UNAMA urges foreign community to support Afghanistan at pledging summit
In the lead up to the pledging conference scheduled for November in Geneva, calls have been made for the international community to stand by Afghanistan during its journey to peace, prosperity and self-reliance.
The ministerial-level pledging conference this year is being jointly organized by the Afghan government, the government of Finland and the United Nations.
It aims to renew international and Afghan commitments to the development and stability of the country, to agree to joint development goals for the years 2021 through to 2024 and to coordinate development cooperation regarding financial support for the country.
In a joint statement issued by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Tuesday, calls were made by all three parties for the Afghan government and foreign development partners to work together.
”Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. On peace, we have moved from desirability to feasibility and credibility due, largely, to the sacrifices made by the Afghan people and the unmatched confidence-building measures taken by the Afghan government,” said Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Finance, Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal.
.” When we look into the future, we must remain united in our vision and ambition to realize a progressive, prosperous, democratic, free and stable Afghanistan in peace with itself, its neighbors and the world,” he said.
“On development, while maintaining emphasis on high-level planning, the focus must shift to delivery and implementation,” he said adding that the Afghan government and its international development partners must work together on a vision for demonstrable reduction in poverty that is realistic and well-targeted.
He stated that investment in peace and development must provide sufficient guarantees for gender equity, protection of human rights, women’s rights and the rights of minorities as well as democratic principles.
“The Republic is a true embodiment of Afghanistan’s diversity and must be strengthened. Corruption, which drains Afghanistan’s valuable resources and interrupts the process of realizing self-reliance, must be fought in all its forms,” he said.
With the conference taking place during a historic period in Afghanistan’s history – after peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban got underway this past weekend in Doha – UNAMA states that this provides new opportunities for development.
According to the statement, stronger partnerships and sustained international support are critical in helping to achieve and sustain peace after 40 years of war.
Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland said that it’s the first time in decades that there is a real chance for peace.
She said Finland stands firmly with other international partners in supporting Afghanistan but highlighted that “inclusivity and women’s meaningful participation at all stages of the peace process are vital for peace and development.”
Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan seconded this and said this was a critical time for Afghanistan as it works towards ending the decades-old war.
On the upcoming pledging summit, she said: “I hope the international community uses this occasion in Geneva to reaffirm its steadfast support to Afghanistan’s development, in parallel with the peace process.
“The UN is committed to working with the Afghan Government, Finland, and the donor community to deliver the best possible outcome for the benefit of all Afghans,” she said.
Ville Skinnari, Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade also weighed in and said his country was looking forward to co-hosting the conference.
“Solving the complex challenges in Afghanistan requires joint efforts and long-term commitment from Afghanistan and the international community,” he said adding that together with other foreign stakeholders, Finland was committed to reshaping the aid architecture while ensuring it will preserve the progress achieved over the past 19 years.
The event will take place in Geneva and attended “virtually” by more than 70 countries, international organizations and Afghan officials.
UNAMA stated that in view of ongoing travel and gathering restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, further information about conference logistics and the agenda will be made available closer to the date of the event.
Afghanistan makes history after beating Pakistan in T20I series
Afghanistan made history on Sunday night when they beat long-time rival Pakistan in their second successive T20I match in Sharjah to win the series.
Sunday’s match saw Afghanistan beat Pakistan by 7 wickets with one ball remaining.
This is the first time in Afghanistan’s cricketing history that they have beaten Pakistan in an international series and as fans back home and across the world erupted with joy after a nail-biting last two overs, congratulations started pouring in.
Afghanistan Cricket Board said it was a “momentous occasion for Afghanistan cricket!”
The board said in a tweet that the team had “created history by securing their first-ever T20I series win over traditional rivals Pakistan. It’s a triumph of grit, courage, and teamwork.”
Rashid Khan’s squad did indeed show grit, courage and teamwork and after winning the toss and opting to bat first, Pakistan faced an early blow from Fazalhaq Farooqi who dismissed Saim Ayub for a duck on the second ball of the innings.
He then trapped Abdullah Shafique LBW on the very next delivery to take Afghanistan to a dream start. Pakistan kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but Imad Wasim’s 64 not out off 57 and Shadab’s 32 off 25 took them to a respectable total.
Chasing a target of 131 runs, Afghanistan were calm and focused throughout the second innings but needing 30 runs off the last three overs, and 22 from the last two overs.
However Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi hit a six each off pace bowler Naseem Shah in the penultimate over to reduce the target to five runs. Zadran then hit the winning boundary off Zaman Khan’s last over to chase down the 131-run target with one ball to spare.
This was Afghanistan’s first bilateral T20I series against any of the top six teams — India, England, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
They have previously won a T20I series each against the West Indies and Bangladesh and five in five against Zimbabwe.
Khalilzad slams ‘brutal’ but ‘failed’ regime in Iran
Former US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on Sunday called the Iranian regime a “political and economic failure at home and a growing threat to the region and the world”.
In an interview with UK-based Iran International, Khalilzad said the Tehran regime has lost the support of the Iranian people.
Following up with a detailed tweet after the interview, the former envoy said the Iranian “regime rules through brutal suppression of those who back the Zan (women), Zendagi (life), and Azadi (freedom) movements.
Referring to the ongoing poisoning mystery, he said “many female students have been poisoned at school.”
He also lashed out and said: “Iran has become the capital of al-Qaeda, is determined to acquire nuclear weapons, and provides military support to Russia in its aggression in Ukraine.”
Khalilzad also stated that the Iranian regime “might well use al-Qaeda to target regime opponents abroad and former US officials it has declared it wants to kill.”
He said the Biden administration and US Congress needs to increase support for Iran’s democratic opposition, isolate Iran internationally, press allies to declare Iran’s special military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a terrorist organization, and downgrade relations with the regime by withdrawing their Ambassadors.
“We must increase sanctions, especially stopping the import of Iranian oil. We must also strengthen deterrence against potential Iranian aggression,” he said.
Mohammad Sadiq resigns as Pakistan’s special envoy to Afghanistan
Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special representative to Afghanistan, resigned from his post on Wednesday.
“After serving close to three years as Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, I have requested the government that the time had come for me to move on and focus on my personal pursuits — family, books and agriculture/environment,” he said in a series of tweets.
Sadiq said that he was grateful to the prime minister and all the other stakeholders for their “wholehearted support” to him as the special envoy.
“I deeply appreciate the hard work of many of my colleagues who spent long hours to make the Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship work,” he added.
Sadiq was appointed to the Afghan position in June 2020 and had worked closely with other envoys during the peace talks process between the US and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in the lead up to the signing of the Doha Agreement on February 29, 2020.
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