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Without work and food, hundreds flee to Pakistan and Iran daily

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(Last Updated On: October 2, 2021)

A main bus terminal in Kabul is nowadays crowded as many residents of the city try to find their way out of Afghanistan into some neighboring countries.

Bus drivers at the Paitakht Bus Terminal said many families were trying to leave Kabul each day, but many could not afford the bus fare to destinations near the border cities.

“There are many families traveling (out of here) these says days. Most of them travel from here to Mazar-i-Sharif, and then many of them cross the border to Iran from Mazar-i-Sharif,” said bus driver Sahil.

Underlining the economic pressures building on Afghanistan’s new Islamic Emirate government, prices for staples like flour, fuel and rice have risen and long queues are still forming outside banks as they strictly ration withdrawals.

Some humanitarian aid has started to arrive and limited trade has returned across land borders with Pakistan, but a severe cash shortage is crippling day-to-day economic activity and decades of war have left much infrastructure in tatters.

Foreign aid payments, which accounted for 40% of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, have all but stopped as the West considers how to deal with the IEA that, until August, led an insurgency against the U.S.-backed government.

Abdullah, one Kabul resident hoping to leave, said: “We will leave for Pakistan or Iran because we don’t have work here. We work the whole day for a single bite of bread. What else can we do? We have brought these items at home and have brought them here to sell, since there is no money and no work.”

This comes amid a continuing economic crisis including a severe cash shortage in the heavily dollarized country.

With dollar shipments to Afghanistan having been stopped and with sanctions against the IEA in place, thousands of government employees have not been paid and work has dried up especially as banks have a strict weekly withdrawal limit.

Members of a Russia-led security bloc that includes some countries adjacent or close to Afghanistan meanwhile have no plans to host Afghan refugees, bloc member Kazakhstan said last week.

The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) includes three Central Asian nations – Tajikistan, which has a lengthy border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan – as well as several more remote former Soviet republics.

At a heads-of-state meeting of the bloc in Tajikistan on Thursday, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev “supported the joint CSTO position that the placement of Afghan refugees or foreign military bases on our countries’ territories is unacceptable”, his office said in a statement.

Two more Central Asian nations, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, border Afghanistan but are not CSTO members. However, Uzbekistan has also said it would only allow short-term transit of refugees by planes to third countries.

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Afghanistan will no longer turn into battlefield for superpower nations: Muttaqi

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi says the Islamic Emirate will “not allow Afghanistan to enter the battlefield of powerful countries again”.

At an event on Thursday at Kabul University, Muttaqi said that Afghanistan has good diplomatic relations with regional countries, and a number of Afghan embassies in the region and the world receive orders from Kabul.

“After this, we don’t want Afghanistan to be a battlefield between the superpowers. If there is a confrontation, it should be positive and economic,” said Muttaqi.

“According to the geography of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate is trying to make Afghanistan the center of economy and connectivity because the region is in great need of energy.”

He emphasized that Afghanistan does not have a problem with the world and that it “has been practically proven that Afghan soil is not used against any country.”

“We also call on the countries of the world that we do not have a problem with any country, the commitment made by the Islamic Emirate is that the soil of Afghanistan will not be used against any country,” he said.

He also said that the report of international organizations in reducing corruption and improving the economic situation in Afghanistan is “hopeful”.

A number of other officials of the Islamic Emirate have said that Afghanistan has been able to move towards improvement in the economic sector despite sanctions.

“In one and a half years, how has the Islamic Emirate been able to move towards improvement in the economic field despite the political and banking restrictions?” asked Deputy Minister of Economy Abdul Latif Nazari.

“You must have read the recent report of the World Bank that Afghanistan’s exports have broken an unprecedented record.”

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Foreign Ministry condemns US move to impose further travel restrictions on some IEA leaders

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) considers the recent statement by the US State Department on additional visa restrictions on some leaders of the Islamic Emirate as an obstacle to the development of ties between the two sides.

According to a statement published on Thursday, the foreign ministry said that the IEA as a responsible government, is committed to all rights of Afghans which are necessitated by the Islamic religion.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds the United States that despite the financial and banking sanctions, the Afghan government strives to provide its people with a prosperous life,” the statement read.

“The continuation of illegitimate sanctions on the financial and banking system of Afghanistan is a flagrant violation of the human rights of Afghans, restricting access of Afghans to many spheres of a prosperous life, including education and health.”

The ministry also said that the US “must remain committed to the Doha Agreement” and through implementation, demonstrate that legal documents and agreements signed with the US are trustworthy, adding that the ministry is ready to discuss all outstanding issues with the US.

According to MoFA, the IEA condemns the recent decision of the US and underscores that the disputes should be resolved via diplomatic channels and positive steps.
“Our biliteral interactions have proven that pressure is not helpful in resolving issues,” the statement read.

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Our Afghan policy has failed: Pakistani senator

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Tuesday said “our Afghan Policy has failed”, local media outlet ARY News reported.

Addressing the Senate earlier this week, Mushaid Hussain said that “failing to formulate the counter-terrorism policy is our incapacity”.

“We are in the state of war since last 43 years,” he said. “Five-billion-dollar Afghan Jihad fought, the consequences are before us,” he said.

“The battle for power will devastate Pakistan. People want a solution of the problems, an incompetence will not be allowed”, he said.

Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani had earlier said that a joint session of Parliament scheduled for February 8 should include a discussion on the country’s national anti-terrorism policy.

“Terrorism has been on the rise, while the political parties are busy in the political tug of war,” he lamented. “All political parties should sit in the parliament to hold a national dialogue,” he advised.

Islamabad has increasingly been pointing fingers at Afghanistan accusing the Islamic Emirate of providing sanctuary to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group which has carried out number attacks against Pakistan in the past few months.

The IEA has however continued to deny reports that TTP is being given a safe haven in the country, and has repeatedly told its neighor that militant groups will not be allowed to pose a threat to any country from within Afghanistan.

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