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UNHCR calls for more aid for forcibly displaced in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2021)

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has appealed for much more support amid acute and rising humanitarian needs for 3.5 million people displaced by conflict inside Afghanistan – including 700,000 who were displaced in 2021.

In a statement released on Friday, UNHCR said that the forcibly displaced are facing a lack of insulated shelters, warm clothes, insufficient fuel for heating, and inadequate amounts of food and medical supplies as temperatures begin to plunge below freezing.

“The humanitarian crisis is escalating daily in Afghanistan. Hunger in the country has reached truly unprecedented levels. Nearly 23 million people – that’s 55 percent of the population – are facing extreme levels of hunger, and nearly 9 million of them are at risk of famine,” the statement read.

The organization emphasized that providing food supplies is an “immediate priority” to help avoid widespread starvation in the country.

“This year, UNHCR has assisted some 700,000 displaced people across the country the majority since mid-August. The race is on to reach more. Currently, we are able to reach nearly 60,000 people every week.”

“Further resources are urgently needed for the most vulnerable -single mothers with no shelter or food for their children, older persons who have been displaced are left to take care of orphaned grandchildren, and those taking care of loved ones with special needs.”

UNHCR has been bringing in relief supplies by road through Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and through humanitarian airlifts.

The organization noted that five more flights carrying UNHCR winter supplies from its global stockpiles in Amman are scheduled next week.

“UNHCR support will continue throughout the cold season until February 2022 to help forcibly displaced families cope with the extreme conditions. The response includes core relief items, such as thermal blankets and warm winter clothing. Shelters are being repaired and reinforced, while people are also being provided plastic sheeting and insulation materials to help weather-proof their shelters,” the statement said.

The organization added that vulnerable families are also being provided with cash assistance to meet additional needs during the coldest months, such as fuel for heating.

“Further support is urgently needed for UNHCR to continue delivering lifesaving aid this winter as we head into the coldest weeks of the season. UNHCR’s funding needs for the Afghanistan Situation in 2022 – including continued winter response – amount to US$374.9 million,” the statement concluded.

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More tourists visiting Hairatan border town in Balkh

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Officials of the trade and port town of Hairatan border town in the center of Balkh province say that with the arrival of the fishing season and security improvement in the country, dozens of people come to this town every day for tourism and recreation.

Khalilullah Farooqi, the head of Hairatan border town, said that people can come to this recreational area without any worries.

“People can visit and have fun in this town without worrying under Islamic Sharia law,” said Farooqi.

The citizens meanwhile consider the improvement of security as the reason for the increase in the number of visitors to this town and express their satisfaction, calling on the government to expand recreational places in the country.

Hairatan border town is one of the largest commercial ports in the north of the country, which connects Afghanistan with Uzbekistan and other countries in the region.

According to experts, the more attention is paid to the country’s ports and the more infrastructure is built, the higher the government’s revenue will be.

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IEA condemns attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul, vows probe

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) in a statement condemned Friday’s attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul, adding security institutions will investigate the incident and that perpetrators of the attack will be punished.

The statement said that IEA will not allow any individual or group to pose a threat to the security of diplomatic missions in Kabul.

“IEA strongly condemns failed firing attack towards the Pakistan embassy in Kabul and prays for speedy recovery of a security guard,” the statement said, adding that “IEA will not allow any malicious actors to pose a threat to the security of diplomatic missions in Kabul.”

Kabul police spokesman meanwhile said firing on Pakistan embassy in Kabul was from a building, adding that security forces immediately arrived at the scene and stopped the firing. One suspect was arrested and two weapons were seized during the operation, Khalid Zadran said on Twitter.

The Pakistan foreign ministry in a statement said the attack on the Pakistan embassy compound was targeting the Head of Mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani.

“By the grace of Allah Almighty, the Head of Mission is safe. However, a Pakistani security guard Sepoy Israr Mohammad has been critically injured in the attack while protecting the Head of Mission,” the statement said.

“The Interim Government of Afghanistan (IEA) must immediately hold thorough investigations in this attack, apprehend the culprits, hold them to account, and take urgent measures to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani diplomatic personnel and citizens in Afghanistan,” the statement added.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the attack as “dastardly.”

“Salute to brave security guard, who took bullet to save his life. Prayers for the swift recovery of security guard. I demand immediate investigation & action against perpetrators of this heinous act,” Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter.

UNAMA also condemned the attack and noted that diplomatic missions are protected under international law.

 

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Six million Afghans face emergency level of food insecurity: UN

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

The United Nations has recently warned that 6 million people in Afghanistan face emergency level of food insecurity amid shortage of sufficient humanitarian assistance due to lack of funding.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the UN Deputy Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov, said to reporters at the UN headquarters in Kabul that Afghans in need have increased to 25 million this year.

“The economic shocks, which we are experiencing these days are the primary drivers for the humanitarian needs,” said Alakbarov.

He said that winter is approaching with temperatures dropping in certain areas of the country to minus 25 degrees Celcius.

“We require $768 million to support winter preparedness activities, and 614 million are required before the end of the year… We’ve been struggling for the funding for the entire year,” he added.

Two-thirds of the entire population – more than 28 million people – will need humanitarian assistance next year, according to the UN.

He said that levels of food insecurity remain one of the highest in Afghanistan with about 6 million people facing emergency levels of food insecurity, also known as IPC4.

“That is the stage before you go to phase 5 and phase 5 is basically a catastrophic famine stage. So, 6 million people are getting close to that particular borderline,” he added.

The US and other Western nations suspended financial assistance to Afghanistan after the Islamic Emirate reclaimed power in August last year.

This comes while the US has frozen Afghan central bank foreign reserves worth $7 billion.

The UN human rights experts meanwhile have called for the US to end its freeze on Afghanistan’s foreign assets.

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