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WFP sounds alarm over global food crisis, including Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 23, 2022)

A record-high number of people across six countries are either already starving or on the brink of disaster, a new report warned this week.

The latest Hunger Hotspots report, produced by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), reveals that Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen remain at the ‘highest alert’ as hotspots alone account for almost a million people facing catastrophic levels of hunger.

The report calls for urgent humanitarian action for 19 hunger hotspots in total, to prevent huge loss of life between October 2022 and January 2023.

It lays out country-specific recommendations for action – short-term protective measures in advance of new humanitarian needs materializing, and emergency response to address the current situation.

According to the report, in Afghanistan, the severity of food insecurity suggests that significant loss of life may already be occurring in the outlook period, as nearly 6 million people are expected to be in Emergency conditions by November.

After this, the risk of extreme food insecurity and significant loss of life will likely grow as another harsh winter coincides with the lean season.

The report stated that one of the driving forces behind the crisis was the ongoing La Niña weather event, which has been recurring since late 2020, and is expected to continue through December 2022 before transitioning to El Niño.

This La Niña event will continue to negatively impact agricultural activities, causing crop and livestock losses in many parts of the world including Afghanistan, Western and Eastern Africa, and the Syrian Arab Republic.

In Afghanistan, the ongoing La Niña is likely to result in below‑average rainfall during the upcoming September to February period, coinciding with the wheat‑planting and mid‑growing season.

In addition, expected warmer‑than‑average temperatures and a potential low snowpack in winter could reduce water availability for irrigation, the report stated.

This will come on top of two consecutive dry seasons since late 2020.

The report stated the economic contraction that followed the collapse of the former government, coupled with the impact of below‑average harvests, is increasing levels of hunger across the country.

WFP and FOA say concerns remain at the highest level for Afghanistan, as the country is also dealing with the effects of a deep economic crisis, exacerbated by increasing food, fuel and agricultural input prices, the freeze of Afghan assets and very high levels of accumulated household debt.

However, the report states that decreased conflict levels in Afghanistan have slightly improved the access of humanitarian organizations to people in need, but the presence of landmines, improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war, operatio all challenges, and poor infrastructure continue to constrain humanitarian access.

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Saudi calls on Kabul not to allow the country to become a terrorist haven

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

Saudi Arabia has asked the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to not let the country become a sanctuary for terrorist activities.

Speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has called for the joint cooperation of all countries to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a center for the growth of terrorism.

“Afghanistan should not become a center for terrorist activities for the growth of terrorists; we should cooperate with this country to achieve lasting peace and stability and have a prosperous economy,” he said.

Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, said that Afghanistan is moving from chaos to order, principles and legality, adding that the creation of an inclusive political framework and moderate policies can lead Afghanistan in the right direction.

“Afghanistan is in a critical transition from chaos to order, the right way forward is to put in place an inclusive political framework and adopt moderate policies,” Wang Yi added.

“The goal should be to resume economic growth and improve people’s lives with the fighting terrorism.”

In the meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country is under severe international sanctions due to the military invasion of Ukraine, said that America has failed to bring peace and tranquility to the countries it has invaded.

“Washington erected itself into an almost envoy of god on earth without any obligation but only the sacred right to intervene wherever it wants and this can be done anywhere against any state,” said Lavrov.

The Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar meanwhile stated:
“There is no attention for terrorist activities, the United Nations must respond to terrorism by sanctioning its perpetrators, we support a collaborative, inclusive and consultative approach in international relations.”

“We consider dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out of problems.”

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has repeatedly stated that terrorist groups are not gaining a foothold in Afghanisitan and that in many instances it is third parties trying to give the impression that Afghanistan is the center of terrorism in the world.

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CIA unveils model of al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri’s hideout

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

The CIA on Saturday revealed the model of a safe house used to brief President Joe Biden about the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri before it killed him in a drone strike in Afghanistan.

Shortly after al-Zawahiri’s death, White House officials released a photo showing Biden talking to CIA Director William Burns with a closed wooden box on the table in front of them, AP reported.

Now, the contents of the box — a model depicting a white-walled home with at least five stories and three partially obscured balconies — are on display at the CIA Museum inside the agency’s Virginia headquarters.

The museum is closed to the public and access is generally limited to the agency’s employees and guests. The CIA allowed journalists to tour the museum, newly refurbished in time for the agency’s 75th anniversary, as part of a broader effort to showcase its history and achievements, AP reported.

Most of the exhibits took years or decades to declassify. The al-Zawahiri model home is the rare artifact that had been used by intelligence officers just weeks beforehand.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in late July, nearly a year after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan ending a two-decade war in which the CIA had a central role.

The Biden administration has said the strike shows it retains what it calls an “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism capacity in Afghanistan, AP reported.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) have however said the US’s claims of having killed al-Zawahiri are simply allegations as they were not aware of his presence in Kabul.

Following the drone strike, the IEA launched an investigation into the incident. They also called on the US to provide them with evidence of his death.

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UNDP Afghanistan agrees to support 17 drug treatment centers

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan signed an agreement to provide essential medicines and medical supplies for drug treatment with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan signed an agreement to provide essential medicines and medical supplies for drug treatment with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Through the 2 M USD partnership, UNDP and UNODC will jointly support the provision of essential medicine, equipment, and hygiene kits to 17 drug treatment centers across the country with a 930-bed capacity across the north, west, east, and central highland regions.

“Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer and cultivator of opium, which erodes families and societies from its core. UNDP Afghanistan is committed to safeguarding the Afghans’ health security and treatment when it is most urgent.” said Abdallah Aldardari, Resident Representative of UNDP Afghanistan.

“This is an important milestone for UNODC and UNDP’s strategic collaboration in Afghanistan and beyond,” said Anubha Sood, Representative of UNODC Afghanistan. “After August 2021, most drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in the country are struggling to remain operational. This agreement will rekindle joint UN efforts to tackle one of the most deep-seated issues affecting the men, women, and youth of Afghanistan.”

Since August 2021, UNDP Afghanistan has supported 6 M people with improved access to primary care through anti-malarial, HIV, and TB treatment and care under its flagship programme ABADEI. ABADEI is a UNDP-led socio-economic initiative to combat poverty and create sustainable, dignified livelihoods in Afghanistan, with women enterprises at one of its forefronts. It complements the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in Afghanistan.

UNODC is operating to identify and address aspects of the drug and crime situation in Afghanistan, through advocacy in the policy arena; providing reliable information on opium poppy cultivation, production and prices; and through implementation in the field, delivery of effective alternative livelihoods, drug demand, and harm reduction support to people affected by drug dependence.

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