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World racing against time to help Afghan people: UN chief



(Last Updated On: January 14, 2022)

Describing a “nightmare unfolding in Afghanistan”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday that the world is “in a race against time to help the Afghan people” and stressed that “freezing temperatures and frozen assets are a lethal combination” for the Afghan people, Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters in New York City, Guterres said, two days after launching the largest humanitarian appeal ever for a single country, more than half of the Afghans now depend on life-saving assistance, adding that without a more concerted effort from the international community, virtually every man, woman and child in the country could face acute poverty amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report the UN chief said a properly funded aid operation in Afghanistan has the capacity to achieve amazing results, with humanitarians reaching some 18 million people across the country last year.

But, he said, humanitarian operations desperately need more money and more flexibility. “Rules and conditions that prevent money from being used to save lives and the economy must be suspended in this emergency situation. International funding should be allowed to pay the salaries of public-sector workers, and to help Afghan institutions deliver healthcare, education and other vital services,” said Guterres.

The Secretary-General said support for essential state functions will give Afghans hope for the future and reason to stay in their country and welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of a humanitarian exception to the United Nations sanctions regime for Afghanistan, read the report.

He said the UN is taking steps to inject cash into the economy through creative authorized arrangements, but this was just a drop in the bucket. Guterres highlighted the need to jump-start the Afghan banking system to avoid economic collapse and to enable humanitarian operations.

He said, “The United Nations in Afghanistan stands ready to work with member states and others to put in place accountable systems that will enable funds to reach the Afghan people most in need, and to ensure that these funds are not diverted.”

While appealing for international support for the Afghan people, the UN chief made an equally urgent plea to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s leadership to recognize and protect the fundamental human rights, and in particular the rights of women and girls. “Across Afghanistan, women and girls are missing from offices and classrooms. A generation of girls is seeing its hopes and dreams shattered. Women scientists, lawyers and teachers are locked out – wasting skills and talents that will benefit the entire country and, indeed, the world. No country can thrive while denying the rights of half of its population,” he said.

Guterres noted that, moving forward, it is also essential that every effort is made to build inclusive government institutions in which all Afghans feel represented – and that promote security and fight terrorism, Reuters reported.

The Secretary-General said, “Without creative, flexible and constructive engagement by the international community, Afghanistan’s economic situation will only worsen; despair and extremism will grow. We need to act now to prevent economic and social collapse and find ways to prevent further suffering for millions of Afghans.”

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Crime levels down in Kabul city: Police report



(Last Updated On: March 23, 2023)

The Kabul Police Commander headquarters shared their annual report with the media at a press conference on Wednesday and stated the overall crime rate in the city has come down.

The head of the criminal investigation unit of the Kabul Police, Mufti Abdul Samad, said during the press conference that the crime rate has dropped through the cooperation of residents.

Before the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate, each security zone of Kabul city recorded at least 15 vehicle thefts a week. This has been reduced to zero.

In the press conference, the spokesman of the Police Commander of Kabul, Khalid Zadran said that 156 cases of murder have been reported in Kabul city and 14 districts in the past year and that security forces have arrested 36 suspects on charges.

There were 553 cases of robbery from houses, 1,920 cases of fraud and other such incidents, and 2,737 suspects were arrested on charges with these cases, he added.

Kabul police said cooperation of residents was crucial to create a safe environment in the city and prevent crime.

Kabul police also asked all residents to report any suspicious incidents, and inform the detective agencies.

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Blinken promises review of Afghan withdrawal to Congress by mid-April



(Last Updated On: March 23, 2023)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers on Wednesday that the State Department has been putting together a review of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and will share findings with Congress by mid-April.

“We’ve now been spending time putting all of this together to make sure that we look at some of the common lessons learned,” Blinken said in testimony to a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee hearing.

“I am committed and determined to make that information available to Congress, and we will do that. We will do that by mid-April. So I can tell you today, you’ll have the after-action review. We will share the findings and find the appropriate mechanism to do that within the next three weeks.”

Members of Congress have been demanding information about the August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years in what was the U.S.’s longest war. The Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee threatened this week to issue a subpoena if the State Department does not produce documents it has requested, Reuters reported.

John Kirby, the top spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, told reporters the main takeaways from the review would be released to the public and shared with the House committee.

Republicans, who took control of the House in January, say there has never been a full accounting of the chaotic operation, in which 13 U.S. service members were killed at Kabul’s airport.

Hundreds of U.S. citizens and many thousands of Afghans who had worked with American forces were left behind as they were seeking to flee from the Taliban, the Islamist militant group that resumed control of Afghanistan.

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Uzbek delegation discuss need to strengthen ties with Kabul



(Last Updated On: March 23, 2023)

A top delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund met with the visiting delegation headed by Uzbekistan’s National Security Council Adviser and the special envoy for Afghanistan Abdul Aziz Kamlov in Kabul to discuss numerous issues including the supply of electricity.

Both delegations discussed political, economic, commercial, transit, railway, and electricity projects in Afghanistan, according to a statement received by Bakhtar News Agency.

“We had good political and economic relations with Uzbekistan and this country is making efforts to further develop these relations,” said Deputy PM Baradar, during the meeting.

He termed Afghanistan as a bridge between South and Central Asian countries, and said that “our country could play an important role in trade and transit between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.”

He also said the two countries could become two effective economic partners in the region, by using available opportunities.

For his part, Kamlov said its country has supported Afghanistan in international forums and meetings and has strived to protect Afghanistan’s interests in any condition.

Kamlov said that Uzbekistan is ready to cooperate with the Islamic Emirate to get the maximum advantage from the Qosh Tepa Canal.

For his part, Deputy PM Baradar assured the Uzbek side that Qosh Tepa Canal will strengthen bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan and bring these two neighboring countries closer.

The Islamic Emirate is ready to carry out this vital project through mutual understanding, he said.

Meanwhile the delegation met with IEA’s defense minister Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqoub Mujahid and discussed a number of issues. According to the defense ministry, border issues, security and other related matters were discussed and emphasis was placed on strengthening bilateral relations.

Also, Abdulaziz Kamelov, the special representative of Uzbekistan, assured the IEA of their intentions to strengthen relations with Afghanistan in the fields of security, economy, politics and other issues.

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