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U.S. imposes wide array of sanctions on Russia for ‘malign’ actions

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(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The United States on Thursday imposed a broad array of sanctions on Russia to punish it for alleged interference in the U.S. election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other “malign” acts, Reuters reported.

The measures blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and placed limits on the Russian sovereign debt market.

According to Reuters, more penalties could come, although Washington did not want to escalate matters, the Biden administration said.

Moscow reacted angrily, saying this dangerously raised the temperature between the two countries. It summoned the U.S. ambassador for what it said would be a tough conversation.

Among the actions, President Joe Biden issued an executive order authorizing the U.S. government to sanction any sector of the Russian economy and used it to restrict Russia’s ability to issue sovereign debt to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2020 U.S. election.

Biden barred U.S. financial institutions from taking part in the primary market for rouble-denominated Russian sovereign bonds from June 14. U.S. banks have been barred from taking part in the primary market for non-rouble sovereign bonds since 2019.

Reuters reported the U.S. Treasury also blacklisted 32 entities and individuals which it said had carried out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election and other “acts of disinformation and interference”.

In concert with the European Union, Britain, Australia and Canada, the Treasury also sanctioned eight individuals associated with Russia’s ongoing occupation and repression in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The Kremlin, speaking ahead of the publication of the executive order, said the sanctions would reduce the chances of a summit between Biden and President Vladimir Putin taking place, Reuters reported.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman said Moscow would respond to the sanctions in the near future.

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Biden extends US national emergency over humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2023)

US President Joe Biden has extended for one more year the national emergency declared in his executive order with respect to the widespread humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the “potential for deepening economic collapse” in the country.

On February 11, 2022, Biden by an executive order declared a national emergency to deal with the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” constituted by the widespread humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the potential for a deepening economic collapse in the country, the White House said.

“The widespread humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan — including the urgent needs of the people of Afghanistan for food security, livelihoods support, water, sanitation, health, hygiene, shelter and settlement assistance, and COVID-19-related assistance, among other basic human needs — and the potential for a deepening economic collapse in Afghanistan continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” White House said in a notice released on February 3.

“In addition, the preservation of certain property of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) held in the United States by United States financial institutions is of the utmost importance to addressing this national emergency and the welfare of the people of Afghanistan,” the notice said.

“Various parties, including representatives of victims of terrorism, have asserted legal claims against certain property of DAB or indicated in public court filings an intent to make such claims. This property is blocked under Executive Order 14064.”

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Kandahar-Dubai flights resume

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2023)

Local officials in Kandahar province say flights between Kandahar and Dubai have resumed for the first time since the IEA took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

The head of Ahmad Shah Baba International Airport in Kandahar has said that the flights have been resumed by Kam Air, the largest private airline in Afghanistan.

Kam Air officials meanwhile said that the west and south zones have more traders and industrialists; therefore, they have resumed the flights.

It is said that round-trip flights will also soon start between Kandahar and New Delhi and Kandahar and China.

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At least 8,000 Afghan refugees return from Iran in past week

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2023)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities at the Refugee and Repatriation Department of Nimruz province announced that 7,612 Afghan refugees have returned to the country from Iran over the past week.

Sediqullah Nasrat, the director of the department said on Saturday that 519 refugees who were facing serious financial problems, received cash aid from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Nasrat added that IOM – the United Nations agency for migration – distributed food and other necessary items to the remaining families.

He said the 7,612 Afghan migrants returned to the country from Iran through the Abrishum border crossing.

This comes as the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a private organization called ‘Osta’ to create employment opportunities for more than a thousand needy families.

Although many immigrants are forcibly returned to the country, the deterioration of the economic situation in Iran has also caused migrants to return to the country.

A number of immigration experts say that the new Afghan government should try to solve the problems of Afghan immigrants in host countries through diplomatic means, especially on the issue of accommodation, especially as many migrants do not have legal documents.

Although Iran and Pakistan have been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for years, recent developments in the country have increased the number of these migrants. Now, the Islamic Emirate says that they are trying to gradually provide job opportunities to the returning migrants.

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