possible but only via elections: Ghani

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(Last Updated On: March 6, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday his government was ready to prepare for elections and that any change in power would be through an electoral process.

Addressing lawmakers at the opening of a parliament session, Ghani said: “Transfer of power through elections is a non-negotiable principle for us.”

This comes after some Afghan politicians said this week that US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconstruction Zalmay Khalilzad suggested, during a three-day visit to Kabul, that a transitional administration should be established.

Ghani on Saturday meanwhile said he is ready to discuss elections with the Taliban but stated the future of Afghanistan will be determined by the Constitution.

“We are ready to talk about a free, transparent and countrywide election under the management of the international community. We can discuss and agree about its date,” said Ghani.

Ghani also called on Taliban to reduce violence and stop killing Afghans.

“I have a message to the Taliban… to leave the violence and come to action.”

Ghani called on Pakistan to choose a “right path” and said: “Let’s accept each other as two independent countries.”

“Pakistan must change its policy and accept Afghanistan as an independent country,” added Ghani.

Calling the current opportunity for peace unprecedented and unique, Ghani said Afghans want an end to the war that has continued for 42 years and that they want peace, but not the peace of the graveyard.

He reiterated that he will not allow the people’s efforts for democracy, freedom and preservation of the system to be wasted.

Mir Rahman Rahmani, head of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) called on the Taliban to show flexibility in peace talks and to stop making new demands.

We call on the Taliban “to reduce violence, and show flexibility in peace negotiations, and avoid demands that are not possible. They should announce a ceasefire without any excuse,” said Rahmanl.

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Herat youths call on IEA to create job opportunities

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(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

The young generation of Herat province has raised concerns about the high rate of unemployment in the province and said no initiatives have been taken over the past 20 years to create job opportunities for them.

According to them, hundreds of experienced and educated people have lost their jobs over the past year and that in this time the Department of Information and Culture has only managed to organize some training programs aimed at improving the capacity of young people.

“What we were hoping for was to change the system and take serious action for the youth, but as you can see, men and women are unemployed, girls’ schools are closed,” said Fatima Rezai, a resident of Herat.

“Unfortunately, the problems of the youth are economic problems and the current situation is known to everyone, there is no work and the projects have stopped, therefore, there is a need to restart these projects,” said another resident.

However, Herat’s Department of Information and Culture said that during the last year, efforts have been made to retain the youth who worked for the previous government, and that many of them are still employed within the department.

“We promise all our people, especially our youth, that in various sectors where there are gaps, Inshallah the Islamic Emirate will take action to solve it as soon as possible,” said Naimulhaq Haqqani, director of Herat’s Information and Culture department.

Hussain Naemi, head of youth affairs at the department said: “So far, we have been able to organize training classes for 1,000 young people, and in the field of youth capacity building, we have also done various technical and web workshops, English and computer classes.”

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10 million students being educated at 19,000 facilities: Education Ministry

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(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

Education ministry officials said Tuesday that currently, there are 19,000 educational institutions in the country with an enrollment of about 10 million students.

Speaking at the formal accountability session in Kabul, the acting deputy Minister of Education said: “There are currently 19,000 public and private educational institutions with about 10 million students in the country, and a total of 242,000 teachers, including 92,000 female teachers, engaged in teaching in these institutions.”

According to officials, over the past year, 142,000 certificates have been distributed to Grade 12 graduates and graduates from madrassas.

In order to eliminate ambiguity and remove ghost employees, the exact number of teachers, students and schools have been tallied over the past year, officials said.

According to them, currently, 10,147,024 students, 6,243,809 male students and 3,903,215 female students, are enrolled at education facilities.

Assessments have also been carried out of educational documents of Grade 12 and 14 students. So far, about 400,000 students have registered for the exam to become teachers.

In addition to this, the ministry has undergone a change in the organizational structure, officials said. According to them, four deputies have been appointed while 67 directorates have been established and 290,000 posts created.

Over the past year, about 16,000 vacant posts have been filled by qualified staff and a further 10,000 posts will be made available soon.

With the help of UNICEF, 37 million textbooks have been printed and distributed in the past year. Officials also said that with UNHCR’s help, 20,000 tents will be provided and used as make-shift schools.

Abdul Khaleq Sadiq, head of the quality assurance department of the Ministry of Education also addressed the event and said the plan around reopening girls’ schools will be completed soon.

“The reopening of schools is an issue that all officials of the Ministry of Education are committed to, but this closure is a delay and the school reopening plan will be completed.”

However, members of the public have said the closure of girls schools is a disaster and that Afghanistan has long been a “victim of ignorance and illiteracy”. Members of the public have said the Islamic Emirate should provide education for men and women across all sectors, whether religious sciences or contemporary sciences.

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Afghan refugees in UK told to look for private accommodation

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(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

Afghan refugees who sought asylum in the UK after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) took over Afghanistan a year ago have been told to look for private accommodation as the government-funded accommodation scheme winds down.

In a letter sent to the Afghan refugees, the Home Office warned that not every council would accept their request for a place on the social housing list and has told them to use estate agent websites in the private sector, Anadolu News Agency reported.

“The use of hotels to house those resettling from Afghanistan is a temporary solution, and we continue to work with over 350 local authorities to move Afghan families from hotels to permanent accommodation as quickly as possible,” a statement from the Home Office said.

“To support the resettlement of Afghan families, local authorities are given £20,520 ($24,809) per person over a three-year period. They have the flexibility to use this funding to contribute towards renting accommodation, including deposits, letting fees and furnishing,” it added.

Although the government is still accommodating up to 9,500 Afghan refugees in hotels, with 7,000 rehoused, the Home Office is planning to wind down the use of hotels to house refugees, Anadolu reported.

Rights groups and charities, however, have voiced concerns over the lack of funding, guidance and assistance offered to the refugees and fear that many families will fall into homelessness as a result.

Afghan families and individuals, many of whom have only been in the UK for a year, will struggle to find accommodation. Due to language barriers which will prevent them from negotiating their rental agreements and the lack of necessary documentation, many fear that these families will fall through the system.

“Afghan families couldn’t have imagined that one year after arriving they’d still be warehoused in unsuitable accommodation, without space, privacy and stability. There is also a serious risk of homelessness for these families if suitable accommodation is not offered under the current Home Office plans,” said Eva Tabbasam, the director of Gender Action for Peace and Security.

“The government has had a year to sort things out – instead, it’s getting worse. If suitable accommodation was readily available for the 9,500 people still in hotels, families would already have been moved into it. We don’t yet know what kind of move on accommodation families will be offered,” she added.

The government’s plans to rehouse Afghan refugees include sending them to different parts of the country. However, as the majority are based in London and with children enrolled into school and family members at work, the scheme may prove difficult, Anadolu reported. .

Furthermore, councils have voiced concern over the lack of housing options for Afghan families with Claire Holland, London Councils’ executive member for communities, saying “boroughs are very concerned by the lack of alternative housing options for these families – a particular challenge in the capital due to the chronic shortage of affordable housing here.”

UK council housing lists are notoriously long with many having to wait up to a year to find a house fit for a large family. Additionally, although Afghan families have the right to rent, many landlords are reluctant to sign agreements with them due to a lack of necessary and sufficient documentation.

The plan to rehouse Afghan refugees in private accommodation comes on the one-year anniversary of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) rule.

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