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U.S. Expects Afghan Govt’s Inclusion in Ongoing Peace Talks

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(Last Updated On: February 17, 2019)

Washington is expecting the Afghan government’s engagement in the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban, the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the sidelines of Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Pence said that the United States is encouraged that the Taliban has shown the interest to come to the negotiating table after years of fighting.

“We are encouraged that the Taliban has come to the table and we look forward to those discussions going forward,” Pence said.

The Taliban has held at least four round of talks with the U.S. representatives so far, but the armed group has repeatedly refused to engage in talks with the Afghan government, insisting that the U.S. is their main adversary.  

However, the U.S. Vice President said that they are expecting the Afghan government’s inclusion in the peace talks.

“We look forward to your engagement and the government’s engagement,” Pence told Ghani.

He, meanwhile, expressed hope that the ongoing peace efforts reach into a peaceful statement in Afghanistan that could let the Afghans to have a “great future” and that Afghanistan never again used by terrorist organizations to bring violence against Afghan people and nations around the world including the United States.

On his turn, President Ghani paid tribute to sacrifices of  the American troops in Afghanistan. He said since he became president only 66 American troops have been killed in his country.

 “It is fortunate that since I have been president only 66 American [troops] paid the ultimate sacrifices, 66 is to many but clearly after the transition and with the launch of South Asia strategy now the war is no longer an American war,” he said.

Thanking the U.S. forces’ support to Afghanistan, Ghani said that it is the “patriotic” Afghan security forces that are doing the fighting and that are dying for “a free homeland and for a secure world”.  

The Afghan president also hailed the U.S. South Asia Strategy and described as  “game changer”. He said the strategy is working.  

 “We would like to thank President Trump and yourself who have paid a very significant role in making this possible,” Ghani told Pence.

Regarding the ongoing peace talks, Ghani said that it is “critical” to ensure an “enduring” peace results from these discussions.

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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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