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UNAMA, US and OIC among many to condemn Kabul mosque explosion

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(Last Updated On: April 30, 2022)

The United Nations in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has condemned Friday’s deadly attack on a mosque in Kabul, which resulted in the death of at least 10 people.

UNAMA said in a statement that the attack on the Khalifa Sahib Mosque “is the latest in a series of indiscriminate assaults on civilian targets in the capital and provinces.”

According to UNAMA, two UN staff members and their families were also in the mosque at the time of the explosion.

“Today’s attack, carried out on the last Friday of the Holy month of Ramadan and on the eve of the Eid-ul-Fitr, totally disregards human lives and religious sanctity.

“No words are strong enough to condemn this despicable act, targeting a place of worship, as Muslims across Afghanistan prepare to celebrate the Eid,” said Mette Knudsen, the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“Recent attacks against civilians, targeting ethnic and religious minorities, represent a disturbing trend in Afghanistan. These violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws must end immediately,” he said.

Friday’s explosion follows a spate of attacks in recent weeks in mosques and schools in the major cities of Kabul, Kunduz and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Friday’s attack has however sparked widespread condemnation from a number of foreign countries and international communities.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West tweeted early Saturday: “I condemn the senseless and terrible attacks against innocent Afghans this past week, including at Khalifa Sahib mosque. These attacks must end. Perpetrators must be brought to justice.”

The European Union, was among those that condemned the incident and said: “Another explosion shook Kabul, targeting worshippers during their Friday prayers and taking the lives of many. It comes in a series of heinous and coward attacks on civilians gathering in a market, school or a mosque in this holy month of Ramadan.

“The European Union mourns with the families of the victims and wishes those injured a full and speedy recovery. Terror has no place in any religion or faith,” read their statement.

The EU also called on the Afghan authorities to ensure safety and security of all Afghan citizens and to hold those responsible to account.

“It is imperative to implement effective counter-terrorism policies and measures that eradicate the threat of terrorism both inside and from Afghanistan’s territory,” their statement read.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif has also strongly condemned Friday’s blast in Kabul and “expressed his deep sense of grief and sorrow at the loss of precious lives and conveyed his condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families”.

Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs also issued a statement and said: “We express support and solidarity to the Afghan brethren in effectively countering the challenge of terrorism.”

The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meanwhile called for a “more resolute stand by the de facto authorities against whoever sponsors or orchestrates” the attacks.

The OIC said in a series of tweets that these repeated and indiscriminate attacks “reflect the unabated volatility of the security situation in Afghanistan”. The organization also called for a more resolute stand by the de facto authorities against whoever sponsors or orchestrates them.

Friday’s explosion was the latest in a string of attacks targeting civilians. The blast ripped through a mosque in Kabul city, leaving dozens dead and wounded. On Thursday, two more explosions were reported in Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province also leaving dozens dead and wounded.

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US commits $150 million in aid for Afghans

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

The United States announced Friday $150 million in new aid for Afghanistan to improve food security and support women and girls in the country.

The US Agency for International Development said an $80 million commitment to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will improve food security and nutrition for Afghans experiencing severe food insecurity, including women, women-headed households, and smallholder farmers and herders.

With this assistance, USAID will help Afghan farmers increase the production of nutritious food using environmentally-sustainable practices, and increase the availability of quality seeds and other agricultural inputs.

This funding will also improve smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate and economic shocks through crop diversification and promoting agricultural best practices, including through support to small-scale food producers, women, family farmers, pastoralists, and fishers.

USAID and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) signed a $40 million agreement to increase international support for Afghan children, particularly adolescent girls, to realize their right to education.

This is USAID’s newest contribution to Afghanistan’s education sectors and comes after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) March announcement blocking girls above grade six from school. 

With the funding provided by USAID through this agreement, UNICEF will have the resources to provide hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Afghans with desperately needed cash assistance to keep their children in school.

USAID also announced a $30 million commitment to support gender equality and women’s empowerment in Afghanistan.

This funding will be programmed through the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The “Enabling Essential Services for Afghan Women and Girls” activity will increase Afghan women and girls’ access to social protection services; provide resources and support for women-led civil society organizations working to advance women’s rights in Afghanistan; and increase women’s economic empowerment through skills and business development training and entrepreneurship support, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a statement.

The funding will provide direct support for Afghan women’s civil society organizations.

“As women and girls face rising rates of gender-based violence in Afghanistan, this funding for UN Women will also provide women and girl survivors of violence with access to free and safe accommodation, legal aid and healthcare, psycho-social support, counseling, and vocational training,” USAID statement said.

The funding will also help UN Women respond to the urgent and immediate livelihoods needs of Afghan women, and help them build income security through private sector partnerships that will create job opportunities and help Afghan women launch or rebuild their micro, small or medium businesses.

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Mysterious fires destroy dozens of homes in Jowzjan

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

More than 50 homes have been destroyed by mysterious fires in a village in Afghanistan’s northern Jowzjan province, officials said this week.

The fires have happened in Bala Mardian village of Faizabad district.

Sirajuddin Ahmadi, police chief of Jowzjan, said that the fires are increasing day by day.

“Yesterday 12 homes caught fire. Today people held Khatm Qur’an ceremony (reading Qur’an) and prayed. Within an hour today, three or four homes caught fire. I hope officials and leaders of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will pay special attention to the victims,” Ahmadi said.

There are no reports of deaths caused by the fires.

Noorullah Musafir, the provincial director of labor and social affairs, however, said that some people including women and children were hospitalized.

Meanwhile, local residents said that mysterious creatures could be seen during the fires.

“People are suffering from the problem. They initially thought that it was human, but later it was found that only children and women can see it. A creature is seen in the home, but when we enter the home, no one is there,” a Jowzjan resident said.

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DAB says technical agreements in place to print new bank notes

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

The country’s central bank – Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) said Thursday they have reached agreements with a number of foreign countries and money printing facilities to print new bank notes for the country.

“We have collected and burned the old money, we have reached an agreement with the money printing offices and countries and we expect to proceed according to the plan and present you with the results, we are proceeding based on national interests; discussions have been held with countries and banks and they will help Afghanistan,” said Lutful Haq Noor Pasarlay, DAB’s policy deputy head.

Abdulqahar known as Haji Muhammad Edris, the acting head of De Afghanistan Bank, also spoke at the event and mapped out achievements made by the central bank in the past 12 months.

“Maintaining the stability of the value of the Afghani currency, maintaining the sustainability of commercial banks, providing banking services, facilitating cross-border transfers and developing new systems were some of the issues in the attention of Da Afghanistan Bank during the last year,” said Abdulqahar.

According to officials, in order to improve the banking sector and prevent criminal activities, the law to prevent terrorism financing, the regulation of preventive measures against money laundering, the management plan for the liquidity problem of the banking sector, the plan to revive the financial and banking sector, and the crisis management policy, have been drawn up and will soon be adopted.

The officials also said that in order to release Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves, several internal and external meetings have been organized with the relevant parties and discussions have been held on technical matters.

The last meeting of technical representatives of Afghanistan and the United States, for releasing Afghanistan’s frozen assets, was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

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