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ADB highlights importance of donor aid to roll out vaccine

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2020)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the pandemic has put enormous pressure on Afghanistan’s fragile health care system and the economy.

In an exclusive interview with Ariana News Narendra Singru, the ADB’s Country Director for Afghanistan, and Çiğdem Akın, Senior Public Management Economist, South Asia Regional Department emphasized the importance of financial aid for Afghanistan from donor countries.

Narendra Singru stated that the ADB in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health is planning to help roll out the inoculation program once the Covid-19 vaccine is available in Afghanistan.

 “We will be having a high-level discussion with the government on having a comprehensive vaccination program in coordination with donor partners. It is important that the partners walk together to support the government in this particular vaccination program,” Singru stated.

“So we are working with the government especially with the Ministry of Public Health in preparing a comprehensive vaccination program.”

“Based on this particular plan and the cost that would be entailed in this particular program, ADB will work with the other development partners to support the government in form of a grant or technical assistance,“ he said.

Meanwhile, the ADB raised concerns over the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic stating that Afghanistan needs more assistance to tackle the problem.

The organization has announced a $100 million grant for Afghanistan, aimed at helping the Afghan government to respond to the pandemic and support health, social protection, and stabilization measures.

Çiğdem Akın stated: “We are very proud to announce the approval of the $100 million budget support grant for the government of Afghanistan which will help the government to implement its pandemic response measures.”

“Since the pandemic started in March the government of Afghanistan has launched some initiatives to increase the capacity of the health sector to provide social protection assistance for the poor and vulnerable groups as well as increased the macro-economic stabilization of the economy,” she added.

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UN chief says IEA must respect human rights in order to be recognized

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

Laying out his priorities for 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has to respect human rights in order to obtain international recognition.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Guterres stated that it was “absolutely essential” for the IEA “to have full respect for the rights of women and girls and to have a positive approach to human rights in general” in order to obtain international recognition and “getting international support for their own people.”

“To provide a lifeline of help for the Afghan people, inject cash to avoid an economic meltdown, ensure full respect of international humanitarian law and human rights — particularly for women and girls — and effectively fight terrorism,” he said.

UN Secretary-General spoke about global issues as well. Referring to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a morally bankrupt global financial system, the climate crisis, lawlessness in cyberspace, and diminished peace and security, he told the General Assembly that “we face a five-alarm global fire that requires the full mobilization of all countries.”

“Now is not the time to simply list and lament challenges. Now is the time to act. All these challenges are, at heart, failures of global governance.”

On the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Guterres said, “diplomacy is the way to solve problems. Of course, any invasion by one country to another country is against international law, and I hope that this, of course, will not happen in the present circumstances. I am convinced it will not happen. And I strongly hope to be right.”

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Salang Pass, Herat- Badghis highway closed to traffic due to heavy snow

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

Local officials said that due to heavy snowfall and stormy weather, the Salang Pass and Herat-Badghis highway have been closed to traffic temporarily.

Qazi Obaidullah Obaid, head of the Salang Pass maintenance department said they had decided to close the mountain pass in order to avoid casualties amid bad weather conditions.

According to Obaid dozens of motorists and passengers were stranded on the pass but have since been taken to places of safety.

Meanwhile, Mohibullah Asad, deputy governor of Badghis, said that Herat-Qala-e-Naw highway has also been closed to traffic due to heavy snowfall.

He said maintenance crews are working to clear the highway and reopen it to traffic.

Badghis received heavy snowfalls from Friday afternoon, making the highway impassable.

Kabul also received a fair amount of snow overnight which was expected to clear later Saturday. However, temperatures are set to drop to around -12 degrees Celsius during the night.

While Sunday is expected to be sunny, the expected high will only be -1 degrees Celsius, dropping to -15 degrees Celsius on Sunday night.

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IEA delegation due in Norway for humanitarian talks

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will arrive in Norway on Sunday for three days of talks on how to alleviate a humanitarian crisis, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Friday, Reuters reported.

“These meetings do not represent a legitimisation or recognition of the Taliban [IEA]. But we must talk to the de facto authorities in the country,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said in a statement.

“We cannot allow the political situation to lead to an even worse humanitarian disaster,” she said.

Millions of Afghans have been plunged deeper into poverty since last year’s IEA takeover, which resulted in disruption to aid programmes and deteriorating food security, Reuters reported.

The IEA representatives will meet Norwegian authorities as well as diplomats from several other countries from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25.

“Meetings will also take place between the Taliban [IEA] delegation and other Afghans with backgrounds from a range of fields. These include women leaders, journalists, and individuals working to safeguard human rights and address humanitarian, economic, social and political issues,” Norway said.

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