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U.S. moves to free $7 billion in Afghan assets to aid Afghan people, 9/11 victims

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(Last Updated On: February 11, 2022)

The U.S. government will take steps on Friday to free half of the $7 billion in frozen Afghan reserves held in the United States to aid the Afghan people without providing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) access to the funds, sources familiar with the plan said.

A multi-step plan calls for the other half of the funds to remain in the United States, subject to ongoing litigation by U.S. victims of terrorism, including relatives of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking attacks, the sources said.

The moves come amid mounting pressure in Congress for the Biden administration to use the frozen Afghan reserves to address the dire economic crisis facing Afghanistan, where twitch suffering severe recession and liquidity crisis.

To move forward, President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Friday that will block property of the Afghan central bank held in the United States by U.S. financial institutions, requiring the transfer of the funds into a consolidated account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the sources said.

The U.S. government will work to ensure access to $3.5 billion of those assets for “the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan’s future,” said one of the sources, without providing details.

Decisions about the remaining funds need to be made by federal courts since some of the 9/11 families have writs of execution against the frozen assets, the sources said, adding that the plaintiffs would have a full opportunity to have their claims heard in court.

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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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