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US looks into having 3 Central Asian states take in at-risk Afghans

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2021)

The Biden administration is exploring having three Central Asian countries temporarily take in thousands of Afghans who worked with U.S. forces and face threats from the Taliban now that American troops are withdrawing after 20 years, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

They said Washington is in talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan about letting in the at-risk Afghan citizens. Two of the sources were U.S. officials and all requested anonymity.

The three sources said an agreement did not appear imminent with any of the countries.

The decision to move at-risk Afghans risks inflaming a sense of crisis in Afghanistan, as fighting between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban has surged in recent weeks, with the militants gaining control of large amounts of territory, Reuters reported.

Thousands of Afghan translators and interpreters face threats from the Taliban after working for two decades alongside the U.S. military.

The United States announced plans last week to seek refuge for thousands of vulnerable Afghans in countries outside Afghanistan so their U.S. visa applications could be processed from safety, but Washington did not specify where they would go.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki provided no further details on Friday, Reuters reported.

“One of the reasons that I’m not going to get into security details about what third country they might go to, and how many, is exactly for that reason, but certainly our timeline is to relocate these individuals to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown,” Psaki said.

President Joe Biden has said those who helped the United States will not be left behind, and on Thursday a senior Republican lawmaker said plans to evacuate at-risk Afghans will include their family members for a total of as many as 50,000 people.

“We are identifying a group of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants who have served as interpreters and translators, as well as other at-risk categories who have assisted us. They will be relocated to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown by September, in order to complete the visa application process,” a senior administration official said.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met his Tajik and Uzbek counterparts. The State Department said in readouts of the meetings that Afghanistan was discussed but provided no further details.

Washington agreed to withdraw in a deal negotiated last year under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden rejected advice from military leaders to hang on until an agreement could be reached between the insurgents and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government.

Biden told Ghani in Washington last week the Afghans must decide their own future. Ghani said his job was now to “manage the consequences” of the U.S. withdrawal.

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Otunbayeva meets acting head of TVET in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) emphasized the need for the inclusion of women and girls in vocational education on Monday in a meeting with Ghulam Haider Shahamat, acting head of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

In this meeting, Roza Otunbayeva said that vocational training is necessary for the economic development of Afghanistan and women and girls should be included.

Shahamat also expressed that technical and vocational education is effective for poverty alleviation and the growth of the country’s economy.

“The Technical Vocational Education and Training has 383 institutes and high schools all over Afghanistan, which operate in 250 districts and have 6850 staff,” said Shahamat.

Meanwhile, some experts say that Afghanistan needs to develop and create job opportunities for everyone, especially women and girls, and all international institutions play a constructive role for Afghanistan’s progress.

“All organizations which work under the framework of the United Nations can have positive roles in Afghanistan,” said Sarah Rahmani, women rights activist.

In this meeting, the head of the United Nations Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) was also present and emphasized on signing an agreement and creating a joint working group between both institutions.

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Afghanistan’s central bank to auction $17 million this week

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has announced that it will auction $17 million on Wednesday as part of the efforts to stabilize the value of the Afghan currency against foreign currencies.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the Central Bank of Afghanistan asked qualified private banks and exchange companies to participate in the auction.

The winners of the auction are obliged to settle their accounts by the end of the day. As per the announcement, partial settlement of transactions is not allowed and the winners of the auction are obliged to transfer the payable amount to the central bank in cash within a certain time.

This is the second time in a week the central bank is auctioning US dollars to keep the value of Afghani stable.

The exchange rate was 90 AFN to the US dollar on Monday, February 6, 2023. The central bank sold $16 million on Sunday.

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Russia has no plans to close its embassy in Afghanistan, says envoy

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

Russia has no plans to close its diplomatic mission in Kabul, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov told TASS on Monday.

Earlier, the Al-Arabiya TV channel reported that the authorities of several Arab and Western countries decided to close their diplomatic missions in Kabul because of security threats.

“Such thoughts have not even occurred,” Kabulov said, when asked whether Russia had such plans.

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