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UN teams working to assess humanitarian crisis in Helmand

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(Last Updated On: October 14, 2020)

As thousands of families flee Helmand fighting, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) called on all parties to the conflict to safeguard civilians. 

In a post on Twitter late Tuesday night, UNAMA said “Taliban & ANSF urged to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, including safe paths for those wishing to leave area. UN teams working to verify casualty reports & advocating with parties to stop all civilian harm.”

The UN then issued a statement outlining the Helmand crisis, which they say has displaced thousands of people and interrupted critical health services. 

In a report issued by the organization’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the UN said teams have been deployed to assess the humanitarian impact of the situation. 

They also warned that fighting between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the Taliban, that started on Saturday night, continues to intensify close to the provincial capital of Lashkargah. 

UNOCHA states that the most affected areas are Nahr-e-Saraj, Bolan, Babaje, Nad-e-Ali, Marja and Nawa-e-Barakzaiy districts. Some parts of Maiwand district in neighboring Kandahar have also been affected, the report stated. 

In addition, the highway between Kandahar and Lashkargah has been inaccessible due to the presence of IEDs. 

Local authorities meanwhile report that at least 35,000 people (around 5,000 households) have been displaced into Lashkargah city, while health facilities also report hundreds of casualties.

Since Monday, two humanitarian assessment teams have been working in areas of displacement to assess needs and have so far verified nearly 500 internally displaced families. Initial observations from assessment teams show that some IDPs may require immediate food, water and temporary spaces for living. 

“Electricity and telecommunication lines have been disrupted in some affected areas. This has affected people’s ability to communicate and humanitarian partners’ ability to conduct assessments,” the UN stated. 

“Health facilities have also been affected – either closed or operating in a reduced capacity (focusing on trauma services only). As a result, it is expected that some tens of thousands of people living in these areas will be deprived of access to critical health services.”

The UN also stated that the provincial governor has called on the Afghan National Disaster Management Agency (ANDMA) to help with food and other essential items for at least 500 families verified as having been displaced. 

A meeting is expected to be held on Wednesday to address trauma needs, the UN stated. 

“Other partners are mobilizing internal resource and response capacity to meet new needs created by these clashes and overcome technical and access related challenges delaying needs assessments.” 

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Elon Musk begins Twitter poll on reinstating Trump’s account

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(Last Updated On: November 19, 2022)

Twitter owner Elon Musk launched a poll Friday on the social media platform asking if former US President Donald Trump should be allowed back on the platform.

“Reinstate former President Trump,” Musk wrote in a post which garnered more than 4.4 million impressions at the time of publication, Anadolu Agency reported.

More than 55% of users voted “yes,” while 44% said “no.”

Hours earlier, the American billionaire implied that he was mulling whether to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account.

“Trump decision has not yet been made,” tweeted Musk, as he announced three high-profile reinstatements of accounts that were banned by the social media giant.

“Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated,” said Musk.

Trump had about 88.8 million followers when Twitter permanently suspended the former US president’s account in January 2021, citing his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol and the potential for more violence.

Musk had forecast a Trump return in May when he called the expulsion “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”

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IEA says it has eradicated war and corruption in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: November 17, 2022)

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, said at a meeting on Wednesday with officials from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war and administrative corruption in the country and pave the ground for progress and development.

He said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has created an aid fund for Afghanistan and they will help Afghanistan in health, education, and other fields in addition to humanitarian aid.

An OIC official meanwhile said it will stand by Afghanistan and we will continue its cooperation with Afghanistan in the areas of prosperity, stability, and development.

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, meanwhile welcomed the delegation of the OIC, and said, “You will see the real facts and the efforts of the Islamic Emirate in various sectors.”

He said that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war, insecurity, murder, destruction, and corruption in the country.

In conclusion, the IEA will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan soil against other countries, he said. 

 

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Explosion in busy Istanbul street leaves at least 4 dead

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(Last Updated On: November 13, 2022)

An explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue on Sunday afternoon has left at least four people dead and a number of people injured, a senior official told Associated Press.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the explosion occurred at about 4:20 p.m. Istanbul time and that there were deaths and injuries, but he did not say how many. The cause of the explosion was not clear.

Al Jazeera also reported at least four people were killed and 38 others injured.

However, according to the Associated Press, Turkey’s media watchdog imposed a temporary media ban on reporting of the explosion, which means broadcasters cannot show videos of the moment of the blast or its aftermath. 

The Supreme Board of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks, accidents and some political issues.

Footage on social media showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.

Broadcaster CNN Turk meanwhile reported 11 people were injured. 

The avenue is a crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals, lined by shops and restaurants.

Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by ISIS (Daesh) and outlawed Kurdish groups.

 

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