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World ‘must engage’ or risk Afghanistan’s collapse, UN Security Council hears

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2022)

Senior UN envoy for Afghanistan, Markus Potzel, said on Tuesday that despite some positive developments over the past few months , “patience is running out” for many in the international community when it comes to effectively engaging with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

Addressing the UN Security Council meeting, he also said while there have been positive developments they have been “too few and too slow and they are outweighed by the negatives”.

Potzel said the ongoing ban on girls’ secondary education and growing restrictions on women’s rights, were “signals that the Taliban (IEA) are indifferent to more than 50 percent of the population” and are willing to risk international isolation.

“The relegation of women and girls to the home not only deprives them of their rights, but Afghanistan as a whole is denied the benefit of the significant contributions that women and girls have to offer,” he said.

He also said the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has monitored a steady rise in security incidents by terrorist groups and others.

“Our earlier warnings about the capabilities of Islamic State Khorasan Province (Daesh) were dismissed by the Taliban (IEA)”, he told ambassadors.

“But ISKP has demonstrated in the last few months alone that it can carry out assassinations of figures close to the Taliban (IEA), attacks against foreign embassies, as well as fire rockets across Afghanistan’s border to attack its neighbours – all while maintaining its long-standing sectarian campaign against Shia Muslims and ethnic minorities,” said Potzel.

He noted that armed clashes are continuing between IEA security forces and armed opposition groups in the Panjshir, Baghlan, Kapisa, Takhar, and Badakhshan provinces.

As per capita income has collapsed to 2007 levels – erasing 15 years of economic growth – the country’s economic situation “remains tenuous” due in part to Afghanistan’s isolation from the international banking system.

“Liquidity remains heavily dependent on the cash that the UN continues to bring in for humanitarian operations – cash, I must stress, that supports the needs of the Afghan people and does not directly reach the de facto authorities,” said Potzel.

But even the funding is uncertain as the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan has only received $1.9 billion out of a $4.4 billion requirement.

Humanitarian and economic measures will not meet the Afghan people’s longer-term needs, and the emergency aid cannot replace essential service delivery systems, such as health and water, or hold off an economic collapse, he warned.

While the IEA has not been recognized by any State, the international community also does not want to see the country collapse, Potzel stressed.

“If the Taliban (IEA) do not respond to the needs of all elements of Afghan society and constructively engage within the very limited window of opportunity with the international community, it is unclear what would come next,” he said.

“Further fragmentation, isolation, poverty, and internal conflict are among the likely scenarios, leading to potential mass migration and a domestic environment conducive to terrorist organizations, as well as greater misery for the Afghan population.

“That’s why we have to engage”, he declared, adding that “continued qualified engagement” was the most realistic way of helping the Afghan people.

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US envoy stresses importance of Japan’s contributions to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has held talks with Japanese officials on humanitarian needs, human rights and political dialogue during his two-day visit to the country.

“Japan has been a friend of the Afghan people and our partner there for over 20 yrs, and we deeply appreciate Japan’s active diplomacy and continued generosity today,” West said on Twitter on Saturday.

“We are always stronger, on every challenge, when we act together with allies. True in Afghanistan – we’ll continue to need Japan’s expertise and diverse contributions,” West said.

The envoy also said that he got “sage advice” from Tadamichi Yamamoto, a Japanese who served as UN envoy for Afghanistan during 2016-2020.

He also discussed the economic strategy with Japan International Cooperation Agency.

West’s Japan visit was part of his tour to the region that includes India and the United Arab Emirates.

West is expected to consult with partners and Afghans regarding the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, protection of Afghans’ rights, and shared security concerns, according to a statement from the US State Department.

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In phone call, Muttaqi assures Zardari of bringing Pakistan embassy attackers to justice

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

Foreign minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Amir Khan Muttaqi, phoned his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and assured that IEA will make utmost efforts to bring perpetrators of Friday’s attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul to justice.

A security guard was injured in firing on the compound the embassy in Kart-e-Parwan area of Kabul on Friday. Police said the firing was from a building and a suspect was arrested.

Condemning the attack, Muttaqi also assured Zardari that IEA will pay special attention to the security of the embassy, according to a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry.

For his part, the Pakistani foreign minister thanked IEA for its strong expression of solidarity and underscored that safety and security of Pakistan’s diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan was of utmost importance, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Afghan government must prevent the terrorists from undermining relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Zardari also reiterated “Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to fight terrorism and said that Pakistan will be undeterred by such cowardly attacks.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign ministry’s spokesperson stated that there are no plans to close the embassy or withdraw diplomats from Kabul.

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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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