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World Refugee Day: about 6.5 million Afghans are refugees across globe

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(Last Updated On: June 20, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) says that an estimated 6.5 million Afghans are living as migrants or asylum seekers in about 70 countries.

Addressing a press conference on the occasion of World Refugee Day (June 20), Abdul Basit Ansari, a spokesman for the MoRR, said that Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey host the largest number of Afghan refugees.

“Currently, about 6.5 Afghans are living as migrants in more than 70 countries, and that most of them have migrated to Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey,” Ansari said.

He added that more than four million Afghans, have been forced to flee their homes due to ongoing clashes across the country.

Meanwhile, at an event organized by the Afghan government and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to mark World Refugee Day, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, reaffirmed the government’s strong commitment to enabling voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity, and sustainable reintegration of Afghan refugees. 

“They are an integral part of Afghanistan and without them, the Afghan nation is incomplete”, Ghani said.

The UNHCR in a statement stated that Afghans constitute the world’s largest protracted refugee situation around the globe, with millions displaced at different time intervals. 

According to the statement 2020 recorded about 132,700 Afghan refugees, though an overall reduction in numbers in 2020, Afghans still remain the third-largest population displaced across borders with a total of about 2.6 million refugees. 

More than 85 percent of Afghan refugees are hosted in Iran and Pakistan, the statement noted.

“Afghan refugees and diaspora abroad have accumulated a wealth of human capital, skills, and assets with which they can play an important role in the nation-building, and reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” President Ghani said.

Speaking on the occasion of World Refugee Day, Caroline Van Buren, UNHCR’s Representative in Afghanistan commended Government’s efforts in including returnees and displaced Afghans in the national priority programs particularly health, education, and livelihood sectors. 

“Inclusion and addressing the vulnerabilities of returnees displaced population through coordinated and comprehensive area-based humanitarian and development investments to build the resilient communities is at the heart of our (government and UNHCR’s) strategies in Afghanistan,” she said.

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Former commander of Faryab’s uprising forces returns to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

A well-known commander of former uprising forces in Faryab province, Nizamuddin Qaisari, returned to Afghanistan on Sunday after fleeing the country.

Qaisari’s returns comes after efforts were made by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Contact Commission with Afghan Personalities.

Speaking at a meeting after his arrival, Qaisari said the reason for his return is so he can serve his country. He also called on the IEA to form an inclusive government that represents all ethnic groups in the country

“I came for my people; now we have Islamic government; I want to help and work for the government if they want [me] to; I am ready to serve,” Qaisari said. “I am here to unify people, Pashtun, Hazara, Tajik and others.”

The IEA meanwhile welcomes the return of political figures, even those who were once opposed to the Islamic Emirate, the IEA has said.

Experts believe that Afghanistan is the shared home of all Afghans, and the return of political figures and experts in various fields can provide the basis for lasting stability as well as growth and prosperity of Afghanistan.

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Polio vaccination campaign rolls out in western Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

More than one million Afghan children are expected to be vaccinated over the next few days in the latest polio vaccination campaign that was launched in western Afghanistan on Sunday.

Officials said the campaign will run for four days and be conducted across four provinces in the western region.

Waheed Rahmani, head of the vaccination campaign, said that 1.1 million children under the age of five are expected to receive the polio drops, including 720,000 in Herat province.

He said that so far there are no obstacles in the way of rolling out the campaign.

Volunteers said that they hope to reach all the children who need to be vaccinated.

“I along with my team will work honestly to make Afghanistan free from polio virus,” said Fina Nezami, a volunteer.

“I hope that Afghanistan becomes polio-free and we are happy to go door to door for vaccinations,” said Yagana Nabizada, another volunteer.

Local health officials have assured the public that all areas will be covered by the campaign.

“We have not forgotten areas, and while planning vaccination programs, all the areas are reviewed and if any area is left out, it will be immediately covered,” said Mohammad Asif Kabir, provincial deputy health director.

Around 728,000 children received polio drops in the previous campaign in Herat. Around 5,000 volunteers are involved in the current campaign in Herat.

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China pledges over $7 million in aid for quake victims

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(Last Updated On: June 26, 2022)

China’s ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu met with Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and said his country would provide emergency aid worth 50 million Yuan ($7.5 million) for victims of last week’s earthquake. 

At a meeting on Saturday in Kabul, Wang also said that MCC Mes Aynak copper mining contractor would provide $200,000 in aid. 

Wang said on Twitter: “Chinese enterprises will definitely fulfill their social responsibilities. The friendship between 2 countries and peoples will be further strengthened.”

Muttaqi thanked the Chinese government and people for the timely assistance and assured Wang that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) authorities would distribute the aid promptly, fairly and transparently, state-run Bakhtar news agency reported. 

Aid provided by China will include tents, sheets, fold up beds, and other items urgently needed by the Afghan people. The first batch of aid is scheduled to arrive by charter flight on Monday, Bakhtar reported.

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