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UN engaging with Islamic Emirate on humanitarian aid and other ‘concerns’



(Last Updated On: September 11, 2021)

Marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States on Saturday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the organization is working with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to ensure much-needed humanitarian aid gets to needy Afghans across the country.

Guterres said: “The UN has a key role to play in humanitarian aid to a people that is now in a desperate situation. Desperate situation.

“And so, we decided that it was our duty to engage the Taliban (Islamic Emirate), to create the conditions for the possibility of effective humanitarian aid, impartial, to reach all areas and to take into account our concerns in relation to women and girls, for instance, to engage the Taliban, he said.

“What would be positive is to have simultaneously the formation in Afghanistan of an inclusive government – the fact that that government respects international commitments made by the Afghan State, and that a number of the concerns that we have expressed about terrorism, human rights, etc., are taken into account, and that that leads to a normalization of the relations of the international community with Afghanistan.”

Guterres also said he thinks it is essential to find ways “to inject some cash in the Afghan economy to avoid its meltdown”.

He stated that “the war must end; it doesn’t make any sense; there is no military solution. Humanitarian aid needs to reach everybody, everywhere, and it’s not the case at the present moment”.

Guterres’ comments come a day after the World Food Programme stated that 93% of Afghan families are not consuming sufficient food and that three out of four households are using extreme coping mechanisms, such as skipping meals or preferring to give food to children instead of adults.

The WFP conducted a telephone survey from June 17 to September 5, asking 1,600 random households per month about their food habits. The agency reported a “marked difference” between the period up to August 15 and then following August 20.

“The portion of families resorting to extreme coping mechanisms, those are things like skipping meals or preferring to give food to children instead of adults or limiting portion sizes to make food last longer had almost doubled”, WFP’s deputy regional director for Asia and the Pacific, Anthea Webb said.

Afghanistan is facing economic collapse after foreign countries and institutions said they would withhold aid and monetary reserves after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan took control of Kabul last month.

“It’s now a race against time and the snow to deliver life-saving assistance to the Afghan people who need it most. We need to be reaching nine million people per month by November if we are to meet our planned target of 14 million by the end of the year,” Webb said, urging donors to fill the 200 million dollars’ appeal ahead of an international aid conference for Afghanistan on September 13.


UN Security Council to meet over situation in Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday that will focus on the current situation in Afghanistan.

UNSC members are expected to discuss economic, humanitarian and security concerns.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) spokesman Bilal Karimi said the IEA welcomed meetings that are held with the aim of cooperating with the government and people of Afghanistan.

He also said that Afghans expect cooperation and that such meetings must be held in accordance with international laws and principles.

However, the IEA still does not have a designated UN representative – one year after taking control of the country.

Instead, Naseer Ahmad Faiq, who assumed leadership of the Afghan mission to the UN in December last year, will address the security council members.

The IEA does not however recognize him as the legitimate envoy to the UN.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Faiq said that he would address the security council meeting and speak on behalf of Afghans.

“On behalf of Afghans, in this important meeting, like always, I would like to raise the voice of my nation,” he said.

In September last year, the IEA asked the UN to accredit Suhail Shaheen, the head of the IEA’s political office in Qatar, as the new ambassador.

But in December, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in which it indefinitely delayed a decision over the rival claims to the representative seat for Afghanistan.

At the time, the IEA criticized the UN’s failure to decide on this issue, saying it was ignoring the rights of the Afghan people.

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Influential Muslim cleric al-Qaradawi dies at 96



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Senior Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who was based in Qatar, died on Monday, according to a post on his official Twitter account.

The cleric was an Egyptian Islamic scholar and was chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

He was best known for his programme al-Sharīʿa wa al-Ḥayāh (“Sharia and Life”), broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 40–60 million worldwide.

He is also known for IslamOnline, a website he helped to found in 1997 and for which he served as chief religious scholar.

Al-Qaradawi published more than 120 books, and received eight international prizes for his contributions to Islamic scholarship, and is considered one of the most influential Islamic scholars today.

Al-Qaradawi has long had a prominent role within the intellectual leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian political organization, although he repeatedly stated that he was no longer a member. He has over the years been critical of Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

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Rare 5,000-carat Afghan ruby unveiled in Dubai



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

A rare 5,000-carat gemstone that went on private display in Dubai has been heralded as a “blessing from heaven” for the residents of the impoverished village in which it was unearthed.

The ruby, which weighs about 1 kilogram, has been hailed as “one of a kind” due to its rich purple coloring and size, the National News reported.

The ruby was discovered in the village of Hyderabad, bordering Iran and Afghanistan and its owner said he hoped the unexpected find would help bring a change of fortune for villagers without access to schools, hospitals or even electricity for some.

The uncut stone could cost at least $10 million in the market, asset manager Patrick Pilati told The National.

“It was an accidental finding from the village called Hyderabad bordering Iran and Afghanistan. There is no mining activity in the village that is under the jurisdiction of Afghanistan,” he said.

The rough stone is deep purple in color and bigger than the palm of a hand.

A certificate of authenticity …by the International Testing Laboratory Gems and Jewellery, in Jaipur, Rajasthan in India, and shown to The National, stated the rough ruby weighs 5,010 carats.

Azad Rokhsati, a gemologist, who was also present at the event, confirmed the size and weight.

“I have never seen anything like this,” he said.

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