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US has ability to conduct strikes in Afghanistan if a threat emerges: Milley

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(Last Updated On: May 12, 2022)

The United States has the capability of conducting strike operations in Afghanistan if a threat emanates from the country’s territory, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said on Wednesday.

In a prepared testimony for the House Appropriations Committee, Milley said: “We do maintain surveillance (in Afghanistan) and I won’t go into the details of how or what forms or mechanisms, and we do have the capabilities to conduct strike operations if we see a threat emanating from the land of Afghanistan.”

Critics have however said foreign countries are now using Daesh as a tool to achieve their own goals.

“Twenty years ago, the United States invaded Afghanistan and brought its troops to Afghanistan, as if Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan, but the whole world saw Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and [saw him being] killed by US itself there. Even now, countries are using Daesh as a tool to achieve their goals.” said Sarwar Niazi, an Afghan military expert.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said however that Afghanistan does not pose a threat to any country and officials called on the international community and the United States to engage with the new Afghan government instead of repeating past mistakes.

“The IEA has a very clear policy that it does not want any country to be threatened or any other country to be threatened from Afghanistan. It still expects the international community, including the United States, to not repeat the mistakes of the past but to instead enter into a good relationship with Afghanistan,” said Inamullah Samangani, IEA’s deputy spokesman.

This comes after Mark Milley, the US Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said Wednesday that Daesh and Al Qaeda were expanding and that terrorism was resurgent in Afghanistan.

The IEA has said however that Daesh has been suppressed in the country.

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Earthquake victims in Gayan district still in need of food and shelter

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Hundreds of survivors of this week’s earthquake, who lost family members and their homes, are still in desperate need of help.

Sayed Bakhta, one of the survivors said that he has lost four family members and two others are hospitalized, adding that survivors are dealing with a lack of food and no shelter.

“We have no shelter here now, we don’t have food, all the victims are sitting outside without having shelter,” he said.

A number of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials who have visited Gayan district of Paktika say that almost 90 percent of residential areas have been destroyed.

“Almost 90 percent of residences are destroyed; only a few them are suitable for living, most of them are uninhabitable,” said Qalandar Ebad, acting minister of public health.

In the meantime, rugged roads have hampered relief efforts as Gayan victims grapple with a humanitarian crisis, but military helicopter try to deliver aid to the victims.

“According to the order of the Prime Minister, a meeting was held and according to that meeting, the ministries and donor organizations were instructed to come to the earthquake site as soon as possible and use all their facilities to save the people,” said Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy Minister of State for Disaster Management.

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121 children among those killed in Afghanistan earthquake: UNICEF

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

The United Nations children’s agency said on Friday 121 of those who were killed in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan this week were children.

Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, said as of late Thursday night, at least 1,036 people were reported killed and more than 1,643 reported injured.

The toll included 121 deaths and 67 injuries among the children, according to the official.

He said that Bermal district in Paktika province has the highest number of casualties and that several thousand homes were destroyed or damaged.

“Children and adolescents are extremely vulnerable and at high-risk of family separation, emotional and psychological distress, abuse and exploitation, and other forms of violence,” Ayoya said.

“UNICEF, in coordination with UN agencies, partners, and the de facto authorities (led by the Ministry of Defence) is rapidly preparing a multi-sectoral response covering health, WASH, child protection, nutrition, education, social mobilization, and including a cash component,” Ayoya said.
“UNICEF will be conducting a rapid market assessment in the affected areas in the upcoming days. The assessment will inform the feasibility and appropriateness of cash as a response to support early recovery. UNICEF has already trained partners for beneficiary registration on the ground.”

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Pakistan dispatches second consignment of earthquake relief

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(Last Updated On: June 25, 2022)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday dispatched eight trucks loaded with relief goods for earthquake victims in Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan government, the consignment, arranged by the National Disaster Management Authority, has been handed over to Afghan authorities.

The consignment consists of family tents, tarpaulins, blankets and emergency medicines.

“Pakistan is committed to continue supply of relief goods to Afghan brethren,” the statement read.

This comes after Pakistan sent in earthquake aid on Wednesday, just hours after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan’s eastern provinces, killing over 1,000 people and destroying thousands of houses.

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